Okay, I'm not at a failure to understand why, but I am at a failure to understand why the feelings are so strong.
Let's look at facts:
- Tomko isn't very good.
- Tomko is mediocre.
- Tomko had been very good for a string of starts unexpectedly, allowing the Giants the opportunity to have a shot at the Padres for this four-game series.
- The aforementioned shot was extremely small in the first place. Did we all really expect the Giants just to go out and sweep the Padres in four in San Diego? Folks, I think the Giants are a slightly better team than the Padres at this time, but San Diego has won half of their games this year. At home, they stood a good chance at taking at least two of four.
I'm reading a lot of fans saying that last night cost Tomko a spot in next year's rotation. That could well be true, what with how much Brian Sabean loves those "clutch" performances and all, and seems to jettison all those who make big mistakes in late-season contests.
But let me tell you why that's silly.
- Again, Tomko's run of quality starts before last night is what allowed the Giants to have a chance in the first place. He could have simply sucked in any one of those previous games and the Giants would have been in the same position as they are today.
- Tomko is what he is -- an inconsistent, mediocre pitcher. He was brought in this season from last year's late season surge he put on, where he was as "clutch" as you wanted to be in September. He was given the mantle of #2 starter in a fit of stupidity (despite the surge, his stats last year were only decent, not good), and he failed that utterly...or, did he? Look at the numbers. Tomko really isn't that much different a pitcher than last year. Don't believe me?
2004: 194 innings, 196 hits, 98 runs allowed, 19 HR's allowed, 64 bb's, 108 k's, 5.01 k/9, 1.69 k/bb ratio
2005: 183 innings, 199 hits, 98 runs allowed, 20 HR's allowed, 57 bb's, 110 k's, 5.45 k/9, 1.93 k/bb ratio
Yes, folks, that's right -- he's the same damned pitcher, really. The only differences are that he's allowed more extra-base hits this year (.414 SLG against him last year, .455 this year), his ERA (4.04 last year to 4.66 this year), and his won/loss record (11-7 in 2004 to 7-15 in 2005).
So while one can make the case that Tomko was a better pitcher last year, he was only better by a little bit. But the "show me" stats of his won/loss record and ERA will have the imbeciles thinking he was much, much worse this year when that obviously wasn't the case. He's basically the same, and in fact, 2004 was a fluke. Look at his career numbers here and you'll see what I mean.
The bad move wasn't trusting Tomko with this start vs. the Padres, it was in thinking that Tomko was much good in the first place after last year, and thinking that since Tomko had strung several good starts together recently, he'd do the same yesterday.
As far as I'm concerned, with the starting pitcher free agent market being the out-of-the-Giants-price-range A.J. Burnett, and just-a-little-bit-better-than-Tomko Matt Morris and Jeff Weaver, and a bunch of miscellaneous dudes after that -- I really don't see why it'd be a surprise if Tomko would be brought back next season, but as a #4 or #5 starter instead of a much overrated #2 starter.
Except for the one more difference for Tomko between 2004 and 2005...last year, Tomko got "clutch" and stayed "clutch". This year, he got "clutch", but didn't remain "clutch". This year, he had the nerve to not be "clutch" in every, single start all the way until the end of the season, only "clutch" in four of his last five starts.
For shame, for shame. Only 80% "clutch" this year, instead of 100%? Here's the door, Mr. Tomko. You're not good enough for our team, who are composed of nothing but "clutch" players. So "clutch", in fact, that we've won 47% of our games this year.