Look, beating up on poor Jesse Litsch isn't fun. I get no pleasure from knocking around the pudgy red-headed kid. Good people? I'm sure of it. A decent athlete? Relative to his cup size, of course! A big league pitcher? Mehhh, I'm not convinced.
Maybe that isn't fair, he IS a big league pitcher, making 58 starts over 4 seasons in The Show. Not me nor anyone else is going to take that away from him. My biggest beef with the Jays continually trotting out Litsch is his ceiling. This is it, isn't it? He can be good in very specific circumstances, but completely vulnerable in nearly every other instance.
A line in Mike Wilner's latest blog entry got me on this line of thinking. Quoth the Wilner:
He (Marc Rzepczynksi) may be the odd man out on Tuesday when (if?) Travis Snider gets recalled, especially given the way Jesse Litsch has pitched lately, but the landscape may change dramatically between now and then, with the trade deadline approaching.The way Litsch pitched lately? The same as always. Yes, Jesse Litsch put together a good start in Kansas City, holding the Royals to 1 run on EIGHT hits in 5 2/3 innings. Zero walks and zero strikeouts. After giving up two home runs in each of his previous two starts, Litsch managed keep the ball in the yard against the Royals. Which would be good if not for one key detail:
HE WAS FACING THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Royals, charitably, suck. Awful. A punchless lineup of slap-hitters (and Billy Butler) with no power whatsoever. I defy you to find a better match for Jesse Lisch's skills and abilities. That isn't a good start, pitching well against the Royals counts for nil in my book. Let's not forget the heavy air and vast outfield expanses.
The Royals offensive ineptitude nearly drove me to drink this week. It's bad enough that their poor fans have to deal with it every day, but Buck and Tabby blowing smoke up the long-dead ass of Ewing Kaufman nearly pushed me over the edge. "This is Royals baseball!" they exclaimed as the Royals registered two non-consecutive singles. THE ROYALS ARE A TERRIBLE OFFENSIVE TEAM.
Their strategy is one to avoid at all costs. Remember a few weeks ago when I discussed the correlations between various hitting metrics and runs scored? THE ROYALS ARE THE LIVING EMBODIMENT OF THIS VERY RESEARCH. Hitting for a high average does not generate offense. It just serves to piss me off and waste my precious time. Which, as this post should tell you, is in serious demand.
Image of Listch in the dark courtesy of Reuters via Daylife. Note: those dark shadows IN NO WAY contributed to his decent start against the Red Sox