Tonight is Jon Lester vs James Shields.
Lester frustrates me to much to look at him right now. Maybe later. If there is one thing that I could ask for out of Lester, it would be to cut down on his walks. Sorry Jon, but you just aren't going to be a good pitcher with a BB/9 of 4.26. Encouraging sign on the year for him though is a 49.6% GB rate. Just don't expect that ERA of 3.67 to last. His peripherals say it should rise to around 5.00.
On the other end of the control spectrum, we have James Shields. Let us take a look:
Very easy to understand why he is successful. He strikes hitters out, keeps runners off base and doesn't give up the long ball.
Now onto the scouting:
Here is a nice article on James Shields' mechanics with some pitch f/x data.
So we know he throws a fastball, nasty changeup and curveball, but here is my question:
Does he throw a cutter or slider?
Baseball Info Solutions says cutter. Inside Edge says slider. Dan Fox, formerly of Baseball Prospectus, said slider.
In the end, it doesn't really matter what you call it. I will call it a cutter and move on.
Average pitch movement:
Everything there looks pretty impressive. To have 5 pitches that are grade out average or better is rare, but that is what makes Shields so good. That changeup is just devastating.
Another thing that makes him so impressive? Look at his pitch selection vs batter hand. He is confident in all his pitches, regardless who is at the plate:
|stand||2 FB||CB||CH||CT||FB||Grand Total|
Finally, here is his BABIP, Strike % and Contact % by pitch type and batter hand. What else can you say but that is a nasty changeup.
Should be a good one. I'm going with 5-2 TB tonight.