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Archive for the ‘Starting Pitching’ Category

Stephen Strasburg and First-Pitch Strikes

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I’ve mentioned this before, ironically enough because the great Thomas Boswell discussed something along these lines, and here comes Boswell again discussing the importance of first-pitch strikes, this times in terms of Stephen Strasburg’s early-season “struggles.”

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Written by jjvedamuthu

April 25, 2013 at 12:15

Indians Rotation Wretched, as Expected

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Wow, with the exception of Justin Masterson, the starting pitching for the Cleveland Indians has been, well, terrible.

This does make them, you know, kind of entertaining, as their offense is decent, and could end up being better that merely decent, so they will play in lots of softball-like games with plenty of scoring. This will, of course, drive the true Indians faithful, a long-suffering lat for sure, crazy, for they will lose a number of games in which they score 6—or even more—runs.

The real lesson out of all this, of course, is that major league teams should stop paying Brett Myers a single penny above the major-league minimum salary, and that might even be too much money as he may well be the poster boy for “below-replacement-level fodder.” But perhaps I’m being too hard on Myers as Ubaldo Jimenez, pictured above, has also been awful.

 

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 12, 2013 at 13:34

No Harang for the Twins

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The Mariners have acquired Aaron Harang from the Rockies thus precluding the Twins from doing the same, something I speculated about here.

On the one hand, showing faith in your youngsters is an essential part of true rebuilding efforts such as the one in which the Twins find themselves. On the other hand, signing guys like Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia, well, let’s just say those acquisitions are in no way exciting for Twins fans.

Aaron Harang would be the same sort of thing, really. Except he’s been better than either Pelfrey or Correia.

Oh well. Here’s hoping that the kids will be readier for the Twins sooner rather than later.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 12, 2013 at 13:22

Jered Weaver and the Angel Response (Updated)

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Weaver is going to the 15-day DL, but he will be lost to the Angels for 4 to 6 weeks.

The interesting thing is that there are arguments that run both ways over how this injury will affect the Angels.

Buster Olney talked about it today on his podcast, noting that the Angels possess little starting pitching depth. His replacement will be Garrett Richards, who has not produced at anywhere near Weaver’s level.

Now, what is problematic about simply assuming that Richards will necessarily provide less production than Weaver is that Weaver has shown diminished velocity, and he has been rather ineffective so far in 2013. In fact, in a way, given his reduced velocity and lack of effectiveness, Weaver’s injury may–may–save the Angels from having a Roy Halladay-like situation on their hands in the way the Phillies do. (I mean, how much time can the Phillies afford to give Halladay to right himself? To call his performance thus far sub-replacement level is a kindness in that it elides its actual awfulness.)

On Monday Dave Cameron called the dip in Weaver’s fastball velocity a “giant red flag.”

On Tuesday Cameron argued that the relationship between Weaver’s fastball velocity and his effectiveness might mean that the loss of Weaver may not mean much in the long run since putting a substandard Weaver out there on the mound might not have produced significantly–note the word “significantly” here–better results than using Richards in his place. While bearing in mind that Weaver’s projected performance remains slightly better than Richard’s, Cameron concluded “it won’t matter that much.”

While I am sympathetic to Cameron’s analysis, and I think it saves the Angels from having to run him out to mound, grit their teeth, and pray for him to be effective in the same way the Phillies are going to have to do with Halladay, I also am sympathetic to the perspective arguing that the loss of Weaver may well expose the Angels’ weaknesses. And it will probably really ramp up the pressure on Josh Hamilton, who needs to produce lest he be labelled a free agent bust.

Look, the Angels have spent a ton of money in the past two off-seasons signing former MVPs on the free agent market, and the expectations surrounding them are huge. While they had a better record than the AL Champion Tigers last season, they still finished behind both the A’s and the Rangers. And their rotation did not get better. All of this means their offense has to be as spectacular as advertised, and their bullpen needs to be solid as well, and it needs to do so over more innings than it worked last year in order to compensate for a weakened rotation.

In other words, a lot of moving parts now need to move in concert for the Angels for the next few weeks.

UPDATE–A profile of Garrett Richards and his pitches. It’s not too encouraging for a starting pitcher.

Written by jjvedamuthu

April 10, 2013 at 12:01

Twins Interested in Harang

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Given the state of their starting pitching (the key line in the piece calls the Twins rotation the “worst group the league has to offer, on paper”) , acquiring Aaron Harang from the Rockies probably wouldn’t be the worst idea their front office has ever had.

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Written by jjvedamuthu

April 8, 2013 at 17:03

Posted in Starting Pitching, Twins

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