Friday, April 22, 2011

Unlucky When Lucky - Dustin Moseley

Dustin Moseley should be having the time of his life. He's made four starts--a surprise in and of itself--and has pitched 25 and a third innings about as good as he's ever pitched in his life. He's only given up four earned runs for a sparkling 1.40 ERA. Moseley, forever a fringe kind of guy, should be on top of the world. Moseley has always been the last pitcher on a pitching staff, the long reliever, the mop up guy. This is his sixth season in the majors and has pitched a grand total of 259 major league innings. So this should be great right? Well, it would be if he wasn't 0-3.

The problem for Dustin Moseley is that he is never going to pitch this well again. He never has before. In many ways, his successful pitching has been a mirage. He's only striking out 2.81 batters per nine innings. Only Mark Buehrle has thrown as many innings as Moseley with a lower strikeout per nine inning rate (2.77). Everything is going right for Moseley. He's never had a higher ground ball rate than his current (and amazing) 58.1 percent. He's never had this high an infield fly rate (10 percent). He's never stranded this many batters (84.5 percent). All of his pitches are working except, perhaps, his change up. He has his sterling 1.40 ERA despite a FIP of 3.71 and an xFIP of 4.12. And yet, he has nothing to show for it.

For a guy like Moseley, forever the fringe guy, to finally get his chance to start every five days has to be huge. To do this well during those four starts has to be a bonus on top of bonus. And yet, he's 0-3. How unlucky can you be when you are being luckier than you've ever been in your life? Sure, Felix Hernandez was given the Cy Young Award last year for being unlucky while being great. But Moseley is being unlucky when he is being lucky to be this great. That's a whole other kettle of fish.

The sad news for Dustin Moseley is that he can't keep up this kind of pitching. There is absolutely no chance you can strike out that few major league hitters, give up that much futile contact and strand that many runners for more than this small sample set. Reality will set in and he'll start giving up three, four and five runs an outing like his pitching suggests and what chance will he have then when he couldn't buy a win during this four game, brilliantly lucky streak? It has to be one of the unluckiest lucky streaks in the history of the game.

Moseley's career does have some bad luck involved already. His career 4.90 ERA is lower than his career FIP and xFIP. But nothing can compare to his unlucky lucky streak going on early this season. To finally have his chance to start regularly (thanks to injuries in San Diego) and to have everything that could possibly go right, go right and have nothing to show for it is the height of irony. For a guy to give up four earned run in four starts and have a record of 0-3, how much worse can it get when he's giving up that many earned runs in a game? Poor guy. You have to feel for him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow what a negative story. He has an above average sinker and is a very smart pitcher. Not to mention he is hitting better than most the hitters on the team. I hope you eat your words when he finishes the season with a below three ERA.