FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Is there some sort of fangraphs curse on pitchers?

    You write an article about Lee and a couple days before it is published he gives up 4 HR and has a tough outing.

    You publish an article about John Lackey struggling and he goes out and strikes out 10, while only giving up 6 hits over 8 innings.

    I think you need to write one about how Nolasco is making the right decision by trying to pitch through a torn meniscus.

    Comment by Steve C — August 23, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  2. great post

    Comment by James — August 24, 2010 @ 12:24 am

  3. Lackey’s average hitter faced his season had a .737 OPS while it was .755 and .766

    Where did you get this information? I would love to add it to my “data” to compare the CYA candidates.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 24, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  4. I’m pretty sure that is available both here and on b-ref.

    Comment by Alireza — August 24, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  5. His WP% is .019 points higher than his career average, and the Red Sox this year are actually worse than the Angels teams he pitched for. I don’t see the cause for concern.

    Comment by Ronald F. — August 24, 2010 @ 2:28 am

  6. Troll or no? I can never tell anymore.

    Comment by Ron A. — August 24, 2010 @ 3:11 am

  7. I’ve watched Lackey all year and his stuff is still good. His problem is that he gets wild for an inning and either starts walking batters or leaving pitches up in the zone that get crushed. He has given up a ridiculous number of hits this year, 2nd most in baseball, and that is not likely to happen again next year. Considering how many walks and hits he has given up this year, you would think the guy has been a total mess. Really though he’s battled, performed decently under pressure, and been the victim of his own wildness sometimes. I am a big Sox fan and I am not worried about him long term. The stuff is there, he just needs to get out of this funk. Maybe he’ll have better luck next year after VMart walks.

    Comment by Matt — August 24, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  8. I wonder how batter-handedness can affect a pitchers’ ability to throw strikes. Is it a head-thing, as in “uh oh, a lefty is up, I have to pitch differently” or is it the fact the guy is on the other side of the plate.
    I’d love to see some of the pitch f/x data.

    Comment by mettle — August 24, 2010 @ 10:27 am

  9. Isn’t it possible (I would argue probable) that Lackey’s opponents have lower OPSes this year because the hitters in the AL East face better pitchers more often than their AL West counterparts?

    Comment by Tremont — August 24, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  10. I thought the term southpaw only referred to left-handed pitchers?

    Comment by AdamM — August 24, 2010 @ 11:30 am

  11. He faced the Seattle Mariners, I wouldn’t go out and celebrate shutting down one of the worst offenses in recent memory.

    Comment by dickey simpkins — August 24, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  12. While I’ll applaud anyone who brings out the data on this, I have to say that this idea doesn’t really pass the sniff test. We’re talking about guys who have been pitching since they were 8, who are at the absolute top of their profession. I don’t think a left handed hitter coming to the plate is going to get them to think significantly differently.

    There was a similar line of thought on batter protection that was shot down quite well either here on on hardballtimes; it basically said that it’s kind of insulting to think that a professional at this skill level would pitch less than optimally because of fear of the next guy at bat.

    Comment by Travis L — August 24, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  13. No, lefties in general can be called southpaws… Though it is more OFTEN used to refer to pitchers when talking baseball.

    Comment by Patrick — August 24, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  14. Maybe I shouldn’t have written “uh oh” because I wasn’t talking about fear, per se, but whether the strategery for pitching to lefties v righties is different for Lackey. Maybe he tries to hit the outside corners more often for lefties for whatever reason.
    Otherwise, why the difference? It’s harder to believe that it’s because of where the guy is standing. The plate is still the plate.

    Comment by mettle — August 24, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  15. I think the term originated with how pitchers stood: batters face east away from the sun in most parks, pitchers face west, so the left hand is south. It’s used in boxing all the time, too.

    Comment by mettle — August 24, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  16. I can’t say I agree. Look at a pitcher like CC, his strategy against lefties and righties is different. With one group the out pitch is the change and with one its the slider. LOOGY pitchers are similar, their whole game is targeted to lefty batters, and when they face righties they have to make awkward adjustments and get crushed. that doesn’t mean giving up mentally against a batter because of handedness is acceptable for these professionals, but its not impossible.

    Comment by Nolan Ryan's Change — August 24, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  17. I’ve mentioned this before and may post on it later, but the more I look the more I’m convinced that the size of a split is almost entirely resultant from a players skill versus a certain pitch. If that’s true then I have to think that even minute changes in effectiveness of certain pitches would be magnified in splits against for pitchers.

    Comment by Deadpool — August 24, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  18. Of course, there’s a lot of good hitters in the AL East, too. It’s not just good pitching that drives the wins in that division — NY, TB, and Toronto all score a lot of runs.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — August 24, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  19. Lackey’s troubles might have something to do with his pitch selection. All past three years, he’s been relying on his fastball more than 50% of the time. This year it’s 17%. His cutter, which was used at a whopping 2.7% in ’08 is now up to 39%. Is this coaching? A change in approach? His velocity and movement on all of his pitches isn’t significantly different (based on the PitchFx tool). Being a sox fan, I’ve also noticed a difference in their other struggling starting pitcher, Beckett. He’s down from 60+% fastballs to 40% and is also throwing 10% fewer curveballs. Did he really take off half the season to keep away with his successful fastball-curveball combo? Suspect.

    Comment by Ryan — August 25, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

  20. One thing I noticed this year about Beckett and Lackey is that they couldn’t hit the left corner of the strike zone (from the pitcher’s view). It seemed like they either missed way outside or left it down the middle, which explained the increased hits and walks.

    Comment by Mark — November 11, 2010 @ 12:14 am

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