IGD: Padres vs Rockies (6 Apr 07)

first pitch: 7:05 p.m. PT
television: Channel 4SD
matchup: Greg Maddux (15-14, 4.20 ERA) vs Jason Hirsh (10-15, 4.98 ERA)
previews: Padres.com | SI.com

After taking the opening series in San Francisco, the Padres play their home opener Friday night. They’ll take on the Rockies, who have a strong nucleus of young hitting talent and who feature a surprisingly decent pitching staff (especially if ex-Padre Rodrigo Lopez can continue to perform the way he did in his first start for the Rockies).

Greg Maddux makes his Padres debut. The Efficient One will show the kids how to get guys out with an economy of pitches. Presumably he won’t be subjected to the incredible dancing strike zone that Clay Hensley had to deal with on Thursday, so that should help. Not that Maddux needs help.

Incidentally, I’ve been playing around with some of the new stats Sean Forman has made available at the increasingly invaluable Baseball-Reference. I’m mainly just poking at stuff right now, but here is some 2006 pitch data on the current Padres rotation you might find interesting:

Selected 2006 Pitch Data for Current Padres Starters
  1st% SOc% Cntc% 02%
Peavy 62 20 74 20
Young 59 23 77 20
Hensley 59 11 77 15
Maddux 64 37 83 18
Wells 61 32 88 18
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Okay, so what is all this stuff? From the source:

  • 1st% – Percentage of first pitch strikes
  • SOc% – Percentage of strikeouts that were called
  • Cntc% – Percentage of times contact made when swinging
  • 02% – Percentage of PAs that resulted in a 0-2 counts

The amount of data is a bit overwhelming, and like I said, I’m still figuring out how to use it all. I’ve just grabbed a few items that caught my interest and I thought I’d offer a few very superficial observations.

  • Maddux throws a lot of first-pitch strikes. I don’t know how his numbers compare with other pitchers in the league, but he tops the Padres rotation. (Trevor Hoffman, in case you’re wondering, was at a ridiculous 68% last year.) It’s also encouraging to see Jake Peavy with a pretty high number. He was at 59% in 2003, his first full season. Could be improved command, improved confidence, dumb luck, or some combination of the above and/or other factors. Yeah, how’s that for going out on a limb. We’re just observing here, remember?
  • Notice how often Maddux and David Wells get called strikeouts. Is this because they’re crafty? Or do they get more calls because of their experience and reputation? At the other end of the spectrum, there’s Hensley. Nine times out of 10, his victims go down swinging.
  • The contact numbers aren’t real surprising. They match visual observation pretty well — Peavy is a lot better at making batters miss than is Wells.
  • I find it interesting that Peavy and Young do such a good job of getting to 0-2 and still are among league leaders in pitches per plate appearances. Interesting, but not surprising. This appears to confirm (or at least provide another data point in favor of) something we’ve long suspected — that these guys have trouble putting away batters after getting ahead in the count. Just as a thought exercise, I wonder what the effect would be on Peavy if his Cntc% rose from 74 to Maddux’s level (83). That’s an unanswerable question, but it’s a little more practical than “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

For fun (oh, is that what I call this?), I looked up the same numbers for some of last year’s top starting pitchers around the big leagues. We’re getting pretty deep into the category of “stuff I find interesting but I’m not sure what to do with yet,” so I offer these without comment:

Selected 2006 Pitch Data for Starters Receiving at Least One Cy Young Vote in ’06
  1st% SOc% Cntc% 02%
Chris Carpenter 63 32 80 18
Roy Halladay 63 11 83 17
Roy Oswalt 65 33 83 25
Kenny Rogers 59 41 84 16
Johan Santana 65 14 74 25
John Smoltz 68 22 75 26
Justin Verlander 57 24 81 17
Chien-Ming Wang 56 28 85 15
Brandon Webb 65 29 80 19
Carlos Zambrano 57 30 77 16
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Food for thought (some might say too much for a Friday). Enjoy the game, folks. Enjoy Maddux. Go Padres!

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38 Responses »

  1. Hey…I get to be first… Let’s get another winning streak started tonight..

  2. Wait wait wait wait wait…. are we not gonna get the Padres feed on this? Do we have to watch the Rockies announcers?


  3. I’m tired of watching these three bozos talk about nothing…

  4. typical freakin Rockies….can’t seem to get the feed working…bush league team

  5. is there anyone out there who can see the game and can tell those of us who can’t see it what the heck is going on?

  6. I can’t believe this shit!!! Home opening day is already underway and we’re stuck watching some idiots in Denver fumbling around with RCA cables?!?!?!?

    I WANT A REFUND!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I”m with you..how about last nights game that was on the channel guide of directv but it was just a black screen

  8. What the hell is this? Rockies all access?? Where the @#$% is the game?

  9. This is the single worst day of my life

  10. I’m right there with you… this sucks..



    GO PADRES!!!

  12. I really appreciate the way they’re updating us on what the hell is going on..

  13. they are? is it a commercial?

  14. Dude, close everything down and open up again. It’s working now for me and it’s the Padres feed.

  15. I’m trying to watch on directv…and I can’t watch the game…its a freaking simpsons commercial..

  16. FINALLLYY..it’s on… good god..

  17. don’t worry fellas you haven’t missed a thing. Maddux is pitching quickly and well.

  18. Hey guys, all the websites gamecasts are frozen, cant get access to a tv. could some one tell me whats going on? inning, score, and if any of our guys have gotten hits?

  19. Greene got a hit and then Kouz hit a ball deep to center at the wall to end the inning.

    It’s 0-0 and both pitchers are looking like they’re on their game.

  20. thnx for the update. I’m really hoping Kouz can get on track soon… and yes i realize its only the fourth game of the season :-p

  21. Top 3rd:
    Maddux’s first batter – Strikeout
    2nd batter (the pitcher) has a bad swing and taps it in front of Bard. Then thrown out.
    3rd batter (Taveras) – hasn’t happened yet but I’m predicting another strikeout. — oops… hit batter on a 2-0 count.

  22. gamedays up again. just in time to see kaz matsui slug a triple. grrrrrr. thnx for the updates steve

  23. Matsui hit a ball right into the right field corner for a tripple and the fast Taveras came in easily from 1st to score.

  24. Awwww… that was fun.

    Let me know if you need it again. ;-)

  25. Mark. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

  26. aight steve, im finally done with work – bar here i come!

  27. This has not been a lot of fun so far… although the Sledge HR was nice..

  28. Mark… is the Rockies feed is back on for you?

    I don’t understand why they’re not showing the home feed when it’s clearly available.

    And yes, I agree, not fun.

    I do enjoy watching Bell pitch, though.

  29. Are guys talking MLB.tv, gameday audio, extra innings feeds?

  30. 30: I’m watching on mlb.tv

    Very very glad to see Greene’s hot spring has carried over.

  31. At least we know the bullpen is awesome again this year.

  32. Second the comment about Greene’s hot spring…this one ain’t over yet!

  33. Please. Not. Blum.

  34. There has to be a time when Greene just owns a team..

    Career v. Rockies (entering tonight) in 184 AB
    .283 .356 .576
    12 HR 37 RBI

  35. Where are Andrew Brown, Justin Germano and Scott Strickland?

  36. Sucky game. A few observations from the first four games:

    Kouzmanoff looks totally, completely over-matched, like a AAA player that is not ready. I am hoping it is just some jitters, but anything offspeed seems to throw him off. Please don’t let the curse of Cammy continue.

    AGon looked like he is trying to pull the ball. After that Monster Jack in SF, I fear he is thinking “pull first”; the Rockies got a lot of watched strikes or swings and misses on the outside corner. My fear is that he is not covering that as well because he is looking for something to pull and drive.

    Thompson’s 8th was scary, but, in the end, impressive. Not to jinx anything, but I don’t think our relief has given up a run yet.

    Bell looks awesome.

    MGiles likes to swing. He does not swing at bad pitches too often, but sure does not like taking anything. Anything in the zone is fair game. Personally, I like the Giles-Giles, but right now I am thinking about reversing the order. BGiles had a stretch last night of about 12 pitches over two at bats that he did not put anything in play, swinging at 2-3 of them. Bad results, but good discipline. Flip them.

    I am not sure if Greene has had a single yet. All I see are doubles and HR’s. Not complaining, but it is kind of funny.

    Bard needs to get back to the line drive thing. Ever since Opening Day, with lots of line drives, I have seen nothing but flies. One blooped in for a double, but I hope he is not trying to jack them. Just drive them.

    And he cannot throw anyone out. Not me, not you, no one. He had very bad numbers last year, but I was hoping it was a sample size issue. Apparently not.

    Cameron’s approach looks good, has had some shots, but bad outcomes. I think he will be OK.

    PMac as PH, not too good. Either he starts to be useful as a PH, or he gets some PT or we find a RHB who can PH. Pete LaForest.

    Termel is finally getting the outcomes for his discipline. Aside from Giles, and arguably AGon, Termel is the only guy showing much plate discipline. Before, that was a few walks. Now, a few hits and an HR. Love it.

    Back to the Game:

    Back to Kouz. If Kouz gets Greene over from 2B to 3B (with 1 out, forget the inning) in one of his AB’s, instead of flying to shallow center, then Termel’s infield single scores Greene. And then we tie the game in the 9th.

    And, finally. I had the game on Tivo, and was watching the last battle between Fuentes and Cruz in slow motion (at least from Fuentes’ release). On that last pitch, I was thinking “Awesome, ball four” and was stunned to see the call. In normal speed the ball did not look that outside, but it sure did in slo-mo.

    I don’t get the Blum PH as a RH. I know we are low on RH PH (Cruz, Bowen, both switchs), but Blum is not really a RH hitter. He has an OPS around 500 as a RHB. I would have run up Bowen instead.