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  1. Sweet break-down. Very curious to see how both pitchers deploy their sliders and curves relative to each other. Lincecum’s late season slider stats last year markedly contributed to his resurgence. If his curve and slider release even more similarly this year, sitting on the breaking ball won’t help a hitter nearly as much as it has, and I think you’ll see % swinging strikes rise for both the curve and slider. Keep in mind Lincecum’s hammer curve was one of his best traits before his split change garnered all the attention. His evolution into a true 4-pitch SP bodes well for his keeping up with Halladay at the top echelon.

    Doyer fans, how was Kershaw’s fastball evolving at the end of last year? How was it breaking down on 2- and 4-seamers?

    I want you to preview all games. 4 eva.

    Comment by Oddibe McBlauser — March 31, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  2. BRANDON BELT!!!. I’m surprised there wasn’t a post on the main blog about him. I suppose it could have been lost in all the amazing happenings of opening day. Either way, this is the game to watch tonight.

    Comment by Wavaw — March 31, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  3. Great article

    Comment by adohaj — March 31, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  4. Great work as always, Albert. I do have to quibble with one thing, though; PitchFX is notoriously fallible in identifying Lincecum’s fastball. He throws the two-seamer the vast majority of the time, regardless of what the above classifications say. This is what accounts for the unpredictable fastball movement you mention in your article.

    Go Giants!

    Comment by Graham — March 31, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  5. Lincecum has lost a bit off his maximum velocity, but his worst stretches last year came when he lost control of his fastball. There were times when he needed to throw a called strike in the zone and could not do it.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — March 31, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  6. That’s really helpful to know, Graham. From what I could tell, Lincecum’s two-seamer varies widely in movement, which makes sense that some (or many) of his two-seams that don’t break as hard are classified as four-seamers.

    Some of the classifications I have to do myself, but I’ll, admittedly, almost always make mistakes if a pitcher’s pitch characteristics don’t cluster well and if I don’t have a complete background of the pitcher’s repertoire.

    Classification is very easy for a guy like Kershaw, who throws only one type of fastball.

    Thanks for the note and for the comment.

    Comment by Albert Lyu — March 31, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  7. One thing to note when looking at all that pitch selection data and trying to determine what Lincecum likes to throw: He didn’t even have that slider in his repertoire until about September last year, so the percentages are probably very skewed. He leaned fairly hard on the slider as an out pitch during September and the playoffs, or at least a lot more than these numbers would indicate.

    But then again this is Lincecum, so who knows what his go to pitch will be this year…

    Comment by apistat — March 31, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  8. Caught the end of the game and thee 3 broadcast nuggets …

    (1) Matt Kemp stole 2nd on Cailla because he “went on ‘First Move’ “. Is there any other way to steal on a RHP? Left heel moves, you go.

    (2) On the same play, Posey throws a 1-hopper to the 3B side of the bag. Orel says no chance to get him even with a good throw. Replay shows (timing) a good throw gets him.

    (3) Broxton v. Belt, 2-2 count. Orel says Broxton can throw either the slider or fastball as long as it’s not “right down the middle”. Gee, really? Then after he throws a slider low and in they frown on the location because lefties like it low and in.

    Thiese things drive me nuts. Bobby Valentine? Need I say more?

    Other than that very well pitched game. Kuo is soon to be the left-handed Marmol (very hard to hit).

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 31, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

  9. …and Kershaw clearly won the battle today.

    Comment by AA — March 31, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

  10. I’m thinking knuckleball.

    Comment by SFSUGatorAlum — April 1, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  11. Not sure I’d say “clearly” — they both threw well, although Kershaw was definitely sharper. Neither starter gave up an XBH in 7 innings, so they both limited their mistakes.

    The only batter on either side that had consistently good at bats was Kemp.

    Comment by ToddM — April 1, 2011 @ 6:14 am

  12. Really nice analysis. More please. It’s like the tale of the tape for boxing.

    Comment by verd14 — April 1, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  13. Reaaaallllllyyyyy wish I’d seen this story before I watched the game last night. Balls.

    Comment by Jack Weiland — April 1, 2011 @ 9:53 am

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