Ramble on the Roof

Torrin Thatcher

I’m not going to dwell on how much frustration Eric Gagn****accent e**** has brought upon Brewer fans this year, but instead I’ll tell you how he can regain his Cy Young form, from when he finished in the top five twice. By following some of Robert Gagn****accent e*****’s Nine Events of Instruction, Eric can possibly stop fan’s curse words from flowing when he enters the game.
Step one says to “gain attention.” I’m sure $10 million for one year, Mitchell Report participation, HGH use and a terrible end to the 2007 season with Boston definitely gave Gagné some attention around Wisconsin. This is obviously all negative attention, and if he wants something positive, how about improving that 6.62 ERA and 1.868 WHIP.
The second step is “inform learners of objectives” to create a level of expectations. Before this season, Gagné had 177 career saves, and if you take off his three seasons as a starting pitcher, a very good ERA. By winning a Cy Young in 2003 and placing in MVP voting, we’d expect Gagné to pitch moderately well even considering his subpar showing for the Red Sox. Needless to say, he hasn’t quite lived up to our expectations.
“Stimulate recall of prior learning” is the next step, and it’s hard to imagine Gagné not doing this step. Gagné wants to use his previous knowledge to help with his new information. By looking at the stellar seasons as closers that no-names Dan Kolb and Derrick Turnbow had while working under pitching coach Mike Maddux, we have to assume Maddux is relaying his same teaching methods to Gagné. The Brewers coaching staff have done a great job finding guys from the shadows and turning them into All-Stars like Kolb and Turnbow — well, at least one All-Star appearance.
For Gagné to “present the content,” he just needs to go out there and paint the plate without opposing hitters spraying the field with the ball. Gagné has always been known to have a good change-up, but not everyone can expect to have the success of Trevor Hoffman when throwing constant off-speed pitches. Maybe his arm isn’t what it used to be, but when hitters are waiting for him to throw that high-80s change, balls are going to fall between the defenses. Maybe he’s just showing us that he’s no longer able to throw nearly as hard as he once could.
Let’s just skip the “provide ‘learning guidance'” part because, where there are receipts showing large sums of money being paid to a known HGH supplier, there isn’t much “guiding” that can be done. Maybe he can explain to guys what not to do.
To exemplify “elicit performance” aka “practice,” Gagné needs to realize that putting him in the ninth inning isn’t the best move right now, and that being used as a setup man is a better role.
By pitching in the seventh or eight inning, Gagné can work on his throwing, and maybe he’ll soon be considered for protecting a lead in the ninth. Hell, on Monday night he pitched a solid seventh inning, but when he came out and pitched the eighth, he was more than just shaky. Let’s see him throw some solid innings for a few weeks, and we can see where he’s at.
I think the fans at Miller Park do enough to “provide feedback” and “assess the performance” of Gagné’s appearances on the hill. When Gagné blew his most recent save, the fans were raining down on him hard, and when he pitched that solid seventh inning on Monday, the fans were applauding him. No player wants to hear boos, but as Jim Powell puts it, “Fans have the right to express how they feel.”
Why is Gagné not living up to the expectations of that eight-figure contract? It’s hard to say. He started the 2007 season with the Texas Rangers, and he had an ERA of 2.16, 29 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, and 16 saves in 17 chances. That’s a pretty solid line for any relief pitcher, and especially good for a relief pitcher in the American League.
The Red Sox traded for Gagné, and he put up zero saves in three chances, an ERA of 6.75, and 26 hits in 18.2 innings. The difference between these two stops for Gagné was that while in Texas he was used as a closer, but he was used as a setup guy in Boston. The Brewers obviously see him as their closer, so let’s hope his Texas success is somehow regained from last year and transferred to the Brewers’ bullpen. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle seeing 2-3 different pitchers pitching the ninth for saves, so let’s hope Eric follows the steps of Robert and is able to really show what 10 million bucks can buy.