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Sunday, October 23, 2011
Numbers: Jackson's slider, Holland's fastball

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- ESPN Stats & Information put together some information on each starting pitcher and what the hitters could expect in Game 4. Here's a look:

* Facing a Rangers lineup that might feature as many as seven right-handed hitters, Edwin Jackson's slider will be a key pitch for him in Game 4. He throws the pitch 45.7 percent of the time to righties, second-highest among starters this season behind Bud Norris.

* While with the White Sox earlier this season, Jackson faced the Rangers on May 16. He threw his slider 38.7 percent of the time in that start, his eighth-highest percentage among his 34 regular season and postseason starts this year. He threw it over half the time to righties, and they were 2-for-9 with four strikeouts in at-bats ending with the pitch.

* Jackson didn't have much other success in that start, however. The Rangers collected 11 hits off him in 5 1/3 innings, scoring four runs. His changeup was a big problem for him; he threw seven in the game, but the Rangers managed to total three hits against it. He didn't fare much better with his fastball either, with Rangers hitters going 6-for-13 against it. They were able to put Jackson's fastball in the air, with 11 of the 12 Jackson fastballs the Rangers put in play going for line drives or fly balls, something which may present a problem pitching in Arlington.

As for Derek Holland, his tailing fastball to right-handed hitters will be key for him:

* That pitch was among Holland’s most effective during the regular season, and he relies on it heavily, throwing the pitch 64.6 percent of the time against righties, the fourth highest percentage among left-handed starters.

* According to PITCHf/x data, Holland’s fastball averaged 11 inches of “tailing break,” the most among starting pitchers in baseball.

Most Average Horizontal Break on Fastballs -- Lefties, 2011 Season (min. 1000 fastballs)

Derek Holland: 11.0"
David Price: 10.5"
Chris Capuano: 10.4"
Matt Harrison: 9.7"

The Tigers were ready for it in Game 4 of the ALCS. Their right-handed hitters got four hits against it, including home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the first two innings. That’s as many hits as he allowed on fastballs away to right-handed hitters in his last seven regular-season appearances (spanning 119 pitches).