Tell ya whut these boys can pitch
A Good Thing – Tyler Mahle’s April. I will never miss the opportunity to point out that I’ve been a Mahle moocher since way back. He has been huckin’ claw hammers at ‘em since they shouted “play ball!” Through five starts, he has retired 252⁄3 innings-worth of opposing hitters, striking out 36 and allowing only 4.9 hits per nine innings. With Luis Castillo struggling, Sonny Gray starting the year on the IL, and Trevor Bauer scrubbin’ buttholes out in Los Angeles nowadays, Mahle has been the one locking it down every fifth day. It’s a legit bodacious thing.
A Thing Worth Thinking About – As powerfully dominant as he has been this year, he has thrown more than five innings only once. And sure seems like that is by design. David Bell looks awful intent on making sure Mahle doesn’t go through the batting order a third time (in accordance with me being right about pretty much everything all the time, I have long been a proponent of this kind of pitcher usage you can google it).
This approach is certainly heterodox, but I think it maximizes the value you get from a guy like Mahle. Hitters can’t touch him (fewer than five hits per nine holy moley!) so it takes him more pitches to put away hitters. Rather than try to get him to pitch more to contact and change his approach to try to get more length out of him (starting pitchers should be able to throw seven-plus innings with regularity!), Bell and Johnson are letting him take his time and chew up his hitters thoroughly as to aid with digestion and the results are encouraging. He ain’t puking up home runs like he used to, either. He is allowing only 0.7 home runs per nine so far, which is down over 30% from last year.
You know who he reminds me of? Corey Kluber. Early model Kluber, not the latest one with all the bugs and glitches and software compatibility issues.
A Second Good Thing – Tejay Antone’s April. Specifically, his 2.6 hits allowed per nine innings. Hey Tejay, whattaya say? He’s out there blowin’ all the other kids away.
A Notable Thing – Both Mahle and Antone were drafted and developed by your very favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds. I’m sure you know the history of such folks, or the embarrassing lack thereof, I should say. Before Kyle Boddy and the Bodacious Spin Wizards started jammin’ here on the reg, you could count those successes over the last decades on one hand. This is definitely A Thing to Keep an Eye On Moving Forward.