Saturday, July 17, 2010

Did Kevin Gregg get squeezed ... again?

By
Just over a month ago, Kevin Gregg unequivocally got squeezed against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was an epic fail of an inning, but the set of circumstances that lead to that particular situation were even more atrocious.

This time however, I have to give credit to the manager Cito Gaston because he did the absolutely right thing. He gave his closer a little bit of rope, but not enough to let him hang himself and yanked him after walking the bases loaded in a one-run game.

It's funny because a month ago, I don't think Cito could have even fathomed yanking his closer out of the game in a save situation, no matter how ugly things got. Yet for some reason, Kevin Greg yipped back at his manager as though Gregg was completely in control of things when he clearly wasn't.

So did Kevin Gregg get squeezed by home plate ump Jim Reynolds? Let's take a look at the Pitch F/X below, courtesy of the always fantastic Brooks Baseball.

Adam Jones: First Walk

Kevin Gregg quickly retired Ty Wigginton on three straight pitches, but then ran into a little bit of trouble with Adam Jones. The only real questionable call was the second pitch on the outside corner, but it's debatable. In a game of inches, you can't really argue a pitch that close to the zone.

Felix Pie: Second Walk

The very next batter, left-hander Felix Pie steps in and Gregg feeds him a steady diet of outside pitches, sprinkled with a couple on the inner part of the plate. The fourth pitch was a 87 MPH slider inside which was called a ball, and it could have easily gone either way.

That pitch however was much closer to being a strike than the second pitch to Adam Jones.

Julio Lugo: Third Walk

Following the Pie walk, Kevin Gregg quickly gets Scott Moore to fly out to left field and then goes to work against Julio Lugo. Gregg gets the first pitch strike, but then subsequently lets four pitches go for balls. There was just one on the outside corner that could have been deemed either a ball or strike.

However small or big of an injustice you may think some of these calls were, perhaps the biggest one of all is below.

Cesar Izturis: Ground Out

If you thought that Shawn Camp received a gift of a call on his very first pitch out of the bullpen, you're right. Look at how far it's off the strike zone ... it's not even close. But hey, maybe that was a "compensatory call" after Kevin Gregg missed a couple on the corner.

Conclusion

It's difficult to discern whether or not Kevin Gregg truly got squeezed or not. When a pitcher is having trouble throwing strikes in the first place, he doesn't really do himself any favours in the mind of the home plate umpire.

That being said, if Gregg wasn't getting those calls he should've adjusted accordingly, rather than let things get out of hand and walk the bases loaded. Fortunately, his manager had the sense of mind to see what was happening and took him out of the game at the perfect time.

This one could have been really messy, but the Blue Jays squeaked out a close one against the Orioles. Even though the Blue Jays came out on the winning end, I have a feeling we'll be talking about this one for a while.

12 comments:

  1. kevin needs to get his command back badly...and im Trent from the blue jays bubble blog...you want to do a link swap? ill put your link on my blog if you put a link to mine? sound good? Thanks and go jays.

    thebluejaysbubble.blogspot.com

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  2. Gregg didn't do anything to up his trade value at the deadline either...

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  3. Hey Trent, thanks for the comment. I've added The Blue Jays Bubble to my link page. Thanks!

    Mattt, although I think of Cito kept Gregg out there one more batter, he probably would've blown that save and decreased his value even more. Now if he could just not implode for the rest of July, that would be fantastic.

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  4. in a chicken or the egg analysis. What's worse, getting yanked, or blowing the save?

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  5. ^^definitely a blown save looks worse. Getting yanked doesn't show up on the stat sheet at least... That I know of.

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  6. I can see it from both perspectives: you want to keep your closer in the game and he's "your guy" who's supposed to shut the door in a save situation.

    But at the same time, if you're the manager and you see your reliever going down the tubes like that and Shawn Camp is available, I would definitely go to Camp. Gregg didn't have it and he just wasn't getting the calls to warrant staying in the game.

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  7. I was actually just about to write an entry on that exact performance for my own blog, but would you mind if I just linked to your entry instead?

    I'll admit that Gregg has consistently struggled with control problems throughout his career, but watching the calls he wasn't getting compared the ones Camp was getting live just seemed wrong.

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  8. Ian, go right ahead - by my guest!

    I agree he was getting squeezed a little bit, but he wasn't doing himself any favours by nibbling at the corners. The very first pitch Shawn Camp threw was clearly a ball by the home plate ump's standards, but I think those may have been compensatory calls perhaps.

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  9. Camp only threw one pitch, so it's not like there is a large sample size "proving" that he was getting a much more generous zone than Gregg. I think the simple fact is that Gregg doesn't really have overpowering stuff, so he either has to nibble (and do things like walk the bases loaded) or risk getting hit.

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  10. Good point there, Steve. Just going from memory here, but Gregg doesn't strike me as the kind of pitcher who leaves pitches over the heart of the plate: but if he was nibbling and wasn't getting the calls, he should have adjusted to the home plate ump's strike zone, rather than produce the same result and expect a different outcome.

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  11. Ok, this is my second posting about Kevin Gregg...

    What the heck is going on here and why is this guy the closer??

    Almost every single game I see this guy pitch to close, he blows it... hellllloooooooo!!!!

    Time to kick him to the curb and bring in someone else who people cannot hit at will...

    We should have had that game tonight against KC and absolutely BLOWS that game in a big way...

    Please send him packing or stop playing him in this role, Cito.

    Thanks!!

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  12. Dave, I don't mean to sound like a Kevin Gregg apologist here, but I don't think he's "washed up" or should be DFA'd by any means. Even after tonight's loss, he's only blown 4 saves and converted 21 of 25 saves.

    Whether it's Shawn Camp, Scott Downs, or Kevin Gregg, relievers are going to have bad nights and unfortunately the Jays were on the losing end of this one.

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