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« Carlos Beltran's West Coast Hacking | Main | Beckett Leans to the Left »

Rangers Add Mike Gonzalez

With an eye toward a potential playoff matchup with either the lefty-laden Yankees or Red Sox, the Rangers acquired left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez from the Orioles for a player to be named later. Because Texas added Gonzo before September 1, he'll be eligible for the postseason roster.

Over the past three seasons, Gonzalez has allowed right-handed hitters to reach base at a .343 clip. But lefties? They have just a .273 OBP. The 33-year-old puts away same-handed hitters with a low-to-mid-80s slider that he spots on the outer third of the plate:

Location of Gonzalez's slider vs. left-handers, 2009-2011

Lefties swing through many of those sliders, and they're just about helpless when he keeps the pitch at their knees. Check out Gonzalez's opponent contact rate with his slider, compared to the league average for left-handed pitchers vs. lefty hitters:

Left-handed hitters' contact rate vs. Gonzalez's slider, 2009-2011

League average contact rate for lefty hitters vs. lefty sliders, 2009-2011

Gonzalez's miss rate with his slider over the past three years is 42 percent, easily besting the 35 percent league average for lefty sliders against lefty hitters.

With Gonzalez joining Neftali Feliz and July trade pickups Mike Adams and Koji Uehara on the roster, the Rangers now boast one of the more talented bullpens in the game. Somewhere, GM John Daniels and manager Ron Washington are picturing Gonzalez snapping off a slider that flummoxes the likes of David Ortiz and Curtis Granderson.

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