how long will I slide
Separate my side
I don't believe it's bad
Slittin my throat
It's all I ever
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Other Side
I'm not sure exactly what Anthony Kiedis was talking about when he wrote those lyrics*, but I was musing on how long the Giants should let Tim Worrell pitch if he keeps being this horribly, and for some odd reason that seemed to fit.
Martin from Obsessive Giants Compulsive commented yesterday that Worrell's had a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde season, and we should reserve judgement. I don't think there's anything wrong with that stance, and given that Worrell has only had about a month and a half's worth of pitching, it isn't inconceivable he could turn things around in a hurry.
Hurry. Now there's an apt word if ever there was one.
Worrell needs to make that turnaround in a hurry. To eventually make a charge at the division title and one last run at a Series ring with Barry Bonds, the Giants need to have solid pitching all around because this team ain't built to win offensively. One thing I like about this year thus far is that Brian Sabean hasn't been afraid to cut bait on bullpen non-performers this year, as evidenced by the demotions of Jack Taschner and Scott Munter, and the expulsions of Jeff Fassero and Tyler Walker. As far as the bullpen is concerned, Sabes ain't screwin' 'round, folks.
So. How long for Worrell? His first appearance post-DL was...uninspiring, to say the least. While Martin is correct that Worrell has had numerous appearances this year where everything's went just fine, his line this year is still reads more like the Amityville Horror than the Brady Bunch.
Worrell, 2006: 17 appearances, 15.1 innings pitched, 20 hits allowed -- 7 of them home runs.
I'm sorry, but if more than 1/3rd of the hits you've allowed are home runs, you are having a problem fooling hitters. Adding to this is the measly k/9 rate (strikeouts per nine innings) of 4.4 -- more proof that there is something missing this season. The last time Worrell's strikeout rate was that low was his rookie season in 1993, and his career k/9 rate is 7.0.
Could the home runs be an anomaly of sample size? Of course they could. Could the low strikeout rate be an anomaly of sample size? Of course it could. Do the Giants have time to wait for Worrell to work out the kinks and regain form? Of course they don't.
But the question is, how long can they afford to wait?
* Honestly, I probably understand less than half of any of the lyrics of all of the music on my mp3 player, so not understanding the Chili Peppers is pretty much the norm. Doesn't stop me from shaking my ass and bobbing my head when it comes on, though.