Welcome to the Miguel Batista Freak Show

Seattle SportsnetCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2009

SEATTLE - APRIL 19:  Miguel Batista #43 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the game on April 19, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)


How is it even possible that Miguel Batista is so anti-clutch.

And yes, you’re right, I’ve improperly punctuated the last two sentences but you know what, I’m not questioning Miguel Batista’s anti-clutchness so much as I’m simply addressing it in words.

If you look up “clutch” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Miguel Batista with a red “X” through it. That’s how unclutch Miguel is.

So unclutch that the dudes at Merriam-Webster figured it would make the most sense to remove the definition of “clutch” and replace it with Batista’s likeness and a big red effing “X."

Why all the venom, you ask?

Batista emerged in Friday night’s game against Cleveland attempting to keep a 4-0 deficit from getting any larger. Instead, the mercurial right-hander surrendered five runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Five runs. Five.

In case you’re not so handy with the long division, that makes his ERA for the game an awe-inspiring 67.16. It’s enough to warrant disgust.

Disgusting and Miguel Batista go hand-in-hand, it seems. Flat-out, the guy disgusts me, and here’s why.

He turns himself into a statistically “good” pitcher by maintaining a decent ERA, a decent record, decent strikeout numbers, all that good stuff.

But consider this: When does he accumulate these all-important stats?

Answer: In garbage time. When the game is already decided and he’s pitching in meaningless situations. Miguel Batista is a fantastic pitcher in crappy situations.

And yet when the game matters, when it’s meaningful, when the outcome still hangs in the balance, Miguel fails. He’s a failure. Can’t get the job done.

And that just sucks. And no, I don’t have any stats to back me up on this because frankly, I don’t want to look them up right now. This is simply the “vibe” I get from Miguel.

Just like the good vibes I used to get from the statistically-challenged, yet amazingly clutch duo of Doug Strange and Russ Davis. Or the very bad vibes we all used to get from Bobby Ayala. Yeah, you know that feeling.

You see what I’m getting at here?

Sabermetrics, stats, and all the quantifiable data might say that Miguel Batista is a good pitcher who, like all of us, has his bad moments.

That’s what the numbers say.

What common sense tells us, however, is that Miguel Batista is a danger to a baseball team that happens to be in a playoff race. Every time he enters a game, we get nervous. You feel it, I feel it, we all feel it.

And it’s the same process every time.

You look up at the TV, see Miguel on the mound, and think to yourself, “Oh, sh*t.”

Because we all know what’s bound to happen next. Miguel is going to give up a bomb, or allow his inherited runners to score, or plunk a fan in the front row with a wayward slider. He’s just that unclutch.

This team can win. I know it, and you know it.

This team can make the playoffs. We know this.

But this team cannot afford to have Miguel Batista underperforming in crunch time. Absolutely cannot. No way, no how.

Miguel Batista is a question and we need answers.

So what’s the answer going to be?