Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Lefty/Righty matchups

The plethora of run scoring hits by lefties in this bottom of the eighth reminded me of something I've been wanting to explain for a while.

It is conventional wisdom that it heavily favors the pitcher to be of the same hand as the batter. One minor reason, that I will get out of the way early, is that the head has to move more for the hitter to follow the pitch. If a pitcher is better vs one type of batter vs the other, they call this a "split."

Not all pitchers have problems against the opposite handed batters. Think about it more of a pitch split than a pitcher split. 2-seam fastballs (sinkers) and sliders have the biggest splits. Changeups, Cutters, 4-seam fastballs, and curveballs do not have major splits. A few sliders are still effective against the opposite hand, such as Marmol's.

Mateo is primarily a fastball slider guy. So you can't throw a slider against a lefty (Fowler, Harrera, Cargo) then you are basically a one pitch pitcher, and you are going to have a bad inning if you are facing lefties. It was basically suicide to leave Mateo in. He was great against Wigginton and Morales just isn't very good, but the top of the order was a disaster waiting to happen.

A Montage of bad 8th inning management was the undoing of the Cubs this game. I guess I won't blame Quade for the Fukudome sac bunt, as many managers use the sac bunts when they shouldn't, but it was painfully obvious Mateo shouldn't face the top three hitters.

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