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Game Reaction: Game Nine


Top contributor: John Danks 21.7%
The pick that clicked: Gordon Beckham 13.1%
You can put it on the board: Andruw Jones hit a solo homerun to lead off the 2nd to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Increased win expectancy by 10.2%. Carlos Quentin hit a grand-slam in the 5th to give the Sox a 7-0 lead. Increased win expectancy 6.2%
Total contribution by the hitters: 28.3%
Total contribution by the pitchers: 21.7%

If it feels like the early goings of this season has been one continuous cliffhanger, it’s because it has. Going into tonight’s game, the player’s average leverage index for all game events this season is 1.38, which leads the league. We’ve seen more than our fair share of extra innings and one run ballgames so far. That means a rout like tonight is refreshing for a fan’s nerves.

We’ve been spoiled on good change-ups from lefties the past two nights. Last night, we saw Ricky Romero generate plenty of whiffs with the pitch, tonight John Danks got seven swings and misses with this change-up. What interests me the most if the sheer amount of sink with the pitch that he had tonight, at least according to the Pitch F/x cameras. It’s really something to behold.

On average, Danks’ change had about 9 inches of horizontal spin deflection (tail) with about 7 inches of vertical spin deflection. Here’s a movement graph from last August against Seattle:

Tonight, Danks threw his his change-up 28% of the time, and it had a lot more sink. It had about 7 inches of tail, and just an inch and a half of vertical spin deflection, on average. Here, take a look:

This is a huge difference from his last game, let alone last season. I don’t know if Toronto’s camera was screwy or what. It looks like it could be the case. I actually didn’t get to watch the game tonight, so if you have any info, someone fill me in.

One more night of the empty, ugly Rogers Centre. Lefty Dana Eveland is the opposing pitcher. Just a couple of seasons ago Eveland looked like a F.A.T. (freely available talent) find,  posting a 4.09 FIP over 168 innings for Oakland. However, he spent most of last year in Triple-A for whatever reason. His fastball is only about 88 MPH; his slider is his main weapon.

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