Saturday, April 21, 2012

Know Your Enemy: April 21

And so the Astros come into tonight's game 5-9, having lost eight of their last ten games with a run differential of -6 in those ten games.

*They face 6'3" 220lb LHP Clayton Kershaw.
*He was drafted out of Highland Park High School in Dallas with the 7th overall pick in the 2006 draft and debuted with the Dodgers at 20 years old - then the youngest pitcher in MLB.
*In his senior season at Highland Park, Kershaw pitched an all-strikeout perfect game in the playoffs against Justin Northwest HS.
*Kershaw has mentioned that he modeled his mechanics on Roger Clemens.
*Kershaw won the Pitching Triple Crown and the NL Cy Young in 2011, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either one of these achievements since Dwight Gooden in 1985.
*His 6.71 hits/9 were the best in the NL in 2011.
*According to FanGraphs, his Fastball velocity has been sitting at 92.5mph, with an 84.5mph slider, 82.9mph changeup, and a 73.2mph curve.
*Kershaw faced the Astros twice in 2011 (May 23 and August 13), and threw a total of 14IP, 10H/2ER, 16K:3BB.
*He left his Opening Day start after 3IP with the flu, but still managed to get 25 strikes on 39 pitches, with 2H/0ER, 3K:1BB at San Diego.
*Kershaw was sharp in his second start of the season, throwing 7IP, 4H/1ER, 7K:0BB against the Pirates; but got roughed up a bit by the Padres on Monday with 5.1IP, 8H/3ER, 3K:3BB.
*RHBs are hitting .216/.273/.314 off of Kershaw this season, and he has only allowed one hit in 18PAs w/RISP, for an .067/.176/.067 line.
*So far this young season, the Astros are hitting .209/.308/.341 vs. Lefty starters.
*Current Astros, collectively, have 46PAs vs. Kershaw. Carlos Lee is 4x13 with a homer and 2BB off Kershaw, and Chris Snyder is 3x7 with a HR and 2BB. Justin Maxwell is 0x5 with 4Ks, so don't expect to see him in the lineup.

*Kyle Weiland takes the mound for the third times this season. He's 0-2 with 10.2IP, 18H/10ER, 7K:6BB, 3HR allowed. In his last seven games started (dating back to July 2011), he's 0-5 with an 8.63 ERA.
*Weiland got 17 swinging strikes in his opening outing of the season against the Braves, but only four swinging strikes at Washington on Tuesday.
*There's not a pretty stat to show about Weiland's 2012, but if the batter gets ahead in the count, they go on to a 1.545 OPS (10x21, 4XBH, 2K:6BB).
*He has never faced anyone on the Dodgers.