The Yanks start Joba Chamberlain. The Mets start Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox start top prospect Justin Masterson.
You probably didn’t know any of that because traditional media is obsessed with Radhames Liz’s earning a win in his first Orioles start and Ross Gload’s struggles at winning back the Royals starting 1B position. That’s why we’re here. We like to muckrake.
So Joba was extended to 62 pitches tonight and made it all the way to 2 1/3 innings. He didn’t get hit. He couldn’t throw strikes. 4 BB in 2 1/3 IP. His control has been off all year – close to double last year’s rate. Not sure why the young Yankee pitchers forgot to throw strikes this year. I had better strike zone management playing wiffle ball in my backyard growing up.
Onto Pedro…nothing says “We missed you” like having your first start at San Francisco opposite Barry Zito. The control isn’t there yet for Pedro but his stuff looks solid for Met-era Pedro. Up 9-3 after 5 IP and throwing 90 pitches, it looked to everyone – including the announcers – that Pedro would be done for the night. But Willie was feeling a little grady (get it?) and sent him back out – probably b/c the bullpen was wiped after Oliver Perez’s 1/3 of an inning start the day before. Pedro gave up two straight hits before striking out two of the last three. Pedro’s relying on guile and his curve more than peak-era Pedro but this version could still win 10 games with decent ERA/WHIP/Ks. (BTW, isn’t it fitting that as one of Manny’s favorites goes on the DL, another one comes off? Everything turns out even steven for Manny – he’s like the Dominican Magoo.)
As for Justin Masterson, 6 innings of 6.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP isn’t that exciting but he got the win against your 1st place Rays. With Dice-K on the DL, he’ll likely get another start or two. Depending on the matchup, he could be worth a flier. Based on recent Sox pitching prospect history, there’s an 100% chance Masterson throws a no-hitter in his next couple of starts. On a more tragic note, there’s a 50% chance that he has cancer.
Dan Uggla – Is 2B the new 1B? Uggla hit 2 bombs against Campillo and now only trails fellow second-bagger Utley for the MLB lead. When I look at his underlying stats, I’m surprised at how not surprising they are. Sure, his .300+ average is unsustainable given he has a Howardesque K rate of 30% (that’s 180K in 600 AB!). At that rate, he’s lucky to hit .270 the rest of the way. But he hit 49 doubles and 31 HRs last year. That topped Hanley on both counts (48 and 29). If he fell back to last year’s rate, he’s still got at least 15 more HRs left for this season. In a year where Cano no can do and Weeks is weak, it’s got to be nice being an Uggla owner this year….
Khalil Greene – …but, instead, I have this schmohawk. He also had an incredible number of extra base hits for an infielder last year (44 doubles, 27 HRs) that you could draft in late rounds. But he’s been Razztastic this year. .214 average with only 12 extra base hits (7 doubles, 5 HRs). You know how much it hurts to know that my Razzball SS (Cristian Guzman) is crushing Greene in all statistics? If I had him in a shallower league, I’d drop him and pick him back up when I saw signs of life. For now, I’m just grinning and bearing it.
Albert Pujols – Left the game in the 4th inning due to calf tightness. Early reports of a hairline fracture were later corrected to a hairline recession.
Aaron Harang – 3.86 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 74 Ks in 82 IP. In line with all expectations. Well, except he’s 2-8 now after being outdueled tonight by Adam Eaton. I assume most offenses try their best to hit for struggling starting pitchers. The Giants had to be pressing to score a couple touchdowns when Zito started the season on a well-deserved 0-fer streak. But Harang? The Reds offense just hates him. They turn into a deadbell-era offense. Hell, even Jay Bruce pretends to be mortal.
Zack Greinke - 6 IP, 8 ER, 4 HR allowed…Greinkes! He’s still a useful fantasy pitcher but consider him no higher than a 5th starter. Why? The Royals suck and Greinke is just a good pitcher. 4.00 ERA at best. A little better than average Ks. Since I traded him to Grey for a since-dropped Melky Cabrera, Greinke has thrown 45 IP at a 5.40 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. I can’t believe the ESPN experts think he’s going to be more valuable going forward than Billingsley, Maine, Burnett, and Marcum. If you can swap him for any of those guys, do it. Do it now.
Randy Johnson – Now #2 in career Ks. Mullet over for a bit. It’s hard to trump Clemens these days but the Big Surly did it. Solid start by Randy (8 K’s) but he got hit in the 6th and 7th. Arizona should be content if he gives them a solid 6 IP at this point..
Erik Bedard – Another bad start for the best Canadian pitcher in the game. Buy him now as the hockey season is almost over so he’ll stop being distracted. Just make sure Alanis Morissette or Bryan Adams aren’t playing in the same city where he’s pitching.