Welcome to the second episode of TINSTAAPP: There Is No Such Thing As APitching Podcast! Hey we have a name! Everything is neatly cataloged so you can decide what segment best fits the time you have available. We should be in iTunes soon, too. Just awaiting their approval.
In the meantime you can add the RSS feed into your podcatcher: http://tinstaapp.libsyn.com/rss
Jeremy Guthrie has a 3.06 ERA through five starts which looks like a continuation of his post-trade work with the Royals from last season when he had a 3.16 ERA in 91 innings over 14 starts. All told, he had a 3.14 ERA in 123 2/3 innings with 1.10 WHIP. He is blasting the zone resulting in a minuscule 5.8 percent walk rate – a marked improvement over his 6.9 percent career rate. His strikeout rate is at 16 percent as a Royal, up from a 14.3 career mark. Everything seems to suggest he has found a new level of production in his early-30s with his new club.
That strikes me as odd, though.
You don’t usually see a guy with 1111 innings of a certain level of production become something significantly better in their 30s. At least not without a major change in their pitch mix either by adding a pitch or using what he has differently. There hasn’t been any of that with Guthrie which made his improvement even more suspicious. This split of his innings as a Royal definitely stood out:
Guthrie has owned his Saturday night opponent since becoming a Royal and it is driving his new found success. Against the rest of the league, he’s simply been the solid, if unspectacular Jeremy Guthrie we’ve known for nearly a decade, but he’s a Cy Young frontrunner against the Pale Hose. Let’s see if he continues the dominance tonight in Kauffman Stadium.
For those wondering, two of these five starts have come in Kauffman Stadium and he’s allowed five runs, but only one earned in 13 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
From the gentlemen who brought you the 2013 Starting Pitching Guide comes a brand new podcast dedicated to… wait for it … pitching!!! We started discussing the notion of this podcast all the way back in the winter when we first linked up to discuss the guide. Then after the success of the SP Guide and just how well we got along, it was a no-brainer to follow through with that original idea and thus a pilot episode is born. For those of you who like long-form podcasts, you’re going to be drooling over this one.
That said I think I’ve come up with a way for it to appeal to even those who don’t like long-form. If you want to stretch the podcast out throughout your work week, I have labeled all of our segments by timestamp so you can pick & choose what you want to listen to as it fits your available time. We don’t yet have a name for the show, but I think we’ve decided one and once it’s set in stone, we’ll be in iTunes. We will also be setting up the obligatory email, Facebook page, and Twitter accounts, too. Until then, we would love your emails at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions you would like answered on the show.
This is entirely a starting pitcher episode, but it’s a pitching podcast at large so if you have questions about relievers, that works. We do inject a little fantasy baseball talk into the show, but we’re not fielding any “should I trade for pitcher x or cut pitcher z?” questions. My other show, The Towers of Power Fantasy Hours, is fantasy-related and that would be the avenue for those types of questions. We also encourage you to watch our Game of the Week discussed starting at the 2:55:05 mark so you can follow along as we discuss it on next week’s episode.
Trying out this new idea where each week I’ll take you through the most intriguing pitching matchups for the upcoming seven days. I’ll pick the ultimate matchup (think Strasburg v. Harvey of last Friday) as well as an undercard matchup pitting two pitchers you might not otherwise instantly be drawn to if you were perusing the slate. If you can’t watch every night, these would be the two I’d go for above all. I haven’t decided exactly how I’ll review the picks each week, but I have seven days to figure that out.
(Obviously any and all of these are subject to change so bear with me if they don’t pan out as I’m using probable starters.)
CC Sabathia (NYY) v. Matt Moore (TB) – A battle of southpaw pitting the veteran star against the up and coming young gun. This is far and away the best of Monday especially since DanHaren’s early season struggles have rendered his outing against Shelby Miller a bit more one-sided in the youngster Miller’s favor. That said, I’ll still be checking it out.
Wade Davis (KC) v. Max Scherzer (DET) – Scherzer has picked up right where 2012 left off with a silly 40 percent strikeout rate while Davis has transitioned back into the rotation quite nicely so far possibly making some re-think their position on the Wil Myers trade. It’s still way early, but the Royals have to be happy with the returns so far.
Adam Wainwright (StL) v. Ross Detwiler (WAS) – Wainwright hasn’t walked a single batter in his 29 innings of work while also fanning a career-best 25 percent of the batters he is facing. Detwiler succeeds on a pitch-to-contact/groundball approach. He took some major steps forward last year and the improvement is sticking so far in 2013.
Jeff Samardzija (CHC) v. Mat Latos (CIN) – A couple of young guns tangle in a day game at the Great American Ballpark and hopefully they can shut down the opposing lineups in a park known for offense. Latos is looking to keep his hot start going despite a career riddled with April struggles.
Ian Kennedy (ARI) v. Madison Bumgarner (SF) – Kennedy has been up and down so far this year, but he escaped with a baseline quality start in Coors Field which hopefully gets him back on track. Bumgarner, meanwhile, is one the most exciting young arms in baseball.
Andy Pettitte (NYY) v. Alex Cobb (TB) – The finale of this series gives us another matchup of old v. new with both pitchers toting sparkling ERAs south of 2.60 including Pettitte at just 2.01 through 22.3 innings.
James Shields (KC) v. Anibal Sanchez (DET) – Sanchez is a bit overlooked in that deep Detroit rotation, but he has arguably been the team’s best pitcher since late last August. That’s not an easy feat when you’re teammates with JustinVerlander and Scherzer. Early on, Shields hasn’t missed the friendly home ballpark or sparkling team defense he left behind in Tampa Bay as he aptly fulfills the ace role KC sorely needed.
Jeremy Hellickson (TB) v. Jake Peavy (CWS) – The list is Tampa-heavy, but of course pitching is their strength and they are facing several strong starters this week, too.
Homer Bailey (CIN) v. Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) – Two of my favorites going toe-to-toe in DC as NL superpowers play what should be an exciting early season series. Both pitchers look great early on, too.
Kris Medlen (ATL) v. Doug Fister (DET) – If the defenses are on point, this groundball fest could be a breezy two and a half hour matchup, hopefully with my beloved Tigers faring better than they did when they were on FOX this past Saturday.
Mike Minor (ATL) v. Max Scherzer (DET) – I didn’t just pick a bunch of Tigers games because they are my favorite team. I actually believe these should be some great matchups. Oddly enough, Verlander wasn’t included in any of them. This is the Sunday night game on ESPN.
Kyle Lohse (MIL) v. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) – There is a major disparity in how these two succeed, but Lohse has maintained success even after skipping all of Spring Training as a free agent. Kershaw, of course, is simply awesome.