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4/20/09

Pitching Checkpoint

This off day I was planning or writing something about the catching situation, but since there were a few new developments on the pitching side, I decided not to ignore those. Since it looks like there will be a rain out tomorrow, I will discuss catching tomorrow.

It is old news by now, but Jesse Crain has been placed at the 15-day DL retroactive to a couple days ago and Jose Mijares has been called up from Rochester to replace him. LEN3 was the first to break that story. Mijares after an awful spring when he showed up in camp looking like Pat Williams and pitching in a way that made Kevin Frederick look like a Cy Young candidate, seems to have found parts of his last September in Rocherster, where in five games he amassed these numbers: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 0 ER (0.00 ERA, 0.47 WHIP.) Crain did get overused so far this season. It was inexcusable for Gardy to put him in the 9th inning to close a blow out game. That is done, it cannot be corrected, but I hope that Gardenhire realizes his mistake and does not repeat it. Speaking of repeating mistakes, when Gardenhire was asked about who the set up man will be now, he answered that everyone who is rested except Morillo who is still "a project". Wrong answer. He should select one (even pull names off a a hat) and go with him. The worse thing about a reliever is not knowing what his role is. Pitchers need to get ready to pitch. I hope that Crain gets healthy soon and that he returns effective because he showed signs of brilliance so far this season.

A lot of people are climbing on Glen Perkins' bandwagon this season and with a good reason: he has been the most effective starter on the staff. Yesterday in the Angels series' review I wrote the following about Perkins:

The Perkins of 2009 so far is different than the Perkins of 2008: He apparently worked on his change up and slider this off-season and unlike last year, he has complimentary pitches to his fastball. His slider still needs work, but his change up is very effective. And when he is down on the count he does not throw fastballs in the middle of the plate like he did in 2008. This allows him to get through innings with fewer pitches and pitch deeper into the games



And because a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, I will save myself two thousand and present you with these two from one of the great baseball sites out there, Brooksbaseball.net, to illustrate my previous point.

Exhibit A:



This is a graph of pitch number on the X axis and pitch velocity on the Y axis. This is Perkins pitching in yesterday's game against the Angels. As you can see, it is rare that he is throwing more than 2 fastballs in a row and there is a great mix between fastballs and off-speed pitches.

Exhibit B:



This is from a typical Perkins' outing in 2008. The 8/14 game in Seattle: He throwed a series of only fastballs four times (red circles-me-Bert), very few off-speed pitches, and when he got in trouble towards the end of his outing he threw 10 straight fastballs. This was not the way to pitch successfully and I had indicated ad noseum last season, that if this continues, Perkins does not belong in a major league rotation.

I am very happy that this has change and I hope that Glen keeps it up and when in trouble does not revert to bad habits.

The general opinion is that the Twins' starters have struggled last season:

here is a little known fact: The Twins (co-lead the majors) with 9 starters going more than six innings. I hope this makes the Twins' fans feel a little better.

10 comments:

Marv said...

Fascinating graph of Perkins' pitches. Hope he keeps that going. Also interesting that the Twins are getting 6 innings out of as many or more starters than anyone else at this point.
Crain out, in my mind, is a very bad thing. With Morillo 'a project' that taxes our BP all the more. Mijares needs to be at least a shadow of what he was in September or we got issues. We need Ayala & Guerrier to step up as well. I have a lot of faith in Breslow and believe he's ready to give us some good innings.
I think there's reason for optimism if the Twins offense can keep putting up some runs.

thrylos98 said...

I think that losing Crain for 2 weeks hurts. How much? We'll find out. Ayala needs to pick up a lot of slack, and Gardy needs to stop bringing in relievers to face one batter. The Red Sox series would be interesting for the offense. Let's hope that the bats woke up and it was not an artifact of facing a bunch of AAA pitchers with the Angels.

Anonymous said...

thrylos,

Looking at the Angels series from another perspective, the Twins beat a team they should have beaten.

Good teams always beat the teams they should beat.

So, I'm suggesting the Twins are a good team and Boston should be worried.

What I'm looking forward to is the return of Mauer. A lineup with Denard Span leading off, followed by Mauer, Morneau, Crede and Kubel should give opposing managers something to worry about.

Food for thought, Gomez or Punto in the two spot? Casilla just isn't producing at the plate right now.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

From those 2, I'd say Punto, probably because Gomez does not need additional pressure...

that said, here is a out of the box thought:

theoretically, the #2 hitter should be able to take pitches to allow the #1 hitter to advance. Why don't they try to plug Delmon at the #2 spot to make him take pitches? It might be a win-win situation.

Casilla should have a close personal relationship with the bench for a while. His OPS is .468

Anonymous said...

Thrylos,

Delmon is indeed an interesting choice. He's got the speed and he does put the ball in play a lot. So, I can see it.

On another note, my better half has purchased two tickets so we can see the Twins play the Angels at Anaheim Stadium. Behind the first base dugout, 16 rows up..I'm looking forward to it.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

I am jealous!

have fun at the game. I hope the Twins win :)

Anonymous said...

thrylos,

I'm completely disgusted with Cuddyer. Swings at the first pitch with the bases loaded and 2 outs.

Gardy needs to bench that guy.

And I'm usually a Cuddyer fan.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

He'll have his chance in the second game, but I bet he won't do it... It's up to Smith to find someone to take him, otherwise if healthy he will play in 150 games...

Anonymous said...

Thrylos,

I counted 4 two out homers between the two games. Was that your count also?

I also am not impressed with Boston this year, even though they beat on the Twins.

Anyway, disgusting pitching and anemic hitting. Uggh.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

Blake,

3. Baker's second homer was with no outs. All others were with 2 outs... Some of them with 2 strikes. Ouch.

Cuddyer better sit for the best part of the Cleveland series, he just doesn't cut it any more. I hope that pitching actually improves. Liriano had a bad inning. I think that a lot of it is pitch selection and Mauer is really missed more than at the batter's box.