Edinson Volquez was knocked around by the Indians yesterday, allowing seven runs while failing to make it out the third inning as his ERA rose to 6.35.
He’s struggled all season with 38 walks and nine homers allowed in 51 innings, but what made yesterday’s ugly outing different than his previous ugly outings is that afterward Volquez took the opportunity to criticize the Reds’ lineup. Seriously.
When speaking to reporters following the game, Volquez said:
I think everybody has to step up and start getting some runs. The last five games, we’ve scored how many runs? Thirteen in five games? It’s not the way we were playing last year. We’re better than that.
Thanks largely to Volquez the Reds allowed 12 runs yesterday and the lineup did well enough scoring four times, which makes it an awfully strange moment to talk about how “everybody has to step up and start getting some runs.”
Last season the Reds led the NL in runs and this season they rank second. The big change has been the pitching staff going from seventh to 14th in ERA and Volquez has led the way with his ERA rising from 4.31 to 6.35. So yes, maybe the Reds’ offense hasn’t been particularly productive for the past week, but Cincinnati has still scored the second-most runs in the league this season and Volquez has still been one of the worst performers on one of the league’s worst pitching staffs.
And just so no one thinks Volquez’s quote was taken out of context, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com notes that the above statement came in response to a question about his lack of command yesterday. Clearly the guy just had something to get off his chest. Shame it doesn’t make any sense.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.