Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October 19th, 1960

Mark Davis Born

Most people who follow baseball beyond the most perfunctory review of the standings know of Keith Foulke's struggles this season. Foulke--whose birthday is also today, incidentally--was brilliant for the Red Sox in 2004, putting up a 2.17 ERA (225 ERA+) in eighty-three innings and then allowing just one run in fourteen post-season innings, including a stretch in which he threw five scoreless innings across three straight days against the Yankees. However, whether because of that workload or something else entirely Foulke collapsed in 2005 throwing just forty five and two-thirds innings with a brutal 5.91 ERA (75 ERA+) and requiring mid season knee surgery. Foulke's ERA got worse by an astounding one hundred fifty percent compared to league average.

If anyone can sympathize however, it would be his fellow relief pitcher and October 19th birthday boy, Mark Davis.
Davis' 1989 was brilliant as he posted a 1.85 ERA (190 ERA+) in ninety two and two-thirds inning for the Padres, while recording forty-four saves. In a middling year for pitching in the NL (Mike Scott led with 20 wins but an ordinary 3.10 ERA while the voters couldn't see past Scott Garrelts' 14 wins to his league leading 2.28 ERA) Davis was awarded the Cy Young. Davis headed out to free agency armed with his award and landed a four-year fourteen million dollar deal with the Royals. It was to be a disaster in 1990 as Davis posted an awful 5.11 ERA (75 ERA+) and lost his closer's job to the extent the Royals' even tried him as a starter.

We don't know what Keith Foulke will do in the time remaining on his contract in
Boston, but Sox fans can only hope he doesn't follow the Davis model, as the one-time fireman posted ERAs of 4.45, 7.13 and 4.26 over the rest of his contract. October 19th is perhaps not the best birthday for successful relief pitchers coming off a career year.

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