Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Eating Humble Pie Part 2: Why All Sox Starters Sucked

**Note to folks coming from Deadspin - Comments are always welcome and are appreciated, so feel free to pipe in**

So now it's time to start looking at the projections I made for each group of players, beginning with the starters. (The writing in italics is from the season preview that I did.)
You could also consider this a look at what the hell went wrong with our starters.

1. Mark Buehrle

Buehrle is a horse. He’s been a good and consistent starter for the Sox his whole career. He’s pitched at least 221.1 innings every season, which is a testament to his durability. Last year he started the season on fire and was the AL starter in the All-Star game. If he could put together a full season like that, he would win the Cy Young, no problem. He’s averaged about 16 wins the last 5 years, and I think he’ll win around 17 this year with an ERA in the mid to low 3’s. Not quite Cy worthy, but pretty damn good nonetheless.

What our friend Mark put up, as the biler could surely attest to, was utter garbage. 204 innings pitched, 12-13 record, 4.99 ERA, .305 BAVG against, 1.45 WHIP. Also know as ugly, ugly numbers.

Let's just say I missed the boat entirely with Buhrle. He posted the first losing record of his career, a horrible ERA, and his lowest output of innings. Just about everything about him was bad; I blame it on his new dependence on his batting practice speed fastball and his reluctance to challenge anybody inside. It's also possible that he tanked it, so that he would be traded to his beloved Cardinals. It's a long shot, but they do love lefties that can't get anybody out; See Mulder, Mark.

2. Freddy Garcia

He’s another horse, as are most of the pitchers in the rotation. He’s pitched over 200 innings the last 5 seasons. Freddy isn’t spectacular, but he’s good. He’s an upper-echelon, number two starter. Look for 15 wins and a 3.80 ERA or so.

Again this all comes down to speed. No not like the drug, Freddy is a fan of the ganj, remember? Freddy just like Buehrle had trouble recording anything in the 90's on the speed gun. I remember wondering during his first few starts if the speed gun was broken; clearly it wasn't. Some folks will blame is lack of velocity on injury or on the WBC, but I think mary jane sapped his strength. It's okay, though, with his new splitter he's still an effective pitcher. He pitched damn well down the stretch, including a near perfect game and a near no-hitter. There's hope for next year, assuming he doesn't get traded.

3. Jose Conteras

He’s a pitcher that I never trusted. Even when he was doing amazing during the second half of the season, there was a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that he would regress to the pitcher he was for the Yanks. His kryptonite in the past has been BB’s and wild pitches. He had 75 and 20 respectively. I’m not even going to make a prediction on his output for the year. I still don’t know what he’ll put up. We may get solid as a rock, carry the team into the playoffs Contreras, or the inconsistent, wild, hair-pulling Contreras.

Ok, so I pussied out on making a decision here, but it was with good reason. We got both versions of Jose this year. He started off the year magnificently going 9-0 with a 3.38 ERA before the break, but he reverted to the Jose of old, in the second half. After the ASB he went 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA. Overall he ended up with a 4.27 ERA, which was good enough for best amongst the starters. (That's like winning an award for being the tallest midget).

I said his kryptonite in the past were walks and wild pitches, but he didn't do that badly in either department. Injuries robbed him of his season. After getting back from his sciata problem he wasn't the same pitcher. Pitches that batter normally would have whiffed on were landing in there for singles and doubles. With a season of rest, Jose may be able to come back strong, but he also may just be too old. He's Cuban, after all, for all we know he could actually be 50.

4. Jon Garland

He’s in the same boat as Contreras, maddeningly inconsistent until last year. I have more faith in him, because he’s young and it looks like he’s turned the corner. I also will admit that part of the reason I have more faith in him is that I’ve always pulled for him, ever since we stole him from the North Siders. I think he’ll continue with last season’s form and put up similar numbers. Something in the neighborhood of 15 wins and 3.80 ERA.

Man was I optimistic about our pitchers, or what? Garland was second amongst the starters with a 4.51 ERA, but well above the 3.80 I envisioned. Too bad Jon and Jose couldn't have been combined into one pitcher. Jose had the great first half, and Jon had a great second half. The California kid posted a line of 8-3, 5.37 in the first half and 10-4, 3.61 in the second half. Jon was probably our best pitcher in the second half, save for September, which Freddy owned. Jon's problem seems to be that hitter's pick up too easily on him as the game wears on. His ERA the second time through the lineup was a stellar 1.91, but that third trip up to the plate was when hitters cashed in. They lit Jon up to the tune of a 7.20 ERA. Jon did get better each month, until he tired in September, so the future is still bright for him. Maybe next year he'll get that 3.80 ERA, or perhaps I'm being unduly optimistic.

5. Javier Vazquez

He is by far the best 5th starter in the bigs. Teams would kill to have even their third starter put up numbers like Vazquez has. He’s another innings eater and has averaged 13 wins the past five seasons. So look for something in that ballpark for this season. I think he’ll get progressively stronger as the year goes on due to his work with pitching coach Don Cooper.

This guy is just an enigma. I don't know what to make of him. He has absolutely electric stuff, but apparently he doesn't know how to vary his style. He got hit progressively harder each time through the lineup. 1st time through - 1.45 ERA which is great, 2nd time through - 3.59 which is respectable, 3rd time through - 9.50 which is shitty, and the 4th time through - 18.47, he's pitching at this point, why? Sox fans are well aware of his little 6th inning problem. By little, I mean he self destructs and turns a 1 ER outing into a 6 ER outing. Coop did seem to fix him, at least temporarily. He tweaked his release point which resulted in 3.41 ERA in August, and a 3.82 ERA in September. Maybe there's hope, now. Coop may have done the trick, or this could just be further evidence that it's impossible to figure out Javy.

So yes, I'll take another heaping helping of humble pie, thank you.
Humble Pie Part 1


Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

Oh, that Mark Buehrle. He can make a guy feel sick to his stomach. In fact he made a certain fella feel sick most for most of his last 10 starts. I wonder how the Biler is feeling now that the season is over?

10/03/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

That cyclical (every 5 games) need for a tums is probably gone.

10/03/2006 8:33 PM  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

The Acid Reflux is subsiding, but I'm sure Ben Gordon turnovers will have my throat feeling like an emery board soon enough.
(If you thought I was bitter writing about the Sox, Jeeves, you should have the pleasure of watching me "watch" a Bulls game. I try to make sure there are no potentially handheld projectiles within an arms length of my vicinity.)

10/03/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Psychedelic Playground said...

Misery, as they say, loves company. Jesus, this was a frustrating season - sometimes I thought Buehrle was tanking just to trick Kenny into trading him to STL. Instead we'll trade Freddy "2 near perfect games" Garcia for Todd Ritchie and a bag of pucks. Unreal.

At least we have the Blackhawks! Oh, wait...

10/04/2006 12:05 PM  
Blogger DickdaStick said...

Anybody watching the games with that enhanced Gameday on MLB.com ? It's amazing the graphics and detail they have now.......Go A's !!

10/04/2006 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the face of a giant choke by the Tigers, it warms the cockles to see White Sox fans still hurting from the regular season ass-reaming.

Your fucking asshole announcers, especially Hawk and Ed Farmer, and about 98% of you dickheads richly deserve this misery. Biggest bunch of pricks in all of baseball.

10/04/2006 12:34 PM  
Blogger DickdaStick said...

How do you really feel....

10/04/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

Well, I certainly asked for comments...but I'm afraid anonymous mixed us up with the Flubs fans, cuz they are far superior pricks than we are.

I will give you Hawk seems like a complete ass when you're rooting for the other team. Sometimes he's even an ass when you're rooting for the Sox, but I love having an anouncer that's a complete homer and that loves his team.

10/04/2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger Paul the semi-awesome said...

At least we have the bears, after detroit is done getting killed to the yankees, you have hockey season to look forward to but we gots DA BEARS!!!!

10/04/2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

Da Bears to the Super Bowl!

and don't forgot about those Bulls. We're lookin to make some noise this post-season

10/04/2006 1:30 PM  
Blogger Fornelli said...

Wow Anon, Freud would have a field day with you. "Warms my cockles..", "regular season ass-reaming, and "biggest bunch of pricks in all of baseball."

I get the feeling you know what you're talking about.

10/04/2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger Jeeves said...

NOt too mention choke and (on) dickheads

10/04/2006 8:59 PM  
Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

Hey Anon,

Have you gotten Giambi's syringe outta your ass yet? Or are you too busy handling a rod from A-Rod?

Oh, and don't forget to check your hose for holes come Devil's Night or your house might burn down, wait, you do have a house right? Or do you troll for living arrangements too?

Oh, and I'll make sure I say hi to Ben Wallace for you when he lifts the Larry O'Brien Trophy for the Bulls.

10/05/2006 4:49 AM  

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