Hasty Judgment

By no means was Jamie Moyer ever expected to rival Tim Lincecum for the NL Cy Young award this year. And by no means was he — nor should have been — expected to repeat last year’s FIP-defying season. So my reaction to his allowing the first four Mets hitters to circle the bases and the first five to reach base was a bit too much. Little did I know the BABIP gods would make things right again.

Here’s the first five Mets hitters in the first:

– L. Castillo doubled to shallow left
– F. Tatis singled to right, L. Castillo to third, F. Tatis to second advancing on throw
– D. Wright singled to shallow right center, L. Castillo and F. Tatis scored, D. Wright to second advancing on throw
– C. Beltran homered to deep center, D. Wright scored
– J. Francoeur singled

And this was the rest of the game:

– W. Valdez lined out to shallow right
– M. Pelfrey grounded out to third
– L. Castillo lined out to center

– F. Tatis fouled out to shallow left
– D. Wright grounded out to second
– C. Beltran lined out to third

– J. Francoeur popped out to right
– O. Santos grounded out to pitcher
– D. Murphy popped out to shortstop

– W. Valdez grounded out to pitcher
– M. Pelfrey grounded out to third
– L. Castillo flied out to right center

– F. Tatis singled to pitcher
– D. Wright lined out to third
– C. Beltran flied out to left
– J. Francoeur lined out to third

– O. Santos flied out to deep center
– D. Murphy doubled to center
– D. Murphy stole third
– W. Valdez grounded out to third, D. Murphy scored
– N. Evans grounded out to third

In short:

  • First five hitters: 0 outs, 3 singles, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 runs
  • Rest of the game: 21 outs, 1 single, 1 double, 1 run, 0 walks

Jamie got the job done after a rough start, and actually gave the Phillies a decent start given the circumstances. Not too many pitchers can get shelled to start a game the way he did and rebound for an otherwise quality start through seven innings.

Unfortunately, the Phillies’ bullpen could not lead Moyer to a victory, as the trio of Brett Myers, Chan Ho Park, and Ryan Madson combined to give up five runs in two innings of work en route to a 10-9 loss. Four of the five runs came courtesy two David Wright home runs, one off of Myers and one off of Madson.

[Tom McCarthy lazy transition]Speaking of hasty judgment[/Tom McCarthy lazy transition], let’s hold off on the pitchfork mobbing for a little while when it comes to Ryan Madson. He’s had very limited opportunities to close out games. Yes, he has not performed very well in those limited opportunities, but give the guy a chance to prove himself before citing his lack of a “closer’s mentality” or some such intangible.

The fact is, Madson has ridiculous stuff and will enjoy success against Major League hitters more often than not. Including this season, his xFIP has decreased significantly every season since 2006, hand-in-hand with a similarly-increasing strikeout rate. Give him a chance and don’t let your emotions guide your judgments as mine did during Moyer’s rough start today.

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  1. pete

    September 12, 2009 07:09 PM

    If they can maintain a 5+ games lead, and assuming Happ is healthy, end of next week it may be time to onsider Pedro in short relief.That’s how bad it is.

    This game is return karma for the Bruntlett triple play game. In last two weeks,Phils have lost to their old teammates (Astros — and Coste has every right to speak out after Dubee knocked him in press), tried to get healthy against basement teams, and would now be on verge of slide if there was division rival. As it stands, home field is gone.

    Without bullpen stud it’s going to be by committee.Pedro at least shows no choke.

    At this point, it’s close to difficult to stabilize for playoffs. Got to consider going with 13 pitchers. Also must keep starters in longer, dont’cha think (maybe moe than 90 pitches). Also must elevate Eyre and Walker. And manage to forget about youse got the eighth and youse got the ninth, even if Madson has success ( the pen and Madson cant get much worse). Come playoffs, it’s going to be batter by batter as much as inning by inning.

  2. matt g

    September 13, 2009 09:15 AM

    It’s amazing how easy it is to buy into the “closer mentality” (or “clutch hitter”) arguments when you’re a fan of a team with a struggling closer. On a rational level I know there is no evidence of “clutchiness” in baseball, but at the same time when Madson came into the game yesterday I thought, “He blows way too many saves, he’s gonna blow this one.” Of course when he blows yesterday’s game he confirms my predisposition, yet I ignore his saves against the Nationals. I guess what I’m trying to say, is it’s amazing how strong the urge is to attribute the actions of athletes (and others) to some sort of internal courage or fortitude (or lack thereof) rather than skill and randomness even when you know the latter to dictate much more than the former. For fans who haven’t been even been exposed to sabermetric thinking and the research that supports that thinking, it’s no wonder they’re so resistant to some of the basic principles.

    I somehow missed this blog while frequenting many other Phillies blog. I’m definitely adding this to my RSS reader. Keep up the great writing.

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