Friday, June 15, 2012

See ya, Livan!

Officially, Livan Hernandez has been designated for assignment, not flat-out released.  Regardless of the semantics, Livan has been cut and his days as a Brave are concluded.  Good thing, too, because I get to introduce a new column..."See ya!" 

Livan was signed just before the season on March 30th to be the long guy in the pen.  At the time, it seemed like a reasonable move.  With O'Ventbrel covering the late innings, Kris Medlen handling a decent amount of the other high leverage situations, and Lisp Martinez and the recently acquired Chad Durbin getting any other leftover innings, Livan could focus on low-leverage, multiple-inning stints.  Those outings would often come with big leads/deficits or as the last guy out of the pen in a long extra innings affair.

It kinda started off like that.  Livan retired five or more batters in each of his first seven appearances.  The results weren't wonderful, but he did post a 1.28 WHIP, kept the ball in the park, and avoided walks.  He was averaging over two innings an appearance but then, things got weird.  Livan became an one-inning hurler.  In his final eleven games as a Brave, he retired five or more batters just four times.  Why the change?  Well, sure, part of it was that the high-leverage guys were getting overworked largely because of Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty's ineffectiveness. But the other part is probably Fredi's fault.  He's an idiot after all.

Livan had lowered his ERA to 2.73 when everything went to shit on May 27th when, for some odd-ass reason, Fredi decided to start using Livan as a rally-killer with runners on.  Livan had started some 924 games before this season and now, he's good to be Fredi's Kevin Gryboski?  Well, like a Gryboski, things got awful.  In a 2-2 game, Livan was called upon with a runner on and no outs.  Fredi had decided to throw Brandon Beachy out for another inning and after he hit the first batter, he got the hook.  Sure, sure, hindsight's awesome and stuff, but one of my huge problems with Fredi is this idea of his to run out a starter with a huge pitch count until he gives up a runner.  Well, you increase the other team's chances of scoring because scoring from first base is 90 feet easier than scoring from the batter's box. 

Livan gave up three runs in that inning, plus the run charged to Beachy, and the Braves went on to lose 7-2 after Livan gave up a fourth run on a Bryce Fucking Harper homer. 

Now, here is where you throw him back out in a few days to try to get him some work.  I mean, you won't let that bad taste linger, right?  Oh...you didn't like that idea, did you?  Fredi buries Livan on the bench until...two weeks later on June 10th against the Blue Jays.  The Shitfest to end all shitfests...until that Yankee game.

Julio Teheran made a spot start and looked pretty decent until the fifth inning.  Up by four, Teheran loaded the bases with one out before giving up an RBI single.  Needing a rally to be killed, a blindfolded Fredi points at a name on the lineup card and calls in Livan from the pen.  Because he worked so well as the rally killer before.  Four consecutive hits and it's 6-4.  A couple of homers in the next inning and the rout was on.  Jays cruised to the 12-4 win.

Five days later, Livan was cut for the returning Kris Medlen.  I don't really have a problem with the move because it does make the team better.  Livan's FIP was at 4.71, though he really wasn't doing any different than you would expect him to do when you look at his last three years. 

Just the same...See ya, Livan!  You did exactly as well as you should have been expected to do and got cut for it.  Sucks to be you, guy.  For the first time in your career, I didn't loathe you this season. 


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