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Mandatory Viewing: Edwin Encarnacion's three home run day

In the first installment of Mandatory Viewing, I take a look at Edwin Encarnacion's three home run game.

Does that parrot ever get tired of going for walks?
Does that parrot ever get tired of going for walks?
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Saturday, Detroit Tigers rookie pitcher Buck Farmer had made four career major league starts, but only one in August. Over his 30 innings pitched Farmer had been less than stellar. His walk rate was 9.3 percent which, if he were a qualified pitcher, would be third-worst behind Tyson Ross and Trevor Bauer. Both Ross and Bauer supplement their walk rate with pretty good strikeout numbers, something Farmer lacks. His strikeout rate of 12.9 percent would place him fourth-worst just ahead of Mike Pelfrey, Mark Buehrle, and Jeremy Guthrie. The book is by no means already written for the 24-year old. His strikeout and walk rates for the West Michigan Whitecaps in 2014 were respectable, but thus far in the majors he has struggled. However, he did take a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Cincinnati Reds in a recent start, so maybe things were beginning to turn around. But even in that start, he ended up allowing two home runs in a shaky sixth inning.

Opposing Buck Farmer was Edwin Encarnacion, who has been the hottest bat in all of baseball this August. With a 255 wRC+, Encarnacion is way ahead of second place Nelson Cruz who owns a 211 wRC+. For the month Encarnacion is second in fWAR (1.9) to Josh Donaldson (2.1). This is especially interesting when considering that Encarnacion has pretty much only been a designated hitter for the whole month, while Donaldson has played the field every day. That's how valuable Encarnacion's bat has been. It more than makes up for the fact that he doesn't provide value defensively. Going into Saturday's contest, Encarnacion had a wOBA of .500 on the month and had hit seven home runs in his 87 plate appearances. That's eight percent. That's crazy. For every Evan Gattis walk in the month of August, Encarnacion had deposited one in the seats. Including Saturday -- spoiler alert -- Encarnacion's home run percentage jumps to 10.8 for August. Extrapolated over a season, that's a home run for every Mike Moustakas strikeout. To put it into perhaps better (and completely unfair) perspective, Barry Bonds home run rate in 2001 was 10.99 percent. Okay, okay, hot bat meets struggling pitcher, we get it. Table set. Oh, wait, Edwin also had a 23-game hitting streak going.

First Home Run

This is pretty standard Edwin. He's about as pull-hitter as hitters come.

That's a chart of every home run Encarnacion has ever hit. Eleven of 217 have gone to the opposite field, which is just over five percent. 95 percent of his home runs have either been to center or left field. If you wanted a reason to not like Edwin Encarnacion, it appears that he doesn't like oppo and therefore may not like tacos either.

Buck Farmer left a 79-mph curveball where it shouldn't end up. It looks like battery mate James McCann wanted to try below the strikezone, but that ball hung and hung right where Encarnacion likes 'em.

Anything across the belt is danger territory against Edwin. From the zone profile above, it looks like up-and-away and down-and-in seem to work best. It even looks like if McCann got his spot -- assuming it was below the strikezone with the breaking ball -- Edwin can even be dangerous there if it's right over the heart of the plate.

Alright. The hitting streak lives to see a 24th game. The Blue Jays are up 3-0. Edwin and his parrot can probably take the rest of the game off.

Second Home Run

Fast forward to the sixth inning, and, thanks to some errors in the field, it's now 7-1 Blue Jays. Buck Farmer has been in trouble in pretty much every inning and has been removed for Guido Knudson who pitched the first shutout inning of the day for the Tigers in the fifth.

Inside and belt-high and Knudson knew it as he falls off the mound. On 1-0 it's not a terrible pitch, but again, it looked like McCann wanted it lower. That's one of Edwin's hottest zones by ISO this season. Rajai Davis' jump indicates that it might be playable off the top of the wall but this line drive doesn't come down in time and sails into the home team's bullpen. Even Edwin busts it out of the batter's box, uncertain if this one has enough carry. Fun fact: the only player other than Kevin Pillar to rob a home run in the Rogers Centre is the then-Jays outfielder Rajai Davis who also wore number 11 back when he was playing for Toronto. If there was a Tigers outfielder familiar with what is catchable over that wall then, it's Davis. But he slows to a jog and concedes this one.

Third Home Run

Uh oh. The bases are loaded. And the guy at the dish has already hit two home runs. Well, he can't hit a third, right? This time Chris Pratt lookalike Alex Wilson has been dispatched from the bullpen to deal with Edwin and his parrot.

The pitch is dead center of the strikezone according to Pitch Trax. No surprise, McCann again wanted it lower in the zone.

How do you make a grand slam even more special? Have it be your third home run of the game and your 11th-ever oppo-taco. Some might call that the Grande Oppo Taco.

This has been your #MandatoryViewing

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Michael Bradburn is a Featured Writer for Beyond the Box Score. Contact Michael with your #MandatoryViewing candidates and he'll try his best to break it down. You can follow him on Twitter at @mwbii or reach him at michaelwbii@gmail.com.