The Closer: Stars come out

Lost among a no-hitter, a funky 20-inning tilt and suspended game resumptions, some other players of note managed to make some noise on Saturday.

Why Giants starter Tim Lincecum won:

  • Miss pct of 34.1, has increased in all three starts this season

  • Mixed it up: Threw only 54 pct fastballs, down from 63 pct the last three seasons

  • As a result, hitters were 0-for-10 vs. non-fastballs (.212 vs. non-fastballs first two starts)

Why Astros starter Roy Oswalt won:

  • Was deadly with two strikes. Cubs hitters were 1-13 with a single and six strikeouts in 2-strike counts, lowering his 2-strike opp BA to .214 in 2010 (MLB average .184). In particular, the Cubs were 0-8 with five strikeouts on outside pitches in 2-strike counts.

  • Kept the ball (and the Cubs) down. Chicago hitters were 0-17 on pitches down in the zone with five strikeouts. Oswalt was at his best on the low outside corner in particular, holding Cubs hitters to 0-8 with four strikeouts on pitches low and away.

Why Angels starter Joe Saunders won:

  • Kept his fastball down. Blue Jay hitters were 1-9 against low fastballs from Saunders, and 74.1% of his low fastballs were located for strikes (63% in the strike zone).

  • Controlled the count. Saunders threw 70% of his first pitches for strikes, and only went to a 2-0 count once. Saunders went to 3-ball counts on three hitters all afternoon.

  • Kept leadoff men off base. Saunders retired seven of the eight leadoff men he faced.

Why Nationals starter Livan Hernandez won:

  • Kept Brewers off-balance with slider early in the count. With less than two strikes, Milwaukee hitters were 0-7 against Hernandez's 25 sliders on Saturday, despite making contact on all 11 of their swings.

  • Let his fielders do the work with men on base. With runners on base, the Brewers were 0-9 despite putting nine of their 19 swings in play and only missing two swings.


Derek Jeter: 3-4, 2-run HR

Jeter hit his third HR of the season on Saturday, a screaming line drive to left field, and added two singles in the Yankees' 7-3 win. He had a single and a HR on pitches on the inner third, a spot that's historically been his toughest part of the strike zone. Jeter seems to have made an adjustment, getting to the inside pitch with authority so far this season. From 2007-09, Jeter slugged .370 on inside pitches and .479 on pitches thrown middle and away. So far in 2010, Jeter is slugging .688 on inside pitches and .559 middle/away.

Tim Lincecum: 3-4, 3 RBI

Lincecum had the first multi-hit game of his career on Saturday, and as our David Bearman pointed out, is hitting .428 (3-7) with 3 RBI this season while holding opponents to just .178 (13-73) with only 2 earned runs allowed. Lincecum was aggressive, seeing only 10 pitches in his four plate appearances and all three of his hits came on the second pitch of the at-bat. Lincecum was 2-for-2 on 0-1 counts, giving him six hits on 0-1 counts, the most hits on any count in his career.