Tuesday, September 20, 2016
(9/20/2016 08:57:00 AM) - Al
I wake up to the news SF has lost 5 leads in the 9th inning in SEP. I can't say I pay attention to any team except MIL, but that's quite an accomplishment, to say the least. A few thoughts spring to mind:
1. While most everyone will point fingers at the closer, and then the entire bullpen, allow me to say it's probably more a lack of offense and bad luck.
1a. Offense? Why yes. My guess is, they are not scoring many runs, so those leads are 3-2 and 2-1, not 7-4. Sure enough, a quick glance at the stats show SF is 14th in the NL in SEP in runs scored.
1b. I'm not going to do the math or peruse back through all the play by play, but I bet the BAbip has been remarkably high in those 9th innings, probably .500 or more. That's why teams like strikeout pitchers to be closers and that's also why "he's been awful" pitchers often right themselves after a bad week or month. A while back, I explained how Knebel had struggled, and pointed out he had a .667 BAbip in the past 2 weeks, making success all but impossible. Sure enough, he has reverted back to form in his more recent outings, and not coincidentally, has a .167 BAbip in the last 7 days.
I won't go back to last year with Jon Broxton, but while others called for his release, I insisted he'd be fine. You simply cannot be a successful pitcher if balls drop in or find holes, but over time, that balances out. For some, "time" is a tough thing to wait on, but you can find yourself some bargains from those who panic.
2. I admit, I always chuckle when a manager such as Bochy suddenly has bullpen struggles, because all the cliches of "handling a staff" go out the window. I recall one season, SF had 5 relievers with ERA's under 2, and a message board kept insisting Bochy was a genius. I, being a contrarian and not an imbecile, pointed out anyone can manage a bullpen with 5 guys who are excellent...heck, just pick a name out of a hat and you'll be fine.
It's out of the manager's hands once he brings in a reliever. It's out of the pitcher's hands once he releases the ball (in this case, literally). The difference between a fly ball and a home run is often the skill of the hitter, as that's why many use HR/FB to try and find guys who are over/underachieving, as that will balance out over time for the most part too.
3. Allow me to predict their relief corps will be fine the rest of the way, if for nothing else, their BAbip will probably revert back to the mean...or even better than that.
9/20/2016 08:57:00 AM