Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friends Close, Enemies Closer: G29 - Astros @ Reds

J.A. Happ will get the extra day of rest, thanks to the rainout, against Mike "Slippery Fingers" Leake.

Friends Close

*Happ hasn't lived up to his 2009 or 2010, but that's mainly because we're convinced he's still hurt from his strained intercostal. He has dropped his last three starts, throwing 16.2IP, allowing 18H/12ER, with 13K:5BB in those starts.

*In his last two outings, he threw over 210 pitches, but recorded 29 outs.

*Brian McTaggart notes that Happ has the lowest strike percentage in the National League, throwing strikes 57.7% of the time.

*Dating back to 2010, the Astros have lost nine of the last ten games Happ has started.

*He's been throwing fastballs at about the same rate, but his average fastball is 88.4mph this year, down from 89.8mph in 2010. His velocities are down across the board.

*That said, he did throw a max fastball at 91.1mph his last time out against St. Louis, averaging 88.7mph. In his previous start, his average fastball was 87.8mph, maxing out at 90.4mph.

*Lefties are hitting .385/.444/.538 against Happ (in 18PAs, for clarification).

*His home splits are much better than his road splits. Opponents are hitting .239/.325/.418 at Minute Maid, and .342/.435/.605 in their place.

*3-6 hitters are lighting him up for a .364/.463/.682 line.

*With the bases empty, opponents have a .989 OPS, and a .664 OPS with men on.

*Happ is 0-1 in two starts against the Reds, allowing 15H/9ER, 6K:9BB in 9IP.

Enemies Closer

*Mike Leake is our bag-stuffing opponent for the evening, and he's been pretty lights out for Cincinnati against the Astros, going 2-1 with a ND in his five starts, with a 2.49 ERA/1.26 WHIP.

*He throws a four-seam fastball 37.2% of the time at an average of 87.9mph, with a cutter he throws almost as much (31.5%) at 87.2mph. He also throws a changeup (18.2% - 82.5mph) and a slider (11.4%).

*In two starts since being arrested for theft, he's 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA, allowing 11H/5ER, 12K:2BB.

*At home, Leake is allowing hitters a .175/.274/.254 line, with a 16K:8BB ratio.

*OPS, by time through the order: 1st - .595; 2nd - .588; 3rd - .922.

*The Astros have two stolen bases against Leake, and have never been caught stealing off of him.

*Michael Bourn is 4x11 off Leake, while Hunter Pence and Chris Johnson have the only homers for the Astros. Another reason to give Carlos Lee an extra day: Lee is 1x12.

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