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.
1 - So Sluttered!
Image courtesy of some lego Wiki.