Thursday, June 14, 2012

Clash of the Titans: Bautista vs. Strasburg


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I'm a sucker for a great pitcher/batter battle. I love to see the league's best hitters square off against the league's best hurlers. So you can tell that yesterday's Stephen Strasburg/Jose Bautista was right in my wheelhouse.

Back in 2009, it was the Roy Halladay vs. Albert Pujols matchup at the MLB All-Star Game that had me salivating. Last year, it was the clash between one former idol and a current idol when Roy Halladay pitched against Jose Bautista during the Canada Day series.

And we all remember what happened during that game.


Anyway, back to Strasburg vs Bautista - close to 42,000 fans were there to witness two of the best players in the game face off against each other, and presumably some were in the stands to actually see both guys.

Jose Bautista and Stephen Strasburg faced off, and in just his second at bat lifetime against the young phenom, Jose reminded Strasburg exactly why he's been the home run king the past two seasons.

I don't know whether it was Strasburg flexing his muscle, but apparently he wasn't very impressed by Jose Bautista's home run. MLB.com's Chris Toman chatted with Strasburg and he said something to the effect of "that home run wouldn't be a home run in any other ballpark".

While the Rogers Centre is among the Top 10 ballparks in the league for home runs right now, it isn't quite a home run haven like Coors Field. That being said, Stephen Strasburg attributed the home run by Bautista to park factors, rather than admitting he just got beat.

Strasburg might have thought that he got robbed on Bautista's high fly ball to left field, but the truth was that it traveled 345 feet according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker.

Using their field overlay tool, we can see if that home run would clear the fence at any other ballpark in the Major Leagues.

Image courtesy of ESPN Home Run Tracker
Low and beyond, the ball would've been a home run in Nationals Park (albeit just barely), so there goes that argument Mr. Strasburg.

Jose Bautista and Stephen Strasburg faced off three times yesterday and Jose went 1 for 2 with a home run and a walk. I can't wait to see what happens during the sequel at the All-Star Game in Kansas City.

2 comments:

  1. I wasn't at the game and it's hard to tell on the replay, but I thought the MLB Facebook account said Bautista hit it off the facing of the 500 level. Based on this post and on what Strasburg said, I'm guessing that's not true?

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    Replies
    1. It's hard to tell - I tried to look up the trajectory of the ball on Home Run Tracker, but it wasn't very conclusive. Since the dome was open, it says that the ball would've theoretically gone 362 feet (they subtracted 18 feet due to wind).

      The ball did hang up quite a bit down the line, which could mean it did actually bounce off the 500 level.

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