Tuesday, 10 June 2008

A pitch count is just a number...


I don't think I'm in the minority here that asking Dustin McGowan to pitch in the 9th inning of tonight's game was a retarded move by Gibbons. The Jays are up by 2, and yes, the bullpen hasn't been perfect as of late. But pushing Dusty to throw 125 pitches in a meaningless game against the Seattle Mariners brought a ton of risk to McGowan's future with the reward being a game we should have won regardless of who pitched the ninth.

It's not like this was a do or die game for the playoffs or anything. There's no excuse for McGowan to throw 125 pitches in a game like this...

McGowan is a TJ survivor, and this will essentially be his first full season in the majors. To allow him to throw 125 pitches in this game is inexcusable. If the bullpen can't be expected to hold a 2 run lead while getting 3 outs, we have bigger issues than the flawed lineup that cannot hit with RISP.

I didn't mind too much when McGowan threw after the 100th pitch. 110 shouldn't be too bad, and while 116 makes me nervous, as long as he doesn't do that very often; or has an extra day of rest; or is pulled out earlier in his next start, it's not a horrible pitch count. But I think at that point (the end of the 8th) you gotta tell McGowan he's pitched a terrific game, and that you're going to hand it over to the bullpen.

I'm glad the Jays won, and McGowan looked pretty sharp in the 9th. But I don't think it was a necessary move to keep him in, and I hope that McGowan's health doesn't come into jeopardy as a result.

Switching Gears

Just throwing it out there - when Zaun comes back from the D/L, if Wilkerson isn't producing, should the Jays try out a DH/C platoon with Barajas and Zaun, with Stairs/Mench playing in LF? With Stew on the d/l, Wilkerson becomes the fourth OF. With my idea, the Jays keep Barajas kickass bat in the lineup. By the way, at the time nobody gave a shit about the Barajas signing, but since I've bitchslapped a lot of JP/Gibbons decisions lately, I'll give him props for signing Barajas, who's been an absolute monster lately. Definetly looks like a terrific FA signing to this date.

But back to my original point - if Stairs/Mench platoon in LF (with Stairs getting an odd start vs RHP as a DH cause he's old and we don't wanna wear him out in the OF), would it be wise to use Zaun & Barajas as DH/C? Alternate them every day or so, and they stay pretty fresh. Wilkerson becomes Stairs personally caddy in LF when the Jays have a lead. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but this lineup needs all the help it can get, so I'm just trying some out of the box thinking. Wilkerson has looked better as of late, but I'd hate to see Zaun get AB's over Barajas with the way he's been playing lately. Here, both of these guys get a chance to hit, and I think it has the chance of helping this team score more runs in the short-term.

The only flaws with this is that:

A) If a catcher gets hurt you might have to lose the DH (ie Zaun injured and Barajas = starting DH than Barajas moves to C and the pitcher has to hit).
B) You probably want to avoid A so you keep a third catcher - Thigpen? I'd hate to kill his development, but the way the Jays have used him they really have no intent on making him the C of the future...

Is this idea completely batshit insane, or does it have some merit to try this out maybe 3-4 times a week?

Twitchy.

7 comments:

The Southpaw said...

There's also the fact that Wilkerson is on a nice little roll himself right now.

Cincinnatus C. said...

I hate having catchers DH--there's not only the injury issue; there's also pinch-hitting or -running. I also don't like carrying a third catcher, since they generally can't do anything except sit on the bench just in case. (Thigpen could play first or whatever, but unless he hits better than he has, that's not something you want to have happen.)

I wasn't happy about McGowan going out for the ninth either, but whenever something like that happens, I hope they know something I don't know....

ari said...

they know he isn't pitching again until next tuesday (2 off days) and that the time of game, which is probably more important than the number of pitches, was at around the 2 hour mark.

Jer said...

Let's not get caught up on Wilky's season stats... he's RAKING lately!!!! I think some people just get their hate on for a player and have a hard time dislodging their collective heads from their collective arses!!

The Southpaw said...

Wilkerson's hit 250/455/438 the past week. Without the homerun, he has no extra base hits during that period of time. The OBP is nice, but without the HR I believe the slugging drops down to 250 because it's such a small sample.

Over the last month he's hit 259/340/404. Those numbers aren't terrible when compared to his season line. But it's not someone you absolutely need to have in the lineup, especially from a corner OF. The average LF according to ESPN hits around a 759 OPS(I did team batting and picked the 15th team as a LF) I don't hate Wilkerson either.

Barajas has hit 338/400/632 over the past month. That's ridiculous, and I wanted to suggest a way to keep his bat in the lineup for as long as possible.

Twitchy.

eyebleaf said...

with the way the jays are hitting, you're right, the jays simply have to find a way to keep rowdy rod in the lineup...he's freaking hype...

as for mcgowan's pitch count, i don't know, it was high...but he deserved a chance to finish what he started last night. he was filthy. and i think we need to look back to the days of yore when pitchers went out and threw complete games on the reg. perhaps we're too tied to the pitch count these days. i dunno, when i heard he threw 125, i didn't think it was a problem, especially considering it'll be a week before he's back in there

Anonymous said...

No offense, but pitching counts are complete BS. Every pitcher and every individual outing is different so it's just insane to lump every pitcher under one tidy pitch count. McGowan was still hitting 95+ on his fastball and lows 90s on his change in the 9th inning after a 2 hour game so he wasn't tired. He hadn't given up may hits or walks either. Factor in the off day and it was totally the right (non) move. Gibby should be praised for that. And I don't buy the "coming off TJ surgery" thing either. Like 25 pitches is gonna break his arm or something. Gibby shrewdly considered the variables and decided the pitch count had no bearing.