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« Soft Stuff Howard's Achilles Heel | Main | Wilson Missing High, Getting Hammered »
Friday
Oct142011

A Little Bit of Luck

There is always a certain degree of luck involved with balls put in play.  This was perhaps most evident last night when Miguel Cabrera hit a ball off the third base bag in the sixth inning, scoring a run and kicking off a four run inning for the Detroit Tigers.  Had the ball missed the bag, it is likely fielded by Adrian Beltre for at least one out.  Instead, Cabrera's ball, not particularly well-hit, bounced over Beltre and into left field for a double, and the Tigers went on to win Game 5 against the Texas Rangers.

Interestingly enough, Cabrera hit .301 on ground balls this season, which ranks him in the top 15 percent of batters.  Of course, for someone like Cabrera it's tough to say whether this is due to his ability to hit the ball hard or just good fortune.  He's not particularly fast, and speedy players tend to have higher batting averages on ground balls due to their ability to get down the line faster.  However, Cabrera has consistently hit ground balls above the league average line over the past four years.  Between 2008-2010, he hit .283 on ground balls, which was about 40 points above league average.

One last interesting note: Prior to last night's sixth inning, Cabrera had hit nine ground balls this postseason, all outs.  Whether you believe he is particularly skillfull at hitting ground balls for hits or not, it's hard to deny that his 10th ground ball was almost purely a product of luck.  And as a result, the Tigers are still alive.

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