Just a thought
So I got another email today asking me when they’re going to dump Isringhausen as the closer. This one suggested going with Jorge Sosa. Sometimes they say Wainwright. Sometimes no one is suggested as an alternative. I’m simply amazed. There is not a better option on this team.
Over at Viva El Birdos, they recently did a longer-view assessment of Isringhausen that agrees exactly with what I’ve always thought. He’s not Mariano Rivera, but he’s plenty good. But I’m not looking at the long term today. I’m looking at the here and now. And for more than two months, Isringhausen has been very good. Good enough that he — and I — shouldn’t have to answer questions about his job security on the occasions he DOES stumble.
On June 6, he pretty clearly wasn’t right. He’d walked 23 batters in 23 innings, which was the big tipoff. TLR gave him a three-day mental health break, and during that time, Izzy had a very candid conversation with 3 or 4 of us reporters about what he needed to do. If I recall correctly, it was Derrick Goold, Joe Strauss and myself for the majority of the time. And in essence, No. 44 said this: "I’ve got to throw more strikes, pitch more aggressively, stop nibbling with the cutter and throw more fastballs." He acknowledged that his common plan of pitching around dangerous guys to get to other guys might have to go by the wayside for a while.
He clearly meant what he said. Since that break, here are his numbers:
26 2/3 innings, 17 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 10 walks, 26 strikeouts.
That’s a spiffy 2.36 ERA. That’s a strikeout per inning, basically right where he’s been his entire career as a reliever. It’s a walk rate right in line with what he’s done most of his career. It’s actually a better hit rate than he’s usually had.
Yet because of his early struggles, every time this guy has a rough game — and there have been very few in the past two months — people call for his head. Isringhausen is not the problem with this team, and there’s not a better option in the bullpen right now.