So if any of you have listened to this week's edition of Rowbot Radio, I am completely and utterly wrong, and you can totally listen to me being about as wrong as a man can be about a pitcher's performance. Namely in the form of Jeff Francis getting hit all over the ballpark.
Seriously, color me impressed with Francis' first outing since 2008. Wowzers. I mean, I don't expect him to post those numbers every single outing, but man, there's not much to hate. One run-scoring sac fly in 7 innings of work. Again, wowzers.
Seriously, a Sunday day game with 7 innings from Francis and a save from Manuel Corpas? Who's having flashes of 2007?
But before we get too worked up, we need to dive back into 2010. Street's still out, and becoming one of those horrifying injury bug guys. Out for the season? No clue, no way of telling. Groin Strain does not equal "done forever" but it does mean his arm might get a little more rest or something.
In the meantime, just as soon as we thought that the Week of Endless Transactions was over, Matt Daley was optioned to AAA Colorado Springs to make room for Jeff Francis. As we know, no 2 separate pieces of matter can exist simultaneously in the same location, and Jeff Francis knows this even more (physics, you know). Similarly, no two ballplayers can exist simultaneously in the same roster spot on the 25-man roster, so one must be supplanted, and in this case, it's Matt Daley.
Click past the jump and we'll break it down a bit, in wordy exhaustive fashion.
Honestly, Matt Daley may be the best choice, as well. Now, that's gonna catch me some flak, but let's look at this the RMN way - by the numbers. Out of our bullpen regulars, Daley has the 3rd highest xFIP, behind Beimel and Flores. Now, I'd say they should be the guys to remove, but 1. Neither of them are easily demotable, B. Jim Tracy loves him some lefthanded relievers, and III. I'm not really sold on Flores' xFIP.
xFIP is basically FIP but properly park-adjusted. San Diego pitchers will have lower FIPs than the same pitchers in Philadelphia, and that's mostly based on the HR component (Homers are hard to hit in SD, easy in PHI, that's it). Randy Flores has yet to allow a homer, and his 3.54 FIP is being met with a 5.21 xFIP. I figure it's sample size issues (sample = 0) that have the numbers all skewed. Granted, Flores is sporting a very unfriendly K/BB and a low BABIP...but yeah, major league contract, no options, I don't see him moving.
Back to Daley. He's walking too many guys, but still striking out a good number, and he's getting hit a bit harder in key situations than we'd like to see. His WPA is sitting at a completely neutral 0.00, meaning that his negative and positive contributions have exactly evened themselves out. Cause for demotion purely based on performance? No, not really. Cause for demotion based on more valuable pitchers coming off of the DL and he has options left? Sure. This was really just a move of convenience and next injury that sprouts up (because seriously, it's not going to end here), he'll be the first on the FREX coming up to Denver. He can play 2B, right?
The thing that kind of disturbs me is that by optioning him, we've basically added yet another lefthander to the bullpen in Greg Smith. Now we have lost Franklin Morales to the DL (if you can really call it a loss - btw, who's wishing we traded him last season now? Huh?) but we're sitting on LongMen Esmil Rogers and Greg Smith (who also might be a spot starter come Wednesday), Lefty Whatevers Randy Flores and Joe Beimel, SetupMan who needs to iron out a lot of big wrinkles Rafael Betancourt, and "Closer" Manuel Corpas (and the caveat here is "if he keeps doing good things I won't complain"), and surprisingly awesome 7th inning guy Matt Belisle.
Seriously, how impressive has Matt Belisle been? I mean, he's had his bad days, but he's been like our 2nd best reliever, whether by straight WPA or the context-neutral WPA/LI (behind Joe Beimel for the first, Manny Corpas for the second). The thing that REALLY jumps out at me is his K/9 which is sitting at a healthy 8.74. Seriously, I never expected him to suddenly start punching batters out on this consistent of a basis. I was stopping by a bowling alley on Saturday night to say hello to a friend working there, and I caught the 8th inning and watched him get a key punchout. The point is less the bowling and more the statline FSNRM flashed on the screen: 22 2/3 innings pitched, 22 strikeouts. Kids, that's awesome. Kudos to Belisle for figuring that out. I might touch on him later this week in more detail (read: numbers upon numbers).
Everybody loves Jeff Francis. I love Jeff Francis. Even if you say you don't love Jeff Francis, you're wrong, you love Jeff Francis.
The Rockies are playing better. Also, RIBBIES.
Taylor Buchholz is on the road to recovery and he's cruising. Granted, this is Pebble Report stuff, but it's always good to hear about our guys doing well.
Apparently the only player we need to worry about is Marlon Byrd, not the Cubs' 4th-best-in-MLB pitching staff. Oh and we're the 2nd best pitching staff. I wonder if we're finally getting credit for pitching in Coors.