Inside the Numbers Week 3

by Cassady Palmer • @crpalmer0627 • Feb 28 

 

The Good:

  • 45% of hits for extra bases. While the Hoosiers did not get many hits against Tennessee, the ones they did get were hit hard. Almost a third of all the Indiana hits were home runs (solo shots). For context, last season the Hoosiers hit 32% of their hits for extra bases, and that was a pretty power-heavy offense. This rate probably isn’t sustainable but it could help Indiana to get a few extra wins when the bats are a little quieter.

The Bad:

  • .137 batting average. No Hoosier hit particularly well against Tennessee, and nobody had more than one hit on the weekend. The team has just a .169 average through the first two series. Of the nine qualifying batters after the weekend, six fall under the Mendoza line of .200, and nobody is hitting above .300.
  • Free passes. Nine Tennessee runners who eventually scored reached base on a walk, hit by pitch, or error. The Hoosier pitchers also threw four wild pitches, including a pair in the same inning which directly led to a score. This seemed to be a bit of a fluke for the Indiana pitching staff, so I’m not too concerned about this one yet.

The Ugly:

  • 46 strikeouts in 3 games. Including 21 in one game alone. These strikeouts represented 44% of the team’s plate appearances; it’s pretty difficult to bring runners home when almost every other plate appearance is a strikeout. Additionally, about a quarter of these Ks happened with runners in scoring position, and 65% of those had a runner on 3rd. Nearly 30% of the Ks started with the batter getting ahead at least 2-0 or 2-1, but the most common count on the strikeouts was 1-2, which represented half of the strikeouts. Half of the innings against Tennessee saw Indiana batters strikeout at least twice, and more than 40% of those innings featured at least three Ks (including an inning where the Hoosiers struck out four times thanks to a wild pitch K). Any way you slice it, this was an ugly series for the Indiana offense.

Interesting Tidbit:

  • Tennessee threw a lot of right-handed pitchers at the Hoosiers last weekend. A lot. Of the 105 plate appearances vs the Vols, 79 of them were against righties. That’s a full 75%. This rate was even higher in the midweek games, where Cincinnati and Butler utilized righties in almost 90% of the Hoosier plate appearances. Indiana is currently batting .189 against RHPs, with 42% of the hits going for extra bases; they also have struck out in 36% of such plate appearances.

 

Key Numbers to Watch:

  • This will remain a key number to watch until the Hoosiers show that they can consistently cut back on them. They did a significantly better job with strikeouts during the two midweek contests, averaging 8.5 per game against Cincinnati and Butler. But the Hoosier weekend opponents strikeout batters at a decent clip, as Northeastern and Coastal Carolina both average 9 Ks per game and UConn averages 8 per game.
  • Scoring runs. If they intend to rack up the wins, the Hoosiers can’t always rely on the longball to do all the scoring like they did at Tennessee. Northeastern has only given up 3 homers in 6 games, and only a quarter of the hits they’ve given up have gone for extra bases. Coastal is not far behind on the home runs given up at 6 homers in 9 games, and only 16% of the hits they’ve given up have gone for extra bases. UConn comes in at 1 homer per game and 38% of their hits for extra bases. So scoring from brute power may be more difficult to come by, particularly on Friday and Sunday.
  • Opponent Baserunners. The Hoosier pitching staff needs to minimize the number of baserunners they allow, particularly limiting those in scoring position. Last weekend, Tennessee had 56 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, collecting 11 hits and 12 walks (those make up 41% of their plate appearances with RISP). The road doesn’t get significantly easier for the Hoosier pitchers, particularly on Sunday. Coastal is batting .336 as a team, they draw a walk in almost 15% of their plate appearances, they send 33% of their hits for extra bases, and they are 18-21 in stolen bases. UConn is currently batting .250 as a team, 30% of their hits go for extra bases, and they have just 3 more Ks on the season as IU had last weekend. Northeastern is hitting .282, they are 13-17 on stolen bases, and they average fewer than 7 Ks per game. The more 1-2-3 innings the Indiana staff can string together, the more likely they can give the offense a good chance of keeping up.

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