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Slick sliders?

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by iayork, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. iayork

    iayork Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    599
    I don't think anyone could have missed the fuss over pitchers' claims that the World Series baseballs are unusually slick, and it's affecting their sliders by reducing the pitches' movement.

    I have no real opinion one way or the other, but I did take issue with the claim that PITCHf/x data clearly show this. While arguing with one dude on Reddit, I made the following:

    CK_SL_random1.png
    JV_SL_random1.png

    These are Verlander and Kershaw's sliders, game by game, regular season plus World Series, showing the distribution of horizontal and vertical movement. Only I randomized the order of the games, and I challenged the dude on Reddit to pick out the World Series games from this set.

    (He hasn't done it yet.)

    The correctly ordered versions, labeled by date, and also including Darvish, Giles, Keuchel, Peacock, and Giles, are here (if I'm doing this right).

    I genuinely don't have an opinion on whether the balls are changed, though I'm moderately skeptical. I don't see a consistent, believable effect from PITCHf/x, but I don't discount the comments from a half-dozen people who are among the world's experts on how a baseball should feel.
     
    #1 iayork, Oct 31, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  2. BillMuellerFanClub

    BillMuellerFanClub Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    439
    i tend to trust a handful of guys who make a living by handling a baseball, especially those who are world-class, when they say the ball doesn't feel right. you don't have to look much further than these teams setting the record for home runs hit just five games into the series.

    obviously, you can make an argument that they are also top offensive squads, but that seems too simple for my tinfoil hat wearing self. if the goal was to inject more offense and boost ratings, its worked like gangbusters. i think they drew more people than the competing, nationally broadcasted football event.

    edit: great topic for a new thread, by the way
     
  3. Snodgrass'Muff

    Snodgrass'Muff oppresses WARmongers Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    27,139
    If the balls are different enough that it is making it hard to throw sliders (for example) then why the inconsistent results from, say Kershaw? Wouldn't his results have been bad all around? I mean, he struck out 11 while throwing as many sliders as fastballs in game one.
     
  4. ledsox

    ledsox Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    124
    Fangraphs piece by Jeff Sullivan today mentioned that Rich Hill doesn't think the balls are different. Sullivan looked at pitch usage and found that there has been no shying away from breaking stuff in the WS.
     
  5. jon abbey

    jon abbey Shanghai Warrior Dope SoSH Member

    Messages:
    31,411
    Also, Houston is a band box to LF and RF, the last three HRs in game 5 went 328, 363, and 349 feet respectively. Then factor in that you have two not especially deep bullpens who have both been pushed really really hard, and I'm not sure the balls are making much of a difference, if any.
     
  6. 75cent bleacher seat

    75cent bleacher seat Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    If we had the home run baseball a fan threw back and a spectrometer...if only.
     

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