I think it's a good question, because you at least get a visual representation of what you're getting out of your starters, and specifically, why some of them have been so up and down this year.
Max Scherzer is one that I can't quite figure out. Of course we at BYB know that, due to the fact that he has two nicknames: "Blue Eye" for a good performance, and "Brown Eye" for a bad one. Unfortunately for us, the gap between blue eye and brown eye is so wide that it's no wonder that Scherzer's starts have gone from one extreme to the other. It's been very evident against left-handed hitters this season.
This fangraph was taken from Scherzer's start in May, against the Yankees. Here we see an example of what Max can give us when he's feeling right. The release point for all three of pitches is pretty consistent.
Now Bad Max...this was from his start in interleague against the Giants, a game in which he allowed 9 R in 2 IP. As you can see, it's like he can't find a good rhythm and his pitches end up all over the place, sliders especially.
Now more good : )
Against lefties, where Scherzer has had most of his struggles this year, we see that many fastballs are left up in the strike zone, yet the Yankee batters couldn't quite get around on it. While it may be concerning to us that most pitchers can't get away with making these types of pitches, he stays away from the middle of the plate here. The changeup away looks good; the graph shows he's putting in a spot where he can't get hurt (if there ever was one for a Yankee hitter).
When Scherzer missed with his fastball against San Francisco, he REALLY missed as we can see by the many high or low outside green dots. And when Scherzer needed a strike, he grooved the fastball right into the barrel of a Giants' bat, or floated a changeup that went over the heart of the plate. The one slider he threw was the second major league home run for Brandon Crawford.
I'm all for hoping the best out of Max Scherzer in the playoffs, but with this kind of inconsistency, can we really trust him to pitch a good game against a left-handed loaded lineup, be it New York or Boston? I say yes, but ONLY at Comerica Park. The dimensions at NYS really scare me if Scherzer got the ball on the road, because who knows what eye he is seeing out of?
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bless You Boys writing staff.