Pitch f/x: Pressing with Chase Headley

Yesterday I examined Chase Headley’s struggles this season. We discovered that Chase was swinging and missing at more pitches but that he wasn’t swinging at the first pitch with anymore frequency (but when he did the results were terrible). We also learned that pitchers appear to have adjusted to Chase in 2013. He’s seeing a lot more change-ups and cutters.

This information sets the stage for last night when the Padres launched a fantastic come-back during the 7th inning. Chase Headley led-off the inning and was hit by a pitch from Rob Scahill. Chase took the first pitch for a ball and was hit with pitch #2.

Then the progression went as follows: HR (Quentin), HR (Gyorko), 2B (Blanks), 1B (Maybin), pitching change.

Josh Outman entered the game yielded the following: BB (Grandal), F3 (Guzman), BB (Denorfia), 1B (Cabrera), and then Chase Headley stepped to the plate (batting right handed) for his second AB of the inning.

Outman was all over the place, throwing not only a lot of balls, but a lot of ball high out of the strike zone. Chase should have been extremely patient in this AB, based on Outman’s previous 4 batters. Chase struck out after seeing 5 pitches.

Let’s look at the Pitch F/X data from Brooks Baseball to see the location and types (speed) of pitches . . .

Picture 19

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Chase did well to lay-off of the first pitch as it was up and away. Then on the second pitch Chase unloaded with a swing and a miss. The pitch was out of the zone. The third pitch was extremely high putting Chase in a hitter’s count, 2-1. The fourth pitch was a called strike. The fourth pitch was right on the border based on the data above. In real time it looked like a ball and Chase eyeballed the Umpire after the call. The fifth pitch was a swinging strike. Chase went to the dugout and Josh Outman was pulled for Wilton Lopez.

Chase’s decision to swing at the second pitch of the AB was indicative of a player who is slumping and consequently pressing. With men on 2nd and 3rd, 1st base was open. Outman didn’t look like he was trying to give Chase anything to hit but when Chase decided to swing at pitch #2 it allowed him to nibble with pitch #3 which Outman got for a strike. It went down hill from there.

What about the pitches thrown to Chase? Josh Outman threw 5 pitches: 2 four-seam fastballs, 2 change-ups, and 1 slider.

Picture 11

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His speeds ranged from a tick over 80 MPH to 94.5 MPH. Because he threw two change-ups I would guess that they were the last two pitches of the AB based on their similar speeds and that the slider was the first pitch at 80 MPH.

Slider-fastball-fastball-change-change – K.

Chase left the game after the AB finishing the game 0-4 with a K and a HBP.

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