Brandon McCarthy pitches baseballs professionally for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I state that fact for you kind readers without hesitation. The story that follows that fact, however, is one I tell somewhat reluctantly because I do not want readers to think that I am partaking in some form of “humble bragging,” in which I find an excuse to tell you, indirectly,that I know (am Facebook friends with!) a professional athlete. Unfortunately that path might be unavoidable here.
I will say that if my intentions were to brag, I would probably just come out and do it. I am a writer, after all. Self promotion is just part of the gig.
I would like to think what follows is an attempt to improve upon an analysis offered yesterday on the pages of Rox Pile. This is an attempt to add nuance to opinions offered here, because I am nothing if not open to some constructive criticism, especially when it comes from somebody who pitches for a living.
Graph originally from TexasLeaguers.com
In the spirit of writer self promotion discussed in the opening paragraphs of this very entry, I posted this picture to my personal Facebook page. It is on that post that I received a comment from the aforementioned Brandon McCarthy, in which he pointed out that I might have misrepresented what was bad about Brothers’ command.
To paraphrase what was an already brief comment, McCarthy said that the pitches I pointed to as bad (in the spirit of bad comedy) were actually good pitches and that the pitches in the box were the problem, as they were the ones that were hit hard. Assuming that I have interpreted the comment correctly, I would like to offer the following revised graphic of the command issues of Rex Brothers on Wednesday night, with a hearty tip-of-the-cap to McCarthy.
The point is well taken; as I did my best to channel the frustration I was feeling as a fan and the inclination to try and be clever as a writer, it is entirely possible that I misrepresented a pitch such as the one found below as bad or even comically bad when it was actually an effective offering.
Walks and hit batters are only half the battle for Brothers when he is not locating his pitches, after all. As we have noted before here on Rox Pile, the other half of the problem for Rex when he cannot find his command is the fact that he gets hit harder when he throws “get me over” type pitches.
Perhaps there is no better illustration of that fact than the very rally in question, as Brothers walked zero hitters and allowed three hits (he did have one HBP). He made mistakes over the plate and the Diamondbacks made him pay for them.
That said, I will note that McCarthy said that “all” the pitches I marked as bad were actually good. That’s not totally right; the notion that Brothers threw some truly awful pitches on Wednesday was not without basis, as you can see with this…
Whatever the intent of the Facebook comment considered here, it would be darn foolish of me not to revisit a topic when I receive feedback from a guy who was actually in the opposing dugout for the game in question and who is known for consuming and understanding the type of pitching data at issue here. We’re all just doing our best to get things right, after all, and so this seemed like a unique and fun opportunity for me to follow up on a topic.
Editor’s (same guy as the writer) note: the reader will please forgive the fact that the last paragraph was dripping with humble brags. The points made are important, but if you rolled your eyes anyway that is an entirely acceptable reaction.
Back to Brothers. What do you think, Rockies fans? What will it take to get him back on track? Whether it’s missing badly out of the zone or throwing meatballs in the zone, the guy just is not right. I think we can all agree that the Rockies need him to turn things around. What do you think that turnaround looks like?