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Sep 03

Matt Harvey: About Last Night (September 02)

Can I recycle Sunday’s post about Noah Syndergaard? It felt like the same start except this time the Mets scored enough runs that I didn’t storm around the house like a pouting child, and I saw Ruben Tejada hit an inside-the-park homerun. Tejada was an RBI machine in this game. See? I told you he was solid.

I knew Matt Harvey (12-7) was going to be good on Wednesday. You could tell from the first inning that things were working. He struck out Cesar Hernandez with a curveball that had enough break to bend over Hernandez’s bat if he’d simply held it out there. I’m not sure I’ve see Harvey throw one that sharp this year, and he threw Darnell Sweeney another in the third that was just as nasty. That was the kind of pitch the New York Sports Band wrote songs about and allowed a man to retire comfortably one day.

Let’s go back to Sweeney’s first at-bat against Harvey to discuss the one in the fourth. Indulge me. In the first, Harvey starts Sweeney off with two fastballs away. The first he throws out and up for a called strike, and then we the second he expands the zone a bit, goes up and out a little more each. Sweeney fouls it off. Then Harvey busts Sweeney inside with a 96-mph fastball, following that up with a changeup low and outside that Sweeney chased. Keith Hernandez called it classic pitching.

Call it what you want. That at-bat was unfair.

In the fourth, Harvey follows a similar strategy except this time he starts off Sweeney with three straight pitches low and outside: a fastball for a ball, a changeup for a called strike, and a curveball that Sweeney watched somehow drop in for strike two. If I had any ability to make an animated GIF I would change the blog’s main image to constantly show this curveball. I feel like a teenager with his/her first crush.

Harvey, working that low and outside zone like it owes him money, decides to throw a fastball middle up for ball two, and then he backs Sweeney off the plate with a fastball low and inside. Sweeney hopped away. This is important. The count is 3-2. Sweeney lost ankle hair with the heat on that inside fourseamer. Harvey drops a curveball low and outside, coming home again to where he started the at-bat. Sweeney swung, waved at the ball in its majestic arc, and then looked to the heavens as if to thank them for witnessing something so beautiful. Also, he was probably thinking WTF.

That, loyal reader, is called pitching.

Through three innings Harvey had struck out five (striking out the side in the first with a variety of Mortal Kombat type finishing moves: a changeup, a curveball, and a 98-mph fastball) and allowed two hits. I was going to tell my daughter about this start in the wee hours of the morning over a bowl of Cheerios. Then the fifth inning started, Harvey elevated his pitches and caught too much plate, and the Phillies put three on the board. Harvey allowed seven additional hits over the next 2 1/3 and that was that.

According to later reports, Harvey was suffering through weakness and dehydration. I don’t know how that affects pitchers. I call that “life” for most people, but somehow they maintain. Maybe it’s different when throwing baseballs.

Daniel Murphy exited this game after the third with a “mild discomfort” in his left quadriceps. Oh boy. According to Murphy, it’s a “shade less than 100 percent,” and it’s unclear if this is going to mean time on the disabled list. He’s already spent time on the disabled list with an injury to the same quad in early June (getting this from the ESPN article so no one thinks I’m plagiarizing), so needless to say there’s concern here. Lucas Duda is still out, and while the Mets have options at first, the lineup is becoming increasingly right-handed heavy. Also, while Murphy isn’t a defensive wiz over at first, a misplayed dive by Michael Cuddyer in the fifth led to the Phillies third run, so there’s a slight worry.

Washington wants to talk about all of their injuries, but the Mets have seen their share too. Come back, Duda!

On the night, Harvey threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out nine. The four runs allowed were as many as he’d allowed in his last six starts combined. It was also the first time he’d allowed more than two earned runs in start since a start against the Dodgers on July 4th. He allowed three in that start. I guess what I’m saying is that Harvey has been pretty good lately.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    15 14.9
##   Curveball    15 14.9
##    Fourseam    54 53.5
##    Two-seam     8 7.92
##      Slider     9 8.91

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1  2 3 4  5 6 7
## Changeup  3  1 1 2  3 2 3
## Curveball 3  0 2 2  0 5 3
## Fourseam  5 10 8 6 12 5 8
## Two-seam  1  2 0 1  2 0 2
## Slider    0  0 0 0  4 2 3

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             3         3       20        4      2
## Ball In Dirt                     0         0        0        0      1
## Called Strike                    4         2        8        1      0
## Foul                             2         3        7        2      2
## Foul (Runner Going)              0         0        1        0      0
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1        0      0
## In play, no out                  2         0        2        1      1
## In play, out(s)                  2         0        7        0      1
## In play, run(s)                  0         1        2        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  2         3        6        0      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         3        0        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Double           0         0        1        0      0
## Flyout           0         0        3        0      0
## Forceout         0         0        1        0      0
## Groundout        1         0        2        0      0
## Home Run         0         1        0        0      0
## Lineout          0         0        1        0      0
## Pop Out          1         0        0        0      1
## Single           2         0        3        1      1
## Strikeout        2         3        3        0      1
## Walk             0         0        1        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   55.45         44.55     26.93     64.93

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      11           4     0.250     0.636
##   Curveball       8           7     0.571     0.625
##    Fourseam      30          24     0.167     0.600
##    Two-seam       3           5     0.200     0.667
##      Slider       4           5     0.400      1.00

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Called Strike                    0         0        1      0
## Swinging Strike                  2         1        2      1
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         2        0      0

Standard Batting Lines Against Matt Harvey

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##       Aaron  Nola  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##    Andres  Blanco  3  3 2  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667      13
##     Cameron  Rupp  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       7
##  Cesar  Hernandez  4  3 1  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.333 0.500 0.333      17
##       Cody  Asche  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       4
##        Darin  Ruf  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##  Darnell  Sweeney  4  4 1  0  0  1 2  0   0  0 0.250 0.250 1.000      20
##    David Herrera  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      11
##    Domonic  Brown  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       5
##       Erik  Kratz  1  1 1  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 1.000 1.000 2.000       4
##    Freddy  Galvis  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       7
##      Ryan  Howard  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  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 86.4 88.1 90.3   -7.370     3.961       -7.228         2.636
##   Curveball 82.4 83.8 85.5    1.001    -3.916        1.237        -5.544
##    Fourseam 92.5 95.6 97.9   -4.983     8.232       -4.645         6.880
##    Two-seam 93.2 94.5 95.6   -7.706     6.885       -7.601         5.433
##      Slider 89.4 90.5 91.4   0.9733     2.692        1.539         1.302

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:

2015-09-03_Matt Harvey_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-03_Matt Harvey_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-03_Matt Harvey_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-03_Matt Harvey_Batters

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