Charting Felix, 5-26 at Twins

Dave · May 27, 2006 at 8:56 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Look for an article on the subject shortly that will delve into his last few starts in more detail. In the meantime, here’s the numbers from last night. The numbers don’t tie exactly because of two pitches that weren’t shown by the Twins broadcast, but those two pitches aren’t a big deal.

Pitches: 103
Balls: 30
Swinging Strikes: 38
Called Strikes: 16
Balls in Play: 16

Fastballs: 52 (50 %)
Curveballs: 34 (33%)
Changeups: 15 (15%)

First Pitch Fastballs: 15 (62%)
First Pitch Curveballs: 6 (25%)
First Pitch Changeups: 3 (13%)

Singles: 1-0 fastball, 1-0 curveball, 1-1 curveball
Double: 1-2 fastball
Home Run: 1-0 fastball

And, for fun, here’s the pitch selection broken in half.

Pre-Mauer Home Run: 26 fastballs, 12 curveballs, 4 changeups. 12 batters faced, 6 outs, 1 via strikeout, 5 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs.

Post Mauer Home Run: 26 fastballs, 22 curveballs, 11 changeups. 14 batters faced, 14 outs, 7 via strikeout.

The trend is once again obvious. Establish the fastball early – 12 of his first 13 pitches were fastballs – and often. The first 12 batters of the game, he threw 62 percent fastballs, about the same as in the last start against the Padres. He quickly gave up 3 runs. He then switched tactics, throwing only 44 percent fastballs the rest of the game, and retired the next 14 batters he faced.

The Twins helped him out some by chasing a few pitches out of the zone. Their aggressive approach nullified a bit of his wildness and allowed him to pitch ahead in the count more often. The results spoke for themselves; more offspeed stuff, more strikeouts, more outs in general.

Forget the three earned runs in 7 innings. Felix was dominant. The pitch to Mauer was a bad one, and he got away with a few hanging curveballs, but all-in-all, he probably only threw 4 or 5 “bad pitches”.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been preaching less fastballs, more offspeed stuff. Last night, we saw less fastballs and more offspeed stuff. And it was good.


18 Responses to “Charting Felix, 5-26 at Twins”

  1. dw on May 27th, 2006 9:14 am

    On the Twins radio broadcast they were raving about his changeup at one point. I can’t remember the exact line, but it was something like, “That changeup of his is deadly.”

  2. Dave on May 27th, 2006 9:20 am

    It is. Of the 15 he threw, 4 were balls, 9 were swinging strikes, 1 was a called strike, and he got a ground ball to first base. Three at bats ended on a change-up: two strikeouts and a grounder.

    I love his change-up, and still wish he used it more.

  3. morisseau on May 27th, 2006 10:01 am

    Kudos for not falling into the oft-repeated cliche that “he only made one mistake”. Good analysis.

  4. Jim Thomsen on May 27th, 2006 10:05 am

    So if Johjima, as has been oft bandied about, is preaching his Japanese virtues of “more off-speed stuff” to Felix … how is he possibly hurting the King?

  5. Jim Thomsen on May 27th, 2006 10:10 am

    Also, did you detect a consistency later in the game as to when Felix used his fastball? In certain counts, or when the bases were empty, or when he had a certain amounts of outs?

  6. Jim Thomsen on May 27th, 2006 10:16 am

    You have to like Felix’s burgeoning ability to self-analyze. From the AP:

    “The homer I gave up to Mauer, I was trying to throw a two-seam fastball,” Hernandez said through an interpreter. “It didn’t do anything, just a straight line in the middle of the plate. That was the only pitch I regret.”

  7. Dave on May 27th, 2006 10:27 am

    Also, did you detect a consistency later in the game as to when Felix used his fastball? In certain counts, or when the bases were empty, or when he had a certain amounts of outs?

    Immediately after the Mauer home run, he was still fastballs early, breaking balls late. In fact, he started Torii Hunter, the next hitter, with three fastballs to get to an 0-2 count, and then finished him off with breaking balls.

    However, starting in the fourth, you see an adjustment being made. He threw 19 fastballs in innings 4 through 7; here’s the breakdown by count:

    0-0: 6
    0-1: 2
    0-2: 2
    1-0: 1
    1-1: 1
    1-2: 5
    2-2: 1

    He threw all of one fastball while behind in the count during the last four innings of the game. That was the 1-0 fastball to Luis Castillo that Betancourt snagged on a line drive. He threw a couple of 1-0 changeups, a 3-2 change, and a 3-2 curve, however.

    These are the pitches where he was grooving fastballs the last few starts, and they were sitting dead red and whacked the ball all over the park. As the game progressed, when he fell behind, he went soft, and it worked wonders.

  8. Alex W. on May 27th, 2006 10:30 am

    Just wondering, how fast can Felix throw his change?

  9. Rusty on May 27th, 2006 10:32 am

    The Mariner infield defense is very good. When I think about the ground ball singles just barely out of the range of Betancourt and Beltre which led to the 2 non-Mauer runs, I think bad luck. I believe Felix will eventually win most games where the opponents attempt to string together back to back ground ball singles.

    I thought he pitched great in this game. The youngster on the other side, though, was damn good too.

  10. joealb on May 27th, 2006 10:49 am

    The gun at the Metrodome yesterday had Felix’s change coming in at 84-86.

  11. Dave on May 27th, 2006 10:52 am

    Just wondering, how fast can Felix throw his change?

    He was 84-86 with it all day, except the last one of the night, which was 82. In the start against San Diego, he had one at 69 and one at 71, which are so far away from his normal velocity, that I’m thinking were probably errors on the gun.

  12. dw on May 27th, 2006 11:15 am

    I love his change-up, and still wish he used it more.

    I thought of you when he said it. At least someone else in the game is starting to notice.

  13. brasten on May 27th, 2006 1:16 pm

    Is there any real reason to believe his curveball may not be as effective as it was last season? It seemed like last season he’d start that thing up at someone’s head and end it at the knees. Knees were buckling… batters were bailing on called strikes.

    This season it feels relatively flat.

  14. thehiddentrack on May 27th, 2006 1:21 pm

    He’s still throwing some pretty nasty curveballss but I think last year he had it working more consistently.

    Felix was really in a groove when he came up to the majors last season.

  15. John D. on May 27th, 2006 2:34 pm

    Speaking of prospects, [off-topic on a charting Felix post]

  16. Rusty on May 27th, 2006 8:44 pm

    Has speed of pitches been charted, as well? Because some people are telling me the velocity on his fastball is down this year but I noticed many fastballs up around 96 mph in this game.

  17. thehiddentrack on May 27th, 2006 9:19 pm

    People are just looking for any possible reason when the explanation is generally a lot more simple.

  18. Ed on May 28th, 2006 8:00 am

    Anyone see the Orel Hirshiser analysis of Felix on Baseball tonight? Interesting. Haven’t heard that criticism of him before–that he leaned back on his back leg TOO far, that he has to overcompensate for that and falls off the mound and often throws high; that he had excellent style for a relief pitcher, but not so for a starter.

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