Monday, April 18, 2011

Can't Stop the Bum Regression

Baseball ain't fair. If I were ranking the reasons I love it, that brief statement would be both near the top and right at the bottom. It drives us crazy - just when you think you figured it out, well, Litsch happens.

Poor, poor Jesse Litsch pitched very well against the Red Sox on Sunday, especially if you ignore the inning in which he did not (something Litschians love to do.) The 4-run second inning was hardly a true laser show, dismissing it as two bloops and a blast does J.D. Drew a great disservice. He hit a line drive so hard that Jesse Litsch ducked from and shortstop Yunel Escobar jumped for yet the ball still landed some 250 feet from home plate. A rocket.

Despite pitching well, Litsch seemed to exhaust his ability to defy gravity against the Sox. After a game in which he allowed 10 baserunners and stranded them all (a.k.a. not a sound strategy) Litsch went the other way, stranding just 30% of the runners he (and his defense) allowed to reach base.

Poor Litsch (or Nibbles, as I decided to anoint him) also saw his home run per fly ball rate jump from "none" to "some", surrendering his first round tripper of the year. Another shame as Litsch did an amazing job keeping the ball on the ground against the Sox, something I love seeing from him.

Jesse Litsch is just there, in the middle. Some might think him adequate while others simply mediocre. The only real difference between the Jesse Litsch thus far in 2011 and Jesse Litsch for his career is the lack of home runs. Keep doing what you do Jesse, inning eaters gotta eat.

UPDATE: It has become clear to me that I'm unable to write about Jesse Litsch without previously-stated biases (small B) leaking into what I attempt to convey, just as many readers cannot divorce my previous criticism from my praises (however faint) for his recent performance.

Combined in his last two starts; Litsch pitched 11 innings, struck out 9, walked 5, gave up 1 home run and 12 total hits. He allowed 6 total runs, 4 "earned." That's fine.

The walks aren't likely to be that high moving forward but neither are the strikeouts. If they come down in tandem I'm still cool. The ground balls are plentiful1 and that is certainly a good thing.

If that is his (tiny sample-sized)contribution, so be it. 5+ innings a start 25 times this season, I can live with that. I don't hate Jesse Litsch and it surely has nothing to do with "how he looks on the mound", something I've heard before but doesn't even enter my mind when I watch him.

He isn't my favorite pitcher or one I particularly like watching but I promise I'll go easier on him, so long that we can all agree the contributions of a 5th starter on an 80-win team are mighty inconsequential in the end. Deal? Deal.

Sunday Morning Fun Run

You know what was awesome about yesterday's game? The Aaron Hill delayed steal of home. Clever, inventive baseball from a team struggling to score runs. Sure, the old "you play for one run that is exactly what you get" proviso applies, but it is indeed fun to watch.

You know what isn't fun? Listening to Tabby and Buck breathlessly exhort the Jays to run because of all the "pressure it puts on the defense" and how much of an impact it has on pitchers. It drove me crazy enough that I had to be all dickish about it.

Jays Record When:
  • they steal two bases: 3-4
  • they steal one base: 5-6
  • they are caught stealing: 1-4
  • they hit a home run: 6-2.
I would be lying if I said there is any sort of connection between the game outcomes and these cherry picked examples...but let's not go crazy proclaiming this as a revolution which will change baseball forever.

1 - So Sluttered!

Image courtesy of some lego Wiki.


  1. Don't talk bad about Jesse Litsch.

    You might make Wilner cry.

  2. Also not fun about yesterday's game - giving away multiple outs by being reckless on the basepaths. The going crazy with the running game thing is getting on my nerves fast, to be honest.

  3. The Jesse Litsch hate on this site is growing perverse.



  5. But we need 3rd starters or better on this team, says the Anthopoloupolous!

  6. Listch had a bad inning, which did not necessarily make it a bad outing. He struck out Youkilis twice, and Drew once, so he's shown himself to be a cut above our sixth starter, Mr. Jojo.

    If the batters had provided 3-5 runs instead of 1, I'm sure your evaluation of his performance would be just as objective, but you would be getting flamed all around for criticizing a pitcher who 'kept his team in the game'.

    I do appreciate the rational analysis, especially after reading the sportsnet game threat a few days in a row.

  7. The only place I hear `hustle and heart`is from miserable bloggers after a loss.

    If our opponents are going to trot out shitty catchers and ignorant pitchers, then anybody capable of taking the base should do just that.

  8. I see that Litsch had 12 swinging strikes (9 on his slider). His average velocity on all three fastballs that he throws was just under 90 and his slider velo was 88. Pretty good (and pink) stuff.

  9. You need a sportsync radio my friend. I have already given up on Buck "Fisted" Martinez and Pat "He is sho shtrong" Tabler.

    Jerry and Alan with a delay so they match up time-wise with the television is where it's at.

  10. For me, some of the shine is coming off the idea of Farrell as a great hire.

    This early in the season, the record and individual numbers don't really bother me. But the decisions made by the staff definitely have me worried.

    Rivera batting behind Bautista at times, Dotel consistently pitching against lefties and a number of ridiculous steal attempts? That's Managing 101 I do believe.

  11. Why are the steal attempts ridiculous? They are increasing our run expectancy.

  12. Not all the steal attempts are ridiculous. I like that the team is running more, but I think they're going a bit overboard with it.

    Down by a bunch of runs late with one out Patterson should not be trying to swipe 3rd. You need hits, not sac fly's at that point. And a hit and run with Lind on the basepaths is also a very risky move.

    I'm a fan of playing aggressive, but you have to be smart about it.


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