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Walks, Walks, Walks

Not that tonight's game was the charity walk-a-thon that Tom Gorzelanny hosted last night, but watching it unfold (particularly Adam Eaton's walk to the weak-hitting Brian Bixler) I started wondering: is it just me, or have pitchers been allowing a lot more walks this year?

It turns out it's not just me. According to Baseball Reference, there were 3.3 walks per game (per team) in the NL in both 2006 and 2007. There were 3.2 walks per game in the AL in 2006 and 3.3 in 2007. This year, there are 3.6 in each league. That's a pretty significant difference, and I'm not sure if there's a reason for it, but it seems like there are a startling number of promising (or formerly promising) young pitchers this year who, for one reason or another, suddenly can't find the strike zone: Gorzelanny, Justin Verlander, Francisco Liriano, Fausto Carmona, Jeremy Bonderman, C.C. Sabathia, Adam Loewen, Rich Hill, Ian Kennedy, Matt Cain. The list of walks leaders is full of interesting names. And while there are always some young pitchers struggling to return from injury - Liriano is one of those - a number of these guys can't be explained so simply. 

None of this is to excuse Pirates' pitchers horrible control and command this year, but it's interesting.