The Closer: Why They Won

Why Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright won:

  • Once again, Wainwright had his curveball working, especially with two strikes. Mets hitters were just 2-15 against Wainwright’s curve, but 0-9 with five strikeouts when the at-bat got to two strikes. For the season, opposing hitters are 3-31 against Wainwright’s curveball, including 1-22 with two strikes. Wainwright has thrown his curveball 29.8% of the time this season, but that number almost doubles to 58.3% when looking at two-strike situations.

  • Why Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw should have won:

    • Threw strikes, especially with his curveball: Overall, Kershaw threw strikes on 64.9 pct of his pitches, compared to 54.1 and 53.6 pct in his first two starts, respectively. After lasting just 10 innings combined in his first two starts, Kershaw made it through seven frames on Sunday. Kershaw's curveball was key for him against the Giants, as he registered four strikeouts with the pitch. Kershaw had one strikeout with the curveball in his first two starts combined.

    Why Marlins starter Nate Robertson won:

    • Threw strikes: 64.8 pct, up from 57.4 and 60.5 in his first two starts.

    • Swing-and-miss pct of 20.9, just 9.8 in his first two starts.

    • Strike pct of 69.5, chase pct of 30.8, hitters were 1-for-11 against his fastball (strike pct of 63.0, chase pct of 6.8, .227 BA against fastball entering Sunday).

    Why Rays starter Matt Garza won:

    • His fastball: Threw 81 percent fastballs, held hitters to .167 (3-18) against it (lowest BA vs fastball this season)

    • Attacked lefties with the heater: 85.5 pct of pitches, lefties went 0-9 (overall, lefties are hitting .276 vs right-handed fastballs this season).

    Why Angels starter Ervin Santana won:

    • Had much greater success with his slider. He threw 33 sliders, and even though only 12 were in the strike zone, 23 went for strikes, as he had the Blue Jays chasing pitches out of the zone (47.6 chase pct).