Tagged: Mark Mulder

Mulder’s rehab turns into relapse

Pass the tums, please. Here’s a look at Mulder’s line for Memphis tonight: 92 pitches, 50 for strikes, 4 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned, 5 walks, 3 K’s and a homerun. 2 of the hits were doubles, 2 groundouts to 5 fly outs.

Mulder is done. It’s hard to believe that 5 seasons ago Mulder was a serious Cy Young contender and through 3 seasons Mulder was in the top 10 in the league in WHIP. It’s sad. Mulder seems like a nice, quiet guy and I think that gets confused with some as a lack of fire. I’m not so sure Mulder lacks fire, but he’s been lacking something in terms of ability since the All Star break of 03. As much as I’d like to blame Billy Beane for peddling damaged goods, there’s something to be said about the front office here. I don’t know if the scouts didn’t do their job in breaking down the 2nd half swoon, or if the front office just had to have their "big name"  and refused to listen, but now it’s time to forget this whole fiasco has ever happened and move on. (How is Danny Haren doing these days? That good, huh?)

I posted earlier this week regarding an interview Bernie Miklasz had on his radio show with Dave Duncan, and Duncan said Mulder’s mechanics was messed up when he got here and it’s been a constant battle for him. Perhaps it’s a testament of Duncan’s coaching ability that we actually got a decent 05 from Mulder.


Dropping 2 in 1

Well the Cardinal’s dropped a double header simultaneously, as the hitters not named Albert could not figure out Zach Duke, and Mark Mulder got it handed to him in the 3rd by the AAA I-Cubs. Here’s the game log of that inning.

  • Ryan O’Malley walks. (He’s their pitcher! And he walked on 4 straight!)
  • Felix Pie singles on a line drive to center fielder Skip Schumaker. Ryan O’Malley to 2nd.
  • Luis Montanez flies out to right fielder John Rodriguez.
  • Michael Restovich lines out to first baseman Jorge Toca.
  • With Micah Hoffpauir batting, passed ball by Brian Esposito, Ryan O’Malley to 3rd. Felix Pie to 2nd.
  • Micah Hoffpauir singles on a line drive to right fielder John Rodriguez. Ryan O’Malley scores. Felix Pie scores. Micah Hoffpauir to 2nd on the throw.
  • Casey McGehee homers (9) on a fly ball to left center field. Micah Hoffpauir scores.
  • Geovany Soto doubles (18) on a fly ball to left fielder Timo Perez.
  • Buck Coats grounds out, second baseman Junior Spivey to first baseman Jorge Toca.

Mulder’s line: 4 runs, 4 walks, 4 runs, 2 K’s and 1 HR. He threw 71 pitches, 39 for strikes and got 3 ground outs to 7 fly outs. I guess there goes the idea that Mulder will bring back consistency to the starting rotation. Suppan, who has been Mr. Consistent pretty much since the All Star break didn’t look sharp at tonight, either.

The highs and lows with the pen continue. Why Tony even continues to trot out Tyler Johnson is beyond me. Seems like he’s always giving up the big hit and he walks way too many batters. Is Flores’ elbow still hurting? I know he’s been hit this season, but what little confidence I have in our lefties is in Flores. I think he’s better then the results he’s got this season. On the plus side of what I saw was the bullpen was Jorge Sosa. The gun on the WB was clocking him at 93 but Molina’s mitt was popping loudly. Out of the 11 pitches he threw, 10 were for strikes. I’d like to see him do that when it counts, not just in mop-up duties.

I know the fans are getting on Ronnie Belliard..I’m hearing the names. Belly-up, Belly Lard, Belly Flop…ha ha..I am beginning to not mind the trade as times goes by. Luna is 2 for 19 in Cleveland, Belliard 4 for 38. So Luna isn’t getting the playing time he thought he would, he’s still stuck in a platoon, this time with Joe Inglett. I’m pretty sure that Belliard isn’t gonna hit a buck 0 something the rest of the season. But if you’re going call him a name, I like Mr. Gangster Rapper Posse Member guy. (Love those commercials)

The Reds lost in extras to the Phils, saving our 3 1/2 game lead.

Mulder’s rehab start

I just got back from watching Mark Mulder’s rehab start for the Quad Cities, and overall I liked what I saw. The wildly optimistic side of me hoped that somehow with the rest Mulder would magically revert to the Oakland A version 2003, but that isn’t gonna happen. But the soft-tossing grounder machine 2005 version of Mulder was there, getting 7 ground outs to 6 fly outs with a fastball topping out at 87 mph. (However, I did think the gun at the stadium was slow. If I were to guess, he may have hit 89 tops.) His control was good, though spotty at times resulting in the 2 walks and the 2 XBH. Both the double and the homerun yielded were sinkers that didn’t sink and were around 84 mph later in the game. One thing that I noticed was every time Mulder tried to throw a curve there was a little hesitation in his delivery and the balls ended up in the dirt and at times getting away from the catcher. He really needs that curve working to get strikeouts with any sort of regularity.

If you think the 6 fly balls are worrisome, I wouldn’t get overly worked up about it. Most of them were routine pop ups or were made on the infield, I can only remember a few hit right on the nose. I’d be shocked if Mulder continues his extreme gopheritis trend when he returns, but I wouldn’t expect to see him return to his nice, low rates of 05 either.

Based on what I saw, I would expect Mulder to come back and be an asset, going back to getting lots of groundballs and inducing DP’s, and yet still doing his fair share of trying to nibble the corners and being fairly hittable.

EDIT: Rob at the Birdwatch was there also, and frankly his analysis puts mine to shame. I highly recommend it. I had the same idea to log every pitch while I was there, with pen and paper in hand but I’ll excuse myself by saying it was really freakin’ hot and there was a lot of moving around in my section.

Grab your torch and pitchforks!

Over at VEB, they’re having barbeque Mulder. Here’s a sampling:

  • "The smoke on the field is from the piles of future free-agent cash Mulder has burned."
  • "somewhere Billy Beane is laughing his ❗ off."
  • "right now i’d be happy if we could trade mulder for a bucket of batting practice balls."
  • "How about we burn Mulder at the stake?"
  • "mulder has no guts"

Mulder’s line: 2.1 innings pitched, 16 batters faced, 9 earned runs, 9 hits, 2 homeruns and 2 doubles and now has a 6.09 ERA, entering Jose Lima and Joe Mays territory. What’s wrong? Jeez, I don’t know. Some say velocity, but I don’t remember his velocity topping 87 last season, someone correct me if I’m wrong. It certainly is a problem with his location, and some are questioning his heart and competiveness.

Right now, I just don’t have the heart to try and figure out what his problem is. Maybe they are going to be forced to take him out of the rotation, or maybe he’s hurt and he’s hiding it and they need to disable him. Regardless, I’ve had enough of watching him pitch, and it just eats me alive to think of what we could’ve had with Dan Haren in the rotation.

Slugfest in Milwaukee

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Win probability graph from www.fangraphs.com

Mark Mulder looked very bad again, allowing 6 runs in 3 innings, including a three run homer to Carlos Lee in the second inning. His ERA is now 5+. Excuse me while I scream silently within myself. Before Bill Hall grounded into a double play to end the 2nd inning, according to the Win Expectancy Finder the Cardinals had a 2.3% probability of winning the game. But thankfully, they didn’t give up. It was a game of walks and extra base hits, as Brewer’s pitching walked 8 batters, and allowed 5 doubles and a triple. A 6 run fourth inning was capped off with a 3 RBI double by Scott Spiezio, (+36.3% WPA) who continues to prove his value to this team. Not bad for a non-roster invitee who looked totally washed up coming from Seattle.  The double gave the Cardinals a 2 run lead and was good enough to be the difference in the game.

Alright, so what is the deal with Mulder? Looking at his peripherals, he looks pretty much like the same Mulder who won 16 games and had a 3.64 ERA last season. His batted-balls he’s giving up are around the same as last season. 60% of the balls in play against Mulder are grounders, and he has the same amount of flies and line-drives as usual. His strikeout rate is slightly down, but so is his walk rate. His WHIP is rock steady over the last three years. He’s leaving the average amount of runners stranded. So what gives? Well, I’m sure most of you know the answer to this:

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graph from www.fangraphs.com

A very high homerun rate of 1.5/9. (His career norm going into the season was .88/per 9 innings.) That’s not good for an extreme ground-ball pitcher. 27.5% of fly balls hit off of Mark Mulder are leaving the yard. 27.5%! That’s insane! That’s nearly 10% higher then any other pitcher in the National League, and over 12% increase for Mulder last year. Out of the different types of batted balls off of Mulder, around 20% are flies, and about 1 of 3 are homeruns. This is very unusual indeed. According to The Hardball Times,

"Research has shown that about 11% to 12% of outfield flies are hit for home runs. For pitchers, significant variations from 11% are probably the result of "luck," but for hitters this stat is more indicative of a true skill (hitting the ball hard!)."

So my guess is as to why Mulder is getting shelled routinely is that it is partly his own fault for making more mistakes, and largely in part due to some very, very bad luck. I’d say we should look for Mulder to rebound a decent bit in the second half, unless his case of gopheritis somehow continues. And if by some sort of magic he rediscovers a strikeout pitch and can average around 5.5 k’s per 9 innings, he’ll be the good Mulder we all hope for and miss watching pitch. If not, he’ll fade into oblivion, with no trade value on the market and will be remembered as the worst of the few bad deals made by Walt Jocketty.

My favorite team traded Haren, Barton & Calero and all I got was this lowsy t-shirt

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You just knew Mulder was lucky to get fifth with the score being only 2-1 with the way his pitches were locating. His curveball looked like a meatball, and his sinker was consistently up. Albert Pujols, after looking like a fool against Jake Peavy having struck out twice in a row on 6 pitches, took the young Padre ace deep to give the Mulder a 6-2 lead. But it seemingly was too good to be true, as Mulder unraveled for 6 runs in the fifth. Thompson didn’t look much better in relief, either.

Mulder is now the shameful owner of a 4.52 ERA, which largely in part of a high HR ratio of 1.42, the 9th worst ratio in the league. So now, I admit my secret shame. I hate Mark Mulder. Okay, hate is a very strong word. I just don’t like him. Not personally, he seems like a fine person off the field and with the media even though he’s a bit of a pretty boy. I mean I hate him as a pitcher. When he does well, all I can think is he’ll just be inconsistent in a the next few outings, anyway. And when he does poorly, all I can do is bemoan the losses of Haren, Barton and Calero. I think what chaps my hide the most, what disappoints me the most, is that he’s just not at all the same guy he was in Oakland. Here’s an old scouting report from Stats Inc on Mulder, per Foxsports.com

Because Mulder works with a delivery that is so smooth, it must be alarming for opposing hitters to see a moving 93-MPH fastball come tearing out of all that poetry. Mulder also has a curve, slider and changeup. Add in his height and a deceptive delivery that keeps hitters guessing until the last minute, and the aggregate is success. While injuries have put him on the disabled list for two months over his career, he never has pitched less than 150 innings a season as a major leaguer, and has topped 200 innings three times.

Have you ever seen Mulder hit 93 on the gun? I haven’t. I think I’ve seen him top 90 maybe once. Usually, he seems to be in the 84-86 MPH range. His delivery is very smooth, but in order for his pitches to work it has to be perfect, and all to often it’s not. His curveball can be a good pitch, but all to often he has trouble locating it, as he did yesterday.

It’s not that Mulder is terrible, it’s just that he’s simply not that great, and not worth the pirate’s booty we gave up to get him by a long shot. He’s turning FA, and with his winning record yet poor peripherals, he simply isn’t worth signing to a long term contract. Not for Burnett money, or even for Morris money. 

The Winning Mulder

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(graph from www.fangraphs.com)

Well, Mark Mulder finally got career win #100, but was nearly betrayed by his bullpen. As you take a look at the graph you can see how Looper and the evil Baron Von Isringhausen made it such an adventure. The Cardinals had their another big inning, that’s two games in a row the offense has exploded. And encouragingly, Rolen and Edmonds together were on base 7 different occasions But the shakiness of the pen didn’t inspire much confidence. Looper put Isringhausen in a tough spot, but you’d like to see Izzy go out and get some outs, but it seems nothing is easy with him. And you start to wonder after this time if he’s ever going to settle down and be himself again.

Thinking about Mulder, after reaching 100 wins at age 28 is nothing to sneeze at, but you gotta know this inevitably obtained feat inflates his value come this winter. As much as I like Mulder, I don’t want to see the Cardinals pay $11m per year for a soft-tossing groundballer. Just in the young season, Mulder’s k/9’s are continuing their slide down to scary-land (4.24). When you get 60% of the balls you hit off the ground, you don’t have to be super-dominant. But you’d like to see him pick those k’s up to at least Cory Lidle levels.