There are times when a pitcher comes out of the bullpen and simply is unable to keep runs off the scoreboard. Miami Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider endured this exact scenario in the middle of May.
Drew Steckenrider had an ERA of 10.24 in May and put together a win-loss record of 1-1 including one blown save and three holds. The Miami Marlins can’t see that type of performance out of any relief pitcher for an extended period of time.
The bookends of the month of May were perfectly fine for Steckenrider. Three appearances from May 1-8 saw Steckenrider pitch three innings and not allow a single baserunner. Steckenrider’s final four appearances of the month from May 22-30 saw similar success, only allowing one hit. The issue is that Steckenrider struggled in the worst way from May 10 to May 20.
The most disappointing performance came on May 10 against the Atlanta Braves. In just one third of an inning Steckenrider allowed four hits and walked two batters resulting in six earned runs, two of which came way of the long ball. Steckenrider faced seven batters and threw 25 pitches, this works out to just over 3.5 pitchers per batter faced. Atlanta jumped on everything Steckenrider threw and it resulted in Miami giving up the lead. The lowlight of the perofmrnance was a grand slam given up to Ozzie Albies. That is where most of the damage was done. Caleb Smith actually took the loss in this contest but Steckenrider certainly played his part.
Struggles for Drew Steckenrider continue after getting roughed up
May 12th also saw Atlanta taking advantage of Steckenrider again. In a similar performance Steckenrider only lasted one third of an inning, giving up two runs on one hit and three walks. In this instance Steckenrider took the loss as he walked in Tyler Flowers in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie. A high pitch count was again the culprit for the Marlins reliever needing 36 pitches for only five batters. This will happen when a pitcher walks three batters in an inning.
Pitching 1 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on May 16th, Steckenrider blew a save but ended up earning a win. Steckenrider allowed one run on three hits while striking out four in the contest. Kyle Barraclough and Brad Ziegler would come on to hold the lead and earn a save respectively.
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The final unsatisfactory performance unsurprisingly also came against the Atlanta Braves. Steckenrider pitched a full inning this time and gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. Atlanta was aggressive against Steckenrider as he averaged just over three pitches per batter in the contest.
Is Drew Steckenrider’s bad stretch a cause for concern?
Not necessarily. As mentioned above most relievers go through a stretch where simply nothing works. This could of just been Steckenrider’s stretch for this season or at least just his worst stretch of ineffectiveness. It is entirely possible he struggles again but hopefully not to this degree. It is encouraging to see that Steckenrider only allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings after the lackluster four game stretch. it is incredibly likely that Steckenrider will keep pitching at this rate rather than revert to the unspectacular performance seen in the middle of May.
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