- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

NLCS Scouting: Gallardo vs. Carpenter

Just look at that lovely mug.

Tonight’s NCLS matchup, pending the game isn’t rained out: Yovani Gallardo vs. Chris Carpenter.

Yovani Gallardo

I’ve already previewed Gallardo once this postseason, so take a peek at this post for a full look at his pitch selection. In general, what I had to say held up over his first two postseason starts: his curveball was his main out pitch when ahead in the count, and he used his slider frequently when he fell behind in the count. Gallardo has a very similar approach regardless of if a righty or lefty is at the plate, so I wouldn’t expect him to alter his strategy much against the righty heavy Cardinals.

Chris Carpenter

Carpenter is another one of those pitchers that gets by with less. He only works three main pitches — a sinker, a cutter, and a curveball — and he doesn’t mix up his use depending on the handedness of the batter too much. He throws his sinker around 45% of the time, his cutter 30% (although more often against righties), and his curveball 20% (more often against lefties). He also throws an occasional changeup, but he uses it rarely and almost exclusively throws it to left-handed hitters.

When the count is even or he’s behind, Carpenter uses his sinker quite frequently and uses it to induce around 50-60% groundballs. As he gets ahead in the count, though, Carpenter throws his cutter and curveball around 80% of the time. And if Carpenter gets into a deep count with the hitter (2-2, 3-2), he favors his cutter much more than his curveball.

For a 36-year-old pitcher, Carpenter has been extremely durable over the last year; he threw over 230 innings this season for the second season in a row. And despite missing almost two full seasons with injuries, he’s still the same old pitcher that he always was: he gets a decent number of strikeouts (7.2 K/9), but sets himself apart from the crowd with his walk rate (2.0 per nine) and groundball rate (47%). His 3.50 SIERA isn’t awe-inspiring, but he’s one of the most consistent, versatile aces you can find.