maholm_2014-04-21

Phillies 7, Dodgers 0: Future Dodger Cliff Lee Is The Best

I present to you a GIF:

If, because of the quality, you can’t tell what Paul Maholm is saying, he was pretty clearly saying “just throw the effin’ ball over there” to himself after his fifth inning throwing error went over the head of Adrian Gonzalez and allowed the fifth Philadelphia run to score, but he really could have been talking about any of the 107 pitches he threw tonight in a 7-0 loss to the Phillies. Maholm got into trouble straight away, walking Tony Gwynn — yes, old friend Tony Gwynn, the one who couldn’t get out of Triple-A Albuquerque last year — to start the game, then letting Jimmy Rollins single. After Chase Utley flew out, Carlos Ruiz doubled in both of the runners. To Maholm’s credit, he managed to get through the next three innings unscathed.

Less to his credit, the fifth inning! Maholm actually did get the first two, but then walked Ruiz and allowed Ryan Howard to take him deep to center. Maholm only struck out two — one was Cliff Lee — and somehow unbelievably, now has six strikeouts and eight walks in 17.2 innings. That feels unsustainable, by which I mean, either he’ll fix it or he’ll be unemployed. Either way, it will not be sustained over the full season. And with Clayton Kershaw on track to start a minor league rehab game on Friday, we may only have one or two more Maholm starts to look forward to.

However! Brandon League came on to pitch two scoreless innings, and I know how you all feel about praising League, but… this was his third straight scoreless outing. On April 12, he was atrocious against the Diamondbacks, giving up three runs and four baserunners in just 0.2 of an inning. In six other games? He’s thrown 9.1 innings, allowed just one earned run, given up seven hits, and put up a 7/2 K/BB. I’m not saying he’s “fixed” or anything like that; I am saying that he looks better and might not be the huge problem we all think of him as. (And also that as usual, ERA for relievers in short samples is terribly misleading.)

Oh, and none of this mattered tonight because Lee is a beautiful artist genius who shut down the Dodgers over eight innings on just four hits, all singles, walking none, whiffing 10, and retiring 244 in a row, probably. (20, really, until Tim Federowicz singled in the eighth.) It took 113 pitches. He high-fived kids before he hit. It’s the kind of thing where you can’t even be angry or upset. You just stand in awe of the masterpiece in front of you.

But how do you feel about all of this, Yasiel Puig?

But hey! At least we got to see Scott Van Slyke in center field for two innings. The Phillies didn’t hit him a single ball. I may never get over it.

In happier news: the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Padres all lost. Bronson Arroyo gave up a double and a homer to his pitching counterpart Travis Wood. Arizona is now 5-17. You probably should never say a season is over, but if you figure 90 wins as a minimum to win the division, they merely need to go 85-60 over the rest of the year. Gooood luck with that.


Mike

About

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.


77 comments
H2itO
H2itO

"Future Dodger Cliff Lee is The Best"? Couldn't find the discussion of the title in the article, maybe I missed it. Would be nice, I highly doubt that Guggenheim would shell out $25M+ /year to get him?

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Sponsored post coming. Don't freak out.

Lobo
Lobo

Now we know why SVS was never used in the playoffs last year, clearly he was busy modeling for ad agencies

http://imgur.com/Ftv455z

Lobo
Lobo

@DodgersFan @Lobo You mean the greatest hip hop group in hist...

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry, couldn't finish that sentence

Lobo
Lobo

@DodgersFan @Lobo I can't believe this group has actual fans.  Real people groove to this unironically

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

I can't believe people still watch Disney movies

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Juggalobo

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Too late

tpmerrill
tpmerrill

The Dodgers weren't winning this game under any circumstances that did not include Cliff Lee missing his ride to the stadium, but it's really frustrating when a quality pitcher like Lee gets extra inches added to the strike zone.

Lobo
Lobo

@tpmerrill There's been studies that have shown that established control pitchers like Lee are given a slightly bigger zone than other pitchers.  Lee is good enough that he rarely even needs it, the guy hasn't walked more than 2 batters per 9 since 2007.  Since 2008, he leads all pitchers in BB/9 (tied with Mariano Rivera) and the next closest starter (Halladay) isn't particularly close

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Did a couple stints for the Dodgers in the 2000s. Just funny that such an idea came from such a mediocre pitcher.

The Dude Abides
The Dude Abides

Even tougher for the D-Backs, they'll have to go 85-55 if they want to win 90. 

Lobo
Lobo

Mike may wish to clarify that it is Tony Gwynn Jr in future posts so the the Baseball Reference linker tool does not link his name to his hall of fame father's page.

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

Welp. I've seen enough of Maholm. He has no ability to K people anymore. Combine that with the generally awful defense behind him, and I don't think he warrants a roster spot. It'll be interesting to see if the Dodgers elect to DFA him or League when Kershaw comes back in 2-3 weeks, because having 2 bullpen guys who rely primarily on contact without any K-stuff is not a smart strategy. One of them has to go.

Purple Drank
Purple Drank

@InsideThePark (Ethier, Kemp, Puig) Beckett is getting a bit lucky but his stuff is clearly superior. Maholm looks like his career is pretty much over. You need to have some sort of ability to strike people out, and Maholm makes Brandon League look like Chapman out there.

insideThePark
insideThePark

I was happy to see him get a chance early on but Beckett has looked better with each outing and Kershaw should be up in a few weeks. If Billingsley is not far behind, yeah, Maholm is now in the "show me" portion of his season. I think he gets one or two more starts.

nudibranch
nudibranch

@Purple Drank I would DFA Maholm.  His SIERA of 5.39 is the worst on the Dodgers' pitching staff.  He's had a K/BB < 1 in all 3 starts.

DBrim
DBrim moderator

@nudibranch @Purple Drank  Fife has been terrible in AAA (I think he also might be injured because he hasn't pitched since the 14th). Magill hasn't been much better, >5 FIP so far.

just Paul
just Paul

At least Cliff Lee is on my fantasy team. 

insideThePark
insideThePark

1. Update your name

2. Nobody cares about your fantasy team

3. ???

4. PROFIT!!!

insideThePark
insideThePark

Is there someone over at the snakepit that could declare, "Dbacks on pace for worst season in franchise history" before they proceed to rip off a 50-game stretch of 42-8?

Nah.....

Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

Instead of watching sports all night (the Penguins and Pirates drained me), I went out and had a Double IPA that was 10.6% ABV and had its IBUs listed as "Irredeemable." My palate may not recover for a while.