2013 World Series: A look at the Red Sox-Cardinals pitching matchups

October 27, 2013

Looking back

We won’t know for sure what the halfway point of the World Series is until we’re past it, but this is as good a time as any to tip the hat to some impressive pitching from the opening trio of games.

Best pitching performance that we’ll forget
John Lackey, Game 2
Lackey was solid for six innings in his first World Series game since his rookie year. He got into some trouble in the seventh and was charged with some runs after leaving the game. Lackey dominated with both his curve and slider and generated 15 swinging strikes–the most of the series. He recorded 19 outs, more than any starter not named Jon Lester.

Best-educated relief pitcher to have a bad World Series
Craig Breslow
Breslow has thrown 18 pitches so far and only two have resulted in a strike being put on the scoreboard. In the aforementioned Game 2 Breslow took the ball from Lackey and poured gas on the fire. A walk and a sacrifice fly were not the most helpful things, and he made things worse by throwing a ball away after backing up the play at home. When Breslow entered Game 3 he promptly gave up a single and then hit Carlos Beltran on the elbow. That ended Breslow’s night, but his runners both came around to score. Karma.

I, for one, welcome our new relief-pitching overlords
Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez
Rosenthal has been lights-out, Martinez has been touched up a bit, but both can throw 100 mph. Martinez features a second fastball that has as much sink as you can find from a pitcher who doesn’t throw sidearm. It can approach 99 mph, averaging nearly 97. While the Red Sox may be getting used to Rosenthal’s four-seam heater they may also be running out of luck against Martinez’s groundball-generating  sinker. That is up to the BABIP gods to decide. Don’t even try and predict it, as their rules are mostly unwritten.

Looking ahead

Game 4 is setting up to be an intriguing game. Both clubs have a question mark of some sort heading to the mound.

Clay Buchholz will start for Boston despite not being physically 100 percent. He’s missed time with a balkly shoulder and his preperations for his next start have not gone smoothly. Jake Peavy was even shuffled up to the third game to give Buchholz extra time.

This brings us to Ryan Dempster. When Felix Doubrant relieved Peavy early in Game 3 it became clear that Dempster would be given the distinction of piggybacking Buchholz’s start. Someone needs to be ready to give a few innings out of the Boston bullpen tonight, and the erstwhile starter is now the best option. Demspter has thrown just three innings over three appearances this postseason, so he should be both rested and a little rusty. Buchholz doesn’t have to go too deep, but the Red Sox should avoid having the medicore Dempster see the Cardinals’ lineup more than once.

Buchholz/Dempster will face Lance Lynn. Lynn is big, young and experienced. At 6 feet 5 and 25 years old he’s stared down from the mound in October for three straight seasons and will be making his fifth start and 20th appearance overall. Lynn has a five-pitch mix (fastball, sinker, cutter, curveball and change-up). His curveball has become more effective (more missed bats, more groundballs) over the past season and, recently, a more prevelant part of his pitch mix. Still, some games he seems to not use it, others he will throw it often. Against Pittsburgh — a start that did not go well — he threw more curves than fastballs. He threw more curves that game (28) than he has his last two combined (20).

Lynn Buchholz Demspter
MPH usage MPH usage MPH usage
Fastball 93 52% 93 29% 90 48%
Sinker 93 21% 92 20% 89 1%
Cutter 88 12% 88 24% 88 5%
Slider 85 28%
Curveball 80 11% 78 14%
Change-up 85 4% 81 11%
Splitter 86 2% 82 18%

pavlidis
Harry Pavlidis is the founder of Pitch Info. Follow him on Twitter: @harrypav.

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James Wagner · October 27, 2013

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