Baseball Notes 5/31/15: The Bullpens

Despite a number of internet geniuses who think Christ Hatcher is a major league caliber reliever who is a plus in the Dodgers’ bullpen, again today he was plain awful, coming into the game in the bottom of the eighth after the Dodgers had cut the Cardinals lead in half, to 2-1. Hatcher managed one out, on a popped up bunt, in between walking the two other batters he faced. Then the Dodgers’ resident genius, empty uniform non-manager don mattingly brought in Yimi Garcia, who also, after a solid start to the season, has been beyond awful of late, and he immediately gave up a run-scoring single to return the club’s deficit to two runs. Garcia did manage a strikeout before then allowing another hit, but the inning ended with Matt Carpenter being thrown out at the plate.

Garcia, whose ERA is still a solid 2.91, though up from his low of 0.63 just three weeks ago on May 10, has allowed 14 of the last 36 batters he's faced to reach base, giving up six runs of his own in that time plus several others charged to the like of Chris Hatcher. Hatcher has been scored on in each of his last three games, allowing four runs, all earned, four hits and three walks in a grand total of one and
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one-third innings over those three games. That, folks, is an unheard of 5.26 WHIP.

Hatcher’s ERA, however, is still, amazingly, slightly under 7.00, at 6.89. In Seattle, they continue to depend on a guy who is over 7.00, but who still gets the closer innings and who has actually been able to convert the save in 14 of 16 chances by usually allowing just few enough inherited and/or his own runners to score. In his last outing, Fernando Rodney entered the Mariners’ game to start the ninth with the Mariners up 2-0 over Cleveland. He gave up a single and a triple, but managed the third out with the tying run on third. In his prior game against Tampa Bay, he entered the game in the eight with a three-run lead. He blew that save, as the Rays batters delivered as follows: single, single, hit-by-pitch, double, foul out, walk, run-scoring fielder’s choice, tying the game. When Seattle came back to score a run in the ninth, Rodney was credited with the win, despite the blown save. Now that is a scoring rule that screams out for change. For the year, Rodney’s ERA is 7.08 and his WHIP is 1.72. Before the start of the season, I wrote that Rodney would never have another season as good as 2014, and that, so far, has been the case.

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