World Series Game 1 scouting report
By Yahoo! Sports, courtesy of Inside Edge
October 23, 2007
Inside Edge, a leading baseball scouting and information service, will provide scouting reports to Yahoo! Sports throughout the MLB playoffs. Here's their breakdown of Game 1 of the 2007 World Series between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox.
• The Rockies will have a tough assignment in Game 1 against Josh Beckett and his mid-90s heater. Here is what Colorado batters have done against the five hardest fastballs they have seen this postseason:
• Colorado third baseman Garrett Atkins had no trouble at all with Beckett's hard stuff when they met in interleague play earlier this season. Atkins was 3-for-3 with a double and a homer; all three hits came on belt-high fastballs.
• The Rockies found a way to win seven straight postseason games despite hitting only .242 as a team. They batted just .217 against fastballs while putting up good numbers against off-speed pitches (.280 BA and .452 SLG). The Red Sox led all playoff teams against both fastballs (.307) and non-fastballs (.297).
• Catcher Yorvit Torrealba, a surprise offensive weapon for the Rockies this postseason, was locked in on Sox pitching in their June series. Torrealba was 5-for-11, with at least one hit against all three Red Sox starters and did not swing and miss the whole series.
• The first four hitters in the Red Sox lineup batted .371 and reached base in half of their plate appearances during the playoffs. It will be interesting to watch how they do against Colorado's Game 1 starter, Jeff Francis, who held opponents' first four batters to a .136 batting average (3-for-22) in his two October starts.
• J.D. Drew, whose grand slam in Game 6 of the AL championship series made him an overnight hero in Boston, was 0-for-11 when the Rockies and Red Sox met in interleague play earlier this year.
• Manny Ramirez led all postseason batters with an astounding two-strike on base percentage of .586. The Boston slugger drew nine walks and logged eight hits in his plate appearances that reached two strikes in the playoffs. One reason Ramirez is so tough with two strikes is his uncanny ability to foul off close pitches. He has taken 42 swings with two strikes and fouled 26 of them (62 percent of swings) this postseason, which led all hitters with 15 or more at-bats.
• Kevin Youkilis was the only hitter in the Red Sox lineup to have multiple extra-base hits in the June series with Colorado. His two doubles were both inside fastballs with two strikes.
• Rockies pitchers have been lights out when they are ahead in the count in October. Opponents have batted just .109 (11-for-101) against them on pitcher's counts, which is easily the best among postseason pitching staffs.
• Colorado middle relievers Matt Herges, LaTroy Hawkins, Jeremy Affeldt, and Ryan Speier have each allowed only one hit this postseason – none of which came with runners on base. The foursome has held playoff opponents to a .105 batting average (4-for-38).
• Boston's lefty reliever tandem of Hideki Okajima and Jon Lester have allowed only three hits in 20 at-bats that ended with their off-speed pitches this postseason. Okajima's changeup has drawn a swing and miss eight of the 19 times hitters offered at it. Opponents have missed Lester's slider four of the five times they have swung at it.
GAME 1 STARTERS
• The Red Sox have shown that pitchers who fail to work ahead in the count have a hard time beating them. When Rockies starter Jeff Francis tossed five shutout innings against the Sox in June, he threw 69 percent of his first pitches for strikes. That was his fourth-highest first-pitch strike percentage in a game this season, and will be a key factor again tonight.
• Josh Beckett has been phenomenal in October and looks to redeem himself against the Rockies, who handed him his first loss of the season in June. One thing Beckett was unable to do in that outing was get Rockies hitters to chase his off-speed pitches. Colorado batters swung at only one curveball out of the strike zone against the Red Sox ace. The rest of the league chased his curve 33 percent of the time this season.
• Beckett's fastball may have a little more life on it than it did when the Rockies beat him in June. He averaged 93.1 mph on his fastball in that regular season start. Since September, Beckett's heater has registered 94.8 miles-per-hour on average.
Updated on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007 12:59 pm, EDT