Trevor Hoffman Chokes on Eric Gagne-Like April with Brewers
Eric Gagne's April of 2008 was an epic failure. Heartbreak after heartbreak, he let the organization down with blown saves and an embarrassing ERA.
Trevor Hoffman's April of 2010 has been an epic failure. Heartbreak after heartbreak, he is letting the organization down with blown saves and an embarrassing ERA.
This is a short, bitter comparison of the two, with some pretty appalling statistics.
High Expectations, Higher Salaries
The one-year, $10 million contract given to Eric Gagne for the 2008 season was unlike any ever given to a Brewers relief pitcher.
The organization was in desperate need of a closer, however, and Gagne was coming off an impressive year in '07 in which he earned 32 saves with an ERA of 3.83.
His eight blown saves were of little concern considering he pitched 103.3 innings and had 102 strikeouts.
Fans were excited to hear his name called as he entered Miller Park to the sounds of "Welcome to the Jungle" blaring through the PA.
Trevor Hoffman earned himself a similar contract, worth up to $8 million in 2010, after an '09 in which he recorded 37 saves in 54 innings pitched with an intimidating ERA of 1.83.
Fans were excited to hear his name called as he entered Miller Park to the sounds of "Hells Bells" blaring through the PA.
Gagne's April to Never Forget
The game log to the left shows Gagne's 14 April appearances. The stat lines are fairly self-explanatory, but I'll humor you anyhow.
Gagne threw a total of 12.2 innings between the beginning of the season and the end of April and recorded eight saves within that time.
While this stat was among the league's best, and his 16 strikeouts (1.3 per inning) demanded respect, he also blew four saves with an ERA of 5.68. He allowed four home runs and was credited with one loss.
Brewers fans were furious with Gagne's poor start and soon lost all confidence in their big-name closer.
Hoffman's April to Try to Forget
This is Hoffman's game log as of April 28.
He's earned just three saves, while blowing four with an ERA of 13.00. He's given up six home runs in nine innings and has two losses.
In comparison, his ERA in April is 7.32 points higher than Gagne's was. That's more than double, and he's given up four more home runs than Gagne in 3.2 fewer innings. His five strikeouts are less than a third of the 16 Gagne had.
Both pitchers earned four blown saves, but Hoffman has been credited with one more loss thus far.
Signs of Things to Come?
Eric Gagne finished his entire 2008 season with just two more saves than he had in all of April. He blew three more and ended the season with a 5.44 ERA, only 0.22 points lower than his April average.
As a token of his appreciation and the sorrow he had for all of his failures, Gagne purchased and gave away 5,000 tickets to Brewers home games at the end of the '08 season. His career as an MLB closer was completely tarnished and is yet to reemerge.
Brewers coach Ken Macha recently said that he will not shy away from using Hoffman in save situations. Fans will have to begin to wonder about that decision if things don't improve quickly.
A five-run inning on Tuesday night, highlighted by a grand slam, and another blown save on Wednesday are just the latest disappointments Hoffman has brought to the Brewers in the month of April.
Hoffman holds the all-time major league record with 594 saves, and he could become the first player ever to earn 600. It's a number that many believe will never be reached again.
If he continues his Gagne-like pace, however, Hoffman may never get there.