Will Joey Lucchesi Facing the Padres Again So Soon Be an Issue?

     First off, I'd like to say that I'm a big fan of Joey Lucchesi and I think he can be a valuable piece for the Mets down the road, whether he is a spot starter or long reliever. What limits his current and potential abilities to be a reliable part of a rotation is not necessarily his stamina, but rather his predictability; Lucchesi is essentially a two-pitch pitcher, which prevents him from pitching deep into ballgames. 

    As a starting pitcher, Lucchesi has done well early on but gotten progressively worse as he pitches deeper into games, especially on the third time through the lineup. His first time through the order, Lucchesi has a 3.54 ERA and opponents have a .684 OPS against him. The second time through the order, his ERA rises to a still-solid 3.93 ERA and a .717 OPS against. His numbers balloon when hitters face him a third time in games, though, with his ERA nearly doubling to 7.58 and OPS jumping up to .948. Evidently, hitters catch on to what a pitcher is throwing when they face him a third time. Basically, hitters turn into David Ortiz after their second at-bat versus Lucchesi.  This isn't exclusive to Joey but the dropoff is more severe since he can't mix his pitches as much with only two primary options.

    But if Lucchesi faced the same opponent two games in a row, would this trend continue?

    Historically, yes, he has struggled when facing the same opponent twice in a short time frame. In his career, Lucchesi has pitched against the same team twice in a 15-day span on 3 different occasions. 

        4/5/18 and 4/10/18 (vs Rockies)

        3/29/19 and 4/9/19 (vs Giants)

        9/7/19 and 9/13/19 (vs Rockies)

    In his first games, Lucchesi has combined to throw 16.1 scoreless innings, allowing 6 hits and 10 walks with 22 strikeouts. In his second starts, things have gotten ugly, with Joey totaling 13.2 innings and giving up 19 hits, 3 walks, and 15 earned runs with 14 strikeouts. 

    Three starts isn't a huge sample size so it wouldn't be appropriate to automatically assume that he'll be shelled by the Padres, but the disparity between his first time facing a team and his second is certainly concerning. San Diego certainly has an advantage facing him twice in such a short span of time, especially with Lucchesi's tendency to tip his pitches. 

    Lucchesi's pitch tipping was picked up on by catcher James McCann and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner earlier in the season, and Joey has since altered his entire delivery, eliminating the over-the-head glove motion. Still, his release points are giving away which pitch is coming to the opposing hitter, giving Lucchesi a disadvantage. Here are his release points on his pitches this season:

    That's definitely not good, and it looks even worse when compared to someone like Marcus Stroman, who is able to keep his release points very consistent despite mixing in a few more pitches.

    This information is available to the public, so it is a certainty that the Padres have picked up on Lucchesi's pitch tipping and likely knew about it during his last start. Since they have faced Lucchesi more recently, it should be easier for them to recognize the difference in release points and take advantage of his pitch tipping. 

Around the Majors with Mack’s Mets Sunday 6/13/2021

Here are the top Stories from every Major League team courtesy from our friends at SportSpyder. 

National League, NL East, NL Central, NL West, American League, AL East, AL Central, AL West.

National League:

NL East:






NL Central:






NL West:






American League:

AL East:



Blue Jays:


Red Sox:

AL Central:



White Sox:



AL West:







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