Thursday, April 7, 2011

4/8 Reds @ Dbacks

This entry will be a little different compared to last night's blog because there isn't a sample size to work with. Be prepared for a lot of theory and predictions, or else I wouldn't have a blog for tomorrow night!

First pitch is at 9:40pm with Travis Wood (1-0) facing off vs Ian Kennedy (0-0), not very often do you get two guys 6' or below facing off vs each other.

Only three Reds have faced Kennedy, and two of them most likely won't play:
  • Edgar Renteria - 3-6, 2b, rbi
  • Ramon Hernandez - 3-5, hr, 3rbi
  • Jonny Gomes - 0-3, 2k
Not much to analyze here, and the Dbacks have never faced Wood so I'm going to do a little segment on how the lineups stack up vs these pitchers in terms of how well the pitchers do vs LHB/RHB. I'm going to use 2010 statistics because they are most recent and relevant.

Kennedy is unique because his splits aren't much different, and also because he pitches better vs LHB than RHB as a RHP. RHB bat .238 vs him, while LHB bat .218. Power numbers are very similar as well w/ 11 hrs from the right side and 15 hrs from the left side. One note on the power numbers are the 15 hrs are with less at bats, so one could argue that lefties do have a power advantage vs him. 20% of hits from the left side are hrs, while 12% of hits from the right side are hrs. His K and BB rates are better vs lefties, but his hit rates are better vs righties.

It's also important to mention that Kennedy is pretty comfortable at home with a 3.53 era (3.80 overall). One really interesting statistic I've found is Kennedy is prone to giving up early runs and early home runs. 10 of his 26 (38%) home runs were given up in his first 25 pitches of the game. 11 of his 26 home runs given up were against players in their first AB, and 14 of his 26 home runs given up are in innings 1-3.
  • Very interesting tidbit considering the Reds have been getting off to hot starts and have plus power from the first five batters in Stubbs, Phillips and Votto followed by Rolen and Bruce. Most teams don't have a 1-5 with all of them being power hitters so we'll see if that has an effect on Kennedy.
  • You may say well 14 (of 26) of his homers were in innings 1-3 but he only averages 6.06 IP per appearance so that seems like a useless stat, but only 7 homers were hit innings 4-6. If Kennedy starts out well, the Redlegs may not be able to pull it out.
One other small note on D'backs pitching, the Reds are a combined 2-16 vs JJ Putz (Closer) who has started out hot with 3k in 2ip.

Pick to Click: Joey Votto. I think he'll end his HR "drought" as well.

Travis Wood clearly has the advantage vs the D'backs tomorrow night because of the amount of lefties in the D'backs lineup. Unlike Kennedy, Wood's splits are absurd. LHB bat .136 vs Wood, while RHB are hitting a .240 rate. A typical D'backs lineup consists of Gerardo Parra (L), Chris Young (R), Justin Upton (R), Melvin Mora (R), Stephen Drew (L), Kelly Johnson (L), Juan Miranda (L) and Miguel Montero (L). Notice all the lefties?
  • I'd start Nady over Parra in LF, but I'm unsure of Nady's health issues, and it's not a huge issue because Nady is only batting 10 points higher than Parra vs LHP (.254 v .244).
  • Stephen Drew has been DTD, but should return for the Cincy series, although I'd advise to start Willie Bloomquist at SS because he is batting .348, a righty, and leads the leagues in steals with 5. Also it's worth mentioning that Bloomquist hits lefties at .283, compared to Drew's .242.
  • Kelly Johnson actually rakes vs LHP, .321 over the past 3 years (70 points higher than RHP)..very unique situation here.
  • Drew and Parra's splits are both about 40 points lower vs LHP than RHP.
  • Miranda has only faced 9 LHP, but is batting .333
  • Montero's splits are identical, but he has much more power vs RHP so it's still an advantage.
From the right side of the plate there will most likely be Mora, Upton and Young.
  • Mora's splits are nearly identical, but much more power vs LHP
  • Upton bats .305 vs LHP and ~20% of his hits are home runs (19 hr 106 hits)
  • Young bats 40 points higher vs LHP (.271 to .232) but there is no increase in HR (16% hr to hit ratio vs LHP and RHP) with a big increase in doubles vs LHP and SLG is 80 points higher.
Francisco Cordero (Closer) is dominant vs current D'backs roster as they are 6-42 vs him w/ 2rbi.

Pick to Click: Kelly Johnson

Some other baseball tidbits and off topic stuff:
-Votto struckout for the first time today in the finale vs the Astros. Votto struck out a lot last year and I think you're going to see him keep his K numbers down this year as he was trying to improve his approach at the plate in the off-season.

-Troy Tulowitzki has hit 3 home runs this week since he changed his walk-up music to Just Bieber.

-The Sox are 0-6, and not the White variety. No need to worry though, Gonzalez and Crawford will come around.

-Reds are 123-85 since Rolen came off the DL in 2009.

-Reds bullpen with a 1.50 ERA so far this year, 3 ER in 18 innings.

-Soccer fans, how big of an idiot is this dude?

-I really though Kenbrell Thompkins was going to be special after watching him practice last year and in the Spring Game last year, check out this article on him from ESPN. Great story, similar to Gilyard.

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