Like many of you, I have experienced a great deal of frustration watching Edinson Volquez pitch this year. It has even gotten to the point, at times, where I will look ahead on the schedule to the pitching matchups and think to myself (with rolling eyes) "oh GREAT, Volquez is pitching that day."
There are numerous aspects to his overall game that are quite aggravating. His first inning struggles, his mechanics and his high walk totals leave us all shaking our heads.
Also, I hate to be the kind of guy to pick on someone's personal appearance, but he could stand to straighten his cap, lose the baggy pajama pants look and get a trim. Those things aren't THAT big of a factor, but his professionalism is something I've also called into question at times.
If you can't do the little things, how can you be expected to do the big things?
(If he was pitching great, he could wear a blond wig and have a Rollie Fingers mustache for all I care.)
The way we judge him, though, is by the position the Reds have put him in.
Dusty trusted him with the ball in Game 1 of the NLDS last year vs. the Phillies, and he failed.
Dusty trusted him with the ball on Opening Day, and he failed.
As hard as it may be, let's not look at him through that scope. After all, he's a guy who really hasn't had a dominating stretch of pitching since the first half of 2008—it's very likely he will never find that form again.
Instead, what he have is a guy who, despite his struggles, is still worthy of a rotation spot.
I mean, there is something to be said for 50 strikeouts in 48.1 innings pitches. This is an indicator that he still has great stuff going for him at times.
Arroyo-Cueto-Bailey-Wood-Volquez. Doesn't that just sound better than if you put Volquez up at the front and bump everyone down a spot?
Most teams get uneven performances from the back end of their rotation, and if we consider Volquez to be one of those guys, then we are no different.
I bet he wishes he hadn't turned down that long term deal.
If he keeps this up, he can be someone else's problem next year.
Or, perhaps, just their number four/five starter.