The Blaine Boyer experiment, mercifully now over, sounds exactly like a story about Las Vegas I heard just a few weeks ago.
My father made the trek to Sin City for business, with plenty to do. But along the way, a small group found their way to a blackjack table. An experienced card player, two pushes – on a 21 and 20 – was the best he could do in the first 10 hands. The odds at this point suggested he should stick around and his luck would change. Wrong, he got up after the dealer went 30 hands without busting once.
He heard later an associate went back later to the same dealer, deciding the bad luck was gone and good old math would make him rich. It didn’t take long for Lady Luck to abandon him as well.
My point is that choosing major league baseball players is a crapshoot, especially in the bullpen. Middle, long and specialized relievers all tend to be rejected starters. Sometimes they find a niche and have long-term success, but most have stats that bounce around as much as these players move around the league. A great seventh-inning guy last year could be designated for assignment tomorrow. It really is the epitome of “what have you done for me lately.”
In the case of Boyer, it’s been lose baseball games. The red-haired reliever was 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 1 save in 6.2 innings through five games with the 2011 Mets. In the April 6 10-7 loss to Philadelphia, Boyer coughed up 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth after New York put up a five-spot to bail out an ineffective Mike Pelfrey. On Sunday, he gave up 4 runs in the 11th inning to Washington after D.J. Carrasco finally stumbled.
To say the numbers have not been kind to Boyer this season is an understatement. He is drastically off the mark from his career average now in his seventh years in the pros. According to those figures, he should finish the regular season with a 4.69 ERA, 1.453 WHIP, 47 strikeouts and 28 walks. Just to drive the point home, he’s struck out as many batters as he’s walked – 1.
Assuming nothing’s changed with Boyer, mathematics and the law of averages says his numbers have to recover. GM Sandy Alderson couldn’t have made a mistake when they took the righty reliever who notched a shocking 0.82 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in Spring Training, could he?
In this case it was time to ignore the numbers and cut your losses.