A couple of people have written regarding my post of last night (actually, early this morning) on the Braves leading the NL in double plays. Both Brian Jenkins and Michael McHenry have pointed out that while the Braves aren’t allowing a lot of baserunners, most of the baserunners they’ve allowed have been on singles or walks, because they aren’t allowing many extra-base hits. (The slugging percentage allowed by the Braves is easily the lowest in the NL, .350 versus second-place New York’s .369.)
Michael also points out that the Braves have pitched the most innings in the NL, because they’ve played more games than most and so many have gone to extra innings; that affects the numbers. I’ll throw in that Javy Lopez and Henry Blanco have done a good job cutting down on the running game (throwing out 46% of baserunners) and that teams aren’t risking what baserunners they have by sending them, which makes turning double plays more likely for a couple of reasons.
My best guess is that the Braves’s infielders are doing a better-than-expected job on the double play, but that they’re not as far above the norm as I thought. The other factors — a basically ground-ball staff, few runners in motion, few extra-base hits, more innings pitched — account for the bulk of the total. That’s not to say that Furcal, Giles, Garcia, DeRosa, Castilla — and, okay, Lockhart — don’t deserve a lot of credit, because they do. I’m pretty certain that they shouldn’t be leading the league in double plays, and certainly not by ten (they turned one today) no matter what the pitchers’ characteristics are.