Part of my job – other than finding a way to work a legitimate amount of hours while still losing money thanks to a preposterously low salary and an absurdly high cost of living in Chicago – is to chart pitches in order to put together scouting reports for Major League Baseball teams. Sometimes it’s very easy. Other times, when pitchers throw different pitches at the same speeds, it can get a little difficult. One of the biggest offenders is none other than the Cincinnati Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Is it a cutter at 88? A split-finger fastball and a changeup?? NO! None of the above! This sly dog throws his fastball in the 88 to 90 mile per hour range with ease. But about 15 times per game, he chooses to completely slow down his arm action and lob a meatball anywhere between 73 and 82 MPH. He also has a changeup in the same speed range, but as those who know pitching could tell you, changeups are thrown with full arm velocity. Therefore, it’s easy for batters to tell when Arroyo is just going to lob it in there. It’s like Happy Gilmore trying to 4-putt for the victory. Just lob it in there.
Except instead of making that fourth putt and taking the Waterbury Open trophy to the store to put a hockey guy on top, Arroyo keeps getting ripped to shreds by National League hitters. Since a stretch of three straight quality starts in late May, Arroyo has gone 1-5 with one no-decision and a boatload of terrible outings that ravage the bullpen. He’s only gotten through the 6th inning twice in his last seven starts. He’s given up 21 runs in his last three outings. And his ERA is at 5.85, by far the worst of his career. In fact, the last time his ERA was even 4.85 or higher was in 2001, when he was a long reliever and spot starter during the second year of his career.
Ace Johnny Cueto’s stellar performance on Monday nonwithstanding (0.2 innings, 9 earned runs in a 22-1 loss), Arroyo needs to step his shit up in the second half if the Reds want to make the playoffs. Despite hovering around .500, they are only a few games out of first in a ridiculous tight and middling NL Central. Get it together Bronson, or else you might have to turn to that trusty ol’ guitar to make a living. Oh, and quit making my job so damn hard. Throw the ball!