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« Can Texas Stand the heat vs. Matt Moore? | Main | Greinke and BABIP »
Friday
Sep302011

Verlander's Reverse Platoon Split

The New York Yankees' lineup will likely sport six lefty bats --  Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and switch-hitters Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada  -- against Tigers ace Justin Verlander tonight. You might that that gives New York an advantage against the Detroit righty, but Verlander has shown a reverse platoon split this season and has actually been better against lefties than righties dating back to 2008:

Verlander's platoon splits

2011

Vs. LHB: .174/.233/.271

Vs. RHB: .215/.253/.364

Since 2008

Vs. LHB: .224/.292/.340

Vs. RHB: .233/.289/.359

Verlander shelves his slider against left-handers, throwing his fastball (55 percent), changeup (26 percent) and curveball (18 percent). His heater is much more of a swing-and-miss pitch against lefties (21 percent) than righties (14 percent). Part of what makes Verlander's fastball so tough for lefties is that it's basically two pitches. He'll buzz them high and inside, or pepper the outside part of the plate:

Verlander's fastball location vs. lefties, 2011His hard, upper 80s changeup tumbles low and away and often ends out of the strike zone:

Verlander's changeup location vs. lefties, 2011Verlander's change catches the plate less than one-third of the time, but hitters whiff at the pitch nearly 40 percent of the time they swing.

With his curve, Verlander does an exceptional job of painting the black low and away:

Verlander's curveball location vs. lefties, 2011

Verlander has the highest overall miss rate among right-handed AL starters against lefty hitters, getting them to come up empty 27 percent of the time they swing. And he'll ring them up on any of his pitches, registering 57 Ks with the curve, 54 with the fastball and 32 with the changeup. Don't expect this Tiger to tremble against New York's loaded lefty lineup.

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