Aug 20

Noah Syndergaard: About Last Night (August 19)

I’ll start today’s post off with a quote from my buddy Aaron: “The team in blue did good. The team in orange did better. Pacman Jones made it rain.” That about sums up the Mets 5-4 loss to the Orioles last night.

It’s been a number of years since I’ve been to Camden Yards. Two or three at least. It’s shameful that I don’t travel there more often than I do since Baltimore is so close, but you know, there are the typical excuses of work, family, and household type chores that get in the way. You can always make excuses to not go to Baltimore. It was a fun night. I didn’t offend any cabbies on this trip, so we weren’t abandoned on the side of the road in a seedy section of the city (a story for another time), there were no dance floors to be ruled, and there was a nice Baltimore breeze that cooled everything down.

It was a perfect night for baseball.

It’s tough to be objective on Noah Syndergaard’s start, however. From my vantage point he threw one pitch that went straight and very fast, one pitch that definitely looked slower, and one that looked slower than those two and made batters swing and miss. I saw a lot of ugly Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop swings and misses on curveballs. Of course, I also saw one very long home run by Schoop on a curve. The crowd loved it. My buddy Jimmy, who grew up in Baltimore and actually watched both of the 1983 World Series games played in Memorial Stadium in person, loved it. I didn’t love it so much other than for the aesthetic quality of watching a long home run.

It was pretty clear from the early going that Syndergaard didn’t have his great, shutdown stuff. He threw 23 pitches to work his way out of a bases loaded jam in the first, and there were only two innings where he didn’t pitch under duress. That he allowed three runs wasn’t entirely all that surprising. That he didn’t allow more than that is probably because the bottom of the Orioles lineup didn’t seem all that particularly threatening. Well, that was before Steve Clevenger became an RBI threat and Henry Urrutia became a legend. Can’t say I didn’t see that one coming, though.

When Carlos Torres (4-5) entered the game I figured the game was over.

Back to Syndergaard, the first inning once again was a struggle for him similar to his starts against Tampa and Colorado. I thought there was a chance he might be able to make it into the seventh when he had a couple of quick innings in the second and third, but then came the fourth and another 28 pitches. There was also the Chris Davis steal of third, which I’m not sure how that actually happens in a major league game. I remember that happened to my junior league team when I was 13. Syndergaard could have stepped off the mound and rolled it over to Juan Uribe at third to get Davis who broke for third early. He didn’t score thanks to a strikeout of J.J. Hardy, but still.

Someone yell or something.

Wednesday night wasn’t Syndergaard’s worst outing. He struggled, and he pitched out of a lot trouble, but it was impressive to see him keep his poise with runners constantly on base with fewer than two outs. He threw his curveball more last night than normal, probably relying on it one time too many to Schoop. From what I can tell, it worked just fine, though, and there were 11 swinging strikes on his curve alone.

Go with what’s working. Oh, and maybe it didn’t happen when Syndergaard was pitching but Juan Lagares did this:

On the night, Syndergaard tossed 5+ innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    14 14.6
##   Curveball    32 33.3
##    Fourseam    34 35.4
##      Sinker    16 16.7

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2 3  4 5 6
## Changeup   1 1 3  3 5 1
## Curveball  7 2 4 10 4 5
## Fourseam  12 4 4 10 3 1
## Sinker     3 3 2  5 3 0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker
## Ball                             5         5        9      8
## Ball In Dirt                     2         5        0      0
## Called Strike                    0         5        6      0
## Foul                             2         1        8      3
## Foul Bunt                        0         1        0      0
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1      0
## In play, no out                  1         2        3      0
## In play, out(s)                  0         1        4      3
## In play, run(s)                  0         1        1      0
## Swinging Strike                  4        10        2      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         1        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker
## Double                  1         0        2      0
## Flyout                  0         0        1      1
## Grounded Into DP        0         0        1      0
## Groundout               0         0        1      1
## Home Run                0         1        0      0
## Lineout                 0         1        1      1
## Single                  0         2        2      0
## Strikeout               0         3        3      0
## Walk                    1         0        1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   47.92         52.08     34.56     60.52

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       3          11     0.364      1.00
##   Curveball      13          19     0.474     0.462
##    Fourseam      22          12     0.333     0.591
##      Sinker       8           8     0.125     0.875

Strikeouts by Description

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

Standard Batting Lines Against Noah Syndergaard

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##       Adam  Jones  3  2 1  1  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.000       8
##     Caleb  Joseph  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##      Chris  Davis  3  2 1  1  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.000      19
##    Gerardo  Parra  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       6
##    Henry  Urrutia  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##       J.J.  Hardy  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##  Jonathan  Schoop  3  3 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      16
##   Manuel Machado  3  3 2  1  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 1.000      13
##  Steve  Clevenger  3  3 2  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667       9


Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 85.9  88. 89.5   -7.519     4.271       -7.456         2.688
##   Curveball 77.1 81.1 83.5    7.568    0.5997        8.078       -0.7931
##    Fourseam 94.4 96.5 98.5   -2.965     10.31       -2.748         9.180
##      Sinker 95.1 96.5 97.7   -7.377     8.228       -7.373         6.931

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:

2015-08-20_Noah Syndergaard_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-20_Noah Syndergaard_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-20_Noah Syndergaard_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-20_Noah Syndergaard_Batters

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