Monday, June 23, 2008

Red Sox vs Dan Haren

The Sox face Dan Haren tonight, one night after a dramatic walk off home run by Kevin Youkilis.

Let us take a look at Dan Haren.

Haren throws a fastball, slider, changeup and splitter. His money pitch is the splitter, which one of the best in the game. It has great late bite on it and hitters have trouble making contact on it.

Here is his horizontal vs vertical movement chart. As always, it is taken from the catcher's point of view.

You can see the great movement on the splitter here. It has as much downward break as his slider, and moves to the pitchers glove side. Normally, splitters don't move horizontally like this, but that just goes to show you how nice the pitch is.

Here are his stats:

RHB
CH FB SL SF Grand Total
Strike % 43.5% 68.4% 68.8% 69.4% 67.8%
Contact % 75.0% 95.6% 79.4% 56.7% 80.0%
LHB
CH FB SL SF Grand Total
Strike % 62.9% 61.8% 69.7% 63.2% 63.4%
Contact % 76.5% 88.8% 82.9% 68.7% 82.3%

Looking at RHB, not only is his splitter impossible to hit, it also has the highest strike percentage. Combine the two and you have one filthy pitch.

One last thing I noticed when going over Haren. His pitch mix varies by start. It is almost as if he knows early on what pitches are working and then just abandons the rest. Check it out:

Example, start 5 was all fastball/splitter while start 12 he went mostly fastball/slider. His changeup is thrown a good amount in some games such as 2, 6, and 11, while the rest of the time he barely uses it. I wonder why that is.

Should be a good game tonight. Haren is one of my favorite pitchers to watch so I'll be looking closely. Hopefully the Sox can lay off the splitter and get some fastballs, as Haren can be homer prone at times.

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