Pitching … it’s harder then it looks

If you have not seen the spot done by MLB about Justin Verlander and why he is so hard to hit, check it out. Hint, it’s all about the release point.

Once you’ve watched this, you’ll wonder how anyone manages to hit Verlander. Verlander is very good, but so is the Sox mound nemesis today, Yu Darvish. Here is a similar post about him.

Darvish leads the majors in strikeouts with 58 in 38 2/3 IP.  Major leaguers swing and miss a lot when faced with Darvish’s five pitch repertoire.

  • SO/9 rate is 13.5
  • SO/BB is 4.46
  • SO% is 38.4%

To put that in some perspective, his Sox opponent on the mound today is Jon Lester. His rates:

  • SO/9 rate is 7.9
  • SO/BB is 2.75
  • SO% is 21.3%

There have only been two pitchers in the history of baseball to throw more then 150 innings in a season and have a SO/9 rate of greater then 13.0 – Randy Johnson in 2001 (13.4) and Pedro Martinez in 1999 (13.2). Both won the Cy Young award in those years. If Darvish can keep this up, and this is the year of the strikeout, he will join some pretty elite company and be the front runner for the 2013 Cy Young award.

If the Sox are to avoid a Texas sweep they will need an outstanding outing from Lester and an off day from Darvish. So far the Texas staff has been anything but off and have lived up to their early season designation as the best pitching staff in the American league. In 18 innings the Rangers have held the Sox to 13 hits (just two extra base hits- both doubles) and 3 walks, while striking out 15 and allowing only 1 run. That’s a pitching buzz saw.

But, as Casey Stengel would say, “Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.” Lets hope for some vice-versa this afternoon.


One thought on “Pitching … it’s harder then it looks

  1. Marc Ducharme

    I would agree that the Ranger pitching staff has held the Sox in check for the first two games of the series and the possibilities of being swept at the hands of Rangers are imminent with Darvish pitching tonight. Lester has not pitched well his last two starts either. That said, last night was less of “buzz saw” pitching and a little more of clutch-less hitting and bad luck on the part of Sox hitters.

    Example One:

    Mike Napoli rips Oganda offering up the middle for sure hit but the ball miraculously, incredulously or just plain sheepishly hits the soft spot in Oganda’s glove, hanging out there to dry as part of his follow through, the ball drops harmlessly in front and Nap is an easy out.

    One out later the Salty Dog chops a high fast ball for a double. One can only wonder about this inning…

    Of course Middlebrooks can’t get a hit with a man in scoring position and Salty is left standing there…

    Example Two:

    Top of the 5th Drew draws a walk. Ellsbury rips Oganda offering for would be double but it’s snared by Moreland for unassisted double play. Rally over.

    Game of inches?

    Ortiz misses a home run in the 8th by a couple feet.

    Game of clutchless fielding?

    Middlebrooks gafts throw to the first to end bases loaded situation. Two runs score. Lackey tacks on several more pitches as a result.

    Clueless and Clutch less hitting?

    See any atbat by the Salty Dog exception being his meaningless tomahawk double.

    How about Pedroria waving at trashy curveballs out of the strike zone with two men on? Tell me he’s not injured and I’ll tell you that Bobby Valentine is missed in Boston.


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