Tuesday, September 28, 2004
If so, it surely increases the likelihood that Pedro “…will get a ring.” In October, will we see the vintage mid-90’s gas with heat seeking missile control, the Bugs Bunny fall off the table change and Tony Soprano knee breaking curve or we will get the hittable high 80’s fastball with only flashes of his signature secondary off-speed pitches?
A look at Pedro’s pitching independent stats is as follows:
Year - K/9 - BB/9 - HR/9
2004 - 9.43 - 2.55 - 1.10
01-03 - 10.9 - 2.00 - 0.45
It doesn't take a math major to realize that Pedro's numbers have fallen off this season compared to his last three. The decrease in K/9 indicates that Petey is getting fewer swings and misses from hitters. Pedro's control has been off this season too with on average yielding ½ walk more over nine. But the most troubling stat is the increase in homer runs.
After seeing a spike in homers allowed, a look at the pitcher’s Ground ball-to-Fly ball ratio is helpful. Pedro’s 2004 G/F is .91. From 2001 to 2003, Petey’s ratio was 1.20. Pedro is inducing fewer groundballs than in the past. Groundballs can not turn into dingers, unlike fly balls. As a power pitcher it was unusual for Pedro to get more grounders than popups and .29 is not a large variance, but it is a concerning development. It raises the question: is Pedro throwing up in the zone more and is it by design due to the poor first half infield defense or does he have less control of his pitches resulting in him leaving more up in the zone to be hit as fly balls and homers?
The other interesting aspect of Pedro’s 26 homers allowed, that matched his career high set back in 1998, is the number in the first inning.
1st - 8 HR in 32 IN
2-9 - 18 HR in 180 IN
Pedro has given up 31% of his total number of homers allowed in the first inning, although he doesn't see a fall off in his other stats. His BB/9 and K/9 rates are actually better in the first inning than overall. It appears that Pedro is just having trouble keeping the ball in the yard in the first.
The conventional reasoning for Pedro's struggles in the first inning is that he has trouble warming up in cold weather. The official game time temperatures in games that Pedro has given up a homer vary from 48 to 82. Four are above and four are below 65 – the mean of the high and low. It doesn't appear that Pedro has anymore difficulty performing in colder weather this season which bodes well for October baseball.
Pedro should not have any more trouble getting loose and ready next week than he has all season long. The weather should not impact him too much. Hopefully, he will have confidence in his defense and control of his pitches keeping them down in the zone leading to fewer homers and more ground balls. We all want to Petey like it’s 1999!
Arroyo should go in Game 3
If you believe in DIPS - as I and the Red Sox do - then we should not be worried about Bronson Arroyo pitching in front of the Fenway faithful.
R/K/BB/HR/H over 9 (please note that last night’s game is not included)
home – 7.2 / 6.6 / 2.8 / .9 / 11.8
away - 3.5 / 7.6 / 2.1 / .9 / 7.2
As you can see, the major difference between Yo-Yo's home and away splits is his H/9. It is certainly the major reason for the variance in his home and away R/9 stat. H/9 is also the most variable pitching stat because it is heavily dependent upon the seven players behind the pitcher. The pitcher has less control over that stat than any other. Since Yo-Yo's DIPS stats do not have significant difference home and away, then having Arroyo go in the first post season game at Fenway should not keep anyone up at night.
One last note before I hit the left coast, it was cool that Sam Horn gave my and Tom Caron’s alamater, St. Mike's, props at the start of the pre-game show.