1st Pitch: Pitchers vs 7-8-9 hitters

Quick Hits: One of the simple keys to success for a pitcher is quickly retiring the bottom third of the order. So it should come as no surprise that the pitchers who struggle with 7-8-9 hitters are having disappointing seasons.

  • Rich Harden has allowed a .464 opponents on-base percentage to 7-8-9 hitters this season, worst in the majors.

  • The bottom third of the order has a 1.060 OPS against Josh Beckett this season.

  • Charlie Morton has allowed a league-worst .389 BA and 1.107 OPS against 7-8-9 hitters.

  • Ervin Santana has allowed a league-high six home runs to the bottom third of the order. Mark Buehrle is right behind him with five.

  • As a team the Mets have allowed a .356 OBP to 7-8-9 hitters, led by John Maine (.431), Oliver Perez (.404), Mike Pelfrey (.400) and Jonathan Niese (.400).

Today’s Trivia: Today is the 20th anniversary of Randy Johnson’s first no-hitter. Which current GM was in the Tigers starting lineup in that game?

Lowest Opp OBP
vs 7-8-9 Hitters

Today’s Leaderboard: Shawn Marcum has bounced back after missing the entire 2008 season. A key reason for his success has been his ability to shutdown the bottom of the order. He’s allowed 7-8-9 hitters to reach base just 17.4 percent of the time, the lowest average in the majors.

Highest BA vs Cliff Lee
Left-Handed Hitters

Key Matchups: Denard Span is one of the few lefties that has Cliff Lee’s number. In his career against Lee, Span is batting .462 (6-13) with a .522 on-base percentage.

Zach Duke is struggling and the Cubs may be the last team he wants to face right now. The Cubs current roster is batting a collective .357 in their careers against Duke. Alfonso Soriano (.417 BA, 2 HR) has done the most damage. Even today’s starter for the Cubs, Carlos Zambrano, is 3-6 in his career against Duke.

Trivia Answer: White Sox GM Kenny Williams was starting in centerfield and batting 9th.