Justin Upton’s solo homer in the eighth was icing on the proverbial cake. His blast to left-center extended the Diamondbacks’ lead to 5-3, which turned out to be the final score on Wednesday evening in Phoenix.
The result of Upton’s confrontation with Padres right-hander Edward Mujica may have been interesting, if predictable, in terms of its impact on the final outcome. Perhaps even more interesting, if maddening, was the way in which this result was achieved.
Before we go there, if you knew nothing else about a player beyond the fact that he is 22 years old and coming off a season where he hit .300/.366/.532, what assumptions might you make about his hitting tendencies? Might you assume he could hit a fastball? I might.
Only one guy in all of baseball is worse at hitting sliders than Justin Upton, and that’s Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres. Why Upton still sees fastballs is beyond me.
And beyond the fence.
I’m not too handy with gathering PITCHf/x data, but I can muddle my way through the basics. Here is a quick look at Mujica vs Upton:
- Fastball, 91.7 mph, ball
- Fastball, 92.4 mph, ball
- Fastball, 93.3 mph, ball
- Fastball, 92.9 mph, foul
- Fastball, 94.3 mph, swinging strike
- Fastball, 94.1 mph, foul
- Fastball, 93.4 mph, home run
Whose idea was it to work this sequence, and why did they think it would succeed? That is either stubborn, stupid, or both.
Not that it made a difference on Wednesday, but the Padres can’t be doing stuff like this. They lack the talent necessary to overcome such critical mistakes. Play smart, guys; you need every advantage you can get this year.