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Quickie: Farnsworth is unraveling June 13, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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While the World’s Worst Sports Blog is on a temporary work-related hiatus, its regular entries have been replaced with periodic unfocused ranting by the author.

When the Mets released Kyle Farnsworth, I celebrated. Although he’d converted 3 out of 4 save opportunities, he was a waste of money for an unpredictable arm. He’s been wildly inconsistent throughout his career and wasn’t worth the money the Mets had decided to spend on him.

It’s clear why he was given the chance to close: in his first ten games, Kyle has a 0.96 ERA and a 6/2 KBB on a BAbip of .286. His next nine games before release tell a different story: he threw a 5.86 ERA, and yes, some of that is due to his BAbip jumping to .320. It was also due in part to his inability to throw strikes; he faced 36 batters on 138 pitches in the first ten games, 65% of them strikes; in his second block of games, he faced 35 batters on 137 pitches (almost identical) but his strike percentage dropped to 58% and his KBB fell to 4/4. (That basically means he took two Ks and replaced them with walks. Good for you, Kyle!)

Thus far, his time with the Astros has been mostly new Kyle, not old Kyle: 11 games, .280 BAbip, 58% strikes, and a KBB below 1. Thanks, Houston, for taking him off our hands!

Mets, Game 21: Tales Of Interest April 24, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Three interesting things happened last night:

  • Kyle Farnsworth earned his second save of the year. Thus far, both saves have come against the Cardinals. Kyle is the third Met to earn a save this year, behind Jose Valverde and Carlos Torres; had Bobby Parnell converted his only opportunity, the Mets would have four and be tied with the Yankees for the lead in this category – four Yankees (Shawn Kelley, David Phelps, David Robertson, and Adam Warren) have converted save opportunities, with Adam Warren blowing more saves than he converted. Like the Mets, the Yankees suffered from closer David Robertson disappearing to the DL, with David Phelps and Carlos Torres each being the odd long man to earn a save. Last year, the Mets were in heavy competition for this as well – they used seven pitchers to earn saves (including Vic Black and Frank Francisco, each of whom had only a cup of coffee in the majors last year). Only the Astros, with 8, had more individuals earning saves.
  • The Mets also used five pitchers and no pinch hitters last night. Jon Niese went 6 2/3, striking out twice and walking once. He came out in the top of the seventh after making the second out in the sixth; the game ended with the pitcher’s spot on deck for the Mets. Daisuke Matsuzaka finished the seventh; Carlos Torres and Scott Rice combined for the setup and Farnsworth saved the game after allowing three hits and striking out one in his inning. I was surprised to see DiceK in a short relief role, but he’s handling it very well so far.
  • Michael Wacha had a fascinating game – for the first three innings, every out came via strikeout. He then got a bad case of the yips in the fourth, and though he made it through the inning allowing only two runs, Kolten Wong hit for him in the fifth. Wacha’s final line was 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R (both earned), 4 BB, 10 K. Danny Salazar of Cleveland actually bested Wacha, striking out 10 in 3 2/3 innings pitched back on April 10th. Felix Hernandez also struck out 10 in a four-inning start last year, in the infamous “bee game.”

Good news, everyone! April 5, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Perhaps I’m just giddy with the excitement of the Mets notching their first win of the season last night. Everything seemed to fit together – Jenrry Mejia was solid early on, and despite two brushes with injury, he pitched six excellent innings (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (earned), 4 BB, 8 K) before turning it over to the bullpen. John Lannan is struggling as a reliever, credited with a hold despite allowing two runs on as many hits (one home run) and striking out one in his 2/3 of an inning; Kyle Farnsworth pitched a baffling perfect inning and a third before Jose Valverde came in and struck out one, walking one, to get his first save of the inning.

Professor Farnsworth was similarly perfect in nineteen games last year. Those include three appearances with one batter faced, four with two batters faced, thirteen complete innings, and one five-out situation. Three of the complete innings were finished games for Pittsburgh, where he finished seven games, most of them losses. Shockingly, Farnsworth blew only one save, earning two saves in Pittsburgh and two one-out holds in Tampa Bay. That means with last night’s hold, Farnsworth is halfway to last year’s mark. Hopefully, Farnsworth won’t be pressed into service as an emergency closer this year: His time in Tampa Bay had a 5.70 ERA and a .337 batting average on balls in play against a .298 league average BAbip. Since Tampa Bay’s team BAbip was .286, that means they got a little lucky, and Farnsworth got unlucky sometimes. When he headed to Pittsburgh, though, it was like Farns was a totally different player – and he was. Against an NL with a league average .296 BAbip, and playing for Pittsburgh with a team .289 BAbip against, Farnsworth’s BAbip was a surprisingly low .250. That’s a .087 drop from his Tampa Bay average, or about 2 hits every 23 balls in play. Hopefully, Farnsworth can keep up the luck in 2014, but frankly the better news would be if we had a more reliable setup man.