Joe Paterson and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Week

Last Tuesday, Arizona’s Joe Paterson came in to pitch the 8th inning and surrendered hits to the first two men. Although he escaped that jam, the fact that those hits came from the Pirates — the worst-hitting team so far, one that’s already had two games of 2 hits or less — gave a hint that his really bad week was just getting started.

On Thursday, he tossed a lost-cause inning against Atlanta, and let in 3 runs on a trio of doubles and a walk. Another subtle omen: Pitcher Mike Minor (career 3-for-45 with 25 Ks) managed to put the ball in play, a consistent theme against Paterson this year.

But the worst was still to come.

In another blowout loss to the Braves on Friday, the southpaw Paterson came on to start the 9th against a pair of lefties. They each singled, as did the next two men. After walking a run, Paterson was relieved by Brad Ziegler, who cleaned up the mess with a strikeout and a GDP. Paterson had allowed 4 hits and not retired a batter.

You might think he had reached bottom. But in the phrase of the moment, Paterson found “new ends to the earth.”

Monday in Phoenix, he came in for the 9th with a 9-0 lead against a Phillies lineup that had managed 8 runs in their last 58 innings and just 2 HRs in their prior 9 games. Against Paterson, they fired a fusillade of single-double-single-HR-HR, closing the gap to 9-5 before Craig Breslow restored order. It was the third time this year that a pitcher allowed 5+ runs while logging zero innings, but the first outside of the Fenway Flammatorium.

More notably, it was the second straight game in which Paterson had allowed 4 hits or more without retiring a batter. According to B-R’s Play Index, there has been just one other “streak” of that kind since 1918:

Strk Start End Games W L GS IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP Tm
Joe Paterson 2012-04-20 2012-04-23 2 0 0 0 0.0 9 7 7 1 0 2 0 ARI
Lee Meadows 1928-07-31 1928-08-18 2 0 1 1 0.0 9 8 7 0 0 0 0 PIT
[All tables provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used / Generated 4/24/2012.]

“Specs” Meadows, who started game 1 of the 1925 World Series (he lost 4-1 to Walter Johnson, but drew the only walk off Barney), was almost through with a long and productive career when his sad streak occurred; he would pitch just once more in the majors before retiring with a career mark of 188-180. But Paterson is just a second-year man out of Oregon State University. His minor-league stats show why he was promoted to the big club last year, where he posted a 2.91 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, mostly as a lefty specialist (62 games but just 34 IP). He began this year on a strong note, preserving a lead on Opening Day by retiring his only batter with the tying runs aboard. But the next man he faced, a week later, drew a 4-pitch walk, and very little has gone Joe Paterson’s way since then.

There is talk that Arizona might send him down to the minors. If he doesn’t pitch in the majors again this year, his season stat line would represent certain extremes of the modern MLB era (since 1893), including:

Most hits allowed in 3 innings or less:

Rk Player H IP Year Age Tm G GS GF R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF AB
1 Joe Paterson 15 2.2 2012 26 ARI 6 0 0 11 11 3 0 37.12 11 2 26 23
2 Doug Davis 12 2.2 1999 23 TEX 2 0 0 10 10 0 3 33.75 17 3 20 20
3 Jeff Johnson 12 2.2 1993 26 NYY 2 2 0 10 9 2 0 30.38 16 1 22 20
4 Rube Marshall 12 3.0 1912 21 PHI 2 1 1 11 7 1 2 21.00 20 0 23

Highest batting average allowed with at least 20 ABs:

Rk Player BA AB Year Age Tm G GS IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF
1 Joe Paterson .652 23 2012 26 ARI 6 0 2.2 15 11 11 3 0 37.12 11 2 26
2 Doug Davis .600 20 1999 23 TEX 2 0 2.2 12 10 10 0 3 33.75 17 3 20
3 Jeff Johnson .600 20 1993 26 NYY 2 2 2.2 12 10 9 2 0 30.38 16 1 22

 

Highest ERA with at least 5 games:

Rk Player ERA G Year Age Tm IP H R ER BB SO ERA+ HR BF AB
1 Joe Paterson 37.12 6 2012 26 ARI 2.2 15 11 11 3 0 11 2 26 23
2 Tony Fossas 36.00 5 1999 41 NYY 1.0 6 4 4 1 0 17 1 10 9
3 John Upham 33.75 5 1967 25 CHC 1.1 4 5 5 2 2 14 1 10 7

In fairness, let’s show a few where Paterson would not come out on top:

Since 2000, most batters faced without a strikeout:

Rk Player BF SO Year Age Tm G IP H R ER BB ERA ERA+ HR AB 2B 3B
1 Steve Stemle 36 0 2006 29 KCR 5 6.0 15 10 10 3 15.00 33 1 33 5 1
2 Kanekoa Texeira 35 0 2011 25 KCR 6 6.1 13 2 2 3 2.84 154 0 31 0 0
3 Matt White 33 0 2003 25 TOT 6 5.2 13 14 14 5 22.24 23 3 27 6 1
4 Matt Fox 31 0 2010 27 TOT 4 7.1 8 4 4 2 4.91 92 0 27 1 0
5 Pedro Borbon 28 0 2003 35 STL 7 4.0 14 9 9 2 20.25 22 2 25 4 0
6 Willie Collazo 27 0 2007 27 NYM 6 5.2 7 4 4 5 6.35 72 0 22 2 0
7 Joe Paterson 26 0 2012 26 ARI 6 2.2 15 11 11 3 37.12 11 2 23 4 0

(How did Kanekoa Texeira allow 13 hits in 6.1 IP but just 2 runs? Luck, of course, but also: no extra-base hits! It was a 21-year-high in hits with no XBH.)

Highest WHIP in 5+ games:

Rk Player WHIP G Year Age Tm IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF AB
1 Todd Frohwirth 9.000 5 1990 27 PHI 1.0 3 2 2 6 1 18.00 30 0 12 6
2 Tony Fossas 7.000 5 1999 41 NYY 1.0 6 4 4 1 0 36.00 17 1 10 9
3 David West 7.000 6 1998 33 BOS 2.0 7 6 6 7 4 27.00 20 1 20 13
4 Joe Paterson 6.750 6 2012 26 ARI 2.2 15 11 11 3 0 37.12 11 2 26 23

 

Wherever his next pitch may be, HHS wishes him good luck. You can do it, Joe! Anyone who makes it from 10th-round draft pick to big-league hurler can overcome one bad week — no matter how Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad it may be.


Comments

Joe Paterson and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Week — 18 Comments

  1. But how on earth can a team possibly survive without 3 lefties in the bullpen? I mean it’s so much greater an advantage than having another bat that you can use to pinch hit or even platoon or a defensive sub you can use in late innings, isn’t it?

    I’m hoping this will maybe lead to an epiphany for Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers and when they send Paterson down they won’t replace him with another pitcher.

  2. Meadows also has the career mark of 6 games with no outs and 4 or more hits allowed. Possibly, he had more such games as the first 3 years of his career (133 games) are before the game-searchable era.

    The 19 players to have 3 or more such games in a career include such names as:
    Red Faber, Lindy McDaniel, Vern Law, Jesse Haines, Johnny Vander Meer, Kent Tekulve, Mike Myers, Todd Jones and Gil Heredia.

    Mike LaCoss (1979-09-02), Bob Kamneyer (1979-09-18) and Bill Bonham (1975-08-05) have all allowed 7 hits in an inning without recording an out. All of the hits LaCoss allowed were singles. Kamneyer threw in an HBP for good measure in his outing.

    • Kammeyer’s game was the last of his career and he gave up eight ER to the Indians. Interestingly he also gave up eight ER to the Indians in his next to last game (five IP in a start the previous year). For his career he had an ERA of 28.80 against Cleveland and 3.24 against other teams (9.14 overall).

  3. Joe Patterson from McMinnville OR – the home of Greg Brock. The same Greg Brock cited by Bill James as the superior of Steve Garvey based on the runs created/outs made argument. Which, of course, is a pretty good argument…..

  4. Another candidate for a terrible, horrible, very bad week.

    There are 48 pitchers since 2000 to have a streak of 5 or more games pitching an inning or less and allowing at least a run every time. Brad Lidge, Todd Jones and John Grabow have done it twice. Of these 51 streaks, only one was accomplished within a 7 day period.

    Royce Ring of the Braves had a 37.13 ERA (identical to Paterson’s current season ERA) for the week of July 26-Aug 1, 2008. In 5 appearances, he allowed 12 runs on 11 hits and 2 walks over 2.2 innings. Despite being his 38th through 42nd apperances of the season, Ring’s season ERA rose from 4.58 to 8.46 over that week.

    After that week, Ring did not appear in the majors again until the last 2 weeks of the 2010 season, when he compiled a 15.43 ERA in 2.1 innings over 5 appearances for the Yankees. He hasn’t appeared in the majors since then.

    • And Royce Ring is, of course, a left hander.

      It’s not like I hate left handers. Some of my best friends are lefties. Heck, my niece is a lefty. I understand a good left handed pitcher is a valuable commodity.

      I just don’t understand why MLB feels it’s so important to give a job to every left hander with a pulse.

  5. Interesting aside in the Joe Paterson games against Atlanta. He’s a lefty who tries to maximize his advantage against lefties by standing on the extreme left-hand side of the rubber. So much so that he actually had his foot clearly off the rubber on most pitches! I’d never seen a pitcher try this before. Sure didn’t help Joe much, though.

    • bstar, that’s a good eyewitness report on Paterson. So are you saying that his “contact” foot started on the outside edge of the rubber?

      • No, John, it was a couple inches off the rubber! He was getting no push at all from it; he wasn’t contacting the rubber at all. I’m sure it filtered down to the Braves dugout that video was showing him doing this, but why make a fuss when you’re hitting the guy that hard? He did it in both appearances vs. ATL.

  6. Kanekoa Texiera –smiles– almost every day in the Maui News they have a “Mauians In The Majors” section, and he got to share the spotlight with Shane Victorino and Kurt Suzuki.
    Probably the only way that was ever going to come to pass. (But there was that 154 ERA+!!)
    Don’t think that he made a team this year, but pretty sure that he was in a camp somewhere this spring.

  7. Same day this was posted, Paterson was optioned to Triple-A. Lefty reliever Mike Zagurski was brought up to replace him.

    Zagurski pitched that same night. He gave up homer to the first batter he faced (Shane Victorino), but then got six straight outs in the 8th and 9th before being lifted for a PH. Arizona lost 8-5.

    Paterson hasn’t yet pitched for Triple-A Reno.

    • Thanks for the update. It was a HR to Victorino that probably sealed Paterson’s fate in his last game, though of course he gave up another one to Carlos Ruiz before he was yanked.

  8. according to his 2012 Pitching Gamelog he gave up 0,1,2,3,4 and finally 5 hits.

    would be interesting to see, how many he´ll allow during the next outing(if it happens in the near future)

  9. Patterson wasn’t technically promoted to the big club in Arizona. He was a Rule 5 claim from the Giants in 2011.

    Would be amazing if Patterson stays in Reno and those stats hold for the year.

    • We may have to refer this question to Bud Selig’s Blue Ribbon Arbitration Panel for Expository Baseball Writing Usage Conundrums.

      I suppose my phrasing does carry a weak implication that Paterson had been in Arizona’s minor-league system. I’m just not sure the matter is urgent enough to expect quick action from the BRAPEBWUC. :)

      After all, some of that panel’s members are also involved in the Oakland/San Francisco/San Jose brouhaha.

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