This series covers one day and one night game pitching match-up for each day, and predicts which starter has the FoulBallz Foul Ball advantage: Which pitcher will leave the game first based on the 2014 foul ball numbers. How can the opposing line-up drive the starter out early? We’ll see.
The foul ball match-ups for today, May 18, 2015, are:
Day Game: Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Today’s featured day game is between Los Angeles Angels ace C.J. Wilson and the Toronto Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez.
While there’s little data on Sanchez during day games, it’s enough to give pause when we look at who has the advantage when it comes to getting out batters after one foul ball has been hit. The news for the Angels versus him is not good. In the 22 times he faced off against a batter during a day game last season, only one, a left-handed batter, did anything.
On the other hand, Angels ace C.J. Wilson fared horrible against the right-handed side of the dish. He allowed a whopping 32% (24/75) of righties to generate some type of offense after they slapped away at least one pitch. On the other side of the plate, only 1 of 11 LHBs did anything.
In spite of the limited data for both starters, there’s still a clear advantage here. The Jays can generate the most offense if they post 9 righties against Wilson today. If they don’t, then it’s probably going to be a boring game. Predictions for pitchers if the foul ball recommendation is taken: Wilson out in 5; Sanchez in until the 7th.
ADVANTAGE: Blue Jays
Night Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets
In the night game faceoff we see St. Louis Cardinals starter John Lackey pitted against The New York Mets’ Matt Harvey. Both hurlers have a long history of throwing night games. This has shown their decidedly obvious flaws.
For Lackey, that flaw comes against southpaws. Having faced 262 batters in 2014 who slapped away at least one pitch, he still let 30.2% generate some sort of offense. Nearly 1/3rd of left handed batters had successful at bats after one or more fouls. Only 23% of right-handed batters managed to generate anything. Harvey has a weakness too. For him, it’s against the right-handed side of the plate. He allowed offense 27.3% of the time against right-handers, while tanking 78% of lefties. Overall, though, these guys are fairly close to one another; Lackey only allows 26.9% of batters to generate some offense, while Harvey fairs somewhat better at 24.4%.
This makes it a bit tough to predict anything. But if the Mets stack southpaws against Lackey, and the Cardinals load their lineup with righties, then we have a very tight match. If the teams do it this way, then I’m predicting Lackey is out in 5 and Harvey is gone not much later in the 6th. Otherwise, it’s nearly a dead heat.
ADVANTAGE: Mets (if they run a lefty heavy order).