clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

That time of the month?

New, 61 comments

It would be so easy to blame Armando Benitez for blowing the game last night. `Cause he kind of did. A home run was given up in the late innings. Benitez was on the mound at the time. Then the Giants lost. Connect the dots, Matlock.

It would be so easy to defend Armando Benitez for being a victim of circumstances last night. That wasn't a home run; that was a pop-up. The Crawford Boxes were out of position. It's hard to fault someone for falling prey to a homefield quirk.

Benitez is like a walking abortion debate. He makes people emotionally incontinent, and he does it so well that it's more like a superpower than a talent. If Benitez gives up four broken bat singles to blow a save, his detractors froth at the mouth. If Benitez walks three to start an inning, but gets the next three hitters to hit screeching line drives right at the third baseman, his supporters use the inning as evidence that Benitez can do his job. Well, there really aren't any supporters. His less-detractors, then. It's hard to look at Benitez without some sort of baseball prejudice.

I set that up because I don't want the following to be tainted with the stink of rabid Anti-Benitez dogma. It's time for an objective look at Benitez, and one that isn't based on the dozens of games we watched for three hours before they ended with a Benitez blown save. If a scout from Japan - one who had never followed Major League Baseball in his life, for example - came over and watched Benitez pitch this season, what would the scouting report be? My guess:

I have no idea what this scouting report would contain, as I don't read or speak Japanese.
Now suppose the scouting report were translated. My revised guess:
Wildly inconsistent fastball, both in velocity and location. Can have a great fastball at times, though. Good splitter, but hangs more split-finger fastballs than any other pitcher I've seen in my life. Poor control. Gives up too many four- or five-pitch walks. Often struggles to put away hitters, mostly because of the hanging splitters, but can still strike out his fair share of hitters. Mostly useless slider, though he can rip off an occasional beauty. He should be hit harder than he has been, especially considering how many breaking balls and splitters he hangs, but his unpredictable command makes him a tough at-bat.
That's Benitez, sans emotional baggage. The ERA is 3.55, and he's struck out 14 in 12.2 innings, while walking seven.

Keep, trade only if fair value comes back, or get rid of at all costs? It seems like a question that's worth asking once per month.