Sep 09

Jordan Zimmermann: About Last Night (September 08)

The storyline from last night’s Nationals/Mets game belongs to the bullpen failings of the Nationals, Matt Williams qualifications for continued employment, Matt Harvey‘s struggles after his innings limit announcement, and the Mets comeback in some such order that depends on which broadcast you happened to watch last night and what color blue to which you’re partial. Even all these hours later I’m still in shock that the evening finished in the manner that it did, but discuss the game we must.
We don’t really have to. No one is making us. We should just for fun, though.
Other than a fastball up and in to David Wright and a few hard hit fly ball outs by Daniel Murphy, was there anything in Zimmermann’s performance last night that wasn’t dominant? Sure, there’s the whole innings thing where he lasted just 5 2/3, but he pitched his way through those innings in a close ball game, making pitch after pitch to keep the Mets off the bases. Remember, it wasn’t 7-1 for the entirety of the game. There wasn’t a single moment where Zimmermann enjoyed that sizable gap in runs scored until that wonderful (from his perspective) bottom half of the sixth. Zimmermann kept the Mets batters off balance with a fastball that might as well been in any zone he wanted with a nice mix of curveball and slider. His pitch count might have been high, but he worked each of those at-bats like they meant something.
Where we saw the Nationals hitters attack Harvey early in the count and being ultra aggressive, the Mets hitters rarely swung at the first pitch, and it’s interesting to note that for most of the at-bats last night, it took Zimmermann around five to six pitches to finish off each batter. There were only four at-bats that finished at two or fewer pitches, making that 100 pitch total in just under six a bit more understandable. Could Williams have left Zimmermann in to face Murphy with two outs in the sixth? Maybe. He also could have been bringing in a reliever to pitch in a 3-3 tie the way Murphy was hitting the ball last night.
Impressively, with one out in the sixth and Curtis Granderson standing on third after his triple over the head of Michael Taylor to deep center, Zimmermann pitched a brilliant sequence to Yoenis Cespedes. Zimmermann attacked Cespedes with four straight fastballs up and in, daring the Mets most potent offensive weapon to swing at pitches increasingly inching towards his brow line. Then, after Cespedes fouled off a slider low and away, J-Zimm struck him out with a fastball letter-high and on the outside corner. Cespedes is as red hot as they come, but touching 94-mph heat there is tough. This at-bat was in direct contrast to Cespedes’ at-bat in the third when Zimmermann went after Cespedes with three straight sliders, two low and inside and one middle inside corner, before throwing two straight fastballs outside with the first an actual strike and the second at the letters and well outside the strike zone.
On the night, Zimmermann finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched and allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Over the last three outings by Zimmermann, he’s thrown 18 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs total-one in each start-on 12 hits and six walks while striking out 15. Seeing as how there are no guarantees on what kind of night Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, or Joe Ross will have anymore, Zimmermann’s consistency is a welcome change.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##   Curveball    18 18.0
##    Fourseam    60 60.0
##      Slider    22 22.0

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1  2  3 4  5  6
## Curveball  1  0  2 8  3  4
## Fourseam  13 10 11 5 11 10
## Slider     3  7  6 1  3  2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Ball                              6       26      4
## Called Strike                     5        7      3
## Foul                              4       14      9
## Foul Tip                          0        1      0
## In play, no out                   0        2      0
## In play, out(s)                   1        6      3
## In play, run(s)                   0        1      0
## Swinging Strike                   1        3      3
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)         1        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Flyout                   0        1      0
## Grounded Into DP         1        0      0
## Groundout                0        2      2
## Home Run                 0        1      0
## Lineout                  0        2      0
## Pop Out                  0        1      1
## Single                   0        1      0
## Strikeout                3        3      0
## Triple                   0        1      0
## Walk                     0        1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   44.00         56.00     33.93     63.64

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 %
##   Curveball       7          11     0.455     0.286
##    Fourseam      26          34     0.206     0.692
##      Slider      11          11     0.636     0.727

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Curveball Fourseam
## Called Strike                     1        0
## Foul Tip                          0        1
## Swinging Strike                   1        2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)         1        0

Standard Batting Lines Against Jordan Zimmermann

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##  Curtis  Granderson  3  2 1  0  1  0 1  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.500      18
##      Daniel  Murphy  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##       David  Wright  2  2 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 2.000      12
##         Lucas  Duda  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##        Matt  Harvey  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##    Travis  d'Arnaud  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       7
##      Wilmer  Flores  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##    Yoenis  Cespedes  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      19
##               <NA>  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
## 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
##   Curveball 80.0 82.2 83.9    2.134    -4.679        2.610        -6.062
##    Fourseam 91.8 93.8 95.3   -4.482     8.175       -4.075         7.226
##      Slider 87.3 88.7 89.7    1.664     3.276        2.334         2.046

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:

2015-09-09_Jordan Zimmermann_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-09_Jordan Zimmermann_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-09_Jordan Zimmermann_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-09_Jordan Zimmermann_Batters

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