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Pitch Count

The sport that is accepted as a legitimate way to understand the game and gives it its popularity through statistics is baseball. Major League Baseball has 30 teams. There are 25 players on each team or a total of 750 players. During the regular season there are 162 games. Multiply 162 games by the 750 players, there are 121,500 initial bits of information if every player gets into the game.

There are 2 pitch counts of 4 balls and 3 strikes happening at the same time in every game. The hitter’s pitch count and the pitcher’s pitch count.


A hitter has every kind of count made on his at bat that can be made moving through the pitch count. As an example how many hits does he get with 3 balls and no strikes? How many hits does he get with no balls and 2 strikes? What percentage of hits are infield hits what percentage of his hits are to the outfield. What percentage of the batters hits are to left field to center field and right field so the defense can make a shift to the hitter’s tendencies. How many outs he makes that are fly balls, how many outs are ground outs? How he hits against left handed pitchers how he hits against right handed pitchers. How he hits in day games what his numbers are in night games. What is his batting average his on base percentage, his home run total, what are his runs batted in? Those are only a small portion of the statistics that are compiled on the hitter.
 

The pitcher has the same type of statistics on his pitch count to the batter. What percentage of his pitches are curve balls when he has a full count. What percentage of his pitches are strikes with a 2 and 2 count. What are his numbers on 1st throw to the plate what percentage are balls what percentage are strikes?  What is the breakdown of fly ball outs to ground outs for this pitcher? How does he perform on 5 days between starts what is his percentage of wins on 4 days between starts. What is his earned run average?

Every aspect of the game of baseball is charted with the sole reason to find an advantage through statistics. It may be to shift an infielder 1 step to the left for this hitter or have the center fielder play shallow for this hitter because a large percentage of his hits are grounders up the middle.
 

The opposing team has a count on how the infielder goes to his right how he fields going to his left. The opposing team has numbers on how many times an out fielder has thrown out a runner trying to stretch out a hit from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to 3rd.
 

The hitter knows what percentage of the time the pitcher will throw a fast ball for a 1st strike. The pitcher knows through statistics if the batter is a low ball hitter or if he can not hit a curve ball low and away.

The hitter knows that on 1 ball 2 strikes the pitcher is going to go up the ladder on him to make him chase pitches he can not hit. The good managers discuss with the hitters what a pitcher will throw in the pitch count.

The pitching coach makes the pitchers chart all the hitters to find out how the hitter performs against a 2 strike count or what the batter will do when the pitcher throws a change up when the pitch count is 2 and 2 and he expects a fastball or will the batter always take the 1st pitch in his at bat. The pitcher finds the batters strength or weakness by charting the hitters pitch count.

The best players consult their statistics on every aspect of the game from where he needs to play the hitter while on defense to what the pitcher will throw in the pitch count when he is at the plate.

The pitcher knows what the batters weakness are in the pitch count and puts the percentages on his side when he knows the hitter is looking for a fast ball and the pitcher knows he can not hit a curve ball when the count is 3 and 2.

Earl Weaver is the 1st manager to use statistics as a way to gain an advantage. Earl Weaver was the volatile manager of the Baltimore Orioles in the 60s 70s and 80s. He used to catch a lot of flack from the experts on his application of statistics. The experts did not think it was a viable way to manage the game by applying percentages to create an advantage.

Earl would platoon hitters. A batter may hit 300 overall but with the use of statistics he would find out this hitter batted 320 against right handed pitchers but 190 against lefty’s so he would sit that player down against left handed pitchers and replace him with a hitter who had a higher batting average against left handed pitchers. This was a way through stats to replace a good hitter with poor stats in a particular situation and gain an advantage by replacing him with a hitter who had a larger batting average against lefties.

Earl ran a pitch count on all his pitchers he new what number of pitches thrown when to replace that pitcher and bring in a relief pitcher to maintain his statistical advantage.

Earl Weaver’s applications of stats were revolutionary to his game and to baseball. He claims it is the reason he was a successful manager. Once Earl had the statistics in hand he knew how to coach and influence the out come of a baseball game and he always played the percentages. Earl Weaver won 3 World Series.   

Listen to today’s baseball announcers and they reel off statistic after statistic on every hitter and every pitcher on the team. Baseball has no advantage over Horse racing when it comes to understanding the game through statistics. Horse racing has more. The difference is baseball statistics are accepted as a way to talk about and understand the game. Listen to the pre race expert analyst and they never include statistics. Handicappers are unaware that there are stats on every aspect of racing.

Every year there are about 60,000 races run in the
U.S. and there are 8.1 starters per race. Multiply those two figures and that’s about ½ a million runners a year. Each of these runners will have literally thousands of bits of information. Statistics includes not only information on the horse, but also the trainer, owner, jockey, track, morning line odds, actual odds, pedigree information on the sire and dam’s sire. Information on drugs, surface, equipment changes, workouts and distances. Information on race times through each ¼ mile. All of this information and much more can be combined then sorted to find statistical advantages.

The difference from baseball to horse racing is the experts will not do the work to create statistics or they do not perform the research to find statistics so they are not aware of any statistical advantage.

The Daily Racing Form is full of information and numbers but it is not filled with statistics. The DRF prefers to put numbers in the past performances but not to carry through with a percentage. By not printing the percentage a vital piece of instantly recognized data or fact is bypassed as unimportant by the handicapper because the connection of the numbers to a percentage bypasses the awareness of instant insight that the percentage allows.

The past performance block has thousands of bits of information and it is all ignored by the
DRF. There are no counts on any of the information in the past performance block and when it is, it is a general stat like the trainers record the horses record or the Beyer speed figures.

Most of the information in the Form is just to notify you it is there like the Layoff line or the letter C to tell us this horse was just claimed.

The Beyer speed figures show the speed figure for every horse’s race in the PP’s. What the Beyer speed figures do not do is give a win percentage on how often the last race’s highest Beyer speed figure goes on to win. The way that is taught to handicap Beyer speed figures is to evaluate horse by horse speed.

The past performance block shows the position of each horse through each ¼ mile the player then tries to project what the horses running style will be in today’s race then place a bet on supposition, I think he is going to win, I suppose he will have the lead. Those 2 ways to bet by running style and speed figures is a not the only way to go broke but it is the most common way players tap out.

The DRF reminds me of the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park. Fenway is a great place to view the game with many angles and design flaws with short distances down the fowl lines to produce easy home runs but a center field that goes back 420 feet and difficult to hit home runs.  Along with a wall named the green monster where hits that should be home runs end up to be singles and pop ups that should be outs end up to be home runs. The team always tries to find big lumbering pull hitting fly ball hitters to hit the ball over the green monster. Because of its design flaws Fenway Park has prevented the Red Sox from becoming champions. Because of the Daily Racing Forms format of a past performance block they have prevented players from becoming winners.

The
DRF is the equivalent to the green monster because it puts all the emphasis on running style and Beyer speed figures. Speed has as many design flaws as Fenway Park. Practically all other information like statistics is ignored for the pull hitting fly ball pop up lumbering speed player.

Baseball is labeled a team sport it is only a team sport for the defense. It is 9 players against 1. The hitter has only his athletic ability and his knowledge of the pitcher and what will be thrown at him within the pitch count of 4 balls 3 strikes.

I also have a pitch count. I track the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th race after a Layoff, Claim and Debut separated by sprint and route that is 8 in the pitch count. I have a betting stat the 4+30 this trainer has to have at least 4 wins and at least a 30% win rate to qualify as a bet. This 30% win rate is the same as hitting 300 in baseball. Horse racing is not a team sport when I bet it is me against the tote board when I bet I only bet within the pitch count and I bet only trainers who hit 300. Relating racing to baseball I know what is going to be thrown at me in the pitch count with the 4+30.

Should I swing at This Howard Wolfendale 4+30 Claim 1 sprint, his horse has 17 races with 1 win 7 race are at this distance with no wins. Because of his horses record for this distance I will take this Wolfendale pitch and label it a curve ball and wait for the fastball down the middle.

On the 9th of march Wolfendale had another Claim 1 sprint 4 +30 the horse at this distance has 4 races 2 wins I knew what he was going to throw in the pitch count he was going to throw a strike on the 1st pitch or Claim 1 Sprint a fastball down the middle I swung and got a hit a single up the middle he paid $6.00.

Statistics are a legitimate way to understand the game and place a bet. Betting within the 8 count pitch count with Layoffs, Claims and Debut’s and with the 4+30 allows me to understand the game to give myself a chance to get a hit when I know what is being thrown at me in the pitch count because I have charted the throws.  Some day statistics in racing will be accepted as a way to understand the game and give racing the popularity that is the equal to baseball. Its time for racing to open another can of pitchers.