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Why are people blaming Jake?

Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #1 by Don » April 11th, 2011, 9:37 am

I see everyone wants to play the blame game. The buck always stops at the pitcher. He has the ability to shake him off. The people in the dugout are supose to be tracking pitches and especially the pitching coach. I am sitting in the stands behind homeplate calling almost every pitch he threw. He was fastball, fastball, slider how many times in a row. These Texas hitters were not stupid. I e-mailed Jordan during the game saying these guys will be sitting on pitches. It was cold, windy, and the breaking stuff will always be hit or miss. You simply throw it those nights to keep everyone honest and not a staple pitch. I think roughly 75% of his pitches were either four seam fastball or slider the enitre night. His slider was sharp and then it was a sloppy hanger.

He threw maybe one or two change ups the entire outing and that should be your balance pitch on cold nights. The rest was hot and heavy throws. Batters can easily distinguish between a slider and fastball when that is all you tend to throw in an outing. Both come out of the gate fast, so a batter can sit on the slider without the fear of being blow out on a fastball. Adrian Beltre was sitting on a slider and caught a fastball (92) right in the lower groove pit where he likes them thrown. Hamilton sat on the slider and it hung for a base clearing hit, two other did so as well....

I agree with Buck post press conference. He had a solid command of the fastball, but with a guy who can throw 8 pitches it sure looked like he sat on simply two. He can honestly work in a 2 seam, splitting change, and Curve. Where in the world was that change up???

I do not place blame on Jake Fox. I place the complete blame in the pre-game attack plan. It was simply poor overall and on a cold night with sligthly numb fingers on the mound, you do everything in your arsenal to keep them off balance because your breaking pitch will not be as effective.

I am sorry that I am so critical at the moment. I plan to send Jordan my scouting report later today and un-fourtunately this outing will ecco my report. The good thing is that he is better than this outing. He is a guy with great stuff and the abiliity to be a better pitcher than most give him credit for in the first place. I hope they can all learn from this about being more selective and balance out the repitore for better results.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #2 by rthowardiv » April 11th, 2011, 10:05 am

Jake fox wasn't even calling the game, he looked over to the dugout before each pitch, not sure if it was someone from the coaching staff or wieters who were calling the pitches.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #3 by Don » April 11th, 2011, 10:12 am

The only one thing that I can get on Jake was his split second tell by sliding behind the plate for the pitch, which gives a slight advantage to hitters about what may come or how they planned to attack him. One other quick item while watching the tape, he was slow and methodical for signals. Could that be something that could also give a slight edge? I fail to think so, but it is just another thing to think about with Fox behind the plate.

As for calling, it may have been at crucial times, but not every single pitch.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #4 by Tenth Inning » April 11th, 2011, 10:41 am

Ah, I can see you're a bit upset with my column, Don.

Hopefully you read the piece and not just the title, but I'd like to clarify a few things.

1) Most importantly, my conclusion read as follows:

Ultimately, Jake Arrieta’s disastrous pitching line from Saturday’s start was caused by a host of factors: bad luck, a less-than stellar breaking ball, questionable game-calling and an inability to execute in key situations. I won’t go so far as to assert how much of the blame should be doled out to Fox’s game-calling, but it does seem that Wieters is a bit more in tune with the nuances of his staff. Because of all these factors, we can expect a rebound for Arrieta in his next outing.


So, while I believe the game was called somewhat poorly, it was only one of several factors that led to Arrieta's early exit.

2) While you suggest that Arrieta was touched because he didn't mix in his pitches enough, the data actually suggest that he did not rely on the fastball enough. He threw the fastball 16% less in his second start and relied overly on the slider, which was inconsistent. Arrieta should take the blame for having a poor slider, but the battery need to hone in on what pith is working that night and shift the game plan. Arrieta needs to be able to shake off his catcher, no matter who it is, when he knows what pitch to throw. I agree wholeheartedly with you there.

3) While I believe the changeup can be a powerful weapon for Arrieta, he didn't throw it much more (4 times in 99 pitches) in his first start than he did (1 or 2 times in 77 pitches) in his second start. The only major change in pitch selection seems to be a shift from the fastball (which was very good) to the slider (which was less than).

Anyway, like usual, I respect the hell out of your opinion, Don, and I'm glad to have the conversation. It seems to me that we may have gotten off on the wrong foot in these forums, with some sharp differences in opinion on a couple of amateur draft candidates and now this. Ultimately, these things are minor in the long term.

What I want to make clear is that my column was not intended to come to any major conclusions about Fox and his effectiveness, but more so to play with pitch f/x data and see what it can tell us about pitch selection and effectiveness.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #5 by Tenth Inning » April 11th, 2011, 10:49 am

Don wrote:I am sorry that I am so critical at the moment. I plan to send Jordan my scouting report later today and un-fourtunately this outing will ecco my report. The good thing is that he is better than this outing. He is a guy with great stuff and the abiliity to be a better pitcher than most give him credit for in the first place. I hope they can all learn from this about being more selective and balance out the repitore for better results.


Funny, this was essentially my conclusion as well. I hope you understand that.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #6 by Don » April 11th, 2011, 11:12 am

I saw the topic Dan, but I did not have the time yet to really sit and read it. This was not directed towards your article and it was more to the point of my drive into work on talk radio. Some beat writer may have slipped and more than one fan drank the Kool aid without really understanding what goes into how a pitcher performs on the mound.

These guys work pre-game material on more than one occassion for that day. They would have worked it with both him and Britton Saturday morning. Jake and Jake should have been sitting with Mark, Matt, and Zack to see how they planned to attack based on scouting reports. In between games, everyone should have sat down for a few minutes on what to tinker based on Zach's outing. Either way, they should have fully been on the same page on how to attack.

Zach sat on his bread and butter seam/sinker and worked well with a balanced attack keeping hitters on edge. He worked through three or four speeds to keep timing at bay. Jake was throwing gas or heavy breaking balls where the difference is so subtle that guys can sit on the slider and catch up to the fastball, or visa versa.

I just think somewhere it all broke down and no one knew it, or did not think it was bad idea. I tend to disagree with that approach in the second game. If he would have worked in the change up a bit more, it would have at least given him a punchers chance to fail on a hanging slider, curve because maybe that split second judgement causes the batter to miss the sweet spot and the homerun is a routine fly ball.

He gives up the gopher balls and I am going to start to track why, because it is not always bad pitches. Beltre took a tough low fastball, but it was a pitchers pitch and good location down and slightly away. If he kept everyone off balanced, could that have been a grounder instead?
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #7 by 2131andBeyond » April 11th, 2011, 11:17 am

Irrelevant of whose fault it was, it is something I think both guys can learn from.

Fox is obviously not a top-notch defensive catcher or game caller, so this kind of experience will help him grow when selecting pitches in the future.

For Arrieta, we know he is better than this, so it will also teach him how he needs to sequence as a pitcher, whether the catcher calls on things or not.

Was it good to see? Not at all. But it IS good to know that the problems on Saturday are somewhat identified and can be worked on.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #8 by Don » April 11th, 2011, 11:19 am

Dan...this is why I think Jake is still a "Thrower" and not quite a "Pitcher", which is the reason alot of people knock him down to the mid-rotation and back of the rotation ceiling. I will read your piece later this afternoon and touch base.

I do not think we disagree too much; I just think we have slightly different philsophies on certain aspects of the game. Does it mean one is right over the other? Nope. As I always say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #9 by Tenth Inning » April 11th, 2011, 11:26 am

Don wrote:I saw the topic Dan, but I did not have the time yet to really sit and read it. This was not directed towards your article and it was more to the point of my drive into work on talk radio. Some beat writer may have slipped and more than one fan drank the Kool aid without really understanding what goes into how a pitcher performs on the mound.

These guys work pre-game material on more than one occassion for that day. They would have worked it with both him and Britton Saturday morning. Jake and Jake should have been sitting with Mark, Matt, and Zack to see how they planned to attack based on scouting reports. In between games, everyone should have sat down for a few minutes on what to tinker based on Zach's outing. Either way, they should have fully been on the same page on how to attack.

Zach sat on his bread and butter seam/sinker and worked well with a balanced attack keeping hitters on edge. He worked through three or four speeds to keep timing at bay. Jake was throwing gas or heavy breaking balls where the difference is so subtle that guys can sit on the slider and catch up to the fastball, or visa versa.

I just think somewhere it all broke down and no one knew it, or did not think it was bad idea. I tend to disagree with that approach in the second game. If he would have worked in the change up a bit more, it would have at least given him a punchers chance to fail on a hanging slider, curve because maybe that split second judgement causes the batter to miss the sweet spot and the homerun is a routine fly ball.

He gives up the gopher balls and I am going to start to track why, because it is not always bad pitches. Beltre took a tough low fastball, but it was a pitchers pitch and good location down and slightly away. If he kept everyone off balanced, could that have been a grounder instead?
Don wrote:Dan...this is why I think Jake is still a "Thrower" and not quite a "Pitcher", which is the reason alot of people knock him down to the mid-rotation and back of the rotation ceiling. I will read your piece later this afternoon and touch base.

I do not think we disagree too much; I just think we have slightly different philsophies on certain aspects of the game. Does it mean one is right over the other? Nope. As I always say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.


Glad to read your clarification.

I must say I agree with everything you say in those two posts. Looking forward to your report.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #10 by A_K » April 11th, 2011, 12:13 pm

More important than who to blame, at least in my mind, is that there's solid evidence to suggest that Arrieta should or could have had better results in his next outing. Whether it was the pre-game plan, Fox's work behind the plate, the ump, Arrieta's decision making, or whatever else, the important conclusion is "there's reason to expect better results the next time he takes the mound." I'll take it.
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Re: Why are people blaming Jake?

PostPost #11 by hsbaseballcoach » April 11th, 2011, 1:01 pm

I agree - Jake has good stuff, but does not change speeds enough. Fox is not a true game caller and is a bit of a defensive liability, but Buck knew that going in....His bat is what separated him from Tatum making the opening day roster. Arrieta, as tough as it is for a pitcher, needs to have a better plan on how to attack hitters and call his own game. A tough thing to ask...but a necessity. Wieters, hitting or not, has proven his worth to me.
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