|Tim Locastro - CF||Raimel Tapia - LF|
|Ildemaro Vargas - 2B||Trevor Story - SS|
|Eduardo Escobar - 3B||Nolan Arenado - 3B|
|Adam Jones - RF||Mark Reynolds - 1B|
|Kevin Cron - 1B||David Dahl - RF|
|Blake Swihart - LF||Ian Desmond - CF|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||Brendan Rodgers - 2B|
|Carson Kelly - C||Chris Iannetta - C|
|Robbie Ray - LHP||Jeff Hoffman - RHP|
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’m about to defend Archie Bradley. Or, at least, point out that there’s another high-leverage relief pitcher in the bullpen, whose performance has been worse than Bradley, by a number of metrics, but who has not come in for anything near the level of criticism lately. Let’s play the old, Player A/Player B game. Which of these pitchers - neither of them exactly very good - would you want on the mound with the game on the line in a late inning situation?
- Pitcher A: 4.63 ERA, Win Probability -64%, Shutdowns/Meltdowns 7/6
- Pitcher B: 5.79 ERA, Win Probability -78%, Shutdowns/Meltdowns: 5/6
Pitcher A, you won’t be surprised to hear is Archie. But B is Yoshihisa Hirano, about whom you probably haven’t heard much lately. It’s possible that this reflects fandom’s awareness of advanced metrics. Because by fielding independent ERA (and fWAR), Hirano has been superior: 3.17 to 3.63, mostly due to a superior K:BB ratio of 23:5, compared to Archie’s 31:15. But I’m not sure that’s uppermost in people’s thoughts. It’s not even as if there’s recency bias, because Hirano’s 7.88 ERA this month is almost identical to Bradley’s 7.94 ERA in May. They’ve been our two worst pitchers of late, with John Ryan Murphy the only man with a worse ERA this month.
I do recall Hirano coming in for plenty of concern in the early stages of the season. He allowed runs in three of his first four outings, and had - hey! - a 7.94 ERA over his first eight games. But since then, he hasn’t been very much better, and yet there have been few calls of late for him to be optioned or DFA’d. [the former may not be possible, depending on the specifics of his contract] I’m not sure quite why. Maybe we only have room for a single scapegoat in our collective mentality at any one point...