As predicted here yesterday afternoon, Adam Wainwright was able to pick up his first win since 2010, going 7 innings and facing 26 batters, both season highs for his 5 starts. Of course, this was against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were averaging just 2.64 runs scored per game coming into the contest.
What might continue to be a little disconcerting is that Wainwright is still allowing a crazy high number of home runs per fly ball allowed.
Granted, the 30-year old still had 11 balls hit on the ground versus 4 balls hit into the outfield.
But the four balls hit into the outfield went thusly:
- Top 1st – Alex Presley: deep fly out to CF (sinker)
- Top 3rd – Rod Barajas: double on a deep fly to CF (cutter)
- Top 3rd – Jose Tabata: home run to LF (curveball)
- Top 7th – Pedro Alvarez: home run to LF (cutter)
The prevailing wisdom is that ground ball pitchers allow more hits, but fewer extra-base hits than fly ball pitchers. So we know that fly balls tend to yield extra-base hits. But through 5 starts – small(ish) sample size, I know – Wainwright is allowing a staggering HR/FB rate of 33 1/3%.
Between 2008 and 2010, his rate hovered a bit over 8% and the current 2012 league average is 10.5%.
Looking at the PITCHf/x data, Wainwright’s Pitch Value/100 for hit cutter is sitting at -4.18, his curveball -0.62 and his sinker -0.41. The only pitch he has thrown for a positive value in 2012 is his changeup, which he is also throwing more often this season – 10.1%, up from about 8% between 2007 and ’10.
It might be that he hasn’t found his feel for his “bread & butter” pitches yet. He’s been going (roughly) 45% sinker, 20% cutter, 20% curve, 10% change. When the 3 pitches you throw most often are getting hammered, that’s a bad sign.
If Wainwright can find those pitches again, he can be successful again. But, despite the win last night, he’s not there yet.
PIRATES (10-13) @ CARDINALS (15-8)
7:15 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: A.J. Burnett has surprised me with some strong starts since making his way back to the team, but Lance Lynn has been phenomenal. Could be a fun game.
CUBS (8-15) @ REDS (11-11)
6:10 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: The Reds are trying to get over .500 for the first time since April 8th. This will mark Bronson Arroyo’s 24th career start against the Cubs.
- The Cubs may be trying to figure out a way to get both Bryan LaHair and Anthony Rizzo into the lineup at the same time. Both are left-handed hitter first baseman, but might I suggest converting one into a left fielder?
- Paul Janish broke his wrist and will be out 4-6 weeks for the Reds. Billy Hamilton will not get called up.
BREWERS (11-13) @ Padres (8-17)
5:35 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: SIERA suggest Yo should have fared better than a 6.08 ERA thus far. The Brewers hope that’s true, because right now they can’t seem to get over the hump.
- How Ryan Braun has gotten better. Wait, better? Didn’t he win the MVP or something? How much better does he need to get? Slow down, Ryan.
- Randy Wolf has some self-loathing. Which I understand.
Mets (13-11) @ ASTROS (10-14)
1:05 PM CT
Why You Might Watch This: Neither team has a particularly thrilling record, and yet each might be called something of a surprise team, outplaying their low expectations.