In the top of the fifth inning of a contest between the Rays and the Yankees on May 9th, Matt Joyce stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. The score was 1-0 Yanks, with David Phelps their starting pitcher. Even though Phelps only had 89 pitches, he was right handed and Joyce was at the plate in the month of May, so Joe Girardi went to the 'pen and brought in his left handed specialist, Boone Logan. In 2012, Boone Logan had a 2.72 FIP versus left handed hitters. While he still faces some right handed hitters, his value is in his ability to retire left handers. The first pitch, a slider, missed the zone for ball one. The second pitch was another slider, this time catching the low and away portion of the strike zone. The third pitch was in the middle of the zone, but it was another slider, and Joyce did not seem keen about swinging at one. The fourth pitch resulted in a swing and miss for strike three. It was perfectly located on the outside corner; once again, it was a slider. The Yanks escaped a jam, and the Rays' chances of winning dropped 10.5%. The most common assumption is that Joe Girardi brought Boone Logan into the game because Matt Joyce struggles against left handed pitching. That is a fair assessment, considering Matt Joyce's weak career statistics against southpaws (career 74 wRC+). I, however, disagree; I believe that the decision to bring in Logan (should have) happened more so because Joyce destroys right handed pitching (career 132 wRC+). Most likely, the decision accounted for both factors, but I personally will continue to assert that it had more to do with the latter.
On Matt Joyce's Ability To Hit Left Handed Pitching
D-Rays Bay | Jan 28