Micro-Brew: Macha’s bad Coffey


Another day, another loss for the Brew Crew, as they wasted another wonderful (if somewhat fortunate) start from youngster Yovani Gallardo thanks to another messy bullpen performance. This time the main culprit was Todd Coffey who somehow managed to give up five earned runs in a 2-1 ball game.
It isn’t so much stunning that Coffey was capable of such a shoddy performance, as it was that Ken Macha could allow a 2-1 game to get so out of hand.
So, lets take a closer look at each of these two’s shortcomings on Monday night.
First, here’s the game chart:

Coffey’s a bit predictable

A few days after I wrote that Mitch Stetter had probably relied a bit to heavy on his slider in a forgettable outing against Atlanta last week, we get a Bizarro-Stetter performance from Coffey.

Coffey entered the game with Milwuakee trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning.

He immediately coughed up a triple to Chris Heisey on the third pitch, which happened to be the one and only slider he threw the entire outing.

I’m unsure if the triple had Coffey gunshy the rest of the inning, but he resorted to only throwing the heater the rest of the way, probably all four-seamers as well (one was slower than the rest, but appears to just be a four-seamer with a little taken off, either intetionally or not).

Here’s Coffey’s Pitch F/X pitch chart and his Horizontal v. Vertical movement chart:

That bunch of blobbed pitches are Coffey’s fastballs, and are pretty consistent, while the one slider doesn’t look like too bad of a pitch, though the pitch location caught way too much of the plate.

Now over his career, Coffey has thrown a little over 72.9 percent of his pitches as fastballs with the other 20 something percent being sliders at this point of his career. So with a normal distribution of his pitches, he would’ve thrown only three more sliders anyway.

Still, I’m sure it didn’t take Cincinatti pitchers long to realize that after a triple on the third pitch, and the only slider, and the continuous fastballs thereafter, that sitting on a fastball wasn’t a poor approach.

And so, following the triple, Orlando Cabrera, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto hit singles in order, with Phillips gifting the Brewers an out with some awful baserunning.

At this point, there were runners at second and third with one out and the score 3-1. I’m not really sure why Coffey wasn’t lifted for an alternate. Especially since it was such a close game.

Sure, four of the next five batters were righties, but it was clear that Coffey’s effectiveness vs. righties to that point was nil, as only Joey Votto had come to the plate from the south side by that point.

Jeff Suppan entered in the 8th inning, and while I will never advotage for any appearance by Soupy, when a reliever is as ineffective as Coffey had been against four batters (a triple, three singles) and the score is just 3-1, you’ve probably got to make a move rather than cross your fingers.

Anyway, we all know how it turned out from there. With Coffey giving upa sac-fly to Scott Rolen and then a three-run game-changing bomb to Jonny Gomes.

And that was that.

Over this losing streak there has been plenty of blame to go around on the Brewers, and on Monday night, you’d have to say that Coffey and Macha probably should shoulder the bulk of it. Hopefully, there will be some better luck tonight.