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 Sonny Gray versus Xander Bogaerts at-bat, pitch-by-pitch using PITCHf/x.
The Boston Red Sox exploded with six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, and went on to win easily 14-7, but in the bottom of the third it still looked as if the Oakland Athletics were in control. With the A’s leading 4-1, Xander Bogaerts’s at-bat against Sonny Gray reinforced that impression as Bogaerts struck out on six pitches, only two of which were actually in the strike zone.
Gray started off with a curve, dropping it into the middle-outside of the zone for a called strike. Gray has consistently thrown a very fast changeup, in the high 80s; his second pitch was an 88.9-mph changeup, well below the strike zone, and taken for a ball. Bogaerts fouled off the next three pitches: A two-seam fastball (“FT”), or sinker, right at the bottom of the strike zone; a four-seam fastball; and a curve. The four-seam fastball should have been a ball, just inside, but may have been a dangerous pitch to take with two strikes. The curve was certainly a ball, several inches below the bottom of the zone; Bogaerts was completely fooled, and was lucky to foul it off. With the count 1-2, Gray served up yet another curve, again below the strike zone. Once again, Bogaerts was fooled, swung, and missed for the strikeout.
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.
Follow Ian on Twitter @iayork.
All data compiled from PITCHfx and Baseball-Reference.com.