Tampa Bay Rays' Roberto Hernandez Falling Back Into Disappointing Old Habits

By Thom Tsang
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Roberto Hernandez still can’t chase the ghosts of Fausto Carmona.

You know, the Cleveland Indians pitcher who burst onto the scene in his second year in the bigs with a 3.7 fWAR season, throwing 215 innings and posting a 3.06/1.21 ERA/WHIP that made him look like he was going to be a star for years to come?

The same pitcher that could never quite follow it up due to a potent mix of inconsistency, injury, and uh … off-field circumstances?

As it turns out, a new team and a new (or old, rather) name isn’t really enough of a change of scenery for this particular pitcher, because the Tampa Bay Rays are seeing all sides of the 32-year-old in 2013. Which is to say that while at times brilliant (8.2 IP, one run on three hits, no walks, five strikeouts on May 29), he’s more often frustratingly hittable.

The worst part might be that the team just doesn’t know what they’ll get each time out.

In his latest turn, it was a mix of both. Taking on the divisional rival New York Yankees, Hernandez needed just 93 pitches to throw seven complete innings, but allowed five runs on nine hits, one of them being a dagger of a home run from newcomer Zolio Almonte that put the Rays down 5-2.

Now, the good thing here is that Hernandez was actually rather composed despite being hit hard, and did not give up a free pass for the first time in four starts in June. On top of that, he more than had his ground ball stuff working on Friday, pitting together a 11-3 GO-FO ratio.

In fact, considering that six out of the nine hits he allowed were on ground balls, you could easily say that BABIP was not his friend on this day.

Still, it’s hard to be too sympathetic when you consider the overall results: through one vice on another, Hernandez has allowed at least four earned runs in five of his last seven starts, and batters are absolutely teeing off him in June at a .353 BAA. Not that W-L records have a whole lot of stock, but let’s just say there’s a good reason why he’s 2-6 over his last six starts.

In short, he’s basically the same Fausto Carmona that the baseball world has seen over the years — and that’s not really someone who can help the Rays do a whole lot besides eat innings this season.

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