Ronald Belisario, inherited runs & context

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers relief pitcher Ronald Belisario has allowed 11 inherited runners to score this season, tied for the most in baseball. But just what does that mean?

There were many reasons why the Dodgers lost 3-2 to the Angels on Thursday night in Anaheim. But the deciding run came in the sixth inning, when Ronald Belisario allowed one of two runners inherited to him by Ted Lilly to score to break the tie.

Ignoring for a moment that Belisario basically did his job, in that he got a ground ball, it continued a disturbing pattern for the right-hander this year. Over the course of the season Belisario has allowed 11 of his 17 inherited runners to score. That 64.7% rate is third worst in MLB among relievers who have inherited at least 10 runners, ahead of only Anthony Bass (11 of 13, 84.6%) and Jose Cisnero (seven of 10, 70%).

But simply counting inherited runners is too simplistic. Not all situations are created equal, with some far tougher or easier than others. Using the runs expected matrix at Baseball Prospectus, we can look at each specific situation to see the average expected runs scored in that inning, based on actual play-by-play data throughout the season.

On Thursday, for instance, the situation when Lilly left and Belisario entered was two outs, with runners on first and third base. On average, a team scores 0.4859 runs in an inning from that point forward in this situation. Belisario allowed one inherited run, but given the situation he didn't cost the team a full run, but rather .5141 of one, with Lilly responsible for the others.

Given that Belisario has been brought in 12 times this season with runners on base, I decided to look at each situation to see how much damage he has really done.

Ronald Belisario Inherited Runners
Date Opp Bases Outs Runners Scored Expected Runs Runs Saved
Apr 2 SF -23 1 2 2 1.3185 (0.6815)
Apr 13 @Ari 12- 0 2 2 1.4262 (0.5738)
Apr 17 SD 1-- 0 1 1 0.8320 (0.1680)
Apr 20 @Bal -2- 1 1 1 0.6592 (0.3408)
Apr 24 @NY -23 1 2 1 1.3185 0.3185
Apr 26 Mil --3 1 1 0 0.9226 0.9226
May 1 Col -2- 1 1 1 0.6592 (0.3408)
May 19 @Atl 12- 2 2 0 0.4423 0.4423
May 22 @Mil 1-- 1 1 1 0.5125 (0.4875)
May 25 StL 1-- 1 1 1 0.5125 (0.4875)
May 27 Ana 1-- 1 1 0 0.5125 0.5125
May 30 @Ana 1-3 2 2 1 0.4859 (0.5141)
Totals 17 11 9.6019 (1.3981)

So even though Belisario has allowed 11 inherited runners to score this season, he has been put in situations that normally see about 9.6 runs score. In other words, he has been slightly below average in those situations as instead of historically bad.

The other three relief pitchers to be used often in situations with inherited runners are Paco Rodriguez, who has been brought in 14 such games, and J.P. Howell and Matt Guerrier, with nine games each. Let's look at them too.

Paco Rodriguez Inherited Runners
Date Opp Bases Outs Runners Scored Expected Runs Runs Saved
Apr 5 Pit 1-- 1 1 0 0.5125 0.5125
Apr 9 @SD 123 2 3 0 0.7092 0.7092
Apr 11 @SD 1-- 2 1 0 0.2190 0.2190
Apr 15 SD 123 0 3 2 2.2493 0.2493
Apr 17 SD 1-- 1 1 0 0.5125 0.5125
Apr 26 Mil 1-- 0 1 1 0.8320 (0.1680)
May 1 Col -2- 2 1 0 0.3218 0.3218
May 4 @SF 123 0 3 1 2.2493 1.2493
May 10 Mia 1-- 0 1 0 0.8320 0.8320
May 11 Mia 1-- 2 1 0 0.2190 0.2190
May 17 @Atl 12- 1 2 2 0.9084 (1.0916)
May 19 @Atl 1-- 2 1 0 0.2190 0.2190
May 25 StL 123 2 3 0 0.7092 0.7092
May 26 StL 1-3 1 2 1 1.1718 0.1718
Totals 24 7 11.665 4.665

Paco has inherited quite a bit of runners this season and has done remarkably well, over four and a half runs above average.

J.P. Howell Inherited Runners
Date Opp Bases Outs Runners Scored Expected Runs Runs Saved
Apr 7 Pit 1-- 1 1 0 0.5125 0.5125
Apr 9 @SD 123 2 3 3 0.7092 (2.2908)
Apr 12 @Ari 123 1 3 0 1.5677 1.5677
Apr 15 SD -2- 1 1 0 0.6592 0.6592
Apr 21 @Bal 1-- 2 1 0 0.2190 0.2190
May 4 @SF 123 1 3 1 1.5677 0.5677
May 19 @Atl 1-- 0 1 0 0.8320 0.8320
May 24 StL 1-3 1 2 0 1.1718 1.1718
May 29 Ana 1-- 1 1 0 0.5125 0.5125
Totals 16 4 7.7516 3.7516

Howell really only had the one bad outing with runners on, though he hasn't pitched generally in as high leverage situations as Belisario or Rodriguez.

Matt Guerrier Inherited Runners
Date Opp Bases Outs Runners Scored Expected Runs Runs Saved
Apr 9 @SD 12- 0 2 1 1.4262 0.4262
Apr 11 @SD 12- 2 2 0 0.4423 0.4423
Apr 15 SD --3 2 1 0 0.3654 0.3654
Apr 16 SD 1-- 0 1 1 0.8320 (0.1680)
Apr 26 Mil 12- 1 2 0 0.9084 0.9084
Apr 27
Mil -2- 2 1 1 0.3218 (0.6782)
May 15 Was 1-- 2 1 0 0.2190 0.2190
May 21 @Mil -23 0 2 1 1.8974 0.8974
May 27 Ana 12- 0 2 0 0.5125 0.5125
Totals 14 4 6.925 2.925

Guerrier, like Howell and Rodriguez, has been above average in preventing inherited runners from scoring, based on the situations they were brought into the game. Guerrier has been more like Howell in that he has mostly been brought into lower leverage situations than Belisario and Rodriguez on average, so make of that what you will.

Does that mean Don Mattingly should turn to Guerrier over Belisario if he needs to retire a right-handed batter in the sixth inning? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps Paco Rodriguez could expand his repertoire even further and get used in these situations.

But the most important lesson is that it's almost never as simple as looking at inherited runners scored. Context always matters.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker