In the past 28 hours, we’ve gone from the high of learning that we successfully (and deservedly) voted Joey Votto into the All-Star Game and watched Votto thank us by belting a first-inning home run – his 22nd of the season and third this week – to the lows of giving up walk-off home runs on back-to-back nights in Philly. A pair of crushing losses, and tonight’s was an absolute kick in the nuts. To watch Mike Leake – who was absolutely cruising all night until the 9th – give up a three-run homer to Greg Dobbs … then watch our closer (who we already knew can’t usually get three outs without walking someone, but tonight couldn’t even get TWO outs without walking someone) walk a guy who’s hitting .256 with one homer before allowing a homer by a 34-year-old journeyman who has bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors since 2001 … and then Rhodes, when we were already down on the ground and spitting up blood, surrenders the double to Ibanez and the dong by Howard, which anyone could see coming from a mile away.
Oh yeah, AND we’re not getting Cliff Lee.
Painful. Extremely painful. I honestly don’t know if I would’ve left Leake in there after he had allowed hits by three of the first four batters he faced in the ninth. They obviously wanted him to get the complete game, his pitch count was low (I think it was only 85 when he entered the inning) and it didn’t appear as if the win was in danger. Wouldn’t surprise me if there was some second-guessing, but there certainly wouldn’t be if we just had a closer who could come in and get two friggin’ outs.
I know what you’re thinking … the guy has 24 saves – tops in the National League – and Dave’s just bitter because he’s got him on his fantasy squad and he’s in a tight head-to-head showdown this week. You’re right. But I’d be plenty bitter just as a Reds fan at this point, even if I weren’t a Cordero fantasy owner. He also leads the Majors with 30 save opps. Cordero has now allowed 22 walks in 40 2/3 innings. That’s pretty unacceptable. Of all of the closers in MLB this season with 15 or more saves, Carlos Marmol is the only one with more than 20 walks (and he’s struck out 77!, so it’s a little easier to stomach). Compare Coco’s 22 walks to 7 by Broxton, 7 by Matt Capps, 9 by Leo Nunez, 5 by Ryan Franklin. (There are a bunch in single digits in the AL too.) And all of those guys are within a handful of innings pitched of Coco.
I know your closer isn’t going to go 1-2-3 every time you run him out there, but how about every once in a while! Since June 21, Cordero has notched seven saves – not bad. But he’s allowed 18 of the past 42 batters he’s faced to reach base. And this isn’t the first stretch where he’s been bad. You’re just playing with fire every time you run him out there, and a guy who’s making more than $12 million should probably be lights-out a little bit more often. Five home runs is kind of a lot before the break too. Among closers, only Papelbon has served up more than 5.
I realize it’s apples to oranges, but it’s still pretty incredible that Coco’s 22 walks in 40 2/3 are more than Halladay has allowed (18) in 139 IP, more than Carl Pavano has allowed (17) in 118 IP, more than Scott Baker has allowed (19) in 109 IP and, sadly, way more than Cliff Lee has allowed (6) in 103 2/3 innings this season.