Numbers to know to enjoy Game 2

Here’s the Inside Edge breakdown of Game 2 of the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.

Gotta know this…

Starting Pitchers
 

Wilson
   

• For Rangers starter C.J. Wilson(notes), the strike zone is merely a suggested area in which to throw pitches. Wilson had a very strong season despite throwing very few strikes. He was second to last in the AL with a 59.7 percent strike percentage, and in only 9 of Wilson’s 36 outings this season did he throw strikes at an above MLB average rate. Interestingly, his OPS against was better in the 27 outings that were sub par strike-wise. Rangers fans should not fret if he’s a little on the wild side in Game 2, although his most recent outing (ALCS Game 5) was his wildest (51% strikes) and Wilson allowed 6 runs in five innings for the loss.

   

• One reason Wilson has been so good despite mediocre command is that he has routinely avoided the big blow while pitching behind in the count. You can count on one hand how many times he allowed a home run with the count in the hitter’s favor this year, and opponents only slugged .373 against him on hitter’s counts (3rd lowest slugging percentage among qualified starters).

   

Cain
   

Matt Cain(notes) did not allow a run in his two playoff starts against the Phillies and Braves. He did not allow a hit on an off-speed pitch to left-handed batters in those starts. The Rangers lineup is much more right-hand dominant, but Cain has answers for right-handers, too. He’ll work off the fastball, but mix in a pretty even distribution of curves, sliders, and changeups. Righties hit just .217 against him in the regular season; lefties hit .225.

   

• One potential danger for the Giants starter in Game 2 is that the Rangers are a very good high fastball hitting team. Cain located 47 percent of his fastballs up above the belt this season, which is more often than nearly every starting pitcher in the league. Texas batters had the second-highest batting average against high fastballs in the regular season, and they hit .344 against them in the playoffs.

     

Key Matchups…

Rangers hitters who match up well vs. Cain
 
Josh Hamilton(notes)    

Cain has given up 30 extra-base hits on two-strike counts this year—the most by a Giants pitcher—including 8 home runs. Josh Hamilton has hit 12 homers with two strikes (5th most in the AL).

Nelson Cruz(notes)    

Nelson Cruz has a .479 batting average on fly balls (.397 league average). Opponents hit the ball in the air 63 percent of the time versus Cain (55 percent league average).

Rangers hitters who could struggle
 
Vladimir Guerrero(notes)    

Guerrero’s Well-Hit Average (hard hit balls per at-bat) is just .195 (75-for-385) against top-tier right-handed pitchers since last season.

Ian Kinsler(notes)    

Ian Kinsler is 2-for-20 (.100 BA) versus righty changeups. Cain occasionally surprises right-handed batters with a changeup, and they’re hitting only .037 against it.

Giants hitters who match up well vs. Wilson
 
Pat Burrell(notes)    

Wilson fails to get one of his first two pitches over the plate more than most pitchers (83 percent of batters faced). Pat Burrell’s OPS is 1.237 after a 2-0 count (.985 league average).

Aubrey Huff(notes)    

Aubrey Huff has a .694 slugging percentage against lefty breaking balls that follow a fastball. That’s typically a devastating sequence for Wilson, who allows just a .229 slugging percentage versus left-handed batters.

Giants hitters who could struggle
 
Andres Torres(notes)    

Andres Torres has struck out 58 times chasing low off-speed pitches. Wilson locates 51 percent of non-fastballs down and out of the zone (41 percent league average).

Juan Uribe(notes)    

Wilson allows only a .243 batting average when he’s behind in the count (.340 league average). Juan Uribe is hitting just .264 this year with the count in his favor.

 

Image of the day…

Entering the World Series, the Rangers had twice as many postseason extra-base hits as the Giants. They also used more of the field with those hits:

Bullpen
 


Rangers

   

• Rookie closer Neftali Feliz(notes) can bring his fastball at 100+ mph, but hitters also have to deal with an 80 mph curveball that Feliz can drop at their ankles. Opponents are 2-for-32 against it (.063 BA) and have not hit a curveball hard this year.


Giants
   

• Giants closer Brian Wilson(notes) doesn’t flinch when he allows a baserunner or two because of his amazing ability to induce groundballs with his slider. Opponents hit the slider on the ground 70 percent of the time when runners are on. They’re batting .088 against Wilson’s slider on the outside corner in that situation.

 
Hitters
 

Moreland
   

• No Texas hitter has been better than Moreland in the late innings. The rookie first baseman led all Rangers with a 1.022 OPS in the 7th - 9th innings during the regular season, and he’s 4-for-11 (.364 BA) in that situation in the postseason.


Andrus
   

Elvis Andrus(notes) hits 80 points higher when runners are on base by becoming more aggressive early in the count. He swings on 33 percent of early pitches with runners on compared to 25 percent with bases empty. Andrus also leads the team with 17 sacrifice bunts.


Sanchez
   

• Contact hitter Freddy Sanchez(notes) puts 56 percent of low fastballs in play (47 percent is league average), but he’s vulnerable against non-fastballs down. Sanchez misses 40 percent of off-speed pitches at or below his knees.


Fontenot
   

• With runners in scoring position and less than two outs, the Giants would like to have Mike Fontenot(notes) at the plate. Fontenot batted .393 (11-for-28) with only one strikeout in that clutch situation this year.

Inside Edge is a leading baseball scouting and information service that provides graphical scouting reports and player evaluation software to many major league and minor league clubs. Their team of former professional ballplayers charts every pitch of every MLB game. Inside Edge will provide their unique previews of every game to Yahoo! Sports throughout the MLB World Series.