Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Stating the obvious

- Schilling's first four starts: 4-0, 28 IP, 1.61 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
- April 25: Schilling throws 133 pitches in a no-decision against CLE
- Schilling's last four starts: 2-2, 23.2 IP, 6.46 ERA, 2.04 WHIP


  1. Holy crap, the Yanks came back to win. Even though Rivera (coming in for the 9th, tie game, every Yankee fans' dream) gave up a run. Hell of a game - tons of offense, some great defense, zero pitching. Posada gets the GW HR, but his bigger play was his standing up to Teixeira (?) at the plate - wow. I honestly didn't know he had it in him.

  2. I don't buy that whole - he threw 133 pitches - argument as to why he has struggled.

    The documented evidence that exists on Pitch counts (PABP - pitchers abuse points) is tied to the long term health and the ability to avoid injury. The data is generally not applicable to the performance in the starts following the long outing.

    In fact data by keith woolner at BP shows that a single high pitch start, defined as 130 pitches, is that in the next four starts the such pitcher will give up one addtional run over 24 innings.

    So the stats will continue to make for good copy. At least until schilling strings together three or four quality starts in a row again.

    And to think back even further, some people were making noise after opening day when Schilling threw about 120 pitches including pitching the 7th with a 4 or 5 run lead - when he could have been comfortably pulled after 6 innings and around 100 pitches. And Schilling came out and chucked pretty well the next few starts.

  3. Really, you don't think there's a chance he's hurt? If there's one pitcher out there who might be trying to play through an injury, it's Curt.

    And while I haven't seen the Woolner data you mention, I strongly doubt he has enough (if any) data to make any conclusions regarding 39 year-olds. We're entering a whole new world with these older (age 37+) pitchers, and data based on mostly 25 year olds is pretty near irrelevant.

  4. I don't think he's hurt. If he were, someone in that clubhouse would notice and he wouldn't have thrown 116 pitches last night.

    He was effective early last night, then gave up those bombs.

    His splitter lost its dive and I think against a dead fastball hitting team like the O's, that spells trouble for almost anyone.

    Now, as to why the splitter lost its dive, who knows?

    I think that the Sox need to find a middle-reliever, and fast...That way no one has to get ridiculously stretched out.

    Think about it. Schill was great early. Then gets lit up in the middle innings. If he's starts to tire or get his pitches up in the sixth, who do you bring in? Well, Timlin and Foulke can pitch everyday, and Tavarez is touch and go. One more quality arm in that pen and there are games like last night that stay 5-1 or so...

  5. I don't think he's hurt. If he were, someone in that clubhouse would notice and he wouldn't have thrown 116 pitches last night.

    I don't think I agree. It's pretty common for players, especially pitchers, to play through pain. If there's nothing specifically wrong with his mechanics, and the player insists he's fine, nobody can or will do anything. It happened to Foulke last year - they're saying that's been the case with Sturtze all this season. And from Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS, we know Curt won't admit to the pain he's in.

    For more of a rant about pitchers keeping quiet about being hurt, click here.

  6. I think it's more likely that he's old. I agree with X - pitch counts don't explain sudden shifts like this. I think he was working off adrenaline the first 4 games, and he's coming back to earth. He'll be solid, he just needs to settle in. I'd be thrilled with a season of 190 IP, 4.20 ERA from him this year; we got a little spoiled in our expectations given his fast start.

  7. While I admit it's a small sample size, I'd like to know where the insistence that a very high pitch count can't screw up a player comes from.

    And like I mentioned in comment 3, I think age plays a huge role in this. And because he's old, things like this worry me.

  8. Okay so the dialogue in the comments is enlightening as opposed to the title of the post "Stating the obvious." My main point is that it is not really obvious. Of course none of us really know what, if anything, is bothering Schilling. My point is that take one data point - his pitch count on April 25 - and extrapolate that as the definitive reason for his decling performance - is a tough proposition.

    And it troubles me especially because there is a reason for concern with pitch count, it is just a better barometer for longer term health issues - like when Orel Hershiser led all of baseball in innings over a 3 or 4 yar period and blew his arm out in the process.

    And if we are going to pinpoint when Schilling's stats turned, I would say it was not the CLE game. Sure he gave up 5 runs in that game, but his next two starts were quality starts and he gave up only 1 HR (on a mistake pitch early to Toby Hall). But then the last two games his ERA is over 9 and has given up 3 HR in each game.

    Do I think he could be hurt? Absolutely. And because he is 39 it could be for a lot of reasons. Maybe he slept wrong. Or his back got a pain while on a four hour flight. Or he sneezed wrong. Its just way to easy to say its the CLE start.

    I think its just a bit of regression to the mean. Before I said all it would take would be a string of 3 or 4 quality starts in a row to silence all this talk, but I think I'm wrong. all it will take is one good start Monday 6+ IP 2 or 3 ER 0HR and a W against the Yanks. A game which Dino and I will be at!!!!

  9. Fair enough. The post was stupidly titled - I just felt since everyone would be writing about it in today's papers I wanted to admit that it wasn't exactly original.

    Of course, one of the two quality starts after the CLE game was against TB, 2nd worst in the AL for runs scored.

    You're absolutely right - one decent start against the Yanks and this will go away. Here's hoping...

  10. I just read the globe and herald and Schilling must ready GYS - he has the same quote that the whole 133 pitches theory "makes good copy."

    And some of the writers present it as fact. and the immediate two starts his ERA was about 4.20, which is about what I would expect from Schilling.

    Sure one of those two starts was against the weak TB offense, but 2 of his great starts were agains SEA and TB.

    I guess none of this should surprise any of this - this team, well actually its fans and the media love to have drama.

    But yes and yes lets hope for a strong start Monday.

  11. Funny thing is: am I the only one who reads Schilling's denial and thinks, "oh yeah, he's definitely hurt"?

    Like you said, ultimately we'll never know. If he's dominant the rest of the season, or if he continues these 2005-esque starts for 2 months before hitting the DL, it'd be impossible to say that the 133 pitches mattered or not. But I'd say it's important to discuss, in that the guy is old, and not the workhorse he's used to being. And maybe for that reason he shouldn't be throwing more pitches than anyone else in MLB...

  12. He really had one bad inning last night. And I know that is all it takes to lose a game sometimes, but he didn't have his best stuff (no splitter), and still almost completed the sixth.


    He only faced Baltimore like a week ago (and already his third time this year)...maybe there was no change in his approach.

    I think that we can all agree that the Yankees lineup can make anyone look bad on a given day.

    It could be anything...A little flaw in his mechanics. His grip on the splitter. Predictable location. Who knows?

    But just a few days ago (maybe a week or two) everyone was questioning Beckett. Then he comes out and dominates his next two starts.

  13. I would say it was a bit worse than a single bad inning...

    1st inning: 12 pitches, 3 batters
    2nd inning: 21 pitches, 5 batters
    3rd inning: 21 pitches, 4 batters
    4th inning: 22 pitches, 4 batters
    5th inning: 30 pitches, 6 batters
    6th inning: 12 pitches, 3 batters

    So innings 2-4 were rough as well, in that he was having trouble getting guys out. Of the 9 hits he gave up, 7 were with 2 strikes.

    If we take him at his word:

    "I’ve always been a guy with two strikes, I’ll reach back and get 96, and get a guy to chase. And that just hasn’t been there."

    then it's just a matter of him adjusting. Hopefully he'll be able to do that.