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Must Read: Times Through the Order

Long, but pretty much nails all the points for Times Through the Order Penalty: Main Points: The first time through the order, pitchers pitch better than they do overall. This "first time" effect is magnified in the first inning, especially for the home pitcher. Starters get progressively worse as they face the lineup for the second, third, and fourth times. The fourth-time penalty gets masked in outdoor games, especially at night, and in the ninth and later innings. A pitcher’s career "times through the order" patterns have almost no predictive value. We can assume that all starting pitchers have roughly the same "true talent" TTOP, regardless of what they have shown in the past. Good and bad pitchers show around the same magnitude of TTOP. The third time through the order, all starters are expected to pitch around .35 runs per nine innings worse than they do overall. Pitch count does not seem to have much of an effect on the TTOP. For example, going into the third time through the order, whether a pitcher has thrown 60 or 75 pitches doesn’t seem to matter much. For an individual batter, the number of pitches seen makes a huge difference. The largest difference is from the first to the second time through the order. If a batter sees fewer than three pitches in his first PA, he hits 10 points better his second time at the plate. If he sees more than four pitches his first time up, he hits 25 points better on his second go-around!

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