Tag Archives: Shawn Camp

Farrell’s useful argument

Some people, including (very) occasional poster to this site, Squizz, have argued that the argument between the manager and the umpire serves no purpose and should be taken out of the game.

Personally, I enjoy watching a manager chew out the umpire as much as the next guy — unless the next guy is Squizz — but I do agree that, in general, the argument accomplishes next to nothing. But there are instances where the argument serves a purpose and can be beneficial to the team in ways other than the slim chance that the ump will see the error of his ways.

For example, take John Farrell’s argument with home plate ump Alfonso Marquez during the 9th inning of Saturday’s game. Jon Rauch and his blowup will (deservedly) get more attention than anything else that happened in that inning, but Farrell’s argument with Marquez is far more interesting to me.

Sure, Farrell was probably upset that he had just been tossed around by one of his pitchers. And yeah, he was likely upset — and justifiably so — about the horrendous game Marquez called, but, to me anyway, that’s not why Farrell got himself tossed.

When Rauch went ballistic, the Blue Jays had nobody warming up in the bullpen. After Rauch lost it, Farrell made sure to get one of his coaches to call the pen and visit the mound to talk to Shawn Camp before returning to Marquez and engaging him a lengthy argument.

Why would he do this? I checked on the MLB.tv archive and, because the cameras were focusing on Farrell, I can’t find a video record of Camp warming up. At the game, I was also watching Farrell and really paying attention to Camp. And that’s the thing: Who was paying attention to Camp?

I know J.P. Arencibia was, because Camp was warming up throughout the whole argument, but was anybody else?

I can’t be sure, but I’d be shocked if Camp didn’t throw more than the eight warmup pitches that MLB allows.

And if that’s the case, if Farrell’s arguing allowed an ice-cold pitcher to get a little warmer before facing live bats, that’s an argument that definitely serves a purpose.

Pepper!

  • What the league will do with Rauch, I don’t know. I do feel like the team should probably take some kind of disciplinary action against him though. You can’t just let a player throw the manager around like that, can you?
  • I was worried about the fans at Saturday’s game. I thought they might be overcome with Roy Halladay love to the point of forgetting which team they should be cheering for. I was pleasantly surprised that the cheers for Doc were limited to the beginning and end of the game.
  • Rajai Davis: I want to like him. I really, really do. But watching him play is getting to be painful. He’s a fourth OF at best. #FreeTravisSnider
  • Watching Jose Bautista hit a home run is like nothing else. I knew this, you knew this, we all knew this, but it was really driven home during Friday’s game. Eric Thames’ home run was mammoth, but Bautista’s just felt more exciting, even if he didn’t hit the fourth deck.
  • I’m getting the feeling Thames could be something that’s somewhat special. I could see him as a contributing member of this team for quite a while.
  • Wasn’t it nice to see John McDonald get a couple of hits off Doc?

5 Comments

Filed under Toronto Blue Jays

The buzzing fridge of the Torontos’ pen

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine. We were talking baseball stats and the subject of pitches thrown came up. “Why does nobody keep track of pitches per inning?” he asked. “The better pitchers must work faster and end up throwing less pitches than the goofs like Josh Towers.”

It makes sense, right? Watching a guy huff and puff his way through a 140-pitch complete game can be inspiring, but isn’t the 80-pitch version a lot more impressive? Along the same lines, I love the idea of the 3-pitch inning and the 9-pitch striking out the side.

Anyway, I thought he made a good point, so I did some math and then plugged the pitches per inning of all Blue Jays pitchers from last season and this season into a spreadsheet. Figuring there might be some sort of correlation, I added their xFIP values in as well. (I only plugged in the values earned as a member of the Blue Jays. Doc’s 2010 stats being the exception. Also, all stats came before last night’s ridiculous slugfest that forced the Torontos to make changes to their pen.)

What did I find? It looks like there is a correlation between pitches per inning and FIP, but I don’t have the software and am not interested enough to calculate z-scores and whatnot by hand to find out how strong it is. Just know that throwing fewer pitches per inning is generally a good indicator of a good pitcher.

Which brings me to the part of this whole exercise that surprised me a bit: The dude named Shawn Camp.

Maybe it’s because he doesn’t hold down one of the glamour spots in the bullpen and he’s not really a candidate to steal a starting job… well, actually I think that’s it. Camp tends to be used in relatively low-leverage situations, i.e. the time of the game when I get another drink or go out to run an errand or just generally glaze over for a little while. It’s not that I’ve never seen him pitch, I think it’s just that I’ve never really paid attention to him.

You know how you stop hearing the buzz of the fridge after a while? Shawn Camp my buzzing fridge of the Blue Jays.

But no more. I’m going to make a concerted effort to pay attention when he gets into games now. At a time when the (beloved, but now dethroned) Sausage King is averaging 23.4 pitches per inning, Camp is clocking in with a team leading 13.7. What does that mean? Well, this SABR guy seems to think the key to “endurance and effectiveness in any given game” is to throw 14 or fewer pitches per inning.

Yeah, I know. Looking at this year’s stats so far is a pretty good way to incite cries of “sample size!” so how about this: Last season, Camp was second on the team in terms of pitches per inning with a rate of 14.6. That was second only to Doc, who put up a 14.2 number.

Would you have guessed that it only took Camp 0.4 pitches more than Halladay to get out of any given inning?

2 Comments

Filed under Toronto Blue Jays