Game 12 Notes: .500 searching

-On initial inspection, Ichiro’s leadoff shot down the line looked like a ball that had the fan not caught it, could have gone for three bases. The replay that showed directly down the first base line showed otherwise. The fan caught a ball headed for the stands.

-I’ve always wondered why Justin Verlander didn’t strike more batters out early in his career. Back in the David Locke days at KJR-AM, I remember them calling Gil Meche a “big circle” guy, meaning he was unable to spot his pitchers, but rather threw to a general area of the strike zone. I think that Verlander was one of those guys, and despite his 95+ mph average on his fastball, he got hit a lot. He hasn’t really changed his pitch selection, still throwing fastballs and offspeed at similar rates, but it appears his command out of the strike zone has improved. In 2009 he threw outside of the strike zone at a career high rate (53.3 percent). His walk rate however, was at an all time low (2.36/9) and batters swung at pitches out of the zone at a rate higher than any in his career (29.8 percent), but made contact at a lower rate than any in his career (58.6 percent). So in short, mystery solved, Verlander is making it harder for batters to hit the ball, even if it means pitching outside of the strike zone. A lot of credit has been given to his improved breaking ball, but according to Fangraphs pitch type values he’s seen it manifest in improved fastball production, worth nearly a run above average (0.96) every 100 times he throws it, also a career high.

How’s that for crappy amateur statistical analysis.

-These are really crappy notes, I’m only half working on them. But I just heard that Bedard may come back May 23rd, which is over a month before I expected personally. If Bedard is healthy (record, meet breaking device) a Felix-Cliff Lee-Bedard trio would make a dominant front half of the rotation, and an imposing playoff rotation, just sayin’.

-Ubaldo Jimenez better recover from his no hitter better than Mark Beuhrle did from his perfect game. I have bragging rights in a fantasy baseball league that Justin Runquist plays in at stake.

-David Aardsma still has velocity, the m f’ing DA.

-Mariners are .500