The Closer: Blowout Sale

June, 10, 2010
6/10/10
2:44
AM ET
If you like close baseball games, Wednesday would have been a great night to catch a movie - especially if you're a fan of the American League.

Of the night's seven AL games, six were decided by more than two runs and a whopping four were decided by at least nine runs.

Here's a look at some of the pitching performances that helped lead to some wide margins:

Why Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy deserved to win:

- Kept the ball away. Braves hitters were 1-9 (.111) on pitches on the outside third of the plate, including 0-7 on fastballs away.

- Had a solid fastball overall. Braves hitters were 2-13 (.154) against the Kennedy heat, chasing 27.0 pct of fastballs out of the zone (22.8 MLB avg fastball chase pct).

- Threw a nasty changeup. Atlanta batters were 0-8 on Kennedy's changeup, and missed five of their 13 swings (38.5 pct; MLB average miss pct on changeups is 30.1).

Why Angels starter Joe Saunders won:

- Changeup was deadly. Saunders held the Athletics to 1-11 (.091) with a single on his changeup, including 0-8 on changeups down in the zone.

- Threw hard inside. Oakland batters were 1-7 (.143) on inside fastballs against Saunders, including 1-6 (.167) inside to right-handed hitters.

- Finished off Oakland hitters effectively. The Athletics were 0-7 in two-strike counts, chasing 42.9 pct of pitches outside the zone with two strikes (MLB average 35.8 chase pct with two strikes).

Why Yankees starter CC Sabathia won:

- Threw his slider well. On a night when Baltimore hit .462 (6-13) on his fastball, Sabathia was effective with his slider, holding the Orioles to 1-7 (.143) with four strikeouts.

- Induced swings. Sabathia got Baltimore hitters to chase 33.9 pct of pitches out of the zone (Sabathia's 2010 chase pct - 27.4). Baltimore hitters chased 43.5 pct of non-fastballs (MLB avg 28.6 pct). Orioles hitters also missed on 30.2 pct of their swings, well above Sabathia's 21.1 average miss pct.

- Controlled the count. Sabathia threw one of his first two pitches for strikes 91 pct of the time Wednesday, better than the 85 pct MLB average.

Why Indians starter Justin Masterson got his first shutout:

- Kept the ball on the ground. Masterson induced 17 groundball outs, a career best. Overall, Boston hitters were 1-11 (.091) on pitches down in the zone.

- Got hitters to chase. The Red Sox chased 27.1 pct of pitches out of the zone against Masterson Wednesday, their sixth-highest percentage in a game this season. However, the 27.1 chase pct was actually below Masterson's season average (28.9).

- Mixed in a dominant slider. Masterson held Boston batters to 0-9 on his 18 sliders Wednesday, including 0-5 away vs. righties and 0-3 inside vs. lefties. This season, batters are 9-48 (.188) on Masterson's slider.

Why Rays starter David Price won:

- Pounded inside. Price held Blue Jays hitters to 0-5 on inside pitches, the fifth start this season he hasn't allowed a hit on an inside pitch.

- Threw high and hard. Price held Toronto batters to 0-5 on pitches up in the zone, with an average velocity of 94.4 MPH on high pitches (92.6 average velocity Wednesday).

- Controlled the count. Price only went to one 3-ball count Wednesday, and his 67 first-pitch strike pct was well above the 58 pct MLB average.

And here's one note from the hitters:

Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena hit his 128th home run as a member of the Rays on Wednesday, tying him with Aubrey Huff for the Tampa Bay franchise record. However, Pena’s home run, which traveled 333 feet down the line in left field at Tropicana Field, would not have been a home run in any other major league ballpark.

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