LHP Casey Crosby and three relievers pitched for the Mud Hens in their 4-3 loss to Louisville at Fifth Third Field Sunday. Here's a look at all four pitchers – Crosby, Daniel Schlereth, Luis Marte and Zach Miner – fared against the Bats ...
Let’s start with a look at LHP Casey Crosby, starting with his raw numbers: he covered the first six innings and allowed seven hits and one walk that turned into four earned runs. Crosby gave up a pair of two-run homers, one to Didi Gregorius in the first and the other to Denis Phipps in the fifth.
I think it’s worth noting that with Sunday’s pair of home runs, Crosby now has given up eight home runs in his last seven starts. The 23-year-old lefty had allowed just four home runs in his first 14 starts with the Mud Hens.
Crosby threw 85 pitches, 57 of which were strikes (67.1 percent). Also worth noting: Crosby’s pitch-count has been lower in his last three starts (86 pitches Aug. 15 at Syracuse, 88 pitches Aug. 21 at Lehigh Valley), but I don’t read much into that because those were doubleheader games that the Mud Hens lost on the road, so by going just six innings Crosby threw a complete game.
Here’s how Crosby’s pitches and strikes broke down by inning:
- First inning: 14 pitches, 10 strikes (71.4 percent)
- Second inning: 12 pitches, 9 strikes (75 percent)
- Third inning: 13 pitches, 9 strikes (69.2 percent)
- Fourth inning: 15 pitches, 7 strikes (46.7 percent)
- Fifth inning: 21 pitches, 14 strikes (66.7 percent)
- Sixth inning: 10 pitches, 8 strikes (80.0 percent)
A few more numbers – one that I think means a lot, two that I struggle to explain. The one that makes sense: Crosby’s first-pitch strikes. He finished with first-pitch strikes to 15-of-26 hitters he faced (57.7 percent), but that needs to be explained further. In the first three innings Crosby threw first-pitch strikes to 10-of-12 hitters (83.3 percent), and allowed just three baserunners. In the fourth through sixth he threw first-pitch strikes to just 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) and allowed one walk and four hits.
Now, the two that don’t make as much sense: Crosby had a 2-0 count to three hitters and got a strikeout, a walk and a single. He reached an 0-2 count three times and got a strikeout and two singles. How can those be so similar?
Rhetorical question, I guess. Ready for pitch speeds? Here we go ...
Crosby’s fastball sat at 87-90 mph in the first inning and got a little faster as the game went on, eventually spiking at 94 mph once (one at 94, three at 93, five at 92, three at 91, four at 90, 13 at 89, six at 88 and four at 87). He didn’t throw his change-up much – four times, judging by the pitch speeds on the scoreboard (one at 84, one at 82 and two at 81). He threw a whopping 41 curveballs that ranged from 73 (once) to 79 mph (twice); the others were seven at 78, six at 77, nine at 76, four at 75, and 12 at 74). I missed a few pitches, but even at 41 of 85 pitches being curveballs that means at least 48 percent, or nearly half, of Crosby’s pitches were curves.
Of the 39 fastballs I charted, 23 were strikes (59 percent). Four of the hits, including the home run by Didi Gregorius in the first, came on fastballs, and three of the strikeouts came on fastballs. Of the 23 strikes, seven were foul balls, four were called strikes and five were swings and misses.
Of the 41 curveballs I charted, 31 were strikes (75.6 percent, which is a very good percentage). Three of the hits, including the home run by Denis Phipps in the fifth, came on curveballs, and five of the strikeouts came on the curve. Of the 31 strikes, six were foul balls, four were called strikes and 11 were swings and misses – and that also is a lot.
In the seventh inning LHP Daniel Schlereth came on for an inning in his first rehab appearance with the Mud Hens. Schlereth retired all three batters he faced, striking out Denis Phipps (who had gone 3-for-3 versus Crosby).
Schlereth threw 15 pitches, nine of which were strikes (60 percent). He fell behind the first batter he faced 2-0 but got the out on the next pitch. Schlereth then threw first-pitch strikes to the other two batters he faced.
Of his 15 pitches, six were fastballs in the 89-91 mph range (four at 89, one at 90, one at 91). Of those six, two were strikes (one was fouled off, one was put in play). Schlereth threw nine curveballs that ranged from 79-82 mph (three at 79, one at 80, four at 81, one at 82). Of those nine, seven were strikes; three were swung at and missed, three were fouled off, and one was put into play.In the eighth inning RHP Luis Marte came on in relief of Schlereth and also retired all three batters he faced, striking out Devin Mesoraco and Henry Rodriguez.
Marte threw 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes (69.2 percent). He threw a first-pitch strike to the first batter he faced, and that was all. He never reached a 2-0 court or an 0-2 count.
Of his 13 pitches, four were fastballs in the 89-91 mph range (one at 89, one at 90, one at 91 and one at 93). Of those four, three were strikes (two were fouled off and one was taken for a strike). Marte threw nine sliders that ranged from 81-86 mph (three at 81, two at 83, one at 84, two at 85, one at 86). I think it's interesting to note that his first two sliders were 81 mph, and the pitch picked up velocity from there. Of those nine sliders, six were strikes; four were swung at and missed, one was fouled off, and one was put into play.
One final word on Marte: He has been pitching well lately. In his last six outings he has allowed just two hits and four walks in 8.1 innings, which has resulted in just one earned run. Obviously that means five of his last six outings have been scoreless. In those 8.1 innings Marte has struck out 11 and has stranded all seven runners he has inherited.In the ninth inning RHP Zach Miner came on for an inning and retired all three batters he faced without incident.
Miner threw eight pitches, six of which were strikes (75 percent). He threw a first-pitch strike to just one of the three batters he faced, but didn't fall behind 2-0 to any of the three (nor did he reach 0-2).
Of his eight pitches, three were fastballs in the 93-94 mph range (two at 93, one at 94). Of those three, two were strikes (one was fouled off, one was taken). Miner threw two change-ups, one at 82 mph (that was put in play) and one at 84 (that was called a ball). He also threw three curve balls, two at 79 (one taken for a strike, one put in play) and one at 77 (that was put in play).
One final word on Miner: Like Marte, he has been pitching well lately. In his eight August appearances Miner has posted a 1-0 record with one save and a 2.00 ERA. He has allowed just seven hits in nine innings, but he has walked seven and only struck out three. One more plus for Miner: In his last nine appearances he has inherited nine baserunners ... and none of them have scored.