First, the raw numbers for Andy Oliver, who was making his first start since July 12: he went 4.0 innings and allowed just two hits and two walks while fanning three. Oliver faced four batters with runners in scoring position and allowed just one hit, a two-out RBI single by Henry Rodriguez that scored the Bats’ lone run in the fourth inning.
An aside: Jerad Head nearly threw the batter out at home plate. The ball seemed to arrive just before Didi Gregorius reached home, but Gregorius used a nifty slide to beat the tag and score the run.
Back to Oliver, who threw a total of 59 pitches, 32 of which were strikes (54.2 percent). It’s interesting to note how the pitches and strikes broke down:
- First inning: 18 pitches, 9 strikes (50 percent)
- Second inning: 12 pitches, 9 strikes (75 percent)
- Third inning: 11 pitches, 5 strikes (45.4 percent)
- Fourth inning: 18 pitches, 9 strikes (50 percent)
Oliver was behind batters in the first inning, threw much better in the second – it’s no coincidence he notched two of his three strikeouts in that inning – the struggled with command in the other two innings.
Oliver threw first-pitch strikes to just five of the 16 batters he faced, including two of the three in the second, again his best inning. Oliver fell behind 2-0 to six of the 16 batters he faced, which resulted in four outs and two walks. The lefty got ahead of two batters 0-2, and both of those at-bats resulted in strikeouts.
Ready for pitch speeds? Here we go ... Oliver's fastball sat at 92-94 mph (four at 91, seven at 92, six at 93, eight at 94, five at 95 and two at 96). His slider sat in the 83-86 mph range (he had four at 83, seven at 84, six at 85, five at 86 and two at 87). It wouldn’t surprise me if some of those were sliders and some change-ups, but it’s hard to tell the difference upstairs. He also threw one pitch that registered 78, and I assume that to be a curve.
Here are a few interesting things to note … of the 31 fastballs, 18 were strikes of some sort (including three swings and misses), which means he threw strikes with 58.1 percent of his fastballs. Of the 24 breaking pitches, only 11 were strikes (45.8 percent), but there were five swings and misses.
Next is RHP Luke Putkonen, starting with the raw numbers: he went 3.0 innings and allowed two hits and two walks while fanning one. Putkonen faced two batters with runners in scoring position after giving up two-out doubles in both the fifth and sixth, but both times he got the out.
Putkonen threw 44 pitches, 25 of which were strikes (56.8 percent), which broke down this way:
- Fifth inning: 17 pitches, 9 strikes (52.9 percent)
- Sixth inning: 14 pitches, 9 strikes (64.3 percent)
- Seventh inning: 13 pitches, 7 strikes (53.8 percent)
Putkonen fell behind all four batters he faced in the fifth and threw first-pitch strikes to just five of 11 hitters. Putkonen fell behind 2-0 to four of the 11 batters he faced, and that almost always was bad news as he gave up a walk and two doubles while getting just one out after falling behind. The right-hander got ahead of just one batter 0-2, and that ended up in his lone strikeout – which took six pitches, by the way.
Ready for pitch speeds? Here we go ... Putkonen’s fastball sat at 94-96 mph (one at 98, 10 at 96, eight at 95, six at 94, one at 93 one at 92, and one at 89). Note that Putkonen also throws a split-finger fastball, and I’m not sure where that falls here. I’d guess that the slower fastballs were the split-finger, but I’d be guessing. His change-up sat at 85-88 mph (one at 88, two at 87, four at 86 and one at 85), and I’d suppose that could be the split-finger as well. Again, please remember it’s hard to determine up in the press box. He threw four curveballs at 81 and two at 79.
Here are a few interesting things to note … of the 27 fastballs, only 12 were strikes of some sort, which means he threw strikes with 44.4 percent of his fastballs (of those, there was not a single swing and miss and only one “take,” meaning 11 were either put in play (five) or fouled off (six)). Of the 16 “off-speed” pitches, nine were strikes (56.3 percent), and there were three swings and misses (18.8 percent).
Now let’s take a look at RHP Al Alburquerque, starting with the raw numbers: he went 1.0 innings and faced four batters, striking out the first two before giving up a bloop double to Devin Mesoraco and then getting an inning-ending ground out.
Alburquerque threw 13 pitches, 10 of which were strikes (76.9 percent), and there were no good swings against him.
Alburquerque threw first-pitch strikes to the first two batters he faced, got ahead of both 0-2, and struck both of them out -- on a total of three pitches. The two batter he did not throw first-pitch strikes to resulted in the double and the groundout, although he didn't fall behind either batter 2-0.
Ready for pitch speeds? Here we go ... Alburquerque’s fastball sat at 91-95 mph (two at 91, one at 94, two at 95). Of the five fastballs he threw, three were strikes -- one swing and miss, one foul and one put in play (the groundout). The right-hander's slider sat at 83-87 mph (one at 83, three at 84, one at 85, one at 86, one at 87). Here's the fascinating part: Of those seven sliders, FIVE were swung at and missed, one was a ball and one was put in play (the bloop hit). Alburquerque also had one pitch register at 78 mph (a curve?), and it was called a strike.
Finally, a look at Bruce Rondon. This was the first time Rondon had really pitched at Fifth Third Field (if you remember, he had one appearance here and threw only one pitch -- a 102 mph fastball behind former Mud Hen Will Rhymes that triggered an ejection -- and Rondon did not disappoint.
Rondon threw seven pitches, and ALL SEVEN were strikes (I didn't pull out the calculator here, so I may be wrong, but I believe that's 100 percent). Rondon got a flyout, a groundout and a game-ending strikeout.
Obviously Rondon threw first-pitch strikes to all three hitters. He only got ahead of one batter 0-2, and that ended with a strikeout.
And here is the moment you've been waiting for ... pitch speeds. Rondon did NOT throw any pitches at 100 mph -- but he DID throw one at 101 and one at 102. The 101 was a swing and miss, the 102 was a called strike. He threw three fastballs at 99 (two called strikes, one put in play) and one fastball at "only" 97 (also put in play). He also threw one curveball, and that 87 mph pitch was swung at and missed.
In short: He was impressive.