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Opposing Pitcher Preview: 5/11-5/13 Moyer, Nicasio, Pomeranz

The Dodgers (20-11) continue their assault on the NL West and look to get some revenge on the Rockies (13-17, 6.5 GB) after dropping two of three last week, including a heart-breaker in which Scott Elbert surrendered a game-ending grand slam to Jason Giambi. We face Juan Nicasio and Drew Pomeranz for the second time, but we get our first look of the season against 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

Friday, May 11: Jamie Moyer (Old)

I don't know where to begin.Moyer is a strike-throwing, slop-baller who over his career has struggled to strike out even one batter every other inning. He is the ultimate pitch to contact pitcher. Every year since 2002, Jamie Moyer has moved from an extreme fly ball pitcher to a more evenly split GB:FB guy.Moyer throws many variations of a fastball all averaging about 76mph (56% of the time), a 72mph changeup (33%) and a 68mph curveball (9%).

What to Watch For: Watch for Moyer to throw primarily one pitch: a fastball. While his fastball isn't "fast", he can cut it, sink it, and does a great job of keeping it down in the zone. There's a good chance a lot of the changeups he throws (33% above) are simply fastballs he's taken velocity away from to keep hitters off balance. His curveball is a show-me pitch to keep hitters guessing, but he's going to rely almost entirely on hitters getting themselves out.

Pick to Click: A lot of these hitters haven't seen anything this consistently slow since they were 16. Pick to click is Scott van Slyke, because why not.

Saturday, May 12: Juan Nicasio (R)

This is what I had to say last time:

Monday, April 30: Juan Nicasio (R)

Signed out of the Dominican Republic as an amateur free agent by the Rockies in 2006, Juan Nicasio is what you would call "average". He doesn't strike out very many hitters, but he doesn't walk too many either. He's given up his share of home runs in his short career, and is an interesting fly ball pitcher playing in a stadium known for it's home runs. He'll mostly come after hitters with his 93mph four-seam fastball (63% of the time), while mixing in an 83mph slider (25%) and an 84mph changeup (11%). His fastball and changeup both have good downward movement, but not too much lateral movement. Interestingly, he throws his slider a lot more than his changeup, but pitch f/x shows it has very little movement, only 3.4 inches across and 2.3 inches downward on average. I'd love to just call it a cutter and move on, but he throws it too slow for it to be a fastball variation.

What to Watch For: Watch for guys to try to get healthy off Nicasio. He's going to give them pitches to hit, with fastballs topping out in the mid- to high-90's. He's essentially Nathan Eovaldi at this point. Throws hard, slider spins, but Nicasio at least seems to have a decent changeup that he doesn't use enough. I can only assume he throws it too hard for it to be effective, or he has trouble locating the pitch. Further digging shows he only throws the changeup to lefties, but he has a tendency to elevate it.

He's a pitcher who makes it known he will throw sinking fastballs in the heart of the strike zone and relies on his velocity and defense for his success. Expect fast (not hard) sinkers to both right and left-handed hitters, with the slider being the primary out pitch to righties, but a total unwillingness to throw it to lefties.

Pick to Click: If Nicasio is only willing to throw fastballs and changeups to the lefties, I full expect Andre Ethier and James Loney to enjoy some success on Monday.

Well, Loney went 1-for-3 with a double and Ethier went 1-for-4 with a single, but it was matt Kemp who took Nicasio deep in the first inning. He followed the scouting report though, so I still expect our lefties to hit him well.

Sunday, May 13: Drew Pomeranz (L)

Last time we faced Pomeranz:

Before the season, Baseball America ranked Drew Pomeranz the 30th best prospect in Major League Baseball, and rated his curveball as the best in the Indians system before last season. Their primary concern was his walk rate, but that had decreased every year from college, to the minor leagues and into his first major league season last year. So far this year, it's been a huge issue for Pomeranz as he's already allowed 8 walks in 13 innings. As such, he's also allowed 2 home runs in three starts, and has innings totals of 4.1, 5.0 and 4.0.

Pomeranz has a three pitch mix. He throws his fastball 70% of the time like the book says, his curveball 24%, and his changeup 7%.His curveball's velocity is 11mph slower than his fastball, and his changeup has solid depth and slide. The problem is, his fastball is only 89-90mph, so he's not able to get hitters to back off his offspeed stuff. His fastball tends to get a lot of the plate, which could be the cause of his problems.

What to Watch For: At some point, pitchers get tired of walking guys. I'm hoping Tuesday is that game because I also don't think he has the stuff to be successful against the Dodgers lineup. It's difficult to tell any real sort of trend with Pomeranz since Tuesday will be the 8th major league start of his career, but it is worth noting that none of his pitches have horizontal movement at all, so I don't think we're going to see too much of a traditional lefty-lefty advantage for the young pitcher.

Pick to Click: If he plays, it's James Loney. If he doesn't, Mark Ellis is my pick to click.

In what amounted to the Carlos Gonzalez Show, Loney did not start and Mark Ellis went 1-for-5 with an RBI. I too thought Pomeranz threw harder than he does, but having watched him get into the 7th inning against us with an 89mph fastball, I'm not sure what to expect. Getting Juan "Rally Killer" Rivera out of the lineup might help, but the Boys in Blue are going to have to make an adjustment if they expect success. They won't have the thin Colorado air keeping Pomeranz's curveball up in the zone for them this time. Expect his offspeed stuff to show why he got drafted #5 overall now that he's pitching closer to sea level.

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