What a Bummer for Lorenzo Cain
Lorenzo Cain has been electric in the post season for Kansas City. He reached base in more than half his ALCS plate appearances, to the tune of a 1.255 OPS. However, Madison Bumgarner has a say in what happens next. Unfortunately for Cain, the World Series may look more like the ALDS, where he was held to a .297 OPS.
Players are unlikely to change their patterns when late October arrives. Our habits become deeply ingrained throughout the season. In Cain’s case, he struggles against the fastball. Brooks Baseball suggests, "Against All Fastballs (1,268 seen), he has had a poor eye (0.84 d’; 65% swing rate at pitches in the zone vs. 33% swing rate at pitches out of the zone)."
Based on these figures, without a last-minute adjustment, Cain is in trouble. Game 1 might be the toughest matchup he has experienced so far in the postseason.
Bumgarner features an elite fastball. As Jeff Sullivan recently pointed out, "after the All-Star break, Madison Bumgarner’s fastball was the most valuable pitch in baseball." Bum induces a high percentage of swings and misses out of the zone.
For what it’s worth, Cain has faced Bum in only three at-bats. He’s been held to no hits with one strikeout. That tells us nothing. The tendencies on both sides, however, may be more prophetic.