Yunesky Maya didn’t have a great game last night. The second inning was his undoing, which included 2 walks, then 2 balks, then 3 hits, before a HBP and finally an end to an inning. It follows a pattern, albeit only through 2 major league games (but one that held in the minors) that he cannot stop the bleeding once it starts. What is remarkable is how well he pitches on those other innings.
Through two starts in the majors, he has pitched 10 innings. He’s given up 8 ER in those 10, giving him the barely-better-than-Marquis ERA of 6.55. He’s walked 5 hitters in those 10 innings, while only striking out 5. His overall numbers look pretty bad. And yet… despite all of this, he has pitched what can be considered perfect innings 40% of the time, very good innings 60%-70% of the time, and generally decent up to 80% of the time. Only two of his total innings were truly bad. Look at his distribution.
In 6 of those innings, he allowed 1 baserunner or fewer, with no ER. Another inning he allow a walk, then a single, but got out of trouble. In another inning he allowed a double then a single but got out after the 1 ER. That’s it. Only 2 innings have been bad.
The problem isn’t that he threw 2 bad innings, but just how bad they were. Both innings were rough. In his first game, it was 2 singles followed by a 3-run homer. Not insurmountable, but that’s all he can allow in a 6 inning start to still qualify for a QS. Last night’s big inning was much more bizarre, as recounted above. His ability to come back from these bad innings is somewhat impressive on its own.
The question for Maya, then, is NOT whether or not he can pitch well. Because 80% of the time he’s doing what he needs to do in order to be valuable in a rotation. Rather, the question is can he keep from imploding once a game?