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Clip & Dirty: 4/29

Clip & Dirty: 4/29
April 30, 2010
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The Clippers kept their streak going as they overcame a 6-2 deficit to defeat the Charlotte Knights, 9-7 at Huntington Park on Thursday night. Jess Todd picked up the W in relief and Frank Herrmann recorded the SV by being lucky enough to pitch in the 9th as opposed to the 8th or another inning of equal importance.

Team Hitting: 9R, 9H, 6XBH (67% of total hits), 6BB, 6K

I was looking at the final box score and when I saw 6 BB’s and 6 K’s, I figured that the Clippers’ batsmen had been very patient and the pitch counts for the Knights would have been extremely high. Instead, I tally it up and find that they threw a total of 142 pitches, or an average of less than 16 pitches an inning. This puzzled me, so I began looking at the play by play and found some bizarre trends:

• Despite drawing 6 walks, were really aggressive at the plate. Of the 40 PA’s last night, 20 of them ended in 3 pitches or less
• 8 of those 20 got hits
• The only hit that occurred after the third pitch of a PA was Wes Hodges HR on the 5th pitch
• The four PA that ended on the first pitch resulted in a Lineout, HR, 2B and HBP
• The seven PA that ended on the second pitch resulted in a 3B, HR, Pop Out, 1B, 1B, GO and Sac Fly
• The nine PA that ended on the third pitch resulted in 6 groundouts, 2B, Pop Up, and a 1B
• All six walks were recorded in 5 pitches or less, so the Knights pitchers really didn’t waste time issuing free passes either.

This was a weird game in many respects, but the Clippers definitely executed on the old baseball axiom of “look for your pitch and hit it”. By swinging early and attacking the first good pitch they saw, the Clippers were able to (at least in this game, but this is against a trend recently detailed at BP) produce great results on balls put in play. They got “better swings” it would seem.

Your stars for the game were Brantley (2-4, 3B, BB, R), Hodges (2-4, HR, 2R, RBI) and Gimenez (1-3, HR, BB, R, 3 RBI).

Team Pitching: 7(5) R(ER), 12H, 6BB, 8K, 12:6 GB:FB, 60% strikes

Carrasco had a rough outing going 4 innings and yielding 12 baserunners; 3.00 WHIP’s are not exactly what you aim for when on the mound. He did throw strikes by checking in at 57% strikes and he didn’t give up an inordinate amount of FB’s as he had a 44% GB ratio. I feel like every time I write about him I say the same things: not bad strike % or GB%, but just can’t seem to put it together for consistent solid outings. I am a firm believer in tempering all sabermetrics with intangible/scouting knowledge and Carrasco seems to be a guy that embodies the need to accept and incorporate both viewpoints. He has the type of makeup that seems to make his considerable repertoire and peripheral statistics play down rather than play up.

Carlton Smith, Jess Todd and Frank Herrmann did their thing and went 5IP, 1(1) R(ER), 4H, 2BB, 6K, 8:1 GB:FB, and 64% strikes. They gave the Clippers potent lineup time to come back and they weren’t disappointed. The Clippers bullpen has been a source of strength this year and hopefully the Indians will be able to mine from these players over the next few years to cheaply and effectively address one of the persistent problems at the big league level.

Hector Rondon will be on the hill as the Clippers try to sweep the Knights tonight at 7:05pm. A strong outing from him would be a welcome relief to those of us that have hopes pinned to his prospect star.

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