After falling apart in the late innings last night, the Texas Rangers have Yu Darvish on the hill to try to redeem themselves.
The Marlins’ starter, Jacob Turner, might be even more important.
Bluntly, he has been sort of awful this season. While his peripherals (4.63 FIP, 3.99 xFIP) indicate that he has seen his share of bad luck, he hasn’t help himself out at all, either. He doesn’t strike anyone out (5.32 K/9) which may exacerbate his bad luck with balls put in play. He has also been victimized by homers, giving up 6 in 44 innings.
Those issues have resulted in 6 starts (out of 8 total) with 4+ earned runs. That doesn’t sound so bad until one considers that he has only pitched bast the 6th inning once, so these high earned run totals are coming in relatively short time frames.
Amazingly 5.93 ERA is actually misleadingly low. Two starts, one on May 5th and the other on May 24th, keep him from an arguable more realistic 6.87 ERA.
Again: he seems to have had his share of bad luck, so his home run problems, BABIP (.351)*, and ERA should start to come back to Earth. There has been basically no recent evidence that that shift will occur tonight.
Or will it?
His command has been, at best, sloppy. Here is a heatmap including every batter he has faced this season. (I would include a picture but I can’t copy and paste it in here. Also, (I believe) Fansided prefers that I not include picture from my personal computer, so I can’t just import it from Paint.)
Just trust me when I say there is a ton of red (which means a higher percentage of pitches in that location) down the middle and a ton of white (lower percentage of pitches in that location) on the corners and edges. It seems isn’t walking many batters (2.6 BB/9) because he throws so many pitches down the pipe. Compared to last season he is throwing fewer pitches in the dirt but his pitches have shifted a bit further towards the middle.
So while Turner’s peripherals indicate that he should look more like a league-average pitcher than a terrible starter in the future, his command problems indicate that bad luck isn’t entirely to blame. The Texas Rangers can expect a heavy dose of fastballs down the middle.