I Don’t Get It
Last week, Felix threw 22 change-ups against the Texas Rangers, and tossed seven shutout innings against an offense with a bunch of good left-handed hitters. His change was the difference maker in that game, and allowed him to shut down quality LH bats.
So, last night, fresh off the reminder of how good his change up can be, Felix threw it twice. The entire night, he threw two change-ups – the first one induced a ground out from Bobby Abreu in the third inning, and he missed out of the strike zone with the second one against Chone Figgins in the sixth. The rest of the night, it was mostly fastballs, some sliders, and a curve ball here or there.
Remember the conversation we had with Dave Allen the other day? The two seam fastball and the slider are the two pitches that have the largest platoon split. They work great against same handed hitters, and they’re meatballs against opposite handed hitters. So, facing a line-up where four of the first five hitters are lefties, Felix decided to go after them with his fastball and slider.
Predictably, it didn’t work. The left-handed hitters against Felix did the following:
1st inning: Single, walk, single, strikeout, groundout.
2nd inning: Single, strikeout
3rd inning: Groundout, double
4th inning: Walk, popout
5th inning: Single, single, walk, groundout
6th inning: Popout, single, double
That’s six singles, two doubles, three walks, two strikeouts, three groundouts, and two popouts. That’s a .533/.611/.555 line that lefties put up against him last night. Yea, the defense behind him was lousy, but this was the dumbest game plan we’ve seen in a long time. 16 straight fastballs to start the game (all against LH hitters), 71% fastballs against LH batters on the night, and two change-ups in the very next start after that pitch helped him shut down the Rangers in Texas? There’s nothing else to call that besides stupid.
The Mariners have a lot of problems. They don’t need their 23-year-old with a hall of fame arm to be one as well. Pitch smarter, Felix.