Sat and watched through much of this game, though I missed the debacle that was the eighth inning and on for somewhat important reasons. Still, here’s some of my take on tonight’s game.
Chris Volstad has a serious case of homeritis.
It’s spread all over his pitching game. On the box score it says he only gave up one long ball, a three-run shot in the first inning to Colby Rasmus. But watching the game, he gave up another long fly ball to Yadier Molina that would’ve been a home run in almost any other park, but thanks to the “Teal Monster” out in left and Molina going into a bit of a home run trot, it was reduced to a long fly ball single. In my view, Volstad pretty much gave up two more jacks tonight, and in reality it’s been a season-long trend.
This year, Volstad has improved on two of three of his peripheral stats, the true outcome ratios. His K/9 has jumped up to 7.18 from 5.55 last year, and his BB/9 has dropped to 2.68 from 3.84. The primary reason Volstad was able to post a 2.88 ERA last year was a microscopic home run rate; he only allowed two home runs in 84 1/3 innings last year, good for a paltry 3.9% HR/FB ratio. This year, that’s been a completely different story. Including tonight, he has allowed 13 home runs, inflating his HR/FB to an absurd 17.4%. His true value is likely somewhere in between those two extremes, and once he regresses we’ll see an ERA hovering in the high 3′s (this assumes a regression in the K% as well, as I don’t think he’s ready to strike out major leaguers at that sort of pace just yet). Still, it’s an alarming trend, and Volstad needs to help out by doing what he’s supposed to be able to do best, keep the ball down and get it on the ground.