1st Pitch: Hitters who love the slow stuff

May, 19, 2010
5/19/10
2:25
PM ET
Quick Hits: Yesterday in Quick Hits we took a look at batters who are crushing fastballs this season. Today we’ll focus on guys who have excelled against off-speed pitches.

* Joey Votto is batting .529 (9-17) against changeups.

* Ryan Sweeney has yet to swing and miss on a curveball this season. He’s made contact on all 20 he has offered at, and is batting .357 against curves.

* Andrew McCutcheon is batting .647 (11-17) against curves thrown in the strike zone.

* Ryan Zimmerman is batting .520 against sliders (13-25) with four home runs. He has also missed a league-low 11.4 percent of curveballs he’s swung at.

* Derek Jeter is batting.219 against sliders this season, but it could just be bad luck. He leads the league with a .375 well-hit average against sliders.

* Alfonso Soriano is batting .395 (15-38) against sliders with 10 extra-base hits (eight doubles, two home runs).

Today’s Trivia: Vernon Wells tied Joe Carter for the 2nd most home runs in Blue Jays history yesterday. He now trails only Carlos Delgado. Since Wells debuted in 1999, he and Delgado have each hit over 200 home runs with the Blue Jays, over 100 more than the next player on the list. Who has the third most home runs for the Jays during that time span?

Today’s Leaderboard: On yesterday’s leaderboard, Franklin Gutierrez ranked among the leaders in slugging percentage against fastballs 93 mph or faster. Today, he shows up on essentially the opposite list. He’s batting .500 against pitches less than 80 miles per hour, which trails only Andrew McCutcheon.

Key Matchups: In two career starts at U.S. Cellular Field, Angels starter Joe Saunders is 2-0 with a stellar 1.66 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. In 2009, Saunders was 1-1 against the White Sox with a 2.63 ERA. To get a jump on Saunders, the White Sox may want to think about starting pinch hitter Jayson Nix, who was 3-5 versus Saunders last season with three home runs

Wednesday will mark the fourth time the Los Angeles Dodgers have seen Padres starter Jon Garland since 2009, and Garland likely wouldn't mind seeing them a bit more. The Dodgers have only hit .231 against Garland in those three previous starts, and his fastball in particular has been rough on Los Angeles hitters. The Dodgers are hitting .226 against Garland's fastball, well below the team's .297 average vs fastballs since the start of the ’09 season, and 58 points below the major league average in that same time span (.284).

Trivia Answer: Jose Cruz Jr. hit 97 home runs for the Blue Jays from 1999 to 2002. Trailing him on the list are Alex Rios (81), Tony Batista (80) and Eric Hinske (78).

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