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« The Great Justin Verlander Inning-by-Inning | Main | Zito Paints Corners, Proves Us Wrong »

Analyzing NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro

It has been a joy to watch Marco Scutaro since he joined the Giants on July 28. From that date through the postseason, Scutaro has hit .362, had an OBP of .386, slugged .473, giving him an OPS of .859.

Scutaro, who has become the inspirational leader of the Giants, is an outstanding end of season batter. Here are his career month-by-month regular season averages:

  • April: .257
  • May: .264
  • June: .279
  • July: .275
  • August: .273
  • Sept/Oct: .298

In the last month of the season: 

  • In 2010, Scutaro hit .293
  • In 2011, when his Boston teammates were drinking beer, eating chicken, and collapsing, Scutaro hit .387
  • This season when the Giants were battling for a postseason slot, Scutaro only hit .412. 

Here are Scutaro's last month of the 2012 season hits

25 of his 45 hits were to centerfield and right field.

Scutaro struggled during the LDS against the Reds hitting only .150 going 3-for-20.

Scutaro saw 96 pitches

Within the red areas above are Scutaro's three hits. Nearly half of the pitches Scutaro saw (42) were fastballs and he was 1-for-10 against them.

So, why were the Reds successful while the Cards were not?

Start by looking at Scutaro's outs in the LDS

Here are the results of these pitches (outs only): 

  • Game 1 - Two ground outs to short, one to second, and one liner to left
  • Game 2 - A liner and a fly to center, a ground out to the mound and to short
  • Game 3 - Ground outs to first and second and fly to center
  • Game 4 - Fly out and line out to right, sac bunt to the mound and ground out to second
  • Game 5 - Two grounders to second and a liner to center 

First thing you want notice here is the adjustment Scutaro made as the series progressed in attempting to go to the opposite field. Starting in Game 3, all of his outs were to the right side of infield or to center. Proving that he's no Derek Jeter, Scutaro attempted unsuccessfully to go to right six times on pitches that were on inner half of the plate (seven if you count the sac bunt).

Overall, Scutaro saw 38 pitches on the inner half. The Reds also worked him high, throwing 53 pitches in the upper half. Scutaro saw 58 pitches on the outer half of the plate (two resulted in hits - one to right one to left) with only 26 in the strike zone.

Here are Scutaro's NLCS MVP pitches

Scutaro saw 100 pitches

Against the Cards, Scutaro saw 39 pitches on the inner half resulting in four pulled singles and two pulled doubles and six outs, four to the left of second.

However in the NLCS, Scutaro saw 61 pitches on the outer half of the plate, seven resulted in hits all to center or to right. Only 33 pitches, on the outer half of the plate were out of the strike zone.

If this pattern continues, and the Tigers are going to quiet Marco Scutaro, look for them to be working him on the inner halfof the plate and up in the zone. If you are planning on working on the outer half, you have to be enough out of the zone that Scutaro is chasing and can't drive the ball to the opposite field.


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