Thursday, October 28, 2010
How the Giants got to Cliff Lee
By Richard Durrett
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- As they do after each postseason game, the number crunching czars at ESPN Stats & Information took a look at how each pitcher performed. Here's how the Giants jumped on Cliff Lee in Wednesday's Game 1:
* His cutter was not on the level of his first three postseason starts. Opponents entered Wednesday 3-for-28 against Lee's cutter in the postseason; the Giants were 3-for-10 on Wednesday, with all of the hits going for doubles. The difference was Lee threw more cutters than usual in the strike zone, especially on outside pitches. Fifteen of Lee's 18 (83.3 percent) outside cutters were in the strike zone, and the Giants doubled off two of them. In the first three games of the postseason, 60 percent of Lee's outside cutters were in the strike zone, and opponents had just one hit on them.
* The Giants did damage against all of Lee's outside pitches. Lee had made a living on the outside corner in the postseason, but the Giants made him pay in Game 1. Lee had allowed five hits on outside pitches in the ALDS and ALCS; the Giants had six hits on outside pitches in Game 1. Four of the six hits were on line drives or fly balls, as the Giants were able to elevate Lee's outside pitches.
* Lee also suffered from a bit of bad luck, perhaps aided by the spacious outfield of AT&T Park. Giants hitters were 8-for-22 against him, striking out seven times and hitting zero home runs, meaning the Giants were 8-for5 (.533) against him on balls in play, including Edgar Renteria reaching on a Michael Young error. For the season, opponents hit .290 against Lee on balls in play.