Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tigers 2014 Game 130: V-Mart vs McCarthy

Victor Martinez' duel with Brandon McCarthy last night showed exactly why baseball is a game of fine distinctions, and well worth one's close attention. Let me show you three strike-zone plots from

1st inning

3rd inning

6th inning

V-Mart, as I like to call him, went 1 for 3, which is a .333 batting average, so he did rather well by traditional standards. More than that, though, we can see that in the first plate appearance McCarthy kept changing the plane on V-Mart, until V-Mart chased a pitch well off the plate that he foul-tipped into the catcher's glove. Tom Gage, of the Detroit News, tweeted that it was 'a heckuva pitch', which put me on alert.

In the third, V-Mart swung at the first pitch, a sinker to a spot that McCarthy hadn't used in the first PA, and sent a grounder to Mark Teixeira at first. Teixeira made the play unassisted.

In the sixth, the two previous PAs came together. McCarthy went back to working highish, outside and away. When that didn't work, he went back to the sinker, only this time he reversed the first PA, now working down and over the plate. V-Mart connected for a single on this one, and eventually would score on Nick Castellanos' single.

The only slight cloud on the evening was the nine hits that Rick Porcello surrendered. He made up for that with not issuing a single walk, but his performance was not dominant, and explains why I never felt comfortable given the Tigers' bullpen uncertainties. This was a good win for the Tigers, despite Alex Gordon's walk-off in Kansas City, which meant the Tigers could only keep pace with the Royals. I'm afraid I'm not entirely sold on #RoyalsDevilMagic yet, no matter how frequently Rany Jazayerli tweets about it. I'm still going with Jim Price's view that 'the MoJo is moving towards Detroit'.

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