Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baseball recap

True to form last night the Rockies got shaking starting pitching and the Cardinals suffered another blown save opportunity from closer Jason Isringhausen. I was excited to see how the pitching match up of Cardinals young ace Adam Wainwright and Rockies young ace Jeff Francis would play out but Francis didn't play up to his ability - again. He's had a very rough year so far and last night got himself into trouble early on. For the Rockies to have any sort of success this year Francis obviously has to get himself on track.

And what to make of the Cards Isringhausen? It's only May 8th and the guy has 4 blown saves. Good teams don't give away games they are leading in the 8th and 9th innings. Izzy has struggled for a few years now (it was Wainwright who was the Cards closer in the 2006 World Series run) Izzy is well enough past his prime that the team needs to move him out of the closer spot - soon. The much smarter than me guys at the Cardinals blog "Viva El Birdos" have this to say,

does the bullpen have issues? absolutely. but let’s keep them in perspective; the pen isn’t killing the team.


i might be telling a different story in a week or two, however, if they don’t get izzy out of the closer’s role. here’s the statistic that scares me about him: only 11 percent of his strikes have been swing / misses this year. throughout his career, that figure has been at 18 or 19 percent; even in 2006, 16 percent of his strikes came on whiffs. he’s just not missing bats anymore...

his offerings are running into bats nearly 50 percent more often than they did last year, and 33 percent more often than they did even during izzy’s peg-legged 2006 season. the league whiff-per-pitch average is 9.9 percent, meaning izzy is well below average this season. it's not just a case of a few off games, or a few unlucky hits that have fallen in. isringhausen isn't the same pitcher he used to be, not by a longshot --- he can’t throw it past hitters anymore. and for that reason, the cardinals can’t keep sending him out there to protect leads.

The guy has lost it as far as being able to bring the heat and throw balls by batters. This isn't a surprise it happens to closers all the time and it usually happens fairly quickly and there's no recovery from it. Izzy has to be demoted.

On the bright side it's only one game and the Cardinals still enjoy a 3 game lead on the floundering Cubs. As a part-time Rockies fan there were things to enjoy last night as well, solid play from Hawpe in right to name one.

If, by some chance, you are still reading this and are interested the guys at Viva El Birdos run through the Cardinals options later on in their post on the bullpen.

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