The Tides came back from the All-Star break only eight games below .500, at 42-50. I found that hard to believe, since the Tides have not only lost but played very badly in most of the games I’ve seen. As it turns out, the Tides have been doubly lucky — they rank eleventh in the International League in runs scored despite ranking last in OPS (led by a truly awful .307 on-base percentage); and, based on their runs scored and runs allowed, they should have had a record of 39-53.
Last night, the Tides hosted the Columbus Clippers, the Indians AAA affiliate, in a game Columbus won 6-1. Tim Bascom started for the Tides. After a casual glance at his career numbers, Bascom looked to be a fringe prospect; the kind of guy who might need some adjustment time in the show but could turn out to be a solid pitcher. When I actually saw him pitch, I quickly learned the meaning of “having an out pitch.”
Tim Bascom pitched three innings. His line — 3 4 3 3 2 1 — isn’t great, but doesn’t look terrible. In his three innings, he faced 15 batters — five per inning. But to get the nine outs among those fifteen batters, he threw 74 pitches, nearly five per batter. And of those 74 pitches, 22 were foul balls; one was a foul tip, and only two were swing-and-misses.
His pitches don’t seem to be either overpowering people or fooling people. Nor is he adopting the pitch-to-contact strategy some coaches advocate. Tim Bascom’s stuff is right now not good enough to succeed as a major-league pitcher. If he wants a big-league career, he’s going to have to make some changes.