Fish-Cap: Bullpen blows up Houston series


(Note: Since I missed out on a lot of content this week, I figured I’d add on some weekend content to compensate. Hope you guys keep reading, I’ll do my best to keep writing.)

The Marlins salvaged one game out of a frustrating series versus the Houston Astros. This is the first series this season which the Marlins did not win or split, and it happened to come against one of the worst teams in baseball. It was an ugly affair, the details of which will be discussed shortly.

Series Hero: Jorge Cantu (0.414 WPA)
Series Goat: Tim Wood (-0.517 WPA)
Impressed By: Jorge Cantu: 12 PA, 4 H, 1 HR
Depressed By: Everything else

Bullpen blows up two wins

Technically, based on WPA, the bullpen blew up a full win in the first two games. As I mentioned before, a picture is worth a thousand words. From FanGraphs:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 1’s work was done by Tim Wood, while Game 2’s deed fell in the hands of Burke Badenhop. The scary part is that both those giant upswings in win probability for the Astros directly fell in those two reliever’s hands. Those two combined for a WPA of -0.924, almost a full win! And it wasn’t as if these wins came because of extenuating circumstances, i.e. errors or inherited runners. Wood and Badenhop dug their own graves during their outings.

Neither Chris Volstad nor Josh Johnson deserved a win based on how they pitched, but the Marlins’ offense did put the team in position for victory. The two ugly comeback losses further the idea that the team could use bullpen help. I don’t think any of us Marlins fans expected the sort of futility out of the pen that we’ve seen so far this season. You can bet that if the club is competing during the stretch run, they will be inquiring about bullpen help. Heath Bell, here we come!

Anibal Sanchez’ all-BIP outing

Sanchez had an interesting line on Thursday’s win.

6 2/3 IP, 9 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HR

Sanchez faced 29 batters and 28 of them put the ball in play, a pretty staggering total. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If a pitcher records exactly zero Three True Outcomes results in his innings, that’s technically a FIP of around 3.20, not bad in the least bit. Sanchez allowed nine hits in those 28 balls in play, which is right around what you would expect in terms of BABIP (eight or nine hits is about right). I took a look at some Pitch f/x data from Brooks Baseball to get an idea of how the Astros were handling his stuff.

The first thing I thought of was whiffs. A lack of strikeouts could indicate that the hitters were making tons of contact. Sanchez induced eight swings and misses out of 49 total swings, an effective 16.3% whiff rate. Surprisingly, Sanchez also induced 14 grounders, an impressive total given his typical rate in the 40% range. It was certainly an effective, if not odd, outing.