Through it all — three blown saves in a 10-day span, four consecutive appearances with at least one run allowed, losing his grip on the Red Sox closer’s job — Andrew Bailey has insisted that he’s healthy.
Clearly, though, something is wrong.
According to data compiled by Brookline-based stat guru Bill Chuck and published online at BaseballAnalytics.org, Bailey’s average fastball velocity is 94 mph, almost identical to his 94.2 mph average from 2009 when he was named AL Rookie of the Year with the Athletics. Yet opposing hitters have swung at and missed only 21.8 percent of his fastballs, down from 32.3 percent in 2009.

The difference, at least according to Chuck, has been Bailey’s inability to throw his cutter-slider hybrid for strikes. Chuck’s data reveals that Bailey is throwing only 60.9 percent of his cutter-sliders in the strike zone, down from 72.2 percent in 2009. Presumably, the change in effectiveness has allowed hitters to lay off the cutter-slider and caused Bailey to fall behind in counts and throw more fastballs over the plate.
“You just study and stick to your routine,” Bailey said when asked how he can reverse his struggles. “I’ve had success in this league. I think it’s getting back to challenging hitters. Take that (walk to the Detroit Tigers’) Victor Martinez (in the ninth inning Thursday night ahead of Jhonny Peralta’s walkoff home run). I don’t know, maybe throw one right down the middle. Can’t get any worse, right? Challenge guys. That’s what it gets back to. Stop trying to be so fine. Go in there and start dominating again.”