Now, I will agree with William that O’Day is a good pitcher, and good pitchers will at times make good pitches. But championship teams tend to have good hitters in the middle of their order, and good hitters often hit good pitches, so simply doffing your cap to O’Day isn’t much of a winning strategy, in no small part because A-Rod has made it easy on him in the first two games. Check out Alex’s seventh inning at bat against him from Game One:
The thing is, there’s really no particularly good pitch here, other than the 0-2 pitch in the corner that Tony Randazzo called a ball. O’Day more or less dominated A-Rod in this at bat largely because Alex helped him out by fouling off a fastball that was up and over the middle of the plate and then chasing a slider a foot off of the plate to put himself in an 0-2 count. Now let’s look at his at bat against O’Day from last night:
What’s the first thing that leaps out at you in this plot? The three belt high pitches across the zone? The first two such pitches that are over the plate, both of which A-Rod failed to so much as put in play? Again, there are some good pitches here, but A-Rod doesn’t do himself any favors by not taking advantage of the hittable pitches he did get. Yes, O’Day made some good pitches, mostly late in the at bat to put A-Rod away, but he also gave Alex three pitches over the plate and in the upper half of the zone, not a one of which was put into play, let alone hit hard. You do have to tip your cap to good pitchers sometimes, but you also have to make them pay when they give you something to hit. Especially if you’re batting third in the lineup in the postseason.