As a second encore to the efforts of Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt in Philadelphia, Cole Hamels will take the ball Tuesday in San Francisco to kick off a pivotal NLCS Game 3. Having salvaged a home split, The Phils will now try to take two of three - or better - in San Francisco to regain control of the Championship Series.
Let's take a closer look at a bit of minutiae that could help the Phillies grab their first lead of the series.
The Giants lineup is primarily right-handed, and Hamels will need to utilize his fastball and cutter inside on the righties to set up the low and outside change. Throughout the course of the 2010 season, Hamels has frequented the outside corner with his change, and that location has proved to yield outs in abundance.
A look at some heat maps shows just how frequently Hamels liked to hit the outside corner with his change against righties (top), and just how ineffective those hitters have been when he hits his spots (bottom).
Notice, also, that these pitches aren't being burned. Hamels is hitting the strike zone pretty consistently, and those change-ups that do cross in that area of the zone - including the area a couple inches outside - result in opponents hitting just .186 with a .209 SLG. On the other hand, if Hamels misses over the middle or on the inner half, those numbers balloon to a .419 AVG and .806 SLG. The San Francisco lineup isn't exactly one to fear (outside of Babe Cody Ross, obviously), but exploiting this strength could be an effective means of suppressing the Giants offense.