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  • Diamond's Shine Hasn't Worn Off

    On Thursday night, Scott Diamond allowed four runs over six innings against the Phillies. It qualified as arguably his worst start since being called up back in early May, but it was hardly a disaster and would have kept the Twins in the game had the offense mustered any kind of production against Joe Blanton.

    Even after turning in just his second non-quality start in eight tries, Diamond remains the class of the Twins' rotation. His recipe for success up to this point has been quite simple, and it's one that he strayed from against Philadelphia:

    Keep the ball in the park.

    In the four starts where he has not allowed a home run, he is 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA. In the four starts where he has allowed a home run, he is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA. Nine of the 12 earned runs tallied against the lefty have crossed on homers, including all four on Thursday.

    That trend won't last forever he's holding opposing hitters to a clearly unsustainable .175 average with runners in scoring position but his ability to limit the long ball has clearly been a big factor in his effectiveness. And fortunately, that trait has proven to be very sustainable over the course of his professional career.

    Before yielding two home runs against the Phillies on Thursday, Diamond had coughed up only four in 44 1/3 innings this season. Last year, even when he was getting knocked around in the majors as a rookie, he gave up just three bombs in 39 frames. In the minors, opponents went deep against him 31 times in 600 innings a sparkling average of one home run per every 19 innings pitched.

    Grounders never travel over the fence, so for a pitcher that lacks strikeout stuff they are a powerful weapon. Diamond entered his latest start with an elite 61.1 percent GB rate. Only two qualifying MLB pitchers top that number.

    The 25-year-old hung a couple pitches on Thursday night and paid for it, but overall the outing should not be viewed as a discouraging one. The biggest keys to his success thus far have been throwing strikes and burning worms; even though he issued two walks and surrendered two bombs against the Phillies, he threw 65 of 100 pitches for strikes and induced 14 ground balls in six innings.

    If that's his idea of a bad night, I'll take it.
    This article was originally published in blog: Diamond's Shine Hasn't Worn Off started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      Agreed. If you're starting pitcher is either giving you outstanding performances or still giving you a chance to win on their off nights, you have got to be happy. One thing that impresses me about Diamond is how composed he seems on the mound. When things aren't going perfectly, he appears to be in control of his emtions and the situation at hand.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      This is considered Diamond's rookie season, correct? If that is so, he's got to be leading the rookie of the year award, no?
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ultima Ratio View Post
      This is considered Diamond's rookie season, correct? If that is so, he's got to be leading the rookie of the year award, no?
      I suspect that Mike Trout of the Angels might have that nailed down.
    1. ShaeTwins's Avatar
      ShaeTwins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ultima Ratio View Post
      This is considered Diamond's rookie season, correct? If that is so, he's got to be leading the rookie of the year award, no?
      I don't know anybody (outside of Twins fans) who even knows who Scott Diamond is.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Um, ha, since Mike Trout might be having one of the best seasons in the history of the game for a 20 year old, and some people are saying he's already in the MVP race, I don't think there is any question who the AL rookie of the year is.

      If your worst start is caused by giving up a HR to a future HoF player, that's a good sign. I don't think he's a guy that will pitch to an ERA under 3....but he might be a guy that can pitch to around a 4, that wouldn't be too bad.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Trout is definitely in the lead by a longshot but, like Diamond, there's definitely some regression waiting to happen with the kid. He's currently rocking a .400 BABIP. Yes, .400. That's absurd and should take a significant nosedive through the summer months.

      For comparison, George Brett had a BABIP of .368 the year he hit .390. Guys occasionally sport a BABIP close to .400 for a season but those guys have a tendency to play in Little League parks and have names like "Josh Hamilton".
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I don't know who Diamond is, but comparing this season with last, the only differences are that he is walking fewer (which is a good thing) and his pitches gained about 1 mph in velocity across the board and his BABIP dropped from .33x to a normal .290. A pitcher who averages 89ish with the FB, about 5 K/9 and about 6.5% SwStr%, is just not guaranteed success. I wish that he keeps doing it, but I just don't see how. Still, he can be a servicable 4th-5th type of starter. Lots like Silva in that single season of no-walk baseball... (and Silva had better stuff then - 92 mph FB ave)
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      In the four starts where he has allowed a home run, he is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA.

      Here's what's sad: this ERA would still be second on the team among all the pitchers who have started games, just behind DeVries 3 starts at 4.20.
    1. Blake's Avatar
      Blake -
      Scott Diamond had an interesting interview with Dick and Bert.

      Diamond mentioned that getting first strike is very important, because batting average tends to drop off dramatically with an 0-1 count. I thought Diamond said MLB average is something like .185 after a 1 pitch strike, but A. I'm not sure I remember correctly and B. under .200 seems like a suspect number.

      Any of you stats people able to confirm that I heard correctly or that my memory just isn't what it used to be?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Baseball reference's batting splits has all that info readily available.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/le...2012&t=b#count
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Blake View Post
      Scott Diamond had an interesting interview with Dick and Bert.

      Diamond mentioned that getting first strike is very important, because batting average tends to drop off dramatically with an 0-1 count. I thought Diamond said MLB average is something like .185 after a 1 pitch strike, but A. I'm not sure I remember correctly and B. under .200 seems like a suspect number.

      Any of you stats people able to confirm that I heard correctly or that my memory just isn't what it used to be?
      I saw that interview, and I remember him saying something about being determined to throw the first pitch in the zone every time, "even if it's a cookie." That seemed like something you would not want the opposing team to hear.

      FWIW, MLB hitters this year have a .224/.266/.346 line after falling behind 0-1 in the count. So not exactly .185, but still it's obviously advantageous to get that first strike.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I saw that interview, and I remember him saying something about being determined to throw the first pitch in the zone every time, "even if it's a cookie." That seemed like something you would not want the opposing team to hear.
      It might be what you want them to hear if you're a poker player, or even a chess player. I took a look at yesterday's pitch-by-pitch log at espn.com, and the first time through the lineup the first pitch was a strike every time. Afterward, the first pitch was a ball as often as not. Gamesmanship, I think.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      It might be what you want them to hear if you're a poker player, or even a chess player. I took a look at yesterday's pitch-by-pitch log at espn.com, and the first time through the lineup the first pitch was a strike every time. Afterward, the first pitch was a ball as often as not. Gamesmanship, I think.
      Could be, although it seemed to me like he was just missing his spots in the middle innings.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Could be, although it seemed to me like he was just missing his spots in the middle innings.
      There's always that possibility. I'm basically agreeing with you, that it's a very odd thing for a pitcher to have said, so I'm inclined to think it can't be taken at face value.

      Even if he does throw first-pitch strikes, it's reverse-reverse psychology, in my overwrought way of looking at it.
    1. Blake's Avatar
      Blake -
      Nick, thanks for the answer, much appreciated.
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