One Trick Pony My Ass

Cliff_lee_pitch_typeScreen caps courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net

Remember our good friend Pat Jordan? Ya know, the guy who said the Four Aces were nothing but a bunch of one-trick ponies?

Take a look at Cliff Lee's pitch chart from last night, when he struck out 12, walked one, and gave up no runs on three hits. We'll make this real simple: The higher it is on the graph- the faster the pitch. It's position left or right indicates the ball's movement from center.

Last night, the Clifton's fastball (green and light blue dots) typically cut backwards around 7-9 inches at 92 M.P.H. His changeup (yellow dots) spun backwards at closer to 10 inches at around 85 M.P.H. His cutter? 1-5 inches to the left (black dots) at around 87 M.PH. But look at those lonely purple dots there in the bottom left. They're his curve balls. Perhaps they should join Jayson Werth in the dugout- they can make friends.

He threw it only a few times starting in the six inning, but it typically broke seven inches to the left at around 76 M.P.H.

It's a grab bag of goodness, folks.

You notice there's nothing in the center (indicating little-to-no break), right? Here's a view from the top down. Look at this magical rainbow of baseball sex.

Cliff_lee_top
Balls breaking left, balls breaking right. That thing looks like it can walk.

If you compare those pitches to an average lefty – say Randy Wolf – you can see just how consistent Cliff is with the movement of each pich.

Cliff Lee:

Cliff_lee_pitch_type
Randy Wolf:

Pitch_move_wolf
Look at how consistent Cliff was with each pitch, compared to Wolf, who threw many pitches that broke very little. Cliff's tricks all look stick together.

Here's the top down view.

Cliff Lee:

Cliff_lee_top

Randy Wolf: Pitch_top_wolf

All of Cliff's pitches look the same until they're at about the 15-25 mark- that's when the leprechaun kicks them in the balls, sending them in any number of directions.

Leprechaun, rainbows, ponies. On my! Looks like Cliff is more like a four-trick pony. But you already knew that.

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