Joe Ross: About Yesterday Afternoon (August 16)

It seems almost comical now, but it was the end of the third inning when I sent my friend a text, stating that he needed to tune into the Nationals / Giants game on MASN. Why? Because, buddy, we might just see dual no-hitters going. I actually wrote that. I believed it too. Madison Bumgarner (14-6) was dealing, and the Giants couldn’t do a thing with the rookie Joe Ross (3-5). Both starters were brilliant.

Think about it this way: both starters struck out the side in the first inning, and not a single batter made decent contact with the ball. Not fair, of course, but even a solidly hit foul ball. Ross struck out the first four that he faced, six of the first eight, and Bumgarner had five strikeouts through three innings. This was my lucky day. I switched over to this game after being completely disgusted with the Mets shoddy play in the seventh inning against the Pirates, and here I was going to watch a bit of history.

Didn’t quite end up that way.

Gregor Blanco singled past Anthony Rendon to start the fourth. Oops. No-hitter’s gone. Brandon Belt hit one hard the opposite way to plate Blanco, ending up with a double. Oh well. Shutout’s gone now too. Then Hunter Pence hit a slider that didn’t really slide and the ball ended up in City Lights book store. Well, it wasn’t one of those moon shots that leave the stadium but for the Nationals it probably felt like it. Down 1-0? Against Bumgarner on Sunday you can probably work with that. Down 3-0? Maybe Bryce Harper would hit his 31st home run and save this offense from another Wilson Ramos whiff at a ball near his hairline. Not this Sunday, though.

Bumgarner struck out 14 and allowed three hits, one of those by Ramos.  Go figure.

For Ross, the fifth inning started with a bit of bad luck as Kelby Tomlinson’s infield single likely would have been an out if Ross hadn’t knocked it down. Such is the problem with trying to do too much. It typically makes things worse. Bumgarner doubled past a hobbling Harper (you’re welcome for the alliteration) in right, and then Ross walked Blanco to end his day. Blake Treinen came in to induce the double play, saved Ross from another run added to his final total, and kept the game close enough the team could dream of sweet victory. This was a crummy weekend for the team, and for the top two teams in the East in general, and I’m sure the Nats are ready to move along to Colorado.

Unfortunately for the Nationals, the 4+ innings Ross provided on Sunday were better than Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer could provide the previous two games, and good grief does Jordan Zimmermann need to help this bullpen rest a bit.

It’s difficult to process the complete switch in the results on Sunday for Ross. The double by Belt caught a good bit of the plate, but it was on the outer third, and it wasn’t a bad pitch necessarily. The Giants stopped swinging at that fastball up in the zone, though, and Ross had a difficult time adjusting. Perhaps he should have tried to throw a few more changeups. The one he did throw to Blanco in the fifth was nice. The one he threw. An over-reliance on the slider might be a good indicator. For the most part, this is the first rough spell in Ross’ major league career (all nine starts of it), and he’s now allowed nine earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. More troubling is that he’s allowed 12 hits and five walks.

He and Steve McCatty will work things out. If not, there’s always Doug Fister. On the afternoon, Ross threw 4+ innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out six.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     1 1.43
##      Sinker    32 45.7
##      Slider    37 52.9

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2 3  4  5
## Changeup 0 0 0  0  1
## Sinker   6 5 4  7 10
## Slider   8 7 5 13  4

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Sinker Slider
## Ball                             0     11      9
## Ball In Dirt                     0      0      3
## Called Strike                    1      7      3
## Foul                             0      7      3
## In play, no out                  0      1      2
## In play, out(s)                  0      1      5
## In play, run(s)                  0      1      2
## Swinging Strike                  0      4      9
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0      0      1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Sinker Slider
## Double         1      2
## Flyout         0      1
## Groundout      1      3
## Home Run       0      1
## Pop Out        0      1
## Single         1      1
## Strikeout      2      4
## Walk           1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   42.86         57.14     29.75     37.33

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       1           0       NaN      0.00
##      Sinker      14          18     0.389     0.429
##      Slider      15          22     0.455     0.667

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Sinker Slider
## Called Strike                  0      1
## Swinging Strike                2      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)      0      1

Strikeouts by Batter

##      Batter Name Strikeout(s)
##     Brandon  Belt            1
##     Buster  Posey            1
##    Gregor  Blanco            1
##   Justin  Maxwell            1
##  Kelby  Tomlinson            1
##    Matthew Duffy            1

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 87.4 87.4 87.4   -8.370     3.330       -7.903         2.261
##      Sinker 92.3 93.8 95.9   -7.810     4.583       -7.099         3.651
##      Slider 82.3 84.6 87.2   -1.072    0.8422     -0.07154       -0.5496

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 corner 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 up and down.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois and 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:

2015-08-17_Joseph Ross_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-17_Joseph Ross_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-17_Joseph Ross_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-17_Joseph Ross_Batters

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