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Entries in Jon Lester (14)


Cubs' Jeff Baker vs. Lefties

For the first time since 1918, the Chicago Cubs will be playing at Fenway Park in Boston this weekend.  They'll have a tough challenge with the Red Sox sending Jon Lester to the mound tonight.

Cubs' manager Mike Quade has third baseman Jeff Baker batting in the 3 spot in the first game of the series.  Baker has the Cubs highest batting average versus left handed pitching this season (.457), and the second highest wOBA (.461) behind catcher Geovany Soto (.557). 

(Click to enlarge)

Baker likes the ball down in the zone versus lefties, hitting .375 with a .531 SLG% on balls located there since the beginning of last season.  He's also done well on inside pitches from LHP, hitting .365 with a .577 slugging percentage. Lastly, he's done pretty well when keeping the ball on the ground versus southpaws, batting .328 on grounders since 2010.


Flashback: Jon Lester's 2008 No-Hitter

A heat map view of Jon Lester's pitch locations for his no-hitter on May 19, 2008.

The following heat map shows the locations of his pitches for all swinging strikes. He had a total of 18 stikes swinging distributed over 8 plate appearances.

Swinging strikes against Jon Lester on May 19, 2008


Napoli's Platoon Split

Mike Napoli homered off Jon Lester Friday afternoon to help the Rangers to a 9-5 win over Boston in the season opener for both teams. In the last three season, Mike, a right-handed batter, owns a large platoon difference, hitting .304 against southpaws and .239 when the pitcher holds the platoon advantage.  Graphically, it looks like this:

Mike Napoli versus left-handed pitchers, 2008-2010.Mike Napoli versus right-handed pitchers, 2008-2010.

What accounts for the difference.  The answer may lie in how pitches tend to move from the various pitchers.  Right-handed batters tend to throw pitches that move away from Napoli:

Mike Napoli, pitch movement from RHP, 2008-2010.Lefties, on the other hand, throw pitches that tend to move toward Mike:

Mike Napoli, pitch movement from LHP, 2008-2010.So what kind of movement does Mike see when he gets a hit versus making an out?

Mike Napoli, pitch movement on hits, 2008-2010.Mike Napoli, pitch movement on outs, 2008-2010.Mike is much more likely to get a hit on a pitch that's moving in than a pitch that's moving away.  Since lefties then to throw toward Mike, it's not surprising he hits them better.  Where does Lester put the ball?

Jon Lester Movement, 2008-2010.It was a perfect matchup for Napoli.