I Hear He Can Dance, Too
Joanna from Hum and Chuck recently opined:
Papelbon hasn’t looked that sharp. Yes, he is getting outs and that’s clearly what counts. But he is getting ridiculous strike calls (one on Rolen was clearly up and in) and isn’t quite as precise as I remember him.
And asked me to investigate…First the movement on his dirty, dirty, splitter. Yeah, it’s still pretty good…
Ugh….8+ inches of drop on a 90 mph pitch. I don’t even understand that. Now for his location:
Splitters diving out of the zone and a lot of fastballs middle/up. I’m not sure if the Jays saw his best control to the corners, but he does tend to pitch up in the zone. Here’s where his location was last season:
As for the umpire calls, he got a few gifts off the outside corners for sure. Rolen’s double came off a pitch that was up and out of the strike zone (probably supposed to be a lot higher- is one mistake an inning enough to get excited about when facing a guy hitters hit under the Mendoza line against?), and Matt Stairs’ single was off probably the best pitch to hit from either night. Unfortunately, some genius turned off the pitch f/x machine for Vernon’s shot that was stabbed by Pedroia…