Is Jonathan Sanchez gassed?
July has been an ill month for not only Sanchez, but the Giants as a team. Sanchez is currently sitting at 123 innings pitched at the major league level for 2008. In 2007, he amassed 52 innings at the major league level with an additional 23.2 innings at Fresno AAA. That gives Sanchez a total of 75.2 innings pitched in ’07. Sanchez has made a series of quick exits from his games in July, check out his IP per start over the last 5 games.
Sanchez’s IP per start in July: 5, 4. 5.1, 2.2, 4
Those are Zito-esque performances. Sanchez isn’t staying in games and his control has been problematic. In his last two starts he’s walked 4 in each game and his BB% for July — in a stupidly small sample size of 21 innings — is at 19.5%. You’ll never confuse Sanchez for a pitcher that can paint the corners, he’s more of a “here it is, hit it” pitcher, but walking hitters nearly 20% of the time isn’t a good sign.
In the Game Scores Plots from earlier in this month, I mused about Sanchez’s workload and how the Giants might handle it.
One thing that I’m worried about after working with these plots is how the Giants are going to handle Sanchez’s workload in the 2nd half of the season. He’s thrown 111 innings already this year and last year, between AAA and the majors, he threw 75.2 innings in total. 23.2 of those 75.2 innings came from Fresno and I’m a believer that major league innings induce more stress and create more wear and tear on a pitchers arm.
I fielded that question to you, the readers, and the response was similar: Protect Sanchez, but let him throw until he starts having problems or until he starts struggling. The problem is, where do you draw the line. How do you exactly know that Sanchez is starting to cross that workload line? His velocity was down last night and his control was poor. Both can be seen as indicators that Sanchez is tired, or going through a “dead arm” period. How he bounces back, if he can bounce back, is the question we must consider.
Sanchez’s situation is difficult because he’s taken a step forward this year. You might not know it by his last 5 starts, but Sanchez will play a very important role in the future of the Giants’ starting rotation. The Giants starting pitching depth isn’t as strong as we believed before the season started. Zito is still ineffective and we don’t know what the future holds for him. I’m guessing it doesn’t hold a return to his glory days. Noah Lowry might not ever start another game in the majors again. His arm troubles still present a huge mountain to climb. Take one of Pat Misch, Steve Hammond, Matt Palmer, and you can round out your rotation. Sanchez might not have the ultimate upside of Cain or Lincecum, but he’s just as important. He adds some stability — when he’s pitching well — and the hope that he can continue to progress as a starter.
In the wrap up, Sanchez is saying that fatigue isn’t an issue:
Sanchez continued to insist that he’s not fatigued, although his 123 innings are 2 2/3 short of his professional career high.
“I didn’t have it today, but I’m not tired,” he said.
The Giants need to continue to monitor Sanchez closely, devise a plan*, and stick with it.
*This plan does not include the “Throw more pitches, girly man” strategy of past Giants managers.
I can handle watching Sanchez struggle, he might have a future. But, what I can’t stand, is watching Bruce Bochy continue to start Omar Vizquel and Jose Castillo. I’ve covered Omar ad nauseum and my distaste for Castillo is known. They are not getting showcased, they are not getting traded, so why are they playing? You can’t showcase a short stop who can’t hit over .200* and you can’t showcase a terrible defensive utility man who doesn’t hit enough or defend enough to make it on any team with playoff aspirations.
It’s mind boggling. Truly, mind boggling.
Now, in a lineup related gripe, here’s your WBQOTW:
Manager Bruce Bochy indicated Tuesday that Castillo, who has started 83 games at third base, is receiving a chance to prove himself at second, where he was a regular for Pittsburgh from 2004-06.
“We want to take somewhat of a look at him,” Bochy said.
And if that wasn’t enough, here’s one to grow on:
Entering Tuesday, Castillo had accelerated his offensive pace, batting .323 (10-for-31) in his previous eight games. Castillo’s 37 extra-base hits, including 27 doubles, were tied for second-most on the team.
“I like the way he swings the bat,” Bochy said.
First, selective stats like this drive me crazy. Over a selected 8 game period, Castillo wasn’t truly horrible. Give that man a starting job! Small. Sample. Size. It’s also the same selective stats that I’ve heard used with Omar Vizquel. Did you know from July 13rd to July 23 Omar hit (.471/.500/.647), clearly he’s back as a player and we should just ignore the previous 200 AB’s that he accumulated to this point.
Second, you like the way he swings a bat? He’s second on the team in extra-base hits? Jose Castillo is a bad hitter on a terrible hitting team, this does not make him a good hitter. Sure, I could probably dominate T-Ball if I wanted to, but that doesn’t make me skilled at the game of baseball. Castillo has never been a good hitter, he plays bad defense, and what part of his (.258/.308/.407) line excites you, Bruce? Is this how far we’ve fallen? Has Jose Castillo become an attractive player for the Giants? We moved the statue of Ray Durham and replaced him with … Jose Castillo? One step forward, seven backwards.
The trading deadline officially ends today at 4PM EST. I’ll trade you two busted veterans and an overweight catcher for a Jeff McKnight autographed baseball card. Deal?