When Alex Rodriguez struggled during his Yankee postseason, the baseball world responded with an A-Rod doomsday scenario. But what we can see as Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder have struggled to varying degrees, one of things we all correctly acknowledge is that pitchers clearly bear down on a team's top hitters.
In the first three games of this World Series, looking at the 3-4 batters for each of these teams, Pablo Sandoval has been the outlier. Sandoval is 7-for-11 (.636) with three homers and four RBI. He has more hits, homers and RBI than the other three batters combined: Posey is 3-for-11 with one RBI, Cabrera is 2-for-9 with one RBI, and Fielder is 1-for-10 with no RBI.
One set of Giants who I don't believe has gotten enough credit are the Giants' advance scouting group. Not only have they done an outstanding job in helping their pitchers point out weaknesses of the Tigers batters, but they must be commended in guiding the San Francisco defense in positioning them for the hard hit balls that the Tigers batters have hit.
Let's look at how the Giants have pitched to Fielder.
The first thing you can see is that the Giants have worked Fielder from the middle of the plate outward.
Of the 30 pitches Fielder has seen, only six have been on the inner-half of the plate. Fielder has swung at three of those pitches and missed on two of them. During the regular season, on pitches on the inner-half of the plate, Fielder his .276 with 12 homers and had an OPS .908
This is not to say, that Fielder wasn't dangerous on pitches on the outer-half of the plate during the regular season when he hit .330 with 18 homers and an OPS of .952.
He's hit .111 on those outer-half pitches in the World Series going 1-9 with a single and two whiffs.
So what's the difference?
Fielder has clearly been anxious (understandably) this Series and he's chasing, and to their credit the Giants pitchers are feeding into it.
Fielder has seen 20 pitches out of the strike zone. He has swung at nine of them and he is 0-7 chasing those pitches, striking out twice. In the Series, Fielder has seen only one pitch in the black and none in the corner.
This continues Fielder's regular season tendency of swinging at pitches low and away out of the zone
Just to make Fielder's batting life more of a living hell, of the 30 pitches Fielder has seen:
- 14 have been fastballs
- 5 sliders
- 4 Cutters
- 4 Change-ups
- 3 Curves
So, my bottom line is: be impressed with the Giants scouts, but be even more impressed with the Giants pitchers for executing a very effective game plan.