Inconsistency Still Plaguing Floyd

The Phillies are still waiting for the young right-hander to show some consistency. Floyd has shown moments of brilliance at AAA, but follows them up with moments of darkness.

Every pitcher needs to show consistency. The Phillies have run a bunch of pitchers out to the mound this season who have been unable to deliver that very ingredient. Ryan Madson is probaly the poster child of inconsistency and he was bumped to the bullpen. At AAA, Gavin Floyd has been an exact replica of Madson, giving the Red Barons one great outing, only to follow it with another disappointing effort.

When you look at the overall numbers, there is some cause for hope. When Floyd arrived back at AAA, he threw five games in his first month, resulting in an ERA of 5.01 for the month of June. He followed that up with a monthly ERA of 3.83 in July and in two August starts has an ERA of 3.86 for the Red Barons. When you look deeper, you see the problem.

While June was basically a waste for Floyd and his first start of July was no better, it looked like a light may have gone on after that. In pitching to a no-decision on July 8, Floyd allowed just one earned run over six innings. His outing was marred by sloppy defense that saw him allow two unearned runs. Six days later, he shutout Toledo over seven innings, striking out six and allowing just four hits and a walk. The optimism was back, but was squashed in Floyd's next start. Pitching on the road, Floyd got the win, but allowed four earned runs over seven innings of work. The road has been a scary place for Floyd this season, seeing him go 3-3 with a 6.31 ERA away from Lackawanna County Stadium.

Floyd started two more games in July; the first being a weak outing in Charlotte that saw him allow five earned runs in six innings. Two days before the trade deadline, with Floyd's name being mentioned as part of a package deal in some potential moves, he threw a gem against Ottawa, shutting out the Lynx for eight innings. Scouts agreed that the outing was remeniscent of what most agree Floyd is capable of delivering on a regular basis. Again though, the optimism didn't last.

In his next two starts, Floyd has been down and up. The same Ottawa Lynx team that he man-handled in his previous start, hit him for five runs on nine hits and four walks over seven innings. Then, this past Wednesday, Floyd again returned to form with seven strong innings against Syracuse.

Looking deeper into the numbers, one potential trend seems to emerge. Floyd's issues could potentially stem from a lack of concentration. Consider that when he is facing a hitter to lead off the inning, those hitters are batting .317 against him and hitters going against Floyd with the bases empty hit .281 against the right-hander. Put Floyd in a situation with runners on any base and opponents averages dip to .248.

If you carry it even further, the trend continues. With runners in scoring position, opponents are hitting .206 against Floyd and opponents are 0-for-4 with three strikeouts with the bases loaded.

The "pressure numbers" seem to translate to the major league level, where opponents hit .357 against Floyd with the bases empty and .260 against him with runners on base. It falls apart somewhat when you consider that with runners in scoring position, opponents hit .310 against Floyd, but picks up again with the bases loaded when Floyd surrendered just a .125 average.

Pitching with two outs is no problem for Floyd. On the season, he has allowed opponents to hit just .159 (17-for-107).

The numbers suggest that perhaps Floyd's future could be in the bullpen. Pressure situations seem to bring out the best in him and he may need the added pressure to sharpen his focus. The Phillies insist that Floyd won't be moved to the bullpen, but it's a move that should at least be considered, despite the fact that Floyd didn't handle the job well when he worked out of the bullpen at the big league level.

Whatever the issues - most believe it's a confidence issue - and whatever the situation, the fact is that unless Floyd can string together some good outings and show consistency, he's not likely to be given much consideration for a major league starting job. The decision on whether or not to bring Floyd back to Philadelphia for the month of September is an interesting one. Perhaps he'll be rewarded with a recall, but then again, if the Phillies should continue to find themselves in a wild card race, Floyd may not have shown that consistency that the Phillies will want. Of course, the added pressure might do him good.

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