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Splitsville: Mike O'Connor v1.1
Better As The Year Goes On: If you simply went by his 167.2 innings of work, you would assume that Mike O'Connor is definitely a work horse. But, what you might not realize is that he didn't exactly limp to the finish line of the 2005 season. After getting off to a horrid start in April, the big lefty simply got better and better as the months passed. And, by the end of the season, he had lowered his ERA to an impressive 3.54. Much of that ERA can be attributed to his impressive 2.17 ERA in August and an even stronger 1.29 ERA in August. But, it is also important that O'Connor's outstanding July not be forgotten. As we've touched on, Mike gradually seemed to heat up as the year went on, and July was no exception. In a season high 42 innings in one month's work, the southpaw went 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA.
Comfortable At Home: Although Mike O'Connor became a model of consistency both at home and on the road for the Potomac Nationals in 2005, he was slightly more effective on his home turf. At home, he compiled a losing record (5-8) despite his solid ERA of 3.65. However, with 27 walks and 69 strikeouts in 81.1 innings of work, his ratio was far lower than it was while pitching at home. Taking a closer look at that home ratio, O'Connor struck out 89 and walked only 21 in 86.1 innings of work at home. So, although the earned-run averages were similar, (3.44 at home and 3.65 on the road) he had a far stronger hold on the game at his home ballpark in Potomac.
An April To Forget: We have already touched on how well Mike O'Connor turned his season around as the months passed, but his April, as you may assume, was not one to remember. In fact, the Dallas native went winless in the month and posted an ugly 6.63 ERA in 19 innings of work. He also allowed an uncharacteristically high opposing batting average (.250) while walking seven in the month. For the sake of his outstanding overall season, it's a good thing he straightened out his problems in the next few months.
Middle Inning Hiccups: With all the innings he racked up over the course of the season, it is easy to see that O'Connor usually took his team deep into the ballgame. And, obviously, that would explain his late inning success. For instance, in the seventh inning, O'Connor had a 3.46 ERA. However, in the two preceding innings, he often ran into trouble. In fact, he posted a 4.19 ERA in the 6th inning and a 5.11 ERA in the fifth. Somewhat higher walk totals in those innings are the most likely reason for his lack of success.
Righties Beware: Yes, Mike O'Connor is an effective southpaw pitcher who is very tough on lefty hitters. But, he is actually even more of a chore for righty hitters to face. For the season, Mike held righty hitters to a lowly .220 batting average and compiled a 3.50 ERA against them. He was no slouch versus lefties, however, as he held them to a .253 batting average. But, it is still a bit surprising to see the southpaws have more success than the righties.
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