Sports

Best Pitching Match-Ups in Baseball

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Kenshin Kawakami takes on Livan Hernandez as the Braves meet the Nationals in Washington. Hernandez is tied with Ubaldo Jimenez for the NL lead in ERA at 0.87. Livan is taking advantage of an improved Washington defense, as he’s pitching to contact. The following table shows the percent of batters facing a pitcher who are putting the ball in play (BFP – (K+BB+HBP)), minimum 100 batters faced this year.

PitcherBFPInPlayPctInPlayERA

Craig Stammen
108
93
86.1
6.75

 

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Livan Hernandez
117
99
84.6
0.87

 

Nick Blackburn
107
90
84.1
6.85

 

Mark Buehrle
160
134
83.8
5.3

 

Douglas Fister
130
108
83.1
1.29

 

Joel Pineiro
133
111
83.5
5.76

 

Jeremy Guthrie
159
130
81.8
4.78

Jamie Moyer
131
108
82.4
5.7

David Huff
138
113
81.9
4.6

Dallas Braden
149
120
80.5
4.14

Rodrigo Lopez
134
109
81.3
4.5

Joe Saunders
144
116
80.6
7.04

Brad Penny
136
110
80.9
1.56

Mitch Talbot
136
109
80.1
2.88

Carl Pavano
127
101
79.5
3.73

Ryan Rowland-Smith
127
102
80.3
5.28

Anibal Sanchez
112
90
80.4
4.32

Edwin Jackson
148
119
80.4
8.07

Chris Volstad
133
106
79.7
4.45

Kyle Lohse
123
99
80.5
5.28

Tim Hudson
127
102
80.3
2.87

John Lannan
159
127
79.9
6.34

Brian Bannister
130
103
79.2
3.48

Tim Wakefield
126
100
79.4
6.59

Kyle Kendrick
108
85
78.7
7.61

Rick Porcello
116
92
79.3
8.03

Fausto Carmona
138
108
78.3
4.05

Zach Duke
159
124
78
6.09

Mat Latos
116
90
77.6
5.47

Dana Eveland
125
98
78.4
4.76

David Bush
125
97
77.6
4.6

Brett Myers
143
112
78.3
3.82

Wandy Rodriguez
129
100
77.5
3.64

Scott Feldman
116
91
78.4
4.5

Matt Harrison
132
102
77.3
4.97

Scott Baker
154
118
76.6
5.35

Carlos Silva
125
96
76.8
2.9

Ben Sheets
142
110
77.5
7.12

Hiroki Kuroda
142
110
77.5
2.08

John Lackey
129
99
76.7
4.5

A.J. Burnett
135
103
76.3
2.43

Aaron Cook
133
101
75.9
5.52

Matt Cain
127
96
75.6
2.84

Paul Maholm
136
103
75.7
4.83

Roy Halladay
185
141
76.2
1.47

Randy Wolf
169
126
74.6
3.86

Luke Hochevar
129
97
75.2
6.11

Jair Jurrjens
106
79
74.5
6.38

Randy Wells
133
100
75.2
3.45

Max Scherzer
139
104
74.8
6.47

Aaron Harang
150
113
75.3
6.68

Matt Palmer
106
79
74.5
6.75

Johnny Cueto
120
90
75
5.33

Barry Zito
133
98
73.7
1.53

Jeremy Bonderman
116
86
74.1
5.74

Kevin Millwood
167
123
73.7
3.15

Derek Lowe
144
106
73.6
5.18

Jeff Niemann
117
87
74.4
2.76

Josh Beckett
159
118
74.2
6.31

Jason Vargas
101
75
74.3
3.6

Gil Meche
121
89
73.6
9.89

CC Sabathia
165
120
72.7
2.74

John Danks
133
97
72.9
1.85

Kevin Slowey
128
94
73.4
3.77

Dontrelle Willis
105
77
73.3
3.75

Justin Duchscherer
116
85
73.3
2.89

Clayton Richard
129
94
72.9
3

Ricky Nolasco
135
98
72.6
4.01

Mike Leake
141
103
73
2.94

David J Hernandez
124
90
72.6
4.55

Zack Greinke
160
116
72.5
2.27

David Price
137
100
73
2.34

Clay Buchholz
133
97
72.9
2.97

Andy Pettitte
136
99
72.8
2.12

Jake Westbrook
123
89
72.4
5.53

Roy Oswalt
134
97
72.4
2.73

Johan Santana
145
105
72.4
4.5

Mike Pelfrey
124
89
71.8
2.4

Bronson Arroyo
131
94
71.8
6.37

Adam Wainwright
144
103
71.5
2.13

Shaun Marcum
160
114
71.3
3.12

Ervin Santana
142
101
71.1
4.59

Jonathon Niese
133
94
70.7
3.1

Jon Garland
147
104
70.7
2.06

Nate Robertson
114
81
71.1
5.18

Charlie Morton
104
74
71.2
12.57

Gavin Floyd
122
87
71.3
6.49

Justin Verlander
149
104
69.8
4.5

Dan Haren
170
119
70
4.5

James Shields
141
98
69.5
3.38

Ian Kennedy
125
88
70.4
4.45

Chad Billingsley
117
82
70.1
4.85

Jaime Garcia
125
88
70.4
1.13

Kevin Correia
142
99
69.7
3.97

Homer Bailey
136
94
69.1
6.04

Oliver Perez
121
83
68.6
4.05

C.J. Wilson
136
94
69.1
1.65

Brian Matusz
130
90
69.2
4.4

Doug Davis
114
79
69.3
8.87

Todd Wellemeyer
110
76
69.1
5.55

Kyle Davies
124
86
69.4
3.52

Felix Hernandez
172
119
69.2
3.1

Javier Vazquez
112
76
67.9
9.78

Vicente Padilla
100
68
68
7.06

Ricky Romero
141
96
68.1
2.25

Jered Weaver
148
101
68.2
3.19

Tom Gorzelanny
117
80
68.4
2.48

Greg Smith
108
73
67.6
7.33

Ryan Dempster
140
95
67.9
2.78

Wade Davis
119
81
68.1
2.79

Jake Peavy
165
110
66.7
6.31

Cole Hamels
139
92
66.2
5.28

John Maine
112
74
66.1
7.15

Gio Gonzalez
121
80
66.1
3.45

Felipe Paulino
128
85
66.4
5.53

Matt Garza
140
91
65
2.06

Francisco Liriano
139
90
64.7
1.5

Justin Masterson
127
82
64.6
5.4

Chris Carpenter
155
101
65.2
2.84

Yovani Gallardo
155
99
63.9
3

Carlos Zambrano
113
72
63.7
6.56

Thomas Hanson
119
74
62.2
2.17

Tim Lincecum
133
83
62.4
1.27

Ubaldo Jimenez
160
99
61.9
0.87

Jon Lester
128
78
60.9
4.71

Josh Johnson
152
93
61.2
3.16

Colby Lewis
133
80
60.2
2.76

Bud Norris
111
66
59.5
7.25

Jorge de la Rosa
100
59
59
3.91

Clayton Kershaw
132
76
57.6
3.07

Brandon Morrow
120
69
57.5
5.46

Rich Harden
138
79
57.2
3.52

Jonathan Sanchez
122
65
53.3
2.48

Note that this concept doesn’t work all that well for Craig Stammen, even on the same team. He’s allowing line drives at twice the rate as Livan, so even though batters are putting wood on the ball off Hernandez, they’re not getting good wood on the pitches. In general, note that pitchers with high in-play rates do have high ERAs. Of the top ten, five have ERAs over 5.00. Seven of the lowest ten have ERAs under 4.00.

Kawakami is getting hit for power, as 11 of the 24 hits against him went for extra bases. He’s keeping things a bit under control by allowing a .231 BA with runners in scoring position.

Tim Lincecum and the Giants visit the Marlins as they take on Anibal Sanchez. The Freak needs two strike outs to reclaim the league lead from Ubaldo Jimenez. Lincecum hit double digits in strikeouts twice in his first five starts. We’ll see if Bruce Bochy pulls him if the game is late and close, as the Giants lost Tim’s last start when that happened. Sanchez is pitching well in terms of walks and home runs, but his high number of balls in play is hurting his ERA. He needs to get his strikeouts up.

The Rockies and Padres continue their series with Greg Smith taking on Wade “The Blank” LeBlanc. Wade posted zero runs allowed in 16 of the 17 full innings he’s pitched this season. Batters are getting hits, but that’s about it. He’s only walked four, and base runners are 1 for 5 against him and the Padres catchers. Smith is at risk for whiplash, as he’s allowed six home runs in only 23 1/3 innings of work. PETCO Park should help him with those.

Finally, the Rays travel to Seattle as James Shields faces Jason Vargas. Shields owns a 3.38 ERA despite allowing seven home runs so far. Six of those were solo shots, and he totally shuts down hitters when men are on base. Vargas appears to have solved the home run problem that plagued him in 2009, giving up just two long balls in his first 25 innings of work.