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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Motte's Walkoff Mistake

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 8:21 AM

In the future, I wonder if the slider will come to be known as "Motte's Folly?" I can only hope so, because that would at least make the ugliness we witnessed at the end of last night's game worth something. 

I'm not particularly bothered by the fact
click to enlarge Good slider. 
  • Good slider. 
What I do have a problem with is the way in which Motte was beaten. He lost the game on a hanging slider, right over the heart of the plate. You throw a middle in meatball at 87 mph, chances are, you aren't getting that ball back. 

For the season, Motte's fastball has been his best pitch, pretty handily. The heater has been worth 2.4 runs on the year, in just 23.2 innings. That's extremely impressive. Interestingly, his slider has actually been a positive as well, at 0.8 runs above average. But here's the rub: Motte's cutter has hurt him, at -0.5 runs. Thing is, Jason Motte doesn't throw a cutter. What is being classified by gameday as a cutter is really just a flat slider that isn't breaking downward. So in reality, Motte's slider is worth something like a third of a run, or pretty squarely in the middle of average. 

So when Motte threw that flat slider to
Bad slider. 
  • Bad slider. 
In the end, this is my problem with how Jason Motte was beaten last night: Jason Motte is, simply put, a fireballer. That's who he is, that's what he does. To see two straight off-speed pitches in the ninth inning of a tied game from a pitcher whose fastball is so dominant, I find baffling. 

To paraphrase a great man, from a great movie, "Forget the slider, Jason. Give 'em the heater!" 

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