Matchups Lefty vs. Righty

by Charles Parker on April 15, 2015

Major League Baseball puts a lot of stock in match-ups between left and right-handed pitcher/hitter combinations.  The numbers over a long period of time show that left-handed hitters have an advantage over right-handed pitchers, and vice versa.  In fact, if you look historically most of the best hitters in baseball were all lefties and include names like  Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Rod Carew,  Tony Gwynn, and Ken Griffey Jr.  Then again, probably the best hitter of all time Hank Aaron was right handed, and Mickey Mantle was technically a switch hitter.  It is also said that the left-handed hitter has the advantage when running to first because they are already on that side of the plate closest to first, so they are at least one long stride closer to the bag.  Another thing about left-handed hitters is that they do tend to pull the ball to right, and that is why you see the crazy over shift in games where the second baseman almost lines up like a rover in right field  and the third baseman plays like a short stop shading second base.  When facing a right-handed pitcher a lefty gets a longer view of the a breaking pitch and has that advantage too, because the ball breaks toward them instead of away as it does with the same handed combinations.  In fact, if a righty pitcher throws a fast ball down and in to a left-handed batter, a tape measure is most likely needed to measure where the ball lands.

The fact is that there is only 15-20% of the entire world that is left-handed, so this is a predominately right-handed world.

This year’s Texas Rangers ball club has six left-handed batters and six righties, with one switch hitter.  That is extremely rare to have that many left-handed hitters on a club.  The problem with this is when the team either faces a left-handed starting pitcher, which forces the manager to start all his right-handed bats early, leaving nothing for later innings, or not play the percentages in hopes that his hitters can defy the odds.  The Rangers are bent the other way with the pitching staff, as they have a single left-handed starter, but nobody else to throw left-handed.

Odds wise and match-up wise over the course of 162 games there are going to be unfavorable match-ups, and this team as it is right now, is set up to either succeed or fail by defying baseball odds.  As noted historically the best hitters are lefties because of so many right-handed pitchers, so this could mean good news for the team in the long run for hitters.  However, the pitching staff may suffer the other way as they run into power hitting lefties.  Whatever the case it is sure an interesting team so far, and so far we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with this group manager Jeff Bannister has chosen.  Time will tell how this strategy works out, and if it does, look for the other teams to either follow it, or avoid it like the plague.

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The Texas Rangers Losing Streak

by Ben Dieter on April 14, 2015

RossDetwilerTexasRangers2The Texas Rangers started their first streak of the season last night, and unfortunately it was a losing streak instead of a winning streak. Ross Detwiler was once again underwhelming in his performance on the mound, and after the first inning of the game where the Texas Rangers scored three times and collected four hits, the bats were silent as well. Detwiler is now 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his two Texas Rangers starts.

 

The Rangers are by no means a championship caliber team at the moment, and I think we all knew that when the rotation lost Yu Darvish followed by Derek Holland. Well, we may have known before that as well. I am having flashbacks of last season seeing TBD as the pitcher for Wednesdays game. I really don’t understand how a team can look so good one inning and so bad the next eight. I know that some nights a pitcher is just on and there is nothing anyone can do about it, but you can’t tell me that there have been that many pitchers in the first eight games that have had their best stuff for the night.

 

I believe that the Texas Rangers have a good scouting department, but they just don’t have the arms right now that are major league ready. Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Matt Harrison would look pretty good in the Texas Rangers rotation right now, but they just are not healthy. Shin-Soo Choo is also not looking good again, and the Rangers are still on the hook for him for another 5 years after 2015. Prince Fielder early in the season looks like a left-handed Michael Young, always taking the ball the other way, but there does not seem to be a whole lot of pop in his bat.

 

In the short term, I am worried about the team sliding way back very quickly, overall for 2015 thought I still feel like this team will be flirting with a .500 record for most of the season. Tonight’s game is a big one for the club though, they need to snap the losing streak, especially since it is against an AL West opponent. Is it time to press the panic button if they lose tonight? What do you think? I say no, but I am also not feeling confident in that decision.

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The Ups and Downs of the Texas Rangers

April 13, 2015

The season began last Monday with a loss to Oakland, then the Texas Rangers got their first win Tuesday, followed by a loss Wednesday, a win Thursday, a loss Friday, a win Saturday and it wrapped up with a heartbreaking loss on Sunday. So if you are keeping score (and I am), then the Texas […]

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Derek Holland and Shin-Soo Choo

April 10, 2015

Derek Holland and Shin-Soo Choo have both left the game early today. http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/derek-holland-leaves-texas-rangers-home-opener-after-one-inning.html/ My take is that the the Choo train has left the station, and while I give John Daniels his best management grade for not signing Josh Hamilton to a long term deal. I give him equal bashing for signing Choo. The Rangers […]

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Depth Chart of the AL West by Position—Who is the best on paper Part 3 Pitching

April 6, 2015

Comparing Starting rotations and bull pens is a much harder job, and we can already see the Rangers are not the leading hitters or fielders. While nobody likes excuses, the fact is that the Rangers have three starting pitchers under contract that are on the disabled list, and the team ace is done for this […]

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