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May 3, 2011
Tiger vs Tiger: If Andy Oliver Faced Scott Sizemore
Scott Sizemore is being called up by the Tigers today, which should come as no surprise given that the second baseman is hitting .408/.495/.605 in 92 plate appearances for Triple-A Toledo. Andy Oliver may not be far behind, as the highly-touted southpaw is 3-1, 3.64 in five starts for the Mud Hens, his last outing a 7-inning, 3-hit, shutout performance. The two youngsters sat down prior to last night’s game to discuss what would happen in an Andy-versus-Scott match-up.
David Laurila: Scott, what kind of pitcher is Andy?
Scott Sizemore: He’s one of those lefties that has a power fastball and controls it well. He has command of everything he wants to do and he’s not afraid to go after guys and challenge them.
DL: Is that pretty accurate, Andy?
Andy Oliver: Yes, Scott pretty much knows what type of pitcher I am. I’m aggressive and like to get after guys. I obviously use my fastball to get ahead of hitters, and he’s seen me do that.
DL: What type of hitter is Scott?
Oliver: He’s a smart hitter. He obviously knows what he’s doing. He has a good approach every time he goes up there. He’s taking pitches in certain counts, and in hitters’ counts he’s looking for a certain pitch. When he gets it, he hits it. He’s definitely a smart hitter.
DL: How would you pitch to him?
Oliver: It would depend on his first plate appearance. I’d probably throw an outside fastball, two-seam, to see what he did with it -- maybe if he took it -- and work off of that. Later on in the game, I’d probably start him off with a changeup to try to get him out front. The first plate appearance you see how a guy reacts to certain pitches and kind of go from there. It also depends on what the situation is. If there are guys on base he might be a little more aggressive and looking for a fastball he can drive.
DL: Scott, what would be your approach against Andy?
Sizemore: I would approach him the same way I’d approach anybody. My approach is pretty much not to have an approach. I’m just ready for the fastball down the middle, on every pitch, and I adjust from there. That’s pretty much what I do.
DL: The fact that it’s Andy on the mound wouldn’t have any impact at all?
Sizemore: Hopefully not, no. That’s what I try to do, not make anything different, no matter who is on the mound. I just always try to have my timing and rhythm going, and see the ball and hit it, no matter what the pitch is or what the count it is. I’m just ready to hit the heater.
DL: Wouldn’t Andy being a left-hander factor in?
Sizemore: Lefties are a little different, but just by my sight adjustments, the way I’m picking the ball up out of the pitcher’s hand. That’s the only real difference for me.
DL: Is Andy’s delivery deceptive?
Sizemore: I don’t think so. He’s pretty smooth; he’s a pretty classic mechanics guy. As a pitcher, that’s probably what you want. You want to have good mechanics. That way you can repeat your delivery as much as possible, and that’s what Andy does.
DL: Andy, would the fact that Scott is swinging a hot bat impact how you pitched to him?
Oliver: I’d be a little careful. Like I said, his first plate appearance I’d go at him and see how he handled my fastball, or whatever. From there I’d adjust to the situation, or to the count, but I wouldn’t completely change my approach. Maybe later in the game, if he had been turning on my fastball, I might adjust.
DL: As his teammate, do you know what Scott’s weaknesses are?
Oliver: Not really. Honestly, I don’t know anything specific that I could fool him on. I haven’t faced him. I’ve obviously seen him hit, but I don’t think I’ve even pitched to him in spring training.
Sizemore: That’s probably true; I don’t think I’ve ever faced you.
DL: Scott, what would happen if you did face Andy?
Sizemore: I’d try to hit a line drive up the middle. That’s my approach.
DL; That’s what your approach would be, but what would actually happen?
Sizemore: What would happen? I don’t know. It depends on if he threw me strikes or not. If he threw balls, I’d probably walk, and if he threw strikes, I’d probably put it into play. That’s all I can say, really.
DL; Andy, what would happen if you faced Scott?
Oliver: I’m not going there. I’d just try to make a good quality pitch and whatever happened is what happened. Maybe I‘d get him, and maybe he‘d get me.