Nationals Baseball: What happened to Jerry Blevins

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What happened to Jerry Blevins

From the post I wrote when the Nats got Blevins :
First thing to note is that Blevins is not a LOOGY.  Here are those splits I promised you

v R : .220 / .314 / .322
v L : .250 / .340 / .419

v R : .219 / .333 / .310
v L : .182 / .248 / .327

v R : .190 / .267 / .314
v L : .253 / .299 / .442

See? If anything he's been better against righties over the past 3 years. The take away though is that he's been effective against both sides. 
What have we seen in 2014?

v R : .333 / .417 / .472
v L : .134 / .194 / .209

This year, Jerry Blevins is a LOOGY. What the hell, Jerry?

The high ERA (5.11 right now) isn't exactly his fault.  His LOB% is pretty high and for a relief pitcher that usually means the guys coming in after you aren't doing you any favors. But even given that you can't ignore the split we are seeing this year. The OPS that he's given up to righties this year is All-Star caliber, meaning that those righties would be an All-Star.  Pitching him against all but the weakest righties is a non-starter.

There's some issue with a high BABIP vs righties, but it's not just bad luck. Righties have a much higher LD rate (27.6%) than lefties (18.6%) and they've hit all the homers he's given out. His walk rate vs righties is way up. He's throwing more junk at righties this year and getting more swings and misses from righties, but they are hitting his junk harder this year when they do connect (lefties are too)

I'm just stating what I see at this point, I'm not going to suggest any deep knowledge here. Is he having trouble controlling his pitches this year? Is he pitching around righties more? Is there something psychological versus righties that is going on? What I do know is the facts are the facts and you can't use Blevins versus righties right now, unless you are talking about Lombo type hitters (at best... I might not let him face Lombo either - that's asking for a single).

The goal, down 0-1 with only one inning left, is not to minimize scoring but to eliminate it. You knew that if you brought in Blevins you'd see a decent righty (Reed Johnson : 286 / .300 / .408 vs lefties) so you can't do that. Based on how Blevins has done versus righties and the fact Johnson isn't bad you gotta think Johnson has what, a 40% chance of getting on base, most likely through a base hit?  Even if he gets the next two guys you are likely bringing up Stanton one more time, runner probably in scoring position, a situation you are desperate to avoid. I know if you bring in Clippard or Storen first you'd be likely facing 3 LH hitters, but both are pretty capable of getting them out (Clip .675 OPS for lefties this year - better historically, Storen .547 OPS) and you know what? If they fail to get the first lefty out (Garret Jones .267 / .334 / .467 vs righties) then you can still switch over to Blevins if you like. Or hell you could even wait until they announced Jones and then pull Clippard or Storen and let Blevins deal with all three.  The only thing you can't do with these three pitchers is let Blevins face that righty.

The game situation demanded as close to a sure out as you could get at all times. Blevins v righty batter is one of your worst match-ups. It should have never happened.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree, Harper. Detwiler was also presumably an option.

MW has been a terrible tactical manager so far, which is somewhat understandable given that he's never managed. My biggest concern is that he seems not to be improving.

Chaz R said...

Total head scratcher... I am still trying to get my head around some of the decisions MW makes. I guess it's his rookie season so we should cut him some slack.

Jimmy said...

This post is irrelevant with the news on Zimm. DDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!

WiredHK said...

Not to mention Blevins just pitched the day before (Hello, Baker walk-off). Touching on Lumley's point yesterday, this is another example of Williams not really having any rules or a plan besides the ones he makes up on the fly (which are usually wrong).

Clippard wasn't allowed to pitch Monday (in a game we're winning and with a closer who is failing blatantly) because he pitched Sunday. But Blevins is magically allowed to pitch back to back, even though he's far worse of an option and going to face much worse match-ups in both affairs??

It's not bad, it's assinine.

A Fly Moses said...

Along the same lines, I can't figure out why MW pitched to Stanton. I'm not a big IBB guy, but Williams has shown he is willing to do a ton of it (e.g. that MIL extra innings game), and with one out and a man on 3rd, you not only avoid the best hitter in the game, but set up the DP for McGehee, who leads the league in GIDP. Whether or not you think IBB was actually the right move there, I feel like MW would 100% have done it in a tie game.

Which leads to the main point, which is: MW seems to give up on games when they're trailing late (e.g. consistently refusing to use his good relievers unless the game is tied or a save situation). Obv they've comeback late a number of times, but Matt seems to mostly just hope this happens, rather than manage it maximize the chances of coming back.

Eric said...

Barrett made Stanton look absolutely foolish at Nats park earlier this season. I was OK with the decision to pitch to him there, just wish he'd bounced that last slider and gone to something else if he didn't bite.

Donald said...

Not to blame one guy in a team lose, but Espinosa's at bat in the 2nd was about the worst I've ever seen. Bases loaded and Alverez can't find the strike zone. You HAVE to take the first pitch. Make him prove he can get the ball over. Instead, Danny flails at a pitch out of the zone and gets behind in the count. And then he just keeps doing it. If he had just stood there, the Nats would have a run with the line still moving.

I wonder if anyone on the team said anything to him after that?

Bjd1207 said...

@Donald you're exactly right, and it shows exactly the reason Espinosa won't ever make it offensively in the bigs.

I don't think it's a matter of a generally over-aggressive approach, as has been floated on this board. In that situation, literally everyone who's learned in baseball is screaming for a take, he still freaking swings. He's got terrible pitch recognition and situational awareness

Mitch said...

I'd just like to add to the pile on top of Danny Espinosa. That swing was inexcusable. Complete lack of awareness.

JWLumley said...

Matt Williams as Nats manager should have never happened.

JQuest said...

If you're the manager of the Nats do you tell Danny to take before he gets up there? Does someone on the team tell him? Or do you just hope that he's smart enough to know?

Same thing with Bryce where he keeps running himself out. I'm all for aggressiveness, but you have to have an idea of the situation. Is the manager or team helping these guys recognize situations they need to pay attention to?

Froggy said...

I sense a big acquisition (trade?) before the deadline. Or else it's off with the Rizzlliams head!

Donald said...

BTW -- it's the bottom of the ninth in Miami with a save situation. Williams has brought out Storen to face Stanton. I guess we'll get to see how this plays out, but I like the move.

JWLumley said...

@Donald Maybe he's actually learning. I could get behind that.

Donald said...

Yeah, though it didn't work out all that well. Sounds like Storen had a bit of a meltdown and gave up 2 runs. But a win is a win.

Nattydread said...

Storen was more of an adventure than Soriano.

JWLumley said...


Froggy said...

Again, why do we pitch to Stanton in the bottom of the ninth with a three run lead? Why not IBB him, what am I missing here? Regardless, I'm for giving Storen more shots to be our closer over Sorryano. And thank God for Roark (and Fister)!

Froggy said...

So MW in today's post game comments said: Monday's game was " of those games.". Uh, no...Monday's game was one your games there Matty.

DezoPenguin said...

I take solace in the idea that at least we managed to take one off Miami. Braves only got one of four and that was in Atlanta. Marlins look like a .500 club that can get on hot and cold streaks, so not too bad, although it is teeth-grindingly harsh to choke hard on the first game, get shut out the second (and waste an excellent game by Stras--HE'S NOT CLUTCH! SHOULDA HAD THE SHUTOUT!), and nearly choke the third. Ouch. But we managed a win and a 5-4 road trip and we'll be in first place at the end of it.

(And come to think of it...Atlanta got to the end of the "soft" stretch of its schedule. Our goal was to still be within a couple games of first, the season not out of reach at that point. And we actually were best-record-in-the-league, sole-possession-of-first at that point, so we are way ahead of pace.)

But one thing I reiterate, and which other people have mentioned, basically every manager sucks tactically and statistically. MW inspires no confidence from me. Honestly, I suspect he's near the bottom of the league. But aside from Melvin, Maddon, maybe Hurdle, exactly which MLB manager would you look at and say, "This guy's a great manager! He really adds a few wins a year by his keen lineup management and sharp in-game tactical decisions with his bullpen and player matchups!"

(Reminds me of the WS last year, for example, where Matheny and Farrell basically back-and-forthed stupid decisions.)

Indulging in a bit of roster speculation...If Rizzo offered Texas Strasburg for Beltre straight up, would Texas take it? Would Rizzo be an idiot for asking?

Zimmerman11 said...

I'm just glad we get to run out these five guys every day...


And if the bullpen comes back down to earth a little bit, sobeit... we are going to be playing meaningful games in September, and hopefully the postseason.

Not that I wouldn't love a masher in the middle of the lineup... or for Rizz to make a move to shore up the 'pen... but c'mon man... who has better starting pitching that the Nats???

We should be in every game. Even with Span and LaRoche about to have terrible slumps :)

Anonymous said...

lol, what the hell Jerry?