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Tuesday, May 25, 2010
1st Pitch: Looking at today's SP chase pct

By Ryan McCrystal, ESPN Stats and Info

Quick Hits: A number of pitchers take the hill today who have found success this season getting hitters to chase pitches out of the strike zone. Here’s a look at a few of those guys...

* Hitters are chasing Scott Baker’s fastball out of the zone 26.5 percent of the time, the second highest average in the majors, trailing only Phil Hughes.

* Right behind Baker is Justin Verlander, whose fastball has been chased 25.7 percent of the time.

* Adam Wainwright leads the majors with a 39.6 chase percentage on his curveball.

* Hitters have chased Jon Lester’s slider out of the zone 41.3 percent of the time, the eight highest rate in the baseball.

* James Shields leads the majors with a 49.6 chase percentage on his changeup.

* Ricky Romero’s changeup has been chased out of the zone 47.9 percent of the time, trailing only Shields.

Today’s Trivia: Casey McGehee currently leads the NL with 39 RBI. Last season his teammate Prince Fielder led the NL with 141 RBI. If McGehee keeps up his pace, it will be the first time two different players from the same team led the NL in RBI in consecutive years since 2003 and 2004. Can you name the players?

Today’s Leaderboard: It’s no surprise that Vladimir Guerrero has chased more pitches out of the strike zone than any hitter this season. He’s swung at 41.0 percent of the balls thrown to him outside the zone – 5.1 percent higher than anyone else. But Guerrero isn’t necessary the best bad-ball hitter in the game. Here’s a look at the leaders in batting average on pitches out of the strike zone.

Key Matchups: Nick Markakis has hit safely in seven straight games and has a .357 average during that span. He may struggle to keep that streak alive tonight against Dallas Braden. Markakis is 1-14 with six strikeouts in his career against Braden.

Arguably no one has given Jon Lester more trouble in his career than Carlos Pena. In his career against Lester, Pena is batting .310 (9-29) with five home runs. No other player has hit more than three homers against Lester.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The Rockies’ Preston Wilson led the league with 141 RBI in 2003. The following season Vinny Castilla led the league with 131. Prior to Wilson and Castilla, the last set of NL teammates to lead in RBI in consecutive years were Dante Bichette (1995) and Andres Galarraga (1996).