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So Scott Downs pitched yesterday. He also threw on Monday. I figured I could chart his pitches for that game against the Yankees like Matthew Rauseo did for John Patterson's August 19th start at However, TSN televised the game with their standard practice of not showing pitch speeds, so I went with Plan B in that article.

Yes, TSN televised this game -- I thought Sportsnet would. And no, no pitch speeds on TV. But Downs pitched so well, I figured I would go for it anyway.

You already know that Scott Downs pitched well; perhaps because I just said that in the previous paragraph, making the first sentence of this one quite redundant. His line was six innings, just three hits and two walks against six strikeouts. The only run against him came in after an error. A Game Score of 68, which is his second best of the year (73 against Detroit). Going a little deeper, we see he faced 23 batters, threw 99 pitches, 59 of which were for strikes.

I charted all but one of his pitches -- he faced one batter in the seventh, but I just have the first six innings recorded here. Why? Just because, that's why.

Now before I start with the breakdowns, I must tell you that I probably have some of these pitches classified wrong. As far as I could tell, Downs had the regular four-seam fastball, a secondary fastball that was some sort of two-seam/sinking pitch, a slider and curve which became increasingly difficult to tell apart and a changeup which looked like his sinking fastball on more than one occasion. Oh, and the two-seamer looked like the slider.

Note: it's after the fact, but Alex Obal has the report from the Rogers Centre radar gun. "His slider was between 75 and 80...the curve between 65 and 73...80 to 87 for his fastball." Since I need to know the speeds of individual pitches for this to work, it's not much help. But good effort nonetheless, and if the slider was around 80 and the fastball was around 80, no wonder I mixed them up.

But I digress, and I think I did an okay job anyway. Of his 98 pitches, TSN showed 96 of them. Of those 96, 42 were fastballs, 25 were sliders, 10 were curveballs and the remaining 19 were changeups. Perhaps a data table would help. Once again, we have S(winging strike), C(alled strike), F(oul ball), B(all) and X for a ball in play:

Pitch     TOT     S     C     F     B     X    First
Slider     25     9     4     3     8     1      5
2-Seam     22     3     4     3     8     4      4
4-Seam     20     1     7     3     4     5      5
Change     19     3     2     0    11     3      5
Curve      10     0     0     0     9     1      1

Unless I really messed up with identifying Downs' curve, it looks like there was no Hammer Time -- no strikes at all from that pitch. The changeup didn't work too well either. Only the slider and fastballs were consistent strike pitches. Still, he changed speeds very well, even if he only threw the curveball as a "show-me" pitch.

With two strikes, Downs went with the curve five times, the two-seamer seven times, the four-seamer four times, the changeup six times, and the slider eight times. He only got four swinging strikes, and three of them were slider-induced. And with runners on base, Downs threw 6 balls in 14 pitches -- more wild than usual.

Here is another chart inspired by Rauseo's article:

Batter    FB    CB    CH    SL    Inside    Away    High    Low
*Sizemore  5     0     1     5       2        5      0       4
#Crisp     5     2     3     0       0        6      0       5
Peralta    7     3     2     4       3        7      0      11
*Hafner    4     0     4     3       3        0      0      11
#Martinez  5     2     2     1       1        3      0       5 
Belliard   4     1     1     1       2        3      1       4
Hernandez  3     0     2     3       2        3      0       4
Boone      5     2     2     4       0        5      2       5
Blake      4     0     2     3       0        5      0       5
* indicates left-handed hitter, # indicates switch-hitter. As with Rauseo's article, the Inside, Away, High and Low columns "are not mutually exclusive or all encompassing. If the pitch was over the middle part of the plate it didn't get recorded here. While a pitch that was high and away would be recorded in both the high box and the away box."

Yes, every pitch to Hafner was low. It worked well, as he struck out and grounded out to the right side twice. It was clear that Downs had a definite scouting report on Hafner and Crisp, maybe Peralta as well. It's also interesting how every fastball to Boone was a strike and every ball was a curve, slider or change.

I think that's all I can get from the pitch locations and types. Now, here's what you've all been waiting for -- a stopwatch on the excrutiatingly slow Kevin Millwood!

With nobody on base, he took 17.59 seconds on average from the time he got the ball back from the catcher to the time he threw the next pitch. With runners on, he took 22.24 seconds. Needless to say, that is quite high.

Now, about the game:

I was puzzled over the choice to bring in Miguel Batista for Peralta instead of leaving Scott Schoeneweis in for Peralta and Hafner (and Victor Martinez, maybe). I'd rather see “Schotime” against Peralta than Batista against the tough Travis Hafner. It worked, however, so no need to complain further.

I don't have much on the way of analysis left, but here are the funniest moments from the game:

Frank Catalanotto winced in pain as soon as his bat flew into the Cleveland dugout, almost as if the wood was about to hit him instead...Koskie was clearly bored out of his mind on second base when Millwood was working at a Steve Traschel-like pace, then obviously took his sweet time in his next at bat as he looked up halfway through the prolonged routine and thought to himself, "Nope, he's not ready yet." Or at least I thought that...Ronnie Belliard had the fastest swing I've ever seen anyone take in the fourth inning on the slider low and away. And I've watched Gary Sheffield now for a year and a bit...Pat Tabler was a goofy kind of funny with his little alumni helmet. I really wanted to see him wear it over the headset, or put the headset overtop, but he did not...Grady Sizemore has the weirdest facial expressions when tracking down a fly ball...and finally, congratulations to the ballboy for his catch -- Jerry Howarth gave it his standard "exciting catch of foul ball" response along with the young man's name, which I forget.

One last thing: if it seems like that Scott Downs pitch analysis would take a long, long time, keep in mind that Kevin Millwood pitched two innings after Downs had departed, and a third after I stopped charting pitches.

Now you know where all my free time came from...

Blue Jays 2, Indians 1: A Win? Whaaa? | 2 comments | Create New Account
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NDG - Sunday, August 28 2005 @ 09:27 AM EDT (#126891) #
I've been really impressed by Downs lately. When he first came up righties were banging him like a drum. I think I said "He'll make a good loogy". Yeah, I know, that's like the meanest thing you can say to someone, so I'm sorry Scott.
Joe - Sunday, August 28 2005 @ 11:25 AM EDT (#126896) #
More like "A win? Wha' happen?"

Blue Jays 2, Indians 1: A Win? Whaaa? | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.