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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Senor Tumbalina

While watching game one I tried a new technique for charting pitches. I was going to use it to compare Roger Clemens and Jose Contreras but since Clemens only went two that didn’t work out so well. Anyway, Contreras went 7 innings and one batter so here’s my summary given the data I collected.

Inning One
Contreras starts off each of the three hitters with fastballs (2 called strikes and a ball) and hits 96 on the gun on his sixth pitch to Craig Biggio on which he grounds out to short. He gets Willy Taveras to pop out to short on his first forkball of the night on pitch 10 and then uses the forkball on the final four pitches to Lance Berkman, the last of which comes in at 78mph and catches Berkman looking.

Inning Summary: 15 pitches, 9 fastballs (93.4mph), 5 forkballs (79.6mph), 1 slider (88mph)
Game Summary: 15 pitches, 9 fastballs (75%), 5 forkballs (33%), 1 slider (6.7%)

Inning Two
Starts each of the four hitters with fastballs and throws just one forkball in the inning, the third pitch to Jeff Bagwell which hit him. Mike Lamb hits a homerun to center on an 0-1 93mph fastball down and in. Fastest pitch is the 95mph fastball to start Bagwell. Seems to be making a conscious effort to pitch Baggy up and in with hard stuff.

Summary: 9 pitches, 8 fastballs (91.9mph), 1 forkball (78mph), 0 sliders (-mph)
Game Summary: 24 pitches, 17 fastballs (75%), 6 forkballs (25%), 1 slider (4.1%)

Inning Three
Longest inning of the game for Conteras as he throws 19 pitches to six hitters. He starts the leadoff hitter Brad Ausmus with a 92mph fastball and then Ausmus singles to right on the next pitch – a 93mph fastball up and out over the plate. He starts Adam Everett with a 92mph fastball and gets him to roll into a force out on an 88mph slider on the fourth pitch. He seems to fall in love with his slider after that and throws it on four of his five pitches to Biggio. He mixes in a forkball at 78mph that Biggio fouls off before singling to center on an 88 mph slider. He also throws it on the first two pitches to Taveras who helps him out by sacrificing the runners to second and third. Berkman follows with a double to right on a handing 78mph forkball on the first pitch and then finally rights the ship and throws three straight fastballs to Morgan Ensberg who grounds to short after starting him with a forkball followed by a slider.

Summary: 19 pitches, 8 fastballs (92.3mph), 3 forkballs (79.7mph), 8 sliders (87mph)
Game Summary: 43 pitches, 25 fastballs (58.1%), 9 forkballs (20.9%), 9 sliders (20.9%)

Inning Four
He seems to have learned his lesson and throws only fastballs and forkballs getting a strikeout of Lamb and flyouts from Bagwell and Lane. The strikeout of Lamb he gets on his third straight forkball (79mph) down and in. To Bagwell he muscles up on the fastball once again throwing fastballs on five of six pitches all at 94 or 95mph. He gets him on a fastball up and in that Bagwell just misses and flies to left. Lane flies to right on a 93mph fastball on the outside corner. Started all three hitters with fastballs.

Summary: 14 pitches, 10 fastballs (93.7mph), 4 forkballs (80mph), 0 sliders (-mph)
Game Summary: 57 pitches, 35 fastballs (61.4%), 13 forkballs (22.8%), 9 sliders (15.9%)

Inning Five
In the 5th Conteras got Ausmus to fly to right on the first pitch, a 92mph fastball. Everett grounded to third on the second pitch which may have been a slider and Biggio grounded to third on the fourth straight fastball he’d seen. The Astros are exhibiting very little patience. Conteras didn’t need to break out the forkball this inning and all hitters are started with fastballs.

Summary: 7 pitches, 6 fastballs (91.7mph), 0 forkballs (-mph), 1 slider (89mph)
Game Summary: 64 pitches, 41 fastballs (64%), 13 forkballs (20.3%), 10 sliders (15.6%)

Inning Six
Taveras leads off the inning with a line drive double to left on a 92mph fastball up and in on the first pitch. Berkman hits an 0-1 pitch to first and advances the runner to third, both pitches fastballs. Ensberg swings at a 1-0 pitch and grounds to third, both pitches fastballs. To Lamb he goes with a first pitch fastball and follows with three forkballs at 80mph each, the last of which Lamb grounds to second. Once again the Astros don’t work the count. All hitters started with fastballs.

Summary: 9 pitches, 6 fastballs (92.8mph), 3 forkballs (80mph), 0 sliders (-mph)
Game Summary: 73 pitches, 47 fastballs (64.4%), 16 forkballs (21.9%), 10 sliders (13.7%)

Inning Seven
Conteras hits the leadoff hitter Bagwell on another forkball up and in after starting him with an 88mph fastball up he took for a called strike. Lane pops to first on a 92mph first pitch fastball. Ausmus is then hit with a first pitch 92mph fastball. Everett continues not to be patient and swings at an 0-1 fastball and grounds into a double play. Biggio then also swings at the first pitch, an 87mph fastball and grounds to third. Astros getting less patient as the game wears on. Four of the five hitters started with fastballs. The fastball has noticeably slowed.

Summary: 7 pitches, 5 fastballs (90.2mph), 1 forkball (79mph), 1 slider (86mph)
Game Summary: 80 pitches, 52 fastballs (65%), 17 forkballs (21.2%), 10 sliders (12.5%)

Inning Eight
Taveras hits another double to left center on a second pitch 85mph slider. He’s relieved in favor of Neal Cotts.

Summary: 2 pitches, 1 fastball (88mph), 0 forkballs (-mph), 1 slider (85mph)
Game Summary: 82 pitches, 53 fastballs (64.7%), 17 forkballs (20.7%), 11 sliders (13.4%)

For the game Conteras started 24 of the 29 hitters with fastballs. Astros hitters offered at the first pitch 11 times but didn’t work the count after the first pitch seeing just 2.83 pitches per plate appearance (Carlos Silva was tops in the majors last season at just over 3). I was surprised he didn’t use the forkball a bit more throwing it about one in five pitches. It’s possible that a few of those 11 sliders weren’t actually sliders but hard forkballs but his forkball was very consistently from 78-80mph. He got 12 groundball outs of his 21.

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