OK, this was frustrating. No team should be giving up nine runs to the San Diego Padres, especially not a so-called “contending ballclub.” The loss to the lowly New York Mets on Thursday was acceptable, given we already took two of three and these things sometimes happen. But to have a game where you throw out your third best starter, Chris Volstad, and he not only bombs, but bombs so horrifically that he forces the bullpen to go 7 1/3 innings of relief work against the worst offense in the National League is despicable.
This is not an analysis. This is a rant.
Volstad was so bad that he got optioned after the game.
That’s actually not the reason. The real reason is that he went so few innings and the Marlins’ pen was so taxed at the end of the game that the team had to option both Volstad and Gaby Sanchez to make room for more bullpen arms. Likely coming up are relievers Luis Ayala and Tim Wood.
Volstad reached a pinnacle of terrible last night, lasting only 1 2/3 innings and giving up six hits, two walks, and of course the obligatory home run to Kyle Blanks. In 27 starts, Volstad has given up 27 home runs, which is simply unacceptable. While it’s clearly a matter of luck and location that so many pitches are leaving the park for him, at this point you feel like it’s also a bit in his head. Maybe he knows he’s giving up a home run every time he’s out there, and it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy for him. I don’t know what it is, and I intend to take a day in his next ten days down in the minors to sort out his homers by location using Pitch f/x and see whether it’s a location issue.
The good thing for Volstad is he’ll only be spending around ten days down in New Orleans. The Marlins are in desperate need of arms on both the starting and relief staffs. The whole crew is overworked and it may affect us in the stretch run. The team wants to rest Josh Johnson due to his innings, and it’s unsure whether Ricky Nolasco will make it to 200 innings with his at times unpredictable work. Right now the Marlins have Sean West in the rotation, and he’s shown so far that he can’t go long into games. September call-ups are going to be key to keeping everyone fresh as we try to climb back into the playoff picture. Unfortunately, if starters that are being depended upon to go six or more innings continue to put up performances like Volstad’s last night, the Marlins should not have to worry about the playoffs for much longer.
Will Chris Coghlan ever stop raking the ball?
It’s a damn good question. He went 3-for-5 last night with a double, and is now batting .297/.372/.445 on the season, good for a .361 wOBA. In the second half, he’s hit a Hanley Ramirez-like .363/.412/.586, including seven of his nine home runs. The only downside to all of this is that he’s used the single as the method to increase his production, and as we talked about yesterday, that isn’t likely to stay so hot. Coghlan’s walk rate has dropped from 12.9% to 10.8% thanks to his second half. However, unlike in the case of Hanley, who has changed his swing dynamic and become more of a hacker, Coghlan has remained mostly patient at the plate; he’s still swinging at just around 40% of his pitches, up from 37% earlier in the year.