A couple of people have posed this question to me in one form or another over the past week or so. I heard it again this morning coming off of yet another Kenshin Kawakami loss last night to the Nationals so I figured it’s time to address the issue. Is KK the best pitcher on this staff? Absolutely not, but he’s a hell of a lot better than his 0-5 record indicates.
Kenshin is pretty much as advertised. He’s a 4th or 5th starter for a squad and we all know that he won’t go very deep in games (he’s averaging around 5.1 innings per start so far this season). That’s nothing to be hugely concerned about though; I have a lot of faith in our bullpen.
To answer the question however, is Kenshin Kawakami really that bad? No! The root of the problem is the same that it has been for every pitcher on the roster not named Derek Lowe……..run support. At the start of last night’s game, TV coverage had an unfortunate stat. Kawakami was receiving the 3rd lowest run support in his starts as a pitcher in all of baseball. I don’t remember who had the lowest, but 2nd place went to another Brave, Jair Jurrjens (different rant for a different day). The number? 1.25. In his 4 starts leading into last night, KK was receiving an average of 1.25 runs of support from his offense per game.
Kawakami isn’t giving up huge numbers of runs in his games (3, 4, 3, 5, 3) but even after last night, he’s still only receiving an average of 1.6 runs of support per game. Honestly, how is he supposed to win with those numbers. In his 5 starts this season, the Braves have scored 8 runs, had 28 hits (5.6 hits/game) and made 8 errors in the field. If you’re not going to score runs, at least straighten up the defense a little bit! I feel a little bad for Kawakami. People will look at his 0-5 record and his 5.47 ERA and think he just doesn’t have what it takes to help carry this Braves team.
We know he’s going to give up 3 or 4 runs an outing, but on paper, this offense should be able to handle that. Maybe I was wrong in thinking that however. Yes there are areas where Kenshin can improve his game. Try to get a little deeper in the games and strike out a few more batters…….and apparently hit a few long balls at the plate to help his own cause. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Kenshin’s getting the short end of the stick. Anyone beg to differ with me?
Tags: Braves Offense, Kenshin Kawakami, Run Support
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