Aug 14

Stephen Strasburg: About Last Night (August 13)

That first inning, and consequently the ball game, probably looks a whole lot different if Stephen Strasburg (6-6) gets the call on a Gregor Blanco check swing to start out the game. Maybe another 1/4 inch. Two pitches later Blanco is standing on third with a leadoff triple, and three batters later it’s 2-1 Giants with runners on first and second with nobody out. Give Strasburg credit, though. He could have folded right there. After a triple, a single, a walk, and a Buster Posey RBI single (where Belt could have been standing on third after Jayson Werth misplayed the ball in left) he struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford with fastballs and forced Justin Maxwell into a groundout. A little luck was involved. The strikeout pitch to Crawford was knee high, in, and probably a ball, but it was close enough to swing and at 96-mph there was nothing Crawford could do with that pitch.

So, yeah, 26 pitches later the Nationals are down 2-1, but it could have been three or four runs and Strasburg’s night could have been over before it even really began. He worked out of trouble again in the second after a Kelby Tomlinson leadoff triple, and a Buster Posey double in the third led to a Bryce Harper gun show when he nailed Posey at home when he was sent, inexplicably, after a Pence single.

A little luck, sure.

It looked as though early Strasburg struggled to find a grip on the baseball. His curveball looked flat; his changeup—the two he actually threw—were wild with extreme run; and his fastball didn’t explode like his last start against Colorado. By the third though, that was all gone as he struck Crawford out with three straight curves (with the sharp break he had from his last start returning) and by the fifth his changeup returned and looked nasty, notably one he threw to Belt and the one on which he struck out Posey.

It was unfortunate, though, that on a night where Strasburg took an inning to really get going the offense continued to struggle. Two runs was too much, and Strasburg took a tough loss. Similar to Jordan Zimmermann the night before, sometimes being really, really good can’t overcome a lack of run support.

On the night, Strasburg pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight.

There probably should be more to this post. I could write more. A toddler and I watched this game together, and she had other ideas about conversation than curves and changeups with run. Kids.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     6 5.94
##   Curveball    39 38.6
##    Fourseam    52 51.5
##    Two-seam     4 3.96

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1  2 3 4 5 6
## Changeup   0  2 0 0 4 0
## Curveball  7  8 8 5 6 5
## Fourseam  17 10 6 7 6 6
## Two-seam   2  0 0 0 0 2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                             2        13       17        1
## Ball In Dirt                     0         5        0        0
## Called Strike                    0        11        7        0
## Foul                             0         0       13        2
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1        0
## In play, no out                  0         0        4        0
## In play, out(s)                  2         3        5        0
## In play, run(s)                  0         0        1        1
## Swinging Strike                  2         4        4        0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         3        0        0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Bunt Groundout        1         0        0        0
## Double                0         0        1        0
## Flyout                0         1        2        0
## Forceout              0         0        1        0
## Groundout             1         2        1        0
## Single                0         0        3        1
## Strikeout             1         4        3        0
## Triple                0         0        2        0
## Walk                  0         1        1        0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   50.50         49.50     24.24     59.41

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       2           4     0.500      1.00
##   Curveball      12          27     0.222     0.333
##    Fourseam      33          19     0.211     0.667
##    Two-seam       4           0       NaN     0.500

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam
## Called Strike                    0         0        1
## Swinging Strike                  1         1        2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         3        0

Strikeouts by Batter

##       Batter Name Strikeout(s)
##      Brandon  Belt            1
##  Brandon  Crawford            2
##      Buster  Posey            1
##      Hunter  Pence            2
##   Kelby  Tomlinson            1
##    Ryan  Vogelsong            1

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 87.4 88.2 89.1   -9.742     2.743       -9.590         1.290
##   Curveball 78.6 81.9 83.6    6.723    -6.082        7.338        -7.592
##    Fourseam 93.9 95.3 97.4   -5.807     8.709       -5.330         7.522
##    Two-seam 94.3 94.8 95.7   -7.322     7.202       -6.981         6.088

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:

2015-08-14_Stephen Strasburg_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-14_Stephen Strasburg_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-14_Stephen Strasburg_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-14_Stephen Strasburg_Batters

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