Anyone else ready for another baseball game?
However, completely contradicting what I just wrote, generally speaking, I think the idea that certain pitchers are always either awesome or terrible, as was dominant in the discussion of A.J. Burnett and Oliver Perez last season, is overblown. If we just decided to select a random starting pitcher that nobody cared much about, labeled him as a hot/cold guy, and then watched every start, every inning, with that mindset, our thoughts would probably be confirmed. There are really good pitchers who only rarely have a disaster outing, and there are really bad pitchers who won't end up sticking in a rotation anyway, and with everyone else, I think the general variation in their consistency is pretty small. Look at Kevin Millwood, probably considered one of the most consistent, veteran, non-flashy one way or the other pitchers out there. His game log from 2009 isn't just a bunch of 6 IP, 3 runs allowed games. There are bad starts and then very good ones quite close together. Sure, he was on the whole much more consistent than Hochevar, and he doesn't have crazy month to month splits, but then again, doesn't that almost make more sense than hot/cold streaks that last one game? Perhaps, if you're a #2-#4 starter in the Major Leagues, this is just sorta what you do. It's like the clutch/choke thing. Quick, is Brad Hawpe a clutch or a choke player? Quick, is Brian Roberts a clutch player? There is no answer because no one cares. But if suddenly we started tracking this aspect of their game, with a finding already in mind, it would take on a life of its own. Damn, two men on in the seventh, and Hawpe can't drive 'em in. Classic Hawpe.
I'm interested to see what happens with the bullpen tonight, and over the next few games. I think Hillman is a pretty bad manager, but really, I'm not sure what the answer is, looking at this pen. It seems like it would be a classic bad manager move to totally overreact, and make, say, Dusty Hughes, his preferred fireman out of nowhere. I'm curious to see how this plays out.
- If Hochevar has a very good/very bad game, we might be tempted to make a big deal out of it. I wonder however, if (aside from basic "it's just one game" thinking) it will really mean anything. Maybe he's just a guy that always runs hot and cold due to something in his mechanics, pitching profile, repertoire, or whatever.