NLCS Game 4 scouting report

By Yahoo! Sports courtesy of Inside Edge

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.

Rockies hitters who match up well vs. Owings
Matt Holliday Owings is a two-pitch pitcher who relies on his slider for 30 percent of his offerings to right-handed batters. Holliday is the best right-handed breaking ball hitter in the league (minimum 70 ABs). He hit .360 and slugged .673 against righty sliders this season.
Todd Helton Helton hit .345 against right-handed sliders that were located on the outer part of the plate, and .353 when they were inside.
Brad Hawpe Had the highest slugging percentage of all Rockies batters against pitchers with similar repertoire's to Owings over the last two years.
Rockies hitters who could struggle
Troy Tulowitzki Really struggled against pitchers with similar stuff to Owings. He hit a Rockies-low .170 against sliders from RHPs. On the positive side, Owings was much worse against righties at the back end of the lineup than he was in the middle of the lineup.
Yorvit Torrealba Was 19-for-90 (.211) with 28 strikeouts against pitchers similar to Owings over the past two seasons.
Willy Taveras If Owings comes inside, which he likes to do more than most pitchers with his fastball, Taveras shouldn't be much of a threat (one extra-base hit against inside fastballs in Owings' velocity range).
Diamondbacks hitters who match up well vs. Morales
Eric Byrnes Batted .320 with 4 home runs against pitchers similar to Morales this season. Byrnes is exactly the kind of hitter Morales has struggled most with this season – right-handed batters in the 3 and 4-hole are batting .478 and slugging .870 against him in 23 at-bats.
Conor Jackson The D'backs' best hitter against left-handed pitchers (.320 BA) should be in the lineup and should handle Morales well.
Chris Young Young has not done a lot of damage against lefties with good curveballs this season, but right-handed leadoff hitters are slugging .800 (12 total bases in 15 at-bats) against the Rockies' rookie left-hander.
Diamondbacks hitters who could struggle
Tony Clark 3-for-18 with eight strikeouts against pitchers with similar stuff to Morales.
Augie Ojeda 3-for-17 against similar pitchers and batted .250 with only 3 extra-base hits against all left-handers this season.
Stephen Drew Was 4-for-27 against lefty curveballs in the regular season. Drew is also the only starting position player in the D'backs lineup who will bat left-handed against LHP's. Morales held left-handers to a .118 batting average this year (4-for-34).