In this breakdown, we delve into a captivating baseball talk featuring Ian Happ, a talented member of John Boy Media, facing off against Jake Cousins, a pitcher for the Brewers. Join us as we analyze the intriguing strategies and pitches used in this game. This breakdown is brought to you by DraftKings, and we’re excited to witness the excitement of baseball’s return.
The Pitcher’s Arsenal
Jake Cousins relies heavily on his slider, throwing it approximately 61% of the time. This has become common knowledge among hitters, and they know what to expect when facing him.
Setting the Stage
The confrontation starts with a batter, Contreras, against Cousins’ slider. Contreras sees two consecutive sliders thrown for balls, followed by a well-placed slider for a strike. Cousins then attempts a two-seam fastball, which Contreras disagrees with, but the umpire calls it a strike. This indicates that Cousins may not have full control of his pitches.
Ian Happ steps up to bat, eager to make an impact. It’s the bottom of the seventh inning, and the game is tied with runners on the corners. Happ aims to capitalize on this situation.
The Mysterious Slider
The first pitch to Happ is a slider, intended to be a back foot slider, but its path surprises even the batter. Its unexpected movement results in a ball, leaving both the catcher and Happ puzzled.
Trying the Fastball
Cousins decides to test Happ with a sinker, a two-seamer with arm-side run. The pitch is well-executed, garnering a called strike. However, Happ and Cousins are not entirely satisfied with the result, questioning whether it was the right decision.
The Slider’s Elusiveness
The next pitch returns to the slider, but this time Cousins attempts a backdoor slider. The umpire and Cousins hope for a favorable call, but the pitch misses its mark, leaving everyone wondering why such a call was desired.
The Full Count Dilemma
With the count at 3-1, Cousins knows he must throw a strike to avoid walking Happ. Despite not swinging at any previous pitches, Happ remains patient. Cousins, relying on his most trusted pitch, the slider, faces a challenging decision.
Happ anticipates Cousins’ approach and sits on the slider for the full-count pitch. His anticipation pays off, as he hammers the slider, sending it flying. Although it doesn’t clear the fence, Happ secures a double, driving in two runs and igniting the crowd at Wrigley Field.
After the game, Cousins reflects on his pitch selection, realizing he may have overused the slider. Happ affirms this observation, showing how similar Cousins’ 3-1 and 3-2 pitches were. The lack of variety in pitch selection made it easier for Happ to connect with the ball.
The showdown between Happ and Cousins provides valuable insights into the art of pitching and hitting in baseball. It illustrates the importance of varying pitch selection and keeping the batter guessing. As the season progresses, pitchers and batters will continue to fine-tune their strategies, making each game an enthralling spectacle for baseball enthusiasts.