Posted by Steve
Last not was obviously not a good outing for Ben Sheets. At the same time, to me it seemed like a microcosm of his overall performance since the All-Star Break: Not very good, but not as bad as it’s being made out to be.
In six innings, Sheets allowed just six baserunners (1.00 WHIP for Pete’s sake), walked one hitter and struck out seven. That’s a very nice performance in general, and if someone did that consistently he would not give up many runs. Of course five of those runners scored on Ben’s two biggest mistakes—the triple by Bourn and the homer by Blum.
It’s similar to his “bad” stretch. The game article in the JS is titled, “Sheets Continues to Struggle.” Michael Hunt wrote a column today in which he A) claims that having CC Sabathia throw 130 pitches in a six-run game isn’t a bad move (wrong!) and B) that the “main concern” for the Brewers should be Ben Sheets (more wronger!). Hunt, of course, claims he’s struggling because his record since the end of June is 2-6. Good God, every time I see a prominent media member use W-L records as an important indicator I want to cry.
It’s a joke to call this a bad stretch. Since the All-Star Break, Sheets has an ERA of 4.06 and a 1.22 WHIP. Those numbers are not as good as Sheets’s total numbers from this season, but they’re good numbers! If you want to see a bad stretch from a good pitcher, check out Sabathia’s first seven starts of the season: 7.51 ERA, 1.77 WHIP.
Also comical in that Hunt column is this line: Sheets likely isn’t coming back, either, and would the Brewers ever like the chance to ride him for more than the six-plus innings he has averaged for them in his last 10 starts. He criticizes Ben for averaging “six-plus” innings. What to know something Mike? Six-plus innings per start is also above average!
Then there’s the reader poll. Do you want Ben Sheets to return to the Brewers next season? Somehow, 51.7% said no! What an absurd result. Big thumbs down to the JS for skewing that poll as well. Hm, let’s throw up a shortsighted column in which we tell readers that Sheets is struggling, and then right next to it we’ll have a poll asking whether they want Ben back next year! I wonder what the results will be…
I realize Sheets has not been as good as he can be, but he’s still been a good pitcher since Sabathia arrived. In fact, I’d say he has things perfectly in perspective.
I ain’t pitching great,” the Milwaukee Brewers right-hander said. “But I don’t think I’m pitching as bad as it’s made out to be. I’ve pitched plenty of winnable games and pitched plenty of losable games during that stretch. The first half, I came away with a lot of victories, pitching the same way that I have this half.”
And my favorite line: “People just want to look at your won-loss record as to how you’re pitching,” Sheets said. “I’d say I’ve had two really bad ones since the all-star break. All the other ones, I’ve kept us right there.”