Updated tweaked the ID and some charts - see end of post
Mr. Pesky Fish, Jeremy Hermida, did the Cubs in, again. But Jeff Samardzija made his debut for the Cubs
Jeff Samardzija's debut had mixed results, but he seems to have been received well. While he blew the save by giving up the game-tying run, Samardzija showed good stuff and a lot of "poise", according to various voices on the radio. Striking out two and allowing two hits, he gave the Cubs two innings on 31 pitches, 23 for strikes. That's better control than Ryan Dempster had, as the Cubs' starter allowed six walks in six innings, tossing 110 pitches. Dempster still lowered his ERA to 2.99 by allowing just a single runner to cross home plate.
Analyzing a new pitcher's stuff is always fun. So, Mr. Samardzija presented a nice cap to a long week. A W flag to fly would've been nice, too. But the offense is to blame there, and Jeremy Hermida and his home run of Bob Howry (also a problem).
Samardzija threw the ball very hard, hitting 99.9 at release, by my calculations. He did seem to lose some velocity as his outing went on. Below, you can see the dip. I've got him throwing three two-seam fastballs, once of which is the last pitch. (Update: see bottom of post)
Along with the fastball(s), you've got a slider and a splitter. Or "splitty", Jeff calls it on his "blog".
The splitter doesn't look too consistent (Updated see below for more). Nice slider, though. Release points are pretty consistent. Seems to have two spots.
We'll need more data to sort that out. Here are some more aggregations - spin movement and flight paths.
I'll probably check Samardzija's two innings out on MLB.TV. Should be interesting to see.
Update While watching the game, yes, I realize now that's a pitch-out. Also, the first two-seamer by my ID could've just been a four-seamer in the dirt. It didn't look different, other than be way down, from his other fastballs to that point.
Cantu's double was impressive, high heat, up and over. Ripped down the line. Brenly noted it, that Jeff Samardzija didn't see too many guys who could do that in the Minors.
The next "two-seam" looked like the other fastballs, but with less tail. Hard to be confident on that ID. The next pitch was a splitter, by the PFX data. It was not a good one, and, Brenly noted it could've been a straight change or a splitter. I'll go with splitter. Bad splitter.
Brenly and Kasper call the 2nd pitch to Uggla a straight change, but it looks, and PFX's, just like the other pitches I, and they, had called sliders to that point. The next one to Uggla was a better slider.
Another missed ID is on a "splitter" that was just a bad slider. It looked like he lost his grip on it, and then he reached for the resin bag.
The first pitch to his last batter looked like a different fastball, but flights straight over the aggregate of the other fastballs.
Here are some updated charts.
I'm looking at that split in the release points, but nothing firm yet. Some of it looks like pitch type, or it looks like an inning to inning difference, or it could be other things, too. Need. More. Data.