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Entries in Matt Harrison (4)

Friday
Aug232013

Martin Perez's Changeup a Plus Pitch

Martin Perez has stepped forward as a crucial part of the Texas Rangers' starting rotation, providing quality outings with Matt Harrison (back surgery) out for the season. The 22-year-old lefty has done a pretty convincing Harrison impression thus far, making up for a modest strikeout rate (6.2 per nine innings) with few walks (2.6 BB/9) and plenty of ground balls (49 percent of pitches put in play). Perez's park-and-league adjusted ERA is 22 percent above average this season (122 ERA+), besting all American League rookie starters throwing at least 75 frames, save for Tampa Bay's Chris Archer.

Perez is thriving thanks to his changeup, which he has tossed 24 percent of the time. Opponents are slugging a paltry .287 when he pulls the string, putting Perez's change just outside the top 10 among starters and ahead of changeup aficionados like Matt Cain (.291), David Price (.313) and James Shields (.315).

What makes Perez's changeup so nasty? Here's more on Perez's plus pitch as he prepares to take on Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox.

  • Perez buries his changeup at hitters' knees, locating nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of them down in the strike zone. The MLB average, for comparison's sake, is about 56 percent. Keeping his changeup low, Perez has induced a ground ball 60 percent of the time that hitters put the ball in play (51 percent MLB average).

Perez's changeup location

  • He's getting hitters to chase his changeup off the plate about 42 percent of the time, compared to the 36 percent MLB average. Batters are a combined 3-for-26 (.115) when they chase Perez's change out of the strike zone.
  • The lefty uses his changeup in any situation, throwing the pitch with nearly the same frequency whether he's behind the hitter (22 percent), even (23 percent) or ahead in the count as (27 percent).
  • Perez's changeup is unusually hard, with an average velocity (84.7 MPH) well above the league average for lefties (81.9 MPH). The only southpaws who throw a speedier changeup are Francisco Liriano (86.3 MPH average), Jon Lester and Jose Quintana (85.3 MPH).
Thursday
Mar142013

Andy Pettitte makes spring debut and more

"Derek Jeter wasn’t the only Yankee to return to the field Wednesday night.

Andy Pettitte made his spring debut, allowing one run over three innings as the Yankees beat the Phillies, 6-2, at Steinbrenner Field. Pettitte gave up four hits and walked three, striking out three during his 58-pitch outing.

“It’s just good to get back out there and see somebody in a different uniform,” Pettitte said. “Stuff-wise, I didn’t feel great. I felt like my command wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted, but it’s good it gives you something to work on for the next time out.”

Pettitte’s next start will come at the Yankees’ minor-league complex on Monday, when the Bombers have an off-day. He’ll make two more starts after that as he tunes up for the season."

Source: NYDailynews.com

Charlie Manuel doesn't want to retire

"Charlie Manuel figures he has plenty of time to see his grandchildren, play golf and travel the world during the offseason.

Manuel, who is in the final season of his contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, made it clear he wants to continue as manager beyond this year. Retirement plans haven't even entered his mind.

"I still want to manage," Manuel told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I'm not ready for somebody to tell me to go home. I'm not ready to quit managing. I'm not ready to get out of the game."

Manuel is the franchise's all-time leader in wins and only the second manager to lead the Phillies to a world championship. It's widely assumed that Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg, the team's new third-base coach, will eventually replace him as the manager."

Source: ESPN.com

Johan Santana irons out issues with Mets

"Johan Santana, sitting in front of his locker at Tradition Field, had been speaking about the recent drama involving himself and the Mets for about five minutes when Jeff Wilpon came by and offered his hand.

“I’m getting old,” the lefty said on his 34th birthday.

“No you’re not,” Wilpon answered, smiling.

And that was the theme at Mets camp on Wednesday: All conflicts between Santana and the Mets are resolved, and everyone is friendly again. Whether that is true on the deepest levels, the mood had clearly changed in the clubhouse."

Source: NYDailynews.com

Marco Scutaro, thinking mans hitter

"The Giants picked up Marco Scutaro on July 27 in a trade so ho-hummish that his new teammates dubbed him Blockbuster. Ballplayers love irony.

Scutaro was not baseball's best http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/santana-mets-smooth-article-1.1287445-season pickup in 2012. He was the best late-season pick-up of any baseball season. Granted, I have not done much research on this (like zero), but come on, this might have been the greatest late-season pickup in any sport.

Why Brian Sabean didn't get any love from the Nobel Prize judges, I have no idea. East Coast bias?"

Source: SFgate.com

Henry Rodriguez important to Nationals bullpen

"The Washington Nationals are in an enviable position this spring: They have few unknowns. The lineup is complete. The starting rotation has been set since December. Players are entrenched at every position, save for a catcher returning from knee injury. Even the bench figures to be the same.

Then, there’s Henry Rodriguez.

Of all the known commodities on this team, Rodriguez is the enigma. The flame-throwing right-handed reliever can be extreme at either end of the spectrum, otherworldly stuff or mind-boggling wildness."

Source: Washingtonpost.com

Red Sox await word on Morales' back

"When spring training began, the Red Sox had a surplus of relievers, including three lefties with considerable major league experience.

The ranks have been thinned.

With Craig Breslow already slowed by soreness in his throwing shoulder, fellow lefty reliever Franklin Morales returned to Boston yesterday to have his cranky lower back examined at Mass General Hospital, manager John Farrell said today. The Red Sox are awaiting the results to determine whether Morales' injury is more than merely inflammation. Regardless, Morales has pitched in only one game and appears likely to open the season on the disabled list.

"He hasn't really made the improvements that we had hoped for," Farrell said."

Source: Bostonherald.com

Hamels tabbed as opening day starts for Phillies

"Cole Hamels has been an All-Star and a Most Valuable Player in the World Series.

And now he'll get to start on Opening Day for the first time.

The Phillies announced Thursday that Hamels, who won 17 games last year, will be on the mound when they open their season April 1 against the Braves at Turner Field. Hamels is 91-60 with a 3.34 ERA, and he's had a winning record in six of his first seven seasons.

Hamels has made at least 20 starts for the Phillies in each of his first seven seasons, but he's never been the first name called out of the rotation. Roy Halladay started on Opening Day in each of the last three years for Philadelphia, and Brett Myers did the honors from 2007-09.

Hamels, the 17th overall pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, has been impeccable this spring. The southpaw has started three times, notching a 2-0 record and a 0.90 ERA. Hamels has made 29 career starts in March and April, posting a record of 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA."

Source: MLB.com

Matt Harrison set for opening day star

"The toe is good to go and Matt Harrison appears to be on track to start Opening Day.

Harrison, who was scratched from his last scheduled start Saturday with inflammation on his second toe on his left foot, worked the first two innings of a ‘B’ game against the Royals on Tuesday morning.

He allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts over his two-inning, 37-pitch outing.

“The toe was good, no pain, no issues,” Harrison said. “Pitching, I felt great. This is the best I felt all spring and I think it’s because I didn’t have to worry about that issue and my legs were back under me and I was able to get better action than the past two games.”

Source: star-telegram.com

Wednesday
Oct052011

Matt Harrison Limits the Rays

Perhaps lost in yesterday’s HR explosion from Texas Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre was just how well Matt Harrison pitched.  In fact, his 9 strikeout performance against the Tampa Bay Rays gives him a 34.6% strikeout per plate appearance rate for the playoffs, leading all pitchers through Tuesday's games.

Harrison held the Rays to five hits and two walks through five innings on Tuesday, allowing two earned runs.  He struck out seven of the 16 right handed hitters he faced.

During the regular season, Harrison actually did slightly better against righties than lefties, holding them to a .293 wOBA, 23 points lower than opposing lefties.  When he did get hit by RHB, it was mostly on pitches in, as you can see from the following heat map:

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

Yesterday, Harrison made sure to keep the ball away and as a result he was able to not only limit damage from RHB, but also strike out nine batters in all matching his 2011 game high set against the Mariners on September 18th.