Beleaguered Bronson Bounced Early Again

I had a really good feeling about last night’s game. I felt as if Bronson Arroyo, despite having back issues, was going to bounce back from his recent lackluster outings and put a good one together. Unfortunately for the Reds, and more significantly, the bullpen, it didn’t materialize. The Braves fought off a charging Reds offense and persevered in 12 innings by a count of 7-6. Arroyo for the second consecutive outing could not even make it 4 innings.

And this is getting a little on the troublesome side here. Batters go into slumps, and Arroyo is in a pitching slump. We all know the outing in Philly provided a little insights to those back problems, and I think it’s a decent wager that last evening did as well.

Great…another pitcher banged up.

Oh, the bit about his slump. It’s all in the numbers…

Here are the lines from Arroyo’s outings since his last win which came back on April 25th.

I think we can all agree the last two have been, shall we say, less than stellar. In fact, Arroyo’s last quality start came in Chicago when Francisco Cordero coughed up a lead in the 9th as the Reds dropped a heartbreaker at Wrigley. Even taking that sensational outing into considerations here, the numbers are not pretty.

There are still some small rumblings about how Arroyo may not be still over the effects from when he had mononucleosis either. I was personally on hand for his first outing of the season. Despite surrendering two homers that game, he looked as Bronson always does. Gives up the occasional dinger, baffles most hitters, and fights to earn a W. That was not the case for him in this month of May.

And just when you think those stats are a little gaudy, I have a few more to show you. And, no, they will not make you feel any better…

I was actually a little surprised that the BAA was not a little higher to be honest. Well, Arroyo has seen that increase dramatically over his last two appearances. I also noticed that his SO/BB ratio is well below that of his career ratio of 2.21. The H/9 is up from his career stat of 9.1. And those career numbers include this season except for last night. Across the board, they are all up.

Maybe the most disturbing trend that’s developing is that Arroyo has had the penchant for delivery a sweet pitch to opponents leading to the long ball. Six in his last 12.2 innings of work (3 outings) alone. Before last night’s outing, Arroyo’s HR/9 for the season stood at 1.8. Ouch. We know he’ll surrendered a gopher ball on occasion, but not at the rate over these six games.

I’m also throwing this in the mix here as well. Through his first 11 starts this season (including last night), Arroyo is averaging just a little over 5.2 IP per start. That would roughly give him 188 IP for the full season provided he kept up this pace and made 33 starts. And that’s not like Bronson. The last season where he failed to pitch over 200 innings was in 2005 when he was in Boston. He started 29 games and made 3 relief appearances that season. He tossed 187 innings that year.

We Reds fans are used to Arroyo slinging for a high number of innings since he arrived in Cincinnati prior to the 2006 season. So far, 2011 doesn’t resemble (for the most part) as it has in the past. There have been times in the past where he caught a fair amount of criticism. That view has changed over the last couple of seasons.

So, here’s something to think about. Could all those innings since 2005 finally be catching up to Arroyo? Consider this. In 5+ seasons as a member of the Reds, he’s hurled 1,150 innings. Some people attach the label “innings eater” or “workhorse” when they refer to Arroyo. I hope he returns to that role soon.

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