Ryan Vogelsong faced 22 batters on Monday afternoon. Two of them struck out, two of them walked, and eight of them got a hit. Vogelsong gave up four runs in four innings, and his spring ERA didn't go up -- it stayed a simple 9.00. The season starts one week from today.
Happy Fun Facts are taking the last week of spring training off. They say it's for a vacation, but it's probably just to dry out before the season.
This is no good. Let's look at some springs from the recent past and see if there are seasons where it would have made sense to disregard the March statistics entirely.
Barry Zito, 2008 - 10.31 ERA in 18⅔ innings. Was Barry Zito during the regular season.
Barry Zito, 2009 - 5.12 ERA in 31⅔ innings. Was Barry Zito during the regular season.
Barry Zito, 2010 - 6.35 ERA in 22⅔ innings. Was Barry Zito during the regular season.
Barry Zito, 2012 - 7.92 ERA in 19⅓ innings. Was Barry Zito during the regular season.
Zito was quite okay in 2011 and 2013, mind you. But in the other years, the springs should have worried us because he wasn't a good pitcher. The hard-hit baseballs were indicative of a pitcher off whom it's easy to hit baseballs hard.
I'm worried that's Vogelsong right now. I'm worried that his spring stats aren't meaningless, that they indicate a pitcher who is easy to time, see, and hit right now, just as he was last year. Sometimes the spring stats lie, and sometimes they tell you what you've been afraid of.
The good news is the following pitchers are having absolutely ghastly springs:
Those would be the relievers with (mostly) guaranteed spots. Casilla walked three and gave up a hit without recording an out. Machi gave up another run today, but his ERA is still the lowest of the bunch, at 6.75. He's kind of the ace, a real throwback to the Goose Gossage era.
It's only spring, but I made this because it seems like it will get some use this year.
All I wanted out of the spring were signs that last year wasn't going to happen again. Instead, it's been much worse. We're out of coffee, so to speak. If the pitching staff were rolling with a 1.48 ERA, we'd take great pains to point out that the spring means nothing. But this is much worse. This is much worse.
One week until baseball, everyone. Remember how Clayton Kershaw was hot garbage in the spring, but then once the season started, he was fantastic? It's probably like that, but without Clayton Kershaw.