…. Puff the Magic Dragon

As in, here’s another puff piece by the local media, this time courtesy of Henry Schulman:

…. The 34-year-old lightning rod has allowed two runs in 5.3 innings with five walks and five strikeouts. He has made ninth innings interesting, but he has done the job.

“He’s getting better and better,” Bochy said. “Mechanically, he looks better.”

Yeah, he looks better. He’s not performing better, but he looks better.

Look, I’m not interested in spending all my time bashing the guys who have to come up with something, anything, to write about all season long. It’s a job I’m not the least bit interested in, and somebody’s got to do it; but, come on. Benitez has been getting out of the ninth on luck and guile, simple as that. There’s no way he can sustain this kind of success long-term, not with the kind of success hitters are having against him.

He’s faced 26 batters so far, and 10 of them have reached base, 5 walks and 5 hits. That’s not performing, simple as that. Stroking his ego is one thing, and if the manager wants to do that behind closed doors, as a strategy for getting the most out of a player, fine. But Schulman trying to tell the fans that is a complete joke. You’re telling me that I have to listen to this dribble?

…. “The manager knows what he has,” Benitez said. “He knows what you can do when you’re healthy. He doesn’t need to say anything. My confidence is real good. He has confidence in me to do well and I don’t want to disappoint him. Everybody in this room believes in me, these guys know how I pitch when I’m healthy. It’s more important when you have a group that supports you and is behind you. It’s great when you know everybody has your back. You don’t want to disappoint the guys in the dugout, yourself and the people in the stands, too.”

You want to talk about a reliever who is performing? Let’s talk about Special Agent Jack Taschner. Taschner has faced 17 hitters, and 4 have reached base, one home run and 3 walks. That’s right, he’s given up one hit so far this year. The difference between the two pitchers is striking, given how little each has worked:

Taschner .071/.222/.286 .514 OPS against
Benitez .238/.385/.476 .861 OPS against

Come on. If it’s not a matter of time before Bochy makes the switch, it’s either because he’s an idiot, or management won’t let him.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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