By the Numbers - Hisashi Iwakuma vs Bronx Bombers, 7.25.12


Zero being the number of balls off the plate that Iwakuma had called for strikes, and 10 being the number of pitches on the plate that Iwakuma had called for strikes.  Well, five were actually in the zone, and five more nicked the zone if the green square represents the center of ball that has some displacement in physical space.

Iwakuma threw 92 pitches, and of those 92, 10 were changed from strikes to balls.  The other 82 pitches were, as a group, much more centered or much more off the plate, and much easier for the Yankees to decide about.  (Ivan Nova gave up 6 walks also.)

If you're interested in throwing 92 pitches to the New York Yankees, with Granderson, Teixeira, Cano etc. and having the 10 best of them called balls, you're obviously not a pitcher.


5 IP, 1 ER

So under these circumstances, did Iwakuma walk four guys in the second inning, then center a pitch and give up a tape-measure shot?  ... you'll remember when you were five and This Episode Was Brought To You By The Letter (er) M.  This start was brought to you by the word Poise.

Believe it now or believe it later.  Mr. WBC has major league (TM) poise.  ... he might not have major league rhythm, yet, but he's got poise.  This was one thing the NPB fans in Japan had warned us about.  

Had a Team Japan held the New York Midseason Yankees to 1 run, under those umpiring circumstances, well ... his team woulda gotten the rest of it done.  And there woulda been a cool WBC article the next day.  You gotta settle for the jet-ski-lagged Dr D grovelling for a couple hundred words. 



That being the number of Shuuto's, er, splitfingers they advise us, that Mr. WBC threw.  

Of 92 pitches.  Shuutos up, for two-bouncers on the infield, and Shuutos down, for garbage swings and misses.  Rauuuuul's especially looked like Beltre on a Jered Weaver slider, keister in the dugout, one-handed lunge and all the trimmings.

The Shuuto is a putaway pitch, and it doesn't seem to have taken Iwakuma long to triangulate the anti-MLB ammo here.  A man of his intelligence will quickly mold the rest of his game around the one bread-and-butter weapon that he has.

It broke an average of 8 inches armside, and -2 inches down compared to vacuum -- which is a 7-10 inch drop compared to the fastball that it arrives imitating.  Again we confess to a math deficiency, but 7-10 inches is something like the width of three to four baseballs.  Which is what Rauuuuul missed by.  Well, okay, maybe it was only by two.


90.3 MPH

Although, check out the velocity trend.  He's comin' on.

Be that as it may, Iwakuma's fastball looked a bit short again.  Like his fastball is shorter than 90 MPH; batters react like it's 87.  He takes a short stride, releases it from farther away I think, and F/X shows that his arm angle is real low so the angle is flat and on the bat plane.  He kinda nibbled and picked with the fastball.  Nobody accused him of being dumb.  

The one thing he's got going for him is that he can nibble-and-pick with four different pitches to grovel strikes.  Fastball, 83 slider, 73 change curve, 89 swerveball sinker.  At least when he slops it in there, it's coming in at unpredictable speeds.


See Next for Part 2

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