Sunday, July 04, 2010

Troncoso Demoted, But It's All About Mechanics

From, the explanation for Ramon Troncoso's demotion is to have him work on his mechanics:

PHOENIX -- Reliever Ramon Troncoso was sent down to Triple-A Albuquerque before Saturday's game with the D-backs. Rookie Travis Schlichting was called up from Albuquerque to replace him.

Troncoso has struggled for much of this season. He has a 5.15 ERA while allowing six home runs in 36 2/3 innings, compared to just three for all of last year.

Tronscoso's prior two appearances have been scoreless, including two perfect innings Friday night. The move caught Troncoso by surprise, but he handled it like a pro.

"I know it's going to make me be better," Troncoso said. "Everybody wants to be here. I'll go there and throw more innings."

Although Hiroki Kuroda's 1 2/3-inning start Friday night required Dodgers manager Joe Torre to burn through his bullpen -- and Troncoso was the only middle reliever that had options remaining -- Torre said the club had been considering the move for the past 10 days to give Troncoso a chance to "get organized."

"We told him this wasn't punishment, but to work on his mechanics and release point so he gets consistency," the skipper said. "We needed to know when we call his number, what are we getting?

"His role is coming out and minimizing damage. He's allowed six home runs. That's a lot. He can't lose sight that he's a sinkerball pitcher. He can't go up and in."

I think it's a little bit of a stretch to say Troncoso has "struggled for much of this season." His 39 appearances--about once very other game--leads the Dodgers by a healthy margin (Broxton has 35 appearances) and is tied for seventh in the NL. The only other players in the top 30 NL appearances with higher ERAs than Troncoso are the Reds' Nick Masset and the Mets' Fernando Nieve, but Troncoso's WHIP compares favorably even amongs the top 10 NL appearances leaders.

But it is true that Troncoso's ERA hasn't been below 4.00 since May 18. In fact, five of the six home runs Troncoso has given up have occurred since that date (two coming on May 19 vs. the Padres). But he only had one hold in June after getting two in April and four in May, so it's likely that the wear and tear has caught up with Troncoso here in the middle of the season.

Troncoso sounds like he's going down to the minors with the right attitude, a move which will obviously give him a reprieve from getting Torre's regular calls. In the meantime, though, our bullpen's going to be even more bare, so let's hope we can leg it out into the All-Star break, and that we get Troncoso back soon rested and ready.


Kyle Baker said...

It's all ball bearings these days.

Steve Sax said...

Plastics. It's the future.