By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

How’s that trade working out? (XII)

Several Media Nation readers have taken some pleasure in Bronson Arroyo’s recent slump. For example, Mike writes, “Over his past seven starts, Lover Boy Arroyo is 0-4 with a 4.79 ERA. Why can’t we get players like that?”

Let’s leave aside the fact that Wily Mo Peña is rehabbing from surgery for an injury he suffered before coming to the Red Sox, that David Wells (at least until Monday) and Matt Clement have contributed zippo, and that Tim Wakefield is on the disabled list. Instead, let’s ask: How bad is Arroyo’s slump?

Arroyo got off to a blistering start against the weaker National League. He’s currently 9-7 with a 3.20 ERA. He’s probably on a pace to turn in his usual performance: 14 or so wins, with an ERA of 4.00.

And yes, it’s true that he hasn’t won since June 19. But consider his last 10 starts. What do we find?

  • Six of those were “quality starts” — that is, six or more innings with three or fewer earned runs. A seventh was borderline — four earned runs in seven innings.
  • He stunk out the joint yesterday against Houston. But in his two starts before that, he appeared to be coming out of his slump: 15 innings and two earned runs, for two no-decisions that easily could have been wins.
  • His ERA for those 10 starts is 4.17. That’s not half-bad in this hitter’s era. And if you overlook yesterday’s doozy, his ERA for the first nine of those starts is a very respectable 3.59.

This is not a guy whose wheels have fallen off.

The Sox have played incredibly well up to this point. How much better might they be playing — and how much better might they be suited for the post-season — if Arroyo were filling one of the two spots at the back of the rotation?

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  1. mike_b1

    Overlook whatever you want. He’s regressing to his mean, exactly like I said he would.And his mean was completely replaceable. Which is why the Red Sox haven’t missed a beat since he’s been gone.(Daisy Buchanan’s, on the other hand, will never be the same.)P.S. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your Wily Mo tales.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Mike — (1) You are not alone in saying he would regress to his mean. Among others making that observation was, I believe, uh, me. (2) You are dead wrong about his mean. The Sox have added two front-of-the-rotation aces and a phenomenal closer this year, yet their record isn’t hugely better than it was last year at this time. Gee, I wonder why? (3) If Arroyo were “completely replaceable,” he would have been replaced. He hasn’t been. Not even close.

  3. mike_b1

    Dan, the Red Sox record is 50 percentage points better than it was on this date last year. That is huge.

  4. mike_b1

    Correction: 56 points better.July 27, 2005W 56 L 45 .554July 27, 2006W 61 L 39 .610

  5. Anonymous

    Dan, I’m surprised you would argue about sports on your blog. It’s really very boring. Players shine, and then they falter. They’re up and they’re down. Their performances fluctuate. Can’t you see this? What’s the point of arguing about anything???

  6. Anonymous

    Dan, take it easy on Mike – he’s not really a *stats* kind of guy.

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