Monday, June 27, 2011

The Jose Mijares Problem

In Friday's 7th inning, Scott Baker had a ground out, back to back singles, then a pop out from Ryan Braun advancing the runner on second to third. So with two outs, Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire went to his lefty specialist Jose Mijares to get out the hot hitting lefty Prince Fielder. Mijares came in, threw three straight fastballs outside the zone. He came back with strike one down the middle, then strike two that clipped the outside corner. Catcher Joe Mauer called for the same exact pitch as strike two. Mijares instead threw a pitch that was more similar to strike one, and Fielder hammered the pitch down the right field line for a 2 RBI double.

Following the game, Mijares complained through the media about Joe Mauer's lack of calling a breaking pitch when all Mijares threw were fastballs. He also said that his he felt better about throwing his slider, because it was good while he warmed up in the bullpen.

That game, has symbolized Mijares' season thus far. In his third full season with the Twins, Mijares has seen his stats go up in the wrong way. His ERA (4.08) is the highest its ever been. His runs (12) and earned runs (8) are on pace to set career highs for most allowed in a year. But the worst stat Mijares has is his walks allowed and WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched). In just 17.2 innings pitched, Mijares has walked 14 hitters, and his WHIP sits at 1.811 (Before 2011, Mijares never had a WHIP higher than 1.31). His number of hits allowed (18), are at his normal rate. But the most astounding stat that Jose Mijares has this season is his walks per 9 innings pitched (BB/9). In his first two full seasons Mijares' BB/9 were 3.4 and 2.5. This season, it is a ridiculous 7.1. Walks have greatly plagued Jose Mijares.

A big reason for his high walks rate, is the fact he is constantly falling behind in the count to the hitters. In 65 at bats against Mijares, opposing hitters have gotten ahead at least 1-0 in the count 35 times and 18 of those 35, Mijares has fallen behind 2-0. At some point, you would think he would start getting ahead in the count more often.

So perhaps, after Friday's game, Mijares let his frustration from his whole season get to him. However, I don't agree with what he did. If you disagree with your catcher, you have the option of shaking him off and call him up to the mound to talk about it. And certainly you don't call him out in the media when you haven't talked to him yet.

Lastly, I don't think Mijares gets that his time up here isn't set in stone. Glen Perkins has been the go to lefty out of Gardy's bullpen this year. Phil Dumatrait has been a pleasant surprise since coming up from AAA, and Chuck James fared well in his brief stint with the team too. I do believe Mijares has an option left (correct me if I'm wrong here), so if the Twins felt he needed some time at AAA, they could certainly give it to him.

I'm not saying they should send Mijares down right this minute. I'm saying that if his struggles continue like they have been, they should consider it considering the options they have. Because when you have a lefty specialist who comes in to face one batter, and that one batter gets on more times than none, its time they begin to look at another option. Because with the way the Twins offense has produced lately, you need your pitchers getting outs rather giving up runs. And Jose Mijares has been problematic with that this season...

No comments: