World Series Game 3 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 Game 3 of the 2007 World Series between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox.


• The Rockies are hoping a trip back to Coors Field can help them out of their collective postseason slump. They are batting .209 as a team in their last six games. Only one Rockies hitter, Matt Holliday, has batted over .250 since the division series ended.

• Here is what to watch from a few Rockies who are struggling at the plate:

Rockies hitters who are struggling in the postseason
Hitter Postseason BAVG Behind the struggle
Willie Taveras .120 (3-for-25) He's 0-for-15 against fastballs and yet has not swung and missed one.
Todd Helton .182 (6-for-33) Struck out in only 11 percent of his at-bats in the regular season, but has K'd in almost a quarter of his post-season AB's (8-of-33).
Ryan Spilborghs .200 (3-for-15) Has not put up much of a fight with two strikes (1-for-10). He has taken four strikes on 0-1 counts to get to 0-2.

• Colorado outfielder Brad Hawpe is usually a very good fastball hitter, but he has made solid contact only one time in 19 October at-bats ending with the hard stuff. Red Sox right-handers Josh Beckett, Eric Gagne and Jon Papelbon have struck Hawpe out with their fastballs in the last two games.

• Current Red Sox hitters are a combined 30-for-93 (.323 batting average) against Game 3 starter Josh Fogg.

• Here's one reason the Sox might want to start David Ortiz at first base now that the Series shifts to the National League park in Colorado. Big Papi has put six balls in play with the count in his favor this postseason. He homered twice, doubled, and hit three outs right on the button (1.000 well-hit average). Rockies Game 3 starting pitcher Josh Fogg has fallen behind Ortiz in five of his six career plate appearances. Papi is 3-for-5 in those at-bats.


• Boston pitchers have done a great job of stifling big innings; they have not allowed back-to-back hits in the 18 innings they have pitched against the Rockies in the series.

• Keep an eye on Daisuke Matsuzaka after he reaches 45 pitches. Here's why:

Dice-K's performance before and after 45 pitches
Pitch Count BAVG SLG H AB
First 45 pitches .222 .322 78 351
After 45 pitches .272 .470 132 485

• In October, opponents are batting .185 (5-for-27) against Dice-K before he reaches 45 pitches, and .424 (14-for-33) afterwards. His off-speed pitches appear to be more hittable the longer his outings last; Eleven of the 14 hits after his forty-fifth pitch have come against non-fastballs.

• Colorado starter Josh Fogg is a finesse pitcher who averages 88 mph on his fastball. He will need to place his pitches well tonight – the Red Sox drew a walk in 8.6 percent of their plate appearances against pitches under 90 mph this season. That was the highest percentage of any team.

• Fogg may want to stay away from his slow curveball tonight. October opponents are 4-for-4 against it with a home run and a double. Red Sox hitters were 1-for-2 with a home run from Mike Lowell against Fogg's deuce back in their June meeting.

• Working ahead in the count is important against the patient Red Sox offense. Fogg will need to do a better job of this than he did in his last start (Game 3 of the NLCS). He threw only 48 percent first-pitch strikes in that outing and got two of his first three pitches in the at-bat over for a strike 50 percent of the time. Both of those marks are well below league average.

Rockies hitters who match up well vs. Matsuzaka
Brad Hawpe Hawpe was best among Rockies hitters with a .344 batting average against guys like Matsuzaka – right-handers who feature plus-fastballs and a good blend of off-speed pitches. The Rockies outfielder is also 3-for-7 in postseason games following a day off.
Todd Helton Don't be surprised if Helton drives an off-speed offering from Dice-K tonight. He hit .333 (52-for-156) against non-fastballs from right-handers this season and Matsuzaka's off-speed deliveries have not fooled lefties in the postseason (.421 batting average against).
Matt Holliday He completes the triple-H threat with Hawpe and Helton. Holliday batted .338 (25-for-74) against guys like Matsuzaka this year.
Rockies hitters who could struggle
Troy Tulowitzki He showed a major weakness with right-handed sliders (176 swings and only nine well-hit). Dice-K will use his slider 32 percent of the time to righties.
Yorvit Torrealba Struck out 11 times in 36 at-bats this season against pitchers we have classified as similar to Matsuzaka.
Willie Taveras The Rockies outfielder provided a spark when he returned to the lineup in the NLCS, but has just one hit in his last 18 at-bats. Taveras has struggled against fastballs on the outer half (0-for-8 in the postseason). Opponents hit .190 against Matsuzaka's fastball when he kept it away from them this year.
Red Sox hitters who match up well vs. Fogg
Mike Lowell Lowell is so well-matched with Fogg it is almost a guarantee he will do some damage in Game 3. He's 6-for-16 with a homer and double in head-to-head meetings and really tears up pitchers with similar stuff: .471 (24-for-51) this season.
David Ortiz Hit an even .500 (3-for-6) against Fogg. Big Papi hammers pitchers who resemble the Colorado starter – he was 13-for-42 (.310) with eight extra-base hits and a .643 slugging percentage this season against pitchers with similar repertoires.
Alex Cora It's decision time for Sox manager Terry Francona. Backup shortstop Alex Cora is 6-for-11 lifetime against Fogg and he even took the Rockies starter deep once. Cora has homered only seven times since 2005.
Jason Varitek Varitek can go either way – he struck out twice and hit two balls hard in his four at-bats against Fogg. The Red Sox captain also exhibited the same all-or-nothing tendencies against similar right-handers (.463 slugging pct. with 10 strikeouts in 41 at-bats this season).
Red Sox hitters who could struggle
J.D. Drew The Sox hitter who has seen the most of Fogg in his career (26 PA's) is also the one who has struggled most against him. Fogg has mixed it up well on Drew, who is just 1-for-9 against his changeup and 4-for-21 overall.
Julio Lugo Lugo has not hit a ball hard against Fogg in their last 15 scouted at-bats. Watch for Fogg to work the Red Sox shortstop away, where he's 1-for-6 against his slider and 0-for-3 against his fastball.