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Sep 04

Jordan Zimmermann: About Last Night (September 03)

I haven’t followed the Braves this season. Other than reading about another trade, my Braves viewing came at the beginning of the year when they played either the Mets or the Nationals, so the last would be the beginning of July. After seeing the pinball type numbers the Yankees dropped on them and hearing they’d lost eight in a row and 15 of 16 I sort of figured it was a team filled with minor leaguers. No. They have real major league players and everything. Freddie Freeman is even healthy.

Ross Detwiler now pitches for the Braves? I’ve been out of it.

If the Braves had any chance to score runs against Jordan Zimmermann (12-8) it was in the first two innings when he couldn’t locate his pitches on the outside and his fastball that he likes to throw up started taking off like an A330 taking off out of Reagan National Airport. The Braves, however, could do nothing. Nick Markakis made a bad read on a soft liner A.J. Pierzynski hit to Anthony Rendon at second and was doubled off, and Nick Swisher (another WV guy!) scored on a walk, a balk, a wild pitch, and a groundout.

If you like close games, entertaining games, or suspenseful games this one was not for you. I wondered if the Nationals were going to score 20. I also wondered if Matt Williams would do anything that would offend the D.C. media enough to call for his job by the end of the game. Would he mismanage his expanded roster so egregiously that Barry Svrluga lost his mind over Twitter? With the circus that is the Redskins, naughty tweets, and fake/non-fake accounts happening, it was a tense time.

Williams handled this one fine. After Zimmermann threw 116 and 106 pitches in his last two starts, Zimmermann went for just 87 pitches in six innings on Thursday, saving that arm for his next start against the Mets. There wasn’t a point to keep him in. The score was 12-1 after Zimmermann finished off the Braves in the sixth, and any additional pitches thrown to the Braves would have been like showing off.

Zimmermann went a little old school in this game. He went back to throwing more curves than he has in any start since the middle of July, and in terms of percentages it was the most he’s used the pitch since early June. Over the last quarter of the season, Zimmermann primarily used his fastball, slider, and changeup in that order of preference. Last night that changed to fastball, curveball, and slider. He threw one changeup. In the sixth inning. I suppose did so to prove that he still could. “I can do anything! Take a look. It’s in Steve McCatty’s book! Mix in the changeup. Mix in the changeup!”

I’ve had the Reading Rainbow song in my head for weeks now.

There were a lot of groundballs. Ian Desmond made a sweet barehanded play on a Cameron Maybin comebacker in the first, and Rendon made a nice play on an Andrelton Simmons grounder that seemingly drew a look of appreciation from Simmons. Rendon instantly makes whatever position he’s playing a position of strength. Is it okay to effuse Rendon love in a J-Zimm post?

Once Zimmermann found the zone, the Braves couldn’t do anything with his offerings. The hardest hit ball was a Freeman lineout to Clint Robinson in left field. I was a little disappointed Danny Espinosa didn’t start there, but Espinosa didn’t disappoint. He entered the game and promptly hit his 13th home run of the season. I’d like to say I watched it, but I’d long checked out of this game and was watching the Michigan and Utah game. Sorry, Mr. Espinosa. It’s not you. It’s me.

Zimmermann’s curve was pretty filthy by the fourth inning, and if he wanted to keep throwing that to every batter on every pitch I doubt the Braves would have done much with it. They didn’t record their first hit until the fourth inning. I was surprised by that. I didn’t think they understood how to use their bats. On the night, Zimmermann breezed through six innings and allowed one earned run on two hits and four walks while striking out five.

Detwiler made an appearance and allowed two earned runs. Some things never change.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     1 1.15
##   Curveball    17 19.5
##    Fourseam    55 63.2
##    Two-seam     2 2.30
##      Slider    12 13.8

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1  2  3 4 5 6
## Changeup   0  0  0 0 0 1
## Curveball  3  4  2 4 0 4
## Fourseam  12 10 12 6 6 9
## Two-seam   0  0  0 0 0 2
## Slider     2  2  1 1 2 4

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                   1         4       22        2      5
## Called Strike          0         5       10        0      2
## Foul                   0         2       12        0      2
## Foul Bunt              0         1        0        0      0
## Foul Tip               0         0        2        0      0
## In play, no out        0         1        1        0      0
## In play, out(s)        0         3        7        0      0
## In play, run(s)        0         0        0        0      1
## Swinging Strike        0         1        1        0      2

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Double Play              1        0        0      0
## Grounded Into DP         0        1        0      0
## Groundout                2        4        0      1
## Lineout                  0        1        0      0
## Pop Out                  0        1        0      0
## Single                   1        1        0      0
## Strikeout                1        2        0      2
## Walk                     0        3        1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   50.57         49.43     24.28     39.55

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
##   Curveball       7          10     0.400     0.429
##    Fourseam      31          24     0.250     0.484
##    Two-seam       0           2      0.00       NaN
##      Slider       5           7     0.286     0.400

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Called Strike           0        1      0
## Foul Tip                0        1      0
## Swinging Strike         1        0      2

Standard Batting Lines Against Jordan Zimmermann

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    A.J.  Pierzynski  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       7
##  Andrelton  Simmons  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##     Cameron  Maybin  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      17
##      Daniel  Castro  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##  Frederick Freeman  3  1 0  0  0  0 0  2   0  0 0.000 0.667 0.000      12
##     Hector  Olivera  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       5
##      Jace  Peterson  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##      Nick  Markakis  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      16
##       Nick  Swisher  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000       8
##  Sugar  Ray  Marimon  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       5
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 87.5 87.5 87.5   -8.020     2.810       -7.893         1.841
##   Curveball 79.5 81.7 83.5    2.295    -4.403        2.722        -5.803
##    Fourseam 91.3 93.1 95.0    -5.00     8.122       -4.563         7.209
##    Two-seam 92.2 92.9 93.6   -7.110     4.970       -7.162         4.299
##      Slider 87.2 88.5 89.8    1.095     3.321        1.687         2.123

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:

2015-09-04_Jordan Zimmermann_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-04_Jordan Zimmermann_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-04_Jordan Zimmermann_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-04_Jordan Zimmermann_Batters

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