All is seemingly right again with the world, and the Twins are back to .500. I'm certainly not going to expect 13 runs from the offense very many (actually, zero) more times this season, but it is reassuring to know that there exists the possibility of coming back from a 4-run deficit. Come to think of it, maybe that'll just make it more agonizing when they fail to do it in the future.
I didn't catch the very beginning of the game, and the first thing that caught my eye when I saw the line score was that Radke gave up 3 runs in the first, and the Twins were down 3-0. That actually made me smile. It's sort of like seeing the sun rise in the morning and set at night--you know it's going to happen, but it's still sort of reassuring when it actually happens.
That does remind me that I can't recall actually seeing Radke's first inning splits in a while. So, I went over to Radke's espn.com player card for his splits from 2003-5, and checked out what splits they had there. First, the had his splits by pitch, which I find to be almost totally meaningless. If an at-bat ends on pitch 11, but the first 8 pitches of the at-bat were 3-10, does it really make sense to lump that in the 11-20 bin? So, I went with the inning splits. They had the first inning, 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9. So, I did a little subtraction and broke it down to first inning, 2-3, 4-6, and 7-9. They didn't have ERA listed, so I made the best approximation I could to the number of outs to give me the number of innings he pitched to get his runs allowed average. Here are the numbers:
By Inning AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS
Inning 1 391 61 115 16 6 23 60 12 4 66 9 6
Inning 2-3 755 87 201 34 2 25 82 19 5 121 9 3
Inning 4-6 1019 102 265 42 3 31 96 38 8 158 12 6
Inning 7-9 320 51 104 21 2 9 35 8 1 35 3 2
By Inning AVG OBP SLG "Outs" "RA"
Inning 1 0.294 0.318 0.542 282 5.84
Inning 2-3 0.266 0.289 0.416 557 4.22
Inning 4-6 0.260 0.288 0.398 760 3.62
Inning 7-9 0.325 0.337 0.488 218 6.32
So, yeah, Radke's been pretty terrible in the first inning, and pretty awesome in innings 2-6. The thing that strikes me as surprising here is that for all we hear about Radke's early struggles, you don't really hear about his late struggles so much, but he's practically as bad in innings 7-9 as he is in the first.
I won't go into my various theories about why Radke pitches like this, but I will say this--I feel that the first inning is, on average, the toughest inning to pitch in a baseball game, at least in terms of the quality of hitters that you face. I wouldn't swear to that statement until I saw the data, but in the first inning, each manager gets to set up his lineup in order to score as many runs as possible, so it sure seems like it could be the toughest inning of the lot. You just can't say that about a typical 9th inning scenario, which might just involve facing the bottom third of KC's order or something. It seems like something looking into, anyway.