Let's Talk About Bello

FlexFlexerson

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Another poor daytime start for Bello. He really needs to get this figured out soon.
Think I've finally gotten the Bloom Plan figured out re: pitching:

Step 1: develop homegrown pitchers who can't pitch effectively during the daytime
Step 2: sign these pitchers to below market deals because of that weakness
Step 3: vampire apocalypse, no more day games
Step 4: PROFIT

More seriously (maybe), is this day game thing still in the realm of "weird, but small sample size" or is there underlying evidence there's something else going on here? It does seem extremely bizarre that the results are so different.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Think I've finally gotten the Bloom Plan figured out re: pitching:

Step 1: develop homegrown pitchers who can't pitch effectively during the daytime
Step 2: sign these pitchers to below market deals because of that weakness
Step 3: vampire apocalypse, no more day games
Step 4: PROFIT

More seriously (maybe), is this day game thing still in the realm of "weird, but small sample size" or is there underlying evidence there's something else going on here? It does seem extremely bizarre that the results are so different.
I'd chalk it up to weird but small sample size because it's not like it's every day game he ever pitches. His lines in his last three games were pretty similar and two out of the three were day games. You figure out which was which based on the line.

71185

The last one is the night game
 

JM3

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Vampire Theory very in play. His day stats are even worse when you take out the 1 run in 7 innings in Houston's dome.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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So... is there any reason for Bello to make his next start? Seems to me it'd be just as well to put him in bubble wrap and let his arm start getting ready for 2024.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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So... is there any reason for Bello to make his next start? Seems to me it'd be just as well to put him in bubble wrap and let his arm start getting ready for 2024.
Plenty of reasons, most of which have to do with continuing to develop him and build him up. Unless they think yesterday's outing was caused by him being worn down by workload or something, he should continue to pitch on a regular schedule until there are no games left to play. He threw 153 innings last year (minors and majors). He's at 157 innings now. Might as well push him past 160 if they want him to carry a similar or larger load next year. Give him more experience.
 

BaseballJones

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He seemed a bit shaky at times last night but on the whole, an encouraging start. I know it's game 1, but they're really going to need him to go more innings on a regular basis.
 

Yaz4Ever

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He seemed a bit shaky at times last night but on the whole, an encouraging start. I know it's game 1, but they're really going to need him to go more innings on a regular basis.
I'm writing this off, perhaps incorrectly, on jitters. Being named Opening Day starter is a big deal for a young kid.
 

BringBackMo

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I mean, he threw 84 pitches in five innings. He could obviously have gone deeper in the game if that’s what they’d wanted. This kid just made an opening day start on the road, matched up against an ace, throwing against a genuine contender. Very pleased with his performance.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Zero BB. Hitting 98 on the gun. Basically only made one bad pitch that was punished. He didn't look remotely shaky to my eyes.
 

8slim

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Bello wasn't dominant in the traditional sense, but he was effective and kept runs off the board. That's what an ace does when he's not mowing people down. A very solid start to the season IMHO.

While I'm fully on Team "Starters Need to Pitch Deeper Into Games", the 5 innings didn't bother me. Late night game to open the season, no need to push it. A month from now I'd want to see him going 7, but we're not there yet.
 

BaseballJones

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Zero BB. Hitting 98 on the gun. Basically only made one bad pitch that was punished. He didn't look remotely shaky to my eyes.
He was fortunate to get out of the first inning unscathed. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and it took some very nice defense to barely turn the double play to keep a run off the board.

2 ER in 5 innings = 3.60 era
3 ER in 5 innings = 5.40 era

Just one more run but giving that up would have turned this performance into a pretty bad one actually.

But he didn't. So it was a good start. But yeah, he was shaky at the start.
 

joe dokes

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He seemed a bit shaky at times last night but on the whole, an encouraging start. I know it's game 1, but they're really going to need him to go more innings on a regular basis.
It was also, as illustrated by the chart above, his first real game in which he scrapped a pitch he threw 20% of the time last year. It has to be a little weird for a pitcher to go from 20 times a game to zero with a pitch he's probably been throwing his whole life.

He was fortunate to get out of the first inning unscathed. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and it took some very nice defense to barely turn the double play to keep a run off the board.
This is true. But it's also true that "very nice defense" (or very not-nice defense) is frequently the difference between a good outing and a bad one. Obviously, we all hope that sort of defense is a feature, not an anomaly.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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He was fortunate to get out of the first inning unscathed. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and it took some very nice defense to barely turn the double play to keep a run off the board.

2 ER in 5 innings = 3.60 era
3 ER in 5 innings = 5.40 era

Just one more run but giving that up would have turned this performance into a pretty bad one actually.

But he didn't. So it was a good start. But yeah, he was shaky at the start.
If its and buts were candy and nuts.

Here's the innning. The double play was routine even with the Valdez slight bobble. The Rodriguez double was a fantastic bit of hitting and the Polanco single was a little flare on a mediocre pitch.

View: https://youtu.be/9BLWtNlTDXY?t=87
 

BringBackMo

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He was fortunate to get out of the first inning unscathed. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and it took some very nice defense to barely turn the double play to keep a run off the board.

2 ER in 5 innings = 3.60 era
3 ER in 5 innings = 5.40 era

Just one more run but giving that up would have turned this performance into a pretty bad one actually.

But he didn't. So it was a good start. But yeah, he was shaky at the start.
So you’re saying that if the Sox don’t turn a double play in the first, it would have been a “pretty bad” start by Bello? But because they did turn the double play it was a good start? That’s pretty crazy. He pitched very well in a big spot.
 

joe dokes

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If its and buts were candy and nuts.

Here's the innning. The double play was routine even with the Valdez slight bobble. The Rodriguez double was a fantastic bit of hitting and the Polanco single was a little flare on a mediocre pitch.

View: https://youtu.be/9BLWtNlTDXY?t=87
Also, lets not overlook the fact that O'Neil hit the cutoff man on the single, keeping the double play in order. Small potatoes, to be sure. But last year they were jamming those potatoes into their own exhaust pipe.
 

BaseballJones

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So you’re saying that if the Sox don’t turn a double play in the first, it would have been a “pretty bad” start by Bello? But because they did turn the double play it was a good start? That’s pretty crazy. He pitched very well in a big spot.
I mean, that's how it works, right? A season of giving up 3 runs in 5 innings is markedly worse than a season giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. And of course, if they don't turn the double play, not only does a run score, but maybe more on top of it.

The point is, I am comfortable with both saying that he was a bit shaky at times and also being happy with his start. I can hold both of those views with no difficulty.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I mean, that's how it works, right? A season of giving up 3 runs in 5 innings is markedly worse than a season giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. And of course, if they don't turn the double play, not only does a run score, but maybe more on top of it.

The point is, I am comfortable with both saying that he was a bit shaky at times and also being happy with his start. I can hold both of those views with no difficulty.
Part of your reasoning is based on the false notion that he was bailed out by good defense when the double-play was routine. He did benefit from some nice defensive plays (Story in particular) but that didn't happen in the first.
 

Margo McCready

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Also, lets not overlook the fact that O'Neil hit the cutoff man on the single, keeping the double play in order. Small potatoes, to be sure. But last year they were jamming those potatoes into their own exhaust pipe.
This play really stood out to me. Bello and the rest of the staff will have so much more leeway with outfielders willing to hit the cutoff man this year.
 

BringBackMo

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I mean, that's how it works, right? A season of giving up 3 runs in 5 innings is markedly worse than a season giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. And of course, if they don't turn the double play, not only does a run score, but maybe more on top of it.

The point is, I am comfortable with both saying that he was a bit shaky at times and also being happy with his start. I can hold both of those views with no difficulty.
This is why we have advanced beyond these kinds of simplistic metrics when analyzing the quality of a pitcher, or an outing. And anyway, as CN has pointed out a couple of times, your characterization of the double play isn’t supported by the highlight he posted. It was a routine play, the result of a nice pitch that produced a room service bounce to the infielder. I encourage to look at it again. First and third (the result of a double off a good pitch by one of the game‘s best hitters and a humdrum flare to right that fell in) and Bello bears down and does a very nice job making a pitch that gets him out of the inning. Where you saw shaky I saw poised. I know you are a Bello fan, I’m not trying to suggest otherwise. I think you’re just trying too hard here to not come off as a homer. It was a really good start.
 

BringBackMo

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Also, lets not overlook the fact that O'Neil hit the cutoff man on the single, keeping the double play in order. Small potatoes, to be sure. But last year they were jamming those potatoes into their own exhaust pipe.
Really good point.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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This is why we have advanced beyond these kinds of simplistic metrics when analyzing the quality of a pitcher, or an outing. And anyway, as CN has pointed out a couple of times, your characterization of the double play isn’t supported by the highlight he posted. It was a routine play, the result of a nice pitch that produced a room service bounce to the infielder. I encourage to look at it again. First and third (the result of a double off a good pitch by one of the game‘s best hitters and a humdrum flare to right that fell in) and Bello bears down and does a very nice job making a pitch that gets him out of the inning. Where you saw shaky I saw poised. I know you are a Bello fan, I’m not trying to suggest otherwise. I think you’re just trying too hard here to not come off as a homer. It was a really good start.
I hear you, and I am a huge fan of him, and overall I'm happy. But I just disagree that it was a "really good" start. He was in trouble in the first which he was fortunate to get out of. He gave up a bomb a couple innings later, and only went 5 innings. Nothing wrong with that, especially against a good team in the season opener. But they're going to need him to be better than that over the course of the season.

I'm just trying to call it as I see it.
 

joe dokes

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This is why we have advanced beyond these kinds of simplistic metrics when analyzing the quality of a pitcher, or an outing. And anyway, as CN has pointed out a couple of times, your characterization of the double play isn’t supported by the highlight he posted. It was a routine play, the result of a nice pitch that produced a room service bounce to the infielder. I encourage to look at it again. First and third (the result of a double off a good pitch by one of the game‘s best hitters and a humdrum flare to right that fell in) and Bello bears down and does a very nice job making a pitch that gets him out of the inning. Where you saw shaky I saw poised. I know you are a Bello fan, I’m not trying to suggest otherwise. I think you’re just trying too hard here to not come off as a homer. It was a really good start.
Loumer and Flemming were talking about Bello's ability to induce weak contact grounders with his sinker just before the DP.
 

chrisfont9

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He was fortunate to get out of the first inning unscathed. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and it took some very nice defense to barely turn the double play to keep a run off the board.

2 ER in 5 innings = 3.60 era
3 ER in 5 innings = 5.40 era

Just one more run but giving that up would have turned this performance into a pretty bad one actually.

But he didn't. So it was a good start. But yeah, he was shaky at the start.
The two hits were BABIP-friendly. Reminds me a bit of Framber, where even if you somehow get a couple guys on, the DP possibility is good. Now that we have fielders at least.
 

bosox188

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I'm interested to see how the command of his secondaries looks over his first 5 starts or so, past the factor of opening day jitters. Happy to see the velo and movement looking good, but command was and still is a key thing for him taking the next step. That also gets harder the more his pitches move, but it's why he has that ace potential.

Hell, Castillo had a shit outing yesterday so hard to read too much into one start, obviously.
 

Rovin Romine

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Part of your reasoning is based on the false notion that he was bailed out by good defense when the double-play was routine. He did benefit from some nice defensive plays (Story in particular) but that didn't happen in the first.
As a kind of general comment bridging off this, we have to remember Bello is a GB pitcher. (Per Savant, in the 92nd percentile for 2023.) He's supposed to be generating a lot of opportunities for his infielders. Sometimes the resulting outs will be routine, sometimes they'll be a stretch. So it's to be expected that he'll be "bailed out" at points by good IF defensive plays - but is this really any different than pairing a flyball pitcher with a good defensive OF?

What I am very much hoping we will see is that Bello will be inducing a lot of grounders earlier in the count, that a working percentage of those (with good defense) will be converted into outs, and so Bello will start going much deeper into games.

I can't really say that I disagree with Cora's decision to pull him last night after 5 innings and 84 pitches, though I think he had another batter or two in him. But, first game, go for the win against Castillo, positive vibes, reliever starts a clean inning, etc. But I hope 5 and done is not the future pattern. 6 innings of 2 run ball at 90-95 pitches would be awesome to see Bello establish as a "good Bello start" baseline.
 

Cassvt2023

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His next start is scheduled to be another night game (better for him) against a pretty weak lineup (A's) in a very pitcher friendly park, with the pressure of opening day in the rear view mirror. I'm expecting him to look more dominant in his next turn, which hopefully will set him on the path to a really nice 2nd full season. And not sure if anyone saw it, but when he came off the mound in the 5th, he walked straight down the tunnel in the dugout, trying to avoid all the high fives and handshakes in a futile attempt to go back out for the 6th. You gotta love that about the kid.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

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I have to go in the “really good start” camp. I think this is another of those “analytics run amok” situations flying in the face of the nuances of baseball and the results themselves.

Bello is a ground ball pitcher. So much of the game has gone to if it’s not a strike out, a home run or a walk, it’s just blind luck and nothing else. There is a middle ground.

In no way was this a DiceK (or Blake Snell) start where it always seemed the game hung in the balance every inning. He also obviously wasn’t vintage Pedro. He got weak contact, he was in control (not dominant - also not walking a tight rope), and he pitched to his defense since there are still, at least last I checked, 8 players around him that are allowed to turn batted balls into outs. Pleasingly, those guys were in the field instead of Yoshida, Hernandez, Franchy Cordero and whatever else

He did this as (my opinion) a #2 starter asked to be the defacto ace, going up against someone that MIGHT be an ace (and is at worst a #1 starter) on the road on opening day. Really tough to be anything but very pleased and encouraged by his start.

The issue is more that he is the only pitcher on the staff I feel confident in EXPECTING that performance or better every game. He was quite good last night.
 

tims4wins

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I'll take zero walks every single start and let everything else shake out as it may. More often than not - way more often than not, I think - that will lead to good, if not great, results.
 

Just a bit outside

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Bello has dropped his 4-seam fastball this year which is a good thing. Slugging percentage was over .600 against it last year. It probably means he won’t ever be a huge strikeout pitcher but should give up less hard contact. He should be a solid 2-3. The infield defense is huge for him and it was great last night.
 

Fishy1

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Yeah, Bello doesn't really have a wipe-out pitch, but his 4-seamer was his downfall last year. That .646 slugging percentage (which is astronomical) as others have noted would have to be the source of most of his difficulties last year.

The other dark horse improvement, what gives him the potential to be even more elite, is he had a terrifically low walk rate last year at 2.6 per 9. It's hard to imagine him improving on that, but if he did and kept his K rate around 8, that together with eliminating the four-seamer, could make him unequivocally an ace.

Here's his full pitch tracking for last year (and what little there is of this year). The slider is the other pitch to watch, I think.

80157
 

sezwho

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Bello has dropped his 4-seam fastball this year which is a good thing. Slugging percentage was over .600 against it last year. It probably means he won’t ever be a huge strikeout pitcher but should give up less hard contact. He should be a solid 2-3. The infield defense is huge for him and it was great last night.
Wild he had the season he did in front of an apocalyptically bad defense and with an absolutely meatball of a four seamer. 600 slugging? (Edit .646 thanks @Fishy1) Sheesh. Both changes bode well for the future.
 
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SLC Sox

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Can we assume, though, that he'll continue to work on the 4 seamer? If he can bring it back as an effective pitch (maybe situationally this year) he'd really go to the next level. I'd hate for him to lose it completely.
 

scottyno

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I hear you, and I am a huge fan of him, and overall I'm happy. But I just disagree that it was a "really good" start. He was in trouble in the first which he was fortunate to get out of. He gave up a bomb a couple innings later, and only went 5 innings. Nothing wrong with that, especially against a good team in the season opener. But they're going to need him to be better than that over the course of the season.

I'm just trying to call it as I see it.
If you told the Sox they could sign up for 2 runs in 5 innings from every Bello start this year they'd take that in a second. That'd be something like a 4 win player and a borderline all star.
 

Fishy1

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Can we assume, though, that he'll continue to work on the 4 seamer? If he can bring it back as an effective pitch (maybe situationally this year) he'd really go to the next level. I'd hate for him to lose it completely.
I'm sure he will, but he just doesn't really need it. Being a three-pitch guy -- sinker, changeup, slider -- plenty of guys have made great careers that way. There's plenty of velo on the fastball but he doesn't get great extension or spin on the fastball. Whereas the changeup and sinker move like crazy.

I suspect the fastball was just something for batters to sit on last year when he was behind in counts. But he throws the sinker just as well for strikes, I would guess, and batters can't just jump all over it the same way.
 

Al Zarilla

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I'm sure he will, but he just doesn't really need it. Being a three-pitch guy -- sinker, changeup, slider -- plenty of guys have made great careers that way. There's plenty of velo on the fastball but he doesn't get great extension or spin on the fastball. Whereas the changeup and sinker move like crazy.

I suspect the fastball was just something for batters to sit on last year when he was behind in counts. But he throws the sinker just as well for strikes, I would guess, and batters can't just jump all over it the same way.
Plenty of pitchers have made great careers without either a two seam or a four seam fastball? Can you name some?
 

Fishy1

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Plenty of pitchers have made great careers without either a two seam or a four seam fastball? Can you name some?
I don't think I said that? I didn't say without a two-seamer. The sinker IS a two-seamer.
 

Just a bit outside

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I don’t think Bello will go back to a four seam fastball anytime soon. To me the upside is someone like Brandon Webb. An innings eater who induces weak contact with the sinker, slider, change mix. A low tier #1 but would be a great #2 on any staff.
 
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Al Zarilla

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I don't think I said that? I didn't say without a two-seamer. The sinker IS a two-seamer.
Isn't a two-seam and a sinker basically the same thing? He was averaging 96.1 mph (per Statcast) on his sinker on Thursday. Seems like enough of a fastball to get by.
There are several other pitches that sink, like the curve, the splitter, etc., so I didn’t think the 2 seamer had the name sinker exclusively. I know the other “sink” pitches move much more horizontally. I’ll see what Mike Krukow calls the pitches today in the Giants - Pads game. He’s the best pitching expert around right now that I know.
 

Fishy1

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There are several other pitches that sink, like the curve, the splitter, etc., so I didn’t think the 2 seamer had the name sinker exclusively. I know the other “sink” pitches move much more horizontally. I’ll see what Mike Krukow calls the pitches today in the Giants - Pads game. He’s the best pitching expert around right now that I know.
I mean, no offense, but this is I'm 99% certain a consensus opinion. It is isn't something you need a pitch expert to know. A sinker is not thrown at the speed of other breaking pitches, it's thrown as hard as a 4 seamer. A two seamer and a sinker, there might be minute differences in definition, but they're functionally identical pitches. They move left to right, and they're thrown at or around the speed of a 4 seamer.