Jeff Samardzija
Brewers' Thames primed for success against Samardzija's slider
Jeff Samardzija

Brewers' Thames primed for success against Samardzija's slider

Published Jun. 5, 2017 1:17 p.m. ET

San Francisco Giants starter Jeff Samardzija has thrown his slider 24 percent of the time this season.

He may want to lay off that particular pitch when Eric Thames steps into the batter's box Monday.

Thames is among the league's most effective sluggers when presented with a slider, and has an .842 slugging percentage against the pitch this season, up from his usual .273/.413/.605 slash line.

Player Team Slugging % vs. slider
Chris Taylor Dodgers 1.000
Eric Thames Brewers .842
Justin Bour Marlins .765
Michael Conforto Mets .750

*Minimum 15 at bats

But while showing Thames a slider may be a questionable decision at any time, Samardzija should probably avoid the pitch entirely in the first inning.

Thames and Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw have been among the league's most effective hitters this season in the first.

Player Team 1st inning OPS
Michael Conforto Mets 1.553
Corey Dickerson Rays 1.377
Travis Shaw Brewers 1.324
Eric Thames Brewers 1.259
Zack Cozart Reds 1.241

*Minimum 25 plate appearances

Samardzija and the Giants will have to deal with Brewers starter Junior Guerra, who has been one of the league's best success stories since breaking into the majors in Milwaukee last year.

Guerra has the National League's second-best record since last season amongst pitchers with at least 12 decisions at 10-3.

Player Team Record Winning %
Stephen Strasburg Nationals 22-5 .815
Junior Guerra Brewers 10-3 .769
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 19-6 .760
Jon Lester Cubs 22-8 .733
Max Scherzer Nationals 26-10 .722

*Minimum 12 decision

Guerra has started just three games for the Brewers this season after suffering a calf strain on Opening Day but has pitched well since returning to the rotation, and has a 1.84 ERA in 14 2/3 innings pitched this year.

Statistics courtesy of STATS LLC


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