First, the numbers:
Hitting – Home and Road Splits
Hitting – Left and Right Splits
How did this road trip impact their road averages? Here you go:
Then there is the pitching
And as much as we have focused on the poor hitting last month (3 shut-outs), it was the pitching that really stunk:
Okay, there are the numbers, some things that jumped out at me:
1) The league average in 2014 for BABIP (Batting average for balls put into play) is .300. Some of our pitchers had very luck (or good, there is some element of pitcher’s getting weak ground and fly balls) – DLR is one. But other had the opposite luck (or they were grooving too many balls), Boone Logan at .417 and Masset at .364 (that is largely one game).
2) On the hitting side, each time I do this I slowly see the numbers fall, as you expect. But look at the decline in some player’s numbers, it can be connected to that BABIP numbers. On the road Charlie Blackmon is down to .263. Tulo is at .244, despite hitting the ball harder than any other player this year (they track that stat as well). Some of it is due to the hitter, always rolling over ground balls or hitting easy flies – CarGo at .202 and Wilin at .191 are examples of that…but even then, those are really low numbers. In other words, we have not had a lot of luck on the road.
3) As a number of you expected, our lefties are starting to struggle against lefties, especially lefty relievers. Blackmon (whose road woes are a big reason for our decline in scoring as our leadoff guy), is still above .300, but Morneau is at .242 (ie, he needs to sit against lefties if possible), CarGo is down to .277 (though so much of that is not hitting anyone…again, he needs DL time and sorry, I know Weiss is a player’s manager but you need to make the call). We have a decent record against lefties but you love it when you have lefties who can crush lefty pitching.
4) Tulo has carried this team. Sadly, the past 14 days, .200 avg, .583 OPS. Worse, the past 7 days, .063 and .174! Yikes, that one number may tell you why we had a 2-7 trip.
5) I was surprised when I ran the road stats from before the road trip and after. The numbers declined for most players, not all, but not nearly as much as I expected. They hit well in enough of the games to keep their stats high. The problem is things like hitting with runners in scoring position, 2-out hits, and heck, how about hits when you have the bases loaded and nobody out!
6) The pitching is where you see the May decline perfectly. DLR has been an absolute stud in May. And, as much as I harp on Nicasio, I have to admit, he has not been the problem, with a 3.12 ERA and a WHIP of 1.212 (1.3 or 1.33 are what is considered league average, depending on your source). But look at Lyles, his ERA had a big jump as did his WHIP, though again some of that is BABIP (.315). His real problem is 16 walks, and truly the 27Ks are not helping him keep his pitch count down. But then you get to Chacin and Morales and wow…WHIPs over 1.500 with average BABIP, and huge walk totals. We know historically Chacin is not this pitcher, but they are beginning to resemble the 4-5 problems this team was killed by last year. Chacin may need to go back on the DL or something and Morales cannot start again for this team.
7) The relievers are eating huge innings. I think we are #2 in the league last I checked. But that is not an excuse. Why so many walk-offs and blown games (the 2-11 record I harp on). Look at Hawkins (WHIP of 1.957), Logan (1.929), and Brothers (1.543). These are the three guys you know Weiss was planning on (and has) depending on in the 7-8-9th innings. And they simply have been shelled. While Ottavino had a slider hang on Sunday, he has been really good (.618 WHIP), but when he gets beat, it really hurts.
8) The only reason this team has been in so many games with their starters rarely going a full 6 IP, is three names : Belisle, Kahnle, and Masset. Masset’s May numbers are not as lights out as the other 2, but that represents a couple of really bad games. Belisle is pitching even better than the Belisle of old (he gives up a fair number of singles, but that happens to ground-ball pitchers). Still, and ERA under 1 and a WHIP of 1, that is great pitching. Tommy K and his WHIP of 1.091 would be better were it not for so many walks (yes, that is 9 BB and 7Ks). He has been good about getting DPs (3) and not letting hitters get anything on their swing (hence the .150 BABIP). Remains a great scouting find, but even the best scout couldn’t have seen how he would recover from bouts of wildness, which is why he was available in the Rule 5. Masset has been great and as he gets stronger and even more back in the flow, I can only see him being an even more key bullpen piece
9) The saying the SABR people and statheads always say is that things tend to regress to their mean. While some players may finally have put it together and their norm is going to rise (like Blackmon, maybe Lyles and Kahnle), and others do have career years or beyond norm years (like Tulo), the fact is most people do tend to stay within about 95-105% of their career norms. This team had a horrible May, and it shows in a lot of spots, especially the pitching. They need changes in the rotation, both in personnel and in performance. The pen may need some fresh arms (Bettis is pitching great down here, Martin less so but he did a decent job, and Morales even as he has been getting pounded has great career #s vs. lefties and even this year is holding them to .250/.782 – better than Logan by a long shot and about even with Brothers).
10)The team is not going to hit this poorly in June, statistically they should not only hit better at home, they should not only hit much better on the road. They have aside from Cleveland faced a lot of good pitching. They hit well over the last weekend (and pitched horribly). So, I really do expect a big change in June. My biggest concern pitching is Lyles and Nicasio, can they keep it up (we know we need better from 4 and 5). Tulo may not hit .500, but he isn’t going to hit sub.200 either. Hitting wise…CarGo, can he get healthy and get hot?
Anyways, share your thoughts.