Wednesday, June 14, 2006
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Analysis of Two Aces
What a wonderful baseball game! I am definitely one of those fans that like a nice 1-0 or 2-1 ball game, and that is the feel of last night's game. Through 11 innings, the score was 1-1. And then for my man, Jason Kubel, to come through with a game-winning, walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 12th was remarkable! Equally remarkable was that the Twins have decided to call up Jason Bartlett and designated Tony Batista for assignment! But, more on all of that in the Twins Thoughts today. Today, we are here to talk about some great pitching and a couple of great starting pitchers.
In the past, I have done analysis on starts of Brad Radke and Johan Santana. My biggest hit-count day came when I did my Analysis of a Phenom, the Mariners Felix Hernandez last August.
Well, as soon as I saw last night's pitching matchup, the Twins Johan Santana versus Curt Schilling, I knew that I needed to bring back the "Analysis" feature for it. Now, I'll be honest, as I'm typing this introduction up, I'm not exactly sure how it is going to look. I'm not sure how to make it look alright when discussing two pitchers at the same time, but I will try.
So, I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the pitcher. I hope that you enjoy this analysis and, as always, please feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments at the end!
What is Johan Santana doing this year? He has been excellent for the last six weeks after another slow start. His strikeout rate, WHIP and ERA have all dropped, and he has a 6-4 record. But, is he continuing to mix his pitches as much as he has in the past? How does he pitch the second time through a lineup, especially a strong lineup like the Red Sox. It is always fun to track Santana when he is on, and last night, he was definitely on!
After playing a huge role in the Red Sox World Series championship in 2004, Schilling missed much of the 2005 season with lingering injuries of his ankle. He is not young, so the assumption was that he just would not really be able to come back. But come back he has. Schilling came into the game with an 8-2 record. Sure, his 'other' numbers are nowhere near as good as Santana's, but they are still very solid, and obviously good enough to get lots of glorified Wins. But what is he throwing? He isn't striking out many batters anymore this year. Does he still throw hard? Is he mixing it up much? Lets find out.
Anyway, what I did, as I have in the past, is tracked, pitch-by-pitch, the performances of both Johan Santana and Curt Schilling. I noted which type of pitch they threw and then jotted down the speed of the pitch given on Fox Sports Net. I realize that the radar gun speed given on the telecast is subject to debate, but it's all I had to work with. So, how did they do it?
Let's start with the high level look their performances:
IP H R ER BB SO
Johan Santana 8.0 5 1 1 0 13
Curt Schilling 8.0 6 1 1 1 5
Of the 102 pitches that Santana threw, 75 of them (73.5%) were strikes. 67% is generally considered very good so Santana was great!
Of the 91 pitches that Schilling threw, 61 of them (67.0%) were strikes, so he was very good also.
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Santana threw.
Fastball - 56 (54.9%)
Curveball/Slider - 17 (16.7%)
Change Up - 29 (28.4%)
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Schilling threw. Now, I have to admit, that I could not really differentiate his offspeed pitches much. I could tell the difference between the fastball and the split finger, but I really only saw him throw one or two pitches that were really curveballs, so I just lumped them all together.
Fastball - 63 (69.2%)
Curveball/Split-Finger - 28 (30.8%)
Here are the number of pitches Santana threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 12 pitches (9 fastball, 3 changeup)
2nd inning - 12 pitches (6 fastball, 4 changeup, 2 slider)
3rd inning - 18 pitches (11 fastball, 5 changeup, 2 slider)
4th inning - 11 pitches (6 fastball, 3 changeup, 2 slider)
5th inning - 13 pitches (6 fastball, 4 changeup, 3 slider)
6th inning - 5 pitches (3 fastball, 2 changeup)
7th inning - 19 pitches (8 fastball, 5 changeup, 6 slider)
8th inning - 12 pitches (7 fastball, 3 changeup, 2 slider)
Total - 102 pitches (56 fastball, 29 changeup, 17 slider)
Here are the number of pitches Schilling threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 18 pitches (17 fastball, 1 offspeed)
2nd inning - 7 pitches (2 fastball, 5 offspeed)
3rd inning - 8 pitches (7 fastball, 1offspeed)
4th inning - 13 pitches (11 fastball, 2 offspeed)
5th inning - 14 pitches (8 fastball, 6 offspeed)
6th inning - 9 pitches (6 fastball, 3 offspeed)
7th inning - 15 pitches (9 fastball, 6 offspeed)
8th inning - 7 pitches (3 fastball, 4 offspeed)
Total - 91 pitches (63 fastball, 28 offspeed)
The consistency of the velocities of Santana's pitches throughout all eight innings was really remarkable. I was actually surprised to see that Schilling did the same thing. But he really didn't have to throw very many pitches, so it should make sense.
Here are the average velocities of Santana's pitches last night by inning:
Fastball Changeup Slider
1st inning - 93.6 83.7 N/A
2nd inning - 94.2 84.3 86.5
3rd inning - 93.6 83.2 84.5
4th inning - 93.7 83.3 85.5
5th inning - 93.7 81.3 83.7
6th inning - 92.7 84.0 N/A
7th inning - 94.3 82.8 84.3
8th inning - 93.0 82.3 84.5
Here are the average velocities of Schilling's pitches last night by inning:
1st inning - 91.3 83.0
2nd inning - 92.0 85.0
3rd inning - 91.1 86.0
4th inning - 90.5 86.0
5th inning - 91.6 86.5
6th inning - 91.2 86.3
7th inning - 91.3 87.0
8th inning - 92.0 86.3
Just to show how consistently hard Santana was throwing, here were the speeds of his fastballs:
91 mph - 1
92 mph - 7
93 mph - 16
94 mph - 19
95 mph - 13
Did either pitcher alter the pitches he threw each time through the batting order?
Here is what Santana threw each time through the order:
Time Through Order FB FB% CU CU% SL SL% Total Pitches
1st 22 62.9% 9 25.7% 4 11.4% 35
2nd 18 52.9% 11 32.4% 5 14.7% 34
3rd 13 43.3% 9 30.0% 8 26.7% 30
Here is what Schilling threw each time through the order:
Time Through Order FB FB% OffSpd OS% Total Pitches
1st 23 76.7% 7 23.3% 30
2nd 26 72.2% 10 27.8% 36
3rd 14 56.0% 11 44.0% 25
So what does this show? Well, as the game moves along, Santana throws less fastballs, about the same number of changeups, but he starts to add more sliders. Schilling's offspeed pitches vary somewhat, so looking at it this way may not mean a lot. It really shows that he is a fastball pitcher, at least early in the game.
Both pitchers were so dominant last night.
Here is a quick look at the pitches Santana threw on each count:
FB CU SL
0-0 22 2 4
0-1 9 5 4
0-2 2 6 1
1-0 5 0 1
1-1 8 2 2
1-2 3 9 1
2-0 2 0 0
2-1 2 1 0
2-2 2 3 3
3-0 0 0 0
3-1 0 0 1
3-2 1 1 0
Here is a quick look at the pitches Schilling threw on each count:
0-0 22 5
0-1 10 5
0-2 5 1
1-0 6 6
1-1 6 3
1-2 1 3
2-0 3 0
2-1 3 1
2-2 1 3
3-0 2 0
3-1 3 0
3-2 1 1
Do first pitch strikes matter? I would say that they matter to a pitcher who does not have control or a great fastball. However, at least last night, both pitchers had great control! Last night, Santana threw first pitch strikes to 22 of 28 batters. Of those 28 batters, he started 22 of them off with a fastball (2 with a changeup and 4 with a curveball). Last night, Schilling threw first pitch strikes to just 18 of 27 batters. Of those 27 batters, he started 22 of them off with a fastball.
A lot of times when you hear about a potential pitching dual, it ends up being a 13-9 ball game. Well, both Johan Santana and Curt Schilling held up their end, and it was a great game to watch. The two pitchers have completely different styles. Santana is a strikeout pitcher, and Schilling now pitches to contact. In either case, both are fun to watch. Who wins between the two? Well, both went eight innings and gave up one run, on a home run. I guess you could say that Santana wins because of his strikeouts, but in the end, does that number matter more than the number of runs allowed? How about we just call it a draw?
Do you have any thoughts on the pitching matchup, or anything from the Twins game, please feel free to e-mail me, or leave some Comments down below.
Just a couple more thoughts from the Twins 5-2 win in 12 innings against the Red Sox last night:
Do you ever just want to say, I told you so! Jason Kubel's recent play, and particularly that monster game winning grand slam in the bottom of the 12th last night, makes me want to shout I Told You So... but it would be like preaching to the choir! He is now 7-13 (.539) in his last three games! And to think, Gardy had him sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the 8th (he was successful).
Speaking of preaching to the choir, maybe Twins management does listen. We found out that Jason Bartlett was recalled after Rochester's game last night, but we didn't immediately find out who was either being sent down or released. After the game, we found out the Tony Batista's tenure with the Twins finally, mercifully came to an end as he was Designated for Assignment.
So now the question becomes... is Jason Bartlett the every day shortstop? Who takes over as the every day 3B? Tiffee? Luis Rodriguez? As long as Bartlett is the shortstop and truly given a chance, I am fine with whatever platoon they come up with at third base. Fact is that there just is not a good option there in the organization. Tiffee is no better than Batista. Rodriguez, Castro and Punto are all utility guys. Matt Moses is not ready yet and if they truly are rebuilding, it doesn't make sense to push a top prospect too quickly.
Did you see how upset Ron Gardenhire was at Lew Ford for his poor sacrifice bunt attempt in the bottom of the 9th? With a runner on 2nd and nobody out, Ford bunted hard to 1B Kevin Youklis who threw to 3B for the out. Gardy looked furious. Now, I'm not going to defend Ford. It was a bad bunt, and obviously should have been directed to the 3B line. However, Gardy needs to look in the mirror. Why call for the bunt in that situation? It makes no sense. You have a guy who has shown inconsistency bunting in the past bunt against a guy who throws 97 with some nasty pitches. It is very difficult to bunt there. What it isn't difficult to do is just put the bat out and ground out to 2B. I think I like my chances with Ford being able to ground out and move the runner along that way than with the bunt. Also, you already have a guy in scoring position. You now have three chances to get a single to win the game. Don't over-manage!
When you're on 2B, you're already able to score on most singles. That is why one of the worst plays of the game was Torii Hunter's attempted steal of 3B. He was thrown out by a mile for an inning-ending strikeout-throw out double play. Another bad play by another veteran.
However, nice catch on the Manny Ramirez line drive. He literally caught it behind himself!
Justin Morneau is on a tear. He had another three hit game last night. His 12th inning ground-rule double would have scored Michael Cuddyer from 1st to tie the game. He is 10-17 (.588) in his last four games and is now hitting .263 on the season.
I also tracked pitches during Joe Nathan's ninth inning. He threw 22 pitches, and just 12 of them were strikes. He threw 16 fastballs, five sliders and one curveball. Four of those fastballs were intentional walk pitches to Jason Varitek. The other 12 fastballs averaged 96.25 mph, and one touched 99 mph. That was on an 0-1 pitch to Manny, so I am sure he was pretty pumped up! Big picture though, it was good to see Gardy go with his closer in the 9th inning of a tie game and then adjust back to Rincon, and then Crain, before Reyes.
Along with his amazing pitching repertoire, Johan Santana deserves to win the Gold Glove as well!
The Michael Cuddyer home run against Schilling in the bottom of the 7th was impressive. He took a 91 mph fastball on the outside corner and drilled a line drive to dead center for the Twins run to that point. He just has so much power!\
Stick & Ball Guy looks at the Top 50 Twins Pitching seasons in their history. No surprise who was #1 on that list and in what year, but there are plenty of surprises, like the #6 season!
Do you have any thoughts on the Twins, the Red Sox or anything baseball. Feel free to e-mail me or leave comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Alexi Casilla, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Errol Simonitsch, Ft. Myers Miracle
ROCHESTER RED WINGS
Tuesday - RED WINGS 0, Indianapolis 2- Shawn Wooten and Glenn Williams each went 2-4, but the Red Wings managed just six hits in this game. Jason Miller made his second start and in this game, he went five innings and gave up just one run. Ricky Barrett gave up the other run in his one inning stint. Kevin Cameron and Henry Bonilla combined on three more shutout innings. Jason Bartlett went 1-4 and after the game, he was recalled to the Twins.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
Tuesday - ROCKCATS 0, Binghamton 2 - Errol Simonitsch was good. Willie Collaza was better. Simonitsch threw all eight innings for the Rockats and gave up two runs on eight hits and a walk. Collaza went all nine innings and gave up just five hits and a walk. Of the five hits, Trent Oeltjen had two of them.
FT MYERS MIRACLE
Tuesday - Game 1 - MIRACLE 4, Clearwater 6 - Eight Miracle batters each had one hit, but only Kyle Geiger had a double. Danny Powers made another start and in 3.1 innings, he gave up five runs on four hits and three walks. Jose Mijares gave up a run in 1.2 innings. Josh Hill pitched a scoreless inning.
Tuesday - Game 2 - MIRACLE 9, Clearwater 7 - Alexi Casilla just continues to rake! In this game, he went 4-5 to increase his batting average to .318. Matt Tolbert was 2-2 with a triple and two RBI. Kyle Geiger went 2-4. Deacon Burns was 2-4 with a double and two RBI. Justin Jones started and got hit hard. In just three innings, he gave up six runs (4 earned) on seven hits and a walk. Colby Miller came in and got the win. He went 1.2 innings and despite giving up two hits and a walk, he did not allow a run. Chris Schutt gave up a run and got just two outs. JP Martinez went the final 1.2 innings for the save. He struck out three.
Tuesday - SNAPPERS 9, South Bend 4 - Josh Land, Drew Thompson, Paul Kelly, Erik Lis, Eduard Ovalle, Caleb Moore. Those were the first six hitters in the Snappers lineup and each one of them had two hits in this game. Lis and Moore each had a double. Kelly and Dan Berg each had a triple. Ovalle had a home run, his sixth of the year. Adam Hawes started but he went just 4.1 innings. He gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks. Alexander Smit backed up his great Monday outing with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings last night. Must have been a mechanical thing fixed! We can hope! David Shinskie gave up a run in his inning. Yohan Pino and Frank Mata closed things out with a shutout inning each.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I will not have a major posting tomorrow as I will again be out of town for work. However, I am about 88% sure that I will be at the Twins/Red Sox game tonight. I hope to send some quick notes in to be posted, so you can check back tomorrow to see if I've got anything new. I hope you all have a great day! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.|
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