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Toronto Series – Game 2 Recap/Game 3 Preview

July 26, 2012

Quick Hit:

This is the WPA chart and Leverage Index (thanks FanGraphs!) for last nights game. As you can see the outcome was pretty much never in doubt from the second inning on. The WE asymptotically made its way towards 100% from the third inning on and actually fluctuated around the 0.1% and 0.0% for most of the late innings.

Obviously AJ Griffin contributed the most for the pitchers, putting up a respectable .075 WPA. It could have been better, but his pLI (average leverage index)* for the game was a paltry 0.18. Career high in strikeouts and a no-hitter through three innings will help keep that number low.

Yoenis Cespedes takes the top spot offensively with a .112 WPA. How is that possible? Coco hit two home runs! Well Yoenis would be given the game winning RBI with his single in the first, therefore his pLI was .50. Gomes and Crisp finish out the top three at .98 and .69 respectively.

*- FanGraphs has a wonderful glossary when it comes to advance metrics. Here is there post for Leverage Index. If you ever have a question about an advanced metric, make your way over there and see what they have to say. 

Of Note:

– The eight runs scored by the Athletics in the second inning, tied their highest mark for runs scored in that inning this year.
– The 16-run shutout is the largest shutout for the A’s since they blanked the Giants by the same score in 2005.
– Currently the A’s rank third in the American League by Beane Count, whatever that is, behind only the Yankees and Rangers.  They’re fourth in all of MLB, with the Cardinals leading the way there.
– I know the A’s did not walk-off last night, but interestingly they are 8-0 this season when tied in the 12th inning and beyond.

Game 3 Preview:

One last hurdle for the Athletics. A sweep of the Blue Jays, along with their mounting injuries, could for the hand of GMAA and turn the Blue Jays into sellers ahead of the deadline.

Tommy Milone takes the mound for the A’s this afternoon, or morning depending where you are, in attempts to learn how to pitch on the road. And his inability to do so is well known. Just look at the Home/Away splits for him this year:

I did not do the best editing, so AVG, OBP, SLG, wOBA, go with the top set and the bottom set go with the WHIP, BABIP, etc.

IF there was a game the A’s would lose in this series, I would count on it being this one. And it really depends on which Tommy shows up. The good, or bad, thing about Tommy is that he can be like Zito right before he left the A’s, you can usually decide how the game will go by how his first one or two innings go. If Milone can keep the ball down in the zone, he’ll be effective. If he starts leaving the changeup over the large part of the plate, it will be like Bastille Day all over again.

Aaron Laffey, like AJ Griffin last night, seems to be pitching above his head now. Currently his pitching triple slash (ERA/FIP/xFIP) is 2.77/4.29/4.02. His 5.08 K/9 is not flashy but his 1.85 BB/9 is outstanding. That is the his lowest BB/9 since his first year in the MLB with Cleveland in 2007.

He throws a Fourseam fastball, sinker, slider, change, and this year added a cutter. He has favored his cutter this year more than any pitch, throwing it 37% of the time with his fastball, sinker, change, slider following in descending order. Laffey is interesting in that he has drastically changed his armslot since he first broke into the league as shown by Brooks Baseball horizontal and vertical release point graphs:

Horizontal release point by pitch

Vertical release point by pitch

You can also see his different  arm slot for his pitches depending on the handedness of the batter:

RHB

LHB

This will be a good test for the A’s hitters and hopefully one of the last lefties they’ll have to face for a while.

First pitch is at 12:07 PM/ 11:07 AM/ 10:07 AM/ 9:07 AM today.

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