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Triple Play: Matt Harvey, Matt Adams, “42″

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Triple Play: Matt Harvey, Matt Adams, “42″

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Chris Caylor

Welcome to this week’s Triple Play. This week, we will be discussing the Mets’ new ace, a young slugger called Big City, and “42.” With the season being a mere two weeks old, all the standard small-sample-size disclaimers apply. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.

matt-harvey-mets

Who’s Hot: Matt Harvey, New York Mets

I mentioned Harvey in last week’s Triple Play. He’s only gotten better. Two weeks into the season, Harvey is thrilling fantasy owners with a 3-0 record, 0.81 ERA, 0.54 WHIP and 25 strikeouts (compared with just six walks in 22 innings). While he obviously won’t continue this pace, Harvey is showing enough dominance to help Mets fans forget R.A. Dickey. Harvey’s composure on the mound has to be exciting for Mets fans, especially when you realize that he just turned 24 in March. As an added bonus for fantasy owners, Harvey will not be pitching this week at Coors Field. That’s almost as good as another victory in itself.

Who’s Not: Aaron Hicks, Minnesota Twins

Hicks earned the starting CF job for the Twins with a sizzling spring, during which he hit .370 with 18 RBI and 18 runs scored. This led to hope that the 23-year-old would be an effective table-setter in front of Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham. The regular season has been a disaster for Hicks. Through his first 10 games, Hicks has whiffed 20 times and batted a ghastly .047. Worse, Hicks got himself in manager Ron Gardenhire’s doghouse due to a lack of hustle on a routine pop-up (that was dropped by Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain). It’s nothing new for a young player to start off cold, but a lack of hustle is the surest way for Hicks to find himself back in the minors. He is fortunate that the Twins lack decent alternatives. As a fantasy owner, though, you should not hesitate to drop him if there are better options sitting on your waiver wire.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: .233/.277/.372, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 runs, 0 SB, 43 AB
Player B: .643/.667/1.214, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 5 runs, 0 SB, 17 AB

Player A is the Phillies’ Ryan Howard. Player B is St. Louis’ Matt “Big City” Adams. In addition to having a great nickname, Adams is having a great impact on the Cardinals. In just 14 at-bats (entering Sunday), Adams has punished opposing pitchers, while Howard continues to struggle at the plate. He was one of the players on my “do not touch with a 10-foot-pole” list when my auctions before the season. Adams, meanwhile, is adjusting to major-league pitching just fine, thank you. Actually, Adams’ situation right now reminds me of Howard’s situation with the Phillies in the mid-2000s. Each player had bashed his way through the minors and had an established first baseman blocking his path. In Philadelphia, it was Jim Thome. In St. Louis, Allen Craig is entrenched at first. Fortunately, the Cards have the luxury of using Craig to spell Carlos Beltran in right field, thus allowing Adams to start two or three times a week. If he keeps hitting this way, though, Adams is going to force his way into the lineup more regularly. What a wonderful “problem” for the Cardinals (and fantasy owners) to have.

Player A: 0-1, 7 K, 11.04 ERA, 2.73 WHIP
Player B: 3-0, 20 K, 0.40 ERA, 0.81 WHIP

Player A is the Blue Jays’ Josh Johnson. Player B is Justin Masterson of the Indians. Johnson is off to such a horrendous start that he could have been this week’s choice for Who’s Not. Several respectable baseball analysts have noted a decline in Johnson’s velocity compared to last season. Obviously, it’s early, but this is definitely not how most Blue Jays’ fans and fantasy owners envisioned the season starting in Toronto. On the other hand, Masterson is blossoming into a top-of-the-rotation starter in his age-28 season. In my AL-only auction league, Masterson went for the bargain price of $5, while Johnson fetched $24 from an optimistic owner. Right now, that is looking like money down the drain.

Random Thoughts on “42”

I tried to avoid reading reviews before seeing it on opening night because I didn’t want someone else’s complaints about the film in my head as I watched it. Didn’t want baseball historians nitpicking things, didn’t want film critics bashing the acting performances, cinematography, musical score or who knows what else. So, with that in mind, here are five things I took away from “42”:

1)     The acting was good. Not great, but good enough.

a. I had been apprehensive about Harrison Ford taking on the role of Branch Rickey. Would I be thinking to myself “Look, that’s Harrison Ford!” or would he immerse himself sufficiently enough that I could forget it was Ford beneath all that makeup?  I think he succeeded. He dominated his scenes without hamming it up or turning Rickey into a caricature. Bravo to Mr. Ford.

b. Chadwick Boseman’s role was difficult. The movie did not really allow for many nuances in Jackie Robinson’s character, since the film focused on a three-year span in Robinson’s life. During those three years, Robinson had to turn the other cheek; in other parts of his life, he was much more combative. Boseman wasn’t always 100% believable to me off the field, but on the field, he did well.

2)     The little things were brilliantly done. The CGI images of the stadiums in the film (particularly Ebbets Field) were gorgeous. The uniforms were as well. I’m not an historian, but if those things had not been done right, they would have bothered me. I also enjoyed the Red Barber-isms in the latter half of the film (Incidentally, Barber discovered Vin Scully. More on him below).

3)     The action on the field was pretty good. The sliding, the fielding, the baserunning all looked believable to me. And using an actual pitcher like CJ Nitkowski was a very savvy decision. As we all learned watching Bull Durham, it’s darn near impossible to teach an actor how to pitch without looking like a buffoon. Much better to leave something like that to a professional.

4)     The movie to which I compare “42” the most is “Miracle,” the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Why? Because I already knew the story going in. The hockey team, made of up of college kids, stunned the world by beating the mighty Soviets, who routinely humiliated the NHL’s best. “Miracle” did justice to the story and then some. Would “42” do the same?

5)     In my mind, the answer is a resounding yes. Many baseball analysts have complained that the movie did not cover enough of Robinson’s life. That’s an apples-and-oranges argument to me. The movie sought to tell the story Robinson breaking the unwritten color barrier in major league baseball. It does that in grand fashion. It was not an attempt to chronic Robinson’s entire life, or even his entire career. Most importantly, writer-director Brian Helgeland did not take liberties with the action on the field just to enhance the story. The uncomfortable scenes with the Phillies manager Ben Chapman happened. Racist Dodger teammates really did circulate a petition against Robinson. Robinson really did hit a late-season, game-winning home run off the Pirates pitcher who drilled him early in the season. The movie is a terrific 30,000-foot view of Robinson’s 1947 season that will thrill viewers who don’t know Robinson’s story and should not disappoint those who do. That’s enough for me.

Bonus random thought

Vin Scully is a national treasure, reason #99,999: Listening to his description of the Dodgers-Padres brawl last Thursday was just priceless. No hysterical yelling, no denouncing of the Padres or ridiculous defense of Dodger players, none of it. Just cogent observation of the action on the field. As Matt Kemp spewed one particular profanity repeatedly at the Padres, Scully said this: “That’s fertilizer, Matt Kemp says. That’s fertilizer.” I found myself smiling at how Scully turned an R-rated moment into one appropriate for all audiences, while still conveying all relevant information to his viewers or listeners. If this is his last season broadcasting, then I’m going to savor it for all it’s worth.

Follow me on Twitter @ccaylor10

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Playing the Name Game: Spring Training edition, Part Two

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Playing the Name Game: Spring Training edition, Part Two

Posted on 21 March 2013 by Chris Caylor

This is the 2nd of a two-part Spring Training edition of Playing the Name Game. In Part 1, I listed some infielders for you to focus on during your AL-only or NL-only drafts or auctions. As a reminder, I am not advocating that Player B is better than Player A; I am simply pointing out some players that may produce elite numbers at a less-than-elite cost. Now, let’s take a look at some pitchers and outfielders:

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista is brushed back by a pitch in the third inning against the New York Yankees in their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto August 23, 2010. Bautista homered on the next pitch.  REUTERS/Fred Thornhill  (CANADA - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Outfielders

Player A: .303/.371/.510, 22 HR, 85 RBI, 20 SB, 89 R, 119 OPS+

Player B: .283/.373/.441, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 21 SB, 88 R, 131 OPS+

Player A is Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. Player B is the Reds’ new centerfielder, Shin-Soo Choo. CarGo suffered in 2012, along with the rest of the Rockies (and their fans), clearly missing Troy Tulowitzki to protect him in the lineup. However, it remains questionable whether Gonzalez will reach the mid-30s in home runs again, as he did in 2010. Choo, meanwhile, bounced back from in injury-plagued 2011 season and to post solid numbers for a mediocre Cleveland team. Now that he is leading off for the deep, talented Reds, Choo could post career-high numbers. Projections I have seen have Choo virtually equaling Gonzalez in home runs, stolen bases and batting average, while besting Gonzalez in runs scored. Gonzalez will retain the edge in RBI, but Choo is being drafted 3-4 rounds later and is going for much cheaper in auction leagues.

Player A: .241/.358/.527, 27 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB, 64 R, 137 OPS+

Player B: .242/.305/.463, 32 HR, 85 RBI, 11 SB, 85 R, 110 OPS+

Player A is Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays. Player B is the Athletics’ Josh Reddick. Joey Bats’ 2012 season was marred by his wrist injury, which disabled him in July and eventually required surgery. Before that, he led the AL in home runs two consecutive seasons. Reddick came out of nowhere to mash 32 homers for the A’s in 2012. At age 26, his prime years are ahead of him. Bautista might – I repeat, might – drop of the 2nd round in some leagues due to fears about his wrist sapping his power stroke, but he won’t fall much further than that. Reddick, meanwhile, is ranked 20+ spots lower in ESPN leagues. Don’t that let deter you. The power is real and still developing. If Reddick played in a park other than the cavernous Oakland dump, he might threaten for the league home run title.

Pitchers

Finally, we come to the pitchers. In over 20 years of playing fantasy baseball, I have found it much more challenging to consistently build a good pitching staff than to construct a strong lineup. Is it because so many pitchers are one wrong pitch away from a trip to the disabled list? Or is it more that many pitchers who succeed one year struggle the next? Or is it something else entirely? Perhaps a combination of all three?

In any event, I subscribe to two theories when it comes to fantasy baseball and pitching: 1) pitchers with a solid WHIP rarely steer you wrong, and 2) do not punt the saves category. That is not to say that you should spend excessively on saves, but judiciously. Example:

Player A: 3-1 W-L, 42 Sv, 116 K, 0.65 WHIP

Player B: 2-1 W-L, 42 Sv, 69 K, 1.16 WHIP

Player A is Craig Kimbrel of the Braves. Player B is Rafael Soriano of the Nationals. Obviously, Kimbrel put together one of the most dominating seasons we have seen from a closer not named Mariano Rivera in many years. If you put aside the staggering difference in strikeouts, however, Kimbrel is not much more valuable than Soriano in standard fantasy baseball leagues. They compiled the same number of saves. The wins total is negligible. Both WHIP ratios are outstanding. But would you rather have Kimbrel (whom you would have to select in the early rounds of a draft or pay Rivera-like prices for at an auction), or would you rather use that early draft pick/big auction money on a starter like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto, knowing you can pick up Soriano several rounds later? I’d take the latter.

Player A: 20-5 W-L, 2.81 ERA, 142 K, 1.02 WHIP

Player B: 8-14 W-L, 3.81 ERA, 165 K, 1.28 WHIP

Player A is Jered Weaver of the Angels. Player B is Josh Johnson of the Blue Jays. Weaver has finished in the Top 5 in Cy Young balloting each of the past three seasons. Johnson was acquired as part of that massive trade between Toronto and Miami. Although the transition from NL to AL is typically more difficult for pitchers, that in this case is cancelled out by Johnson moving to a much better team. Forget the win-loss totals from last season; Johnson is still getting plenty of swings and misses when he pitches. Weaver missed almost a month in 2012 with back pain. Johnson is an injury-risk himself, but he is a year younger than Weaver and offers ace-like potential at No. 2 starter value. I’ll take my chances here.

Opening Day is rapidly approaching. If you’re like me and have your draft or auction coming up in the next 7-10 days, I hope this article proves helpful to you.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Bursting Bubbles

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Bursting Bubbles

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Will Emerson

The Blue Jays are not going to win the World Series. Well, I mean, not, not ever. I am sure they will win the World Series again at some point in time, but not in 2013. Yes, you read that correctly. It is not my opinion, it is a fact. No, I did not ride a Delorean into the future and steal Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac. I am not a soothsayer. Well, you got me, I almost never say sooth. I am not a mind reader and I do not have ESP. I just know that that Toronto Blue Jays will not win the World Series in 2013. This is a boldish statement, I suppose. And I am sure the best way to back this up would be with statistical proof and some sort of makings of sound reasoning, which I don’t have per se. What I do have is the 2012 Miami Marlins.

Toronto_Blue_Jays

In 2012 the Miami Marlins opened up their hearts and, well, checkbooks to Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle among others. They opened a new ballpark and they were the talk of the town. Expectations were high in the Sunshine State. The Marlins and their fans were ready to take the world, or at least the NL East, by storm. So how did that work out for the Marlins? Well they finished absolutely dead last in the NL East. They took absolutely nothing by storm. Now the Toronto Blue Jays are not the Miami Marlins, despite Toronto being the Miami of Canada, but you have to admit there are a few glaring similarities.

The 2012 Marlins went out and got themselves a superstar speedster shortstop. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The exact same superstar shortstop, to be specific. The 2012 Marlins had a new manager. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had another speedster, to go along with their superstar speedster shortstop, by the name of Emilio Bonifacio. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins got Mark Buehrle to supplement their rotation and eat some delicious innings. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had Josh Johnson in their rotation. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a fading starting pitcher named Ricky. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a couple of “superstar” hitters returning. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. Quite a few similarities there, wouldn’t ya say? Of course with similarities, there are some differences as well.

Unlike the 2012 Marlins, the 2013 Blue Jays did not, or have not, inked a “big time” closer. But, they don’t have a totally proven closer either (although I do like Santos and Jannsen) and after Bell kind of had some early season implosions it did not look like the 2012 Marlins did either. Also, the 2012 Miami Marlins did not sign a Cy Young starting pitcher like 2013 Blue Jays did. Even if R.A. Dickey does not, and he more than likely won’t, duplicate his 2012, he could still be a very reliable starter and I feel that does give the 2013 Blue Jays a slight edge over the 2012 Marlins in the starting rotation area. The 2013 Blue Jays also, unlike the 2012 Marlins, added another All-Star outfielder. But, in Melky Cabrera, does anyone really know what to expect in 2013, post PED suspension? At the very least he could be a Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison for the Jays, so there is that. The 2013 Jays also have Edwin Encarnacion, which is maybe one more bat the 2012 Marlins did not have. So yeah, on paper, the 2013 Blue Jays are a slightly better looking team than the Marlins were a year ago, but I still think Blue Jays fans will be in for a disappointing season.

I feel like there is just so much darned hype and foofarah surrounding the busy Blue Jay off-season and the team they have put together for 2013. It is a classic trap. A set up for what will seem like failure. In baseball especially there is just a certain, as the French would say, “I don’t know what” that causes what appears to be a very good team on paper, to just not come together as a cohesive unit and win a bunch of games. Look, I can’t say for sure that it is World Series or bust for the Jays and their fans, but if they don’t make the playoffs, at least, you would have to think that the season would definitely be considered as something of a failure. You know what, I am stating here first, not only will the Blue Jays not win the 2013 World Series, they will not make the playoffs in 2013. Boom. Roasted.

Not only do I expect a fairly sizable regression from Dickey and Cabrera, but even without that, the Jays are also in arguably the toughest division in baseball. The Yankees always find ways to win despite whatever soap operatic-like drama or supposed gaping weakness or what have you they may have going on. The Rays have just an all around solid squad with some superb pitching to boot. The Orioles made the playoffs last season somehow and the Red Sox should be much improved over last season (although it would be hard for them to not be). The Blue Jays have a scary roster to be sure and I can’t say how convincing my argument has been, but I am just not ready to hand anything over to them just yet. I mean, R.A. Dickey had a downright spectacular 2012, but he is no Dave Stieb. I just feel like history is getting ready to repeat itself..sort of.

Hey, I’m not saying the Blue Jays are going to finish last in their division like the 2012 Marlins did. I am certainly not saying that Blue Jays fans should not be excited about their chances. I am just saying that someone needs to burst the bubble. Well, okay, I guess no one has to go bursting the bubble, I just wanted to do it, what of it? Jays fans should just temper their expectations a tad, so they will not be as crushed come October when their team is no longer playing, much like those poor, poor souls in Miami, four months ago. But hey, what do I know, right? Well, okay, I do know this is definitely the most times I have typed the numbers 2012 and 2013 in a single post. Good day and godspeed!

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NL Pitching Planner: June 11 – June 17

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NL Pitching Planner: June 11 – June 17

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Interleague play is in full swing this week, which means even more unpredictability when it comes to pitching.  Not only do you have to try to figure out each pitchers ever changing whims, but you have to figure out how they might perform against unfamiliar opponents.

In the NL, there’s not a lot of quality up top, but there’s not a lot of crap at the bottom either, so most of your two-start pitchers are fairly safe bets.

Here are the Week 11 two-start pitchers and other favorable matchups for you NL pitchers:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Zack Greinke: 6/12 @ KC; 6/17 @ MIN – Greinke gets to face his former team for the first time this week

Johnny Cueto: 6/12 vs CLE; 6/17 @ NYM – 15-8 with a 2.42 ERA over his last 36 starts

Madison Bumgarner: 6/12 vs HOU; 6/17 @ SEA – 3.13 career ERA, but only 27-23 (if only the Giants could score)

Results

Week 9 – 7 GS, 3 QS, 4 W, 45.0 IP, 53 H+BB, 43 K’s, 22 ER, 4.40 ERA, 1.18 whip

YTD – 56 GS, 37 QS, 23 W, 360.2 IP, 406 H+BB, 348 K’s, 122 ER, 3.04 ERA, 1.13 whip

Not Too Shabby

Josh Johnson: 6/11 vs BOS; 6/17 @ TB – has not given up more than 3 ER in any of his last 6 starts

Adam Wainwright: 6/12 vs CHW; 6/17 vs KC – still not 100% back, but getting better (4.05 ERA in last 8 starts)

Ian Kennedy: 6/12 @ TEX; 6/17 @ LAA – Diamondbacks ace has only allowed one run in last two starts

Bud Norris: 6/12 @ SF; 6/17 @ TEX – the Giants are 20th in the majors in runs scored, the Rangers are first

Edwin Jackson: 6/1 @ TOR; 6/17 vs NYY – has pitched well this year, but these are tough matchups

Chris Capuano: 6/11 vs LAA; 6/17 vs CHW – 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA nearly earns him the no-brainer label

Clayton Richard: 6/12 @ SEA; 6/17 @ OAK – below average pitcher, but gets to face light hitting A’s

Randall Delgado: 6/11 vs NYY; 6/17 vs BAL – should stick in rotation thanks to strong performance of late

Chris Young: 6/12 @ TB; 6/17 vs CIN- cannot throw over 85 mph, but can still get guys out

Results

Week 9 – 18 GS, 8 QS, 8 W, 104.1 IP, 144 H+BB, 96 K’s, 47 ER, 4.05 ERA, 1.38 whip

YTD – 180 GS, 106 QS, 69 W, 1115.2 IP, 1392 H+BB, 884 K’s, 449 ER, 3.62 ERA, 1.25 whip

Risky at Best

Jeremy Guthrie:  6/12 vs OAK; 6/17 @ DET – two straight shellackings has raised talk of removal from rotation

Paul Maholm:  6/12 vs DET; 6/17 vs BOS – has given up 4 or more runs in 4 of last 5 starts

Kyle Kendrick: 6/12 @ MIN; 6/17 @ TOR – just does not have the stuff to consistently succeed

Brad Lincoln: 6/12 @ BAL; 6/17 @ CLE – 5 ER allowed in last start (4 IP) and career 4.97 ERA has me wary

Results

Week 9 – 5 GS, 3 QS, 2 W, 32.1 IP, 35 H+BB, 21 K’s, 15 ER, 4.18 ERA, 1.08 whip

YTD – 65 GS, 34 QS, 17 W, 391.1 IP, 522 H+BB, 266 K’s, 196 ER, 4.51 ERA, 1.33 whip

Other Favorable Matchups (< 50% owned)

Jason Marquis (1% owned): 6/13 @ SEA

Not for the faint of heart, but Marquis does own a 1.95 career ERA against the Mariners

Travis Wood (6% owned): 6/14 vs DET

Has never faced the Tigers, which could work in his advantage

Michael Fiers (5% owned): 6/15 @ MIN

Has pitched well in first two major league starts and faces a light hitting Twins team.

Anthony Bass (39% owned): 6/16 @ OAK

Has been surprisingly good this year and faces a weak hitting A’s team

Results

Week 9 – 3 GS, 0 QS, 1 W, 17.1 IP, 35 H+BB, 9 K’s, 18 ER, 9.35 ERA, 2.02 whip

YTD – 26 GS, 14 QS, 14 W, 163.0 IP, 214 H+BB, 150 K’s, 73 ER, 4.03 ERA, 1.31 whip

Up next is the AL.

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NL Pitching Planner:  May 14 – May 20

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NL Pitching Planner: May 14 – May 20

Posted on 13 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

Will a full slate of games for all NL teams, there is an abundance of two start pitchers to choose from this week.  So, let’s get right to it.  Here are your Week 7 two-start pitchers and favorable matchups:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-brainers

Clayton Kershaw: 5/14 vs ARI; 5/19 vs STL – he should never be on your bench, especially not when he has two starts.

Cliff Lee:  5/15 vs HOU; 5/20 vs BOS – pitched well in return from DL and facing the Astros should help

Zack Greinke:  5/15 @ NYM; 5/19 vs MIN – pitching even better than his 3.35 ERA would indicate

Stephen Strasburg:  5/15 vs SD; 5/20 vs BAL – one of the main reasons the Nats are in first place

Johnny Cueto:  5/15 @ ATL; 5/20 vs NYY – does not strike out a lot of batters, but doesn’t walk many either

No-brainer results

Week 5 – 6 GS, 6 QS, 1 W, 41.1 IP, 48 H+BB, 35 K’s, 13 ER, 2.83 ERA, 1.16 whip

YTD – 23 GS, 20 QS, 7 W, 148.0 IP, 166 H+BB, 143 K’s, 44 ER, 2.68 ERA, 1.12 whip

Not Too Shabby

Tim Lincecum:  5/15 vs COL; 5/20 vs OAK – no longer a no-brainer, but still a solid two-start option

Yovani Gallardo: 5/14 @ NYM; 5/19 vs MIN – a couple bad starts against STL, but has pitched well against everyone else

Ian Kennedy:  5/14 @ LAD; 5/19 @ KC – only really bad start was against STL (sound familiar?)

Josh Johnson: 5/15 vs PIT; 5/20 @ CLE – 4 QS in 7 GS, not exactly ace worthy, but not bad either

Anibal Sanchez: 5/14 vs PIT; 5/19 @ CLE – is he the real ace of the Marlins?

Ryan Dempster: 5/14 vs STL; 5/19 @ CHW – tough matchup against STL, but with a 1.02 ERA so far, I’ll take my chances

Erik Bedard: 5/14 @ MIA; 5/19 @ DET – may be questionable for his 5/14 start with sore back

Kyle Lohse: 5/15 vs CHC; 5/20 @ LAD – keeps getting the job done despite lack of overpowering stuff

Tim Hudson: 5/15 vs CIN; 5/20 @ TB – only poor start was at COL.  Can’t blame him for that.

Ryan Vogelsong: 5/14 vs COL; 5/19 vs OAK – COL doesn’t hit on the road and OAK just doesn’t hit

Jake Westbrook: 5/14 vs CHC; 5/19 @ LAD – has thrown quality starts in 5 of 6 outings so far

Paul Maholm: 5/15 @ STL; 5/20 vs CHW – has strung together 4 straight quality starts, but faces a tough STL lineup

Joe Blanton:  5/14 vs HOU; 5/19 vs BOS – pitching well but faces a resurgent Astros team and struggling Red Sox team

Kevin Correia: 5/15 @ MIA; 5/20 @ DET – won’t strike out many or win many, but won’t kill your ERA or whip

Ross Detwiler: 5/14 vs SD; 5/19 vs BAL – would the Nats really bump him for Chien-Ming Wang?

Anthony Bass: 5/15 @ WAS; 5/20 vs LAA – 2.37 ERA in 87.1 IP, including 2.45 ERA on the road

Wade Miley:  5/15 @ LAD; 5/20 @ KC – has impressed so far after replacing Josh Collmenter in the rotation

Christian Friedrich: 5/15 @ SF; 5/20 vs SEA – a couple nice matchups for the rookie

Not to shabby results

Week 5 – 25 GS, 15 QS, 10 W, 165.0 IP, 222 H+BB, 121 K’s, 78 ER, 4.25 ERA, 1.35 whip

YTD – 87 GS, 58 QS, 34 W, 547.2 IP, 665 H+BB, 414 K’s, 195 ER, 3.20 ERA, 1.21 whip

Risky at Best

Chad Billingsley: 5/15 vs ARI; 5/20 vs STL – has Mattingly lost confidence in him?  Pulled in 4th in last game behind only 3-2

Homer Bailey: 5/14 @ ATL, 5/19 @ NYY – consistently inconsistent

Dillon Gee: 5/15 vs MIL; 5/20 @ TOR – has not done enough to earn my trust yet

Randall Delgado:  5/14 vs CIN; 5/19 @ TB – has bounced back well from rough April, but I’m not convinced yet

Jeff Suppan: 5/14 @ WAS; 5/19 vs LAA – a couple nice starts, but let’s see what he does on the road

Miguel Batista: 5/14 vs MIL; 5/19 @ TOR – should have kept him in the bullpen

Alex White:  5/14 @ SF; 5/19 vs SEA – a couple nice matchups, but needs to prove himself after last year’s 8.42 ERA

Risky at best results

Week 5 – 6 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 37.0 IP, 58 H+BB, 25 K’s, 24 ER, 5.84 ERA, 1.57 whip

YTD – 31 GS, 15 QS, 9 W, 188.3 IP, 251 H+BB, 127 K’s, 98 ER, 4.68 ERA, 1.33 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Matt Garza: 5/16 vs PHI

The Cubs ace is 2-1 with an 0.96 ERA against the Phillies

Shaun Marcum: 5/17 @ HOU

Marcum is 2-0 with a 2.52 ERA against the Astros

Cole Hamels: 5/18 vs BOS

Hamels is 3-0 with a career ERA of 1.44 against the Red Sox

Other favorable matchups results

Week 5 – 3 GS, 2 QS, 2 W, 21.3 IP, 29 H+BB, 14 K’s, 12 ER, 5.06 ERA, 1.36 whip

YTD – 14 GS, 8 QS, 9 W, 87.3 IP, 111 H+BB, 74 K’s, 31 ER, 3.19 ERA, 1.27 whip

Up next is the AL.

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