Scherzer, Motte, And Other Assorted Nothingness
It’s taken me a couple days to process it, but I can’t help but feel like not enough people are paying enough attention to just what exactly Max Scherzer has done his past two starts. Maybe it’s shrouded in the whole controversy of Jose Tabata and whether what he did is causing the white rhino to go extinct or not. Maybe it’s a sign of just how far baseball’s popularity has fallen. Maybe it’s covered by just being on the heels of both the NBA and NHL coming to a close and their drafts and free agency periods generating a lot of chatter. Maybe no one gives a flying fornication about the Nationals. I don’t know.
When my Dad and I would talk about baseball records, he would always mention that there was one record that will never, ever be broken. That’s Johnny Vander Meer’s two consecutive no-hitters. To break it, obviously, someone would have to throw three in a row and clearly no one could ever imagine that happening. For all of my life, I had a hard time fathoming that anyone would even take a run at tying it.
And Scherzer just did!
Scherzer is an apologetic Carlos Gomez duck snort and Tabata’s magic elbow away from backing up a no-hitter with a perfect game. Add in a walk to those two things and he’s that close to having fired two consecutive perfect games! That would clearly be the greatest accomplishment by a pitcher in the game’s history. Hell, these two games might be the best consecutive starts in the game anyway. It should be on every paper and blog and show everywhere. You could very well go the rest of your life and never see a pitcher not only not match these two starts, but not even come close.
If Aaron Rodgers had two consecutive games of throwing seven touchdown passes, ESPN would explode in a sea of jism and plasma (and if the NFL allowed the Packers to play the Bears two weeks in a row, this would probably happen). I love Lebron, so I hate to throw him into this, but if he had consecutive 65-point games, which is what Scherzer’s performances are akin to and that might even be shorting him a bit, there would be so many fucking hot takes our country might end.
Scherzer’s next start really should be an event, even if he gets rocked. I guess on the plus side I haven’t heard much “DA CUBS SHOULDA SIGNED DAT SCHERZ-MAN AND NOT DAT LESTER-MAN DEN WE WOULDN’T HAVE DIS ROSS GUY AT CATCHER AND WE COULDA KEPT SCHWARB-MAN!”
Maybe I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
-I can’t tell you how excited I am that Joe Maddon has gone to the random bullpen assignments for the time being, not really have a set closer. I am far less excited that it seems to be Jason Motte getting a majority of the 9th inning assignments.
My feelings on Motte are well known to most of you, and if you don’t know I feel the same way about Motte that I do about applesauce. Both cause my jaw to lock shut.
Sahadev Sharma over at BP Wrigleyville, who is a fuckton better at this than I am, had a nice long post today about the change in Motte’s stuff and approach lately leading to his (somewhat) greater effectiveness. As much as a stats nerd as I am, I still look at Motte’s numbers and think they’re lying to me. Like all the rest of ’em!
Motte has only been throwing one pitch, his four-seamer. This isn’t a surprise to me, because whatever else he claims to throw sure looks like his four-seamer. I think I’ve seen two cutters that actually cut this season, but maybe there’s been more. His limited repertoire is only one of the things that bothers me, though.
The main thing that bothers me about Motte is his control sucks. Not that he walks a ton of batters, but he misses his spots routinely. Even last night, with a three run lead he was all over, and worse yet he’s wild in the strike zone. I’d mind less if he fired one to the backstop every so often, just to scare the piss out of anyone in the batter’s box. But he doesn’t. He misses outside when trying to go inside, vice versa, low when wanting high and the opposite. And when it’s only one pitch, hitters can key on one spot because eventually he’s going to put one there whether he means to or not. And there’s no real way to track that statistically. Zone profiles don’t tell you where the catcher actually wanted the pitch.
At some point the world is going to collapse around his ears, and no matter how hard he throws it isn’t going to matter.
From → Musings