Monday, June 5

Framber Valdez baffled by fly balls in Game 1 loss

HOUSTON – Astros starter Framber Valdez started Game 1 of the World Series with his bread and butter: his sinker. It’s his most used pitch, and it’s also the one that allows him to generate a remarkable number of grounders, more than any other pitcher in baseball. Here’s how the southpaw works when he’s at his best: He thrives in the lower half of the zone, pairing the sinker with a nasty curve, a combination that typically leaves hitters scrambling to lift the ball off the ground.

So how else would Valdez have started the World Series? He pitched the sinker one, two, three times to Braves leadoff hitter Jorge Soler. But there was a problem with that third: the plumb line did not sink. Valdez left him unusually high in the zone, and Soler made him pay, taking him deep to center field for a home run.

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