Getting Less Flacid

I should be more rigid about condemning flacid writing (and thinking). We don’t have enough time in our days to sort through all the crap. At mlb.com tonight, in the game preview for tomorrow’s Cards/Brewer’s Beer Bash, MLB.com’s Mike Bauman wrote:

“For a time, the Brewers were seemingly in denial about Marcum’s slump, chalking up his poundings to pitching with bad luck. Now, cognitive progress is being made. The first step toward solving a problem is admitting that you have a problem. The slump is being seen as a combination of not being as sharp as he was earlier in the season and bad luck.”

I like his aggressive style, but really, he’s hyping here the way those acronymically diverse wrestling and kickboxing organiztions do. What we want to know is what evidence there is why Marcum’s success in the first five months has cratered.

The answer doesn’t have to be definite. Especially if luck is a factor, which it seems to be in this case. Marcum early success somewhat lucky, late failure somewhat unlucky. But to add such writerly and faux analytical touches to a story that hypes such totally dreamland ideas of starting Narveson over Marcum in Game 6 is just shoddy. Or maybe even, dare I say it, pandering.

Whoops, I just pandered.

2 thoughts on “Getting Less Flacid

  1. Jack Moore explored the issue at Fangraphs last week. Read it here. This classic Fangraphs, lots of visualized data that maybe suggests something that is, ultimately, inconclusive, which is fine. My takeaway is that if the numbers are singing their tune is, “change up!” Though why a tired arm would lead to a faster change seems a bit counterintuitive.

    A visit to baseballreference.com reveals that Marcum has a low .265 BABIP on the season, and a much higher one over the last few weeks. Plus he’s given up more homers recently, compounding the problem of more baserunners. There’s no way to tell if his recent struggles are due to weariness, but for sure the recent correction put his 2011 stats more in line with his past history, so weariness doesn’t have to be the most likely explanation. (That would be: He’s risen to his established level.)

    What does that mean for tonight’s game? He’s handled the Cards this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he did it again. If he doesn’t have it, expect a short leash. Finesse guys who lose their rhythm can yield explosive results.

  2. One inning is sort of a short leash, but given the HR trend maybe the bomb to Freese was inevitable. That’s what happens to finesse guys who get into trouble, sometimes. A dink, a walk, a single, and a bomb. Given the call at home, it could have been worse. But if the bomb lands in a glove in the warning track, it’s still a ballgame.

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