Aroldis Chapman in Game 7

Although I was disappointed with the outcome, Game 7 of the World Series was exciting.  I have to admit that I did not stay up to watch the 10th inning — the rain delay coupled with my 5:15 tennis date the next morning prevented me from watching the end.

One aspect of the game that I thought was interesting was the pitching of Aroldis Chapman who let up the tying runs and ironically was the winning pitcher of the game.  As we know, Chapman was used a lot by the Cubs in the final three games and one would wonder what he had in the tank for Game 7.  Also, most of us know that Chapman uses two pitches, a remarkably fast four-seam fastball and a slider.  I believe the fastball is really an effective strikeout pitch, but the slider is effective for the hitters who may be expecting a fastball.

I downloaded Chapman’s pitches for Game 7.  Below I display the location and type of each  pitch for the 7 batters that he faced in the 8th and 9th innings.  In the label, I indicate the inning, the batter, and the eventual outcome of the plate appearance.  Red points correspond to fastballs and blue to sliders.

chapman_game_7.png

There are several interesting things that we observe from this graph.

  1. In the 8th inning, Chapman essentially threw all fastballs and as we know, the Indians got some key hits, especially Davis’ home run tying the game.  He did throw a couple of sliders to Gomes who struck out to end the bottom of the 8th.
  2. I felt pretty good going into the bottom of the 9th.  Chapman was still in the game, the top of the Indians order was batting  — I really thought there would be some sort of rally.  What does Chapman throw?  Most of his 9th inning pitches were sliders and as the graph indicates they tended to be high in the zone which usually means that they are relatively easy to hit. What happened?  A quick 1-2-3 out with two fly-outs and a strikeout.  My optimism was dashed as the Indians did not take advantage of this opportunity to take advantage of some hitable pitches.

Congratulations to both teams for an exciting World Series.  Given the number of injuries faced by the Indians, they played well and it was a tight World Series.

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One response

  1. Very interesting post and use of the GAM model, which I’m looking at for some of my medical research. Have you posted the code somewhere, Matt? Thanks, Jim Hunter

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