"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Luis Vizcaino: Awful pitcher or just another Joe Torre casualty?

Meet Luis Vizcaino. He is a Yankee middle reliever, wears uniform number 52, and was sent to the Yankees in the Randy Johnson salary dump. He is 2-1 with a 7.66 ERA in 24 2/3 innings. He has struck out 12 while walking 19. He has squandered 24 hits, 3 of which went for home runs.

At first glance, these numbers are awful. But there has to be a reason as to why he is struggling, right? Is he a bad pitcher? Hardly. He was an integral member of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox bullpen. From 2004-2006, he posted a sub-4 ERA in each of those 3 years. There has to be a reason why his numbers with the mighty Yankees are terrible.

The reason is Joe Torre.

Vizcaino was great in Spring Training and the first two weeks of the season. Out of the first 10 games of the season, Vizcaino pitched in 8, pitching 8 1/3 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run, striking out 2, and walkking 3.

Joe Torre fell in love with him, just as he did with Ron Villone last year.

Since then, his numbers have done a complete 180. Beginning April 19, he has allowed 20 earned runs in 16 appearances. The overwork has obviously adversely affected his pitching, and is most likely injured and is not telling anyone.

Let's look at Villone's numbers from last year. Pre-all-star break, he was 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA and a .201 batting average against (BAA). Post-all-star break, he was 0-2 with a 8.35 ERA and a .301 BAA. In August alone, he pitched in an obscene 17 games, which resulted in 22 1/3 innings pitched and a 6.04 ERA. His September numbers were nothing to write home about either. In 9 games, he pitched 6 innings and allowed 18 earned runs.

As a result, poor old Ron was rotting in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to begin the historic 2007 season. He was one of St. Joseph's most trusted relievers for more than half of the year, but there's only so much a 36-year-old arm can take. Now Villone is back, fighting Torre's fight.

Joe Torre cannot manage the bullpen. His mistakes were often overshadowed by successful Yankee teams and smart personnel around him. This year, this is not the case. The team is awful and his blunders are magnified. There is already one Joe Torre casualty this year, and it is not even June yet. Let's hope that the Namesake (Scott Proctor) is not next.

Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports


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