Showing posts with label Yan Gomes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yan Gomes. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chris Beck is terrible all the time, but especially against the first batter he faces

Full disclosure: Chris Beck is probably my least favorite 2017 White Sox player. I cringe every time he comes in from the bullpen. You're never going to hear me say a nice word about him.

And there's really no arguing with the fact that he's a bad relief pitcher. He's made 51 appearances for the Sox this year, and he's got a 6.42 ERA. Somewhat remarkably, he had a 3.41 ERA as recently as July 5, but he's allowed at least one earned run in 16 of his past 20 relief outings.

That's remarkable incompetence, given that relief pitchers often are asked to pitch only one inning. You would think a major league reliever would be able to provide a scoreless inning more often than four times out of 20, but Beck's horribleness defies logic.

Here's the thing that really bothers me about Beck: He cannot retire the first man he faces to save his life. In Monday's 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the first man he faced was Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez homered.

In Tuesday's 9-4 loss to the Indians, the first man Beck faced was Yan Gomes.

Gomes hit a three-run homer.

This is not a new trend. Beck has allowed 14 home runs in 54.2 innings this season. Seven of those homers have been surrendered to the first man he faces.

In 51 games, Beck has allowed the first man he faces to reach base 25 times. Those 51 hitters have gone 15 for 40 with the aforementioned seven home runs, eight walks, two HBPs and only three strikeouts.

The slash line for those 51 hitters: .375/.490/.950. That's a 1.440 OPS!

This is not an acceptable level of performance for any reliever, even one on a rebuilding team.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Cody Allen closes out dramatic ninth inning for Cleveland in Game 3

Cody Allen
Saw an interesting stat today: The Cleveland Indians are 23-0 when relief pitchers Cody Allen and Andrew Miller pitch in the same game.

I always say the longer a streak goes in baseball, the more likely it is to end. The Cubs had a chance to end that streak Friday night, but Allen slammed the door on them, striking out Javier Baez with two outs and two runners in scoring position to preserve a 1-0 Cleveland victory in Game 3 of the World Series.

With the win, the Indians hold a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Saturday night at Wrigley Field.

Even if you don't care about either of these two teams, the ninth inning of Game 3 was as dramatic as it gets in a non-elimination game.

Cleveland scored the lone run on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Coco Crisp. The combination of Josh Tomlin, Miller, Bryan Shaw and Allen had combined to keep the Cubs off the board through eight innings.

Allen, the Cleveland closer, struck out Kris Bryant on a nasty curve to end the bottom of the eighth inning, but he found himself in immediate peril after giving up a leadoff single to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth.

With Chris Coghlan running for Rizzo, Allen bounced back to get the first out on another good curve that caused Ben Zobrist to swing and miss. Coghlan advanced to second on a weak groundout by Willson Contreras, which set up the drama of having the tying run in scoring position with two outs in the ninth.

Jason Heyward came to the plate for the Cubs with the game hanging in the balance, causing audible groans throughout the Chicago area. The $184 million man is 2 for 31 this postseason, and he's probably the last player the Cubs wanted up in that situation. Heck, they've got some pitchers who have been swinging the bat better than Heyward.

This time, the Cubs lucked out when Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli booted what should have been a routine grounder off Heyward's bat. Suddenly, the Cubs had first and third and the much more dangerous Baez at the plate.

Heyward stole second and got into scoring position representing the winning run, and Baez jumped ahead in the count, 2-1. It was set up for the Cubs to possibly steal this game, but that's when Allen got tough.

The Cleveland reliever went back to his curve on 2-1. It broke hard and down in the dirt, and Baez could not check his swing. Strike two.

Gutsy pitch, because remember the tying run is on third base. If Indians catcher Yan Gomes doesn't block the ball, the game is tied. Gomes made the block. Cleveland got the strike, and Allen had succeeded in changing Baez's eye level.

With two strikes, Baez had to be thinking about that curve ball. After all, Allen had recorded three outs to that point -- all on curve balls. So what did Allen do? He pitched Baez backward. He went away from his preferred out pitch. He probably figured Baez would be protecting against the low breaking ball, so he threw a high fastball, above the hands. And he blew it right past Baez. Swinging strike three. Game over.

Brilliant pitching and a dramatic end to a great baseball game between the two top teams in the sport this year. Who says a 1-0 game is boring? Not me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The World Series Game 1 hero is ... Roberto Perez?

There are three players in Cleveland Indians franchise history to have a multi-homer game during the playoffs: Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and, of course, Roberto Perez.

Cue Cookie Monster and his famous song, "One of These Things Is Not Like the Other Things":




Indeed, Thome has 612 career home runs. Ramirez has 555 career home runs. Perez has, well, 11 career home runs. But the career .220-hitting catcher managed to go deep twice Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series, becoming the unlikely hero in Cleveland's 6-0 victory over the Cubs.

Perez also became the first player in World Series history to have a multi-homer game while batting in the No. 9 spot in the order. Not bad for a guy who is "Plan C" for the Indians behind the plate. Perez is only playing because Yan Gomes has been a combination of injured and bad all season, and because Jonathan Lucroy rejected a trade to Cleveland at the deadline and went to play for Texas instead.

In the biggest game of his life so far, Perez clubbed a solo home run off Cubs ace Jon Lester in the fourth inning to increase Cleveland's lead to 3-0. The home run had an exit velocity of 112.9 mph, making it the hardest-hit ball off Lester all season, according to Statcast.

Perez capped his night by hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning on a hanging slider from Cubs reliever Hector Rondon. That made the score 6-0 and took all the drama out of the ninth inning.

Cleveland pitching was good again in this game, with Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen combining to strike out 15 Cubs hitters. Kluber had eight strikeouts through three innings and finished with nine Ks in six innings. Miller pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the seventh, striking out Addison Russell and David Ross to close the inning. He also struck out Kyle Schwarber with two on and two out to end the eighth and snuff out the Cubs' last legitimate chance to get back in the game.

Game 2 is Wednesday night, and the start time has been moved up an hour to try to avoid a weather delay. Rain is in the forecast for Cleveland. The Cubs will try to even the series behind right-hander Jake Arrieta. The Indians will counter with right-hander Trevor Bauer.

The best news for the Cubs right now is the fact that Kluber won't pitch in Game 2. And, Miller might be limited, as well, after throwing 46 pitches over two innings of work in Game 1.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'll be the jerk who says it: I don't like baseball's replay system

I always cringe when I hear commentators mention that baseball's new instant replay system is "working." Really? It works sometimes, sure, but there are other times when it is aggravating as hell.

I had one of those moments Saturday as I watched the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians. Let it be said the Sox came away with a 6-2 victory, so this isn't going to be one those sour grapes "the umpires cost us the game" blogs. However, a pair of calls went against the Sox in the bottom of the seventh inning that left me shaking my head with regard to this replay system.

The Sox were up 3-0 at the time. There was a man at first with one out. Sox reliever Zach Putnam was pitching to Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes. On a 1-2 count, Putnam bounced a splitter that Gomes swung at and missed. Strike three, right? Nope.

Gomes claimed he had foul-tipped the pitch. He sold it well, and the umpire bought the act. Replay showed he clearly swung and missed. It should have been the second out of the inning. Sox manager Robin Ventura came out to protest, but to no avail. Such calls aren't reviewable under MLB's instant replay system. The umpire's incorrect call stood, and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

The at-bat continued and Gomes hit a sinking liner to left field that Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo scooped up off the outfield grass. Viciedo claimed he made the catch. He sold it well, and the umpires bought it. They called Gomes out. Only problem was, the call was wrong. Viciedo trapped the ball, and it should have been a base hit.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona protested the call. This one was reviewable, and admittedly, it was correctly reversed. Gomes was awarded first. The inning continued, and the Indians eventually scored a two-out run to slice the Sox lead to 3-1. Reliever Javy Guerra finally struck shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera out with the bases loaded to protect the lead.

If Gomes had been called out on strikes like he should have been, the inning would have been over two batters sooner, and the Indians would not have scored.

Here's where my frustration lies: The system "worked" on that second call when the Indians were wronged. But when the umpire made an incorrect call moments before that hurt the White Sox, the system could do nothing for them. That's irritating.

I hear all the time that the objective of the system is "to get it right." I hear all the time that "we have the technology, so let's use it." Both are noble sentiments. Who could disagree with either? But it seems to me the league only "wants to get it right" and "use the technology" in certain situations.

Why shouldn't the first call with Gomes be reviewable? We have the technology to get it right, no? As a fan, it's really frustrating when the system works for the other team and not for yours. I'm sure fans of all teams, not just the White Sox, have had a moment at some point this season where they've been completely baffled by a replay review (or non-review) that went against their team.

I don't think this system is working as well as many claim it is. As a matter of fact, I would categorize it as a disappointment. It should work better than it does.