Brian Smith's article from yesterday's game focuses on Phil Humber.
In short, he's been awful. Take a look at his first three starts:
18.2IP, 17H/6ER, 8K:4BB. 67% of his pitches for strikes, 29% of of his strikes were non-contact strikes. The Astros scored one run total in his three starts, so he was 0-3 with a 2.89 ERA.
And then Cleveland happened. Between his one-out appearance in Cleveland, and his battery last night, here are the stats from Humber's last two starts:
5IP, 18H/15ER, 5K:4BB. A 1.580 OPS-against (.563/.611/.969). 58% of his pitches for strikes. In the Cleveland game, there wasn't a single player who swung and missed. Nine of those eighteen hits have been for extra-bases, and now he's 0-5 with a 7.99 ERA (and that's with a 4.69 FIP, and a 4.66 xFIP).
Reading Humber's comments to Smith, this is a guy who is lost.
"It's just pathetic. I didn't give our team a chance to win obviously the time before and definitely not this time. I'm definitely not doing my job right now..."
When asked what it will take to re-gain his early-season form, he replied:
"I don't know. I really don't."
Obviously, the confidence isn't there - and it's easy to see why. Having watched all of Humber's outings in his last two starts (my wife run-ruled it, and changed the channel after he was yanked), everything he's throwing is flat and looks like a beach ball for opposing hitters - he's allowed ten line drives and two homers in his last five innings pitched.
Maybe it's a good idea to skip Humber's next start. Let Clemens or Cisnero make a spot start, since the bullpen is by now used to having to throw multiple innings just to get through a game.