How's that for dramatizing a mundane backup catcher roster change?
Dusty Ryan was called up at the start of the weekend to replace Dane Sardinha as the Tigers backup catcher. Normally, that sentence is all that is warranted for a move like that. However, there is a curious statistical anomaly associated with this move that I noticed back when the Tigers were in Baltimore.
Dane Sardinha played in the Saturday game of the Tigers/O's series, during the game, on Camden Yards' big new scoreboard, I noticed something odd.
Batting Avg: .095
On Base %: .091
Now, I consider myself knowledgeable in the ways of baseball, but this one had me stumped. How could your On Base Percentage be lower than your batting average? I asked around the stands and everyone was stumped. One person offered up that perhaps Sardinha tried to stretch a double and got thrown out, which would count as a hit but he wasn't on base. Not a bad guess, but it just didn't sit right.
I thought perhaps it was a statistical error, so I looked up his stats. Hmm... Apparently he has had this dubious statistical distinction for the whole year, and now, having been sent down to the minors, leaves the team with a .097 Batting Average and a .091 OBP. This adds to the already abysmal track record of Tigers backup catchers, given that Matt Treanor ended his season this year batting .000 (but an OBP of .071!)
But that still doesn't answer the question of how that is possible. A look at the game log reveals that this has been the case since his second game of the season. That 1-4 day looks pretty straightforward to me. Back to his first game, then. There it is in big bold letters: SF: Dane Sardinha.
For those of you in the know, a Sacrifice Fly does not hurt your batting average, as they do not consider it an At Bat due to its positive outcome and your willingness to give yourself up. However, Sacrifice Flies are considered in calculating your on base percentage, as it is a plate appearance in which you do not end up on base. In order to have a higher Batting Average than On Base Percentage you need to have more Sacrifice Flies than you do Walks.
Sardinha's totals: 1 SF, 0 BB.
So now you know, and knowing is half the battle.