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« Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Missile in Crisis | Main | Flashback: Jon Lester's 2008 No-Hitter »

Halladay Versus Beltre

Adrian Beltre (TEX) is one batter of many Roy Halladay (PHI) shut down over his career.  The two meet Friday night as the Rangers visit the Phillies.  In his career, Roy held Beltre to a .185/.214/.296 slash line in 28 plate appearances.  Adrian doesn't strike out much against Roy, just five times in his career, but he doesn't get much out of putting the ball in play.

PITCHf/x covers the last eleven battles between the two (2008-2010) and shows us why Roy shuts down Adrian.  First, look at Adrian's hot zones:

Adrian Beltre, in play batting average, 2008-2011.So where does Roy pitch him?

Roy Halladay vs. Adrian Beltre, pitch frequency, 2008-2010.That's a total of 36 pitches.  Notice how nicely Roy fills that green bubble on the inside part of the plate, putting pitches between Adrian's hot zones inside.  Halladay avoids large swaths of the plate altogether, but sometimes tempts Beltre outside.

One big help for Roy appears to be reputation.  Beltre was never known as a selective hitter, and Halladay puts pitches where he wants, so Roy seems to get the calls on taken pitches:

Roy Halladay vs. Adrian Beltre, strike rate on taken pitches, 2008-2010.To Beltre's credit, he's not taking pitches in the strike zone.  Roy holds an unfair advantage inside, where very few calls go Adrian's way.  That puts him in a hole.  Not surprisingly, the only hit Adrian collected in the eleven at bats came on a first pitch.

Roy Halladay vs. Adrian Beltre, in play batting average, 2008-2010.That hit came in Adrian's last at bat against Roy, 5/23/2010.  He might have seen enough first pitch strikes inside to figure it was coming, and smacked the ball to leftfield.  We'll see how each adjusts tonight.

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