Last night Toronto Blue Jays rookie Kyle Drabek had the worst outing in Toronto since I was set up on a blind date with my dentist’s daughter, going two thirds of an inning, throwing 38 pitches: only 15 for strikes and 23 for balls. When he wasn’t walking batters, he was giving up doubles until he was mercifully pulled from the game before anything more terrible could happen to him.

At first I questioned the reasoning behind taking him out of the game in the first inning when there wasn’t a long reliever available in the bullpen, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked John Farrell’s decision. Drabek was pitching awfully, and the last thing you want is a young pitcher reinforcing bad habits in his muscle memory or even worse, trying something different that causes injury.

He was all over the map. Not just at the plate, where his location looked like this:

But also with his pitch selection, which again avoided his supposedly deadly curveball against left handed batters. His pitches almost all blended together, with little distinction between them:

Compare this chart to one that John Hale made on The Mockingbird to describe, as he puts it, a “splendid” outing from Shaun Marcum a year ago. Comparing Drabek to Marcum is interesting because where Drabek has a harder fastball, he seems to have difficulty mixing his speeds up on different pitches.

Marcum, on the other hand (though technically with the same hand) relies so heavily on mixing up his speeds because he doesn’t have that dominant fastball to establish himself when facing a batter. Look at the difference in velocity in his pitches, also from last night:

No matter his problem, Drabek, as Jeff Sullivan of SB Nation points out, is very close to setting the record for the worst strike rate of any pitcher since 2000 to throw 100 innings in a season.

Drabek – who’s thrown 63-1/3 innings – has a strike rate of 54.8%. Meaning that Drabek is on pace to post the lowest strike rate of any regular starter over at least the past 12 years.

Not good. Very not good. One has to wonder why the Blue Jays, who were so quick to send Travis Snider down to Triple A after only 100 plate appearances, would be so slow to give the same treatment to Drabek, who is so obviously struggling at this level to throw consistent strikes.

And The Rest

The Los Angeles Angels charter flight had to make an emergency landing last night. This is why I always fly deliriously drunk.

I know Brian Wilson is a lights out closer, but last night at Busch Stadium was a bit much.

Should the New York Mets consider retiring Gary Carter’s number sooner rather than later?

Daisuke Matsuzaka is going to roll the dice on Tommy John surgery. See what I did there? He’s likely pitched his last inning as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Chan-Ho Park has been told to stop fooling around in the Japanese baseball league.

Adam Jones made the catch of the year yesterday afternoon:

The Cubs may have a new process, but it’s the same old results.

Josh Hamilton is trying to call it quits on chewing tobacco. Is this guy allowed any vices?

MLB is watching Alex Rodriguez closely after his cousin who was associated with steroid delivery was spotted visiting the Yankees.

Jim Joyce is no longer allowed to umpire games in which Armando Galarraga is pitching.

Phil Nevin remembers Jeff Pearlman from the John Rocker interview.

The World Baseball Classic has expanded, but it’s not necessarily good news for Canada, who will now have to go through an extra qualifying round.

Maybe it’s about time for expanded replay, given that this play ended in a safe call.

Finally, there’s nothing quite like a manager blow up at a press conference. Terry Collins obliges:

Bonus video: Chris Perez talks about his boobies for balls program.

And don’t forget to join us right here this afternoon at 3:00 PM EDT for a live stream chat. It’s going to be music to your eyes.

Comments (9)

  1. You know what the Jays could really use next year? A third-fourth starter with big potential upside and popularity with a major Toronto community. Plus, how much would it piss off Sox fans if Dice K turned it around up here? Cue people telling me its a bad idea because we need to save a rotation spot for JoJo Reyes and Jesse Litsch.

  2. No! I would wager that both Reyes and Litsch are better next year than Matsuzaka.

  3. I hate watching Dice K pitch. Not because he is a member of the Red Sox but because he is awful to watch. He dithers and takes too long. It has nothing to do with saving rotation spots for Reyes and Litsch.

  4. It seems like Drabek’s issues are psychological as much as anything, so I’m not sure it would be helpful to send him to the PCL to watch fly balls that wouldn’t reach a Major League warning track fly out of the park. If the issues aren’t physical or mechanical, and it’s just that he has to get used to pitching in the Majors, there’s only one place he can fix that. It’s just a shame that right now Villanueva and Reyes—the long-relief guys in a less-injured universe—are in the rotation right now, so guys like Camp and Frasor have to pitch early innings when Drabek explodes.

  5. I think the Sox would be THRILLED to see Dice K land somewhere in the division, assuming of course he gets right after surgery.

  6. I do kind of agree with everyone here about Dice K. There’s a 90 (99?)% chance it would be disastrous. Getting two outs from your starting pitcher makes you think crazy things (as does not having coffee). Still haven’t heard a compelling argument why we couldn’t/shouldn’t throw a bunch of cash at Prince Fielder though…

  7. Ray: Because I’ve seen claims that the Orioles are going to do that, and why would we want the Jays to do something that they’d do? Think of it this way – just because they’ve foolishly signed Kevin Gregg to close ballgames doesn’t mean that the Jays . . . . fine, let’s sign Fielder.

  8. Who wouldn’t want to watch a bidding war between the Orioles and Jays, with the winner getting the ‘big’ prize. If anything that’s even more reason to go for him.

  9. Chris Perez seems like he’d be okay to hang out with. That is all.

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