Archive for April, 2013

Tuesday: 04.30.2013

A New Pitching Podcast – Pilot Episode

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 thespguide@gmail.com 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.

Without further ado, our pilot episode:

Download the file here. (right click, save as)

  • 0:00 – 19:30 Intro
  • 19:31 – 31:57 Jarrod Parker
  • 31:58 – 38:11 Brett Anderson
  • 38:12 – 47:18 Jeremy Hellickson
  • 47:19 – 54:42 Matt Harvey
  • 54:43 – 1:08:07 Yu Darvish
  • 1:08:08 – 1:16:32 Clay Buchholz
  • 1:16:33 – 1:26:15 Jon Lester
  • 1:26:16 – 1:37:44 Alex Cobb
  • 1:37:45 – 1:49:03 Declining Velo in April (Verlander, Sabathia, Price)
  • 1:49:02 – 1:59:11 Strasburg & the Nats
  • 1:59:12 – 2:17:20 Samardzija v. Latos
  • 2:17:21 – 2:55:04 Our Game of the Week: Lincecum v. Cashner
  • 2:55:05 – 3:07:36 Picking Next Week’s GotW
  • 3:07:37 – 3:14:42 Close

Show Notes:

Monday: 04.29.2013

Matchups of the Week (Apr 29-May 5)

Lots of goodies this week, including several today (right now, in fact)

Monday

  • Matt Harvey (NYM) at Jose Fernandez (MIA)
  • Mat Latos (CIN) at Adam Wainwright (STL)
  • Matt Cain (SF) at Ian Kennedy (ARI)

Tuesday

  • Alex Cobb (TB) at James Shields (KC)

Wednesday

  • Jordan Zimmermann (WAS) at Paul Maholm (ATL)
  • Homer Bailey (CIN) at Lance Lynn (STL)

Friday 

  • Ross Detwiler (WAS) at A.J. Burnett (PIT)

Saturday

  • Tony Cingrani (CIN) at Jeff Samardzija (CHC)
  • Jose Fernandez (MIA) at Cole Hamels (PHI)
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) at R.A. Dickey (TOR)

Sunday

  • Yu Darvish (TEX) at Jon Lester (BOS)

—–

ULTIMATE MATCHUP – Darvish/Lester

UNDERCARD MATCHUP – Cobb/Shields

 

Sunday: 04.28.2013

Henry Rodriguez’s Automatic Ball Return

Nat’s reliever Henry Rodriguez wants to save Kurt Suzuki’s arm a bit instead having the ball come back on its own.

 

hrodballreturn

Wednesday: 04.24.2013

Josh Rutledge Rips the Cover Off the Ball

Or at least some of it…

rutledgecover

Monday: 04.22.2013

Matchups of the Week (Apr 22-28)

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.)

MONDAY

  • 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 Dan Haren’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.

TUESDAY

  • 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.

WEDNESDAY

  • 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.

THURSDAY

  • 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 Justin Verlander 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.

FRIDAY

  • 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.

SATURDAY

  • 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.

SUNDAY

  • 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.

ULTIMATE MATCHUP – Sabathia/Moore

UNDERCARD – Medlen/Fister

Friday: 04.12.2013

Jose Reyes Injured After Awkward Slide

The headline (hopefully) says it all. Reyes’ footwork gets messed up, he slides way late, and ends up in extreme pain. No word yet on the extent of the injury, but I can’t imagine this turns out well for anyone.

reyesinj

Friday: 04.12.2013

Adam Jones Can’t Outfield & Chew Gum at the Same Time

Evidence:

ajonesbubbledrop

Friday: 04.12.2013

Barry Good? Not Likely.

It doesn’t take a revisionist historian to understand that the 7 year, $126 million dollar deal that the Giants gave Barry Zito was a bad idea. Looking at the results of the nearly completed deal certainly backs up those of us who thought it was an overpay at the time, but the eroding skills and results during his final years in Oakland showed a guy who was morphing from a good pitcher to an innings eater. Innings eaters shouldn’t get seven year deals, let alone $18 mil a year on top of that.

Zito had the one great season when he stole a Cy Young Award away from Pedro Martinez, but otherwise his key attribute was reliability as he a near-certainty for 34-35 starts a year. His coda with the A’s saw rapidly dwindling ability paired with remarkably fortunate ERA totals that hid from plain sight his drop into mediocrity. The first suspected culprit would be his home ballpark, known for fueling ERAs that easily outpaced the accompanying skill. Alas it was actually his road work that kept him afloat with two sub-4.00 ERAs in his final two years.

zitolast3

The results compared against the advanced ERA indicators further showed the impending doom:

zito3chart

Flash forward six-plus years and it’s not too surprising that Zito’s San Francisco career has yielded 1020 innings of 4.41 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, and 1.58 K/BB. In other words, he has been the innings eater we saw developing back in his late-20s logging 32 or more starts in all but one of his seasons with the other Bay Area ballclub (2011).

Two starts into the final year of this nightmare deal for the Giants has seen Zito mow down his competition for 14 scoreless innings, a 2-0 record, and an even 1.00 WHIP. Maybe it is the difficulty of finding topics early in the season or maybe some actually believe it to be true, but these two outings have spurred talks of some sort of rejuvenation for Zito with some suggesting that a situation may arise where he is on the cusp of 200 innings and the Giants may be inclined to fiddle with him in the rotation to avoid that threshold as it would kick in a 2014 vesting option for $18 million dollars. Slow your roll, folks.

Zito hasn’t yet thrown 200 innings as a Giant and only once has he been better than league average by ERA- registering a 98 in 2009, or two percent better than league average. Meanwhile, his next 2.0 K/BB ratio with the Giants will be his first. Furthermore, we’ve been down this road before.

First off, something about season openers sits well with Zito. In his last four season debuts, he has a 0.96 ERA and 0.68 WHIP in 28 innings with all three runs given up in 2011. He stayed hot in 2010 posting a 1.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 35.3 innings across five stats. His opponents in those five starts included four of the worst offenses in baseball that year: Houston (29th in wRC+), Pittsburgh (28th), LA Dodgers (22nd), St. Louis (12th), and Colorado (27th on the road). The rest of the year he put up a 4.72 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 164 innings.

He did it all again last year. After kicking off the season with a shutout of the Rockies (in Colorado no less!), he reeled off another trio of gems yielding a 1.67 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 27 April innings. He deserves plenty of credit for thwarting the Rockies in Coors as they were the 8th-best home offense, but the next three outings came against Pittsburgh (26th), NY Mets (22nd), and Cincinnati (23rd, but in fairness, 17th at home). The rest of the way? He was quite pumpkin-like with a 4.58 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 157.3 innings.

There is nothing in the 35 year old’s game that suggests these first two starts are indicative of a forthcoming strong season. His velocity continues to drop toward Moyerian levels checking in at 82.9 MPH this year, continuing a four-year plunge from 2009’s 86.5 MPH. It will be a major upset if he is an above average starter for 200+ innings and these first two starts don’t change the odds much, if at all. Fantasy managers, step away from your waiver wires, there’s nothing to see here.

Monday: 04.8.2013

Worst Strike Call Ever?

The game-ending call in Arlington on Monday night was undoubtedly one of the worst strike calls I’ve ever seen. Even closer Joe Nathan knows they got away with one they most certainly did not deserve.

worstcallever

 

Edit to add: Excellent stuff here by MLB.com posting it with all four calls (home and away TV and radio). Hat tip to my co-host Jason Collette for posting that on Facebook.

Monday: 04.8.2013

Podcast Monday

Are you sitting at your desk thinking, “I wanna hear MORE of Paul’s voice, after all he only does a 2+ hour podcast each week!”?

You’re not alone and I have just the remedy for you.

  • First off, here is the latest episode of the aforementioned podcast I co-host with Jason Collette.

 

 

 

 

Listen to them all back-to-back-to-back-to-back for best results!!!!

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