Tom Wilhelmsen exits the scene (USAT)
For the opening six weeks, Tom Wilhelmsen was a closer in control. The Bartender reeled off 11 saves in a row and had a microscopic 0.50 ERA. Last year's delicious breakout year was being validated.
Alas, things have fallen apart since the middle of May, so it's time for an audit in Seattle. Settle in with your latte and meet us at Safeco Field.
Wilhelmsen unraveled in Wednesday's loss to Houston, allowing five runs and recording just one out in the ninth. It's his fourth blown save over 11 appearances, a stretch where he's walked 10 batters (three intentional) against just eight strikeouts. In the blink of an eye, his ERA is up to 3.77. More troubling, his strikeout rate has completely collapsed from last year (it's currently at 6.59/9) while the walks have spiked (4.71/9).
Wilhelmsen's velocity hasn't dropped off, but when your K/BB ratio is moving this strongly in the wrong direction, we have reason for worry. Opposing hitters are squaring up Wilhelmsen's pitches regularly, compiling a 22.5 percent line-drive clip.Read More »from Closing Time: Tom Wilhelmsen loses his way; Jose Valverde and Heath Bell feed the gopher