Saturday, September 06, 2014

Do Big Innings Win Games?

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus recently claimed that most winning teams score more runs in one inning than losing teams do the entire game.  Long-time Detroit News writer Tom Gage wanted to know if this was true and asked his Twitter followers where one could find the answer.  There didn't seem to be an easy way to find it, so I went to the play-by-play database to figure it out myself.

I took all 9,720 games from 2010-2013 and determined that the winning team scored more runs in one inning than the losing team scored the entire game 4,553 times (or 46%) of the games.  So, Ausmus was not quite correct, but he wasn't wrong in thinking that big innings have a substantial influence on the outcome of games,

Considering only the Tigers games during the same four-year period, a big inning produced enough runs for a victory 45% of the time.  Interestingly, it was 52% in 2013 and 50% so far this year. That is more than likely a small sample fluke, but big innings have had a slightly stronger impact than usual for the Tigers the last two years.


  1. This would seem to suggest that bunting, at least until the late innings of a one run game, is a sucker bet. Bunts (at least if they work) make it more likely that you will score a single run, but in giving away an out you are reducing the chances for a big inning.

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