'Inside' Evan Gattis' red-hot start

Evan Gattis has been destroying baseballs for the last calendar year, and it hasn't mattered whether he was playing in the minor leagues, winter ball or against the Philadelphia Phillies.

He is hitting everything, from a stance that seems very Barney Rubble-esque. Gattis is large, at about 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, stands with a slightly open stance and a crouch and doesn't wear batting gloves. It's like he's swinging a sledgehammer, and from that setup, he has blasted everything on the inner half of the plate, such as this pitch against the Marlins on Wednesday night.

Now the onus falls on the pitchers around the league to try to make adjustments, and you can bet that scouts, pitchers, catchers and pitching coaches are working to come up with a plan on how to beat Gattis at the plate. This is the rhythm of adjustments in the big leagues: For each player having success, there are dozens who are looking for a way to neutralize him. The same thing is happening with Chris Davis, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Upton.

The following numbers from Justin Havens of ESPN Research confirm that Gattis is destroying everything on the inner half (while hitting pretty well on everything):

Inner half: .545 BA; 1.765 OPS

Outer half: .250 BA; .808 OPS

Upper half: .357 BA; 1.143 OPS

Lower half: .444 BA; 1.434 OPS

I asked ESPN MLB analyst Curt Schilling for a diagnosis of Gattis as well as what kind of pitching plan he would implement against him. Schilling indicated that he would need more information to develop a complete plan, based on swing percentage and whether the inner-half damage was on fastballs or soft stuff.

"I'd definitely start him like I did 99% of the guys in the big leagues -- fastball away," Schilling wrote in an email. "No one can protect both sides at 93 mph+ -- no one. What I'd do is start him away, and when ahead I'd work splitters middle in, since the split is a ball that never ends up a strike. You give him a ball in the 'area' he wants it, but when it arrives, it's no longer in that area."

Schilling referenced the hot-zone chart (right) that Havens sent along.

"I will bet you dollars to donuts that red in is not power red," Schilling wrote. "And if you notice, that blue spot at the hands? That's definitely where I'd go late count. Basically I'd start him away first at-bat, then pound him in off middle, then try to close away.

"With the second at-bat, I'd start away, and stay away, because after that 1st at-bat, he's going to have felt my 95 on his hands and will be wanting to get started early. So he spends at-bat No. 2 looking in, but I never give him anything there.

"Now on the third at-bat, he knows I am going away early, so I start with a curveball, or slider -- a curveball if he's cheating, slider if he's diving, because with the slider he ends up rolling over. But after that first strike, I beat the crap out of him corner in, and off, because at that point he THINKS I am going away at some point, and when you throw 93+ and you have a hitter thinking one side, he can't get to the other."

The Nationals will have their own thoughts Friday regarding how to pitch to Gattis, because the one thing he has shown is that no pitcher can keep throwing him fastballs inside. Every day in Major League Baseball, it's all about adjustments.

Fight fallout

With the Dodgers leading the Padres 2-1 in the sixth inning and the count 3-2, there was no chance that Zack Greinke was trying to hit Carlos Quentin on purpose.

As Ryan Vogelsong has mentioned in the past, Quentin stands on top of the plate and puts himself at a much higher risk for getting drilled. It's something he should expect. (The chart on the right outlines Quentin's long history of being hit by pitches.)

I wonder if Quentin's reaction was built on the history of the old battles between the Royals and White Sox, when Greinke often would be right in the middle of the brushbacks and beanballs. Some pitchers shy away from that stuff, but Greinke never did. If somebody needed to be drilled, he seemed to do it, with a matter-of-fact, sure-I'll-drill-you demeanor. Because his command is so good, there is often a presumption when he hits people that he did it on purpose. Pedro Martinez pitched similarly, and that sort of thing can rub hitters the wrong way.

But it was ridiculous for Quentin to charge the mound in this situation, and it's a crushing injury for the Dodgers -- like flushing $12 million down a drain.

Don Mattingly was furious after the game. The Dodgers won the game on a pinch-hit home run. Quentin, who will be suspended, said the final straw was when Greinke said something to him.

Around the league

Torii Hunter was on the podcast Thursday and talked about how he intends to trash-talk with his grandkids and how he raced his son for $100 -- with a strategy in mind.

• Oakland has won eight in a row and wiped out the Angels this week. Think about this: Since June 1 of last year, the Athletics are 80-40. That's easily the best record in the majors.

Best MLB records since June 1, 2012:

1. A's: 80-40 (.667)

2. Nationals: 76-45 (.628)

3. Braves: 74-45 (.622)

4. Reds: 73-47 (.608)

4. Giants: 73-47 (.608)

6. Yankees: 71-48 (.597)

• Major League Baseball bought a set of Biogenesis records, writes Michael Schmidt.

• The Nationals and Braves are set to meet for the first time in what should be a great, summerlong series of games.

Moves, deals and decisions

1. Evan Longoria is going to get more days in the No. 3 spot in the Tampa Bay lineup.

2. The Mariners traded for Aaron Harang.

3. Mike Trout was dropped into the No. 2 spot in the Angels' lineup.

Thursday's games

1. Miguel Cabrera put on a running show, writes Drew Sharp.

2. Scott Feldman had a terrible game.

3. Adam Jones and Chris Davis did it again. Brian Matusz got some big outs.

4. For the second straight night, the Red Sox lost the battle of the bullpens.

5. The Nats made the White Sox pay.

6. Josh Johnson had a really bad day, writes Bob Elliott. The Jays have time on their side, writes Bruce Arthur.

Here's the thing: The mud bog that is the American League East will buy time for all of the clubs involved, because it doesn't look as if any club is going to run away with this division. The Blue Jays have played terribly at the start of this season, and they wake up this morning just two games out of first place. The Yankees' lineup is something of a mess, and they're a half-game out of first place. The Red Sox bullpen has been hit the last couple of days, and Boston is tied for first. It may be like this all summer long before a final late sprint to the finish for all or most of the teams, like in the 1967 AL pennant race.

7. The Rangers made a key defensive play.

8. The Giants put together a big comeback.

9. Jason Vargas was knocked out early.

Dings and dents

1. Gordon Beckham is out for six weeks with a broken wrist.

2. Pitching coach Don Cooper is going to miss the rest of the White Sox road trip.

3. Mark Teixeira is going through his rehab.

4. Curtis Granderson is making progress.

5. Sergio Santos is being cautious with his elbow.

6. Mike Morse suffered a small fracture.

AL East

• Joel Sherman assesses Andy Pettitte's hall of fame chances.

• John Farrell quashed the closer controversy.

• So far, there is no shock value to the Rays' offense, writes Martin Fennelly.

AL Central

Omar Infante is doing damage in the No. 9 spot in the Tigers' lineup.

Luis Mendoza got help from the Royals' bullpen coach.

Justin Masterson is increasing his production, writes Dennis Manoloff.

AL West

Brett Wallace is trying to dig his way out of an early-season slump.

• Evan Grant asks: Can Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels make it work?

• Tom Grieve had an interesting observation about Angels fans.

Felix Hernandez has a new responsibility.

NL East

• Matt Harvey's fastball is gaining attention, writes Andrew Keh.

• The Nationals' catchers are platooning, and thriving.

• The Phillies' lineup has started to produce, writes Bob Brookover.

• The Marlins are not swinging at strikes. Giancarlo Stanton's patience is being tested.

NL Central

• The Cardinals have shown how to react to adversity, writes Bernie Miklasz.

Joey Votto feels he's headed in the right direction.

• Ron Roenicke is facing some tough challenges.

• A Pirate has taken advantage of his opportunity.

NL West

• Nick Piecoro writes that the Diamondbacks' rotation could be better.

Nick Noonan had a good day.

• Walt Weiss has a lot of credibility, writes Mark Kiszla.

Other stuff

• Dave Anderson covered Jackie Robinson and remembered his passion.

• Here is the New York Times review of "42."

• Cubs prospect Jorge Soler was suspended for five games. It's worth saying again: I think players from Cuba have had arguably the toughest cultural transition to make when it comes to playing Major League Baseball. Orlando Hernandez once went after Jorge Posada with a sharp object in the Yankees' trainer's room, Rey Ordonez had issues with teammates, etc. With other players from Cuba, there is a trust factor missing.

• Major League Baseball is balking at some pickoff moves, writes Rob Biertempfel.

And today will be better than yesterday.