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Once they're stuck...


March 31 may have been the very last day on which the Seattle Mariners could accept a $5 or $10 garage sale offer on the pink flamingo that was Erasmo Ramirez.  The Rays threw us back a bucket of paint and airsoft parts that was itself nearly a code violation, that being Mike Montgomery.  The Shout Box pointed out Erasmo's brilliant success with the Rays:


Relief, to May 11 (Did lousy)
NYY 1, Rays 6 (entered rotation) 5.0 1 0 0 2 4 0 Get this:  68 pitches
BRAVES 3, Rays 5 5.0 2 3 3 2 5 0 80 pitches (not 100)
So he lost one, Oak 7-2 6.0 5 5 5 5 4 1 95
ORIOLES NIL, Rays 2 7.0 3 0 0 1 7 0 84 ?!  WHY?
M's 1, Rays 2 (June 4) 5.1 7 1 1 1 5 0 A piddling 72 pitches
ANGELS 2, Rays 4 5.0 5 2 2 0 3 0 78, yet again
NATS 1, Rays 6 6.0 5 0 0 3 4 0 103.  Somebody call the meat wagon
CLE 1 Rays 4  3.0 2 0 0 0 3 0 Dunno why he was pulled in the 4th
wow, lost his 2nd game, Felix style 5.2 2 1 1 1 7 1 84
YANKS 1, Rays 8 second time round 6.0 3 1 1 3 3 1 99
ASTROS 1, RAYS 3 6.0 4 1 1 1 5 0 77


So the Rays gave him six weeks in the bullpen to wash the Mariner off his body, and then they implemented their vision.  A short little right hand Scott Bankhead who could throw 80-90 truly precise pitches, provided that you were't screaming at him to be more aggressive with the fastball.

He's throwing billions of changeups (27%) and lots of sliders, and being careful to keep batters from extending their arms. To date, the Rays have 8 lockdown starts in 10 attempts.  This from a short, stubby little righty they picked out of a junk-sale bin one hour before closing.

In one of the snaps below, behold the easy stride, the early prep before dart-throw, and the general air of effort / lack thereof.

Erasmo rays
Erasmo with the Rays

Erasmo Rays
Erasmo Rays


The M's, and in fact all 30 major league organizations are very gracious when they do claim, and turn around, a Mike Montgomery.  "It's just one of those things," they'll tell you, and they'll tell it to you every time.  "We tried this or that with him, and it just happened to click."  This places every bit of responsibility on the head case that is the player in uniform, and none of it on the people who are supposed to be coaching him.  Hey, sudden question occurred.  What does it mean to coach somebody, anyhow?  I've never looked it up.  I bet it involves taking people from point A to point B, though.

"Sometimes, guys take a while to jell," they shrug.  Next question.

Yes, they take a while to jell.  They take 8 years to not jell, and then they go to another org (like Gil Meche or Carlos Guillen or Erasmo Ramirez or Matt Thornton or yada yada yada) and then they take a couple of weeks to jell.

It's part of the human condition.  We want to study our wins and gloss past our mistakes.  We enjoy talking AT each other.  We get better when we talk WITH each other.  





In the 2nd photo he looks like a knuckleball thrower.  There is very little extension on the stride or of the arm.  I throw like that, but then my arm is totally shot!!!  Doc, I think sometimes a new team just asks a guy to do what he dos well....and not much else. Nobody has tried (it seems) to make Montgomery throw anything other than what he knows he can throw.  Likely Erasmo, too.   The "Redo" button is a wonderful thing in that regard.  

It is, by the way, why Ackley will look good somewhere else.  

When a player struggles (and they all do, inevetiably) sometimes the less coaching you do is the better.  

Eraso is a dart thrower...but his stats above indicate more than the occassional walk and more K's than you would assume he would have.  I'll bet he's learned to throw the ball off the plate and that the TBR's have just allowed him to simplify his approach and his mind.  

Soft throwers, now that I think about it, may be better off thinking like knuckleballers than anything else.  Buerhle, in his own way, does.  "Here's my 84 MPH heater and my 75 MPH wriinkle. They aren't getting much (or any) of the plate.  Hit them if you can!'  That's basically the same thing that a RA Dickey says, except he's ofeering up only 1 pitch. It is a simple, soft approach.

There is much to say for clarity of mind.

The critical thing for an Erasmo will come when he struggles:  Will he continue to trust his stuff after getting shelled 2 or 3 times in a row?  And even more importantly, will his coaching staff continue to trust it...or try to tweak him into something un-Erasmo?

The one can survive in the bigs.  The other can't.


Jpax's picture

I have said for a couple of years that it appeared to me that we "broke" Erasmo, destroying his confidence. Very possibly doing what you say above, "Concentrating on what he can't do" yet putting pressure on him to do it.

I read somewhere (sorry, no link) that teams LOVE to have 2 kinds of pitchers, those that throw 80-100 pitches in a game and those that throw 10-20. Tampa Bay, the article stated, was trying to work with the "middle guys" (those who could pitch effectively for only 40-70 pitches). I think Erasmo fits this description, it seems we were always worried about his third time through the lineup.

I really hope my chosen team takes a hard look at itself. I mean if watching Erasmo, Smoak, etc. have success outside the organization doesn't cause you to rethink the way you do business, what will? I would like to think the recent draft where it seems we drafted a lot of high school pitchers (which we do seem good at developing), but only college hitters (which we do not seem good at), may have reflected some internal self awareness on the mariners part. I can only hope.

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