Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ron Villone

Paul Quantrill. Steve Karsay. Tom Gordon. Ron Villone.

What do they all have in common? They pitched really well, so Joe Torre used them too much and ruined their arms.

Earlier this season, I complained that Torre was only using Villone in blowout situations. He needed to use Villone in more important situations, over some of the poorer Yankee relievers like Tanyon Sturtze. Torre took awhile, but eventually decided that Villone's sub-2.50 ERA pointed to good things. Unfortunately, Torre does nothing in moderation.

Things started to unravel one month ago today. Villone was among the best relievers in baseball, pitching over 60 innings with a 2.23 ERA. Villone came in and gave up two runs in two innings, throwing 42 pitches against Baltimore. Including that appearance, Villone would then throw a total of 114 over the next three days. He would never be the same.

Since that 42 pitch outing, Villone has pitched just 12 innings, giving up 19 earned runs. His ERA has risen to 4.50. He had given up just 16 earned runs prior to that outing all year.

It's official. Ron Villone's arm is now completely useless. Good job Torre. We have lost an effective lefty weapon in the playoffs. If Jaret Wright goes 5 innings and the game is tied in Game 4 of the ALCS, we no longer have an effective 2 innings in Ron Villone. But he will be on the postseason roster... which a role just large enough to cause major problems for the Yankees.