The Hanging Curve – Baseball Opinion Blog with MLB Analysis that won’t Bend or Break

Whatever Happened to Tom Green?

I was watching Family Guy tonight, and there was a pretty hilarious reference to Tom Green in it. That got me thinking: where the hell did that guy go? For all the hoopla his show and ridiculous movie made upon launch he sure faded back into the woodwork awful fast.

Also tonight I saw Jeff Suppan and Derrick Turnbow get absolutely hammered by the Cubs. How fast the hurler can fall from grace in this game. Turnbow is currently occupying the inner circle of baseball Hell, coincidentally one circle “better” than teamate Eric Gagne.

Turnbow. This is a guy who was an incredible closer in the 2005 season, essentially his rookie campaign, with 1.74 ERA, 39 saves, and (more importantly) 2.66 K/BB and a nasty .199 BAA. Chucking a fastball at 98, I saw him a number of times looking absolutely unhittable. Mariano Rivera type shit; throw in a couple extra walks.

Then, somewhere around the time he pitched in the ’06 All-Star game, he forgot how to pitch. Hell, he forgot how to throw even. In July, he pitched in 11 games and only amassed 6.1 innings, yet managed to walk 11 batters and give up a .379 BAA, with four losses and four blown saves in five save opportunities. From July ’06 until now he’s logged a 6.68 ERA with 76 walks in 94.1 innings. Horrid.

Does the radar gun tell the tale? From what I’ve looked at, he’s been throwing around 94 on average this season, topping out at 96 on occasion. But does a few miles per hour take you from top of the pitching food chain to pathetic bottom-feeder of the baseball world? Or was he simply unable to parry the adjustments of big-league batters and thus has become a curious record of Darwinian failure in MLB’s Burgess Shale? Perhaps Tom Green could take a lesson from this baseball Neanderthal.

RP Rotisserie

Trip and I were talking the other day about how ridiculous relief pitching has become. Since when was it not only socially acceptable, but common practice to have a pitcher(s) who can only pitch 1/27th of the game? At most? It’s cowardice.

Then, low and behold, the box score I was following spits out this gem of an inning:

A. Ramirez singled to left
K. Fukudome doubled to deep center, A. Ramirez to third
M. DeRosa singled to right center, A. Ramirez scored, K. Fukudome to third
R. Cedeno struck out swinging
D. Ward hit for H. Blanco
P. Feliciano relieved J. Smith
G. Soto hit for D. Ward
M. DeRosa to second on wild pitch
G. Soto intentionally walked
M. Murton hit for B. Howry
J. Sosa relieved P. Feliciano
M. Murton grounded into fielder’s choice, K. Fukudome out at home, M. DeRosa to third, G. Soto to second
R. Johnson grounded out to second

End result is Feliciano comes in to throw a wild pitch, and intentionally walk a batter, then he’s dumped for Sosa. And the Cubs play right back: they payed Ward something along the lines of $7,500 (his salary per diem) to stand in the on deck circle for a couple minutes.

Now, some of this I can tolerate. Take a Dámaso Marte. A manager might consider him a left-handed specialist because his career splits list a .193 BAA by lefties. However, righties have only hit .249, which is significantly higher, but it’s still good. The man can pitch to either side, he just happens to decimate lefties. Furthermore, these splits are for 184.2 IP for lefties and 232.2 IP against righties.

So, you have an inning with lefty-righty-lefty due up. Bring in your Marte, he’ll kill the lefties and probably get the right hander out too, but don’t use three pitchers like a goddamn coward. That’s how you get A.J. Burnett losing the game in the 14th inning.

Hanging Curves

  • Marte pitched two innings on Wednesday against the Cardinals, facing 4 righties, 1 lefty and 1 switch hitter. The lefty got a hit, but was caught stealing a play later.
  • Ironically, Sosa gets hung out to dry in the next frame of the game showed above. He ends up getting hammered while pitching the next inning, and being forced to pitch out of it to the tune of four earned runs.
  • Daryle Ward hasn’t made this much money by doing so little since he gave up competitive eating to play baseball.