You know, I really like Randy Flores. I do. He seems like a really nice guy. I like the little D'Artagnan beard; it has a nice, elegant look to it. I like his delivery; it seems like it would be tough to hit against. The guy seems to have pretty good stuff, with a fastball in the 90 mph range, more than enough for a lefty, and a slurvy kind of breaking pitch that has a ton of movement to it. Did you know he's the all time strike-out leader at the University of Southern California? It's true! Go ahead, look it up. See? Told you. I really do like the guy. Seems like a really great addition to a major league ballclub. There's really only one problem with Randy Flores.
Randy Flores can't get anybody out.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are lots of things more important in life than getting hitters out. Being a good parent, for one thing. Supporting your local independent businesses. The ability to give and receive love. All these are far more important than just getting hitters out.
Unfortunately for Randy, though, as a pitcher, getting hitters out is at least fairly important for him. If he were in a different line of work, maybe, we could overlook his struggles at obtaining outs. Take me, for instance. My job is to watch people do things on the field that I myself could never hope to do, then write pithy, sarcastic columns about whether or not they do them well. It's awesome, because I don't have to worry about getting people out. Now, if I suddenly couldn't form a cogent sentence, well, then I would be screwed. But, if I wake up one day and can't locate a slider? Ha, joke's on you! I've never been able to locate a slider! Suck on that, sports columnists. Flores, though? Um, well, let's just say his punctuation is never really an issue.
Randy Flores, the Cardinals' primary left handed reliever, is having kind of a bad season. Only replace "kind-of" with "massive" and replace "bad" with "hemorrhaged." In his last two outings, Flo' has failed to record a single out.
Last night, he walked the only batter he faced. Said batter later came around to score, tying up the game. If he comes in and gets his man, the Cards most likely manage to hold on to that lead, and the outcome of the game is maybe a little bit different.
Flores hasn't had an outing in which he didn't allow a runner to reach base since the 7th of June, in Houston. Since then, he's appeared in six games, recorded five outs, and allowed eleven men to reach base, five by hit and six by the old four-ball express. Now, I don't claim to be an expert about this game, but I'm pretty sure that when a pitcher is allowing baserunners over twice as often as he's recording outs, that's a problem. Again, if anyone out there knows more about this subject than I do, please enlighten me. I welcome the assistance.
The problem for Flores has been control. Or, more accurately, a marked lack thereof. He's simply not throwing strikes at all lately. His fastball is a little iffy, as he has struggled to locate it, but the real culprit is his breaking ball. Flores appears to have absolutely no control over his breaking ball at all. He's always thrown in primarily as a chase pitch, burying it in the dirt, but there was at least the threat of a breaking ball for a strike that kept the hitters honest. Recently, though, the only thing he's been able to get over the plate is a toned-down fastball. He takes a little off his heater and can get the strike call with it, but it also sort of turns into a batting practice pitch when he does.
Again, let me reiterate: I'm not anti-Flo. There's a lot to like about the guy. But this team simply doesn't have enough of a margin for error to be carrying pitchers who, mathematically speaking, load the bases every time you ask them to get two outs.
If you ask me, and I know you didn't but it's my column so I'll tell you what I think anyway, I think it's time for Flores to have some sort of ''injury,'' just like Izzy did.
Maybe he needs to punch a TV and gash his hand. Maybe he sneezed while he was putting on his sneakers and pulled a ribcage muscle. Maybe he was playing Rock Band with his friends and smashed his finger on the drum kit. It doesn't really matter what; DL him with explosive diarrhea if you absolutely must. (By the way, I would kill every single one of you to see a player put on the disabled list with explosive diarrhea. The articles that one could write on how his rehab is going? Oh, be still my beating heart.)
Whatever you do, though, a change needs to be made with Randy Flores. He's hurting the team right now, and it needs to stop. You don't have to release the guy or anything, but he needs to go away for awhile and get himself right, if that's at all possible. We just can't go on like this. You ever hear of those firemen who go a little nuts and start setting fires, just so they can put them out and get that rush of adrenaline? Well, I don't think Flores is necessarily an adrenaline junkie, but the result is pretty much the same.
The Cards need to get this thing fixed, before their whole season burns to the ground.