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October 16, 2013

Playoff Prospectus

ALCS Game 3 Recap: Red Sox 1, Tigers 0

by Sam Miller


Guess the MLB.com headline!

  • NAPOLI EVER AFTER
  • BEARD SCIENCE: CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS CARRY SOX
  • LACK FOR NOTHING
  • LACK FROM THE DEAD
  • TIGERS OFFENSE SLEEPS, RED SOX TAKE A NAP

For the third game in a row, the Red Sox were in danger of being no-hit. For the third game in a row, a Tigers starter had double-digit strikeouts against them. Three of the seven best game scores of this postseason have come against the Red Sox in this series. The Red Sox are up two games to one.

That answers the only question that matters. The Red Sox have won more games and the Red Sox have the edge in the series. But turning to questions that only sort of matter, there’s this: Are the Red Sox hitters in a slump? Or have the Tigers starters just been incredible?

Ben and I talked about this, or tried to, on Effectively Wild this week, but we didn’t really know how to answer the question of credit. What follows is an attempt to at least poke at it, without concluding anything.

What we’re trying to do is separate the moments when the pitcher was able to execute his plan perfectly from the moments he wasn’t. If the pitcher executes perfectly, the hitters can’t fairly be blamed. If he doesn’t, and the hitters don’t take advantage, then maybe they can be. So how to figure out when the pitcher didn’t execute his plan?

First, let’s revisit something a pitcher once told me: the catcher’s target matters only for fastballs because, for the most part, the secondary pitches are thrown to about the same target every time. Not exactly, of course. But the point of most secondary pitches is to look like a hittable fastball, induce a swing, and then move out of the zone. Sliders should end up in the same spot; changeups should end up in the same spot; etc. For instance, Max Scherzer’s slider usually goes to the same place:

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Related Content:  Pitching,  Playoffs,  Boston Red Sox,  ALCS,  Detroit Tigers

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/16)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: NL... (10/16)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Playoff Prospectus: AL... (10/17)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Loo... (10/17)

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