1st Pitch: Splendid Splitters

Quick Hits: According to Inside Edge, Ubaldo Jimenez threw 13 split-fingered fastballs on Monday. Hitters swung at seven of them and failed to put any of them in play. On the season, opponents are batting just .185 against Jimenez’s splitter. Here’s a look at others who’ve had success with the slitter this season.

  • Dan Haren, who’s scheduled to start on Tuesday, has struggled this season but his splitter remains effective. Opponents are batting just .206 against the pitch.

  • Opponents are batting just .184 against Mike Pelfrey’s splitter. Pelfrey is also scheduled to take the hill on Tuesday.

  • Carlos Zambrano’s splitter has been one of the only pitches working for him this season. He’s allowed just one hit in 17 at-bats which have ended with a splitter – a .059 BA.

  • J.J. Putz has thrown 55 two-strike splitters, 15 of which have resulted in strikeouts. That’s a 27.2 putaway rate – the highest in the majors with the splitter (min. 50 pitches).

Today’s Trivia: Today is the 69th birthday of Dean Chance, the Angels first Cy Young winner in 1964. Since Chance won the award, only two other Angels have finished in the top two of the Cy Young voting. Can you name them?

Lowest Opp OBP with 2 Outs
Min. 50 Batters Faced

Today’s Leaderboard: Who are the best pitchers at shutting the door on an inning? It should come as no surprise that two of the top three are guys who have gone a perfect 9-for-9 in a game this season. Dallas Braden leads the majors with a .171 opponents OBP with two outs. The only surprising name on this list may be Brett Myers, who has quietly put together a 3-3 record with a 3.22 ERA this year.

Manny Ramirez
Highest OPS vs Pitcher

Key Matchups: After a 19-game homerless drought Manny Ramirez has gone deep in two of his last four games. He figures to stay hot tonight against Dan Haren. In his career against Haren, Ramirez is batting .548 with three homers and a 1.609 OPS

Chipper Jones has owned Cole Hamels through his career, perhaps more so than any other hitter. Jones is 9-22 with two home runs against Hamels. His 1.364 OPS is the highest Hamels has allowed to any batter he’s faced at least 20 times.

Trivia Answer: Bartolo Colon won the award in 2005 and Nolan Ryan finished second behind Jim Palmer in 1973.