Chicago Cubs: Looking at the numbers behind critical Game 2 decisions
By Jake Misener
Chicago Cubs: Looking at the bigger picture
But it wasn’t just any lefty-swinging bat in the box. It was Bryce Harper, who, despite missing more than a month with a knee injury, still racked up 29 homers in just 111 games. And to say he feasted on right-handed pitching this year is putting it mildly.
Of his 29 long-balls, Harper hit 26 of them against right-handers. He slugged 1.087 against them, as opposed to just .802 against southpaws. He managed just 10 extra-base hits against lefties this season – with 47 against right-hander (in an admittedly larger sample size).
A more troubling matchup
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So. Harper takes Edwards deep and the game is tied 3-3. He walks the next man, Anthony Rendon, who homered in the first off Jon Lester. Maddon heads to the mound and makes the move for Montgomery to face the left-handed hitting Daniel Murphy.
It doesn’t pay off. Murphy inside-outs a ball to left. Ben Zobrist cuts it off and the Nats now have a man at first with still just one out in the inning. Maddon keeps Montgomery in to face Ryan Zimmerman, a right-handed hitter. Keep in mind Wade Davis was throwing in the pen at different points in the late innings.
Ahead in the count 0-1, Montgomery leaves a pitch out over the heart of the plate and Zimmerman sneaks one over the left-field wall for a three-run blast. Never mind the fact it looked like Zobrist might have had a play on it had he leapt at the wall. That’s an entirely different matter altogether.
Let’s get back to the Zimmerman-Montgomery matchup.