Thursday, March 31, 2011

Verlander's Early Season Woes

Over the last 3 years, Justin Verlander has started slowly each year, costing him a couple of 20-win seasons and a lot of Cy Young votes even with strong finishes in the last 2 years.  He is more important than ever to the Tigers' postseason hopes this season, and they need him to start strong.  He is facing off today against the powerful Yankees' lineup, so it's a big early season test for him.

March and April
2008: 1-4, 6.50 ERA (11-17, 4.84)
2009: 1-2, 6.75 ERA (19-9, 3.45)
2010: 1-2, 5.53 ERA (18-9, 3.37)

Update: After a strong start (for a couple of innings, anyway), he allowed a 3-run HR to Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the 3rd.  It's not a good sign, but he could still emerge with a decent start if he settles down.

Update: He did settle down after the Teixeira HR, and finished up with 6 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 3 R and 8 SO.  All in all, not too bad considering that all the damage came on one swing.  His next start will be on the road against Baltimore, who should be improved over last year, but are still not the Yankees.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Top Middle Relievers, 2008-2010

Pitcher Mike Adams of the San Diego Padres

3.00 ERA or lower, 30+ IP, 5 or fewer starts, 5 or fewer saves (2008-2010)
Arthur Rhodes (Mariners, Marlins, Reds)
Darren Oliver (Angels, Rangers)
Ramon Ramirez (Royals, Red Sox, Giants)
Mike Adams (Padres)

It's interesting that two of these pitchers (Oliver, Rhodes) are lefties that turned 40 within the past few years.  In fact, they're probably going to the be only two left-handed pitchers in baseball who will be over 40 when the season starts. 

Ramirez was lights out after being acquired by the Giants at the end of July (0.67 ERA in 27 IP), although he did struggle in the postseason (13.50 ERA in 4 IP).

Adams has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last few years.  His combined ERA in 2009 and 2010 was 1.39 was 103 innings (the best in baseball of anyone with 70+ IP over the last two years.  It's an amazing run and he is one to watch in 2011.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Great Pitching: 2nd Half, 2010

90+ IP, 2.50 ERA or lower (Post All Star Break, 2010)
Felix Hernandez (Mariners) 112 IP, 1.53 ERA (2010 overall: 249.2 IP, 2.27 ERA)
Max Scherzer (Tigers) 102, 2.47 (195.2, 3.50)
Cole Hamels (Phillies) 96.2, 2.23 (208.2, 3.06)
Wandy Rodriguez (Astros) 93.2, 2.11 (195, 3.60)
Roy Oswalt (Astros/Phillies) 91.2, 2.36 (211.2, 2.76)
Daniel Hudson (White Sox/D-Backs) 91.1, 2.07 (95.1, 2.45)

It's another reminder of how good the Phillies' rotation should be this year and that Felix Hernandez could be a 25-game winner on a good team. 

I thought a year ago that Wandy Rodriguez might have a breakout season in 2010, but he got off to a bad start and wasn't able to recover in time.  His SO/BB got worse last year, but he still strikes out over 8 hitters per 9 innings and is difficult to hit.  He is a decent candidate once again for a breakout season.

Max Scherzer also started very slow (3-6, 6.14 ERA on June 15th), but he showed how dominating he can be in the final few months.  Over the final 2 months, he had 73 SO and only allowed 22 walks.

Daniel Hudson came out of nowhere and is due to come back to earth a little bit, but he might be a top-line starter in 2011 too.  Over the final 2 months of his season, he struck out 70 and only allowed 16 walks.  He'll be one of the more interesting starters to watch at the beginning of the season.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mat Latos

sub-1.10 WHIP, 3.75+ SO/BB, 30+ Starts, 23 or younger (1900-present)
1910 Walter Johnson (Senators)
1966 Don Sutton (Dodgers)
1968 Tom Seaver (Mets)
1984 Dwight Gooden (Mets)
1985 Dwight Gooden (Mets)
1985 Bret Saberhagen (Royals)
2010 Mat Latos (Padres)

If Latos has ended his season on September 7th, it would have looked even better.  He went from 14-5 with a 2.21 ERA to being 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA after his final start on October 3rd.  Despite this, it was an exceptional season considering his age and he'll probably start finishing higher than 8th in the Cy Young voting this season.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Training vs. Regular Season

Top 5, W-L% (Spring Training, 2008-2010)
  • 2010
    • Rays (.750; 96-66)
    • Indians (.732; 69-93)
    • Padres (.679; 90-72)
    • Giants (.657; 92-70, WS Champs)
    • Cubs (.650; 75-87)
  • 2009
    • Angels (.779; 97-65)
    • Brewers (.734; 80-82)
    • Yankees (.721; 103-59)
    • Cardinals (.745; 91-71)
    • Braves (.636; 86-76)
  • 2008
    • Rays (.731; 97-65, AL Champs)
    • Angels (.724; 100-62)
    • A's (.692; 75-86)
    • Marlins (.683; 84-77)
    • Brewers (.672; 90-72)
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