Roberto Hernandez’s Super Save | The Process Report

Roberto Hernandez’s Super Save

With the return of Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson to the Rays’ rotation, the need to start Roberto Hernandez every five days is no longer. Truth be told, Hernandez’s time in the rotation was up in mid-August as the club shuffled their others starters to skip his turn and used a bullpen by committee to avoid his most recent scheduled start.

To say Hernandez, the Rays’ starter, was a failed experiment is a bit harsh. His traditional stats were poor, however, he pitched like you would expect most back-end of the rotation starters to pitch. There were times when he looked great and times where he needed relief much too early. He has the size and stuff necessary to start, but still lacked refined qualities required to be successful 30-plus times a year. Results aside, there is legit talent in his right arm. And with a full compliment of starters, as well as an assortment of relievers with expanded rosters, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon can pick when and how to use that talent.

On Tuesday night, the Rays received five and-one-third successful innings from a returning Matt Moore. With one out in the sixth inning and a five-run lead in hand, Maddon turned the game over to Hernandez. The situation in itself was pretty low on the average index; however, with the club fading in the standings, it was pretty important for Hernandez to have a good outing. Instead of just good, he was flawless.

Making just his second relief appearance since 2006, Hernandez tossed three and two-thirds perfect innings. He struck out seven of the 11 batters faced and used just 42 pitches to record the final 11 outs. As the rules would have it, he was rewarded with his first career save.

Hernandez, the reliever, used the same three-pitch arsenal as the starter: sinker, slider, changeup. Meanwhile, the relief pticher relied heavily on the secondary pitches; the two offerings that are arguably his best. Of the 42 pitches he threw, 29 were either sliders or changeups. The Angels took 20 swings on these pitches and came up empty on eight of them including six with two strikes. When thrown, his sinker had a little more oomph to it and he commanded all three well. He located the sinker low, the changeup even lower, and used the slider on both edges.

Both sides would likely agree the 2013 season did not go as planned for Hernandez. That said, it was not as bad as some may believe. And although the 11-out save is not something that will become commonplace, there is still time for Tampa Bay to squeeze value out of their investment, and for Hernandez to boost his stock as he hits the open market again after the season.

One Comment

  1. […] Against the Yankees, he pitched the final three innings of a 7-0 shutout, earning the “super save.” Once again, he allowed just a hit and a […]

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