Found October 10, 2013 on Baseball News Source:
The St. Louis Cardinals downed the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Wednesday night. The biggest play of the game was third baseman David Freese hitting a two-run homer off of Pirates starter Gerrit Cole in the second inning to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead. The Cardinals win probability shot up to 74 percent after Freese’s blow. Anybody can tell you that Freese hit a big homerun. I want to hone in on the rarity of what he did. First of all, Gerrit Cole doesn’t surrender homeruns too often. In 117.1 innings, he surrendered just seven homeruns. On a per PA basis, just 1.5% of hitters take Cole deep. On a per contact basis, just 2.1% of batted balls left the yard off of Cole in 2013. Also, David Freese didn’t hit many homeruns in 2013, just nine to be exact. He homered on 1.7% of his plate appearances, and just 2.5% of his contact plays. Ok, homeruns are a rare occurrence for Cole and Freese. Let’s look at BrooksBaseball to delve deeper. Next, the count was 1-2. There aren’t too many homeruns hit when the pitcher is ahead, and even less when the pitcher is Gerrit Cole. Cole surrendered just two homeruns when the batter had two strikes against him. In both of those occasions, the count was 3-2. So Cole had never given up a homerun on a 1-2 count, or a 0-2 or 2-2 count for that matter. With pitchers ahead in the count, Freese hit .152/.163/.182 in 2013, with no homeruns. Furthermore, the pitch Freese hit out was a slider. Sliders are tough to hit. Cole has a devastating slider, and hitters whiffed at it nearly 20 percent of the time. When they did make contact, they didn’t fare very well. In fact, hitters had just a .233 BABIP when putting Cole’s slider into play, with just one extra-base hit. Like most hitters, Freese doesn’t hit sliders very well. In fact, over the course of his career, Freese has never hit a homerun on a two-strike slider. Of the 252 sliders Cole has thrown in his MLB career, Freese was the first player to send one of them out of the park. Of the 386 two-strike sliders Freese had previously seen, he had homered on exactly zero of them. Baseball, it’s pretty awesome. October baseball, it’s even more awesome.
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