You know I'm with you on this Paxton thing, Doc. I'll be Curly to your Ringo Kid. Or something like that.
Paxton is good. Let's leave him generally alone and give him the ball again in a few days.
I will say this about last night, however. He threw a LOT of sliders, it seemed. And low and behold, when I look it up on fangraphs (just now) he did indeed: 44% of his pitches were "Cutters" (fangraph's designation), averaging 90.4 MPH.
But get this, he averaged 98 MPH on his fastball and he only threw it 30% of the time!! His season rate is 62%.
He threw curves 21% of the time and his change at ONLY 4% rate.
From this perch, with my coffee in hand, it appears that one of two things were going on: Either the game plan was to keep the very aggressive Astros off balance with the slider/cutter and curve....or somebody calling the game failed to realize that Paxton was throwing the ball in the Ryan Express-Saturn V region of speed. Heck, when Aroldis Chapman shot up his garage with his .44 he likely didn't average 98 MPH for 75 shots.
Paxton had thrown between 11-25% cutters in each game this season....then the leap to 44%. After throwing 18-20% changeups for three successive starts, he's thrown 4% in two straight games. Now those three previous starts weren't great ones...but it looks like the game plan is to abandon the changeup.
The 21% curveballs were a recent high by a HUGE margin. In three of his last 4 starts he threw no curves, according to fangraphs. In the one before that he yakked up just one. Basically, he threw a total of 5 (total) curves over 5 starts.......then jumped to 21% last night. If I'm reading the f-g stuff correctly.
So the "keep 'em off balance" theory must be it. But there were a lot of cutter/sliders that were ripped right at Seager...so they weren't much off balance.
And I know Ianetta's reputation for bing a fine backstop.....but I am beginning to not be very impressed. Just me, I suppose. I could use a steady diet of Zunino for a week.
OK...I will give up this: It appears that his FB was a -2.1 value last night and his cutter was +1.6, but that doesn't seem quite right to my (nearsighted but lasiked) eye test.
On the other hand, a guy who was throwing 98 MPH (which isn't THAT normal, even in the bigs) only had one K last night. We weren't fooling anybody with all those cutter/sliders and curves......Some more high heat might have been nice.
The game plan didn't work last night.