Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Iowa Cubs lose. (Game Recap: Cubs 4, Giants 5)

Cub starter Tom Gorzelanny sucked at the outset of last night's game: single, walk, single, RBI ground out, single, K, single, fly out. That gave the Giants an early 3-0 lead, and while the Cubs came close to surmounting it, in the end the task proved impossible, with Justin Berg allowing a game-winning solo shot in the eighth (I guess Cashner/Marshall/Marmol were unavailable?).

This isn't the first time this year Gorgonzola has struggled in the first inning. In fact, Tom has posted a 6.88 ERA in his 17 first innings pitched this season. His second innings are a little better -- he has a 4.50 ERA in those. And once he makes it to the third inning, he's solid, with ERAs of 2.00, 1.59, 3.24, and 3.75 in each of the next frames.

And before you go off on small sample sizes, check out Tom's career ERAs in each of the first six innings of a game:

  1. 6.29
  2. 4.48
  3. 4.01
  4. 3.43
  5. 4.73
  6. 3.77

I guess there's some selection bias here; obviously, if Tom doesn't have his good stuff in the first, he likely won't make it to the sixth. And teams will usually put their best hitters at the top of the order, so you face the best to start the game. But check out the ERAs by inning for Jon Garland, a decent pitcher whose name I just yanked out of my butt (ew, gross):

  1. 4.11
  2. 3.49
  3. 5.06
  4. 3.87
  5. 5.25
  6. 4.67

So maybe Tom needs to focus on getting off to a good start to become a better pitcher. He seems to have a better handle on batters his second and third times through the order as opposed to his first. And his ERA as a reliever -- 5.40 ERA in 23.1 IP, with 14 BB -- seems to support that, too. But what do I know?

Other quickfire notes on last night's game: Tyler Colvin hit his 18th home run, and Starlin Castro went 2-for-4.

Reason for first inning struggles?

Assuming that Gorzelanny is aware of this trend, it has to be a mental issue right? If he could pick it up in the first, at the very least, we could have a pretty solid pitcher on our hands.

Maybe he just needs to throw

Maybe he just needs to throw 20 more warm-up pitches ... then the 1st inning would be like his 2nd inning, and the 2nd inning would be like his 3rd, and ...

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