It’s too soon to know for sure, but I think it’s a good sign that Volquez’s Alien-vs-Predator look didn’t do much for Cincinnati in game one.
Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.76) faces righty Bronson Arroyo (17-10, 3.88) tonight in game two of the NLDS.
The 33-year-old Arroyo posted career highs in wins (17) and ratio (1.15) this year. He struggled some early in the season, finishing May with a 4.92 and a 1.36 ratio, but pitched to a 3.37 ERA and a 1.04 ratio in 22 starts since the beginning of June.
There might have been a bit of luck thrown in there. His batting average for balls in play is .227 over his last 22 starts.
Arroyo did cut down his walk rate a little this season compared to his career numbers, but his rate of allowing hits fell even more dramatically in 2010. Coming into the season he had walked about 2.8 batters per nine innings and allowed 9.2 hits per nine innings. In 2010 he walked 2.5 batters per nine, but his hits per nine innings dropped to 7.8. He had a 1.33 ratio for his career coming into the season and threw to a 1.15 ratio in 2010.
He absolutely dominated right-handed hitters this season. They put up a 185/248/328 line against him. By comparison, righties hit 231/260/349 against Halladay. Arroyo’s ratio for the year against righties was 0.91, which was the best mark in either league among the 144 pitchers who threw at least 60 innings against right-handed batters.
His batting average for balls in play against righties this year? .192. I’m just saying. He also struck right-handed batters out at a lower rate than he had over the rest of his career. Coming into this season, Arroyo had struck out about 20.3% of the righties he had faced. This season he fanned about 16.9% of them. He also allowed home runs to righties at a worse rate in 2010 than he has over the rest of his career. About 3.1% of the righties he faced this year homered and about 2.5% of the righties he had faced for his career coming into the season had homered. His walk rate against righties was nearly identical to his career rate.
Arroyo has always been good against righties. Just not quite that good. They have posted a career line against him of 239/298/386. Lefties have fared much better, blasting away to the tune of 286/347/472. He did better than that in 2010, but still not good. Left-handed hitters hit 285/333/453 against him this year.
Arroyo didn’t face the Phils this season. Polanco is the guy who has seen him the most for his career. He’s 6-for-17 (.353) with a double against him. Rollins 4-for-12 with a double and a home run. Utley 4-for-9 with a home run. Howard 2-for-6 with two doubles and four strikeouts. Ibanez 1-for-3. Victorino 2-for-6. Ruiz 0-for-2. Werth has never faced him.
The Phillies went 10-1 in the last 11 games that Oswalt started in the regular season. Oswalt went 7-0 with a 1.31 ERA and an 0.83 ratio in those games, striking out 68 in 75 2/3 innings.
He made two starts against the Reds earlier this season when he was still with the Astros. On April 29 he allowed three runs over seven innings. He went into the top of the seventh down 1-0 and Votto hit a two-run homer off of him to extend the lead to 3-0. Cincinnati held on to win 4-2.
Things went worse in his start on July 24. Oswalt was charged with six runs in the first three innings and was chased after just five innings. Votto and Ramon Hernandez both homered off of him in that game. Laynce Nix started for the Reds and went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and a walk before Oswalt departed.
Oswalt pitched against the Reds a ton when he played in the NL Central. Rolen is the player who has seen him the most, putting up a 214/244/333 line in 48 at-bats. Phillips has fared better, hitting 316/350/447 over 38 at-bats. Votto is 10-for-30 (.333) with a pair of home runs. Bruce 7-for-29 (241/267/310). Hernandez 5-for-11 with a home run. Cabrera 3-for-12. Stubbs 2-for-6. Gomes faced him once and walked. Nix is going to start in left for Cincinnati — he’s 9-for-17 against Oswalt for his career with three doubles, a triple and two home runs (a 1.732 OPS).
That Oswalt has handled Bruce is the best news there. Votto and Nix? Not so much.