Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Twins, Again

I honestly expected to the Sox to take three out of four in Detroit. The Buehrle loss wasn't a surprise but I didn't see the Contreras meltdown coming. The last thing this team needs is another unreliable starter.

The Sox end up losing a half game in the wildcard standings to the Twins after the split as Minnesota took two of three against the Orioles. The Sox are now only a half game up on the Twins as the two teams start a critical series at the Cell on Friday. It will be up to Javier Vasquez to hold on to the wildcard lead Friday as he takes on Brad Radke in the series opener.

I thought it might be a fun exercise to break down Vasquez' starts to show just how bad his one inning meltdowns have been this season. So I produced a chart that pulls out Javier's worst inning (or partial inning if he was pulled - which of course is not the case most of the time) and compared them to his non-meltdown innings.

Now this is sort of a pointless exercise as you can do this for any pitcher and his numbers are going to show a huge disparity. But I have to believe the ERA gap between Vasquez' good innings compared to his meltdown innings would have to be among the league leaders if you were to keep track of such a stat.

Melt Down Inning21.1596124.92761211124.08
The Rest12827301.90846301100.89

As you can see, for most of the game, 85% of his innings pitched, Vasquez pitches like a Cy Young candidate: less than a runner per inning pitched; almost a K per inning pitched; and only six homers allowed in 128 innings.

However, looking at his worst inning from each game shows you what a basketcase Vasquez can be. He has given up 76 hits in 21.1 IP, nearly as many as he has in the other 128. He has given 61 runs in his bad innings, more than double the amount he has given up in the remaining 128.

In 24 starts, Vasquez has given up at least 3 runs in one inning 12 times. In nine games, Vasquez has entered an inning with a lead only to give up multiple runs and finish the inning with the Sox trailing.

I don't have any explanation for his meltdowns. I can only hope it just a case of randomness and dumb luck. But with meltdowns that bad, I have to think there is more to it.