Mr. Obvious here.
Cordero is a different pitcher this year, and last, than his "hay day".
Many of us Reds fans will recognize the epic, 12 pitch at bats like the one today vs indomitable Matt Diaz (.244 hitter, .284 OBP) where Cordero fires in 96 mph fastball after 96 mph fastball every which way, each one getting fouled away until one, finally, gets crushed. Well, thankfully today that crushed fastball went deep to CF and was caught by our retreating CF for the 1st out of the 9th.
These 1 run leads are not safe.
Anyway, I took a look at Cordero's pitch selection today, not just his low 7.88 K/9. It turns out what I had been seeing was supported by the numbers. Cordero doesn't have a reliable breaking pitch - an out pitch. He relies very heavily on his fastball.
2010 - 65.6%
2009 - 64%
2008 - 52%
2010 - 27.3%
2009 - 26.3%
2008 - 37.3%
2010 - 7.1%
2009 - 9.7%
2008 - 9.7%
So all his breaking pitches have fallen way off. Especially that slider that used to end innings so nicely. 2008 was the last time he threw it with regularity and control. His K/9 back then was 9.98. From 2003-2008 he was never below 9.8 k/9.
Now look at the opponent's batter's contact and swing rates for a minute:
........O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact%
2008 .... 30.4 % ...60.1 % ...43.8 % ...53.9 %
2009.... 25.2 %... 66.5 %... 44.9 %... 56.7 %
2010 .... 30.0 %... 66.4 %... 45.1 %... 69.2 %
The upshot here is that hitters are swinging more often, and more confidently, than ever this year against Cordero, and they are making a great deal more contact than ever (69.2% outside the zone!). This applies inside the strike zone as well:
........Z-Contact% Contact% Zone%
2008....81.2 %... 70.7 %... 44.9 %
2009....83.4 %... 75.6 %... 47.6 %
2010....86.0 %... 79.5 %... 41.5 %
On top of this fastball, fastball, fastball approach is the fact that he's not even throwing strikes as often (41.5%). I wouldn't throw strikes either if I were him - the hitters are just waiting for it, then connecting with it, inside or outside the zone.
So it begs the question: Where's that damn slider Coco?!
I don't recall any injury history with him, but perhaps there was. I hope he can find a breaking pitch of some kind to add to the effectiveness of his heater. Perhaps before October, please?