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 the National League championship series Game 4 between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.
• In what has become a low-scoring NLCS, both clubs have been particularly anemic on pitchers' counts. The D'backs have batted .125 (5-for-40) and the Rockies have hit .176 (9-for-51) with the count in the pitcher's favor this series.
• The No. 9 hitter won't be a pushover in Game 4 for either club. Rockies starting pitcher Franklin Morales, a converted outfielder, hit .308 (4-for-13) this season. All of his hits came off of fastballs.
• Arizona's starting pitcher Micah Owings is in a world of his own when it comes to providing pop in the nine-spot. Owings averaged an extra-base hit in every five at-bats this season.
• Perhaps Owings should give the rest of his club some pointers on how to hit a breaking ball. Twenty-two of Owings' at-bats ended on a curve or slider this season. He slugged .909 (20 total bases) in those ABs. The D'Backs are hitting .125 (5-for-40) with 17 strikeouts against breaking balls this October.
• Conversely, the Rockies have struggled with fastballs during postseason play. After batting .300 against the hard stuff during the regular season (second-best in the NL), Colorado hitters have batted only .230 in the playoffs and just .191 (13-for-68) against D'backs heaters. They have performed better against non-fastballs, hitting .277 (23-for-83) against them in postseason play.
• If there is a surprise postseason hitter so far it has to be Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who is 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position this postseason. Torrealba's clutch homer in Game 3 was his second extra-base hit with men in scoring position this October. He had five during the regular season in 134 at-bats with RISP.
• The D'Backs have done a better job of pitching during the final three innings of games in October than every other postseason club, including the Indians. Their opponents are batting only .125 (8-for-64) with no extra-base hits after the sixth inning.
• Micah Owings shown significant improvement in his rookie season. Prior to August, opponents were hitting .286 against him; since then, he has held opponents to a .195 batting average.
• Unlike most pitchers, Owings has been hit hardest when he throws his fastball down in the strike zone. Opponents have a well-hit average of .292 against Owings' low fastballs, but that shrinks to .227 when he uses he upper two-thirds of the zone.
• There is a direct correlation between Owings' recent success and how often he has chosen to elevate his fastball. Since August, the rookie right-hander used the bottom third of the zone with 23 percent of his heaters. Prior to that, he kept his fastball down 31 percent of the time.
• Morales' curveball has been nearly unhittable in his young career. Since joining the Rockies in August, the rookie left-hander has thrown his curve for a strike 58 times, and only three were put in play for hits.
• Look for Franklin Morales to use his changeup more often when he the D'Backs have runners in scoring position. He has turned to it 19 percent of the time with RISP as compared to only 11 percent of the time without men in scoring position.
• Although Morales has limited opponents to a .167 (5-for-30) batting average in the first inning of games this year, he served up a first-inning homer in his only postseason start against the Phillies. Morales has gone to his fastball 75 percent of the time in the first frame, and just 64 percent of the time after that.
- Micah Owings
- Franklin Morales