With the help of Pitch F/X, here’ are some brief scouting notes on the Rays starter Alex Cobb and a few of their key hitters. Here at IPL, we have access to Pitch F/X thanks to our affiliation with The Sweet Spot Blog, and it’s the same info major league teams subscribe too. So you can bet the Tribe hitters and pitchers have been glancing over these same statistics over the past 24 hours.
- Cobb tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Tribe in his first start of the season back in April.
- He throws a fastball, changeup and slider and uses them all fairly consistently. He throws the fastball 43 percent, change 33 percent and curve 24 percent.
- The changeup is his strikeout pitch, which he throws 49 percent of the time in two-strike counts, and only 35% of the time in the strike zone.
- Cobb has impressive confidence in all his pitches. Even in hitters counts, he only throws the fastball 51 percent of the time.
- Cobb’s reliance on the changeup bodes well for Yan Gomes, who hit .463 against changeups this season. Among players who saw at least 100 changeups this season, only the Dodgers’ Juan Uribe had a higher batting average.
- On the flip side is Nick Swisher, who hit .206 against changeups. However, Swisher is 3-10 in his career against Cobb, including a double off of a changeup.
Rays vs Salazar
- Salazar threw 262 fastballs that touched at least 97 miles per hour on the radar gun this season. As a team, the Rays only saw 292 such pitches. Despite the limited exposure, the Rays hit .338 against 97+ mph fastballs.
- The Rays also only swung and missed at 19.7 percent of the 97+ mph pitches they offered at this season.
- Loney isn’t the most feared hitter in the Rays lineup, but Salazar should be careful. 57 percent of Salazar’s fastballs topped 95 miles per hour. And since 2011, Loney is a .330 hitter against fastballs that hit 95 mph or above.
- To gain an advantage against Loney, Salazar should test his patience. Loney chased balls out of the zone 29.4 percent of the time against right-handed pitchers this season, highest among the Rays regulars.
- Loney also does damage against the slider, Salazar’s third pitch. He led the Rays with a .312 average against the slider this season.
- Jennings is the anti-Loney, and has just 19 hits in 95 career at-bats that ended in a 95 mph fastball. Salazar should go after him with the heater early and often, if he’s even in the lineup.
- Obviously Longoria is the biggest threat in the Rays lineup, but Salazar shouldn’t be afraid to go after him if can keep the ball away from the middle of the plate.
- Against right-handed pitchers, Longoria was just a .222 hitter with a .358 slugging percentage and four home runs against pitches down in the zone this season.
- On pitches up in the zone, Longoria was even worse, posting a .154 average and a .294 slugging percentage.
- Longoria feasted on mistakes, however, batting .323 with 15 home runs against pitches in the middle of the zone.
- Like Longoria, Myers is dangerous but can be controlled. Against pitches down in the zone, Myers hit just .205 with six extra-base hits this season.
- But when the ball was elevated into the middle and upper portions of the zone, Myers hit .350 and 30 of his 71 hits went for extra bases.