Over the course of the last 5 or so years since I first read Moneyball, I have learned a lot of valuable things about the game of baseball. One of the most important is from The Book which illustrates that over the course of shorter inning samples – say 40 – a pitcher can do basically anything. From The Book blog:
"ANY pitcher can look bad as far as his location goes and can get hammered in 1 or 5 or even 10 games"
For the whole thing, basically read this post. But while we’re at it, Joe Nathan’s month of August:
11 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 1 HR.
Add the two homers today and obviously fans are worried. But we shouldn’t be. Since Joe is a closer, if he does anything but slam the door 1-2-3 it’s going to look bad. But looking at his pitch f/x data from today compared with a July save against the Tigers when he went 1-2-3 and had two strikeouts, Joe’s fastball, curve and slider all were traveling at roughly the same speed, and only his fastball had noticeably less break.
Not radically different. It’s going to be ok, folks. Pitchers get hit. Not time to trade Joe yet.