Two Left-Handers

Dennys Reyes's line last night: 0.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER. His batting average against in June—this is real—is .833. More ways to put it: he's recorded two outs in 12 chances; he's pitched two thirds of an inning across five games. You could stretch his ineffectiveness in June across a hundred different methods of displaying a pitcher's statistics, and they would all be incredible. And his ERA is 3.63.

His 2010 season is starting to remind me of another restaurant-themed LOOGY's swan song; it's like Ray King 2005 Redux. King, to his credit, still got left-handers out in 2005; he held them to a .673 OPS, against a right-handed OPS of .981. But his BABIP, .250 in 2004, bounced above .300 in 2005, and his WHIP—I've always felt WHIP was most evocative for specialist relievers —bounced with it; in his 77 games he recorded just 40 innings pitched. His ERA was 3.38, but his career as a Cardinal cult hero was over. 

Reyes has a longer run as a successful specialist to his name, but like King his ERA is proof only of the stat's ineffectiveness in tracking the career of a guy who is often asked to pitch to one batter a night. 

But if you had to pick one left-handed pitcher who only confirmed his recent control problems last night it had to be Reyes, right? Jaime Garcia got stiffed on one of his two best starts of the year, which sucks, but it was more important in the long slog of the season to see him recover from control problems that have hidden behind his impeccable run-prevention since May. His BB/9 in that timeframe had crept near five, but his performance last night brought it back down toward earth. 

Garcia's start in 2010 has earned a lot of the qualifiers that come with being a serious baseball fan in 2010—his peripherals are out of line, he's stranded more baserunners than could be reasonably expected, he's looked good but not Maddux-ERA good. And they're all right. But we're two weeks into June and he's still doing it; it doesn't mean that the regression isn't coming, because it waits for no man, but these two-and-a-half months are something worth celebrating, and remembering, and wherever his ERA ends the season it'll still have been the most memorable start to a Cardinals pitching career since Adam Wainwright ended up in the back of the bullpen out of Spring Training. Come out for the curtain call, Jaime—you've even gotten Mike Shannon to pronounce your name correctly. 

As to Matt Holliday struggling in another runners-on situation, the obverse is true. Unless you've discovered a heretofore uncovered split in his MLB career that suggests this is the real Matt Holliday, or the XMO cam has noticed him peeing his pants with RISP, this isn't going to keep happening. But we're two weeks into June and it won't stop happening; it's a part of the fabric of the season, a cautionary tale on the 2010 Cardinals World Series Commemorative DVD. That's part of what made La Russa's long-awaited lineup rejiggering so exciting to me—it can't change what's happened to this point, but it can minimize the strength of the narrative from this point forward. 

At least, that was my thought at the time. 

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