After getting lit up yet again, it is time for the Atlanta Braves to Kawakami Jair Jurrjens and give up on this dream that he will get it back.
Not to get into a hyperbolic sermon that the media typically goes to in efforts to make more out of a game/series than needs to be made, but today's game and this weekend series with the Nationals was pretty big. After the magical Friday victory and Ben Sheets the Sequel going well, Atlanta had failed against John Lannan in the night-cap of Saturday's double header and needed Sunday for a series win. On the mound was Jurrjens, who San Francisco pounded for 8 hits and 8 runs in 3.1 ING his last time out.
But before many in the crowd had even found their seats, Jurrjens had just about handed the game to the Nationals (though Friday's game had to weigh on their minds). Three batters in, it was 2-0. At the end of the first, the deficit had doubled. After navigating through the second with no further damage, Jurrjens couldn't put away Ryan Zimmerman with two strikes to open the third. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Zimmerman pulled his second homer of the day. After a double and a grounder, Jurrjens gave up another double to end his day. 2.1 ING, 9 hits, 6 runs. So, for funsies, that's 17 hits and 14 runs in his last two starts, which amounts to 5.2 ING and a 22.24 ERA. Now, I think ERA is a stupid statistic, but there's no amount of variables to put a nice shine on that.
Sidebar: During MLB.com's Gameday coverage, they put little things up called "Scout" tips. Basically, they are little odd stats that often are useless, but I like this one that came up when Michael Morse followed Zimmerman's second homer with a double.
"Scout: That was pitch number 45 for Jair Jurrjens; his effectiveness may start slipping, as he holds opposing hitters to a .310 average in the first 45 pitches but they hit .400 off him after that."
Makes ya think that maybe, just maybe, this is some computer that saw a perimeter where there was a .90 point swing in the batters' average and added it to Gameday. No rational person would have considered the first .310 average to be at all worthy of even implying effectiveness.
Incidentally, the game where everyone thought Jurrjens was back was exactly a month ago. Against the Red Sox, at Fenway, Jurrjens pitched into the 8th inning and kept the Sox at bay while showing slightly increased velocity and a better ability to get strikes than he did in his four shitty April starts or his ten shitty AAA starts. Since then, he hasn't been quite as good/lucky. He hasn't gotten Giants/Nats plastered in all of his starts, but when your walk rate matches your strikeout rate over five starts, something is amiss, especially when before this season, you average 2 K's to a walk.
Face it, Braves. Jurrjens is cooked. Maybe you can take some other team's project back in a trade, but not even sure you want to do that. But he should be demoted tomorrow before the Braves open their series with the Marlins. According to DOB, since the 26th man for double headers is kind of a quirky little rule, players called up as the 26th man are not bound by the rule that a player demoted must stay down ten days unless an injury forces the call up. That said, Randall Delgado should be getting his shit together for a trip down to Miami. Delgado has not been great this year, but compared to Jurrjens, he has been amazing. If he can learn to adjust to the batters' third time seeing him, he might be a true asset over the final two months. That's more than anyone can say about Jurrjens.
It's been fun, Jair. Really has. When Wren/Schuerholtz fleeced the Tigers of you for an aging Edgar Renteria, it was a great move. Not sure if it was the knee, the confidence, the SABR catching up to you, or what...but you are finished. At least in Atlanta. With his track record, Jurrjens will likely get a small base salary contract next year after he's non-tendered. Probably plenty of incentives. A team like Houston would love you, but see about San Diego or Seattle first.
Of course, there is the very real possibility that Atlanta will stick with him unless they pick up a starter in a deal.
If that's the case, this blog will likely start looking toward 2013.