Tonight, the Yankees will face a pitcher they’ve never faced before: Oakland starter Trevor Cahill. Cahill, just named to the American League All-Star Team, has had a great year thus far in 2010.
He’s pitched to a 2.74 ERA (4.03 FIP, 3.99 xFIP) in 82.0 innings while striking out 6.15 and walking just 2.74. He’s got a solid 54.8 groundball percentage (9th in the AL) and he’s keeping the ball in the park with 0.88 HR surrendered per nine innings.
As we all know, narrative dominates all in sports so I assume we’ll see a lot of stuff today on how the Yankees have never seen Cahill and how the Yankees always struggle mightily against pitchers they’ve never seen. I’m pretty sure this isn’t actually true, but the exceptions always stick out more than the rules do.
What, then, can we expect from Mr. Cahill on the mound tonight? Using his Texas Leaguers page, we can see that he throws his sinker most of the time which averages 88.9 MPH and I’d assume this pitch is the one that gets him all the grounders. His second most used pitch is his changeup, which sits at 81.2 MPH. When used correctly, a changeup can induce its fair share of grounders. Cahill also gets a swing and a miss 16% of the time on his changeup, so not only can he use it to get out of a jam, but also to strike a guy out if he needs it. Trevor’s curveball, used 13.3% of the time, also gets him some swings and misses (13.7%).
From Cahill, we can expect someone throwing not terribly fast (91.2 average four seam), but still looking to induce groundballs with a sinker/changeup combination. I’ve never watched Cahill , so it will be exciting to see him pitch for the first time. Hopefully, most of those pitches end up as hits (though Cahill’s .232 BABIP may dictate otherwise).
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