Saturday, July 30, 2011
W2W4: Orioles at Yankees (Saturday)
A quick look at what to watch for out of the starting pitchers in today's doubleheader.
Bartolo Colon Stat 2 Watch 4 Colon has had an unusually high degree of success against cleanup hitters this season. They are 9-for-47 with two walks and four ground-ball double plays against him, but most significantly they have no home runs.
The only cleanup hitter to get a hit off Colon in his past seven starts is Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman, who has two.
Colon has specialized in getting the cleanup hitter to hit the ball on the ground. He's induced 26 ground balls from cleanup hitters (65 percent of balls put into play by them, including one bunt) and given up just three hits, including one to the Orioles' Vladimir Guerrero.
Colon leads the American League in this obscure stat: opposing ground ball percentage from cleanup hitters.
Colon induces ground balls at about a 44 percent rate from the rest of the lineup.
Ivan Nova Stat 2 Watch 4 Be wary of the long ball from Nova, who has won his last four decisions overall, but yielded five home runs in his last three starts at Yankee Stadium.
Opponents are 12-for-42 with seven homers this season when they hit a fly ball against Nova in the Bronx. They are 5-for-34 with one home run when doing so elsewhere.
Chris Tillman Stat 2 Watch 4 Ground balls hit against Tillman tend to find holes, so keep an eye on the Orioles defense behind him, too.
Opponents are hitting .274 when they hit a ground ball against Tillman this season. That's about 50 points worse than they hit on average against a major league pitcher.
But things have been better when Tillman has yielded a grounder recently, with opponents netting just two hits in 15 at-bats against him when hitting one over his past three starts before his demotion to Triple-A.
The issue in his previous start, on May 27, wasn't ground balls, but line drives. He allowed eight against the Athletics.
Zach Britton Stat 2 to Watch 4 Britton last pitched on July 8, allowing eight runs in 2/3 of an inning at Fenway Park. His ERA rose nearly a full point in his last four starts before the All-Star break -- from 3.10 to 4.05.
Britton didn't allow a run in seven innings against the Yankees on May 18. His key that day was getting ground balls. The Yankees put 21 balls into play against Britton that day, including seven with men on base. On each of those seven occasions (including one bunt), Britton got at least one out.