Added Thoughts On Mike Carp's Home Run

It's been something like 13 hours since Mike Carp took Hisanori Takahashi deep in last night's eighth inning, and it's still all I can think about, so now I'm going to write about it more. I could write about, I dunno, Miguel Olivo, or Libya, but, why? Why write about Miguel Olivo or Libya when dingers? Miguel Olivo will always be there. Libya will always be there. Dingers won't always be there. We have to celebrate our dingers!

  • I don't know why, but this year I've been extra fascinated by the matter of pitch location. Maybe because it's one of the few things remaining in the game that we as the public can't readily analyze. We can talk about where pitches are located, but we can't talk about where pitches were supposed to be located unless we're watching the video. I know there's a tracking system out there somewhere, but we don't and won't have access.

    So I've been watching a lot of catchers' gloves. I was watching Hank Conger's glove last night as he set up down and away against Carp in the eighth. And I was watching Hank Conger's glove last night as it moved to try to catch the pitch that Takahashi actually threw.

    Carp1_medium

    Carp2_medium

    The missed location here is a little exaggerated - Takahashi threw a slider, and Carp hit it out in front of the plate. It would have sank a little more and slid a little more before getting to Conger. But it's still clear that he missed, and it's still clear that he missed in a really bad spot. Conger wanted a slider that Carp would either miss or hit off the end of the bat. Instead, the slider was more inside and more elevated, and that's Carp's power wheelhouse. He's shown that that's his power wheelhouse.

    Sliders are effective against same-handed hitters, but they're less effective when they're thrown thigh-high along the inner edge.

  • I noted in the chart that Carp's home run was the biggest Mariner hit of the game, as you'd expect, since it turned a late 3-3 tie into a late 5-3 advantage. The win expectancy impact was just a hair over 20%. But it's also worth noting that Dustin Ackley's double on the previous pitch was worth just a hair over 13%. It's a smaller impact, but still a considerable impact. Additionally, Carp would've contributed 15% just by hitting a run-scoring single. The extra three bases were worth only 5%. Mike Carp is a show-off.

  • Hit Tracker Online gives - actually wait, apparently Hit Tracker Online is now ESPN Home Run Tracker. There is a name that I will not acknowledge. Hit Tracker Online gives Carp's blast a distance of 426 feet. It's his second-longest of the season, behind the one he hit against Zach McAllister the other day that looked more or less identical. On the one hand, maybe 426 is a little underwhelming, given how the homer looked on TV. On the other hand, 426 is longer than 88% of all home runs hit so far this season. There's nothing wrong with the 89th percentile. Mike Carp is going to Swarthmore!

  • All these years, and still we act amazed whenever somebody hits a ball to the Hit It Here Cafe. I don't know why. It's right in the name.

  • Hit It Here, Mariners, Cafe

  • Mike Carp said after the game in his delightful little voice that, while this game obviously didn't mean much for the Mariners in 2011, they were thrilled to send a message to the Angels that they're going to be tough in 2012. This game must've been something in the dugout. If you're a Mariners player, you saw Blake Beavan allow three runs in seven innings, then hand the ball over to Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon League. You saw Mike Carp and Dustin Ackley power the offense. You saw Casper Wells gun a couple runners down from left field. If you're a Mariners player, this was the kind of game that gets you excited about what's to come down the road. Obviously, I'm personally less than delighted by the prospect of seeing lots of Blake Beavan, but I'm all about the Mariners gaining confidence, and this game would've given them confidence. Confidence, and a belief that 2012 will be a different sort of season.

  • Prior to last night, Carp had one walk and 15 strikeouts in his previous seven games. These days, Mike Carp whiffs a lot, he seldom walks, and he keeps his numbers elevated by hitting for power. Consider this version of Mike Carp. Consider the version of Mike Carp the Mariners traded for a few years ago. People change.

  • I love that baseball is a game where Mike Carp can do whatever and then come to the dugout and accept congratulations from Wily Mo Pena and Felix Hernandez. I know I've mentioned this before but it catches me off guard whenever I see it.

    Ph_455077_medium Ph_276377_medium Ph_433587_medium

     

  • Dustin Ackley, heads-up baserunner:

    Ackleycarp_medium

    This is either a baseball game or a scene from Armageddon.
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