Sometimes a game can come down to one at-bat, whether the hitter strikes out or lifts his team with a big home run an entire season can hinge on one swing. Ian York breaks down the Julio Teheran versus Xander Bogaerts at-bat, pitch-by-pitch using PITCHf/x.
Teheran had pitched an excellent game, wiggling out of trouble time and again, giving up a single run on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s homer earlier in the inning. Down by one run, Teheran was running on fumes – starting the at-bat with 106 pitches – but the bases were loaded with two outs. With Boston’s dual closers, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel, due to pitch the 8th and 9th innings, even adding a single run by walking Bogaerts – let alone two or three by allowing a hit – would put the game out of reach. It took ten pitches but Teheran won the duel.
Teheran started the at-bat with three four-seam fastballs. At this point in the game, Teheran was clearly tiring, but his fastball velocity was still around his typical 92-mph range. The first, Bogaerts took for a called strike. He fouled off the second, as well as the third, which may have been high but was too close to take with two strikes.
A fourth fastball caught the inside corner; but Bogarts fouled it off. Teheran tried a slider, low and outside, and Bogaerts wasn’t fooled, bringing the count to 1-2. The sixth pitch was another four-seam fastball, in the middle of the strike zone. Another foul, as was the seventh pitch, a slider perfectly placed on the outside edge of the plate, and the eighth, a fastball in the middle of the zone.
Pitch nine was another fastball, but well outside, and Bogaerts declined to offer bringing the count even at 2-2. At this point, Bogaerts had worked his way from 0-2 to 2-2, fouling off six of the seven strikes he had seen.
Pitch 10 was the last, another fastball, over the outer third of the plate. Bogaerts hit it hard, but right to center fielder Mallex Smith. That ended the inning, stranding three runners and keeping the score at 1-0 for the Sox.
The game ended at that score, so at the end of the day the at-bat didn’t change the outcome, but it was a great effort on both sides and kept the Braves in the game for the final two innings.
Ian York uses the PITCHf/x to monitor the strike zone, highlights great performances, monitors league-wide trends and tracks the performances of some interesting young hitters.
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All data compiled from PITCHfx and Baseball-Reference.com.