Scouting report: Phillies-Brewers Game 3


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 3 of the 2008 National League Division Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.


Gotta know this…

Starting Pitchers
• One of Jamie Moyer’s favorite tricks is to throw his changeup when he gets behind in the count. He uses his changeup 27 percent of the time when he’s behind compared to 23 percent of the time when he is ahead, 24 percent of the time when the count is even, and just 18 percent of the time on the first pitch.

• Moyer faced the Brewers back on September 11 and beat them despite giving up two home runs. He didn’t get a chance to use his changeup while behind in the count much that day because he rarely found himself in that situation. Only one of the 22 plate appearances in that outing ended with Moyer behind in the count.
• Hitters used to have no problem hitting David Bush’s fastball, but this year it’s been his most effective pitch even though he only throws about 88 mph on average. Over the last two seasons, opponents have batted .299 against his heater; this year that number has fallen to .214. Only two starting pitchers (Rich Harden and Scott Kazmir) had a lower batting average against on their fastballs this season.

• Bush also has a very effective curveball in his repertoire and he primarily uses it when he gets ahead in the count or sometimes as his first pitch. Just five percent of his curveballs are thrown when he is behind in the count; 15 percent are thrown when he is even with the batter, 22 percent are on the first pitch, and 58 percent are thrown when he has worked ahead in the count.

• Phillies right-hander Ryan Madson, who picked up the hold in game two of the NLDS against the Brewers, has been lights out since the start of September. It was by far his best month in terms of ERA (0.64). Part of his success in the last month should be attributed to the fact that he threw more strikes. September was the only month in which Madson threw 70 percent of his pitches for strikes, and consequently his strikeout percentage for the month (34 percent) was 10 percent higher than his season average.

• Brewers southpaw Mitch Stetter, who has been called on in each of the first two games in the NLDS, is fairly equal in his effectiveness against both right-handed and left-handed batters. Lefties hit .158 against him, while right-handers hit .170 this season. However, he approaches right and left-handers quite differently. Of his pitches to left-handers this season, 73 percent were sliders and 23 percent were fastballs. For right-handers, 62 percent of his offerings were fastballs and 33 percent were sliders.



• Surprisingly, NL home run and RBI champ Ryan Howard was an easy out in the late innings of ballgames this season. In fact, in the seventh through ninth innings of games, no hitter in the majors had a lower batting average than Howard’s .141 and no hitter struck out at a higher rate than Howard’s 42.9 percent of plate appearances.

Shane Victorino is on fire. His three-hit effort in game two of the NLDS was his sixth three-hit game in his last 14 games dating back to September 14. Over his final 13 games of the regular season, Victorino hit .462 (24-for-52) with a well-hit average of .327 and OPS of 1.250. Pitchers are advised to stick with off-speed stuff against Shane as much as possible right now. Over those last 13 games, he hit .600 with a .433 well-hit average and 1.700 OPS against fastballs.

• Brewers outfielder Corey Hart slumped terribly down the stretch, batting .192 with no home runs in September, and those struggles have carried over into the postseason as he has one hit in seven at bats. Hart has been scuffling to make decent contact on fastballs since the end of August. Up until that time he was batting .297 with a .304 well-hit average off of fastballs, but in September, his average against fastballs has dipped to .157 and his well-hit average dropped off the table to .098. He swung at 117 fastballs in September and hit just five of them well.

Ryan Braun is one of the toughest hitters in the game when he gets two strikes with runners in scoring position. He is very aggressive in those situations, as only two batters swung at more pitches this season with two strikes and RISP. Moreover, his 26 well-hit balls with RISP and two strikes this season were five more than any other batter and his .813 OPS in those situations ranked third in the National League and 10th best amongst all hitters.

Image of the day…

How does a 45 year-old lefty who barely breaks 80 mph with his fastball win 16 regular season games? One way the Phillies’ Jamie Moyer has done just that is by avoiding the middle of the plate. He also surprises same-side hitters by challenging them inside with that low-eighties "heater". Moyer stays away from right-handed batters for the most part, but watch him work inside to Prince Fielder and any other left-handed batter the Brewers send to the plate. Here are his fastball locations to LHBs this year:


Fielder took Moyer’s fastball deep in their last meeting on September 11; it was located out over the plate.

Key Matchups…

Phillies hitters who match up well vs. Bush
Pat Burrell     Batting .364 (4-for-11) vs. Bush since last season. Burrell turned on Bush’s fastball for two hits this season including a home run. Bush has been unable to throw his off-speed stuff for strikes to the Phillies outfielder (5 pitches, 1 strike this season).

Jimmy Rollins     Slugging .583 in 48 ABs against other right-handers with similar repertoires as Bush since 2007.

Phillies hitters who could struggle
Jayson Werth     Werth is just 1-for-7 against Bush and hasn’t hit right-handed fastball all that well (.241 BA). Bush’s fastball has been above average this season (.230 BAA vs. right-handed batters).

Shane Victorino     Bush has grounded the Flyin’ Hawaiian. Victorino has 0 well-hit balls in 5 ABs against him since last season.

Brewers hitters who match up well vs. Moyer
J.J. Hardy     Hardy took Moyer deep twice and had 3 hits in 8 at-bats against him since last season.

Corey Hart     Reached base 44 times in 114 PAs (.386 On Base Average) vs. other soft-throwing lefties since last season.

Brewers hitters who could struggle
Mike Cameron     Has only 1 well-hit ball in 8 ABs vs. Moyer since last season.

Jason Kendall     He’s 1-for-9 against Moyer and slugging just .263 in 80 ABs vs. soft-throwing lefties since last year.