2013 in brief: Consistently inconsistent.
2014 status: Non-tendered, signed with the White Sox.
Everyone thank Weston for pitching in with a great job on reviewing Belisario. Thanks, Weston!
Ronald Belisario. Ronald freaking Belisario. Cocaine. Visa issues. ROOGY. Misused. Erratic reliever.
Belisario’s season story was just like that of the Dodgers’. Awful until the middle of June, very good until September, and then lackadaisical in the last month of the season. His season was so terribly bad and excellently good that he actually ended up with a WAR of zero.
April-June 12: 31 IP, 4.94 ERA, .333/.393/.481 against, 24/13 K/BB.
Now, I’m fully aware of reliever’s ERA and small sample sizes, but if this line isn’t a microcosm of this specific timeframe of the 2013 Dodgers’ season, I don’t know what is. Belisario was so awful at doing his job that the above line doesn’t even do him justice. According to B-ref, Belisario’s first SEVEN inherited runners came around to score. That helped to run his percentage of allowing inherited runners to score up to 58% (11 of 19). During this time frame, he blew four saves and allowed the only three home runs he would give up all year, ALL to right handers. One was a game-ending blast on a full count to Buster Posey, another was a game-tying bomb to Michael Cuddyer at Coors Field that allowed the Rockies to come back and win the game in extra innings, and the final one was given up to Dan Uggla that didn’t make any difference in an 8-1 loss to the #Barves.
During this half of the season, Belisario left 19 games with the Dodgers being worse off than when he entered. It got so bad that the running joke was “Oh good, here comes Belisario with two guys on. Looks like those guys will be scoring.” Even my own mom, a grown-up girl, lamented when Belisario came in, greeting him with jeers of “OH GOD HERE WE GO AGAIN”, “COME ON MATTINGLY! BELISARIO SUCKS”, and my personal favorite, “TAKE THAT IDIOT OUT OF THE GAME! WHY IS HE EVEN STILL ON THE TEAM!?” The worst part about all this? Oh, the part about it being reality and not just a dream.
Just when we all thought it couldn’t get any worse, well, it did. After his role in the infamous Ian Kennedy/Zack Greinke brawl on June 11, Belisario came on in relief the next day in the 11th inning with the game tied 4-4. His batter sequence went like this: 4-3 GO, BB, LO-7 (End 11), 2B, IF 1B, GR 2B, IBB, relieved by Brandon League. All four of the batters he faced in the 12th inning ended up scoring, and the Dodgers lost the game 6-8. Why is this important? Because the amount of earned runs that he gave up in this game would be more than the amount of earned runs that he would give up over his next 26 innings of work.
June 16-August 27: 25.2 IP, 1.05 ERA, .176/.272/.187 TSL, 22/8 K/BB
So over the next two and a half months, Belisario would do a complete 180 and TOTALLY REDEEM HIMSELF, at least for the time being. Also, OH MY GOD THE BRAWL WAS THE TURNING POINT FOR THE SEASON! Just kidding.
Anyway, during this hot streak, Belisario would allow only two(!) out of 17 inherited runners to score, and only one extra base hit (ONE EXTRA BASE HIT HOLY CRAP), a double given up on June 29 to lefty-hitting Laynce Nix, who was pinch-hitting for the right-handed John Mayberry. Hey, look! An intelligent managerial move!
If we could just extrapolate these two months over an entire season, the Dodgers wouldn’t have needed to even attempt to sign Brian Wilson. Unfortunately, Belisario is captain erratic, and as such, cannot be counted on to extend streaks of excellence.
The month of September: 11.1 IP, 7.94 ERA, .302/.400/.442 TSL, 3/7 K/BB.
Another month of extremes for Belisario. In September, he entered his highest leveraged situation all year (according to BBREF’s aLI) to get Hunter Pence to ground into a bases-loaded, inning-ending, double play (HA-HA, GNATS). In his own extreme-like fashion, he also allowed the highest amount of runs out of any of his appearances this year to (who else?) the Arizona Diamondbacks (it should be noted that in both of his horrible outings against the DBacks this season, he managed to get Goldschmidt out twice, yet let everyone else have their way with him. Everything this guy does makes no sense), leaving us all wondering if he should even be on the playoff roster.
Somewhat miraculously, he didn’t allow any inherited runners to score in the month of September (he actually only allowed 8% of his 24 inherited runners to score from June 16th on), but instead took matters into his own hands, giving up at least one run in five of his 13 appearances, and helping the team lose in two of them.
Overall, I thought Belisario was worth having in the bullpen, if only because when he was good, he was really good. I’m not sure why Chili Buss returns more recent search results on this site than Belisario, but it may be because when Belisario pitched and managed to screw something up, we all just accepted it and moved on with our lives, and the same went for when he came in and made even the best hitters look foolish. In his 2012 review, Mike highlighted Belisario’s roller coaster tendency, so it’s not like 2013 was anything new. Even when Belisario was pitching well, my ass cheeks were clamped, I was white knuckling the arm rests of my sofa, and holding my breath until he was either relieved or collecting high-fives for getting the final out.
Pass me the antacids and the drank. I’m gonna need them for Belisario’s 2014. I wrote that sentence before the Dodgers decided to non-tender him. When I announced that news to my household, mother Taylor responded with a derisive “GOOD!” I’m torn on the issue, mainly because there will be no more cocaine jokes, and the days of VND damning Don Mattingly for allowing him to pitch to left-handers are now behind us…
…until Tampa Bay resurrects his career six years from now and prompts Ned to give him a three-year deal. See you in 2021, Beli!
Next! So long, Shawn Tolleson!