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« InDepth Spotlight: Paul Maholm vs. Ryan Braun | Main | Phil Hughes' Early Season Blues »

Young and Old Dodgers

Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw are two Dodgers pitchers off to good starts in 2011.   Kershaw plays 2011 as a 23-year-old fireballer.  Kuroda, at 36 can still strike out batters, but he depends much more on working the count.

Look at Kershaw's pitch location by count (click graphic for a larger image):

Clayton Kershaw pitch location by count, 2008-2011.Clayton always goes after batters in the strike zone.  Even on 0-2, when most pitchers waste one, Kershaw hits the strike zone quite often.  His wOBA goes way up with three balls on the batter, but that's where the walks happen.

Now look how the mature Kuroda approaches each count:

Hiroki Kuroda pitch location by count, 2008-2011Notice how Kuroda moves away from the middle of the plate as he gets closer to two strikes, and into the plate as he approaches three balls.  Unlike Kershaw, Hiroki can't over power a batter on any count.  He wants them to chase balls when he's ahead, and hit the plate when he's behind.  The pitchers use different approaches that play to their strength and weakness, but both are effective in getting batters out.

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