Chen’s Case of Reddickaphobia
Yesterday the battle within the battle for the game was Bruce Chen versus Josh Reddick. In Reddick’s at bats Chen threw an incredible 23 pitches. Just him against Reddick, 23 pitches – 22.5% of Chen’s pitches yesterday overall were seen only by the Georgia native. Yet here’s the thing, he threw away, away, away, away. The first at bat, he was not so afraid and Reddick hit the one pitch inside for a foul out to third base. But then things changed…
This and all of these charts are care of the wonderful BrooksBaseball, and in the first at bat, Chen wasn’t that afraid though still one has to wonder if the final pitch of the sequence (#5) was a mistake and was meant for the outside as well.
Then the fear set in, as in the third, he was away, away, away.
And it settled in by the time Reddick came up in the fifth:
I don’t understand why one would be so afraid of the inside half like Chen and I presume the Royals pitching staff was. Joe Lefkowitz’ Pitch f/x tool shows Reddick hitting hard stuff from lefties relatively well in an airport sign sort of split of the strikezone, yet it shows him struggling mightily against offspeed stuff from lefties (not a single hit in 2011). Why not do a steady diet of offspeed pitches? Regardless, Reddick has proven adept at hitting things to the opposite field all year which is what an offspeed pitch begs to have happen.
In fact as one can see above with that image care of FoxSports, Reddick is quite adept at hitting it opposite field with all of his hits this year in Oakland going that direction. Why Chen kept throwing away, away, away was strange. If anything it seems he was lucky that he didn’t get burned. Just something strange I noticed in the one at bat in the third, and then noticed it carry through to the other as well. The last pitch Reddick saw yesterday was anything but outside, with Jose Mijares hitting him in the top of the shoulder with it ricocheting into his jaw or neck it seemed causing him to leave the game. Reports say that Reddick will be alright and was removed as a precaution, but I wonder if other teams will employ this same strange strategy when facing him.