Who Has the Foul Ball Advantage?: Today’s Select Game Match-Ups

FoulBallz  1 - Copy SliderThis series covers one day and one night game pitching match-up for each day (when available), 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 21, 2015, are:

Day Game: Cardinals vs. Mets

Today’s day game showdown is between St. Louis Cardinal starter Jaime Garcia and Mets hurler Jacob de Grom.

In order to get some almost decent data on Garcia, I had to reach into the day and night stats. In a total of 66 at-bats he faced last season, he only allowed a meager 21.2% to generate any form of offense. The man he’s going head-to-head with allowed 20 or the 85 batters he faced in day games in 2014, or 23.5%.

Given the nearly comparable number of batters and the close rate they have for stopping hitters after one foul ball (78.8% success rate for Garcia vs. a 76.5% rate for de Grom), the prediction goes like this: The Mets need to load to the left side of the plate because that’s the side that produces offense the most against Garcia (29.4% create offense). The Cardinals, though, have an uphill batter on either side of the plate, but stacking righties who hit fouls will lead to a 25% success rate. If they teams take this advice, the Mets will get to the Cardinals bullpen in 6 innings; the Cardinals will do the same, getting to the Mets’ bullpen in 6.

ADVANTAGE: Although his numbers are higher than Garcia’s, I think de Grom and the Mets have the advantage.
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Night Game: Rangers vs. Red Sox

Tonight’s featured game pits the Rangers’ Wandy Rodriguez against Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz. Neither man has particularly and highly effective abiliaties against batters after giving up one or more fouls.

Like I did with Cardinal starter Garcia, I had to draw on day and night numbers for Rodriguez. After 41 at-bats, he has a very high 41.5% rating. That means that 41.5% of the batters he faced last season in both day and night games generated offense. Batters only wish they could have a .415 average. Against Rodriguez they can if they slap away at least one pitch. Buchholz isn’t anything special either. Over the span of 80 day game batters, he allowed 30% to do something—force a balk, walk them, give up a single, double, triple, or homer or some other form of offense. He was particularly bad against right-handed batters, who did something 32.4% of the time.

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The advantage should be clear. The Red Sox can get Rodrigues to vacate the mound within 4 innings regardless of the lineup they go with. The Rangers can get Buchholz out in 5 if they go right batter heavy and foul off pitches.