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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks


Justin Verlander's No Hitter

Here is look at Justin Verlander's (DET) pitch locations with TruMedia's heat mapping technology. Click here to view a complete pitch log from Verlander's no hitter.

Justin Verlander No Hitter Pitch Locations (May 7, 2011)


Derek Lowe's Slider Deceit

Derek Lowe's strikeout rate stands at 8.3 K per 9 innings this season against a career rate of 5.9 K per 9 IP.  That represents a huge increase for an older pitcher, and especially one that depended on a great sinker and ground ball outs for most of his career.  His slider stands as his best strikeout pitch, as 33% of plate appearances that end with a slider see the batter going down on strikes.

Lowe gets great movement on the slider, breaking down and toward the catcher's right hand:

Derek Lowe, slider movement, 2011.Lowe uses this movement effectively.  If he starts the pitch over the plate, it ends up on just off the plate low near the catchers hand.  This is where he gets the swinging strikes:

Derek Lowe, swinging strikes at sliders, 2011.If Lowe starts the slider off the plate to the catcher's glove hand, it comes back in and catches the corner of the strike zone.  This is where he catches batters looking.

Derek Lowe, taken strikes on sliders, 2011.One change that might have enhanced the effectiveness of the slider was Lowe's addition of a cut fastball.  The cutter and slight show the same deflection in the horizontal plane, the slider break down more.  Lowe also tends to throw the cutter over the plate.  The two pitches may look enough alike that batters start to swing at what they believe is a cutter over the plate, then get the slider in.  For some who maxes out at about 86 MPH, that's impressive use of his arsenal to post a high K rate.


Andre Ethier's Hit Streak

Andre Ethier's (LAD) hit streak sits at 30.  As David Pinto noted a couple of weeks back, Ethier has been getting hits on balls on the outside of the zone.  This has been a change from his hitting pattern over the previous three years:

Andre Ethier
(Click to enlarge)

Prior to this year, Ethier had been generating a good deal of power on pitches down and in.  That zone has gone cold for him this season, while he's been able to hit pitches low and away much better.

As you would expect from someone riding a 30-game hit streak, Ethier has a very high BABIP of .444 this season, 131 points higher than his previous three year average.  Part of this is due to the increase in line drives he's been hitting during the streak.  Compared to his numbers from 2008-2010, Ethier's LD% is up 7% since his hit streak began.  Even more important, his line drive BABIP is up 192 points. 

Ethier has also been a bit luckier than usual on his groundballs.  Throughout his streak, they have resulted in hits about 36% of the time.  From 2008-2010, he had a groundball batting average of .255.

Ethier faces the New York Mets tonight at Citi Field as he attempts to tie Willie Davis for the Dodgers all-time hit streak honor.  While Ethier's in play average will likely regress at some point this season, the real question is whether it will regress enough over the next 26 or so games to break his hit streak.