Archive for the ‘Dustin McGowan’ Category
Two days after losing a pitcher’s duel to a kid’s first career home run, the Blue Jays managed to lose tonight to the worst team in baseball (6 wins in their last 30 games!) off a booming home run to left-centre by a guy who didn’t start the game because he has a sprained wrist.
Crawford always beats us, and just when it looked like it was physically impossible, he came off the bench for a couple innings and did it single-handedly (get it??) with a pinch run stolen base to tie the game and a miraculous, improbable, home run to win it in walk-off fashion.
“Oh, it didn’t feel good,” Crawford said. “I didn’t get a chance to loosen my wrist, I didn’t know I was going to be hitting today. I didn’t have a chance to loosen up. I took a hack and I missed it, kind of hurt a little bit.”
Then he smashed it 400 feet.
Do not adjust your set. This is the Blue Jays on the road. They were also had a number of chances to put this game out of reach close and late and failed miserably. But enough moaning…here are some tidbits that you might not actually know:
- Jeremy Accardo is now leading the league for relievers with 8 against. True, our catcher’s aren’t great, but he’s much worse than our other relievers. Zaun didn’t have a chance to get Crawford even if he hadn’t 3-hopped it. The word is out on him- run, run, run.
- Our Bullpen is one of the best in the league, but has a terrible record. Part of this has to be that we never give them any support. Close and late the team is terrible, and when trailing after 7, the team is 2-41. Losing BJ has had a huge effect- especially considering he was also at the top of the league in stranding runners even when he wasn’t closing a game.
- Pitchers seem to have trouble with the Jays until they realize nobody on the team can hit a breaking ball. Ok forget it, you knew that.
- John Gibbons used to be an Olympic hurdler.
You know what I’m talking about. That was amazing. Just when this season was looking like it was taking its last few circles around the drain, the Blue Jays have woken up offensively, and their rotation is firing on all cylinders even without A.J. In the last 4 games, the team scored as many runs as in their previous 12 combined, and their pitching is still humming along. It’s not quite time to start printing playoff tickets, but the team is finally starting to play (read: hit) to its potential.
Last night Vernon put the game out of reach, and standing on second flexed his shoulders and glared back at the pitcher. This shot doesn’t fully capture the moment, but does he not look mean for possibly the first time ever?
Now comes a real test – the Jays are 10 games under .500 this season on the road, and after a day off they start a mini road trip against the White Sox and Tampa Bay. These are two reeling teams that they need to take advantage of. Then comes the equally terrible Rangers, and then a series against New York that by that point could be crucial.
Question of the day: What the heck do we do with Gus- forget next season, I mean NOW? He is making rehab starts in AAA (and yeah, he gave up a run an inning in his first one, but he always does that), but with Burnett coming back, our rotation is already overflowing. Even if Towers is traded, how do we bump Litsch, who now has a 2.16 ERA in four starts since returning from the minors? I still like the idea of him as a fifth starter if he can get his arm back in one piece, and we could use a lefty, but our rotation is just too strong right now to roll the dice on him. There isn’t even room in the pen, and it’s unlikely anybody wants him. The only thing I can think of is to tell him to fake an injury for a while like we did with Zambrano.
The last post was meant to show that method of projection has some sort of validity over the long run – but it’s useful for things other than hindsight and moaning about what could have happened in a season. Although it gets more prone to error over the short term, we can also use it to estimate a pitcher’s record based on their ERA and run support. This has a few uses:
1) Determining whether or not a pitcher “just knows how to win”.
You know the old chestnut- a certain pitcher might not pitch that well all the time, but he’s able to do just enough to get the win. Jack Morris is the archetype; the Blue Jays Version is Gustavo Chacin, with his career record of 25-15 despite a 4.18 ERA.
Unfortunately for the little person inside you who has watched too many movies and just wants to believe in gutsy performances and brave stands, this phenomenon never holds up to analysis. Gus allowed 93 runs in his career year of 2005, and was given a stunning 140 runs in support. Using these numbers, he was projected to win .693 of his decisions that season, which would have given him a record of 15-7. He actually finished 13-9. In other words, he actually figured out how to win less than he would have if the runs he allowed were randomly distributed that season.
2) Isolating run support vs. dumb luck
We all know that a pitcher’s wins are a pretty useless way of determining how they’re performing, but they’re never going to be abandoned because they provide a broad, easily digestible at the season so far. But we can adjust them to isolate two factors:
- Dumb Luck: by comparing the pitcher’s actual wins to how many they were projected to have (based on the same runs scored and allowed), you get an idea of how much they have been helped or hurt by the distribution of said runs (which is for the most part random). Lets call that EWins for “expected”.
- Run Support: Similarly, comparing how many wins a pitcher would get with the team’s average run support to the number of Ewins he got with the run support they gave him (I’m using Ewins instead of actual wins to eliminate the luck factor), you get an idea of what sort of effect the support or lack thereof of the team has had on a pitcher. Let’s call that N wins for “normal”.
Here are the Blue Jays Starters this year, adjusted for luck and run support:
I really like Nwins. Saying that Roy Halladay has received an extra run and a half per game doesn’t really mean much to most people. Saying that because of that he’s won about 3 games he would have otherwise lost does. Of course this is particularly useless for the guys who haven’t had a lot of decisions (especially Marcum), but it does show the extent to which Roy Halladay has been bailed out this season by the offence, and the fact that despite the sensation that AJ has been pitching better than his record, his W-L is right where it belongs.
3) Figuring out how well a pitcher would do on a better team
Let’s take Dan’s example of Matt Cain from a previous post (check out the blow-by blow of his torturous season in the comments). He is now a ridiculous 3-10, but his losing record is not so much the fault of the Giant’s woeful offence as it is with luck and him getting runs at all the wrong times. His record should be .500 this season because he’s allowed as many runs as he’s received in support. It would rise to 7-6 if the Giants scored their average number of runs for him, but it would only make it up to 8-5 if he played for a league average team (like the Blue Jays).
Going 3-10 has only been possible because of the insanity-inducing pattern the runs have been scored in, and that won’t last in the long run. But still – Matt Cain right now is a .500 pitcher for the Giants, but would be in line to win 18 games for the Tigers.
Remember when Phillips got elbowed on a play at the plate against the Indians and the benches cleared? Well here’s what you didn’t see:
And from another angle:
Although I know he’s just some drunk moron, I think this is a totally appropriate dadaist reaction whenever a bunch of millionaires start acting like children in public. And the backflip attempt is pure gold…
(Oh and here’s what you did see…)
His previous start, we saw a young pitching phenom making a name for himself. This time out, Dustin McGowan ascended to the throne. The throne of Burnettland. McGowan was repeatedly hitting 99-100 mph on the radar gun tonight, which is harder than he’s thrown in years. The result? Three walks in the second inning, an early deficit, and an early trip to the showers after burning through 100 pitches in 5 innings. Reminds me of the entire career of the guy who started one day before him.
Let’s just hope he was just buying his own hype and trying to throw another one hitter, and that A.J. hasn’t really been whispering in his ear on the bench and converted him over to his pitching “philosophy” of overthrowing and going for strikeout dominance at all costs. Even though they look the same on paper, I would greatly prefer Dustin’s string of quality starts he had going over this latest flip flopping between brilliance and mediocrity.
(Did I just walk in a guy? But that pitch was AWESOME!)