Throw the Damn Curve
So how did Scott Richmond not only survive, but strike out 11 against a lefty-stacked Phillies lineup, when lefties have hit him on for an absurd .972 OPS this season? He finally ignored the completely overblown concept that as a righty you don’t throw breaking pitches to left handed batters (because they move towards rather than away from them) and just threw his normal repertoire to them instead of a majority of fastballs that were getting hammered. As Inside Edge put it earlier this year:
Although his breaking balls have been effective versus hitters on both sides of the plate, Richmond throws them less often to left-handed batters, even though lefties have pummeled his fastball for 13 extra-base hits. Nearly half his pitches to right-handed batters are breaking balls, but left-handed batters see a curve or slider just 35 percent of the time.
Richmond threw 40 fastballs, 15 curves, 21 sliders and 3 changeups to lefties tonight – almost the exact same 50/50 fastball and breaking pitch combination that has been dominating RHB so far this year. Although you would expect his changeups to be more effective against LHB, they are simply not his best pitch. His slider and curve are. He trusted them on both sides of the plate and dominated one of the best offensive teams in the league. Lesson learned, hopefully.