FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. love this article.

    Comment by pedbre — October 26, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  2. ditto.
    i don’t know why, but I just do.

    Comment by mettle — October 26, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

  3. I too was totally fascinated by that for some reason: I remember the pitch vividly (yes, even before seeing the gif again). I think everyone there kind of stopped in mini-shock: Smyly was surprised, Scutaro was surprised, and the ump just rang him up. Just a little, “Huh?” moment.

    Comment by wiggly — October 26, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  4. I think the last paragraph sums up the game of baseball perfectly.

    Comment by Ken — October 26, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  5. Interesting seeing Scut’s immediate reaction in the first gif being replayed over and over again. His body language suggests he didn’t get his front foot down with the right timing, because the way Scutaro is locked in, he wants to rip that ball down the left field line 100 out of 100 times. Credit the call made by the catcher, definitely threw his timing off a bit, but nevertheless another anomaly in an otherwise normal World Series

    Comment by Joey — October 26, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  6. He’s setting up Smyly for later in the series, trying to make him feel comfortable throwing fastballs down the middle to him.

    Comment by Brian — October 26, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  7. My guess is that he expected a fastball on the corner or a breaking pitch intended to drop out of the zone. He did not expect a fastball down the middle. Seeing a 90-mph pitch towards the middle of the plate, he assumed it was a breaking pitch and laid off. He was fooled, not by movement or change of speed, but by lack thereof.

    It could have been “brain freeze” too, but I prefer to overthink things.

    Comment by Jon L. — October 26, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  8. It looked to me like Scutaro was expecting a changeup or a slider there and was planning not to swing. When, when Smyly released the pitch, he identified it as something offspeed and decided he would watch it as it sailed outside of the strike zone. It’s certainly rare that he misidentifies a pitch so badly.

    I think he realizes his error when the pitch is about two-thirds of the way to the plate and knows that because he hasn’t even prepared his body to swing if necessary, he’s never going to make contact. He practically starts walking back to the dugout before the pitch is in the catcher’s glove.

    Comment by AustinRHL — October 26, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  9. The only thing I can think of is that Scutaro was guessing off-speed, and was completely unprepared to swing at a fastball. That’s a little strange, for someone like him who doesn’t strike out much, but it’s possible.

    Comment by Scott — October 26, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  10. Whoops, I just saw that you said the same thing as I did, except much better and 30 minutes earlier. You win this time, AustinRHL!

    Comment by Scott — October 26, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  11. The curious thing to me is how the catcher points his glove at the pitcher and gives him the universal “nice pitch!” sign.

    Shouldn’t he be calling time out and telling him, “Man you got lucky! Don’t ever throw a pitch like that on a 1-2 count in a one run game or I’ll…”

    Comment by MGL — October 26, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  12. I don’t know what it says about me but knowing you are from Portland my first thought when I read “vistiting the Acropolis” I thought of the famous “steakhouse” in Portland. A place where an Offspring song would likely be playing.

    Comment by Portlander — October 26, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  13. I also had that thought as I was writing that sentence.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — October 26, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  14. That’s what I thought as I was reading the sentence that you wrote while thinking about it.

    Comment by Matthias — October 26, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

  15. I have to say, the number of called balls in the Pitch f/x data surprised me. Given that we’re looking at pitches that are basically straight down the middle and only 33 of them were taken at all, 5 seems like an awfully high number of bad ball calls.

    Comment by Ian R. — October 26, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

  16. How angry the catchers must’ve been that the pitch was thrown at all, plus not even being called a strike 3.

    Comment by Franco — October 26, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  17. Might be interesting to see what Smyly likes to throw to left-handers with two strikes who have contact percentages above a certain threshold/ strikeout percentages below a certain threshold that are somewhat comparable to Scutaro’s in those situations. It seems Scutaro was looking off-speed there, but should he have been based on what Smyly does in similar situations?
    This is not meant to be a knock on Scutaro, because no hitter (at least the vast majority of them I assume) do not do that much homework, but this could be interesting for Jeff’s analysis I suppose? What do you all think?

    Comment by Tyler — October 26, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  18. Oh, the catcher must have thought he was being punked. First his pitcher throws a 2-strike fastball right down the middle, then the hitter doesn’t even swing at it, and then the umpire calls it a ball. A classic No!What?Agh! moment.

    I can only hope that on just one of those pitches, the batter tried to check his swing, clearly went too far, and on appeal the first-base ump said no swing. The poor catcher would have an aneurysm.

    Comment by Michael — October 27, 2012 @ 12:53 am

  19. that catcher for Detroit is not angry, that is where he called for the pitch…Scutaro starts stepping out slightly and his hands come out of hitting position early…it would be fun to talk to Scutaro about what happened there.

    Comment by lewish — October 27, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  20. yeah, i’m wondering if anybody asked him about it. this pitch stuck in my head too.

    Comment by wily mo — October 27, 2012 @ 4:16 am

  21. You wouldn’t do that in the eight inning when you are up 2-0 though; maybe if you are up or down by many runs.

    Comment by DJ Tofu — October 27, 2012 @ 8:22 am

  22. That first chart sure shows the skills of Marco Scutaro, doesn’t it? Out of about 100 1-2 counts in which he’s protecting the plate he still only made about 10 questionable decisions to not swing. That seems pretty incredible.

    Comment by Aaron Murray — October 27, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  23. unfortunately this article does nothing…so he struck out in an unusual matter. you pointed it out something we all saw. anything new?

    Comment by Smyly — October 27, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  24. I’m fascinated by this apparent need/delight in slamming stories that bunches of folks, from the comments, are finding valuable. I see it on every board, baseball, politics, science fiction, what-have-you, and don’t really understand the motivation.

    Comment by bookbook — October 27, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  25. One possibility that it happened while a runner was stealing and the catcher blocked the umpire while reacting to get in position to make a throw. I’ve seen some pretty good pitches get called balls because the catcher jumped up to make an attempt on a base stealer and the umpire had to guess.

    Comment by Robert — October 27, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  26. I ditto your ditto and raise you one.

    Comment by Baltar — October 27, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  27. To borrow a pseudo-Scrabble phrase from one of those curiously sinister Jack in the Box commercials, Smyly here has delivered a classic “no nookie” post.

    Actually, thinking of statements of that class as “no nookie” statements is a good way of keeping myself from becoming irritated by them. It’s an easy phrase to remember and easily evokes the proper mindset of humor faintly tinged with pity.

    In that sense, for me, Smyly has made a positive impact on my life and I owe him a moderate-sized debt of gratitude.

    Comment by Gary York — October 27, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  28. You Portlandia people are weird.

    Comment by Baltar — October 27, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  29. But I enjoy your TV show and loved being on it once.

    Comment by Baltar — October 27, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  30. “another anomaly in an otherwise normal World Series” — what the hell does that even mean?

    Comment by joser — October 27, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  31. Conjecture,

    Scutaro was looking 2 seam, and got a 4 seam. From a tall guy like Smyly, it’s hard to pick it up.

    Comment by channelclemente — October 27, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  32. I still think that the strangest part of this sequence is Laird’s reaction. Yeah, they got a big strikeout, but he reacts to Smyly in the way that catchers normally do when a pitcher hits a corner perfectly. It seems like the pitch was supposed to go lower and more inside, but it drifted up and over the plate. It’s about the worst pitch you can throw, but the best result possible. As a Giant’s fan, here’s to hoping Laird keeps on encouraging his pitchers after they throw that pitch.

    Comment by Jake — October 27, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  33. They’re not writers, so they don’t understand the value and difficulty in writing something that some, but not all, people enjoy. They do feel a sense of pride in pointing out, in writing, the failures of writers however.

    Comment by Andre — October 27, 2012 @ 7:02 pm

  34. It’s just another rainy day in the midst of a drought.

    Comment by Matt — October 28, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  35. i never call anyone an idiot… but my god…

    its sarcasm dude.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — October 29, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

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