Last series of the regular season so I have to do a series preview. I'm adding links to my player cards for those that want to see more PITCHf/x stuff.
Both the Padres and Brewers are still alive for the playoffs so I think now it is safe to say this is the most important series for both teams this year :)
The Brewers come in two games behind the Cubs inthe NL Central and the Padres are on top of the Wild Card by a game and one and a half behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Here are the expected pitchers for both teams.
Cassel Comes into this series having just thrown 18 innings for the Padres. He features a sinker in the high 80's and a change and curve in the high 70's. His curve really isn't anything special and in fact it might be a slider. He certainly doesn't look overpowering striking out just 9 in the 18 innings but does get a decent amount of ground balls as you would expect with his sinker.
Maddux is the classic crafty vet who is now throwing in the mid 80's sinking and cutting his fastball. His change is still a weapon and if you look at his player card you can see it fitting nicely between his two fastballs. He mixes in a curve every now and then but basically he is a fastball/change up pitcher now.
Young started off on fire before heading to the DL in late July. He still has an incredibly low ERA and WHIP for the year despite being 9 and 8 in the win/loss column. He features a low 90's fastball that has an extremely high "rise" to it. His primary offspeed pitch is his slider which has pretty similar horizontal break to his fastball. You don't see that very often and my guess is that is helping to confuse opposing batters.
Peavy will take the ball if the last game of the season eans anything. He is a leading Cy Young candidate who has a great mid 90's fastball, a hard slider, and a decent change. If you look at his release point he has a pretty wide band there. You don't see that too often. There was a great HBT article on Peavy that I can't seem to find that seemed to support this. Anyway, it does appear there is some separation between his fastball and his offspeed stuff especially his change up. The lower his release point the more likely it is going to be offspeed.
Ok on to the hitters. Here is a projected lineup for both teams.
B Giles sure hasn't had a great year for the Padres but he doesn't seem to have a huge strength or weakness at the plate.
Lane just came over from the Astros. As I am missing the last few days of data he is still listed as an Astro here. He really has had trouble with the fastball this year and appears to be taking way too big of a swing at them.
Hairston has a very small sample but also seems to have trouble with the fastball.
Kouzmanoff has really turned his season around the past few months. He appears to be a dead red hitter.
Gonzalez is one of the best hitters few people know about. He looks like he slams everything but change ups which seem to give him all kinds of trouble.
Greene is a solid power hitter that doesn't offer much in the way of average. He seems willing to expand his zone on curves and sliders especially away.
Bard really has trouble throwing out runners which is something to keep your eye on this series. At the plate he doesn't look like anything special either.
Blum probably should be a reserve role at this point in his career but he has been playing second a lot for the Padres. He really doesn't offer much in the way of power anymore.
Clark comes back to Milwaukee with his third team of the year. It is pretty sad to think at how much we are still paying him to suck and how little we are paying Prince and Braun to rock. Pretty small samples here and nothing too surprising.
Now for the Brewers
Weeks sure looks good from these plots. Again, PITCHf/x mostly has been a second half thing for the NL Central so this is showing the good Rickie. I had no idea though that he liked the offspeed stuff so much. He is just hammering curves, sliders, and changes.
Hardy really seems to love sliders. Again, we aren't dealing with large statistics but man that looks crazy. The Padres have a few guys who use the slider a lot so this could be a good match up for JJ.
Braun, like Weeks really destroys the offspeed pitches. Look at his huge slugging against curves and sliders! He does appear to be willing to chase some sliders down and away but if you miss with that pitch he will make you pay big time.
Fielder too loves the offspeed stuff. This sure looks strange for a guy with so much bat speed but it seems like the way to pitch him really is fastballs up and in. That offspeed stuff low and away just seems to get hammered.
Hart though breaks the trend and does a lot better with the fastball. He isn't bad with other pitches (especially the curve) but sliders and change up are the way to pitch him.
Jenkins is the classic Cerrano-esque player at this stage of his career. He still can hit the fastball and the change up if you leave it up in the zone. But if the ball curves he is in serious trouble. From this it looks like as long as the curve ball is over the plate he will swing at it even if it is way low (which isn't anything we didn't know).
Hall has really been struggling lately and here PITCHf/x is seeing his bad side. He doesn't seem to hit much hard though I would be giving him a steady does of offspeed stuff if I were on the mound.
Miller too has been struggling a lot lately. Again, offspeed looks like the way to go with him.
If you want to see more of this stuff you can visit my blog and look at the player cards.