On June 9th Andrew Bailey’s ERA stood at a miniscule 1.47 and he was 6 of 7 in save opportunities. On June 21st Bailey’s ERA now stands at 4.03 and has blown 4 of his 12 save opportunities. Thus, it is safe to say that it has been a tumultuous week for Bailey. Dating back to June 10, when the disaster began, Andrew Bailey’s game log looks like this (all save situations):
- June 10 @ TB: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 SO, 3 BB, Blown Save
- June 12 @ TB: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 HR, 1 SO, 0 BB, Save
- June 15 @ BAL: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 SO, 0 BB, Save
- June 18 vs. TB: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 SO, 1 BB, Blown Save, Win
- June 20 vs. DET: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 0 SO, 1 BB, Blown Save, Loss
- Note: What may be the most surprising aspect of the 3 blown saves is that the Red Sox only lost 1 of the 3 – last night in Detroit.
That equates to 7 runs in the last 5 appearances, which is very un-closer and un-Bailey like. Although the Red Sox continue to say Bailey is healthy, there is a great cause for apprehension. A healthy Andrew Bailey doesn’t endure a Heath Bell Miami Marlins esque implosion because a healthy Bailey looks like the guy who was sporting a 1.47 ERA on June 9th.
The Red Sox brass can continue to declare Bailey healthy, but you and I know that may not be the case. Nevertheless, something has to change in the 9th inning for the Sox. If it means sending Bailey to the Disgraceful List Disabled List and putting Tazawa, Uehara, or, as some have suggested, Andrew Bailey then that is fine and should be done tonight. Healthy or not the Red Sox can ill afford to continue to let Bailey give away winnable games in the tighter than ever 2013 AL East. Update: Uehara has been named the Red Sox new closer for the time being.
So, what is the difference between pre-June 10 Andrew Bailey and post-June 10 Andrew Bailey? Quite a lot so let’s take a look at the drastic difference in release velocity between the two time periods.
According to the ESPN Heat Map, Bailey’s pre-June 10 release velocity was consistently 92-94+. That consistent velocity allowed him to be effective and run a fastball past big league hitters.
In addition, his ESPN pitch frequency location map shows that he was able to mix locations in and outside of the strike zone when he needed to get a swing and a miss.
It is quite telling that starting 11 days ago Bailey began losing velocity by at least 1 MPH. Losing even that bit of velocity will result in less effectiveness and leave you vulnerable if you don’t have an arsenal of reliable pitches or pinpoint location.
In the pitch frequency graph you can truly see the issues he also had with his location. You can see a lot of red up around the hitters shoulders and head, and the lack of consistency in the lower part of the strike zone.
Maybe nothing is wrong with Bailey and these last 5 games are just a small sample size that will prove to be a blip on the radar of his 2013 season. But, according to the maps and in my opinion something has changed in the last 11 days for Bailey. As of 4:00 EST on Friday, Bailey is still on the active roster, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a DL stint is looming.
Felix Doubront: Woah! 8 innings, 3 hits, 6 K’s, and ZERO walks for Doubront on Tuesday night against the Rays. I couldn’t watch this game and had to triple check my MLB At Bat Box Score to make sure that stat line was correct. Perhaps the most impressive part of his stat line was that he only needed 93 pitches to get through the 8 innings. You know what the worst part about the stat line? ND, or a no-decision, because Bailey blew the save!
At a time in the year when Lester and Dempster have been mediocre at best and Buchholz DL’d, this start by Doubront could not have come at a more perfect time.
Alfredo Aceves: On the same day as Doubront’s gem, Aceves took the hill for the front end of the day-night double header with the Rays and tossed 5 innings while only allowing 1 run. In his last three spot starts Aceves is 3-0, has pitched 17 innings, and given up only THREE RUNS. Is World War Z about to actually happen?
Shane Victorino: Victorino finally returned to the Sox lineup against the Angels and although he has not been a world-beater he is certainly great to have back in the everyday lineup. In his last 5 games Vic is 4-15 with 4 runs, 2 XBH, 2 RBI, and 3 steals. No, those aren’t great numbers, but in a week where the Sox only scored 21 runs in 6 games I will take it. Update: Victorino exploded last night against Detroit going 4-5 with a HR and 5 RBI.
Andrew Bailey: See above.
Dustin Pedroia: The slide continues for Pedey who has seen his average drop from .335 on June 8 to .308 on June 21. In that 11 game span Pedroia is 6-41 with 4 runs, 5 RBI, and, get this, 0 extra base hits. That is not what the Red Sox need from their 3-hole hitter as they are only 6 wins to 5 losses in that span as well. Pedroia has to get back on track if the Sox want to remain in first place.
Will Middlebrooks: We all feel bad for Middlebrooks and want him to succeed, but the statistics do not lie; he just can’t hit. Since returning from his DL stint Middlebrooks is just 4-29. It doesn’t take a baseball nerd to know that the scuffle has gotten worse as his average is now down to .192. “Wake and Rake” is no more.