Saturday, August 28, 2010

Game Picks - Saturday: August 28, 2010

Holy crap! Another bad day for this picker. That's two horrible days in a row. Ugh! This picker is never going to pick a game that A. J. Burnett starts again. Once again, the Rockies can't score for Ubaldo and he gives it up at the end. The Phillies balked the tying run home in the ninth and still won. Lincecum has now lost five in a row. Carl Crawford gets the flu before the Bay Rays can play Boston. The Blue Jays out pitched Verlander. What a mess.

Saturday just HAS to be better!

  • The Phillies over the Padres: Garland has never beaten the Phillies and his career ERA against them is near 8.
  • The Blue Jays over the Tigers: Morrow has a big game and Figaro Figaro Figaro loses.
  • The Cardinals over the Nationals: The Cardinals starting to roll again. Lohse gets his second straight win and Livan takes the loss.
  • The Mariners over the Twins: Fister has been really good at home. Can't go with the Twins with Blackburn pitching.
  • The Mets over the Astros: Good duel here between Myers and Santana, but the Mets prevail.
  • The Yankees over the White Sox: Thank goodness for Sabathia. He is 15-4 against the White Sox in his career.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: Arroyo seems likely to fall apart any day, but he hasn't so far. Wells gets the loss.
  • The Royals over the Indians: Greinke has a good game and Gomez gets Festered for the second time in a row.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: Hudson ends the losing streak in a tough match up with Nolasco. Heyward comes up big.
  • The Bay Rays over the Red Sox: Garza is 7-3 lifetime against the Red Sox. Buchholz though is scary good.
  • The Pirates over the Brewers: Capuano is a nice story, but he should stay in the bullpen, not start. Duke wins.
  • The Rangers over the Athletics: Harden strikes out ten A's as Braden gets the hard luck loss.
  • The Dodgers over the Rockies: Billingsley comes up big and Jhoulys is ghouly against the Dodgers.
  • The Orioles over the Angels: Millwood keeps the O's in the game long enough for the right-handed bats to get enough runs off of Kazmir.

And the Game of the Day

  • The Diamondbacks over the Giants: Barry Zito has not pitched well of late and never pitches well versus the D-backs. Young Hudson gets the win.

Yesterday: 6-9
Week: 33-29
Month: 183-143
Season: 1084-798
Games of the Day: 71-56

One More Look at National League MVP

The two names that grab all the headlines for National League MVP are Joey Votto and Albert Pujols. The two are not only fighting for their team's chances in the NL Central, but also for personal glory in the Triple Crown categories. Both are having monster seasons. Votto has emerged to superstar status while Pujols is doing what Pujols always does. You can forget about other candidates such as Torres for San Francisco (slick fielding still hasn't grabbed the throat of voters) and Ryan Zimmerman (plays for a losing team). The other candidate that has to be mentioned is Adrian Gonzalez.

One of the biggest obstacles in determining the value of the three first basemen is the complete incompatibility of Fangraphs and when it comes to glove ratings. Just for an example, Fangraphs rates Mark Teixeira as a -6 fielder, or worse than Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder or Garret Jones. That seems a little dubious to this writer. rates Teixeira's fielding at a plus 2. That's an 8 point swing in value between the two sites. How do you figure that? Do you split the difference? What do you do with it? The Fan tried to do a  search on those who compare the two sites, and could find none (quickly at least). So maybe someone can help here.

But it is a big difference maker. For example, Fangraphs rates the three players in WAR thusly: Votto - 6.0; Pujol - 6.0 and Gonzalez at 4.8. That valuation clearly dumps Gonzalez out of the picture. But rates them thusly: Gonzalez - 5.7; Pujols - 5.6 and Votto at 4.8. The big difference is in the fielding category where B-R rates Gonzalez much higher than Fangraphs does.

One other thing that should play into voters minds is where Gonzalez plays half of his games. His home park is not friendly to hitters and it clearly shows in the splits. Here are the home/away splits for the three players:

Joey Votto
Home: .306/.397/.528    15 homers
Away: .345/.446/.634    16 homers

Albert Pujols
Home: .352/.444/..648   17 homers
Away: .290/.387/..563   17 homers

Joey Votto
Home: .280/.392/.463    10 homers
Away: .324/.388/.576    17 homers

It seems that Gonzalez pays a big penalty in where he plays at Petco Park for half his games. That brings his offensive values way down. It seems reasonable to state that if Votto played half his games in Cincinnati or St. Louis, he would come close to his away numbers.

Some other numbers for you:

wOBA: Votto - .440; Pujols - .423; Gonzalez - .385
Line Drive Percentage: Votto - .19.2%; Pujols - 18.2%; Gonzalez - 19.1%
BABIP: Votto - .361; Pujols - .305; Gonzalez - .323.   (this would seem to suggest that Votto should slow down)

Another thing to consider is relative worth to the batting order. Pujols has Holliday behind him. Votto has Rolen (having a great season). Gonzalez has...uhh...nevermind. Managers haven't taken to intentionally walking Votto. He's only gotten 4 such free passes thus far. Albert Pujols has been given a lot of respect in that he has 31 intentional bases on balls. But Gonzalez is pretty close with 22 of his own. Joey Votto has hit 21.3% of his team's homers. Pujols has hit 27.4% of his team's homers. Gonzalez has hit 25.7% of his team's homers. Gonzalez is tied with Pujols in getting 13.1% of his team's hits. Votto has 12.7% of his team's hits.

Not doubt that all three players are having fantastic seasons and are a major part of their team's run for the playoffs. If you go completely by Fangraphs, Votto and Pujols are the only two viable candidates. But if you look at, Adrian Gonzalez is right in the mix.


A. J. Burnett may be a nice guy. The Fan has no idea. He may be a charming individual and a real credit to society. No clue. But the guy is simply killing the Yankees this year. After giving up earned runs on eleven base runners to the Chicago White Sox in three and a third innings on Friday night, Burnett's ERA is now sitting at 5.17. His WHIP is approaching 1.5. He has his highest HR/9 in his career. He has his lowest K/BB ratio since 2003. He has his worst K/9 since 2001. His ERA+ is now at 82. He's just been flat out awful.

 Burnett is now 2-5 in the second half. He had a good April and a pretty good July. Every other month has been horrible. The trouble with Burnett is that he has no middle ground. He has a .517 OPS against in his nine wins. He has a 1.079 OPS against in his twelve losses. In those twelve losses, he's given up 17 homers.and 90 hits in just 59 innings.  His WHIP in losses is 2.017. His BB/9 in losses is 5.34. Sure, he's been good in his wins with a gaudy 0.74 ERA. But good golly, there aren't enough of them. If Burnett could just be average in all of his starts, the Yankees would be better off. Because when Burnett is not good, the Yankees have no shot to win. Even Freddie Garcia would be an improvement. Is Millwood available? Sheesh.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Game Picks - Friday: August 27, 2010

This picker had a bad day yesterday. And it wasn't a good time to do that. Thanks to a link from the Seattle Times from a Geoff Baker article, this site exploded yesterday and had it's best one day attendance. That's great and the Fan is grateful to Mr. Baker. But it would have looked better if the picks hadn't looked like a moron made them. Oh well. Friday is another day.

Friday's picks:

  • The Cardinals over the Nationals: That was quite the comeback yesterday, eh? Maybe that will spark this team. Garcia should beat Olsen.
  • The Royals over the Indians: Bullington gets his second major league win and Tomlin give up just enough runs to get sunk.
  • The Mets over the Astros: The Fan is completely torn here. Figueroa beat his old team last time out and Pelfrey hasn't been a sure thing for a long time. Crap. Going with the Mets at home.
  • The Tigers over the Blue Jays: The Tigers are rolling and Verlander pitches tonight. That should be enough to beat Marcum and crew. The one caveat here is that the Tigers are a terrible road team and the Blue Jays play well at home.
  • The Reds over the Cubs: These are the kinds of games the Reds simply have to win. Gorzelanny versus Cueto.
  • The Bay Rays over the Red Sox: Price neutralizes Drew and Ortiz. Lester has been shaky. The Bay Rays are at home.
  • The Braves over the Marlins: The Braves have to regroup now that they are home. Hanson has to come up big. Volstad has been awful of late but Hanley Ramirz is on fire since the Marlins took him out of the lead off spot.
  • The Athletics over the Rangers: Mr. Anderson has a big game and Mr. Hunter has not been good lately.
  • The Brewers over the Pirates: McDonald has had rough going but Narveson has really started to show something besides being a good hitting pitcher.
  • The Yankees over the White Sox: Burnett has been terrible but gets a bone tonight in that he's away from home and gets Garcia pitching on the other side.
  • The Rockies over the Dodgers: The Rockies are on a Rocky Mountain High at home plus have Ubaldo on the mound. Of course, the Rockies never score for Jiminez these days and counter with Kershaw.
  • The Orioles over the Angels: Bergesen has shown glimpses of last year of late and the Angels counter with Bell who has been rung too often.
  • The Padres over the Phillies: Latos out pitches Oswalt as those perky Padres continue to roll. The Phillies just got swept by Houston!
  • The Twins over the Mariners: Vargas has been good but the Twins should beat the Mariners' offense with Baker.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Giants over the Diamondbacks. Enright has been great for the D-backs but faces Lincecum at home.

Yesterday: 3-6  ouch!
Week: 27-20
Month: 177-134
Season: 1078-789
Games of the Day: 71-55

Some Thoughts About Contenders

A MLB season is a long, long road and it becomes very easy to get lost in today's trends. After all, the Tigers couldn't beat the Indians two weeks ago and now look like one of the best teams in the American League for the last week and a half. The White Sox looked pathetic for more than half the season and caught and passed the Twins. Even those two stories are easy to get conned by as the Tigers will still come up short in the division and the White Sox have had a real stinky week. After saying all of that, there are some things that are disturbing for just about every contender out there. There really isn't a juggernaut like Piniella's Mariners or the '98 Yankees. Risking the minefield that comes from making predictions based on the here and now, here are some thoughts about the contenders based on the last couple of weeks.

AL East

The Yankees suddenly seem very vulnerable. Vazquez has been banished. Hughes is inconsistent lately and is on a pitch count anyway. Pettitte is still not back. Swisher is banged up. A-Rod is out. Jeter still isn't hitting. Posada looks like a worse catcher every day and you can't count on Granderson for much of anything. They don't look confident and they don't look well.

The Bay Rays have their own problems in their rotation which was once their biggest savior. Niemann came back from the DL and got shellacked. Hellickson has (for some reason) been sent back to the minors. On the positive end, Wade Davis looks much better lately. The Bay Rays still don't have a DH and Pena is a huge hole in the line up.

The first two paragraphs make the Red Sox still viable with a month to go in the season. They have been remarkably resilient despite all the injuries and their lack of defense and starting pitching. If they can continue to hang in there, this could get very interesting.

AL Central

The Twins still look like the Twins. They always seem to have enough to win the division, but they can't beat division rivals. Their series with the Rangers (despite salvaging the last game) showed up their deficiencies against good teams. Valencia is an upgrade over Punto. Well, that's an understatement! Thome has been great as has Delmon Young. But you have to wonder how long they can keep scoring without Morneau in the line up and how long Joe Mauer can keep pushing his painful body up to the task every night. They are still two pitchers short in their rotation and their bullpen is hardly (with the exception of Jesse Crain) scary.

The White Sox alternate between being dreadful and awesome. The Fan still doesn't think they have enough talent to overcome the Twins. They pitch better than the Twins, but they have recently lost two big stalwarts of their bullpen. Even thinking about Manny Ramirez in a waiver claim smacks of desperation. If it does happen, it's hard to see it helping very much. But Manny does have a history of doing spectacular things in a short period of time.

AL West

The Rangers will have no trouble winning the West. Mission Number 1 is all but accomplished. The recent struggles of Cliff Lee is a huge concern though. He was supposed to be the big stud for the playoffs and he's pitched so poorly in the last month that you have to wonder if something is wrong with him. The Rangers are vulnerable against strong left-handed pitching without Nelson Cruz and as often as Cruz has been hurt, you have to wonder if he will be any kind of factor the rest of the year.

NL East

The Fan chalks up the Braves struggles this past week by playing in Colorado. That place can defeat any pitching staff. And the Braves pitching staff was really defeated out there. But the big concern for the Braves is their road record. They are great at home and terrible on the road. The two cancel each other out and make them look not much better than a .500 team the rest of the way. Hanson is another concern as he hasn't pitched well.

The Phillies are reeling lately. Ryan Howard has been lost at the plate since his return and Utley hasn't been much better. Their continued reliance on Ibanez (who, in fairness, has been hot of late) is rather frightening. Rollins is still at .242 despite a decent month. Polanco is fading and Victorino is still very far off his game. Kendrick can't be relied on and their bullpen still requires Lipitor for Manuels.

Both the Braves and the Phillies look weak and neither team seems to be a lock for anything. It's going to be a very interesting month and the one team that gets hot will win it. The Phillies have a history of getting hot in September, so we'll see.

NL Central

The Reds simply don't seem to have the starting pitching they need to get the job done. When Arroyo is your best pitcher, that's deeply scary. So far, they have so over performed last year's offense that you still have to wonder if that too will fall apart. Give them credit though, they could have crumbled after that Cardinal series and they didn't. The Fan still doesn't see them staying ahead of the Cardinals.

But those Cardinals are a complete mystery right now. They just had a tough series against the Pirates of all teams and they can't seem to score runs consistently. One of the glaring weaknesses is hitters in front of Pujols and Holliday. They've tried Lopez and they've tried Ryan. But it's not going well at all up there at the top. Jay is starting to fall to the law of averages and went hitless in six at bats against the Nationals. It's going to continue to be tough to score runs if Pujols and Holliday don't have guys to drive in. And it's been a little ragged for Wainwright and Carpenter the last two weeks. That's a bit of a concern too. Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone really think Franklin is a lock as a closer?

NL West

The long expected fall of the Padres isn't going to happen. It's over. They have the best record and the best run differential in the National League. That being said, they have to get Correia out of the rotation and LeBlanc is soft too. Anyone who plays them in the playoffs will be able to match their top starters and the Padres still don't hit very well. How many times can Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam?

This has been a fascinating season and the Fan really looks forward to seeing how it's all going to play out.

Girardi is Not Going Anywhere

Leave it to the New York and Chicago media to blow up a story that isn't even a story. As the excellent blog, Sliding Into Home relates, Joe Girardi is going to talk to the Chicago media but you can predict what he is going to say, "There is no story." His first responsibility is to the Yankees and the Yankees are not going to lose him to the Cubs. For crying out loud, he's the reigning World Series Championship manager.

Of course the story appears because Girardi doesn't have a deal worked out for next year. But he will. As the linked post mentions, Girardi has a good relationship with the Steinbrenners and will get his paycheck after the season. Ryne Sandberg is going to be the next Cubs' manager and Girardi will be back in pinstripes next year.

Personally, the Fan thinks there are better field managers during the game than Girardi. He makes some moves that make little sense from time to time. But he has two things going for him. First, he is the first to admit when he screws up. Second, his players really like him. Mark Teixeira has been in print as saying that Girardi is the best manager he's played for...and remember, Teixeira played for Bobby Cox.

This story isn't a story and should die a quick and putrid death.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Since Buck Showalter Took Over...

Since Buck Showalter took over the Baltimore Orioles:

  • The Orioles are 12-9.
  • Brian Matusz is 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA.
  • Matt Wieters has improved his rate of catching base stealers.
  • Felix Pie has raised his batting average 27 points.
  • Jeremy Guthrie is 2-2. Hey, that's an improvement!
  • Brad Bergesen is 2-0.

He's making a difference. The Orioles are no longer the joke of the American League.

Should Felix Hernandez Win the Cy Young Award with a .500 Record?

All of the top contenders in the American League for the Cy Young Award have had rough Augusts. Jon Lester has had a series of bad outings and was replaced last night in the rotation by Wakefield. Cliff Lee has had several bad outings for Texas. Greinke has never been a factor this year. Jared Weaver has been great, but just good lately. That leaves Liriano, who has a big game against Texas tonight and Felix Hernandez. What about C. C. Sabathia? His MO is to win without pitching gems. His forte is keeping the Yankees in the game long enough for the Yankee sluggers to win the game. He is nowhere near as dominant as the others mentioned here.

The problem for Hernandez is that he is 10-10, which is really a shame because if you look at all his stats, his year is remarkably similar to last year's 19-5 season. Fangraphs rates his value just barely under Liriano's and that doesn't take into account his big win over Boston in Boston on Wednesday night. But Hernandez leads the American League in innings pitched and batters faced. And yet, he has a 2.47 ERA. In fact, his combined ERA over the last two seasons is 2.49. How's that for consistent pitching?

Everything about Hernandez screams Cy Young except for his record. He's going to finish over 200 strikeouts again. He has given up 7.6 hits per nine innings after leading the league in that category a year ago with 7.5. His walks per nine are the best of his career. His WHIP is under 1.13. What else can a guy do? And he beats good teams. He has beat the Red Sox, he's beat the Yankees three times this year. He's beat the Padres, the Reds and the Twins. In only three of his outings this year has he given up over three earned runs and yet his team (which is terrible) is only 13-15 during his starts. He didn't get a single win in May.

Last year, Hernandez lost the Cy Young to Zack Greinke, who had an amazing year. Greinke didn't have as good a record as King Felix, but the voters went with the best stats. That was a breakthrough of sorts. Perhaps if Hernandez has a good September, the same will hold true for this year.

Game Picks - Thursday: August 26, 2010

A real mixed bag for yesterday's picks. The Red Sox split their double header in exactly the way they were predicted. The Rangers beat the Twins and San Diego won again. The Orioles were correctly picked to beat the White Sox and the Cubs are perfect in the P.P.E (post-Piniella era). But there were surprises. The Pirates beat the Cardinals again. Houston beat the Phillies. The Rockies came from a 10-1 deficit against the Braves with most of the damage done against the previously infallible Venters. And so the day ended just barely above .500, which is about all you can ask for with all those surprises.

Eighteen of the thirty teams are in action on get-away-day. Here's how the Fan sees them:

  • The Astros over the Phillies: Wandy Rodriguez has been terrific, plus he's a lefty. Kendrick goes for the Phillies.
  • The Athletics over the Indians: Mazzaro should be better than Masterson, who has yet to put things together.
  • The Brewers over the Dodgers: Gallardo gets the win and a hit or two.
  • The Blue Jays over the Tigers: Scherzer has been terrific of late, but Romero should be better and the Blue Jays have a better offense.
  • The Diamondbacks over the Padres: Taking Ian Kennedy over Correia.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: The sweep gets completed as Cliff Lee out duels Liriano.
  • The White Sox over the Orioles: Arrieta hasn't been impressive. Jackson has been since joining the Pale Hose.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: In a squeaker, Niese beats Sanchez.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Cardinals over the Nationals: Carpenter is back on top of his game. The Nationals feature Zimmermann making his first start of the year. Book it.

Yesterday: 9-7
Week: 33-21
Month: 183-135
Season: 1084-790
Games of the Day: 71-55

Journalism At Its Worst

A year ago a blogger by the name of Jerod Morris suggested that there was something fishy about Raul Ibanez and the big first half he had for the Philadelphia Phillies. Morris made a huge splash and was invited by many media outlets to attend interviews. Morris, no doubt, figured that this was the kind of exposure all bloggers dream about. What Morris didn't figure on was the roasting he took from major media journalists and rightly so. The episode was the supposed dividing line between professional journalists and the rest of us bloggers. But now, a year later, a journalist...a writer for a major newspaper has done the very same thing.

Damien Cox writes for the Toronto Star. That's a newspaper. Therefore, he is a journalist...a professional. The blogging revolution has turned bloggers into stars and supposed journalists into bloggers. But the trouble with the latter is that the simple reader can't tell the difference between a news story and a "blog." The Fan asks you to click on this link for Damien Cox's "post" concerning Jose Bautista's sudden rise to power king of the majors. Right click here and open the thing in a new tab. Go ahead, the Fan will wait.

Okay? Got it? Now tell the Fan how this is any different from what Morris did last year with Ibanez? There is no difference. And the thing is, this is a Toronto writer bringing up this crap with a guy who is thrilling the hometown fans!? Correct the Fan if he is wrong, but the idea of a journalist speculating on something so arcane without a hint of evidence or backing information (other than the obvious stats), reeks of everything against what they teach at university. The problem for Cox is that he thinks he can play both sides. He feels (obviously) that he can be a journalist sometimes and a blogger sometimes. As a blogger, he is free to shoot the scat-write. He feels this is different than his "serious" reporting when he has to get his facts right and check everything twice.

The thing is, journalism doesn't work that way. And again, the difference is how people read newspapers or what newspapers post on-line. They expect to get the news from writers they trust. They expect sourced materials and accurate sources. They expect the utmost professionalism from the writers in newspapers. If Cox wants to blog and shoot the breeze, he should get a separate site where he can talk about anything he wants. But if he wants to raise the specter of steroids on a player who, as far as we know, is tested regularly and has never failed a test, he can't do that in his professional capacity.

Putting aside the lack of professionalism of a paid journalist, how irresponsible is it for anyone to hang an accusation on a player? Would it be any different if his column speculated that Vernon Wells was gay or that Kevin Gregg was a communist because of their actions on the field? Right. It's the same thing and it's irresponsible. Now multiply that by putting this label on a player for his hometown team. Jose Bautista is one of the best stories to hit the Blue Jays for a very long time. And this guy is going to tear it down?

Guys like Rosenthal did their best to paint Jerod Morris as the reason why bloggers will never be journalists. Where are those guys with this story? Who among his peers is going to call out Cox? Bloggers have won folks. We have taken over the world. Because of what we do, respected journalists have become bloggers and the lines have become blurred. But if that's going to be the case, wouldn't you at least expect journalists to take the higher ground? Cox should go back to the school he graduated from and let the dean there spank him until he bleeds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Game Picks - Wednesday: August 25, 2010

This picker slept late this morning and is quite groggy. So that's a word of caution to any who look at the following picks with any kind of money involved (and the Fan knows you're out there). The Fan did manage a nine correct, five incorrect day with a rain out in Boston. That's not bad. Can't seem to get a Reds game correct these days. The Mets pulled a rabbit out of hat. And the biggest, "What the Heck!" of the day was the Pirates beating Wainwright and the Cardinals. Why is it that at times the Cardinals can't hit a lick? Crazy.

Anyway, here are Wednesday's picks. Remember, you've already been warned:

  • The Braves over the Rockies: The Braves are a terrible road team. But Jurrjens should be decent wherever he pitches and the Rockies counter with Rogers, who is iffy.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: The Tigers are playing good ball these days and Galarraga had a good outing last time out. The Royals counter with O'Sullivan.
  • The Reds over the Giants: It's come down to this for this Reds' series. When the Fan says they'll win, they lose. When he says they will lose, they win. The gut says that Bumgarner will shut them down, but the recent results indicate that Bailey will win the game. In other words, who the heck knows.
  • The Red Sox over the Mariners (1st game): Still think Beckett will beat Pauley.
  • The Mariners over the Red Sox (2nd game): King Felix has been unhittable lately and will beat Lester.
  • The Phillies over the Astros: The Astros won yesterday but face Halladay today. Happ makes his first start against his old team which could make it interesting.
  • The Cubs over the Nationals: The Cubs look like a different team these last two days. Was it Piniella? Anyway, Dempster over Marquis.
  • The Bay Rays over the Angels: Again. Niemann is back and will beat Haren.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: Don't know what the heck happened yesterday, but Westbrook will beat McCutchen.
  • The Athletics over the Indians: Two similar pitchers, both ground ball types. But Cahill hasn't faltered in a long time. Talbot has more often than not.
  • The Mets over the Marlins: Misch has been terrific with an 0-2 record to show for it. Time for a win.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Two great young pitchers in Hughes versus Cecil. Going with Hughes at home.
  • The Dodgers over the Brewers: Like Kuroda's chances much better than Wolf's.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: Duensing has a bad game. Wilson has a great one. Rangers win.
  • The Orioles over the White Sox: Matusz is coming on now and the Orioles can get to Buehrle.

And the Game of the Day:

  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: LeBlanc over Saunders who is having a tough time in Arizona.

Yesterday: 9-5
Week: 24-14
Month: 174-128
Season: 1075-783
Games of the Week: 70-55

Damon Won't Go to Boston

Despite having David Ortiz and Jason Varitek sing their best rendition of, "Please Come to Boston," Damon decided to stay with the Tigers. The Red Sox claimed Damon on waivers and Damon had a contractual option to decline such a move. The Tigers were no doubt trying to dump a little money now that they are out of the race, but they are the ones who wrote the contract that allowed Damon to make this decision. More power to him. In the end, Damon decided to stay where he was happy.

It probably didn't help the Red Sox' cause that they are a real long shot to make the playoffs at this point. You can't count them out of course because there is a month of baseball left including a lot of head to head games with the Yankees and the Bay Rays. Perhaps Damon also knew that you can never really go home again. What occurred during 2004 was a once in a lifetime thing with the Red Sox. It was a special time and place and you are never going to be able to replace that experience by going back and trying to recreate it.

There are many who state that Damon is a couple more seasons away from gaining enough counting stats to be Hall of Fame material. While he may get those counting stats, it gets more improbable every year as the teams he is playing for have been playing him less and less. Boston for example, already had a DH in David Ortiz, so Damon couldn't take that option. It even seems a little less probable that Damon would have fared much better in left field that what the Red Sox are already throwing out there every night. Damon is probably more eligible for the Hall of Very Good than the Hall of Fame. He's been a tremendous player and has helped every team he has played for. But was he ever close to being the best player in his league? No. Was he ever considered close to the best at his position? No. He's been great, but not great enough.

His most likely comparison is Paul Molitor. Both had speed. Both were liabilities in the field. But Molitor was the much better player and was among the league leaders many times in offensive categories. Damon just isn't that kind of player. But, at the same time, you can perfectly understand the Red Sox wanting him. He is, by all accounts, a great teammate. He has a knack for delivering at the key moments when a team really needs such a moment. He provided that for the Yankees in the post season last year. He provided that for the Red Sox in 2004. He's a pro and he knows what to do. He would have helped the Red Sox.

But the reward possibilities just weren't enough for Damon to consider uprooting himself and his family in the middle of the season. He calls Miguel Cabrera the best hitter he's ever seen (Damon played with Manny in his prime you'll remember). He wants to watch Cabrera for a full season. He's having fun in Detroit. He wants to stay there. The Tigers gave him that right. Let's hope it all works out for all of them.

Athletics Are Not a Fun Team to Face

The Oakland Athletics, or the A's as most like to call them, haven't been in contention at any point in this season. In fact, it took the team almost two thirds of the season just to pull into second place and a .500 record. But despite all that, they aren't a fun team to have to face. They pitch really well and they field the ball really well. At the plate? Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Let's look first at Oakland's biggest strength. They sure can pitch. They lead the American League in Earned Run Average, Runs allowed, Hits allowed and Earned Runs. They don't strike a lot of guys out. Only Dallas Braden has a K/BB ratio over 2 (an excellent 3.18) unless you include Brett Anderson, whose season has been limited by injuries. They pitch to contact (when they aren't walking people, which they do a little too often) and let their fielders get the outs. Trevor Cahill has exploded this year and currently sports a terrific 13-5 record. His WHIP is under 1.

But is Cahill that good? Well, it depends on how you fall on the luck/skill debate. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) this year is .210. Holy cow! The Fan has never seen one that low on a pitcher. So, you could say he's been extremely lucky. Or you could say that Cahill has been extremely effective at inducing outs. He has nearly a two to one ratio of ground balls to fly balls and he induces ground balls 57% of the time. His batting average against or BABIP on ground balls is an astonishing .111. But here is another thing; Cahill's line drive percentage is only 15.6 percent. That's fantastic and means that he's hard to square the bat against.

Gio Gonzalez is also having a break out year. After another fine performance on Tuesday night, his has improved his record to 11-8 and his ERA is down to 3.24. His K/9 is a healthy 7+ but he walks too many guys still. If he can cut down on his walks (and he did Tuesday night with only one), he could be a really bright star for the A's. Gonzalez is also excellent in keeping the ball in the yard with only ten homers given up.

Dallas Braden has already shown his promise with his perfect game. Forget the immature A-Rod thing, if you put his season in perspective, he got into a funk after the perfect game and didn't win for a long time. But now he is winning again and has looked very impressive. His K/BB ratio is the best among the A's starters. Braden has by far the best control on the staff and his 1.8 walks per nine is fantastic for a young pitcher. Like Cahill and Gonzalez, Braden has been stingy on giving up the long ball.

What really helps the pitching staff is the fielding. Barton is excellent at first. Ellis is among the best at fielding second. Pennington has been outstanding at short. Kouzmanoff is better than adequate at third. Since they were able to take Cust out of left field, Rajai Davis has found a home out there and is a much better left fielder than center fielder. Gabe Gross has been tremendous filling in for Sweeney who is great in right when he is healthy and in center, Coco Crisp has really displayed what he has always displayed and that is--when healthy--he is one of the best center fielders in the game. That fielding combined with the pitching makes one super sized out machine.

And the offense has gotten better in the second half. Is it a good offense? Hardly. They only have two regulars with an OPS+ over 100: Cust and Crisp. But they are certainly better than they were in the first half of the season. They have a positive run differential in the second half, and that's a healthy sign.

Let's face it, the Athletics need to get out of Oakland where they are whithering in a ball park not suited for baseball. They get little fan support because of their stadium and without being able to contend, it's hard to convince fans to come to that crumbling edifice. But just as the fans don't want to come to Oakland, opposing teams don't want to go there either. The A's are a fun team and they are competitive. They are certainly a lot more fun to watch than a lot of other .500 teams.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Game Picks - Tuesday: August 24, 2010

The picks have to be quick today because the Fan has to run to Houlton first thing this morning. Ugh. Not even time for coffee. The Fan does have to admit here that he was totally wrong about Coleman. My, that foot tastes good.

Tuesdays' picks:

  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: Wainwright. Pirates. Does the Fan need to say more?
  • The Athletics over the Indians: Carmona has not been close to competitive lately. Gonzalez gets the win.
  • The Nationals over the Cubs: The Cubs showed up last night and should be picked again today with Zambrano on the mound. The only problem is that Lannan has been terrific of late.
  • The Tigers over the Royals: Porcello isn't a great pick, but he's better than Davies on his good nights.
  • The Phillies over the Astros: The bullpen can't keep giving games away, but Hamels should win.
  • The Yankees over the Blue Jays: Two young pitchers. Giving the Yankees the edge at home.
  • The Marlins over the Mets: Dickey certainly is one of the stories of the year, but he runs into Josh Johnson here.
  • The Red Sox over the Mariners: Even Beckett can beat the Mariners.
  • The Dodgers over the Brewers: Take Lilly as a better plant than just a plain old Bush.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: Thinking that the Rangers can get to Pavano while Lewis holds the Twins down for the second straight night.
  • The Rockies over the Braves: The road is the Braves Achilles Heel. And Lowe is worse on the road too. De La Rosa gets the win.
  • The White Sox over the Orioles: Guthrie has been good of late. But this is the White Sox we are talking about.
  • The Padres over the Diamondbacks: Rodrigo Lopez goes for the D-backs. Not saying any more.
  • The Bay Rays over the Angels: Even Wade Davis can beat the Angels' line up. Santana goes for the other team.

And the Game of the Day

  • The Reds over the Giants: Wood is the better young pitcher than Sanchez.

Yesterday: 6-4
Week: 16-9
Month: 165-123
Season: 1066-778
Games of the Day: 70-54

Jose Bautista is on Top of the World

Watched a lot of the Blue Jays - Yankees game that included two homers by Jose Bautista and there is no denying that Bautista is the supreme power hitter in baseball this year. His pitch recognition is lightning quick, his approach is simple and he is just crushing the ball. Bautista accounted for all three Blue Jays' runs in a game the Blue Jays won 3-2.

The Fan has chronicled Bautista in the past, so there is really no need to go into the player's history. Suffice it to say that this is a combination of a player who was willing to break down his approach and listen to his batting coach and everything has really clicked. Bautista had never before hit over 16 homers and he now has 40. But that's not his only relevant number. He's also set a career high for walks and has a healthy On Base Percentage near .370 despite a weak .257 batting average. 51% of his hits this season have been for extra bases. He now has 95 runs batted in and his slugging percentage, as you could guess is approaching .600.

Right now, Jose Bautista is not a guy you want to throw a mistake to or he's going to make you pay. Against the Yankees' rookie starter, Ivan Nova, he got a rolling curve ball that stayed in the middle of the plate and punished it. That homer gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. Except it should have been 1-1 if not for a horrible call at first base on the previous batter. Nunez, the Yankees' rookie shotstop ranged deep in the hole to fetch a grounder and used the carpet at the dome to get the throw to Teixeira. The throw was a bit wide and Teixeira had to stretch as far as he could and did. The replay clearly showed the the Yankees' first baseman kept his foot on the bag. But MLB hasn't yet smartened up to replay and the incorrect play stood. That run made all the difference in the final outcome of the game.

Before we get back to Bautista, let the Fan make a quick point here about umpires in the majors. The Fan has watched a lot of baseball over the years and the umpiring this year is the worst ever. EVER. The home plate umpire was simply awful on balls and strikes for both sides. The Blue Jays' shortstop got himself thrown out of the game because of the lousy calls and then in the ninth, Gregg got a big out after a base hit by Swisher on a hugely terrible third strike call on Granderson. The pitch had to be a foot outside if it was an inch. Look, just because the pitcher hits the target, which Gregg did on a pinpoint, that doesn't mean it is a strike. Come on! Terrible. Simply terrible.

Anyway, back to Bautista. The game was tied 2-2 after a Posada double plated Cano. Roberston, the Yankees' ace set-up guy, struck out the first guy he faced and then had to pitch to Bautista. The first pitch was a perfect fastball on the outside corner which is where you have to pitch to Bautista. Cervelli called for the same pitch. But Robertson's pitch missed badly and drifted over the plate. Bautista crushed it. Ballgame.

One little side not about the homer. Bautista got brushed back on a previous at bat and he wasn't happy about it. Well, that's part of the game and if he doesn't want that to happen, he's got to stop hitting homers. That's the deal. You hit a lot of homers, you're going to get brushed back. Baseball. Well, anyway, Bautista wasn't happy about it and a fracas was narrowly avoided. When Bautista hit his eigth inning homer, he was ver demonstrative and stared at the pitcher and then made an "in your face" kind of display at the plate. Hey, no problem. The Fan happens to think there should be more demonstrative stuff in baseball, not less. But stay tuned. Bautista is going to get drilled some time later in this series. Expect it. And there will probably be a fight because if Bautista gets mad at a brushback, what's he going to do when he is actually drilled? It will happen and then let the fun begin.

But in the meanwhile, Jose Bautista, who has persevered through a less than adequate career, has at the age of 30, arrived and he has arrived in a big way. He is approaching the league lead in RBIs and he's the major league champ at the big ding dong. He has found himself in Toronto and he is on top of the world.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Contemplating the Twins' Chances

The Fan watched a lot of the Twins - Angels game on ESPN on Sunday night and there is a lot to like about that team. For one thing, they put a lot better line up every day out there than they did at any point last year. It would be nice for them to get Morneau back but he's not as important to the team as Mauer is. Velencia is an exciting young player and he is certainly a step up on Punto. Hardy is probably the best shortstop the Twins have had since Smalley. Kubel and Thome can still rake and Delmon Young has become a really good player.

And it was also a warm fuzzy to see how well Baker threw. He hasn't exactly lit up the big screen with his pitching this year. But he was good against the Angels. But then again, it was the Angels, not a very good hitting team. His performance the rest of the season is more indicative of what kind of pitcher he is. And the bullpen did well in the two innings they were called on to pitch. Capps is a nice addition, but he's no sure thing as a closer. Duensing improves the rotation, but weakens the bullpen. Liriano is breaking down a bit and will be skipped a start. Blackburn is one of the worst starters in the league. Slowey is now hurt. Pavano is good. Really good. But he's not an ace.

And the bullpen is scary. They are tenth of fourteen American League teams in saves. Capps isn't a significant upgrade on Rauch. They have some decent guys but no fireballers. And that really is the essence of their pitching staff. They are tenth in the league in hits allowed and tenth in the league in hits against. In other words, they don't scare you and they can be had.

Last year, the Twins didn't have enough post season offense. This year, they may not have enough post season pitching. The Fan still can't see them beating Tampa Bay or New York in a playoff series in 2010.

Take Care, Lou

One longtime, faithful reader of this site accused this writer of being biased against Lou Piniella which colored the thinking that went into the writing here. The truth couldn't be further from the comment. Piniella has been loved in this corner. As a product of New Jersey, Lou Piniella was a hero. Not the graceful Don Mattingly kind of hero. But the Joe Everyman kind. He looked more like a beer league softball player than he did a ball player and yet his passion and his effort made him an effective player on teams this Fan rooted for. He then managed the home town team and his antics as a manager were similar to his playing days and we ate it up. He was cheered when he won in Cincinnati and he was rooted against when he went to Seattle. He was pitied in Tampa and then rooted for in Chicago. And he came really close in Chicago. So there is no joy here in his retirement. There is no joy that his managerial career went out with a terrible team playing terrible baseball. There is relief.

The experience was similar to the recent Ken Griffey situation in Seattle. It was obvious that the game had passed Griffey by. We all wanted to see one last hurrah. But there were no hurrahs left in his body. It was a relief when he was finished at last. The very same thing is felt in Piniella's situation. He was simply a tired old manager in charge of a tired old team and saddled with a tired old front office. It was obvious in the Cubs listlessness. They slept walked through half the season. They looked beaten down and demoralized. Sometimes emotional problems in the clubhouse energize a team. In the Cubs case, it sapped the life out of the Cubs as surely as morphine saps the life out of a poor and tired cancer patient. There is no blaming Piniella from this side of the keyboard. There was just the knowledge that the satiation was beyond him and there was nothing he could do to turn it around. He no longer had the emotional fire. You can't blame a guy for that. You just wish it wasn't so.

The real blame here goes to his general manager. Piniella should have had a deal worked out at the end of last year's season for him to bow out gracefully. Hendry should have insisted on it. If it all blew up, the results would have been the same. Fresh blood would have been in the dugout and Piniella would have had hard feelings. A person in leadership situations like Hendry has to know. A leader has a finger on the pulse. But the Fan has to admit that as a former leader himself, sometimes situations get away from you and you are too slow to act. Hendry was way too slow in this case. And call the Fan a  cynic if you want to, but Hendry did finally act. Piniella and Hendry surely had conversations and Hendry told Piniella that the team was going in a different direction next year. That's how the whole retirement thing started in the first place. Today's decision was just as surely based on Piniella's concern for his mother, but if Piniella was still in the plans for the future, Hendry would have worked out something with Piniella so he could go take care of his mom. Right?

This also had to be a case of Piniella knowing he was done. When the fire is gone, the proud always know. Because it's the pride that fuels the fire in the first place. Piniella knew as simply as this Fan knew and just as certain as most Cubs' fans in the stands each night knew. It was time. Piniella was no longer the right man for that job and at least he got to go out with his dignity intact.

But don't believe the retirement statements. Piniella just needs some time away. Or he needs a different situation. In many ways, Piniella is a younger Don Zimmer. He's a lifer and he'll find a job somewhere in the game he loves. He may never manage again, or he may. But he'll be around. Joe Everymen don't ride off into the sunset. They just sit in their recliner a while until that becomes unbearable too.

The Fan has been hard on the Cubs this season. But rightly so. The players mailed it in. Piniella was tired and couldn't rise to the occasion and the front office put together one of the worst mishmashes of a team in the history of the South Side. A bloated payroll of non-winners kept on beyond their primes and bad move after bad move heaped on top of each other. Finally having the right end to the Piniella story is a step in the right direction. The Fan will leave it in the Cubs ownership's hands on what should be done with Hendry. The Fan has his opinion but without access, it's all nearsighted and can hardly be adequately judged. It sure hasn't looked good. Let's just put it that way.

As for Lou, this Fan is highly relieved. The Fan thought he was finished in Tampa Bay, but he mustered enough mojo for a couple of years in Chicago and came real close to pulling off a miracle. But the mojo was gone and it was like watching Mohamed Ali boxing in his last days. It was sad and distressing. But thank goodness, it's over. Take care, Mr. Piniella. Take care of your family and try to enjoy yourself for a while. And thanks for the memories.

Game Picks - Monday: August 23, 2010

You would think the Fan would be happy with a 10-5 picking day. But the Fan is not happy. After the early games, the Fan sat at 9-1. The later games and the Sunday Night Game of the Week then went 1-4. It was similar to hitting the green in regulation and then three-putting (something the Fan did with regularity this weekend). Kershaw was good. But Arroyo was better. Somehow Jared Weaver and Scott "Homerun" Baker have the same exact won-loss record. Santana pitched a complete game gem...and the Pirates. Hudson was fantastic. But so was Chacin. Okay, okay. Stop crying. Nobody cares anyway. Sheesh, be a man already. The Fan will take 10-5 every day for the rest of the season.

What does Monday look like? It really is the dog days of August as there are still ten games schedules for Monday:

  • The Nationals over the Cubs: The Cubs couldn't even show up on Lou's last day. Now they will lose to Livan as the young and guileless Coleman gets whacked around again.
  • The Royals over the Tigers: Chen is better than Bonderman. What a crummy sentence that was to type.
  • The Cardinals over the Pirates: The Pirates break Ohlendorf's heart again and can't score against a lifeless Lohse.
  • The Blue Jays over the Yankees: The Yankees are starting Ivan Nova, a 23 year old for the Dominican Republic. He was 12-3 in Triple A with a 2.86 ERA. But it looks like it was done with mirrors. Going with Morrow and the Jays.
  • The Phillies over the Astros: Blanton versus Myers. Didn't Myers just pitch the other day? Golly, the days are just blending together.
  • The Red Sox over the Mariners: The Red Sox are still good enough to beat the bad teams. Lackey over Fister.
  • The Braves over the Rockies: Hudson over Hammel in an alliterative match up.
  • The Rangers over the Twins: The Twins have to travel after a night game. The match up says Liriano, but Gardenhire said on Sunday that Liriano was skipping a turn. Blackburn will probably pitch. Ouch.
  • The Giants over the Reds: Don't trust Volquez. Cain needs to have a good game though and he's been struggling.

And the Game of the Day

  • The Bay Rays over the Angels: The Angels look dead. Shields over Kazmir.

Yesterday: 10-5
Week: 10-5
Month: 159-119
Season: 1060-774
Games of the Day: 69-54  (two game losing streak)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Game Picks - Sunday: August 22, 2010

Yesterday was one of those see-saw days when each correct answer led to an incorrect one. For every Yankee win, there was a Braves loss. For every Nationals win there was a Rangers loss. It went on like that way all night until the Fan ended up dead square at .500. Let the Fan make this perfectly clear: There is nothing worse than mediocrity. What the heck, Cliff Lee? What the heck, Rockies, why can't you get Ubaldo any runs? The Rockies have scored one run in his last two starts. That sucks, my friends.

Cone on, Sunday! Put a better taste in the mouth today:

  • Houston over Florida: The Marlins have brought up Andrew Miller to pitch today. He has a 14-21 MLB record with an ERA of 5.50 and a WHIP of 1.66. Enough said.
  • The Yankees over the Mariners: Sabathia gets win number 17.
  • The Phillies over the Nationals: Oswalt isn't Kendrick and Olsen isn't Strasburg. What a difference a day makes.
  • The Tigers over the Indians: Gomez has been great for the Indians but Verlander is due for a big game.
  • The Mets over the Pirates: The Pirates are going to overtake the Orioles for the number one pick in the country. Santana is going to help that happen.
  • The Red Sox over the Blue Jays: Buchholz to the rescue. What a great season he's had.
  • The Padres over the Brewers: The Brewers have been tough this series, but Garland should beat Parra.
  • The Rangers over the Orioles: Hunter needs to get his act together after three bad starts, but the Rangers should get to Millwood early and often.
  • The Cardinals over the Giants: Zito has a bad day and Garcia makes the Giants' lineup look like the Grateful Dead.
  • The Royals over the White Sox: Greinke should have a good game. The question is whether the bullpen can get to Soria.
  • The Cubs over the Braves: Wells has never lost to the Braves and he pitches much better at home.
  • The Bay Rays over the Athletics: Garza has been very good lately. Braden is good but won't throw another perfect game against the Bay Rays.
  • The Dodgers over the Reds: Kershaw over Arroyo in a good match up. Take the Dodgers at home.
  • The Angels over the Twins: Got to go with Weaver over Home Run Baker.

And the Game of the Day

  • The Diamondbacks over the Rockies: Okay, Rockies, if you won't win, then we'll let Hudson get his fourth win of the season over Chacin.

Yesterday: 8-8
Last Week: 56-39
Month: 149-114
Season: 1050-769
Games of the Day: 69-53

The Major League's Least Effective Starters in 2010

Think of these as the anti-Cy Young pitchers. Yesterday we featured the worst ten hitters in the majors based on Fangraphs and valuations. It was our anti-MVP awards or LVP if you will. Today you will see the ten worst starters in the majors in 2010. To qualify for this special honor, the pitcher will need to have pitched 100 innings. That is unfortunate, because the least valuable pitcher in the majors this season has 98.1 innings pitched.This poor guy is dead last in the majors in valuation with a -3.4 WAR (wins above replacement). Since each "Win" is worth around $4 million, then this pitcher (who pitches for the Mariners by the way) would be worth $-13.2 million. Man, that's harsh. But the young man is disqualified because he is an inning and a third short of our artificial limit. The innings limit also leaves out four of the highest paid pitchers in the bottom 15 in value in the majors: Marquis, Beckett, Oliver Perez and Kyle Lohse.

The top ten (or bottom ten) worst starters in baseball this year are:

1. Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins. Blackburn was actually rated in ERA+ above league average last year and the year before. But that was a bit of a mirage. He gave up 240 hits in 205+ innings last year. His 240 hits (basically, he pitched to Ichiro all season) were the highest in the league. That trend continued this year except he wasn't as lucky in those hits turning into runs. He ended up (The Twins pulled the plug on him) with the scary ERA of 6.66. He hada WHIP of close to 1.7. Blackburn is a pitcher whose H/9, BB/9, HRs/9 all went up in each of the last three years while his strikeouts per nine went down each year for the last three. His ERA+ this year is 64 and his valuation is -1.4 in WAR.

2. Justin Masterson - Cleveland Indians. Masterson's valuation is -1.4, so he actually ties Blackburn in that category and he has thrown more innings. This kid is really a puzzle. He has the stuff. He just can't get it to translate into big league performance. His WHIP is 1.63 which is really high. He's walked 4.1 batters per nine while giving up 10.5 hits per nine. Not a good combination.

3. Scott Feldman - Texas Rangers. This one really hurts because the Fan really likes Feldman. But he's had an awful season and his valuation sits at -1.1. His WHIP is 1.589. He's given up 11.5 hits per nine innings. He simply could not replicate his season of a year ago and the Rangers finally pulled him from the rotation.

4. Joe Blanton - Philadelphia Phillies. Blanton has had two decent starts in August but even in those decent starts, his hits per nine innings mirror what he's done all season. Blanton has given up 11 hits per nine innings this season combined with a hefty 1.4 homers per nine. Blanton's walk rate is excellent but if the batter gets the bat on the ball, they fall in safely...a lot. His valuation? -1.1

5. Manny Parra - Milwaukee Brewers. Parra's WHIP of 1.681 as high as it is, is an improvement over last year's horrendous 1.829. Parra gives up too many walks at nearly five per nine innings AND he gives up a lot of hits (10.6 per nine). His 1.4 homers per nine innings don't help any either. His ERA+ the last two seasons have been 63 and 73. Unfortunately, Parra is the poster boy of why the Brewers need starting pitching. Valuation: -1.0

6. Nate Robertson - Florida Marlins (released) Nate Roberston is probably the most expensive guy on this list at $10 million in salary this year. And he got his 100 innings in there before the Marlins had seen enough and designated him. His stats are actually hidden a bit by an effective May. But in his eight last starts in June and July, he gave up nearly 7.5 runs per game. He just couldn't get anyone out during those eight starts and in July when the Marlins had seen enough, opponents had an .889 OPS against him. Valuation: -0.9.

7. Brian Bannister - Kansas City Royals. Bannister is a very popular player. He talks to fans and reporters. He writes well. He's very smart. he just doesn't get good results when he pitches. His ERA is close to 6. His WHIP is close to 1.6. His HRs/9 is 1.7. All numbers that would safely entrench him on this list no matter how smart and popular he is. Valuation: -0.8

8. Kevin Correia - San Diego Padres. Correia will tease you with a good start now and then, but over all, he's been terrible. He had another bad outing against the Brewers on Saturday night lasting only 4.1 innings. That's the trouble with Correia. He throws just enough good games to make you think he should keep getting the ball, but he shouldn't. His valuation is -0.8. His walks are up thise year as is his homer rate per nie.

9. Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles. Bergesen has actually pitched well of late since Buck Showalter took over. He showed great promise last year. But this year has been a real mess. His ERA is close to 6. His WHIP is close to 1.6. His HR/9 rate is 1.5. Bergesen doesn't strike enough guys out to help himself. Perhaps he's turned a corner now. Valuation: -0.7

10. David Bush - Milwaukee Brewers. Bush had a good June and if it wasn't for that, his numbers would be really bad. They are bad enough with a WHIP over 1.5. He is walking more batters per nine this year than in previous years while striking out less. Not a good combination. His ERA at 4.63 is much better than it should be. He is pitching much the same as last year when he had an ERA+ of only 63 but he seems to be much luckier this year. Still, his valuation by B-R is -0.7.

There you have it. The worst starting pitchers in the majors this season (so far).