View From The Bleachers

May 18, 2013

Game 42 – A Horselike Performance on Preakness Day

Filed under: Featured,General — guest @ 9:57 pm

Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Scott Feldman – .271 (WPA)


by Holden Clark

Scott Feldman earns this one with his work horse effort today. Although his peripheral stats suggest he is just getting lucky, when watching him pitch you can see a man that is doing a great job of making his pitches.  Stats in baseball are interesting; everyone assumes that you will regress back to the mean.  In Feldman’s case he is “due” for a regression.  Yet, as he showed again today, his stuff continues to keep his head above the proverbial waters.

A lot of stat heads will tell you that baseball is a game of cycles.  Yes a particular pitcher or batter is seemingly dominating, but wait; he’ll come back down to earth.  On the other side of the argument you have the fan boy (I am admittedly one) who watches the game through “holy crap” goggles.  With the two views seemingly at odds, we find Scott Feldman standing on the corner of the crossroads at an early point in the season.

Watching Feldman pitch today it was rare to see him labor through any batters.  He got in to a couple jams but never appeared to shake from his confidence or command.  Scattering seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, Feldman didn’t give up an earned run.  He struck out six and walked one in the game.  His current advanced statistics suggest he has been good but not great, with a FIP of 4.33 on a BABIP .218. Yet, to the untrained eye he has been dominant of late.

So, did Feldman just figure something out and become an excellent starter by simply flipping a switch?  Did he finally live up to the dominant pitcher that his ominous frame on the mound would suggest?  I’m not sure that he flipped a switch but he has been getting harder breaks on his breaking balls and more life on his fastball.  He has had more control and more confidence.  Simply stated, he has taken the ball with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he deserves a spot in a pretty darn good Chicago Cubs starting rotation.  He was not going to the pen for anybody, there was never even the suggestion he be booted.

So as I watched the game with my “holy crap” goggles on, I began to wonder if we were going to see this the rest of the season. I know the stats say he will come back to earth, but when you watch you can see it.  I am fairly confident I loathe the next word I am about to use to describe his presence more than anybody. He appears, on the mound (and at the plate as shown by him breaking down that back leg and digging a low pitch out and hammering it for a double), that the man has gone to the store and bought himself some “swag”.  I apologize to everyone for using that term.  I was going to go with mojo but I didn’t think that was an accurate description.

The confidence is coming from building on the last great start, using the same stuff, and having the respect and confidence of a team that assured him he wouldn’t be looking over his shoulder when it came to a spot in the staff.  So is that what built it up, Theo and Jed promising Scott that he was going to get his spot in the rotation if he signed with the Cubs?  After his first few “meh” starts and he continued to get the ball, did he settle into his role and pitch up to his ability?  Is he going to regress?

Who cares!  The guy is on fire.  The guy is pitching with confidence.  Regardless if the stats say one thing or the other, right now the holy crap meter says it’s time to celebrate another raising of the “W” flag.  He is building confidence across the board, just like Travis Wood whose peripherals say he has been more lucky than good.  Right now, those advance stats don’t matter because both are pitching great and winning ball games.

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  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    A+

  • Doc Raker

    Do the stats tell you that someone got a new pitch, recovered from an injury, has new movement, changed bat size or anything else other than what a player has done? Players develop, change and so do stats, waiting for stats to ‘normalize’ is arrogant. We don’t know what these players will do on any given day, this is why we watch. Feldman is dealing, enjoy it.

  • http://twitter.com/HClark717 Holden Clark

    I agree with you whole heartedly. I think stats are a great ticket for the guys buying the product. They can be a great predictor when Theo and Jed are looking for guys to put on the roster. When looking at a game and watching, high minded peripherals go out the door. They don’t take in to consideration any of the things you mentioned, or things like guys and want. I think thats were you can see significant changes in players from their “stats”. Thanks for the read.

  • Eddie Von White

    Your last paragraph says it all. This is a boys’ game that men are playing. The fun of it is every day is a “you never know day.” Let’s go with that.

  • http://elizababble.com/ Lizzie

    Excellent, Holden, welcome!!!

  • http://pinterest.com/j0s1395/ Josephine (D)

    Feldman worked really hard yesterday; it was nice to see work out of situations smoothly, especially since there was at least one jam he should not have been in(thanks, Starlin!).

    Oh, BTW, yesterday was my birthday, and I got Pat & Keith to give me a shout-out on the radio. :D

  • Doc Raker

    You are a baseball genius rook. Just so you know, if Seymour invites you out to dinner you might want to already have plans and if you do end up at the Subway with him don’t fall for his ‘I forgot my wallet’ bit, he loves pulling that stunt with rookies.

  • Doc Raker

    Let us know when Pat and Keith take you for a meatball sub, Happy Birthday.

  • Seymour Butts

    Mr Clark, do not wholeheartedly agree with anything the Raker says. He rants and babbles and eats very poorly. If he is not trolling for Lizzies with his comments, he’s just being contrarian.
    Nice job and welcome.

  • Seymour Butts

    You should try the limited time barbecue chicken sub. I had one Friday, awesome. Of course it did not come with a $300 dollar bottle of wine or 2 twigs of asparagus, so it won’t soon be on your plate.

  • Eddie Von White

    Happy Birthday and congrats on the shout-out. If I had not been at a wedding, I’d have been listening on the radio.

  • http://twitter.com/HClark717 Holden Clark

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. Excited to be a part of the group.

  • http://swantron.com/ jswanson

    Not sure about wine, but they do offer asparagus. It is in the narrow tub between the pepper jack triangles and the banana peppers.

  • BLPCB

    If you’re going to use Holy Crap 3 or more times in article, you got to use the Frank Barone Holy Crap montage.
    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=DbtUC9oVThg

  • Jedi

    Holden, meet CAPS.

  • BLPCB

    Holy Crap!

  • BLPCB

    With ranch dressing and veggies?

  • http://twitter.com/HClark717 Holden Clark

    Holy Crap, I forgot about Frank Barone.

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