Reader Steve reported this comment from Jeff Brantley after last night’s game: “Well, the starting pitching has really suffered since Hanigan went on the disabled list. Some people may not want to hear that, but it’s true.”

Is that true? We’ve already taken a look at the difference between Ryan Hanigan’s games and Ramon Hernandez’s. Is the problem worse now?

Hanigan broke his finger in a blowout win over the Astros on May 28, which pushed the Reds’ record to 29-20. Since then, they’re 7-10. Ramon started 13 of those games; Corky Miller four.

In Ramon’s 13 starts, the starting pitchers’ combined line:
ERA: 5.82, Avg IP: 5.19, WHIP: 1.43, K/9: 5.70
(Arroyo, Cueto x3, Harang x3, Leake x4, LeCure x2)

In Miller’s 4 starts:
ERA: 3.95, Avg IP: 6.83, WHIP: 1.09, K/9: 5.27
(LeCure, Arroyo x2, Harang)

So Brantley was right, to a large degree. But the issue might not necessarily be “since Hanigan got hurt,” but rather “since Ramon resumed everyday catching duties.”

*The usual small sample size caveats.

14 Responses

  1. pinson343

    Last year Reds pitchers had a significantly lower ERA when pitching to Corky Miller – lower than both to Hernandez and Hanigan.

    These numbers compare Hernandez to Miller, not Hernandez to Hanigan.

    • Bill Lack

      Last year Reds pitchers had a significantly lower ERA when pitching to Corky Miller – lower than both to Hernandez and Hanigan.
      These numbers compare Hernandez toMiller, not Hernandez to Hanigan.

      I would attribute that to sample size and his being lucky to get called up when they were playing better…but that’s a chicken and egg thing, I guess.

  2. pinson343

    it goes without saying that there’s a sample size issue with Miller. But the pitchers love pitching to him they say so. Arroyo insists on it.

    Harang would I believe prefer to pitch to Corky. When he had a good outing the time before last, he credited Corky with “calming him down” in a tough situation. How many veteran pitchers will say that ?

    Some of the young pitchers such as Homer like Corky because they pitched to him in the minors.

  3. Sultan of Swaff

    If you look at the struggles of our staff lately, those of us who watch every game know those difference making pitches in each game were mistakes in execution rather than pitch selection–the Leake hanging curve last night is a prime example. That’s especially true of the relievers.
    This is a mediocre staff. We’ve seen the ceiling and it’s not that high. In order to win, we’re gonna have to hit the baseball.

  4. Python Curtus

    This is just like what I was saying back when Jocketty chose to sign Cabrera for his bat rather than stick with Janish for his glove. Remember I had compared Janish to shortstops of the past who played evryday because they saved more runs than they produced—-Belanger, Patek, Metzger, Mendoza, etc. I thought it was foolish to choose offense over defense and now we see how true this is.
    So now we have this question. Should they make a commitment to Corky Miller because of the way he handles pitchers, despite the fact that he can barely hit a ball off a tee? Is a 3.15 career CERA worth a .179 career average?

  5. David

    @Sultan of Swaff: It isn’t about pitch selection. Guys like Arroyo and Harang have earned the right to call their own game. If either was displeased with the catcher calling the game, they can waive him off. If the coaching staff is displeased with the catcher calling the games of Leake, Cueto and the other young pitchers, the coaching staff can call the game.

    This has to do with framing pitches, setting up in the right spots, not setting up to early, holding runners, pitchers having confidence that they can throw low in the strike zone knowing the catcher can pick it, and all the little tactical elements of catching a big league game.

    That said, there is a thought that outside of Cueto’s (April and May), Leake (prior to his last two starts), and Arroyo (as a solid #4), this staff just isn’t very good. To contend the Reds need to go get a true ace. That’s Cliff Lee in my opinion. The Reds need to move Alonso, and he would serve well as a centerpiece to a team without a decent DH or 1B.

  6. RiverCity Redleg

    @Chad Dotson: Chad, where have you been? You’ve been missed. And I blame Ortiz too, Russ Ortiz.

  7. mike

    the issue I have is that the discrepancy between how all our starters have pitched when Hernandez catches has gone on since he got here. I don’t think it’s small sample size when you look at all the games this season and all the game last season.

    It’s obvious if you watch the games (like Cabrera’s and Gomes HORRIBLE defense), Hernandez is terrible behind the plate.

    this is not really small sample

    5.42 Harang in 29 starts with Hernandez
    4.36 Harang in 24 starts with Hanigan

    7.62 Arroyo in 5 starts with Hernandez
    3.86 Arroyo in 41 starts with Hanigan

    4.54 Cueto in 27 starts with Hernandez
    3.79 Cueto in 14 starts with Hanigan

    6.79 Bailey in 10 starts with Hernandez
    5.19 Bailey in 12 starts with Hanigan

    there has got to be something wrong here. It is UNIVERSAL across 2 years and lots of starts that these starters ALL pitch better when Hanigan is catching??? How can that be?

    this always brings me back to something I’ve wondered out loud on the board before. I really wonder what this team would be like if we didn’t sign Cabrera, Hernadez and Gomes. I have to think that Hanigan being the prime catcher, the defense being vastly improved that we’d see a big improvement from our starters.

    how can the performance of the starters be SOOOO DIFFERENT??

  8. Chris Garber

    Mike, how do you run those numbers? Sinins? I have to build a spreadsheet and go through box scores to do it.

    If it’s easy, could you run a comparison of Ramon vs. Everyone Else (Hanigan, Corky, and Tatum)?

    • mike

      If it’s easy, could you run a comparison of Ramon vs. Everyone Else (Hanigan, Corky, and Tatum)?

      I didn’t read this part of your post. baseball-reference has the numbers for each pitcher by catcher but it wouldn’t be hard to quickly total the other catchers.

      I can do that tomorrow.

      The only thing that I think will change in any major way is Bailey. A surprising number of Bailey’s good starts at the end of last season Corky was the catcher

  9. mike

    by the way related to tonight’s Cueto start. Even Corky @%#$@$% Miller does a better job of framing pitches. Corky is one of the worst major league hitters I’ve seen but I watched him closely tonight and I have to give him props. He’s pretty good behind the plate, hustles, blocks balls and really Cueto looked VERY good today despite one inning where he lost the strike zone. His changeup was NASTY tonight.