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« Buster Posey, Before and after the break | Main | Justin Verlander will go deep because Valverde is struggling »

Raul Ibanez Still Slugging Fastballs

Raul Ibanez is 40 years old, scuffles against soft stuff and covers ground like Kirk Gibson might have if the Dodgers had let him limp around the outfield during the '88 World Series. But whatever limitations Ibanez might have, he can still kill fastballs. Ibanez displayed his heater prowess last night against the Orioles, belting a game-tying home run in the 9th inning after pinch-hitting for A-Rod (I don't believe what I just saw!) and then handing the Yankees a walk-off win by going deep again in the 12th. Now, he's being compared to Gibson for all the right reasons.

Ibanez capitalized when Jim Johnson left a 94 MPH sinker over the heart of the plate in the 9th.  In the 12th, Ibanez turned on a high 91 MPH fastball from lefty Brian Matusz:

 Location of Ibanez's home runs vs. Baltimore, 10/10/12

Both pitches were located in Ibanez's hot spots against fastballs and sinkers:

Ibanez vs. fastballs and sinkers, 2012

Ibanez is slugging .555 overall against fastballs and sinkers this season, far above the .460 MLB average. Blowing a fastball by Raul, even when he's coming in cold off the bench, is no simple task. It's a different story against breaking and off-speed pitches, though:

Ibanez vs. breaking and off-speed stuff, 2012

Ibanez is slugging .331 against curveballs, sliders and changeups, which is over 40 points below the big league average (.374).

Raul's ridiculous night ranks as one of the most clutch hitting performances in postseason history. Judging by Win Probability Added, Ibanez places behind just David Freese, Gibson, Steve Garvey and Lance Berkman when it comes to clubbing his club to playoff glory:

Highest single-game WPA total in playoff history

Rk Player Date Series Gm# Tm Opp WPA
1 David Freese 10/27/2011 WS 6 STL TEX 0.969
2 Kirk Gibson 10/15/1988 WS 1 LAD OAK 0.87
3 Steve Garvey 10/6/1984 NLCS 4 SDP CHC 0.854
4 Lance Berkman 10/27/2011 WS 6 STL TEX 0.832
5 Raul Ibanez 10/10/2012 ALDS 3 NYY BAL 0.828
6 Charlie Keller 10/5/1941 WS 4 NYY BRO 0.826
7 Cookie Lavagetto 10/3/1947 WS 4 BRO NYY 0.822
8 Michael Tucker 10/12/1998 NLCS 5 ATL SDP 0.812
9 Brian Jordan 10/8/1999 NLDS 3 ATL HOU 0.806
10 Stan Hack 10/8/1945 WS 6 CHC DET 0.806


Not bad for a guy who started the night as a spectator.

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