On consecutive nights this week, the Rogers Centre showcased two very different pitchers. One who does nearly everything right, one who might be at the end of his leash.
Marc Rzepczynski pitched wonderfully Wednesday night, striking out 7 against only one walk. He missed bats, he changed speeds, he induced ground balls. It was awesome. I'm unabashed in my support/belief in Rzepczynski and last night went a long way in explaining why. Other than the two home runs he surrendered; he was great.
Jesse Litsch, deep in his post-Tommy John hangover period, was the opposite. Litsch was bad, as he has been all season long. Jesse Litsch gets nobody out, no matter how hard he tries. His 7 strikeouts in 24.2 innings thrown in 2010 make for a tidy 2.55 K/9! That's downright awful, even for "heave-it-and-hope" Jesse.
See, strikeouts are important. Jeff Sullivan of SB Nation and Lookout Landing summed it up nicely yesterday in reference to Brandon "holy shit, Anthopoulos made Jack Z his dog's bitch" Morrow
But you can afford some walks when you strike out more than a quarter of the batters you face. Striking out that many batters limits their opportunities to do damage...While strikeouts aren't everything, they can help make up for an awful lot of shortcomingsEverybody has shortcomings. Marc Rzepczynski sometimes loses sight of the plate and offers up a few more gopher balls than you'd like. But Litsch? If the Listch isn't exactly right, he gets covered to all corners of the yard.
Remember when B.J. Ryan came back from Tommy John and begged, borrowed, and stole 32 saves? It took him a while to find his spots and his velocity and movement were way down, but he was okay? Doing that for one inning a night, needing to con only three hitters into retiring themselves is one thing. Trying to get all the way through a major league lineup twice is something else entirely.
Jesse Litsch needs to go away - soon. Not that I wish him ill, he just doesn't have what it takes at this time. Usually the kind of guys who can get away with really low K rates are sinkerballing maniacs. Litsch may throw that slutter of his until the precious new tendons deep in his elbow are ground to a fine paste, but he has a long way to go to reach maniac-level status. See, that's the thing with barely above replacement-level fifth starters: it doesn't take much for someone better to take your job.
Why that video? No reason, it's simply the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life. It is perfect. Not many things are. Sorry, Lebron-fatigue (on both sides) makes me wistful.