Former Blue Jay Shaun Marcum‘s first taste of the postseason must’ve been more bitter than a breakfast of Guinness and grapefruit. The former Jay completely imploded in October, posting these horrific stats:
GS: 3 / IP: 9.2
HR’s Allowed: 3
SO: 5 / BB: 5
The brutal performance was capped off by a one inning, 4 earned run showing that helped bring an end to Milwaukee’s 2011 season.
After the game 6 loss, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said: “I knew they were going to take him out if he got into a little bit of trouble, and they did. His ability to pitch is unbelievable. But he hasn’t been feeling it lately. Just kind of lost the feel for it, I guess.”
Overall, 2011 was a very successful season for Marcum. Toronto’s third round pick in the 2003 draft picked up pretty much right where he left off with the Jays in 2010, going 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA. Everything was hunky dory until September.
The last month of the regular season started well for Marcum; he won his first start on the 4th, with a seven inning one-hitter against the Astros. 3 of his final 4 starts however, would featured 5 + earned runs, including a 4.2 IP, 7 ER flop to finish the ’11 campaign.
Marcum is a finesse pitcher who relies on changing speeds- his change-up is by far his most effective pitch. Unfortunately for Marcum and the Brewers, his change-up was a mere shadow of itself this October.
According to TexasLeaguers.com , Marcum’s postseason change-up was closer in speed to his fastball while featuring significantly less movement than it did in the regular season. As a result Marcum was forced to shy away from his change-up, a strategy that really doesn’t suit his repertoire.
In the wake of the Brewers elimination on Sunday there has been some speculation about fatigue playing a role in Marcum’s collapse. It seems like an easy/lazy reasoning- to blame fatigue on any player who struggles at the end of the season- to me. Particularly considering the fact that Marcum only pitched 15 more innings in ’11 than in ’10. Its really hard to say though, and some more time in the gym this winter certainly wouldn’t hurt the soon-to-be 30 year old.
Shaun Marcum is a good pitcher who should bounce back to his steady career numbers next year. The sample size looked at here is very small, especially compared to his solid track record over nearly 800 career IP. As long as he can find his awesome change again next spring, he will be just fine.