Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Everybody Hates Kevin

I thought maybe the anger and bile would have calmed down overnight, but the level of hatred towards Kevin Gregg seems to have gained steam overnight.

Yes, Gregg did put a damper on my otherwise fine birthday by giving up a walkoff homerun to Ryan Rayburn, a player that I had originally mistaken for the Matchgame host, Gene Rayburn. As in, "Cubs fans hated Kevin Gregg so much, that when he walked off the mound, they gave him a (blank)."

The folks on Twitter are making their feelings known in 140 characters or less:

  • @mcsey: Kevin Gregg gets no coffee this morning. Why? Coffee is for closers Kevin--closers that don't lose the game for Big Z
  • @EamusCatuli: The ball slipped out of Gregg's hand. Excuse me while my hand slips into your face, Kevin
  • @CowboyAngler: Gregg.....Gonna Ruin Every Game Guaranteed
  • @JasWalsh: Blah, last night was a bad nigt for the cubbies, Kevin Gregg needs to be run out of Chicago
  • @chicityenvy: Cubs need 2 drop Kevin Gregg on craigslist..."interesting trades accepted" seriously, im done. just take an AC 4 him. 2 hot 2 be this pissed
  • @kylockbox: I said it before the season started and I will say it forever. Kevin Gregg is trash. Please, front office, cut him...NOW!
  • @iluvryno: the calls for Kevin Gregg's head HAVE to be getting louder. MAR-MOL! MAR-MOL!
  • @JoJoShare: Think its time to trade kevin least woody is nice to look at!

Meanwhile, over at Kap's Corner, Dave Kaplan shows the kind of restraint and thoughtful analysis we look for in a member of the "mainstream," "professional" media by describing how he has never liked Kevin Gregg:

"I am not a big Gregg fan because I believe a closer must have swing and miss stuff to be a reliable guy in late inning pressure situations. Gregg is far from that and his propensity for the base on balls drives me crazy."

And then how Gregg proceeded to ruin his dinner:

"Uh oh, a pitch on the inner half and that ball is driven to deep left center....hold it won't....and the Tigers beat the Cubs 5-4 on a 2 run home run by Ryan Rayburn. These leftovers suddenly taste lousy. I think I'm going to be sick! Please move Carlos Marmol to the closer's role and get Kevin Gregg out of any and all late inning, pressure situations. NOW!"

I'm not 100% sure how the frustration over Gregg's walk rate will be alleviated by turning to Marmol's 33 walks in 33 2/3 innings, but Kap is pretty worked up over it.

Sherm at View from the Bleachers has proposed that we replace the F-bomb with "Gregg," as in, "I'm tired of these motherGregging snakes on this motherGregging plane!"

Wasting Away in Wrigleyville likens Gregg to an ex-girlfriend:

"Having Kevin Gregg on the mound in a close game is like keeping your ex-girlfriend's number programmed in your cell phone. In theory, its not a bad idea, but more times than less, you are going to drunkenly text a desperate message and look like a pathetic piece of shit that can't throw a damn ball to close a damn game to save his damn life. Wait. That analogy made sense at one point. In conclusion, Gregg sucks like your ex-girlfriend."

I'm certainly not pleased with the outcome of the game. I am not brimming with confidence when Gregg goes to the mound to close a game. I also am not convinced that a change in closers is going to miraculously cure anything (assuming the reality of our other options).

We just saw firsthand evidence that Kerry Wood, as much as we love him, is NOT a lock-down closer and that Cleveland has got to be ruing the day they signed him to a two-year, $20.5 million deal (with a vesting option for a third year at $11 million with 55 games finished in either season).

As I mentioned, Marmol has walked a batter per inning this year, and I grow increasingly worried that his best days are behind him. I'm starting to wonder if he's another Dontrelle Willis or Hideo Nomo. Once the league figured them out and adjusted, they seemed incapable of adjusting themselves to get batters out regularly.

Opposing batters don't appear to be getting suckered by the nasty slider anymore and seem more willing to make Marmol throw his erratic fastball. There may be pitch f/x data to discredit that, but that is my opinion based on seeing him pitch this year.

Gregg certainly isn't innocent in the walks he has allowed. His 4.2 BB/9 IP is higher than you would like it, but I think we can agree that it is decidely better than Marmol's 8.8. Also his 8.9 K/9 is the second highest rate of his career, so its not like he isn't striking anybody out.

Gregg underwhelmed us at the beginning of the season after going through about eight years of spring training without allowing a run. In April, he sported a 5.59 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, and opposing batters had a .282/.396/.909 line for BA/OBP/OPS. In May, he improved to 3.86 ERA with 1.46 WHIP and .261/.340/.753.

In June, even with the two run homerun last night, he has a 3.27 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and batters are hitting .186/.238/.565 off of him. That is actually pretty darn good.

So I'm not going to get into a frenzy over it. Kris will testify to the fact that I merely dropped my head in disappointment when the ball landed in the bullpen, and did not turn over any tables, throw silverware, or even curse the TV at Aurelio's.

I guess that makes me Kevin Gregg's biggest fan right now.


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