ESPN/trumedia has some fantastic data and interface that can provide some interesting insight in major league baseball. I personally cannot get enough of the stuff.
After the data was loaded from yesterday's game, I went back to review some of the heat maps and stats to see if we learned anything. Here's what we know:
Ricky Nolasco worked far too much in the middle-up area of the strike zone.
As you can see, Nolasco's pitches were staying middle-up resulting in the White Sox putting good swings on the ball and ten total hits. Three of those hits came on pitches outside of the strike zone, including Jose Abreu's sharp single on a fastball down-and-in.
Chris Sale Was Not Going To Get Hit By Oswaldo Arica
Sale vs Arcia.jpg 41.93KB
Last year, the left-handed hitting Arcia probably surprised everyone including Chris Sale by doing this to one of his offerings
. Instead, he stayed the heck away from the middle of the plate. That approach worked as Arcia walked, struck out and bounced a 70-foot grounder.
I am sure you will see more lefties pitching Arcia off the plate like this.
Josh Willlingham's Pitch Selection Needed Work
I cannot stress enough that this is Chris Sale, who is a damn good pitcher, as well as the first game of the year. That said, Willingham's spring has not exactly inspired. His swing/take selection in the opener leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to location, he watched four of six fastballs go by while swinging at four offspeed and breaking pitches.