Saturday, March 25, 2006

2006 Preview: Chicago White Sox

The north coast/south coast baseball rivalry which reached a new peak of intensity in the 2005 World Series will heat up once again this summer when the White Sox host the Astros for 3 interleague games in June. It won't exactly be as meaningful as the last time they met, and maybe one short World Series isn't enough to call it a rivalry, and some would argue that America does not have a north coast... but to those people I say, Canada is an ocean. It's just very shallow, and mostly frozen. Oil Can Boyd knew what he was talking about when he said, of a very foggy stadium in Cleveland, "That’s what they get for building a park on the ocean."
Regardless, the White Sox employ only one pitcher who has hit Craig Biggio with a pitch - Dustin Hermanson, who hit Biggio twice on October 6, 2001. Their 2005 plunking leader, Orlando Hernandez (12), was traded to Arizona for Javier Vazquez who only hit 5 last year. Jose Contreras and Jon Garland hit the next most batters, with 9 and 7 plunks respectively. Contreras, Garland and Vazquez will be joined in Chicago's starting rotation by Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle, who hit 3 and 4 batters last year.
Biggio hasn't been plunked by the White Sox since August 31, 1997, when James Baldwin got him. Baldwin now pitches for Toronto.

If past statistics are any basis for estimation, Craig Biggio's probability of being hit by a pitch against the White Sox this year is 42%. He has a 9.8% chance of being hit 2 or more times by them, matching or beating the White Sox total from 1997. Biggio's probability of being hit 7 or more times by them is 0.000037%.

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