Statcast of the Day: Lamb isn't sheepish in LA

July 7th, 2017

Left-handed pitchers have posed a problem for throughout his young career, but the D-backs' third baseman turned the tables on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium and made some Statcast™ history in the process.
With a pair of solo shots in Arizona's 5-4 loss, Lamb became the first left-handed batter in the past two seasons and the third since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015 to hit multiple home runs of at least 400 feet off southpaws in the same game. Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals and of the Mets both accomplished the feat in '15.
A big night for Lamb isn't a surprise on its own. After all, the 26-year-old owns a .941 OPS and 20 home runs, while his 67 RBIs put him in a tie with the Marlins' for the National League lead. There's a reason Lamb will be headed to Miami for Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, his first Midsummer Classic.
Yet, southpaws have remained a thorn in his side. Lamb entered Thursday with a .159/.254/.297 line over 280 career plate appearances against them. Against lefties this season, he was 9-for-69 (.130) with a .492 OPS.
Even through those struggles, Lamb has shown flashes of being able to do damage against lefties. On April 29, for example, he turned on a pitch from the Rockies' and launched a 481-foot blast to center at Chase Field. It was the longest home run of the season at the time and still ranks fourth on that list.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said Lamb has been working hard behind the scenes, and Lamb pointed to the batting practice he has been taking against a lefty thrower.
"I've been feeling really good," Lamb said. "That's something only I can feel. Obviously everyone else only sees the result. So that was nice, it was a step in the right direction. It's just one game, but I was really happy even with my first at-bat. It's a work in progress, but this was a step forward."
Thursday brought perhaps the most encouraging results yet.
With the game scoreless in the fifth inning, Dodgers lefty Rich Hill hung an 0-2 curveball, and Lamb didn't miss it, sending it soaring a Statcast-projected 435 feet over the right field wall. The 108.3-mph exit velocity tied Lamb's season high on a homer, and at 73.5 mph, the pitch was the slowest any D-backs player has taken deep this year.
Lamb also joined the Giants' as the only lefties to homer off a Hill curveball in the past three seasons. Entering the night, Hill had held lefties to a .173 slugging percentage with his curve during that time.
Lamb gave the D-backs the lead again in the eighth, snapping a 1-1 tie by pulling a down-and-in changeup from reliever several rows up into Dodger Stadium's right field bleachers. This blast left his bat at 102.1 mph and traveled a projected 415 feet.
It was the first home run by a lefty off Avilan since the final day of the 2015 season, and in the interim, he had held those batters to a .558 OPS over 95 plate appearances coming into Thursday.