Sunday, April 6, 2008

First One To Seven Wins...

Bill Madden says these days a seven inning start is the new complete game. According to the article, teams with the most starts at or exceeding seven innings tend to find their way into October:

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the teams that get the most outings of seven or more innings from their starting pitchers have the best chance of making the playoffs. Last year, the Cleveland Indians led the majors with 71 games in which their starters went seven or more innings and they finished first in their division. The National League leaders were the Arizona Diamondbacks, with 59, and, not coincidentally, they too won their division.

With the exception of 2006, over the last five years those teams that finished first or second in the majors in starts of seven innings or more all made the playoffs. However, even those "new" complete game numbers are shrinking, as evidenced by the Yankees' major league-leading 87 starts of seven-plus innings in 2003, to the Angels' and Indians' major league-leading 71 in '06 and '07, respectively.

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