ARLINGTON, Texas -- We've taken a hard look at what happened in Game 1 of the World Series and over the course of the postseason with C.J. Wilson and Chris Carpenter as they prepare for Game 5. Here's some analysis to get you ready for tonight:
* Wilson lost Game 1 of the World Series to the Cardinals largely because of problems locating his fastball. Against right-handed hitters, he threw just 41 percent of fastballs in the strike zone, and (including a few chases) only 48 percent for strikes. His previous season averages had been 54 percent and 62 percent in those same categories.
Missing with his fastball not only led Wilson to use the cutter more often (44 percent usage vs RHB, a season high), but allowed St. Louis to sit on that pitch and drive it. Of the Cardinals' 17 swings against cutters in Game 1, they made contact on every one-- fouling off eight pitches and putting nine of them in play. Three of those nine went for hits, including David Freese's 6th-inning double that would ultimately be the game-winning run.
Wilson has not recorded a win since September 11 (seven starts), and if the Rangers are to take the Series lead back to St. Louis, he'll need to elevate his fastball and convince the Cardinals to go after it.
Wilson (opponents' BA by pitch)
Fastball: .246 (through Sept. 11) and .300 since
Curve: .288 (through Sept. 11) and .133 since
Cutter: .174 (through Sept. 11) and .324 since
Slider: .144 (through Sept. 11) and .231 since
As for Carpenter:
* He held Texas in check in Game 1 by avoiding two of the Rangers' big left-handed bats, Josh Hamilton and David Murphy. More specifically, he avoided throwing them anything down the middle where they have the most power.
In the two Division Series games against lefty-loaded Philadelphia, Carpenter left a total of 28 pitches over the middle third of the plate horizontally. Although he didn't get "burned" that badly (2-for-7, both singles), it was a dangerous spot for Carpenter to continue pitching to.
In his NLCS appearance (Game 3), he left just three pitches over the middle, but one of them got taken out of the yard by the Brewers' Mark Kotsay.
In Game 1 of the World Series, Carpenter threw 28 total pitches to left-handed batters, with only one of those being over the middle of the plate. Sixteen were outside, usually down, and eleven more were inside. The one Rangers LHB who got the "middle" pitch was opposing hurler C.J. Wilson.
Lefties were 0-for-7 against Carpenter in Game 1. Two of them struck out, and the other five made outs, with all those balls in play going straight up the middle.