The Giants know a thing or two about big leads. But the main takeaway from their knowledge is that no lead is safe. Yes, the Giants are up 2-0 over the Tigers, but they are still far from scooting around Market Street on trolly cars, celebrating their second title in three years.
Here’s a complete break down of what to expect from Anibal Sanchez and Ryan Vogelsong:
Anibal Sanchez vs. Giants’ Offense
Sanchez fits the bill of a strikeout pitcher, much like the rest of his fellow rotation mates.The right-hander’sarsenal is essentially based around the command of his fastball, though in two postseason starts this year, he has done an exceptional job of mixing up his pitches, throwing his fastball 38% of the time, change up 17%, slider 19%, and curve-ball 12%.
During the regular season, Sanchez’s pitch variation basically rotated between his fastball, slider, and an occasionally his change up. But the added usage of his curve-ball during the postseason has given him an added weapon, and it seems to be paying dividends so far. The only pitch that he has thrown out the window in terms of usage, is his cutter, which he has thrown only three times in the playoffs. Yes, you heard me, three times out of the hundreds of pitches he has thrown.
The thing is, Sanchez and the Giants are opposites. The Tigers’ right-hander goes for the swing and miss, while San Francisco’s hitters rarely swing through pitches. To break this topic down a bit more, Sanchez ranked tenth in the American League is SwStr%, which is basically the percentage of pitches opposing hitters swing through. As for the Giants, they ranked in the top five of teams that don’t hear that whiff sound very often. So again, it’s a weird match up. But opposite attract, right?
Justin Verlander possess the same strength as Sanchez, but that strength did not do him well in Game 1, as the Giants scored five runs off him in only four innings of work. With all factors considered, the advantage seems to go to the Giants because they have already dealt with a pitcher similar and more formidable to Sanchez.
Ryan Vogelsong vs. Tigers’ Offense
Vogelsong’s variation hasn’t been much varied in the playoffs because he has stuck to strictly hard stuff, meaning a four-seamer, two-seamer, and cutter. Obviously it’s a gutsy approach, yet, why change anything when it’s working? And for Vogelsong, that combination of pitches is certainly working, just ask his 1.42 ERA over 19 innings (3 starts). Toiling away, the journeyman, whose finally found a home with San Francisco, has arguably been the Giants’ best pitcher this postseason on a staff consisting of Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.
The Tigers, though, present a tough task. Vogelsong isn’t overpowering, but his knack hitting his spots has revitalized his career. The thing is, if he pounds the strike zone with fastballs tonight, he could potentially hit a wall. Not only are the Tigers free-swingers, but they also swing at pitches inside the strike zone, like any good-hitting team.
Seeing that Vogelsong’s speed variations don’t differ greatly, mixing up his locations will be a crucial part to his success in Game 2. Basically, he can’t throw too many strikes if that makes any sense to you. The Tigers will pounce on him and eat him alive if he does so.
The simple fix— determine if the Tigers will be chasing pitches. If they are, his approach will be about as simple as it could be. If they aren’t, then he should follow the exact approach he used against the Cardinals, where he stayed away from too many fastballs and mixed in his curve-ball more often.
Weather-(Click on Picture For A Close Up)
1. Angel Pagan (S) CF
2. Marco Scutaro (R) 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Hunter Pence (R) RF
6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
7. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
8. Hector Sanchez (S) DH
9. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
1. Austin Jackson (R) CF
2. Quintin Berry (L) LF
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 3B
4. Prince Fielder (L) 1B
5. Delmon Young (R) DH
6. Andy Dirks (L) RF
7. Jhonny Peralta (R) SS
8. Alex Avila (L) C
9. Omar Infante (R) 2B