LIVE AND DIE BY THE WALK

Sunday, April 30, 2006

In 31 starts between 2005 and 2006, Carlos Silva has pitched 215 and one-third innings, walking only 12 in that span -- an average of one walk almost every 18 innings; one walk every two games. To most statistics-loving baseball fans, that is incredible -- it shows the pitcher has control of his pitches and doesn't walk himself into trouble. However, sometimes walking is beneficial.

To not walk directly implies closeness to the strike zone, where a batter can make contact. That being said, it should be no surprise that pitchers often near the strike zone often give up more than the average share of hits. Despite Silva's stunningly paltry nine walks in 188.3 innings last season, he still managed to give up 212 hits -- a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.173. In comparison, Jason Schdmidt, who ranked ninth-highest in walks allowed in 2005 with 85, gave up only 160 hits in 172 innings pitched -- a WHIP of 1.42, or .247 higher than Silva; Schmidt will give up about two more walks or hits combined per game than Silva.

Jon Lieber of the Philadelphia Phillies is also duly noted for his mastery of the strike zone, posting 223 hits and 41 walks in 218.3 innings -- a WHIP of 1.209.