Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Friends Close, Enemies Closer: G24 v. Cardinals

J.A. Happ takes the mound for the Astros tonight against St. Louis. Incredibly, Houston has won ten of their last 16 against St. Louis.

Friends Close

*Someone needs to tell J.A. Happ that the season has started already. We've had glimpses of Good Happ and Bad Happ, and he's had two disaster starts out of four this season.

*Happ's fastball (88.3mph) has been a full 1.5mph off his 2010 fastball (89.8mph). His curve is down 1.2mph off his 2010 curve, as well.

*In his last outing, he allowed 6H/6ER, 5K:1BB, 2HR in 4.2IP at New York - and he needed 109 pitches to do it.

*The middle of the order (#3-#6) - any order - is collectively hitting .405/.500/.703 with a .464 BABIP.

*When hitters go after the first pitch, they're hitting .500/.500/.857.

*However, in two starts at Minute Maid Park in 2011, he's 1-1 with a 3.07 ERA/1.16 WHIP, holding hitters to .224/.316/.347.

*Albert Pujols is hitting .400/.455/.800, and Berkman is 1x2 with a HR off Happ for their careers.

Enemies Closer

*Kyle Lohse! Lohse throws an 88.8mph fastball 62.8% of the time, with a 79mph changeup (20.2%) and a slider (14.3%). 2.7% of his pitches have been curves at 73.7mph.

*He's been pounding the strike zone early, throwing 72.2% of his first pitches for strikes (56.4% in 2010), and 52% of his pitches are in the strike zone.

*Despite that, he's 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA so far in 2011, winning his last three starts, throwing 24.1IP, and allowing 13H/3ER, 17K:3BB in those three wins - two of them on the road.

*It's not like RHBs are tattooing him, posting a .553 OPS, but LHBs are only hitting .123/.180/.158 in 61PAs.

*The first time facing Lohse in a game, opponents are only hitting .098/.119/.098 (4x41, 13K:1BB).

*Current Astros are hitting .272/.312/.449 against him. Bill Hall, who is 1x15 lifetime against Lohse, is out tonight. Pence is 11x31 (.878 OPS), and Carlos Lee has 11 XBHs in 20 hits against Lohse.