Desmond Jennings & The Process Versus Joe Ortiz | The Process Report

Desmond Jennings & The Process Versus Joe Ortiz

There were many heroes and storylines that made up the Rays 4-3 victory over the Rangers. You can pick your moment of the night, but the one that sent everyone home happy was the walk-off single by Desmond Jennings.

Earlier in the day, Jason Collette penned an article for Rotowire ($) about Jennings and expectations. While Jennings has not lived up to some of the hype put upon him as a minor leaguer, he has excelled in certain areas. Aside from being an above-average defender and runner, he has a knack for hitting left-handed pitching and feasts on pitches in the middle and lower half of the zone. The offerings that have given him the most trouble come with some horizontal tilt—specifically those from orthodox pitchers.

On Wednesday night, Jose Lobaton led off the bottom of the 12th inning with a lead-off single before he was lifted for pinch-runner, Sam Fuld. Yunel Escobar pulled off a risky two-strike bunt to move Fuld in scoring position for Jennings with one out. On the mound through it all was Rangers’ left-hander Joe Ortiz.

Ortiz, 23, has been a serviceable reliever for Texas this season. That said, he has a natural platoon split. Right-handed hitters have hit .277/.315/.475 against him in 113 plate appearances despite his decent secondary offerings. For the season, Jennings is hitting .296/.377/.475 against southpaws. The organic advantage went to Jennings. Also note that Ortiz, and his five-foot-seven frame, does not work up in the zone often.

According to the Rangers’ side of the story, Ortiz was the pitcher of choice because of his changeup. This is a pretty good reason: The lefty has held batters to a .194 average with the off-speed, allowing just four extra-base hits.

The Jennings versus Ortiz appearance started with a good changeup at the lowest edge of the zone. Jennings took an empty hack for strike one. On the next pitch, Ortiz threw an non-competitive fastball to even the count. This year, Ortiz has thrown 47 pitches in 1-1 counts to right-handed batters. Nearly half of them changeups. Sure enough, that was his selection against Jennings. Whether Jennings knew this fact or not does not matter as much as the location of the pitch.

dezortiz

Ortiz hung the 84-mph changeup in the middle of the zone; essentially serving up fatigued fastball on a tee to a right-handed hitter that flourishes in this portion of the zone. It was the ideal pitch for Jennings to hit in an ideal situation for the Rays.

Data and images courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.



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