Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

Update: Apparently, the entire Internet misinterpreted Baseball Reference’s splits. This comment on Beyond the Box Score (h/t Richard) illuminates the issue.

Mike Axisa, of MLB Trade Rumors and the Yankees blog River Ave Blues, dropped a couple of nice factoids pertaining to the incredible Greg Maddux:

Greg Maddux faced 20,421 batters in his career. Just 310 of them saw a 3-0 count. That’s roughly one every three starts. #insane [Link]

Actually, that includes IBB’s. If we only look at unintentional 3-0 counts, it’s 133 in 20,284 total batters. One every ~150 hitters. #nutso [Link]

With some control freaks in the Phillies’ starting rotation, I was curious to see how Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, among others, matched up.

TBF 3-0 Counts IBB Natural 3-0 Counts PA/UIBB
Blanton 5128 94 24 70 73
Lee 5922 85 12 73 81
Hamels 3885 70 24 46 84
Oswalt 8292 122 32 90 92
Halladay 9426 112 23 89 106
Maddux 20421 310 177 133 154

Maddux’s control was far and away better than anyone in the Phillies’ rotation.

In fact, if you prorated the Phillies’ hurlers’ natural 3-0 count rates over 20,421 PA — Maddux’s career total — the results are quite interesting.

Over 20,421 plate appearances, Halladay would have 25 percent more natural 3-0 counts than Maddux. Oswalt would have 44 percent; Hamels 57 percent; Lee 64 percent; and Blanton 81 percent.

The Phillies have acquired pitchers with great control, but Maddux was on another level. This, however, is just one small illustration of Maddux’s greatness. His Baseball Reference page, along with that of Pedro Martinez, is as close to Sabermetric pornography as you’re going to get.