Congratulations on picking up the win yesterday against the Los Angeles Dodgers! It was your first win in seven starts. Talk about a brutal stretch. But to your credit, you deserved the win yesterday. You gave up only two runs on seven hits in six innings of work and you struck out six. But the best part was you didn’t surrender a single walk!! Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re all super proud of you but there is still room for improvement. Much of your struggles this year have been because you have been unable to throw strikes early in the game and early in the count. Of the 24 batters that you faced yesterday you threw a first pitch strike to 11 of them (that’s only 45.8%). According to my buddy Rob Biertempfel, the average pitcher throws a first pitch strike 58% of the time. If you want to slim the difference between your 5.66 ERA and the National League average, which is 3.67 this year according to baseball-reference.com, first pitch strikes are the best place to start. In 2013 after an 0-1 count, hitters hit just .223 for the rest of the at bat. But when you start hitters off with a ball they hit .269, according to Ben Humphrey. Your opponent batting average this year .293!
I have faith that you can turn it around in the last two months of the season! PETCOTA projections predict that you will go 3-4 with a 4.33 ERA over your final nine starts but I think that you can be better than that if you really work at it. I mean, it’s not like you haven’t done it before; you went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA with the Detroit Tigers back in 2009.
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Tags: Baseball, Ben Humphrey, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Edwin Jackson, first pitch strikes, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, PETCOTA, Rob Biertempfel