Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Big day on the mound for starters
By ESPN Stats & Info
Monday featured several stellar pitching performances around the diamond:
• It started early in the day as Daisuke Matsuzaka shut down the Toronto Blue Jays in the Boston Red Sox victory.
In his previous start, Daisuke allowed seven earned runs in two-plus innings of work against the Tampa Bay Rays to see his ERA rise to 12.86 for the season.
Matsuzaka got back on track against the Blue Jays allowing just one his over seven innings of work. It's just the second time in his MLB career he has allowed one-hit while pitching at least seven innings.
So what was the key to his success on Monday? Matsuzaka worked inside more as he threw 34 pitches inside against the Blue Jays. They went 0-for-8 with one strikeout in at-bats ending with a pitch inside.
He also got ahead early in counts. Matsuzaka threw a first pitch strike to 70 percent of hitters (16 of 23). In at-bats when Matsuzaka was ahead in the count, the Blue Jays were 1-for-11 with three strikeouts.
• While Daisuke allowed one hit, it appeared Tim Lincecum was headed for his first career no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies. Lincecum took a no-hitter into the seventh, allowing his first hit with one out in the inning.
It was the longest no-hit bid of his career. It was the fourth time Lincecum had a no-hitter through five innings. Three of the four have come against the Rockies.
He nearly held the Rockies hitless thanks to good use of his changeup late in counts.
He threw 18 changeups with two strikes, getting seven strikeouts. Five of the seven strikeouts were swinging strikeouts.
Those accounted for the majority of his 10 strikeouts, the 28th double-digit strikeout game of his career, tied for the most by a Giants pitcher since 1900 according to Elias. Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson also has 28 such games.
• David Price improved to 2-2 on the season with his second straight strong start. He pitched eight scoreless innings against the White Sox.
Price was effective with his off-speed stuff, although he used it sparingly.
He threw his lowest percentage of off-speed pitches (28 percent), but had his best game with those pitches. The White Sox went 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in at-bats ending with an off-speed pitch.
He also worked the corners off the plate to his advantage. The White Sox went 1-for-19 with nine strikeouts in at-bats ending with a pitch inside or away.
• Carlos Zambrano went eight scoreless as well, but didn’t receive any support taking a no-decision in the Chicago Cubs 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres.
Fastballs accounted for 72 percent of his pitches, with a season-high 67 percent of those going for strikes. The Padres went 2-for-21 with eight strikeouts in at-bats ending with a fastball.
He also challenged hitters as he allowed no hits and got six outs in at-bats ending with a pitch up and in.