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Behind the Box Score: Nick Goody remains perfect

Nick Goody did not allow an earned run for his 17th consecutive major league appearance on Thursday afternoon, an astonishing streak dating back to his first appearance in an Indians uniform on April 14. The IBI's John Alfes takes a look at the team's unsung hero...

Earned runs and Nick Goody have yet to meet in 2017.

The 25-year-old right-hander has been flawless through 4.1 innings in the minor leagues and 20.1 innings in the major leagues this season – another gift from the Yankees.

Over four months after trading for Andrew Miller, the Indians decided to reconvene with general manager Brian Cashman and make a move for one of the lesser-known relief pitchers in the New York organization.

That move is shaping out to be a highway robbery.

Goody struck out all three Oakland hitters he faced in a scoreless inning of work on Thursday afternoon as he continues to fly under the radar in baseball’s best bullpen…

What makes Goody so intriguing is that he only throws a four-seam fastball and slider, two pitches he seems to have mastered since the Tribe recalled him on April 14.

In looking at his locations in the 8-0 victory, it is evident he likes to change the eye level of opposing hitters to produce both swinging strikes and weak contact on batted balls…

Sample Size: 16 pitches

Average Velocity: 85.8-mph

Minimum Velocity: 81.2-mph (slider)

Maximum Velocity: 92.5-mph (four-seam fastball)

Average/Minimum/Maximum Exit Velocity: 74.7-mph (one foul ball)

Swinging Strikes: 7

Called Strikes: 2

Strike Percentage: 56.3% (nine strikes, seven balls)

Despite facing the Athletics, the team that struck out 59 times in a span of four contests, Goody still put on a clinic in terms of mixing speeds and keeping hitters off-balanced.

His strategy is to work the upper-left portion of the strike zone (see usage chart below) with the four-seam fastball while placing the slider on the lower-right portion of the strike zone (see usage chart below) to effectively change the eye level of his opposition. The results have yielded a career-high 33.3% soft contact percentage and career-low 15.9% line drive percentage.

In simpler terms, Goody’s superior command on the top and bottom regions of the zone have led to a dominating .134 opposing batting average, 0.69 WHIP and 9.74 strikeouts per nine innings without a lick of damage.

Goody has always been a strikeout pitcher as evidenced by his career 9.65 K/9, an average of at least one punch out in every inning pitched. The difference this season has been his ability to limit walks as shown by his career-bests in BB/9 (2.33), walk percentage (7.1%) and strikeout to walk ratio (20%).

Between impeccable command, weak contact and a consistent approach applied to each of his relief appearances, Nick Goody has established himself as one of the best middle-inning relievers in baseball.

John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.

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