Make Igarashi the 8th inning reliever

Posted on April 15, 2010 by

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Wednesday night’s game against the Rockies was filled with disappointment, ranging from another poor outing from a starter to the team’s dismal showing with Runners in Scoring Position (1-12) to an 0-for-5 for Jose Reyes to using Fernando Nieve for the sixth time in eight games.

But one good thing that did come out was another nice outing from Ryota Igarashi. The radar readings from SNY had him consistently at 96 mph, so I went to BrooksBaseball.net to check out the PitchFX data and see what was going on.

It showed Igarashi throwing 14 four-seamed fastballs and 1 changeup. Here are the velocity readings for his 15 pitches:

94.4, 94.4, 95, 96.1, 94.9, 87.6, 96.1, 96.9, 96.2, 96.2, 95.8, 88.3, 88.9, 95.4 and 89.7

I am no PitchFX expert, but it seems unusual that his four-seamer’s velocity went from 88.3 to 96.9. It seems much more likely that three of the last four pitches were actually splitters. Those three had break lengths of 5.8, 7.5 and 6.6. No other fastball thrown by Igarashi had a break length over 4.9. If we call those three pitches splitters (which may or may not be the case), Igarashi averaged 95.6 with his fastball.

PitchFX shows him at 94.16, which is nothing to sneeze at and in line with his previous three starts, where he averaged 93.2 with his four-seamer.

After Troy Tulowitzki took him to the wall, Igarashi retired the next two batters with a strikeout and a groundout. In his previous outings, he had just 1 K in 3.1 IP, so it was nice to see a whiff. Igarashi’s outing capped four scoreless innings for the bullpen.

Unfortunately, the bullpen was asked to throw another inning. Jenrry Mejia replaced Igarashi and he proceeded to give up the game-winning homer to the first batter he faced.

During the game, broadcasters Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez chatted about a press conference that manager Jerry Manuel held earlier in the day. Manuel revealed that he was a strong supporter of Mejia being in the bullpen in the majors while others in the organization (not named, unfortunately) felt differently.

Manuel wants Mejia to take over the eighth inning role. Hopefully a few more outings like this for Igarashi will convince Manuel or whoever makes the personnel decisions for the club to make the Japanese import the team’s bridge to Francisco Rodriguez.

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Posted in: Perspectives