All is not well with Dontrelle Willis. Willis made his second start since coming of the DL last night and gave up more walks than he got outs. Here is Wills’ pitching line from last nights 8-2 loss to the Indians:
- 1.1 innings, 3 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
According to ESPN (via Stats Inc.), Willis became the third pitchers since 1956 to give up 8 ER on three or fewer hits. Ugly is the only way to describe his performance. You have to feel for the guy a little bit. It’s not like he’s not trying, it’s just whatever he’s trying is not working and getting hit into the stands. Willis’ ERA jumped to 10.32 on the season, but even more disturbing are his walk totals. You will be hard pressed to ever see anything like this again, we are probably witnessing history of some perverse nature:
- 11.1 innings and 21 walks.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out, but the guy clearly has some control issues. You hear about guys putting up those kind of numbers in the minors from time to time. They are usually by player who throw the ball really hard so teams draft them as pitchers. The team then realizes that the guy has no control at all so they either cut him loose or turn him into a hitter. The Tigers should one of those things and cut their losses.
You know what’s kind of funny? When Willis actually gets batters to swing at his pitches they are hitting only .189 against him. Of course this probably has something to do with the fact they are ususally swinging at balls outside the strike zone. Oh well.
I don’t know what happens to Willis from here on out. The Tigers signed the guy to a three year deal worth about $29 million, so it’d be tough to just cut him. Last year when Nate Robertson had some struggles the Tigers put on the DL with a “tired arm”. The idea was to give Nate a rest and then let him come back. I don’t see how a trip to the DL helps the D-Train either. He clearly needs to just work through some of these struggles and figure out how to pitch again. I’m guessing his confidence is pretty close to shot. The best thing is to keep having him pitch. If he does that in the big leagues he’s going to get destroyed and that will hurt his confidence, his team, and won’t help him work on his mechanics. So my vote would be for him to head down to Lakeland and work out his issues. Lakeland, FL is a long ways from the critics in Michigan and would give him a chance to play in A ball against some younger players.
We need this guy to pitch and pitch well for the team to succeed. It’s becoming more and more clear that this will not be the Tigers year so they need to do their best to get Wills good to go for next season. Kurt over at Mack Avenue Tigers has gone as far to suggest the Tigers just punt on this season and get everyone as prepared as possible for the 2009 season.
Seriously, who saw this one coming?