Batter up! Umpires do a heck of a lot more than just call balls and strikes. Each one of those calls has an effect on how the end result of a game pans out. Join us today at Bang the Book, as we look at some of the most notable trends involving umpires thus far this season.
This week, we're going to look at some of the umps who have put together some massive 'under' runs to compare and contrast those who should keep up with the 'unders', and those who perhaps will revert back to the mean sooner rather than later.
The man with the most 'under' performances coming into this week has been Dale Scott. Scott rolled off seven 'unders' in a row from May through June, and since then, he has leveled off just a bit. However, the common thread in virtually all of the games he has umpired this season is that they have all featured 'totals' between 7.0 and 8.5. The last time he umpped a game with a 'total' higher than that was the 9.5 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays. That game only featured 7.5 runs though, and it is the only time this year in which he has been in charge of a game with a 'total' above 8.5. We know that part is going to change at some point, but with all of these insanely low scores, there have to be more 'unders' coming.
Bill Miller just watched his six-game 'under' streak come to a close, but the damage was clearly already done for 'total' bettors. Miller has the second most 'unders' this year with 12, and he has really been ringing up a ton of batters of late. Miller has sent at least 12 batters packing in eight straight games, including fanning 20 batters against just three walks in a game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets on May 26th. With all those strikeouts generally come lower scoring games, and as low as it all keeps up again, we see no reason to believe that there are going to be any more 'overs' than there already have been in Miller's games.
Amongst umpires with at least seven starts behind the dish, the one that he has had lowest percentage of 'over' games this year is Kerwin Danley. Danley isn't an umpire which we have talked about all that much this year, as he has really been skirting right in the middle of just about every stat you can think of. However, when push has come to shove, Danley has ended with just one 'over' game since May 8th. It's not just the strikeouts which Danley is recording that are helping out, but it's the lack of walks as well. For example, in his most recent outing between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies, Danley rang up 11 batters against just one walk. Though that's not a huge amount of strikeouts, it's a miniscule amount of walks, and the end result was that there were only four runs scored. A 10-4-1 record for 'under' bettors is most certainly no joke in Danley's games.
Meanwhile, the other man with a 10-4 base record for 'under' bettors isn't one that we would want to put a lick of money on at this point, that being Paul Schreiber. With all of these other 'under' umpires, we see a lot of 15+ strikeout games. With Schreiber, who is 10-4-5 this year for 'under' bettors, we only see 12.5 strikeouts per game and a relatively average 5.5 walks per game. There have only been 7.4 runs per game scored in his outings, and that might immediately be a cause for wanting to back the 'under', but when you look at some of the pitchers who have been on the mound of late with Schreiber calling balls and strikes, you'd almost expect more. There were exactly nine runs scored in his last outing between the Oakland A's and the Kansas City Royals, and we think we're going to see a lot more of that as the second half of the season takes flight.