Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start
Introduction
Left-hander Jose Alvarez, signed by Detroit this past November to a minor-league contract, made his major-league debut on Sunday afternoon after recording the second-highest strikeout rate (25.8%) and highest strikeout-walk differential (20.7%) among qualified starters in the Triple-A International League. What follows is a very brief review of his first career start.

Alvarez’s Results
Alvarez was excellent on Sunday, recording a 7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 6.0 innings and the lowest single-game xFIP among all of Sunday’s 32 starting pitchers. Here’s his overall line (box): 6.0 IP, 22 TBF, 7 K, 1 BB, 9 GB on 14 batted-balls (64.3%), 1 HR, 3 H, 1 R.

Alvarez’s Pitches
MLB’s Gameday algorithm had some difficulty with Alvarez, classifying what appear to be two different breaking pitches both as a slider. As the annotated PITCHf/x chart below (featuring pitch speed and horizontal movement) demonstrates, though, the distinction between the two isn’t entirely clear.

Overall, it seems as though Alvarez threw four-plus pitches: anywhere from one to three different fastballs (four-seam, two-seam, cut), a slider, a curve, and a changeup.

aLVAREZ PITCHES

Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example One
Here’s an example of one pitch that was classified as a slider, Alvarez’s slowest pitch of the day — a 73 mph breaking ball for a called first strike to Michael Bourn in the third inning:

Alvarez Bourn 73 mph SL Called 3rd Inning

Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example Two
Here’s a second breaking pitch, at 78 mph, by Alvarez — from later in that same at-bat, actually, for a swinging strike three:

Alvarez Bourn SL Maybe SS K

Alvarez’s Breaking Pitch: Example Three
Finally, here’s another pitch that was classified as a slider — in this case, at 86 mph to Nick Swisher for a called strike. Incidentally, Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen referred to this one as a cut fastball.

Alvarez FC Swisher

Alvarez’s Best Pitch
According both to Gameday’s PITCHf/x data and also to Brooks Baseball, Alvarez’s most effective pitch on Sunday was his changeup, saving somewhere between 1.6 and 1.8 runs relative to average. According to Brooks, Alvarez threw the change 21 times and got three swinging strikes on it.

Action Footage: Jose Alvarez’s Changeup
Here’s the best footage from Sunday of Alvarez’s changeup — in this case to Yan Gomes for a strikeout in the second inning. Unfortunately, because of the off-center camera angle, it’s difficult to get a full sense of the pitch’s arm-side fade.

Alvarez Gomes CH SS K Best

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Los Angeles AL at Baltimore | 19:05 ET
Jered Weaver (23.0 IP, 116 xFIP-, 0.5 WAR) faces Freddy Garcia (38.1 IP, 110 xFIP-, -0.4 WAR). The former has been rather good in two starts since returning from the DL, recording a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and conceding just two runs in 12.0 innings.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Baltimore Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 5.4.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.


Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Jered Weaver LAA 2 6 3 9 2 BAL Freddy Garcia 19:05
John Lackey BOS 7 9 8 6 8 TB Alex Cobb 19:10
Yovani Gallardo MIL 5 4 4 0 4 MIA Ricky Nolasco 19:10
Homer Bailey CIN 9 5 6 5 3 CHN Scott Feldman 20:05
Scott Kazmir CLE 6 8 6 4 6 TEX Josh Lindblom* 20:05
Doug Fister DET 7 7 5 5 3 KC Jeremy Guthrie 20:10
R.A. Dickey TOR 8 6 5 0 2 CHA Dylan Axelrod 20:10
Wade Miley AZ 5 3 6 2 9 LAN Clay. Kershaw 22:10
Julio Teheran ATL 7 8 5 7 0 SD Jason Marquis 22:10
Dallas Keuchel HOU 5 4 6 6 7 SEA His. Iwakuma 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


3 Responses to “Daily Notes: A Brief Review of Jose Alvarez’s Sunday Start”

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  1. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Last night’s beers, all on draft:

    – Ommegang Three Philosophers 2011. Deep, dark, satisfying quad. Would drink again, especially on draft when an even better quad (e.g. St. Bernardus) is unavailable.
    – Duvel. Single ale, as opposed to their triple. Light, crisp, enjoyable and slightly more affordable than Duvel usually is at $7 on tap.
    – Avery White Rascal. Enjoyable wheat beer from Colorado. Would order again.

    One of the very few times I’ve ever gone “in reverse,” that is, darkest beer first, contravening all proper etiquette. But it was 95 degrees, and I was seated directly in the Texas sun.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • juan pierres mustache says:

      Three philosophers is fantastic. That being said, I have difficulty imagining myself drinking one in 95 degree heat, so I must applaud your commitment. I must also note that I am jealous that you managed to get that on draft.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Well-Beered Englishman has a landslide lead in the Commenting Above Replacement (CAR) category. What a joy you are, sir.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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