That's the sequenced pitch plot from the Andrew Miller-Troy Tulowitzki showdown that ended last night's game. I'm still buzzing from the stress and excitement of that at-bat, and writing the recap made me want to go back and look at it again. It was such a great battle, both in terms of execution and strategy. Regardless of what side you're rooting for in this division race, you have to tip your cap to both guys in this case.
When you look at the pitch location and pitch result breakdown, this clearly was a case of the batter knowing what was coming, the pitcher knowing that the batter knew what was coming, and the pitcher finally throwing a pitch good enough to get the swing and miss he needed. Miller starter Tulo off with a called strike slider down and in and he kept pounding away at that area trying to get Tulo to swing over one. The 3 balls way outside were the only fastballs Miller threw in the at-bat, and none of them were even close. All 9 sliders were strikes, 8 of them were swung at, and the last one was missed. Give Tulowitzki a lot of credit. Most of those are really good pitcher's pitches. The 10th pitch was up and over the plate, and that was the one he should have hit. Hell of an AB for him, though, just to get it to that point.
And keep in mind that this at-bat took place after Miller had to buck up and strike out Ben Revere with runners on second and third and 1 out. As weak an offensive player as he is, one thing Revere is great at is not striking out. He came into the game with a 9.2% K rate on the season. He makes a ton of contact and Miller got him to chase and miss 2 straight sliders down and away. That's big time work right there.
Miller had to give it everything he had last night, and he definitely earned his paycheck and his day off this afternoon. It was incredibly stressful to watch, but it was an equally incredible job of high-stress pitching by Miller to get out of huge trouble and close out the win.
(Pitch plot courtesy of Brooks Baseball)