Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Wellemeyer vs Sheets, 5:10 pm PACIFIC time tonight.

Sheets has been quite the enigma this season. Most observers (myself included) thought the Brewers' pick up of Sabathia gave them the best 1-2 punch in the league, even better than Zambrano/Dempster (at the time), Webb/Haren, or Pedro/Santana. However, the numbers haven't borne that out:

Before CC, Sheets was 10-2 with a 2.77 ERA.

Since 8 July (the day they added Sabathia), Sheets is 1-5 with a 4.06 ERA. The only team he's beaten is the Nationals. He earned a no decision against St Louis on 24 July.

I'm sure sports psychologists could fill volumes analyzing him to determine what caused the drop off in performance. It might be a simple case of the man trying too hard to stay with one of the best pitchers of his generation; who knows.

He has also not pitched well historically against the Cardinals (5-14 lifetime record), or at the new Busch (0-2, 4.74 ERA).

Yes I know what all this means - he'll be Roy Oswalt good tonight.

In other news, in case you hadn't noticed, Anthony Reyes is back in the majors with Cleveland. He's started 4 games so far, has thrown 5 innings or more every time (in fact, has only thrown 5 innings once, the other 3 starts he's gone 6, 6 1/3, and 7 innings), and has allowed 2 ER or less (actual stats: 2-1, 2.22 ERA) In short, he looks like the pitcher the Cardinals thought they had drafted back in 2003.

Larry over at VEB made a comment yesterday about Reyes that surprised me, which is quoted below:

anthony reyes made another strong start last night, 7 inn 1 run against texas,
the highest-scoring team in baseball. he now sports a 2.22 era in 4 starts for
cleveland. i’d be slightly, um, annoyed if we find out the kid can really pitch
and we gave him away for nothing . . . .

I think it is pretty clear that Reyes' struggles with St Louis since 2006 can be traced to his difficulty with management (specifically LaRussa and Duncan). Having not spent any time in the locker room I have no idea what caused the relationship to sour; for instance, I don't know if it was a case of hard-headedness on the part of the coaches trying to force him into complying with the organizational model of pitch-to-contact, or if it was a case of the cocky rookie not listening to the mentoring he was offered. Larry himself stated the Cardinals broke Reyes in an interview he gave to the Padre blog Ducksnorts before their May series in San Diego (yes I do read more on the web than VEB, C70 at the bat, and Sportsline.com to monitor my Juggernaut Fantasy Team). There was never any question he had the stuff to succeed at the major league level; the question was would he be given a real shot to demonstrate it (and 2007 doesn't really count; that was a bad Cardinals team, and although his 2-14 record would imply he was with the team all year he still got jerked around between St Louis and Memphis).

Not to mention that Reyes probably knows the Cardinals jettisoned him for pratically nothing, and has that additional motivation (other than to prove the organization wrong) to pitch well in Cleveland.

The fact that he's pitching well in a new situation shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who followed the soap opera over the past 3 years here. Whether he realizes his full potential moving forward is anyone's guess, and is largely up to him; the Indians have demonstrated they will give him a fair shot, a fairer shot than he got in St Louis, and he's responded. Why his sudden appearance as a quality major league starter would apparently surprise Larry surprised me.

Mozeliak got rid of him because he knew the kid would not be a contributor to the team as long as LaRussa and Duncan were in charge of the dugout, and because he suspected the emotional scars Reyes carried from his time in St Louis were probably too deep to heal even if/when LaRussa/Duncan moved on.

I will continue to monitor Reyes' progress in Cleveland, if for no other reason than I waited too long and my fantasy league arch rival scooped him up off the waiver wire last week.

No comments: