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Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Closer: keep on Rolen

By ESPN Stats & Info

Scott Rolen didn't top 11 home runs in 2007, 2008 or 2009. So far in 2010, Rolen has turned back the clock to the days when he was a 25-home run threat. We break down how the 5-time All Star is getting it done in this edition of The Closer.

Hitters of the Night:

Scott Rolen, CIN: 3-5, 2 HR (13), 4 RBI

Scott Rolen had his third multi-homer game of the season Tuesday, helping the Reds to a 9-8 victory over the Cardinals. Rolen's first home run came off a curveball, his second homer off the pitch this season. In 2008 and 2009, Rolen had just one home run against a curveball.

Victor Martinez, BOS: 5-5, 4 2B

Victor Martinez becomes the 5th player in Red Sox history with 4 doubles in a game and the first since Rick Miller in 1981. Martinez is the first player in MLB with 4 doubles in a game since Alex Rios had 4 2B against the Red Sox in 2008. V-Mart is also the first player to go 5-5 with 4 doubles since Tampa Bay's Tomas Perez in 2006 against the Yankees.

Why Ricky Nolasco won:

- Had success with his fastball. Threw strikes 76.8 pct of the time and struck out five hitters with the pitch, both season-highs for him.
- Worked the inner third of the plate: As judged by Inside Edge, Nolasco entered Tuesday's start with just four strikeouts all season on inside pitches. Against Milwaukee, Nolasco registered five punchouts on inside pitches. Brewers hitters were just 1-9 against pitches on the inner third.
- Nolasco put hitters away, as the Brewers were just 1-11 after the count got to two strikes.

Why Javier Vazquez won:

- He made batters miss on 27.5 percent of the time they swung, which was his second highest amount as a starter this year.
- Even though he got 7 strikeouts he was very effective keeping the ball down in the zone, throwing his season high 64 pitches down. This also generated season highs with 9 ground-ball outs and 52.9 percent of balls hit into play resulting in ground-balls.
- He threw first pitch strikes 73 percent of the time compared to the MLB average of 58.

Why Mike Pelfrey won:

- Worked the middle and low parts of the strikezone effectively. Threw 69 pitches and had batters swing 17 times while only yielding 1 hit.
- Finished off batters. 92 percent of batters that went to 2 strike counts were converted into outs compared to the MLB average of 72.
- He threw a strike in one of his first two pitches 93 percent of the time compared to the MLB average of 85.