Why Stop Now, Just When I’m Hating It?
I think it’s safe to say that Roy Halladay was just outdueled by his own offence. Ugh. I don’t even want to think about that game, let alone delve into it. But the show must go on…Just when you think that the Jays couldn’t lose another brutal 1-run game in disappointing fashion (they now fall to 2-7 in one run games and 11-16 in disappointing ones), or waste another complete game gem from Halladay, they get one-hit by a struggling Jon Lester- and just to drive the dagger home, on the last play of the game Wells bobbles the ball and doesn’t even get a throw off that might have cut down David Ortiz at the plate.
But forget about Vernon continuing to put his gold glove further and further in the rear view mirror (he is now a very distant last in balls both in and outside of his zone) this team is supposed to kill left-handed pitching, and they didn’t square anything up against Lester over 8 innings. I’m not going to graph his movement. It was his normal stuff, a nice mix of 5 pitches but nothing special. So maybe he came out with pinpoint command? Well, no…
If you see anything that looks like a 1-hitter here, let me know. Lester threw two fastballs, a 4-seamer and a 2-seamer with good sink down and away (as shown – 100% of the contact outs came off his fastballs), and a bunch of cutters in on the hands. But he also enough pitches left up and over the plate to do something with.
For lefties he stayed away from the middle of the plate nicely, but also gave up the only hit to Lyle Overbay on a meatball cutter high and right down the middle.
Just to prove that I wasn’t making this stuff up, here’s the Doc’s movement on the night:
As predicted, his sinker wasn’t diving any more than his cutter, but the had the curve working and the cutter was aces. On days like this it looks more like Rivera’s pitch that he throws hard and it goes straight sideways, as opposed to Jesse Litsch’s- which could easily be confused with a slider. As mentioned on the TV broadcast, Roy was having problems with his Changeup in the cold (and supposedly he got together in the offseason with Trevor Hoffman to work on it by applying more pressure with the pads of his fingers) so it wasn’t dropping much.
Now for some location- first against righties:
Beauty. Roy painted the outside corner all night with his cutter, and either floated the curveball in low or dove it way off the plate. Sinkers were mostly tailing in on the hands, but the game winning hit was left low and down in the zone, which as I mention every second post, down and in is the secret pitcher killer. DON’T DO IT, ROY! Especially the two seamer will just start out down the middle of the plate and then dive where hitters really like it.
Unlike a lot of pitchers Roy still throws the curve to lefties, down and in. Tough pitch to lay off. His changeup may have been flat, but it was nicely placed on the outside corner.
Anyway, this has become a long attempt to distract myself from what just happened that doesn’t do much but confirm what you probably thought anyway: Lester was solid but hittable, and Halladay brought his best stuff to the mound except for one pitch that it shouldn’t have come down to. Doesn’t it seem a lot less like a greek tragedy when reduced down to dots, squares, and the occasional squiggly line??