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Oct 21

NLCS Game 3, Where Murphy Hits a HR or Something

By now you’ve probably heard that Daniel Murphy is doing something extraordinary.  With his home run in the third off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks, Murphy has now hit a homer in five straight games.  That’s sort of impressive.  It ties Carlos Beltran for the major league record for consecutive postseason games with a home run, and it now makes it six in this postseason, which gives Murphy the Mets record for most postseason homers in team history.  Technically, too, it gives him the most homers in a single Mets postseason even if that goes without saying.  I’m sure you expected all of this as much as I did.
Murphy’s home run didn’t win the game for the Mets.  The team scored five runs, and at the time, Murphy’s solo shot put the team up 2-1.  Jacob deGrom (1-0) would allow a solo shot to Jorge Soler in the fourth to tie the game, a ball hit in a similar spot to Murphy’s, as if the baseball gods were evening things out for all of the wackiness to come.  There are lots of reasons why the Mets won on Tuesday night and are now up 3-0 in the NLCS, and Murphy’s home run wasn’t the only one.  No.  The Mets might want to thank Murphy’s legs that have suddenly morphed into those of Bart Allen’s for a greater share of this team’s win.  They won’t begrudge him his home runs, though.  Those he can hit as he sees fit.
I found it interesting in the seventh when Cal Ripken, Jr. discussed Murphy’s hustling down the line and beating Kris Bryant‘s throw by discussing how a runner lunging for the bag actually slows the runner down.  The lunge, and headfirst slide as well, takes fractions of a second longer than running through the bag with a normal stride.  I suppose this is true.  I’ve heard it so many times over the years, particularly in regards to the slide, that it might as well be a fact.  Since Ripken will most likely be the Nationals next manager (speculation) and he’s a Hall of Famer, I naturally assume he’s privy to HOF type inside information.  It’s like the Book of Secrets, only it discusses when to pitch out and when to suicide squeeze.  Also, let’s face it; there wasn’t a major leaguer around during Ripken’s tenure that understood angles and positioning as well as he did, so if he says something slows you down then I’m not arguing the point.
I thought it was an interesting point because this is Game 3 of the NLCS and what the heck makes sense at all in this series?  Murphy can’t be stopped.  Lucas Duda can’t be started.  deGrom can’t get going until around the second inning or so.  Ripken’s comment was factual and great commentary, and it came right after discussing the spin on the ball and how Bryant likely couldn’t get a good grip on the ball.  It was great commentary only I was staring at that replay of Murphy’s lunge, willing that foot to go all Reed Richards and stretch out enough to tap that bag before Bryant’s throw reached Anthony Rizzo‘s glove.  If ever there was a comment that was perfectly reasonable yet ran counter to half the viewer’s wishes here it was.
Was that a critical play?  If Murphy doesn’t hustle out of the box or if Bryant makes the throw, there are two outs with David Wright on third.  Maybe Joe Maddon decides to pitch around Yoenis Cespedes who had already doubled and singled in the game.  Pitch to Duda?  That makes more sense than daring Cespedes to deliver a key two-out hit, something he did routinely for his new team.  Only Murphy hustled, stretched, defied the statistics, and made it to first in time.  Still there was a base open.  The idea of a double play getting the Cubs out of it was too much to pass up, so Cespedes was afforded the opportunity to drive in Wright, and Murphy hustled onto third on the throw.  It was his hustle that beat Rizzo’s throw home on Duda’s groundout to first, and while Murphy’s run made it 5-2 you can make a real argument that he helped with both runs in the inning.  In the box score, the real plus/minus of Murphy’s contributions will remain something of a blank ledger (on the field for two Cubs runs while credited with an RBI and run scored), but he once again showed a complete game that helped the cause.  He might not be a 30/30 guy, but this has all the makings of a 30 for 30 someday.
***
Speaking of Lucas Duda, his struggles have been well documented this postseason.  So far, counting the LDS and the LCS, Duda is hitting a rather anemic .125/.192/.125 without an extra base hit and striking out in 13 of his 24 official at-bats.  His greatest contribution might have been the walk that led to the Murphy steal in Game 5 of the LDS.  Last night, there was some honest to goodness effort on Duda’s part to break out of this funk by going to the opposite field (a ball Kyle Schwarber nearly overran in the first) and his sacrifice bunt in the sixth.  Does anyone else want Duda to stop worrying about this nonsense?  Take your hacks, Duda.  Stop worrying about that gaping expanse of open field from left-center to the line.  One of these games we’re going to see Duda rip a double to right that finds an open spot in the shift.  It won’t be a popup.  It won’t be a strikeout.  It won’t be a weak grounder.  When that time comes, be it today or tomorrow or whenever, we’ll all know that the next at-bat will bring a ball that lands 10 rows deep in right-center.
All those people arguing that Terry Collins should sit Duda and play Kelly Johnson or Michael Cuddyer are crazy.  Duda is slumping.  Whatever.  There will be a game that he single-handedly wins for this team, and then we’ll forget all about these last two weeks.
***
I won’t get too crazy discussing Jacob deGrom’s start.  That sounds a little crazy simply because I list all of his pitching information below, but his start has been well documented elsewhere, and from a first inning where he threw 29 pitches he somehow lasted seven innings.  Like with Murphy, I’m at the point that nothing surprises me about deGrom anymore.  For the game he allowed two earned runs, both on home runs, and the first one to Schwarber in the first was basically hit with a strong kid flicking his wrists.  Did Schwarber hit that ball or serve it into left?  Guy is strong.
On the game, deGrom lasted seven innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits (three of them in the first inning) and a walk while striking out seven.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    16 16.0
##   Curveball    26 26.0
##    Fourseam    23 23.0
##    Two-seam    28 28.0
##      Slider     7 7.00

Pitch Type by Inning

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

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             8         9       10        3      3
## Ball In Dirt                     0         0        0        1      0
## Called Strike                    2         8        4        4      0
## Foul                             1         2        3        3      2
## Foul Tip                         0         0        0        1      0
## In play, no out                  0         0        0        2      0
## In play, out(s)                  0         4        2        8      0
## In play, run(s)                  0         0        0        2      0
## Swinging Strike                  4         3        4        4      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        1         0        0        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Flyout           0         2        1        3
## Groundout        0         2        0        4
## Home Run         0         0        0        2
## Lineout          0         0        1        0
## Pop Out          0         0        0        1
## Single           0         0        0        2
## Strikeout        3         1        2        1
## Walk             0         0        0        1

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   34.00         66.00     39.39     55.88

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       4          12     0.333     0.500
##   Curveball       7          19     0.368     0.286
##    Fourseam       8          15     0.333     0.500
##    Two-seam      13          15     0.533     0.692
##      Slider       2           5     0.400      1.00

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Called Strike                    0         0        1        0
## Foul Tip                         0         0        0        1
## Swinging Strike                  2         1        1        0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        1         0        0        0

Standard Batting Lines Against Jacob DeGrom

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Anthony  Rizzo  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      10
##    Chris  Coghlan  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##    Dexter  Fowler  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      15
##      Javier  Baez  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##      Jorge  Soler  3  3 1  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      14
##      Kris  Bryant  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##   Kyle  Hendricks  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##   Kyle  Schwarber  3  2 1  0  0  1 0  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 2.000      16
##   Miguel  Montero  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      13
##   Starlin  Castro  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       7
##  Tommy  La  Stella  1  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       1

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 84.5 85.9 87.7   -8.822     2.601       -8.788         1.306
##   Curveball 76.8 80.6 83.4    3.680    -3.078        3.908        -4.468
##    Fourseam 93.4 94.9 96.2   -4.965     10.04       -4.640         9.004
##    Two-seam 86.1 92.9 96.4   -9.137     6.158       -9.074         4.971
##      Slider 86.8 88.6 89.7   0.2257     3.673       0.6872         2.372

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:

2015-10-21_Jacob DeGrom_BoxPlotBelow are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-10-21_Jacob DeGrom_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-10-21_Jacob DeGrom_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-10-21_Jacob DeGrom_Batters

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