Pregame: history suggests long season for teams starting 12-20

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Notes:

-P- Tonight's Pirates' lineup will include Harrison leading off and playing right field for the fourth game in a row. Full lineup: Harrison RF, Walker 2B, McCutchen CF, Alvarez 3b, Marte LF, Davis 1B, Sanchez C, Mercer SS, Morton P.

-P- Wandy Rodriguez will get a rehab start tonight for Altoona.

-P- Russell Martin and Travis Snider had a video conference this afternoon with Major League Baseball concerning their suspensions related to the April 20th brawl with the Milwaukee Brewers.

-P- Available out of the bullpen tonight for the Bucs tonight are: Bryan Morris, Vin Mazzaro, Phil Irwin, Justin Wilson. Tony Watson is a questionable, with Mark Melancon, Jeanmar Gomez, and Phil Hughes out.

-P- Hurdle said the bullpen's current rash of blown saves boils down to a time-worn piece of baseball wisdom, which dates back to Willie Keeler:

"They're hitting them where we ain't" Hurdle said.

He added that overall consistency has been an issue.

There is some evidence to support Hurdle's observation. The peripherals for Pirates relievers are not dramatically off from last season: 2014 (2013), BB% 8.1 (7.8), K% 18.5 (20.1), LD% 20 (20.3), with BABIP inflated .287 (.272) and HR/FB up 11.2 (8.2).

History suggests a long summer ahead for Bucs

The full-season records for teams that have started the season, 12-20, suggests a grim fate for the 2014 Pirates.

In the history of Major League Baseball, 119 teams have shared the Pirates' current record. Only seven of those teams (6 percent) finished the year with records above .500. Of those seven, three finished only one-game over .500. The winning teams are:

1925 St. Louis Cardinals (77-76)

1979 Cleveland Indians (81-80)

1980 Atlanta Braves (81-80)

1984 Kansas City Royals (84-78) - Division Champions

1990 San Francisco Giants (85-77)

2001 Oakland Athletics (102-60) - Wild Card

2005 Houston Astros (89-73) - N.L. Pennant

The aggregate record for all 119 teams is 7863 - 10572, .427 winning percentage. A .427 win-rate equals 69 wins over the course of 162 games.

(statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference)

#Shifted

With shifts more popular than ever this season, there is some early evidence of its impact. BABIP for balls pulled from left-handed hitters is at historic lows. It is exactly the over-shifting on pull hitters where one would expect to find the largest decline in BABIP.

Ranked in order of (lowest-to-highest) BABIP for LHB-pull:

2014- .290

2012 - .313

2013 - .323

2011 - .332

1990 - .335

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