The Doctor’s medicine

Roy Halladay did the unthinkable, throwing a no-hitter in a postseason game. Not only that, he threw a perfect game in May. A total of 55 batters faced between the two games, with just a slight change in approach. Despite being “imperfect,” I’d argue Doc was better in October than in May. Based on the month—and opponent—you may agree.

Let’s start with pitch mix, broken down by batter hand and zoomed in on first pitches.

First, all pitches to all batters in the two gems:

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 13.9 20.0 35.7 30.4
NLDS No Hitter 15.4 21.2 31.7 31.7

Nothing earth-shattering there. Let’s go to the splits.

Against left-handed batters:

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 8.3 8.3 20.8 62.5
NLDS No Hitter 14.3 14.3 14.3 57.1

Small sample, a total of just 13 left-handed batters faced (seven in the playoffs). We’ll say he threw lefties more off-speed stuff in the no-hitter.

Against right-handed batters:

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 15.4 23.1 39.6 22.0
NLDS No Hitter 15.7 22.9 36.1 25.3

Yawn. Nothing to see here.

Let’s collapse the splits and look at first pitches, the 0-0 counts:

The “R” in WAR
How a person can be a hero by being a zero.

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 7.4 25.9 44.4 22.2
NLDS No Hitter 10.7 17.9 39.3 32.1

Halladay threw a few more cutters in the no-hitter. The curveball and the sinker both took the hit, while the change-up actually got a little more usage.

Throwing the splits back in, here are the 0-0 counts against left-handed batters:

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 0.0 16.7 50.0 33.3
NLDS No Hitter 28.6 0.0 14.3 57.1

Hello. Sure, it’s just a baker’s dozen, but the pitch selection was not the same.

Finally, first pitches to right-handed batters:

Masterpiece Change Curve Sinker Cutter
Perfect Game 9.5 28.6 42.9 19.0
NLDS No Hitter 4.8 23.8 47.6 23.8

More hard stuff in those 0-0 counts in the no-hitter, but not much difference from what he showed the righties in the perfect game.

And now, a few of my favorite metrics:

Masterpiece Swing Whiff B:CS IWZ GB% LD% FB% PU%
Perfect Game .400 .239 1.7 .478 50 13 25 13
NLDS No Hitter .535 .352 1.0 .523 63 5* 16 16

The no-hitter had more strikes, both by “IWZ” (in wide zone) and the umpire calls (B:CS). Doc got more swings and more whiffs per swing. Even on batted balls, the Reds didn’t muster a managed just one line drive and hit more ground balls and pop-ups than the Marlins did. That’s domination above and beyond.

*correction:: Travis Wood hit a line drive against Halladay, but his atbats were excluded due to an obscure bug (assumption, feature) in my code

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3 Comments on "The Doctor’s medicine"

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Harry Pavlidis
Harry Pavlidis

btw, the pitch classifications are mine, not Gameday’s. And, yes, due to rounding, some of the rates/percentages add up to > 1


I saw some of the Reds complaining about a big strike zone.  Not sure how they’d know since they seem to have been hacking at just about everything he tossed up there.

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

They really didn’t like swinging at pitches that were in the strike zone it seemed. Especially first pitches…sometimes that “don’t swing until you have a strike” strategy is really dumb. Maybe usually.