Outside of the terrible umpiring that we saw during the first series, Atlanta was extremely unlucky. While some guys were just slumping early on, there were plenty of hard hit balls that didn’t find green grass. Additionally, the wind kept a few balls in the park. Couple all of that with some quality pitching from the Phillies, and it was a recipe for a forgetful opening series.
However, as unlucky as the hitters were, the pitchers had it even worse. Some players just hit it where they ain’t, and you can win a lot of baseball games doing that, but this type of porous luck is not sustainable over 162 games, especially with 156 remaining.
Keep in mind, these analytics are not the “tell all” for how “unlucky” a player has been. I’ll just be observing who has a high BABIP and a FIP that is much lower than their actual ERA. It’s also much harder to gauge these numbers with relief pitchers, who have fewer innings than the starters. Still, here are the guys who bared the brunt of the early season struggles.
LHP Max Fried
Before yesterday’s doubleheader, Max Fried had a whopping .462 BABIP, which means a lot of bloop hits were finding green grass, evident if you watched the opening series against the Phillies. With his FIP sitting at 1.86 compared to his 3.60 ERA, it’s clear Max was the victim of some tough luck in his first outing.
That continued into his second start, as Fried’s BABIP now sits at .565 and FIP at 3.67, with an ERA of 9.00. Max didn’t have his best stuff against Washington yesterday, but I expect him to come back down towards that 3.67 FIP quickly.
RHP Charlie Morton
Like Fried, Charlie Morton’s BABIP sits at an astronomical .429. Zach Wheeler was even touching him up, but the exit velocity on run scoring plays in the Phillies series was far from impressive.
Rhys Hoskins Double — 72.2 MPH
Zach Wheeler Single — 74.9 MPH
Jean Segura Single — 85.1 MPH
In addition, Morton’s FIP of 3.06 is far lower than his 5.40 ERA. I expect him to have a better outing against the Phillies tomorrow.
LHP Sean Newcomb
As fantastic as Sean Newcomb was during his bullpen outing in Game 2 of the doubleheader, the first series against Philadelphia was not as kind to him. Newk still has a staggering 1.000 BABIP, along with a 0.85 FIP compared to his 5.40 ERA. If he continues to pitch like he did yesterday, he’ll close in on his actual FIP very quickly.
LHP Will Smith
A lot of fans are disgruntled with Will Smith, as he blew one save already and came very close to losing Game 1 yesterday. He hasn’t had his best stuff, but he hasn’t been as abysmal as the box score would indicate. His .750 BABIP is extremely high, and his 3.75 FIP is a lot more palatable than his gaudy 9.00 ERA.
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