Eye for an eye? Baseball has an eye for retaliaton

As I watched Josh Harrison and Starling Marte lead off Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies with a different sort of back-to-back — they both got hit by Jerome Williams pitches — it occurred to me target practice has to be over: The Bucs are already too good at getting hit.

The Pirates have been hit by pitches 72 times — maybe a result of their hurlers’ commitment to pitching inside having resulted in an MLB-leading 80 hit batters.

Maybe? And maybe the moon isn’t made of cheese.

Next time you hear a pitcher shrug off a beanball with, “The pitch just got away from me,” just roll your eyes and hit the mute button.

If retaliation is not part of the code, how come baseball’s six divisions rank in the exact same order in batters being hit and pitchers hitting batters?

Here’s your scorecard, entering Thursday’s games:

BATTERS HIT (Totals by division):

  • NL Central: 312
  • AL East: 263
  • AL West: 259
  • AL Central: 224
  • NL East: 212
  • NL West: 205

HIT BATTERS:

  • NL Central: 287
  • AL East: 260
  • AL West: 255
  • AL Central: 245
  • NL East: 216
  • NL West: 212
Not only are the rankings identical, but note the similarities in the two sets of numbers division by division. 
I’m aware of one factor in this distribution: In a division game, say if Lance Lynn hits Andrew McCutchen, the incidence shows up in both sets (hit batter for Bucs, batter hit for Cards). But even with that mathematical sidebar, the numbers are interesting.
Decoded.

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