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Yankee drubbing ends Smoltz's Boston tenure

Aug 7, 2009, 5:29 PM EDT

smoltz.jpg
And I still think he has something left.
The Red Sox, though, decided it was no longer in their best interests to wait and see if Smoltz could turn it around. It’s hard to argue with an 8.32 ERA, and his outing last night against the Yankees was truly awful after a decent first two innings.
At this point, the guess is that Smoltz will call it a career. No contender is going to want to put him into their rotation now, and he’d probably have to accept a minor league contract if he wanted to give it another try next year. As much as he has to go through to pitch, it’s just not worth it.
I expected much better based on Smoltz’s rehab work and early appearances. His velocity did increase a bit in his first few starts before dipping recently. He still averaged 91.4 mph with his fastball, according to Pitch F/X data. That’s only down one mph from what he averaged in his final few years with Atlanta. It’s a significant drop, but not enough to ruin a pitcher. Also, his slider was still an extremely effective pitch.
The problem was that it took more effort now for him to throw that average fastball. That he was putting more into every pitch took away from his command. It wasn’t manifesting itself in the form of walks — he had just five in seven starts before piling up four yesterday — but he missed over the heart of the plate so often and 91-mph fastballs without much movement tend to get hit hard when they’re not spotted precisely.
Smoltz can still get strikeouts with the slider and splitter, but he’s a six-inning pitcher, one who was going to remain awfully prone to giving up homers against quality offenses. I really hope that we see him again in the majors — given his history, counting him out would be an awful idea — but it may well be that we all watched a Hall of Famer’s last stand last night.

  1. MLS - Aug 7, 2009 at 6:18 PM

    Are you stupid? He has NOTHING left. Lefties are hitting him like it is batting practice, righties are hitting him well enough to set it up for the lefties.
    He has ONE pitch left and that is the slider. he can’t keep the fast ball off the bat of a righty and the lefties are not fooled by the slider.
    What is wrong with you? Smoltz is DONE.

  2. therantguy - Aug 7, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    I think an ERA over 8 and opponents batting better than .340 tells the story…he might be able to bring that down to maybe an ERA of 5 in the much weaker NL, but no contending team wants him…he’s done…

  3. joes - Aug 7, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    I always liked Smoltzy…..he was a great pitcher for the Braves and I hope he has something left to go out on a good note

  4. dcfan-1212450 - Aug 8, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    He is done. The braves may claim him to tudor some kids or make an official appearance to let him retire a brave but who knows. They didn’t even give Glavine 1 inning this year. Wish him the best though. But he truly was awful. Maddox clearly was the smartest of the 3. Decent numbers last year but knew he was done.

  5. Jonah Falcon - Aug 8, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    The Yankees were SITTING on his slider.

  6. Mateo - Aug 9, 2009 at 1:28 PM

    What a bad idea to go the AL East for Smoltz… he should have headed to San Diego… wouldn’t be surprised to see LAD take a flier on him…

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