Red Sox 6, RAYS 4 (boxscore)
THE GOOD: Joel Peralta. Sure, it was just 2 batters with the Rays trailing in a game they would eventually lose. But after giving up 7 runs in his last three outings combined, he needed a successful appearance just to get his head right.
THE BAD: Matt Moore vs Big Papi. In the first at bat, Moore went slider away (ball) then fastball in (double). In the second at bat, it was changeup low (fouled off) then fastball in (single). Third at bat was fastball in (double). Notice the pattern? David Ortiz likes the fastball in. Even the second at bat, the fastball was 2-3 inches off the plate, and he still hit it. It doesn’t matter that Moore is a lefty or that he throws 96. David Ortiz eats fastballs in…Double Nickel Up. The image above is the strikezone plot for Matt Moore on the final pitch of each at bat (from the point of view of the catcher). If you divide the strikezone in half (top and bottom), notice how many pitches are up in the zone compared to low. We count 11 in the bottom half, and 16 in the top half, including the two home runs, which were both pretty much down the pipe, and a little up. Also notice that there are almost no pitches on the lower-left (down-and-in to a righty). A left-handed pitcher’s natural zone is from upper-right to lower-left*. There are a lot of dots in the upper-right quadrant, but nothing in the lower-left. In other words, Moore is releasing the ball too early. He has to get that ball down in the zone. Make no mistake, Moore has some nasty heat. But just ask Jake McGee about straight fastballs up in the zone. Big leaguers can hit fastballs that don’t move and are up in the zone…Missed Bunt. OK, We have to mention the missed bunt by Chris Gimenez. With no outs and runners on 1st and 2nd, Gimenez struck out trying to bunt. Of course, he got 5 straight pitches out of the strikezone, and Joe Maddon refused to pull the sign, so it was just a train wreck of an at bat, and only partially Gimenez’ fault.
THE TELLING: Don’t look now, but the Rays are tied with the Red Sox for last place in the East…The Rays have one stolen base in 9 games. In 2011, the Rays had 39 games with more than one stolen base…BJ Upton will move his rehab assignment to double-A this week…Sam Fuld was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Chris Gimenez on the 40-man roster.
THE JUNKYARD DOGS WEBTOPIA…
- Roger Mooney looks at how the pitchers are getting themselves in trouble by not attacking the strikezone. [TBO.com]
- Joe has some quotes coming today that will have Bucs fans talking. [JoeBucsFan]
DOWN ON THE FARM…
DURHAM 5, Gwinnett 1. Jim Paduch struck out 4 and walked 1 in just 3 innings, giving up 1 run…Cesar Ramos struck out 2 in 2 scoreless innings…SS Tim Beckham went 1-5 with a strikeout…RF Brandon Guyer drove in 2 and went 1-4.
Mobile 11, MONTGOMERY 3. Shane Dyer faced just 6 batters, giving up 3 hits and a walk before being pulled…SS Hak-Ju Lee went 2-4 with a walk and his 2nd stolen base.
St. Lucie 6, CHARLOTTE 4. Wilking Rodriguez struck out 5 and walked 2, giving up 1 run in 5.2 innings…BJ Upton did not play…CF Mikie Mahtook was 0-5…SS Derek Dietrich went 3-4.
BOWLING GREEN 22, Lake County 12. Leading 11-10 going into the 9th, the Hot Rods scored 11 in the 9th inning to blow it open. Five players homered in the game, including Drew Vettleson who hit his first of the year and drove in 5…3B Tyler Goeddel hit a pair of home runs, had 4 hits and drove in 6.
* Think about the motion of the arm for a lefty. From the point of view of the catcher, the lefty’s arm moves from upper-right to lower-left. Right-handers are the exact opposite. And since most pitchers are right-handed, this is why right-handed hitters typically prefer pitches up-and-in, and left-handed batters typically prefer pitches down-and-in. That is, most batters like the ball in, and an inside pitch from a right-handed pitcher to a right-handed batter is more likely to be up, while the inside pitch from a righty to a left-handed hitter is more likely to be down. And this is why lefties are valuable, they typically pitch in the opposite zones (up-and-in to a lefty, and down-and-in to a righty)