Monday, July 07, 2008


Back when we traded for Jon Garland, I tried to figure out what made him tick, how he got guys out. I got nowhere with this, and put it aside, figuring maybe after watching him a couple times per week I might get it.

After his first few starts, I began to think the answer to the question "How does Jon Garland get guys out?" was "He doesn't", but he's turned it around, and has been taking names all around the league for more than a dozen starts. I've been watching, and I must conclude that I simply have no idea how he's doing it.

But in watching him, I have come to yet another conclusion about Jon Garland: he is the most boring major league pitcher I have ever seen.

What do I mean by this? Well, you know, most major league pitchers, especially quality ones, have something about them that's exciting. A hot fastball, like Ervin Santana. A bendy breaking ball, like Francisco Rodriguez. A hot bendy fastball, like Scot Shields.

What does Jon Garland have? I don't know. A low-90s two-seamer: ho-hum. He throws a curve, but from the footage we've seen on telecasts, it was twenty times better in high school than it is now. I guess he has a change, too, I don't know what he's doing. The guy struck out two men with a guy on third and no outs today, and I literally had no idea it was happening until it was over.

And he doesn't have any personality, either. I don't mean in life, maybe he's the most personable guy there is, I have no idea -- I mean on the mound. He doesn't seem to gesture or show emotion or do anything. Has he ever talked to a catcher or anything on the mound? He congratulated Juan Rivera after his fine throw today, by the dugout, but that's not really on the field. He just doesn't seem to do anything -- except for slow down his pace painfully when multiple guys get on base. Which is boring. And he doesn't seem to being making any kind of impact on local media, either.

Quite frankly, I don't even know what Jon Garland looks like. If he wants to come to my house he better be wearing his jersey otherwise I'm calling the cops about a stranger trespassing.

I was pondering these two Jon Garland facts, as I do, the fact that I don't know how he has success with such non-phenomenal stuff and by striking out no one, and the fact that I've never seen a pitcher so boring, when I finally had an epiphany:

Jon Garland bores opposing hitters to death.

I mean, think about it. When you're facing a big-time pitcher like John Lackey, you're on your game. You have a lot to think about. "Oh, is he going to throw his fastball? What about that curve? What do I do? What does he do?" You think about what's going on. You're engaged. Lackey's still gonna get you, but you know what's happening to you.

And when you face a bad pitcher, like Justin Speier Puts Gas On the Fire over the past month, you're at your best attention: "Now's my chance to get a hit, I gotta focus." You're in the game.

What are you thinking when you're batting against Jon Garland? "Oh, I guess here comes a sinker *YA-AWN* oh hell I better swing" and you tap some week grounder to the second baseman, and then you go back to the dugout and you've already forgotten what happened. And Garland strikes out three guys a game and gives up a not-unusual number of groundballs and ends up with an ERA better than the league average year after year after year. All by being uninteresting.

Well, whatever works.

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