FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Great stuff, David.

    Being a Twins fan, I have been attempting to dissect Blackburn’s struggles so far in 2010 as well. People have made a big deal about how ‘good’ Blackburn was in the month of May…but in reality, he was more ‘lucky’ than he was ‘good.’ To the casual fans, his numbers looked great (Wins, ERA, etc), but when you dig deeper you can see why he would struggle like he has since the month of May.

    The contract extension that Bill Smith handed to Blackburn was a mistake at the time – and it is going to remain that way.

    I find it very interesting that Blackburn has all but eliminated his cutter and curveball – and gone exclusively to a fastball/changeup pitcher. Obviously, his lack of success proves that isn’t the best idea.

    Comment by Erik — July 13, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  2. I’ve always thought of Blackburn as the new Carlos Silva; excellent control, poor k-rate, and not really enough movement on his pitches to be ground ball getter so he’ll be ok some years and quite awful other years.

    Comment by swheatle — July 13, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  3. Well, still, it’s not like he’s this bad, either. You have to figure there’s a mechanical issue or maybe a nagging injury that’s preventing him from being at his albeit mediocre, best. His walk rate is up, which should tell you that he’s not commanding his pitches like he wants to. If you’re missing the outside corner, chances are you’re missing the inside corner too…right out over the plate. I wouldn’t say his contract is the worst thing in the world, because I think he can go back to being a pretty effective pitcher, but without the tremendous “out” pitch, he’s never going to be all that spectacular, either.

    Comment by John — July 13, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

  4. Maybe you read that table wrong — he’s using his cutter and curveball at about the same rate as his changeup. The real significant difference is a decrease in use of his cutter with a corresponding increase in his fastball. He’s walking more hitters, so perhaps he’s reacting to that by throwing fewer cutters and more fastballs to try to get ahead of hitters. Who knows what exactly is going on that’s caused his problems — his cutter in the past seemed to be a good pitch, but he’s not having much success with it this year. Of course, none of his pitches seem to be working for him right now.

    Definitely one of those pitchers that lives on the razor’s edge.

    Comment by Nathaniel Dawson — July 14, 2010 @ 2:02 am

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