Red Sox in season discussion

OCD SS

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I didn't make a "should" statement. I predicted the Sox will choose to give Kike more time to get on track. Do you disagree?
Sorry, I was using your post to address an idea that seems prevalent here, namely that if Duran is coming up, it will be at the expense of JBJ’s playing time, because he’s been terrible. People don’t seem to be locking in the idea that Kike and his parade of pop ups have been worse.

So following from that, what matters is why is Duran Coming up? If it’s to (improbably) provide an offensive spark, then wouldn’t it also follow that they’ll play the better offensive performer, especially the one who’s playing RF already, since Duran doesn’t have the arm for LF? If it’s because the season is toast and they may as well see what he’s got, even if it’s to showcase him for a trade, then it doesn’t matter what they do with either of Kike or JBJ, or who gets playing time, because who cares?
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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And of course, we've had a ton of high-leverage bullpen innings as a result of the combination of the rotation being great and the offense being terrible. If the offense were scoring five runs a game, Diekman could walk a few guys here and there without it being a federal case.

That’s true, the one run games are always walking a tightrope, and the Sox haven’t been good in those situations for a long time. Kimbrel, despite his being an ‘elite’ closer used to give me heart trouble often enough (although he could be even more trouble in a
6 - 1 lead).

The last closer we had that I felt good about was Koji. To me, the one thing you can’t do as a closer is walk people. Unless you deliberately choose not to pitch to someone, you need to make the batter earn his position on base. You can’t just walk people. And if you can’t throw strikes, you shouldn’t be on the team. Chaim doesn’t need to get a bargain basement deal for every player. The Red Sox are one of the biggest teams in the game. I understand the variation in philosophies and Chaim wants to look clever, but you have to put a good team out on the field. Would the Dodgers have signed Dickman? Where do they find these people?
 

Daniel_Son

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That’s true, the one run games are always walking a tightrope, and the Sox haven’t been good in those situations for a long time. Kimbrel, despite his being an ‘elite’ closer used to give me heart trouble often enough (although he could be even more trouble in a
6 - 1 lead).

The last closer we had that I felt good about was Koji. To me, the one thing you can’t do as a closer is walk people. Unless you deliberately choose not to pitch to someone, you need to make the batter earn his position on base. You can’t just walk people. And if you can’t throw strikes, you shouldn’t be on the team. Chaim doesn’t need to get a bargain basement deal for every player. The Red Sox are one of the biggest teams in the game. I understand the variation in philosophies and Chaim wants to look clever, but you have to put a good team out on the field. Would the Dodgers have signed Dickman? Where do they find these people?
I doubt he's doing this without a mandate from the front office. Plus, acquiring relievers in the offseason is such a gamble, I'd argue that's the one place that finding "bargain basement deals" makes the most sense.

Koji is a great example of one, actually. He was signed to a 1 year, $4.25 million contract in 2012 after a solid year in TX following a few mediocre years as a SP-turned-reliever in Baltimore. He only got the opportunity to shine when Hanrahan and Bailey got injured, but he was pretty far from a top-end closer when the Sox got him.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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That’s true, the one run games are always walking a tightrope, and the Sox haven’t been good in those situations for a long time. Kimbrel, despite his being an ‘elite’ closer used to give me heart trouble often enough (although he could be even more trouble in a
6 - 1 lead).

The last closer we had that I felt good about was Koji. To me, the one thing you can’t do as a closer is walk people. Unless you deliberately choose not to pitch to someone, you need to make the batter earn his position on base. You can’t just walk people. And if you can’t throw strikes, you shouldn’t be on the team. Chaim doesn’t need to get a bargain basement deal for every player. The Red Sox are one of the biggest teams in the game. I understand the variation in philosophies and Chaim wants to look clever, but you have to put a good team out on the field. Would the Dodgers have signed Dickman? Where do they find these people?
Diekman is a 10-year vet who's pitched for five other teams (542 career appearances, 3.73 career ERA). He's not some unknown discovery of Bloom's. If he hadn't signed here, he'd have signed somewhere else. Just because you've never heard of him doesn't make him a nobody.

Relievers are a volatile commodity. You can't build a reliable bullpen just be paying the most money to the biggest names.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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Diekman is a 10-year vet who's pitched for five other teams (542 career appearances, 3.73 career ERA). He's not some unknown discovery of Bloom's. If he hadn't signed here, he'd have signed somewhere else. Just because you've never heard of him doesn't make him a nobody.

Relievers are a volatile commodity. You can't build a reliable bullpen just be paying the most money to the biggest names.


I’m not saying that spending money is the answer to the problem. And I’m not saying that the highest paid players are always the best, or that they live up to the contract. I know Chaim didn’t discover him - Dickman isn’t a spring chicken. All I asked if you think the Dodgers or Yankees would have signed him as their closer. I know ‘some other team’ would have signed him, but we’re the Boston Red Sox, not some other team. He can’t throw strikes reliably in those situations. I don’t know how he got the career 3.73, but it probably wasn’t closing for the Boston Red Sox in 1 run games.

And we need positions that are set. Players need to know their roles so that they can focus on their specific job, take advantage of their strengths and make adjustments according to what’s predictably expected of them. We needed a DH after Papi left and it was a major problem until they finally got JD. DH by committee doesn’t work. Closer by committee doesn’t work either. Do you feel confident with Dickman up there?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I’m not saying that spending money is the answer to the problem. And I’m not saying that the highest paid players are always the best, or that they live up to the contract. I know Chaim didn’t discover him - Dickman isn’t a spring chicken. All I asked if you think the Dodgers or Yankees would have signed him as their closer. I know ‘some other team’ would have signed him, but we’re the Boston Red Sox, not some other team. He can’t throw strikes reliably in those situations. I don’t know how he got the career 3.73, but it probably wasn’t closing for the Boston Red Sox in 1 run games. This is a big market team and we need serviceable players.

And we need positions that are set. Players need to know their roles so that they can focus on their specific job, take advantage of their strengths and make adjustments according to what’s predictably expected of them. We needed a DH after Papi left and it was a major problem until they finally got JD. DH by committee doesn’t work. Closer by committee doesn’t work either. Do you feel confident with Dickman up there?
I think "closer" is the most overrated position in sports, and have since long before Theo made "closer by committee" a thing. So I'm a lot less concerned about who fills that role than most. But even in a traditional sense, Diekman (DIEKMAN, spell it right) is not a closer, he wasn't signed to be a closer, so why are we framing the discussion as if he is? He's a reliever. One with strengths and weaknesses like any other, and the goal is to deploy him (and the rest) in situations that maximize his strengths and minimize the weaknesses in order to record outs without giving up runs.

The walks aren't great, but it should be pointed out that none of the eight batters he's walked this year have scored. He's had four bad outings out of 13. That's not a terrible ratio (it's not all star level either), but no reliever this side of Josh Hader is going to be perfect. I feel about as confident in Diekman as any other middle of the road middle reliever. Expecting to have a bullpen filled with guys I have supreme confidence in is fantasy land.
 

scottyno

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The bullpen wouldn't look nearly so bad if they weren't asked to be perfect every night because the offense has been so bad. If the offense improves the bullpen will look better naturally.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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It's easy to forget now, but Diekman had a pretty awesome outing against the current first place team in the division in the pretty recent past. His track record suggests he's more likely to be a valuable reliever by the time they've played 162 than it does that he's toast. Losing is contagious and he's probably pressing as much as anyone else on the team is. While the team may be in a death spiral, he's probably one of the few who won't get too much on him when it's all over.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Sorry, I was using your post to address an idea that seems prevalent here, namely that if Duran is coming up, it will be at the expense of JBJ’s playing time, because he’s been terrible. People don’t seem to be locking in the idea that Kike and his parade of pop ups have been worse.

So following from that, what matters is why is Duran Coming up? If it’s to (improbably) provide an offensive spark, then wouldn’t it also follow that they’ll play the better offensive performer, especially the one who’s playing RF already, since Duran doesn’t have the arm for LF? If it’s because the season is toast and they may as well see what he’s got, even if it’s to showcase him for a trade, then it doesn’t matter what they do with either of Kike or JBJ, or who gets playing time, because who cares?
I would hope that JBJ, Duran, and Kike would rotate through the 2 spots, in hopes that someone gets hot and sticks. JBJ has an overwhelming split (.938 OPS at home, .307 on the road) so that might offer some structure to what the breakdown would be at least initially.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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I don’t know why you keep spelling his name like that or why you think Diekman was signed to be the closer?
1) Long story. Someone in my family misread his name. It was one of the first games he lost. We were up 1 run and then he started with a string of walks. It ended with a walkoff (no pun intended). They said “who is that up there pitching? Dick..Dickman? Inky Dickman?“ So that became his name. I spared you the first part because I didn’t want to cause any more confusion.

2) Because he’s closing a lot of games for us. The fact that they didn’t know who was closing after he was signed isn’t any more comforting than them deciding he was the guy to do it. Yes I know other pitchers close sometimes.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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1) Long story. Someone in my family misread his name. It was one of the first games he lost. We were up 1 run and then he started with a string of walks. It ended with a walkoff (no pun intended). They said “who is that up there pitching? Dick..Dickman? Inky Dickman?“ So that became his name. I spared you the first part because I didn’t want to cause any more confusion.

2) Because he’s closing a lot of games for us. The fact that they didn’t know who was closing after he was signed isn’t any more comforting than them deciding he was the guy to do it. Yes I know other pitchers close sometimes.
1) fun for home, but context helps here if you don’t want folks to think you are 11
2) per baseball reference, Diekman has finished one game this season.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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1) Long story. Someone in my family misread his name. It was one of the first games he lost. We were up 1 run and then he started with a string of walks. It ended with a walkoff (no pun intended). They said “who is that up there pitching? Dick..Dickman? Inky Dickman?“ So that became his name. I spared you the first part because I didn’t want to cause any more confusion.

2) Because he’s closing a lot of games for us. The fact that they didn’t know who was closing after he was signed isn’t any more comforting than them deciding he was the guy to do it. Yes I know other pitchers close sometimes.
1) Which game was that? He's had one outing in a Red Sox uniform in which he's walked multiple batters, and that was 4/22 in Tampa and the Sox won that game. None of the runners he put on scored thanks (shockingly) to Matt Barnes closing the door. The only other outing I can find in his game log in which he put on a "string" of runners was in Toronto on 4/26. He gave up back to back doubles to start the inning, then struck out two batters before giving up a HR to George Springer to tie the game. Certainly not his best outing (arguably his worst), but no walks at all.

2) He's finished one game (got the save in Yankee Stadium). He's pitched in the ninth in three others (two blown saves, one hold). So that's four out of 30-odd games. Not really closing a lot at all. He's made more appearances in the 8th.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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The walks aren't great, but it should be pointed out that none of the eight batters he's walked this year have scored. He's had four bad outings out of 13. That's not a terrible ratio (it's not all star level either), but no reliever this side of Josh Hader is going to be perfect.
‘I’m not asking anyone to be perfect. And I know the offense has put these guys into extremely high pressure situations with very little room for error. Diekman (ok now?) made it out of one game and got the win and a save. I cheered and was really happy for him. Even though he walked the bases loaded and brought it to a 2 out, 3-2 count, he got the swing and miss on the last ball I believe. It would have been walk 4 if the batter had held off, but he got the out and won the game. But 8 walks and none scored? That needs to be checked because I was fairly certain at least 2 games were lost when he blew the lead in the ninth.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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1) fun for home, but context helps here if you don’t want folks to think you are 11
2) per baseball reference, Diekman has finished one game this season.
‘Good point. Just so you know, I’m 43. No 11 year old here….
And I know he successfully closed 1 game with a save - after 3 walks to load the bases, and a checked swing away from walk 4, and extra innings at least and probably another loss.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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1) Which game was that? He's had one outing in a Red Sox uniform in which he's walked multiple batters, and that was 4/22 in Tampa and the Sox won that game. None of the runners he put on scored thanks (shockingly) to Matt Barnes closing the door. The only other outing I can find in his game log in which he put on a "string" of runners was in Toronto on 4/26. He gave up back to back doubles to start the inning, then struck out two batters before giving up a HR to George Springer to tie the game. Certainly not his best outing (arguably his worst), but no walks at all.

2) He's finished one game (got the save in Yankee Stadium). He's pitched in the ninth in three others (two blown saves, one hold). So that's four out of 30-odd games. Not really closing a lot at all. He's made more appearances in the 8th.
The Yankees game is the one I’m thinking of. That was where he got the save after all the walks. That was a nail-biter, but he pulled it off.
 

catsooey

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Jun 27, 2019
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In his save against the Yankees, Diekman struck out all three batters he faced.
Then that most definitely wasn’t the game. It must have been another game because we had a one run lead and the bases were loaded, another walk would have tied the game. There were two outs and Diekman was wild. A lot of these counts were in his favor - I think a lot of 2 and 0 or 2 and 1 counts. And then it went bad. I remember that we got a gift call that afternoon in that inning that may have saved us. In the end it was a full count and Diekman got a swing and miss on ball 4.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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‘I’m not asking anyone to be perfect. And I know the offense has put these guys into extremely high pressure situations with very little room for error. Diekman (ok now?) made it out of one game and got the win and a save. I cheered and was really happy for him. Even though he walked the bases loaded and brought it to a 2 out, 3-2 count, he got the swing and miss on the last ball I believe. It would have been walk 4 if the batter had held off, but he got the out and won the game. But 8 walks and none scored? That needs to be checked because I was fairly certain at least 2 games were lost when he blew the lead in the ninth.
You think I spouted a stat that I pulled out of my ass? Take a look for yourself (which you should have done anyway rather than say "that needs to be checked"): Diekman's 2022 game logs. Only one game in which he both walked a man and was charged with a run scored. That was Opening Day and the runner that scored was the Manfred man in the bottom of the 10th (allowed by Brasier but charged to Diekman). The walk was an intentional one set up a force play at each base. His other seven walks came in games where he wasn't charged with a run, therefore none of the batters he's walked have scored.

You are correct that two games were lost when he blew 9th inning leads. One was the Toronto game I mentioned in which George Springer homered to tie the game. He faced five batters, gave up three hits and struck out the other two, no walks. The other was last week against the Angels. He came in after Robles walked two straight batters and gave up an inherited runner to tie the game. Diekman walked one of the three batters he faced but that runner was stranded when he got the third out on a flyout.

I've already addressed the game you're describing where he walked the bases loaded. Barnes closed that one out, not Diekman (though Diekman did K the last batter he faced which might be what you remember).
 

RobertS975

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A great closer simply shortens the game. The last closer the Sox had that was an automatic was first half 2021 Barnes. He was quite impressive until the sticky stuff was verboten.
 

catsooey

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You think I spouted a stat that I pulled out of my ass? Take a look for yourself (which you should have done anyway rather than say "that needs to be checked"): Diekman's 2022 game logs. Only one game in which he both walked a man and was charged with a run scored. That was Opening Day and the runner that scored was the Manfred man in the bottom of the 10th (allowed by Brasier but charged to Diekman). The walk was an intentional one set up a force play at each base. His other seven walks came in games where he wasn't charged with a run, therefore none of the batters he's walked have scored.

You are correct that two games were lost when he blew 9th inning leads. One was the Toronto game I mentioned in which George Springer homered to tie the game. He faced five batters, gave up three hits and struck out the other two, no walks. The other was last week against the Angels. He came in after Robles walked two straight batters and gave up an inherited runner to tie the game. Diekman walked one of the three batters he faced but that runner was stranded when he got the third out on a flyout.

I've already addressed the game you're describing where he walked the bases loaded. Barnes closed that one out, not Diekman (though Diekman did K the last batter he faced which might be what you remember).

You’re not very much fun at parties are you?

Ok, first you said 8 posts before this that “2) He finished one game”. I know baseball stats can be misleading so I wasn’t sure if that term referred to just saves alone or that included games where we lost and he pitched the 9th inning (or at least more than 1/2 of the 9th). Also, I wasn’t only talking to you. I was trying to figure out which game was the save and which were the bad outings. I saw the game where there were a bunch of walks and just barely escaping another disaster. Someone mentioned he got three batters out and got the save. He did get three outs - eventually - but that included a trip to the edge of another loss. And yes I should check the stats myself, I’m sorry I didn’t. Ok?
 
few months? give it 24 hours...12-20 plenty to be outraged about
Quote is from a different thread, but seems to belong better here.

Starting with this terrible record sucks, no two ways about it. It would be nice if more people acknowledged the role of luck and other factors outside of team control.

  • The Sox have a record of 3-10 in games where the score was within 1 run at the end of the 9th. Some of that is on the bullpen, but some is also luck.
  • The Sox are two games under their pythag. They are also 2 games under by baseruns.
  • The Sox's BA is 22 points below their XBA, their wOBA is 36 points below their xwOBA and their wOBACON is 51 points below their xwOBACON.
  • The Sox have been favored by umpires in only 40.6% of their games, 6th worst in baseball and their total favor is at -6, third worst in baseball. The average batter impact is -.24, worst in baseball. There are 5 games so far this season where the favor against the Sox was within a half run of the other team's margin of victory (5/11, 4/23, 4/22, 5/8, and 4/19) and only one game where the reverse was true (4/10).
  • The pitching is perhaps overperforming slightly though, with ERA outperforming FIP and xFIP by ~40 points.
With average luck, this team would likely be sitting at or close to a .500 record. Personally, I'd still be disappointed by that. I don't fault anyone for being disappointed. But outrage? I think that's a bit much.

Also, for what it's worth the story was quite different last season. Last season the Sox enjoyed the 7th most umpire favor in baseball, the third highest percent favored rate, generally matched their actual outcomes to expected outcomes according to statcast, and overperformed their pythag by 3 games. I can't find last year's baseruns data anymore, but I recall the Sox similarly overperforming on that metric.

We're going from a season in which players generally overperformed expectations and enjoyed both luck and umpire favor to a season where players are generally underperforming expectations (at least in some part due to luck) and suffering from both bad luck and umpire disfavor. The whiplash is real.
 
Dec 28, 2015
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It's easy to forget now, but Diekman had a pretty awesome outing against the current first place team in the division in the pretty recent past. His track record suggests he's more likely to be a valuable reliever by the time they've played 162 than it does that he's toast. Losing is contagious and he's probably pressing as much as anyone else on the team is. While the team may be in a death spiral, he's probably one of the few who won't get too much on him when it's all over.
Diekman's recent numbers are troubling. Last year his ERA jumped from 2.84 On September 1 to 3.86 at the end. From September 4 he gave up 11 hits and 8 BB for a WHIP of 1.9. Oakland may have seen something here. After paying him $4,000,000 for 2021, they bought out his 2022 option for $750,000.

Maybe, as you say, Diekman will revert to the mean, but I calculate his current WHIP at 1.744, much closer to last September's 1.9 than to his career 1.37. These are small sample sizes to be sure but they suggest that Diekman, now in his age 35 season, may be in a secular decline.
 

scottyno

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Diekman's recent numbers are troubling. Last year his ERA jumped from 2.84 On September 1 to 3.86 at the end. From September 4 he gave up 11 hits and 8 BB for a WHIP of 1.9. Oakland may have seen something here. After paying him $4,000,000 for 2021, they bought out his 2022 option for $750,000.
The As are paying exactly 3 players over 4m, so I don't think the fact that they wouldn't pay a reliever 4m means much about what they thought he'd do this year
 

nvalvo

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Diekman's recent numbers are troubling. Last year his ERA jumped from 2.84 On September 1 to 3.86 at the end. From September 4 he gave up 11 hits and 8 BB for a WHIP of 1.9. Oakland may have seen something here. After paying him $4,000,000 for 2021, they bought out his 2022 option for $750,000.

Maybe, as you say, Diekman will revert to the mean, but I calculate his current WHIP at 1.744, much closer to last September's 1.9 than to his career 1.37. These are small sample sizes to be sure but they suggest that Diekman, now in his age 35 season, may be in a secular decline.
I like the implication that Diekman’s performance used to track with the business cycle.
 

AB in DC

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Starting with this terrible record sucks, no two ways about it. It would be nice if more people acknowledged the role of luck and other factors outside of team control.

  • The Sox's BA is 22 points below their XBA, their wOBA is 36 points below their xwOBA and their wOBACON is 51 points below their xwOBACON
Speaking of Statcast numbers, can we talk about Matt Barnes? The split between his ERA (7.71) and his xERA (3.01) is off the charts. Last night he gave up a 280 ft fly ball and a 66 mph grounder, which normally would be a decent outing, except that they ended up being a bloop double and a ground single through a drawn-in infield. I can't find the actual launch angle/xBA for those two PAs but there's clearly a pattern here. Is he just snakebit or is there something that the Statcast numbers aren't picking up?
 

chawson

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Speaking of Statcast numbers, can we talk about Matt Barnes? The split between his ERA (7.71) and his xERA (3.01) is off the charts. Last night he gave up a 280 ft fly ball and a 66 mph grounder, which normally would be a decent outing, except that they ended up being a bloop double and a ground single through a drawn-in infield. I can't find the actual launch angle/xBA for those two PAs but there's clearly a pattern here. Is he just snakebit or is there something that the Statcast numbers aren't picking up?
Yeah, I think snakebit is more appropriate than bad right now. He looked awful earlier in the season but has trended up recently, even if the numbers aren't reflecting it.

51661

His fastball velocity was between 95 and 98 last year before his mid-June collapse. The lack of velocity wasn't the problem when he returned later in the year, but it has not really been there this year, so this is an encouraging climb.

51662

Barnes' fastball spin was around 2300-2450 last year before the collapse. His breaking ball spin was between 2100 and 2300. The good stuff has only really been there the last two outings, but these could be encouraging climbs too.
 
Jul 16, 2005
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The way the bullpen has been handled this season seems like a tell. If you told Bloom and Cora tomorrow that they need to win the next five games or they're fired, Whitlock would be closing. In reality, Bloom and Cora are focused on the future, so they're stretching Whitlock out and hoping that he and Houck are part of the rotation of the future even if it costs them games now. Part of me thinks that management saw the teams the MFY and Jays put together and decided they weren't going to turn the team's development plan upside-down to compete.

On Casas, Bloom said: "Obviously looking at how he does versus lefties, how he does versus big-league stuff is really important." Their self-scouting may be saying that Casas is not ready to hit major-league breaking balls yet, and they don't want to call him up just to look like Dalbec or Duran. Separately, putting Casas in the position of having to save a struggling team is unfair to him and probably not great for his development. They are making sure he's ready before he's called up.

And if you're going to kill Bloom, the place to start is the Barnes extension. That extension turned the entire bullpen upside-down and is taking up a lot of money that could've been spent on bringing in better arms to throw at the wall until someone showed a little reliability.

Anyway, they are 29 games in. I'm mentally prepared for the rest of this season to be a disaster, but I do think it's a little early for the extremity of opinion in this thread.
[/Q
The Barnes extension sure looks like a mistake, but it doesn't involve enough money to prevent the team from doing anything else it wants to.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Brayan Bello's AAA debut:

2R/10K/6H/1BB (1.60ERA, 42K/12BB @ Portland)

So it seems they have a pretty exciting international prospect knocking on the door bolstering their starting depth.
 

chrisfont9

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Diekman's recent numbers are troubling. Last year his ERA jumped from 2.84 On September 1 to 3.86 at the end. From September 4 he gave up 11 hits and 8 BB for a WHIP of 1.9. Oakland may have seen something here. After paying him $4,000,000 for 2021, they bought out his 2022 option for $750,000.

Maybe, as you say, Diekman will revert to the mean, but I calculate his current WHIP at 1.744, much closer to last September's 1.9 than to his career 1.37. These are small sample sizes to be sure but they suggest that Diekman, now in his age 35 season, may be in a secular decline.
This sort of variance is pretty normal for relievers. If you look at his game log, he pitched 13(!) times in September and had three poor outings resulting in 3 ER each time. He let up one run over the other ten appearances, so the numbers are bouncing around while he is still basically pitching well. He might have been wearing down a bit -- the kind of consistency he established over his first 55 appearances is pretty taxing.

This year he has pitched 16 times and allowed an earned run in two of those. One was the Toronto game, a bad one. Two other blown saves involved a total of one hit and two walks. The rest of the time he has done his job by one measure or another. When a guy pitches in short relief, the overall stat line is not super helpful. One bad outing skews what might otherwise be a record of significant dependability.