Normally baseball is considered a balanced game between the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box but since the balance is so precarious and delicate the history of baseball is usually marked by a gradual movement or tilt to one side which results in many distinct times of low or high run scoring. So far in 2010 is looking to be the year in which that balance has taken a marked tilt towards pitching; but it has not been what can be considered an abrupt change.
It would seem that, on the whole, major leagues are trending back to defense and pitching after the explosion in the late 90’s of offensive playing. As a matter of fact scoring due to runs has actually decreased during each of the last four seasons from approximately 4.86 scoring runs in each game of the 2006 season to the current score of 4.47. However, since the much warmer summer months are ahead of us that figure will very likely increase.
To follow are a few samples of some of the pitching dominated past seasons:
1968 – considered by many to be the year of the pitcher; only one year, 1908, had fewer runs scored (3.38) than the 3.42 of 1968. During this season 49 of the pitchers had ERA’s below 3.00 which is the most since 1917 and 7 of them were below 2.00 which is the most since 1919.
1972 – since pitching dominated so much during the 1968 season the mound was actually lowered prior to the beginning of the 1969 season which was thought to end the pitching dominance but it was only four years later that pitching again took control. This resulted in only 3.69 runs per game being scored which was the 9th lowest rate of scoring of all time and 2nd lowest (after 1968) since 1918.
1981 – although it is also remembered as the season divided by the players strike it was also a season where pitching dominated. This season scoring rate ties with 1976 as one of the toughest scoring seasons since 1972 with two no hitters only five days apart during May which the last one being a perfect game with Len Barker of the Indians. Later when play resumed Nolan Ryan had his 5th no hitter during late September.
Be sure to continue watching to see how the 2010 season will unfold and where it will fall in the baseball pitching dominated statistics.