Getting Excited over Something Unimportant
When you score pitch-by-pitch as many games as I do, anything and everything out of the ordinary becomes interesting. Take recently-acquired Tides relief pitcher Pedro Viola. The Orioles organization claimed Viola, a left-handed pitcher with a good fastball, on waivers from the Reds. In his first eight Tides appearances, he was ineffective. In his eighth appearance, he gave up one earned run in one inning, which lowered his ERA by almost half a run.
That got me to wondering — what had been Viola’s best appearance of the year? If giving up a run in an inning — an ERA of 9.00 by itself — can lower your season ERA, it’s a safe bet that you’re not helping many fantasy teams. But, particularly for a relief pitcher, one or two really terrible outings can blow a season’s ERA sky-high, obscuring the good outings. So how had Viola pitched?
The answer — he was consistent if nothing else. His best outing of the year had come on May 15, in Buffalo, in which he walked a batter in a third of an inning, but at least didn’t give up any runs. In all of his other outings, Viola had given up at least one run.
Which is why, last Saturday, when Pedro came in to pitch the ninth inning with the Tides trailing 9-2, I had a peculiar and possibly perverse fascination. When he walked the first batter on four pitches, I thought that he was holding true to form. But he rebounded, retiring the next three batters on a popup, strikeout, and forceout. I felt confident that I was one of the few in the crowd of 7942 who knew that Pedro Viola had completed his best Tides outing of the season.