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Sunday, July 29, 2012

AARON COOK’S UNIQUE PATH TO HISTORY

The lowest strikeout rate ever by a starter who made at least 10 starts and who made the majority of his appearances in that capacity was Eppa Rixley, who punched out 10 batters in 94 1/3 innings (0.95 per nine innings) for the Reds in 1933.

Cook is leaving O’Donnell and Rixley in his dust. He has punched out just three batters in his six starts (spanning 36 innings) this year, or 0.75 per nine innings.

Now 4 in 40 innings, and 4 walks.

Tuque Posted: July 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, weird

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   1.     Hey Gurl Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4195584)
Wow, and I thought Henderson Alvarez was bad.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:26 AM (#4195588)
I wouldn't call Cook "bad" -- he's been a good pitcher for years, now he's trying to come back from injury. And the mythical all-BIP pitcher (no K, no BB, no HR) would be a very good pitcher ... and Cook seems to be giving it his best shot. :-)

Such pitchers usually get eaten up by a high HR rate but with just 4 walks in 40 IP (one intentional) it's reminiscent of Carlos Silva's 2005. Silva that year struck out just 3.4/9 ... and had a K/BB ratio of nearly 8 as he walked just 9 in nearly 190 IP. Obviously something will give with Cook but this is the type of pitcher he's always been. His career K/9 is under 4, his career K/BB is just 1.4 yet, despite pitching in Coors his entire career, his HR/9 is under 1 and from 2004 to 2009 he had a career ERA+ of 117.

He's a recipe of how to pitch in Coors -- keep the freaking ball down! His home splits (almost all Coors) are 290/339/427; road splits are 295/354/427. That's right, he's been slightly worse on the road (ERA is .25 higher at home).

Of course the "problem" with that is his ERA+ is all due to his Coors performance. If, in fact, he's the same pitcher regardless of ballpark, those road stats aren't quite as promising.

Anyway, I assume his current problem is mainly due to the injury and it's an open question whether he can return to being the same pitcher.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:02 AM (#4195593)
And the mythical all-BIP pitcher (no K, no BB, no HR) would be a very good pitcher ... and Cook seems to be giving it his best shot.


What if he allows a normal amount of HR?
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4195594)
What if he allows a normal amount of HR?


He wouldn't be a very good pitcher.

   5. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:46 AM (#4195598)
The lowest strikeout rate ever by a starter who made at least 10 starts and who made the majority of his appearances in that capacity was Eppa Rixley, who punched out 10 batters in 94 1/3 innings (0.95 per nine innings) for the Reds in 1933.
Aaron Clook is no Eppa Rixley.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 30, 2012 at 04:29 AM (#4195605)
Of course this probably isn't the right way to measure it. You'd want streaks of 10+ starts with fewer than X number of Ks or something like that. I couldn't figure out how to get play index to do that but I do look for streaks of starts with 1 or fewer Ks. Of course some of those might have been early exits but it's a start. Some notables (1918 or later):

14 starts, 65 IP, 5 K -- Les Sweetland 1928
13 starts, 98 IP, 8 K -- Ted Wingfield 1924-25
11 starts, 62 IP, 2 K -- Paul Carter 1919-20

Eppa Rixey did manage a streak of 2 K in 54 IP.

But the big modern shout out goes to:

10 starts, 40 IP, 4 K -- Gleann Abbott 1983-84 (with either a long minors or DL stint)

That's Cook territory in terms of IP. You've also got Dave Schmidt in 1989 with 5 K in 44 IP and Tommy John with 4 in 38 in 1985.

Good lord, here's a terrible run of pitching -- Juan Eichelberger in 1983, June 15 through July 18, all starts:

2.2 IP, 7 ER
2.1 IP, 4 ER
7.1 IP, 3 ER (this saves him)
0.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 UER (making up for the good start)
6 IP, 5 ER
1.1 IP, 5 ER
3.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 UER

Thanks to that one start, that's only an ERA of 11.79. 7 starts, 23.2 IP with 38 hits, 16 BB, 6 HR and only 5 K. Opponents hit 352/440/602. :-)

Off to the pen where he went 18 IP with a 3.38 ERA so back for a start -- 2 IP, 4 ER. Finished out the season in the pen. He didn't see the majors again until 1988 briefly.
   7. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 30, 2012 at 04:34 AM (#4195606)
Good lord, here's a terrible run of pitching -- Juan Eichelberger in 1983, June 15 through July 18, all starts:
To this day, if you mention Juan Eichelberger to a diehard Indians fan who's my age (36) or older, you're likely to see an immediate cringe.

He was Rich Yett before Rich Yett was Rich Yett.
   8. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 30, 2012 at 04:44 AM (#4195608)
Aaron Clook is no Eppa Rixley.

Maybe, who knows? But he was no Eppa Rixey. (I know, TFA had it wrong.)

[EDIT: Ooops. I missed your joke -- or should I say jloke. Sorry!]
   9.     Hey Gurl Posted: July 30, 2012 at 04:58 AM (#4195609)
[6] that run of starts reminds me .... of Ricky Romero, June 26 to July 25, 2012

3 IP, 8 ER (1UER)
6 IP, 8 ER
6 IP, 2 ER
6 IP, 1 ER
6 IP, 6 ER
1.1 IP, 8 ER

Thanks to those two meh starts in the middle against the AL Central, he's only had an ERA of 10.48 over those six starts. In 28 innings he's walked 22 and opponents hit .364/.465/.579 off him.

This is the Jays Ace who had a 147 ERA+ last year. I wish he'd just go on the DL like every other Christing Jays pitcher.

He's starting tomorrow, so we'll see if he can break that 11.79 Eichelbarrier. Mind you against the Mariners it will be tough.
   10. Cooper Nielson Posted: July 30, 2012 at 06:24 AM (#4195614)
Re: Eichelberger, Romero, et al. Dude, Jose Lima (RIP) had entire seasons like that.

He had 33 starts in 2000 and gave up 5 or more runs 17 times, with a 6.65 ERA on the season. His K/HR ratio was under 3 (124 K, 48 HR).

In 2005 he was even worse by some standards. He started 32 games and gave up 5 or more runs 16 times, with a 6.99 ERA and 4.3 K/9.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 30, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4195624)
whenever i think of guys not striking out hitters and not walking them either i think of lew burdette. guy would throw 250 plus innings a season and maybe walk 40 guys all year. maybe strike out 90.
   12. tfbg9 Posted: July 30, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4195641)
Cook will allow earned runs at a rate of at least 5.5 per 9 from here on in. You can't allow this much contact. It ain't gonna work, and it hasn't been lately.
   13. tjm1 Posted: July 30, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4195649)
Of course the "problem" with that is his ERA+ is all due to his Coors performance. If, in fact, he's the same pitcher regardless of ballpark, those road stats aren't quite as promising.


Sure, but (1) he's still a serviceable 5th starter if that's the case and (2) lots of factors (rest, routine, biased umpiring) mean that nearly everyone performs better at home than on the road, unless his home park just kills him.
   14. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4195723)
The all-caps headline made me think this was a Murray Chass blog about something racist he'd heard Aaron Cook had done to somebody at an Arby's, MR. PRESIDENT.
   15. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4195735)
What if he allows a normal amount of HR?


Cook is a pretty extreme ground ball pitcher so he is not likely to give up a "normal" amount of home runs. His HR/FB rate for this season is actually quite high (sample size) but when you get the number of grounders he does the actual number of homers should be low.

He's really only had one bad start, that was Friday's against the Yankees. Two if you include the beating Baltimore gave him in first start but that went to hell when he got a serious gash on his leg but was left out there to pitch so I don't really "blame" him for that one. Even the Toronto game he pitched pretty well but a couple of homers got him. He certainly doesn't have the stuff to get away with mistakes so games like the Toronto game will happen but I can't complain about what he has given the Sox so far.
   16. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4195816)
Two or three Cook starts last September, I think the Sox make the playoffs easily.
   17. Answer Guy Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4195858)
To this day, if you mention Juan Eichelberger to a diehard Indians fan who's my age (36) or older, you're likely to see an immediate cringe.

He was Rich Yett before Rich Yett was Rich Yett.


Eh...he had an ERA just under 5 and an ERA+ of 88 in '83. Which is in line with what one would expect for a regular #4 or #5 starter on a bad team around then.

For true horror, you should look at last year's Red Sox, that '88 Baltimore team that dropped their first 21 in a row, or some of those turn of the century Texas Rangers staffs.
   18. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4195902)
road splits are 295/354/427. That's right, he's been slightly worse on the road (ERA is .25 higher at home).


NL Pitching Road splits
2003 .268 /.341/.427
2004 267/339 /.432
2005 .268 ./339/.426
2006 .272 /.344/.439
2007 .272 /341/.433

etc.

Not greatly worse than average. His SLG is better than average, basically just more hits, but also fewer walks, and presumably fewer home runs.

The difference is that he didn't have to pitch in Coors on the road, so if he was an average pitcher his road OPS components should be lower than the league average. It's a pretty interesting schism.

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