Q. How did he walk four guys? He only had eight walks this year, with 1.3 BB's per nine innings.
A. Two things, one minor one major. The minor thing, he looked a bit fatigued to me, a bit flat.
The F/X has Dr. D's back on this one. His velocity was off, only 92.1 MPH average on the fastball, and the scatterchart has his command way off. On this Brooks Baseball strike zone grid, notice that the yellow changeups are not nicely grouped just below the knees as they often are. To those who've been paying close attention, the yellows will appear shockingly sloppy:
We've always compared fatigue, with pitchers, to basketball shooters trying to feather a shot in the 4th quarter when their legs are gone. The shooter starts using the large muscles to heave the ball, rather than the fingertips to feather it. It's not a question of focus. It's a question of your muscles not responding.
Evidence could be multiplied ... take our word or don't, that the kid was tired.
Q. That's the minor thing. What was the major?
A. That a computerized strike zone -- even with a letter-strict interpretation would have called "strike" on 68 of Erasmo's 100 pitches. The home plate ump actually only gave him 60.
68% is a whale of a lot of strikes, and that doesn't count another handful that missed by like less than one inch. Nine of the below green dots are clearly in the strike zone, only one red dot outside the strike zone, and several more green dots are less than the baseball's width off the zone:
For a kid who was tired, 68-73 of 100 strikes is doin' kinda sorta okay.
Q. How was that vaunted Plus-Plus-Plus change?
A. Hey, Ho, Let's Go, Hey, Ho, I'm Galileeeeey-yooo Dept: Erasmo decided to drop two changeups on the hitters, one heavy and one not. Turns out they hit the catcher's glove at the same time.
Sunday, the movement on his changeup ... wasn't. I mean, it was considerable better than AL average, but not up to Erasmo's standards. The command was mediocre by any standard.
That left only arm action, and with that arm action alone, Erasmo Ramirez detonated the toughest* offensive team in baseball right now. 32 pitches, 9 swings and misses, 5 more foul tips and called strikes, and a hurkin' linear weights of -1.6 runs on the 32 pitches.
Did Not Need the movement or command, y' feel me? Erik Bedard doesn't have to locate a curve. Randy Johnson just threw the fastball inside the strike zone. Or outside it, come to think of it. Erasmo kicks the back foot higher on the change, every start.
And with two strikes, they MUST respect the 94 fastball. There isn't any adjustment to the kid, practical or theoretical, not if he executes.