Masahiro Tanaka threw 114 pitches last night, 76 for strikes. He mostly threw 4-seamers and splitters (57.9%), but mixed in plenty of sliders and sinkers as well. By now, you know how well he managed throwing those 114 pitches, but look at the location of his offspeed stuff and understand why he was able to be so dominant last night:
That's the splitter plot, sweet MS Paint circle added by me for effect. Of the 29 splits Tanaka threw last night, only those 3 in the middle of the zone were really good pitches to hit. Over half of them weren't even in the strike zone and yet Tanaka got 15 swings and 6 whiffs. That's nasty.
There we have the slider plot. Similar story as the splitter: threw 20, got swings on 7, swings and misses on 6. The difference here is that there were more pitches thrown in or near the strike zone. Look at the group of pitches inside the Paint circle. Right at the lower edge of the zone, where they're near impossible to lay off of but incredibly difficult to hit. Pure nastiness.
The Mets' lineup isn't an imposing one, but the best lineups in baseball wouldn't have done much with Tanaka last night. He had his 4 best pitches working and he was throwing them wherever he wanted in and out of the strike zone. Must be a helpless feeling as a hitter when you're up against that.
(Pitch plots courtesy of Texas Leaguers)
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