Rockies @ Dodgers June 6, 2016: Tyler Chatwood Is Weird

Rockies
Dodgers
7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
 CF Blackmon  3B Turner
 2B LeMahieu  SS Seager
3B Arenado  CF Thompson
RF Gonzalez  1B Gonzalez
SS Story  2B Kendrick
LF Parra  LF Hernandez
1B Reynolds RF Van Slyke
C Hundley C Ellis
P
Chatwood (R)
P
Bolsinger (R)

Following a successful series against the Braves, the Dodgers welcome the reeling Rockies to the ravine. The Rockies seem to make a habit of starting off with a very strong six weeks and then fading quickly. This year is no exception. The Rockies are currently in third place in the West with a record of 25-31, but that’s after going 5-13 in their last 18 games. The Rockies played the Pirates, Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, and Reds, and Padres in that stretch. There’s some strong competition and some really weak competition in that bunch.

Taking the mound for the Rockies tonight is right-hander Tyler Chatwood. To call Chatwood’s pitching year “weird” would be an extreme understatement. Chatwood is currently sixth in Baseball Reference’s pitching WAR. On FanGraphs, he’s 36th. On Baseball Prospectus, he’s 81st. The disconnect is explained by a very large ERA-FIP gap as well as some quality of competition concerns. His sudden step forward seems slightly more fluky than a breakout, though he has been doing an excellent job of keeping the ball on the ground, which you can’t take away from him. Chatwood throws his sinker most often, followed by the standard four-pitch mix. He tops out at around 95 mph.

The Dodgers have elected to give both Joc Pederson and Chase Utley the day off against Chatwood. Utley makes sense because he’s been struggling lately and he needs a day off every now and then, but the reasoning for Pederson was just bizarre:

Chatwood does indeed have reverse splits this year, having allowed a .252 wOBA to left-handed batters and a .341 wOBA to right-handed batters. However, his pitch usage does not look like that of a reverse split pitcher and his career numbers are almost dead even (.339 wOBA allowed to LHB, .337 to RHB). Platoon split numbers are also extremely unstable. As far as managerial excuses go there are worse answers to give, but if that was the actual reasoning used it’s a bit concerning because the statement is pretty much entirely untrue. Justin Turner leads off today, and Scott Van Slyke gets his first start since returning from the disabled list.

After throwing three simulated innings to live batters today, Brandon McCarthy was deemed ready for a rehab assignment. Given that McCarthy needs to rebuild his arm strength (much like Hyun-jin Ryu was attempting to), we shouldn’t expect McCarthy to be ready for a few weeks, and that’s if everything goes smoothly. That’s still a long ways off, though, and it’s far too soon to start mixing and matching the rotation pieces in anticipation of the return.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.