The Yimmy Yobble Experience: 2008

Is there anything more frustrating at this point in the season than seeing Jimmy Gobble come trotting in from the bullpen?  More specifically, is there anything more maddening than seeing him come in when it's not in a LOOGY situation? It's painfully obvious to most Royals fans (and surely Gobble himself) that Gobble is simply our mop-up man.  Where did his season go awry?

I decided to track his season....hitter-by-hitter, hoping to possibly find some hint of what has happened to ol' Yimmy.

Here is the Yimmy Yobble Breakdown by month, with some of my thoughts/commentary thrown in. I apoligize in advance for any math errors you may find. My editor is on vacation this week.

APRIL:  Number of appearances: 9 
               Team Record in appearances: 4-5

LEFTIES                                                       RIGHTIES
Struck out J.Mauer                                       Strikeout J.Molina
Struck out J.Kubel                                        Sac Fly  J Lopez
Struck out J.Morneau                                    Fld Chc   M Ellis
Flyout J.Mauer                                              Double V Martinez
Flyout J.Giambi                                             Walk Garko
Walk Ichiro                                                Single J Carroll
Strikeout Ibanez                                         Strikeout A Cabrera
Groundout G.Anderson                              Double F.Gutierrez
Triple D.Barton                                           Walk A.Marte
Flyout J Cust                                              Flyout Rolen
Strikeout Hafner                                         Walk M. Bradley
Fld Chc  Overbay                                        TOTAL: 11 PA, 2K, 3H, 3BB (6 of 11 onbase)
Strikeout Stairs
Flyout Hamilton
Flyout D.Murphy
TOTAL:  15 PA, 6K, 1H, 1BB  

--Jimmy started off the season strong with his 1 inning, three strikeout performance against the Twins in a 4-3 loss.  Honestly, April was probably his best month. The first 11 batters off of Gobble did not get a hit, and his only truly poor performance was the 15-1 loss to Cleveland. In a developing pattern, his numbers against lefties are very strong. Also, ground balls are not his strong point (3 of 26). Look how much tougher of hitters are in the lefty group than the righty group as well.  At this point in the season we had no idea what Gobble would turn into.

MAY: Number of appearances: 10
          Team Record in appearances: 2-8

LEFTIES                                                     RIGHTIES
Single Kotchman                                   Single T. Hunter
Flyout Kotchman                                   Strikeout B. Wood
Strikeout G. Anderson                          Single K.Millar
Fld Chc  L. Scott                                    Double W. Helms
Flyout L.Gonzalez                                  Groundout M. Treanor
Strikeout J Hermida                               Flyout C.Ross
Flyout M Jacobs                                     Single A.Amezaga
Fld Chc  D.Ortiz                                     Groundout H Ramirez
Walk Ellsbury                                         Strikeout D Uggla (last winning game)
Flyout D.Ortiz                                          Flyout  M. Ramirez
Flyout J.Inglett                                        Strikeout  M.Lowell
Strikeout L Overbay                               Double Pedroia
Strikeout B Wilkerson                           IBB  M.Ramirez
Flyout Morneau                                      GrandSlam  M.Lowell
Strikeout J.Kubel                                    Strikeout K. Youkilis
Flyout M.Lamb                                       Flyout M.Scutaro
TOTALS: 16PA, 5K, 1H, 1BB              Flyout S.Stewart
                                                                  Rch on Error  K.Mench
                                                                  Flyout M.Scutaro
                                                                  Flyout M.Cuddyer
                                                                 Groundout D.Young
                                                                  Double B.Harris
                                                                  Walk C.Gomez
                                                                 Flyout A.Casilla
                                                                TOTALS: 24PA, 4K, 7H, 2BB 
                                                                                  (10 of 24 reach by error)

--Look how many more PA's against Righties....50% more than his PA's against Lefties. That's not good usage. He only had 26 PA's in all of April, and in May there were almost that many agasint righties. 5 out of 40 PA's were ground-ball outs.

--Somewhere in May marked the beggining of the end of Jimmy Gobble's confidence and/or Trey Hillman's confidence in Jimmy Gobble. The month began with the infamous Jimmy Gobble-Casey Kotchman match-up. For a quick recap: it was 0-0 in the top of the 9th. Soria had been used three days in a row, so he was unavailable. This was also before we'd realized how good Mahay is. Tomko had one of his few good outings, and Ramirez had made it one out into the 9th with a runner at third when Trey brought in Gobble (a fly-ball pitcher) to face Kotchman--the rare lefty with better numbers against lefties (.338 this year, .296 career) than righties. 

Gobble lasted one pitch....a go-ahead single.  This may've been the beginning of Gobble's fall.  But he sure didn't think so afterward:

"I'd take that pitch 0-0 any day. You're not trying to throw a two-strike slider right there," Gobble said. "I'm trying to get ahead with a purpose, and it was borderline away...What can you do?" Gobble said."Scratch your head a little bit and go get 'em tomorrow."

Despite the high-leverage loss, Gobble rebounded very well afterwards, throwing in five scoreless outings. In fact, his May 18 appearance in a 9-3 win at Florida is the last time he's appeared in a game that the Royals have won!  Gobble's confidence was surely restored.....until he blew up in Boston, giving up a grand salami to Lowell to help ignite the 12-game losing streak for the Royals. To his credit, he responded with two scoreless mop-up innings in Toronto, and had a string of what-should've-been 7 straight righties retired. He even threw two scoreless innings in the 8th & 9th against the Twins (Mark Teahen inside-the-park vs. Nathan game). At this point his ERA is 4.80, and he's likely starting to see a slide down the bullpen totem pole as Ramirez, Nunez, and Mahay are starting to assert themselves. Confidence wavering....

JUNE: Number of appearances: 7
           Team record in these games: 0-7

LEFTIES                                              RIGHTIES
Flyout B.Abreu                                     Single Dye (8th inning mopup loss)
Flyout J.Giambi                                    Flyout Swisher
Single J.Hamilton (up 5-2)                Walk Crede
GrandSlam  D.Murphy                       Single A.Ramirez
Flyout J.Bowker                                   Flyout O.Cabrera
Double R.Ankiel (down 9-4)             Walk C.Quentin (15 inning game)
Groundout C.Duncan                        HR P.Konerko
Flyout A.Kennedy                              Single D.Jeter  (tie game 10-10 in 8th)
TOTALS: 8 PA, 0K, 3H, 0BB          Walk M.Bradley
                                                            Double M.Byrd
                                                            Groundout E.Burriss (9th inning mopup loss)
                                                            Walk R.Winn
                                                            Groundout B.Molina
                                                            Double A.Rowand
                                                            Flyout R.Ludwick
                                                           Flyout J.LaRue
                                                          TOTALS: 16 PA, 0K, 6 H, 4 BB

--Twice as many PA's against righties than lefties? Gobble has likely lost all confidence by now. He went all month without striking out a batter. Contrast that with April, where he struck out 8 in 26 PA's....he went 0 for 24 in June.  Walks to righties started to become more of an issue, as well. He only got 3 of 24 PA's to result in a groundball out as well.  And notice the situations he was brought into: mop-up vs ChW, the 15th inning vs ChW (nobody else is left to use in the pen), the NYY game where we'd already given up 10 runs, etc. The only game he entered with a lead was the Texas game. Unfortunately he gave up the grand slam to David Murphy and lost the game for the Royals. Surely he wants to get back into more meaningful innings, but with performances like this, can you blame Hillman? Hopefully this is rock-bottom.

JULY: Number of appearances (so far): 4
           Team record in those games: 0-4
Flyout N.Markakis                               HR B.Roberts (down 6-3)
Single A.Huff                                        Strikeout K.Millar
Flyout L.Scott                                      Single D.Navarro (down 7-0)
Flyout E. Hinske                                   HBP A.Iwamura
Flyout R. Brignac                                  Groundout B. Upton
Flyout C.Crawford                               Single E.Longoria
Strikeout C.Pena                                  Flyout W.Aybar
Strikeout R.Brignac                              Single D. Navarro
Flyout C.Pena                                      Walk J.Gomes
Walk J.Thome (down 7-4)               Walk S.Riggins  (8th inning mop-up) 
TOTALS: 10 PA, 1H, 2K, 1BB           Flyout J.Gomes
                                                              Walk B.Upton
                                                               HBP P.Konerko
                                                               Walk N.Swisher
                                                              TOTALS: 14 PA, 4 H, 1K, 4 BB, 2 HBP

--And the wheels have fallen off against righties. It's not even somewhat-respectable anymore. Gobble is purely mop-up...aka Yabuta & Nomo territory right now. 10 of the last 14 right-handed hitters to face Gobble have reached base. His control against righties has disappeared, and there's only one ground-ball out in 24 chances?  Want to know how many times Gobble has retired two righties in a row the two months (not two in the same game...just two in a row...anytime)? Once. (LaRue & Ludwick back in late June). His string of PA's against righties is mired with garbage. Ugh Jimmy. U-g-h. Or should that be D-F-A?

Gobble vs. Lefties:  .149/.231/.277
Gobble vs. Righties: .400/.530/.720 !!!!!!!!!!!!

His splits are more extreme than at any point in his career. In fact, in 2004 & 2005 lefties hit him better than righties. Surely the new arm-slot and delivery are part of the reason. But even last year his splits weren't this extreme (.241 vs. .319)....and he faced more righties than you may have remembered last year (123 vs. left & 104 vs. right).  Do we count this season as a fluke? Relegate him to LOOGY status? If so, whose time does he take? Ramirez? Mahay? Continue to use as bullpen janitor/mop-up/garbage-time guy?  Dump him completely and hope he makes it through waivers?


This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.