Hill will use his curve in attempt to carve up the Nats
By Cary Osborne
Today, one of the best curveball pitchers in the game faces one of the worst curveball hitting teams.
There’s the advantage for Rich Hill against the Nationals in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
According to Fangraphs, Hill had baseball’s second-best curveball in 2016 among pitchers with a minimum 100 innings pitched. His 16.0 wCB (curveball runs above average) only trailed Cleveland’s Corey Kluber.
According to Statcast, opposing batters hit .180 and slugged .243 against Hill’s curveball. Chris Iannetta (April 9) and Jose Altuve (May 1) were the only players to homer off the pitch.
As for the Nationals, they ranked 21st in the Majors against the curveball with a .202 batting average and 23rd with a .317 slugging percentage. The league average for both were .211/.342.
There are no secrets here. Hill throws the curveball — a lot. Brooks Baseball has the percentage at 46.82 percent this season. And he’ll also bring it with his fastball — a lot: 47.05 percent of the time.
And here’s one more thing that stands out about Hill. Only three pitchers ranked in the top 20 in wCB and wFB (fastball runs above average): Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester and Rich Hill. Pick your poison, Nats.