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Oct 18

NLCS Game One, Harvey, and Murphy’s Heroics

Yesterday I’m doing a bit of channel surfing and for some reason I end up on the NFL Network. I never watch the NFL Network. It’s a fairly useless channel in my opinion because who the heck wants 24-hours of football analysis? Let me rephrase that. Who the heck wants 24-hours of guys talking about random guy’s leadership qualities and intangibles? Eh. I’m sure 90% of the people love the NFL Network, but consider me the in the 10% that thinks there’s enough talk about the NFL on Sunday.

This is all because I’m bitter my fantasy teams are horrible.

I stopped on the channel specifically because the show was dedicated to Madden. A show dedicated to a video game? Okay. I’ll bite. How could the NFL Channel discuss a video game for 30 minutes? Would it be like all those stupid DraftKing/FanDuel segments that talk about players you should pick up? Would it give hints on how to draft a super-duper-star lineman and go all J.J. Watt on another team? What could it be. Well, it was two guys talking about the Kansas City Chiefs playbook, then it cut away to Maurice Jones-Drew fumbling around on a controller while trying to explain how to break tackles. In a video game. I feel like I came to the end of television as a viable means of communication. Now we’re just going all Jackson Pollock and hoping something is made from it.

The point of mentioning my find was after seeing that and then seeing Michigan blow their playoff chances on one of the weirdest plays imaginable, I was ready for anything last night. Would the Mets win 50-1? Would the Cubs somehow score 9 in the ninth with two outs and the bases empty, all on passed ball strikeouts? Would TBS spend 30 minutes of its pregame discussing the Wilpon’s family vacation in Cabo. Anything was possible, right? This could be something special.

I’m pretty sure we’re seeing something special here. What’s the ceiling with Daniel Murphy at this point? I apologize for asking all of these questions today, using some silly literary technique to pique interest, but I’m at a loss, and I’d imagine most people are as well. He’s so ridiculously hot that he crushes his fourth home run of this postseason in the first inning then makes a diving stop to finish off the game. Short of throwing his trademark jumper to Travis d’Arnaud on Starlin Castro’s RBI double, is there anything he can’t do at this point? Murphy has four homers in this postseason, which is one behind Mike Piazza for the Mets all-time record for homers in career postseason games. Piazza hit four homers in 2000 against the Cardinals and Yankees and another against the Braves in ’99.

I’m a huge Piazza fan, but I’d be happy to see Murphy zip past that number. Maybe on Sunday against Jake Arrieta.

The other day I mentioned how I was convinced Matt Harvey (1-0) would show up big time for this game and quiet some of the doubters. I feel like I’ve been defending Harvey for so long, and it didn’t make any sense. Why were people so down on this guy all of a sudden? Maybe he had some missteps along the way this season, but he’s still the same guy that New York fell in love with in 2013. He’s a legitimate ace, and all this ridiculous talk about needing to trade him because people would blame him for bad outings, failed postseason dreams, Global Warming, Mr. Met’s migraines, etc. was silly. He’s 26, throws 97-mph bullets, and loves the spotlight of pitching in NYC.

You don’t trade a guy like that. You offer him $200M over seven years.

So how did Harvey do yesterday? He came out pitching. Not over-throwing. Not trying to make a point with adrenaline-fueled fastballs. He struck out Dexter Fowler on a changeup. He struck out Kyle Schwarber on a nasty curveball. He had five strikeouts through three innings, six through four, and he didn’t allow his first hit until the fifth inning when Castro doubled in Anthony Rizzo on a ball that Juan Lagares should have caught but misread. Yeah. Maybe there were a few near home runs by David Ross or Schwarber lineouts thrown in there, but Harvey pitched about as well as people could have hoped he would pitch. Will the fans and media finally get off this guy’s back already?

In all fairness, Harvey wasn’t particularly sharp in his last (first) postseason start against the Dodgers, and there have been plenty of examples where the extra time off and the innings limit have caused Harvey all kinds of frustration and embarrassment. I’m thinking of his seven earned runs allowed against Washington (you know, the game where the Mets came back from being down 7-1 and essentially caused all of D.C. to say screw it) and the lights out performance against the Yankees where he left after five innings. I don’t care, though. He’s the same guy that gave the fans hope back in 2013, and he’s the same guy that embraces being a cult hero in the largest media market in the world. He runs with not from being called the Dark Knight for Gotham’s sake.

On the night, Harvey finished with 7 2/3 innings pitched, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out nine. Harvey’s night ended on a Schwarber home run that might still be in the air. According to ESPN, the ball traveled 461 feet. I think I hit a golf ball that far once. Maybe.

d’Arnaud’s homer to center that hit the apple traveled 436 feet. I thought that was a Michael Taylor-esque shot. Schwarber decided to tack on a first down atop of that so he could take a quick tour of all the bases.

Last night didn’t seem like the kind of night where hitting the ball 430+ feet was possible. It was windy and cold. It was October on the East Coast, which should be interesting as this series continues and if additional baseball is played in the coming weeks. I’m sure it’s something the Mets players will gladly deal with.

On another note, how about Curtis Granderson? He drove in five runs in the NLDS, and he came up huge last night with a two-out RBI single and a sac fly that drove in the Mets fourth run. He’s so understated most of the time that you kinda forget that Granderson is a big reason why this team is here in the first place. While Yoenis Cespedes is showing off his upper deck power and cannon for an arm, Murphy is writing his way into Mets postseason history, and Wilmer Flores decides to tap his glove thirty times before throwing to first (get rid of the ball already!), Granderson takes great at-bats, gets big hits and drives in runs. I was skeptical of the Granderson signing before the 2014 season. $60M over four years seemed like a lot of money, then, for those mid-30s years.

I was wrong. Again.

Tonight is onto game two with Noah Syndergaard matched up against Arrieta. Well, after seeing Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke twice each in the last series, I can’t imagine Arrieta will bring a lot of night shakes.

LOL.

Let’s hope Arrieta has another shaky outing like against St. Louis.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    12 12.4
##   Curveball    15 15.5
##    Fourseam    43 44.3
##    Two-seam     5 5.15
##          IN     3 3.09
##      Slider    13 13.4
##        <NA>     6 6.19

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2 3 4 5 6  7 8
## Changeup  3 1 1 1 0 4  2 0
## Curveball 2 1 1 3 1 3  2 2
## Fourseam  2 3 7 4 7 3 13 4
## Two-seam  1 1 2 0 0 0  1 0
## IN        0 0 0 0 3 0  0 0
## Slider    1 1 2 1 6 0  2 0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam IN Slider
## Ball                   2         8       12        2  0      1
## Ball In Dirt           0         0        0        0  0      1
## Called Strike          4         2       13        2  0      2
## Foul                   1         1        4        0  0      0
## Hit By Pitch           0         0        1        0  0      0
## In play, no out        0         0        0        0  0      1
## In play, out(s)        1         1        7        0  0      4
## In play, run(s)        0         0        1        0  0      1
## Intent Ball            0         0        0        0  3      0
## Swinging Strike        4         3        5        1  0      3

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##              Changeup Curveball Fourseam IN Slider
## Double              0         0        0  0      1
## Flyout              0         0        2  0      0
## Groundout           0         1        2  0      3
## Hit By Pitch        0         0        1  0      0
## Home Run            0         0        1  0      0
## Intent Walk         0         0        0  1      0
## Lineout             1         0        2  0      0
## Pop Out             0         0        1  0      0
## Single              0         0        0  0      2
## Strikeout           2         1        4  0      1
## Walk                0         0        1  0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   52.58         47.42     27.41     55.16

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       6           6     0.333     0.667
##   Curveball       5          10     0.300     0.400
##    Fourseam      26          17     0.118     0.538
##    Two-seam       2           3      0.00     0.500
##          IN       0           3      0.00       NaN
##      Slider       6           7     0.429     0.833
##        <NA>       6           6     0.500     0.500

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Called Strike          0         0        2      0
## Swinging Strike        2         1        2      1

Standard Batting Lines Against Matt Harvey

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Anthony  Rizzo  3  1 0  0  0  0 0  1   1  0 0.000 0.667 0.000       9
##    Chris  Coghlan  1  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       2
##       David  Ross  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000      11
##    Dexter  Fowler  4  4 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      16
##      Javier  Baez  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       8
##       Jon  Lester  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##      Jorge  Soler  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      11
##      Kris  Bryant  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      11
##   Kyle  Schwarber  4  4 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.250 0.250 1.000      11
##   Starlin  Castro  3  3 1  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.667       7
##  Tommy  La  Stella  1  1 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 85.5 87.4 90.5   -9.600     6.971       -9.484         5.217
##   Curveball 77.8 82.6 84.6    1.037    -2.287        1.377        -4.236
##    Fourseam 90.5 94.4 96.5   -6.439     10.52       -6.094         8.960
##    Two-seam 93.7 94.5 95.2   -8.908     8.242       -8.674         6.381
##          IN 78.9 79.8 80.5   -8.780     8.720       -6.908         7.900
##      Slider 87.5 89.1 91.4  0.02615     4.965       0.5867         3.245
##        <NA>   NA   NA   NA       NA        NA           NA            NA

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:

2015-10-18_Matt Harvey_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-10-18_Matt Harvey_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-10-18_Matt Harvey_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-10-18_Matt Harvey_Batters

2 comments

  1. Mary (Daringer) Hanna

    Have several questions regarding your posting about the Daringer brothers (Aug. 2015) – my great uncles. Mary (Daringer) Hanna

    1. Scott Bline

      Hopefully I can help out. What would you like to know?

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