A Tale Of Two Phils

September 13, 2011 – 12:29 pm

As the old saying goes, “Babe Ruth is dead, just throw strikes!”  Yeah, a gross oversimplification of the art of pitching, but still, it’s a pretty good key to success on the mound.  Witness Phil Hughes’ last four starts — two stinkers followed by two true quality starts.  And there’s one big difference that stands out — his ability to throw strikes in the last two games, and thus stay ahead in the count.  The numbers pretty much speak for themselves:

8/25 OAK 8/31 BOS 9/6 BAL 9/12 SEA
Innings 2.2 5.2 6.0 6.0
Runs 6 6 2 1
Strike % 62 62 71 67
First pitch strike % 33 67 85 84
Favorable pitcher count % 40 49 64 60
Favorable hitter count % 29 17 10 8

In the two good starts, he was throwing first pitch strikes at an 84%+ rate, and he was pitching behind in the count 10% or less of the time.  I’d say that’s a pretty good recipe for a quality start!

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