I've read up alot on clutch hitting and I am of the opinion that it does not exist over time. However, I haven't seen any studies on pitching, or pitchers who are percieved to step up their performance in big games. I looked at some numbers at BaseballReference.com. I looked at a few pitchers who are percieved to step up their game in the postseason...Curt Schilling, John Smoltz and Orlando Hernandez.
-In 18 Major League seasons, Curt Schilling has a career 3.40 ERA, with a 1.126 WHIP, and 8.77 K/9.
-In 9 career postseason series, Curt Schilling has a career 2.06 ERA, with a .974 WHIP, and 8.59 K/9.
-In 17 Major League seasons, John Smoltz has a career 3.26 ERA, with a 1.167 WHIP, and 7.89 K/9.
-In 24 career postseason series, John Smoltz has a career 2.66 ERA, with a 1.140 WHIP, and 8.48 K/9.
-In 7 Major League seasons, Orlando Hernandez has a 4.11 ERA, with a 1.265 WHIP, and 7.12 K/9.
-In 15 career postseason series, Orlando Hernandez has a career 2.55 ERA, a 1.245 WHIP, and 9.08 K/9.
It would appear that these pitchers have raised their game in the postseason. I tried to pick pitchers who had a pretty good amount of postseason experience under their belts, and are considered good (not great) pitchers for their careers.
Are there any studies that could either support or refute the numbers that I posted? Does anyone have a suggestion for a good pitcher that is deemed a 'choker' or a guy who can't win a big game? I tried but could not think of many.