In six perfect World Baseball Classic innings and three strong Cactus League frames last month, Sam Dyson faced 30 batters.
Those 30 managed one base hit. A single. Drew two walks over those nine innings.
Over the 2017 season’s first nine days, Dyson has pitched four times, facing 22 batters.
Those 22 have hit safely 11 times. Five for extra bases. Walked three times.
Eleven have scored.
The absurdity of the difference between a March line of .036/.100/036 that didn’t count — but most of which was in by far the most competitive environment of any games that have ever not counted — and an April slash line of .579/.636/1.053 doesn’t need the eye test, but the eye test does reveal a very good relief pitcher who is shaking his veteran catcher off a whole lot, which at least suggests the possibility that his confidence is shaken, at least in some of the weapons in his arsenal.
When it comes to closers, it’s axiomatic that a fan base’s confidence in a pitcher who’s been routinely shaky, even in a very short sample, never holds up as long as his manager’s, but following Dyson’s third bad effort out of four (Dyson himself: “I’ve had my rear handed to me pretty much every time I’ve gone out there”), Jeff Banister told reporters, minutes after Los Angeles 6, Texas 5 — a game that the Rangers led 5–0 early, and 5–2 in the ninth — that he believes in Dyson but implied that there could be a shakeup coming in the back of bullpen.
“There’s definitely concern,” Banister said. “We’ve got to continue to find a way to grind out and get that third out when we have leads. . . . We’ve been evaluating it from day one. We’ll consider all our options. We can’t continue to lose baseball games in this manner when we have the lead. We’ll look at our options and see where we go.”
The three Dyson meltdowns have come in one Yu Darvish start and two with Cole Hamels on the mound. That hurts a little extra.
A contending Rangers team needs Sam Dyson to be Good Sam Dyson.
When the manager so much as acknowledges concern about where his closer’s game is, that’s tantamount to signaling that an imminent change is at least on the table.
Rediscovering Good Sam Dyson is the goal, but it looks like the effort to shake Dyson free of this slump he’s in may happen, at least for now, in something other than the ninth inning with a narrow lead.
There’s a whole lot more here to save than Game 7 of the season.