One way to look at how a pitcher attacks hitters is to look at what the pitcher throws in two-strike counts. In two-strike counts, pitchers often try to put hitters away with a breaking ball, induce weak contact with a sinker, overpower hitters with an extra-hard fastball, or throw a changeup with a bit of extra screw action.
I hadn’t seen Yu Darvish pitch in quite some time, but since he started against my Boston Red Sox earlier this week, I once again got a first-hand look. How different he seemed from the pitcher I saw earlier in the season!
Commentary on Darvish has focused on how he has devolved into a kind of nibbling pseudo-Matsuzaka rather than a power pitcher who attacks hitters in the zone. I went to the data to look at how his approach vs. two-strike hitters has changed over the course of the season.
The first plot shows what kind of fastball Darvish has been throwing with two strikes. You can see a very clear difference between the months of April and May and the mont...