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Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Closer: HR heaven

By ESPN Stats & Info

On Wednesday, MLB players combined to hit 47 home runs. That is the highest single-day total this season. Five batters had multi-HR games: Matt Holliday, Martin Prado, Buster Posey, Casey Kotchman and Adam Dunn (who hit three). Dunn had been in a 12-game homerless drought prior to Wednesday's outburst. We break down a change in Dunn's approach this season in this edition of The Closer:

Hitter of the Night

Adam Dunn, WSH: 3-4, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

Dunn is the second player this season (Edwin Encarnacion) to homer on three different types of pitches in a game, as he homered off Jon Garland's changeup in the first inning, Garland's fastball in the third inning and Joe Thatcher's slider in the eighth inning. The homers off Garland reflected a trend this season for Dunn, who has been more aggressive in his approach. Dunn's swing percentage on the first two pitches he sees is up from 29.0 last year to 32.1 pct this season, and he's seen strong results.

On a homer-heavy day, there were starters who had success:

Why Tim Lincecum won:

- Lincecum's average fastball velocity was 93.3 MPH, his highest in a start this season. Lincecum started 20 hitters off with fastballs (71.4 pct of AB).
- The Giants righty threw his changeup 23 times on Wednesday, getting Brewers hitters to miss on eight of their 12 swings - the best miss pct (66.7) in a start this season for Lincecum's changeup.
- He especially turned to his changeup with two strikes: He threw 17 pitches with two strikes, eight of which were changeups. Lincecum managed six strikeouts with his change, all swinging. Overall with two strikes, Brewers hitters put just one ball in play, a groundout.

Why David Price won:

- Threw 99 fastballs out of 111 pitches (89.1 pct), a season high. Entering Wednesday, Price had thrown 70.3 pct fastballs on the season. The Red Sox missed on 19 of their 60 swings against Price's fastball (31.7 pct). For the season, the Red Sox miss pct vs fastballs is 13.1.
- Through six innings, Price had thrown 83 of 87 fastballs. In his final two innings, eight of Price's 24 pitches were offspeed. Price started 27 of the first 29 hitters he faced with a first-pitch fastball.
- Price threw five of his 12 offspeed pitches with two strikes. He also threw five of his 12 offspeed pitches to Marco Scutaro. Scutaro is a .300 hitter this season against fastballs from LHP; .241 against offspeed pitches from LHP.
- Price's strike pct of 74.8 was a season high, and he threw just one pitch all night out of a three-ball count.
- With runners in scoring position, Price threw 14 pitches; only one was an offspeed pitch.

Why Josh Johnson won:
- Challenged hitters in the strike zone. Johnson threw 75 of his 117 pitches in the strike zone (64.1 pct- a season high). As a result, Johnson's chase pct (4.8 pct) was almost half of his previous season low in a start (9.4 pct).
- Johnson threw 46 of his 76 fastballs in the strike zone, and Dodgers hitters showed patience, chasing only one of 30 fastballs out of the zone. However, they also only went 2-15 (.133) on fastballs in the strike zone. The MLB average on fastballs in the zone is .302.
- Worked efficiently. Johnson retired all eight leadoff men he faced, and 22 of his 31 batters faced saw four pitches or less.