August 26, 2012 at 9:03 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Reed Johnson (LF), Jason Heyward (RF), Freddie Freeman (1B), Martin Prado (2B), Brian McCann (C), Juan Francisco (3B), Paul Janish (SS), Tim Hudson (P).
Giants lineup: Angel Pagan (S, CF), Marco Scutaro (R, 2B), Pablo Sandoval (S, 3B), Buster Posey (R, 1B), Hunter Pence (R, RF), Hector Sanchez (S, C), Gregor Blanco (L, LF), Brandon Crawford (L, SS), Tim Lincecum (B: L, T: R, P).
Game 4 vs. Giants
The Braves won 7-3 on Friday behind a three-run homer by Jason Heyward and another solid outing from Mike Minor.
While Tim Hudson and Atlanta will look for a series split in the finale tonight, the Giants will send Tim Lincecum to the mound looking for the series win. Lincecum’s 5.30 ERA is atrocious, but he also has the biggest ERA-FIP difference in baseball, with a 3.78 FIP. His strikeouts remain up at a rate of 23.2%, and although his walks are up at 10.2%, it’s not a huge difference from his career 9.1% rate. To top things off, Lincecum has the best swinging strike rate of his career at 12.1%.
Why is Lincecum giving up so many runs? You can start at a .325 BABIP and 65.7% left-on-base rate, both well off his career norms. While he has the best whiff rate of his career, he also has the highest line drive rate at 25.7%, meaning it’s either a whiff or a hard hit ball.
When looking at individual pitches, the offerings that are off the mark are the slider and changeup. Lincecum’s LD/BIP rate on the changeup is 27% compared to a career 17%. His slider’s LD/BIP rate this season is 21% compared to a career 15%. Also, if you want to nitpick, his curveball’s whiff rate is down 5% from his career average, and he’s giving up 7% more home runs per FB/LD on the pitch.
However, when you look at the data by splits, it’s obvious why he has a reverse split of .356 wOBA against RHB and .325 against LHB. It seems Lincecum’s secondary offerings – and I mean all of them – are getting rocked by right-handed batters, while the changeup has been well above average to left-handed batters.
Therefore, while it goes against his career norms, stacking the lineup with right-handed batters could benefit the Braves for one night, as Lincecum’s secondary stuff doesn’t seem to fare well against righties this season.
Braves.com recap for Saturday’s win.
AJC quotes following Saturday’s win. Jason Heyward on facing Madison Bumgarner: “I’m just looking for strikes to hit. I’ve faced him since ’08 now, and he hasn’t really changed much, and he’s been successful at it. Just looking for pitches to hit, trying to stay short [with swing] and don’t miss the one you get to hit, because if you do he’s got you.”
In case you missed it yesterday, Ben Sheets was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Miguel Batista was called up to pitch out of the bullpen.
Julio Teheran pitched a great game Saturday, allowing one run on two hits with nine strikeouts over eight innings. Teheran’s last three outings: 8 IP, 1 R, 9 K; 2.2 IP, 7 R, 2 K; 8 IP, 1 R, 9 K.
Around the NL East
Ian Desmond and Michael Morse likely won’t return until possibly Tuesday with injuries.
Bryce Harper could start sitting more against left-handed pitching. Harper has a .287 wOBA and 77 wRC+ against lefties this season.