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Sep 21

Matt Harvey: About Last Night (September 20)

If there was a lesson to be learned from Noah Syndergaard’s start on Saturday, it was don’t come into a game against the Yankees and throw nothing but fastballs and expect positive results. It was a lesson that Matt Harvey took to heart because he came into Sunday’s game and threw Jacoby Ellsbury a slider on his second pitch—a rather nasty one buried low and inside at that—and mixed in a changeup and curveball to Brett Gardner for Harvey’s first strikeout of the night. The 12 days off certainly didn’t seem to bother him. He breezed through the first couple of innings with three strikeouts.

If I were back in grad school for the M.A. in English, I could write a paper analyzing this game as a Deconstructionist. I would find fun quotes from Paul de Man and Jacques Derrida to support an argument of difference, and it would be there. Two games were played last night. There was Matt Harvey for five brilliant innings, and there was the shadow of Matt Harvey in the sixth, seventh, and eighth when the Yankees piled up 11 runs on three Mets errors (two of which happened immediately to start out the sixth). By Harvey’s shadow I mean the presence of his absence where after 77 pitches he was lifted to satisfy the agreed upon innings limit, and as with things of substance but with little support usually happen, as Yeats said:

. . .

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold [my italics];

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

I quote a large portion of the stanza not for intellectual flair or to exaggerate the importance of last night’s game. You move on. Win the next three series, and everyone forgets about games like this. Deep breaths. No, I quote a large portion of the stanza because today and in the days to come there will be talk about this innings limit. There will be anger and resentment and people questioning why a doctor, an agent, and a pitcher should possibly define the course of a team’s year due to their own educated guesses. As though our own lives aren’t a series of educated guesses based on what we know in the here and now. I don’t know that that pizza won’t make me sick. Given my familiarity with eating pizza I can make a reasonable guess that I’ll be fine. Maybe this time the chef decided to throw in a little arsenic because he’s disgruntled with the Pizza Hut pension plan.

Well, I’ll take my chances anyway.

What worries me most about this game is the injury to Juan Uribe. After diving for a Gardner grounder in the third, Uribe apparently hurt his shoulder and was lifted for Daniel Murphy in the fifth inning. There’s no word yet as to the extent of Uribe’s injury, but his loss would be a tough one for the team. He’s supplied a lot of big hits and allows Terry Collins to mix and match with his infield depending on starter.

Get well, Uribe.

As for Harvey, since that’s why we’re here, he threw five innings and allowed one infield single to Gardner, walked one, and struck out seven. He mixed his pitches well, keeping the Yankees constantly guessing because they never could figure out what he was going to throw next. For instance, to end his night, he struck out Chase Headley by throwing him the following: a curve, two fastballs (one down the middle, one up and in), a slider away, a fastball up and in, and a changeup up and away. That baseball must have looked like a pinball bouncing all over the plate to Headley by the end of his at-bat.

So, yeah, the outcome wasn’t ideal. Uribe’s injury is a real bummer with a chance to be a real “oh, no” type moment. Other than that, move onto the Atlanta series, win it, and do the same with the Cincinnati and Philadelphia ones.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    19 24.7
##   Curveball     7 9.09
##    Fourseam    32 41.6
##    Two-seam    14 18.2
##      Slider     5 6.49

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2  3 4 5
## Changeup  3 5  3 3 5
## Curveball 1 1  3 1 1
## Fourseam  4 2 15 6 5
## Two-seam  2 9  2 0 1
## Slider    1 2  0 1 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                     Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                       5         3       10        6      1
## Ball In Dirt               1         0        0        0      0
## Called Strike              3         0        7        3      1
## Foul                       4         1        7        1      1
## Foul (Runner Going)        0         0        1        0      0
## In play, no out            0         1        0        1      0
## In play, out(s)            4         0        2        2      0
## Swinging Strike            2         2        5        1      2

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##             Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Field Error        0         0        0        1      0
## Flyout             1         0        1        0      0
## Groundout          2         0        0        1      0
## Lineout            1         0        1        1      0
## Single             0         1        0        0      0
## Strikeout          1         1        3        1      1
## Walk               0         0        0        1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   51.95         48.05     22.89     48.13

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      10           9     0.222     0.800
##   Curveball       5           2      0.00     0.800
##    Fourseam      17          15     0.333     0.529
##    Two-seam       6           8     0.250     0.500
##      Slider       2           3     0.667     0.500

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Called Strike          1         0        0        0      0
## Swinging Strike        0         1        3        1      1

Standard Batting Lines Against Matt Harvey

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Brett  Gardner  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       7
##     Brian  McCann  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##    C.C.  Sabathia  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##   Carlos  Beltran  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      13
##    Chase  Headley  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000      10
##   Didi  Gregorius  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##    Dustin  Ackley  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##     Gregory  Bird  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##  Jacoby  Ellsbury  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       5

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 86.3 88.1 89.4   -9.844     5.596       -9.594         3.942
##   Curveball 79.6 83.1 84.9    1.019    -3.304        1.373        -4.727
##    Fourseam 92.8  95. 97.2   -6.450     9.752       -6.260         8.390
##    Two-seam 94.1 95.9 97.2   -8.501     7.685       -8.492         6.257
##      Slider 86.4 88.2 90.8   0.5900    0.1120        1.089        -1.550

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:

2015-09-21_Matt Harvey_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-21_Matt Harvey_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-21_Matt Harvey_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-21_Matt Harvey_Batters

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