Gio Gonzalez: About Last Night (August 15)

For an outing that lasted for 2 2/3 innings, and a mere 65 pitches, the first two innings went about as smooth as any Gio Gonzalez (9-5) start. Seven pitches to Gregor Blanco ended in a fly out to Jayson Werth; Nat-killer Matt Duffy grounded out to Gonzalez; and Brandon Belt flew out to center. Okay. He cruised through the second, and then came the third.

Will the real Gio Gonzalez please stand up?

Another triple by the be-spectacled Kolby Tomlinson, two walks (one to Jake Peavy), and then things went bad. Steve McCatty decided to complain about the strike zone because apparently Gonzalez deserves a strike zone encompassing the entirety between the outer lines of both batters’ boxes. What exactly was he complaining about? Gonzalez is one of the most enigmatic starters in the league. It’s not like he’s a model of consistency. He’s not going to get borderline calls. If it was Matt Williams idea to send McCatty out there, the plan backfired. On the first pitch after McCatty’s complaints, and subsequent tossing, Blanco singled

Gonzalez’s first curveball to Duffy nearly hit him.  Somewhere McCatty is fuming that Gonzalez didn’t get the call because it probably crossed the plate somewhere or other.  On his next curve, a nice looping curve that broke into that magic area of Duffy’s otherwise known as low and at the ankles, Duffy doubled down the left field line. It took seven pitches for Belt to single to center to plate Duffy, but 10 pitches after a tactical error of management, the Nationals are down 5-2.  It would be 6-2 when Gonzalez was pulled three batters later, and the Nats would be down 9-2 before they started to score some more runs to make things interesting.

Gonzalez’s eight inning outing against the Dodgers seems like months ago rather than five days. The obvious answer here is that Gonzalez was wiled and the Giants weren’t swinging at any of those pitches. By my calculations, of Gonzalez’s 65 pitches, only 22 of them were in the strike zone, which comes out to less than a 1/3, so if McCatty had anything to complain about I’m not sure what it was. Gonzalez’s fourseamer was his only reliable pitch, throwing 13 of his 16 for strikes, and he could only entice the Giants batters to swing at the two seamer outside the zone. Without looking at the individuals match ups, my guess it was Belt. Nope. Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez. Well, it was worth a guess.

Sort of like Gonzalez’s location.

If you’re counting at home, Nationals starters have lasted just 5 2/3 combined innings over the last two games. I suppose you can do that when you have two additional starters in the bullpen to step in and pitch, but doesn’t that seem like a horrible waste of resources? Something about the makeup of this team is really off. They have 7 starters, only two of which are throwing okay at the moment. Tanner Roark has taken a huge step back this season as his role has diminished, and Doug Fister is a mess, in the bullpen, and a free agent at season’s end. Grumblings in the clubhouse? No doubt. Fister is losing money by the day; Roark has no idea when he’ll pitch; and players are all over the diamond, playing out of position.

Gonzalez going Hyde again is the least of their worries. On the day, Gonzalez pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing six earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     6 9.23
##   Curveball    15 23.1
##    Fourseam    29 44.6
##    Two-seam    15 23.1

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2  3
## Changeup   0 2  4
## Curveball  4 1 10
## Fourseam  12 4 13
## Two-seam   2 4  9

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                   3        11       11        6
## Called Strike          1         1        6        1
## Foul                   0         0        5        4
## Foul Bunt              0         0        0        1
## In play, no out        0         0        0        1
## In play, out(s)        2         1        2        2
## In play, run(s)        0         1        3        0
## Swinging Strike        0         1        2        0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Double           0         1        0        0
## Flyout           0         0        2        0
## Groundout        1         1        0        2
## Lineout          1         0        0        0
## Single           0         0        3        0
## Strikeout        0         1        0        0
## Triple           0         0        0        1
## Walk             0         1        1        0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   33.85         66.15     12.09     35.45

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.

Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       3           3      0.00     0.667
##   Curveball       3          12    0.0833     0.333
##    Fourseam      13          16     0.125     0.538
##    Two-seam       3          12     0.417     0.667

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Curveball
## Swinging Strike         1

Strikeouts by Batter

##       Batter Name Strikeout(s)
##  Brandon  Crawford            1

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 81.0 83.0 84.3    8.630     3.807        8.290         2.616
##   Curveball 76.2 78.1 80.2   -5.583    -8.709       -6.507        -10.23
##    Fourseam 90.2 92.2 93.9    7.230     9.069        6.472         7.834
##    Two-seam 90.3 91.6 92.6    9.839     6.009        9.520         4.743

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.

Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-16_Gio Gonzalez_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-16_Gio Gonzalez_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-16_Gio Gonzalez_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-16_Gio Gonzalez_Batters

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