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Game 28: Hawkins Not That Bad
FanGraphs Win Probability

Jonathan Broxton (2-0)
L: LaTroy Hawkins (0-3)

LAD HR: Andre Ethier (10)
MIL HR: None

Surprisingly, I’m not too upset about this one. For most of the night, the Brewers had no business winning this game. They couldn’t hit John Ely and trailed the entire game until Gregg Zaun and Craig Counsell managed to tie the game in the 9th.

You can blame Hawkins for blowing another game, but he’s actually been one of the better relievers in the Milwaukee bullpen this year. Yes, he’s given up 12 runs in 11.2 innings, but 11 of those 12 runs have come in three outings — outside of one outing in which he gave up a single run, he’s thrown nothing but scoreless innings.

It’s still a small sample, but it’s possible Hawkins is getting severely unlucky, too. His opponent BABIP is at .421. His ERA is now up to 9.26, but his FIP is still just 3.42 and his xFIP is 3.60. The walks are troubling, as his BB/9 is nearly twice what it was last year, but he’s also striking out batters at the highest rate of his career.

So what’s the deal with Hawkins in the games he does get hit hard? His velocity was horrid last night, and without looking it up, it seems like it’s been on a steady decline since the opening series against Colorado. According to Fangraphs, the fastball has average 92.8 MPH this year, down from the 94.2 MPH average he posted with Houston last year. Is he hurt? Is he just suffering from Turnbow-itis, getting nervous if things don’t go perfectly from the start? It doesn’t seem like he knows, which is kind of scary.

Would it have been nice to see Hawkins throw up another scoreless inning and have the Brewers take their chances in extra innings? Sure it would. But winning 2 out of 3 in LA with the bottom of our rotation matching up with the top of theirs still makes for one successful series. Hopefully the bats will be ready for Arizona, because we could be in for a few 11-10 games against the D’Backs.