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Try Not To Fret Too Much About Kawakami

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  • Try Not To Fret Too Much About Kawakami

    I'm not giving up on Kenshin Kawakami; not in the least. I really want to see him to get better, because that will benefit everyone involved: himself, his teammates and Braves fans.

    That aside, the fact is that KK is just hovering around average in every start right now, based on Game Score. That's a good complimentary stat, I think; because it's so formulaic, it can show what starts are similar to one another.

    Here are all of his lines:

    Apr 11 vs. WAS - 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 SO - 56 - W
    Apr 16 vs. FLA - 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO - 48 - L
    Apr 21 @ WAS - 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO - 40 - L
    Apr 26 @ CIN - 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO - 16 - L
    May 5 vs. NYM - 5 H, 8 R, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO - 47 - L
    May 10 @ PHI - 6 H, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO - 56 - W
    May 15 vs. ARI - 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO - 48 - L

    So, truly, Kawakami has had one awful game. The rest of his starts are mediocre at best. On top of that, the Braves have only given him 2.76 runs per game on offense in his starts. That's not helping matters either.

    I'm not quite sure what this means. I can't point to anything that says Kawakami is going to get better, and that's rather disconcerting to me. Criminally low run support is also an enabler to this problem. All I can hope for is that he gets better. It'll be a great day when he allows one run or less.
    Last edited by SamtheBravesFan; 05-17-2009, 08:52 PM.
    46 wins to match last year's total

  • #2
    I think the biggest thing that he needs to do is be aggresive and going inside more. The other thing is his control which you can see is a problem by his game logs, he clearly has the stuff to get strikeouts but does try to nibble to much when he is a head in the count. One thing that could be the cause of the control problems is the adjustment to a bigger ball, it sounds like a dumb excuse but I am sure it isn't the easiest thing to do as a pitcher going from 1 type/size of ball to a new one and continue his success.
    Extend Prado!!!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by PureBaseballFan View Post
      I think the biggest thing that he needs to do is be aggresive and going inside more. The other thing is his control which you can see is a problem by his game logs, he clearly has the stuff to get strikeouts but does try to nibble to much when he is a head in the count. One thing that could be the cause of the control problems is the adjustment to a bigger ball, it sounds like a dumb excuse but I am sure it isn't the easiest thing to do as a pitcher going from 1 type/size of ball to a new one and continue his success.
      Never thought of the bigger ball being an issue. I'm not giving up on him yet. He's just a 'rookie' in the majors. He's learning alot and will hopefully grow and develop into a solid pitcher.
      My collection of autographs: TTM Autos

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Extra Innings View Post
        Never thought of the bigger ball being an issue. I'm not giving up on him yet. He's just a 'rookie' in the majors. He's learning alot and will hopefully grow and develop into a solid pitcher.
        The bigger ball is an issue because some Japanese pitchers can't throw breaking balls the way they want to. Plus, they're taught to miss up in the zone if they're lacking in command. If you miss up in the zone here, you're going to get tattooed. That's why Kei Igawa stinks.
        Last edited by SamtheBravesFan; 05-18-2009, 04:09 PM.
        46 wins to match last year's total

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SamtheBravesFan View Post
          The bigger ball is an issue because some Japanese pitchers can't throw breaking balls the way they want to. Plus, they're taught to miss up in the zone if they're lacking in command. If you miss up in the zone here, you're going to get tattooed. That's why Kei Igawa stinks.
          I can't say I was ever to impressed with Igawa be it in a Yankee uniform or the video I saw of him from Japan.

          Back to Kenshin watching the video from Japan he appears to have a changeup which I think he should be using more, I think the other biggest hurdle for him other then control is pitch selection. (to be honest McCann is partly to blame as well) He appears to have a low 80s changeup that breaks down that could be a very effective pitch and if he throws it more it would force hitters to guess more instead of sitting on his slow Curve or 4 seamer.

          The third and last thing that I want to see him do is be more confident with his pitches, this is something that appears to happen to Japanese pitchers when they come over. Even Dice-K suffers from this, it appears like these guys make MLB into this place where only gods play and don't attack the strikezone. They need to understand that there are great sluggers in this league but not everyone can hit a fastball a mile long, for example in this video he goes inside and does so effectively which I rarely see him do in Atlanta.

          This is of course just my opinion but none of these things are very hard to do if the Braves work with him.
          Last edited by PureBaseballFan; 05-18-2009, 05:05 PM.
          Extend Prado!!!

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          • #6
            I'm sure they're working with him a whole lot; they've invested a lot of money in a guy who's roughly putting out the production that Tom Glavine did last year. Look at the stats, they're horrifyingly similar.

            The crazy part is I distinctly remember defending Glavine because he churned out a couple of minimal quality starts before he got clobbered and hurt.

            I just have this notion that Kenshin means something more to the organization than just being a starting pitcher. I want him to do well so badly not just so the Braves can get out of this mediocre streak, but so players from Japan can see Atlanta as a good place to go play.
            46 wins to match last year's total

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            • #7
              So far tonight it seems he is taking my advice.

              I have seen a few more changeup/cutter type pitches and he is pitching inside more.
              Extend Prado!!!

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              • #8
                Pitched the game of his MLB career: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO. Even if Toronto was dead tired, he still was wonderful.
                46 wins to match last year's total

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                • #9
                  I think Daichi might be loosening him up a bit. That was, by far, the most demonstrative we've seen him. All we've really seen before was that one little fist pump.

                  He patterns himself after Maddux. Tonight, he looked like him. Before, he looked more like Russ Ortiz.

                  I think PBF is right: he just needs to be aggressive and trust his stuff. Tonight may be the first step in that direction.
                  3 6 10 21 29 31 35 41 42 44 47

                  "All of which makes perfect sense on paper, unless you have actually at any time in your life watched baseball being played." - The Commissioner

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Los Bravos View Post
                    I think PBF is right: he just needs to be aggressive and trust his stuff. Tonight may be the first step in that direction.
                    Other then being aggressive with his stuff last night the biggest difference between last night and all his other starts is that offspeed pitch that he was throwing, it forced hitters to not sit on either the curveball or fastball which I think was the biggest factor.

                    Edit :: Looking at the month splits you can see he started to settle in when May began, so far this month the most runs he gave up were 3 against Arizona but he limited three of the better offenses (NYM, Phillies and Toronto) to 2 runs or less. He also has limited the HR as he is yet to give one up this month, while his walks are down and strikeouts are up. He is likely going to be a 5 to 7 inning pitcher but with workhorses like Lowe, Vazquez and Jurrjens that shouldn't be a huge concern.
                    Last edited by PureBaseballFan; 05-23-2009, 08:34 AM.
                    Extend Prado!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PureBaseballFan View Post
                      Other then being aggressive with his stuff last night the biggest difference between last night and all his other starts is that offspeed pitch that he was throwing, it forced hitters to not sit on either the curveball or fastball which I think was the biggest factor.

                      Edit :: Looking at the month splits you can see he started to settle in when May began, so far this month the most runs he gave up were 3 against Arizona but he limited three of the better offenses (NYM, Phillies and Toronto) to 2 runs or less. He also has limited the HR as he is yet to give one up this month, while his walks are down and strikeouts are up. He is likely going to be a 5 to 7 inning pitcher but with workhorses like Lowe, Vazquez and Jurrjens that shouldn't be a huge concern.
                      unfortunately, I didn't get to see friday's game yet (will watch condensed when i get back from a trip) but I do think the less HRs is big. That can be a big confidence blow and get into treating every MLB hitter like babe ruth!

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                      • #12
                        Kawa-bunga's last outing was nothing short of awesome for him... I DO hope he does ok tonight to stop the teams skid
                        The Cardboard Fan
                        My Bucket - w/ Select Trade Scans

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