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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jose Reyes scratched with a sore back. Updated line-up: Feliciano Tejada Wright Davis Bay Carter Barajas Cora Pelfrey

Cliff Lee Rumors

Every single newspaper/beat reporter/blog has their own idea on who and what it will take to get Cliff Lee from the Mariners.

I will not be updating everybody's opinion on who and what it will take to get Lee, because the only people that know what is the asking price are Jack Zduriencik and Omar Minaya (assuming he's talked to Jack Z).

Here are the facts and what I consider when/who I would trade to the Mariners for Lee.
  1. These are the players that were traded to the Phillies for a FULL YEAR of Cliff Lee: Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and right-hander Juan Ramirez from Seattle. None of the players were top 75 prospects in baseball at the time of the trade (Aumont was highest at #78), based on Kevin Goldsteins (Baseball Prospectus) top 101 prospects. 
    1. As a reference, Mejia was 48, F-Mart 80, W Flores 84 (who is the hottest player included in most rumored trades this week), Ike Davis 87.
    2. None of the prospects the Phillies were rated in Keith Law's top 100 from back in January, but Mejia was 23, Flores 41, Davis 64, F-Mart 73.
  2. So based on that trade for a FULL YEAR of C Lee, I would not give the Mariners more than they gave up just so we can get TWO MONTHS of C Lee.
I have no problem and agree 100% C Lee makes this year's Mets team better, but I'm still not sold that the Mets make the playoffs even if they have Cliff Lee for 2 1/2 months. Hope we don't make a huge mistake and mortgage the future. If we can get Lee for players outside of these above four (and Niese), then do it in a heart beat. But that's highly unlikely in my opinion.

Game 78: Mets @ Marlins (P.R.)

Here is the line-up that will face ground-ball machine RHP Chris Volstad, as the Mets try to salvage a game of this three-game series:

J Reyes SS
J Feliciano CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
C CARTER RF (HOLY COW!!! he finally gets a start versus and RHP and Frenchy sits!)
R Barajas C
A Cora 2B
M Pelfrey P (1st start versus the Marlins this year, but they've owned him in the past: 1-6, 5.63 ERA)

My Prediction: It's a battle of sinker-ballers, and Pelf is just better than Volstad and the Marlins bats have no answers. Mets win 4-0 and start the trip to Washington D.C. after the game.

As always, LET'S GO METS!

Scouting Report, RHP Chris Volstad

The 6'8" 23-year old Volstad was drafted in the 1st round (16th pick) of the 2005 draft out of a Florida high school (Palm Beach Gardens).  He made his debut in July of 2008, and finished the year making 14 starts and had a 2.88 ERA, allowing the Marlins to dream that they had yet another young future pitching star. He hasn't been all that spectacular since then, as his career record sits at 19-24 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He pitched very well versus the Mets in his two starts in 2008 (12 1/3 innings, only one earned run), but lost both starts in 2009 (11 innings, six earned runs). 

Volstad has a great pitcher's body (6'8" 230 pounds) and throws on a down-hill plane straight over the top, but instead of being a power pitcher, he's a finesse pitcher. He throws a sinking fastball 90-93 mph, a tight curve (78 mph) and shows good arm action and sinking movement on his change (84 mph). This year he has also added a slider (85 mph), with mild success. He doesn't rely on swings and misses (5.3%) and is a ground-ball pitcher. He has never struck hitters out (6.6 K/9 even in the minors), but relies on good control (2.4 W/9 in the minors); that has risen to 3.5 W/9 in the majors. 

So far this year he's made 15 starts (90 innings), and is 4-7 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. His strike-out rate is still too low (5.4 K/9), but is doing a good job of continuing to get ground balls (50%+), and minimizing home runs (8 HR in 90 innings). He's gone 6+ innings in 10 of his 15 starts and has allowed 4+ runs in four games. His last start versus the Padres he went six innings, walking none, allowing seven hits and three earned runs, while striking out six. 

The future of Volstad is much debated; some still project him as a front-line starter, others see him as having minimal additional upside from what he's currently showing. I'd take my chances on a 6'8" sinker-baller that's only 23 years-old if the Marlins grow weary of him and his lack of strike-outs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Mets Battle Back, but lose by Uggla

I predicted a high scoring game tonight, but thought that Robertson would get hit slightly harder than Takahashi. Well, I was wrong, as Takahashi lets up six runs in 5 2/3 innings, and Robertson let up "only four runs" in six innings (nine base-runners). BUT, the Mets show resolve and get three hits in the 9th inning (Barajas, Carter and Thole) to score two runs to tie the game in the 9th, but Feliciano can't get the job done versus the righties and Mets lose 7-6.
  • Takahashi: 17 outs, 11 base runners, including two home runs
  • K-Rod had an easy 1, 2, 3 inning in the 8th with two k's
  • D Wright continues to pound lefties, going 3-4, raising his average to .310
Mets try to salvage a game of this three-game series, Pelfrey vs Volstad tomorrow, 7:10 PM.

Game 77: Mets @ Marlins (P.R.)

For the line-up that play in front of less than 20,000 people tonight, check out Citi Slickers. I know people complained about the small crowd last night (18,000), but then again, it's more than the Marlins would draw in Miami.

My prediction: Mets beat up on Robertson again, but the Marlins also get to Takahashi, so it's a high scoring affair, and the Mets win 6-5. Does D Wright hit his 3rd home run of the year off of Robertson?


Scouting Nate Robertson (for the 4th time)

The Marlins acquired the 32 year-old LHP from the Tigers at the end of spring training, and the Tigers are paying 9.6 of his 10 million dollar salary. He was drafted by the Marlins back in 1999 in the 5th round and was traded to the Tigers in 2003. For his career, he has a 5.17 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's only struck out 6 per 9, and walks 3 per 9. He's been a below average pitcher over the course of his career. He has had a myriad of injuries (he was on the DL twice last year, with a lower back strain in May and elbow surgery in July), and also had off-season groin surgery. Last year he had a 5.44 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in only 49 innings, but had a 3.77 ERA in his 29 innings after his July surgery. He's faced the Mets four times, is 2-1, and has a 4.30 ERA and 1.74 WHIP.

Robertson is mainly a three-pitch pitcher, featuring an 88-mph fastball, a slider and a change-up. His 81-mph change-up was his best pitch last year, but none of his pitches have been plus this year. He occasionally throws a curve-ball. He has starting throwing a 2-seam fastball this year and it has been his best pitch (throwing it 30% of the time).

When he faced the Mets on May 15, he was 3-3 in his 7 starts, throwing 35 2/3 innings, with a 4.54 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. He had only gone 6+ innings twice in his seven starts. In his first start versus the Mets this year, he went five innings, allowed one run on six hits and no walks, striking out four. He was walking > 4.5 W/9 this year, which was very high for someone who doesn't strike people out (5.8 K/9). On May 15th, he got the win, lasting 5 2/3 innings, scattering seven hits and walking one, allowing two earned runs, while striking out two. He had three starts since that meeting and twice let up four earned runs. On June 5th he faced the Mets for the 3rd time and the Mets finally figured him out, pounding him for six runs in 4 2/3 innings, including D Wright's second HR of the year off of him.

For the year, Robertson is 5-6, with a 4.89 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. He has a terrible swing and miss rate (6.5%), strikes out < 6 K/9, and walks too many (3.7 W/9). He's minimized home runs (7 in 77 innings), or his ERA could be even worse.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mets get blown out

Mets lost an ugly game, 10-3.

  • Jason Bay hit 2 home runs.
  • Mets hitters struck out 12 times and walked 0 times.
  • J Reyes misplayed at least two balls defensively, but only got charged with one error.
  • Dickey 5 innings, 5 earned runs
  • Nieve 2 innings, 2 earned runs, 2 home runs
  • Igarashi 1 inning, 3 earned runs, 1 home run.
Mets try to even up the series tomorrow Takahashi vs Nate Robertson, 7:10PM. 

Baseball Bloggers Alliance All-Star Selections

BASEBALL BLOGGERS ALLIANCE                                    
1908 S. Tampa             
Russellville, AR  2802  
Press Release

Contact: Daniel Shoptaw                                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
E-mail: baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com                                  10 P.M. EDT, June 27, 2010

BBA from BD.png

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was the leading vote-getter in All-Star Game ballots cast by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, outpacing Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.  Cano received a whopping 45 votes, with only Longoria and Texas's Josh Hamilton also reaching the 35-vote level in the American League.  Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies led the National League with 36 votes.

Cano was the clear choice at second base by the BBA, with only the one vote received by each of Seattle's Chone Figgins, Texas's Ian Kinsler, and Boston's Dustin Pedroia keeping Cano from an unanimous decision.  Longoria's 39 votes outpaced Boston's Adrian Beltre (with six), with Michael Young of the Texas Rangers a distant third with two votes.

The rest of the American League infield, if selected by the BBA, would feature Minnesota's Justin Morneau, who just edged out Detroit's Miguel Cabrera by two votes for the first base nod, and New York Yankees' captain Derek Jeter at shortstop, as he more comfortably finished ahead of Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Alex Gonzalez of the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the Rangers were close with many of their infielders, it is in the outfield that they finally break through, as Hamilton led all outfielders with his 35 votes.  He would be joined in the outfield by Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who used a late surge to surpass Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox for the final slot.  Texas also would be honored with the designated hitter, as Vladimir Guerrero easily outpolled the Red Sox's David Ortiz for that position.

The battery for the American League was Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and David Price of the Rays.  Mauer won handily over Boston's Victor Martinez, while Price got the nod to start over the Mariners' Cliff Lee.

Races in the National League were a little more competitive.

The closest race was in the middle of the diamond.  As of right before the deadline, Philadelphia's Chase Utley and Atlanta's Martin Prado were tied with 16 votes apiece.  The late votes pushed Utley over the top 19-16.

Other close races included third base, which saw New York's David Wright take out Washington's Ryan Zimmerman by four votes and Cincinnati's Scott Rolen by six, and the last outfield slot.  Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Andre Ethier were overwhelming picks, receiving 30 votes each, but Chicago's Marlon Byrd slipped past Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen by two votes in the last surge of voting to take the final position.

Rounding out the National League selections were Colorado catcher Miguel Olivo, St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols and Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez.  Jimenez was the overwhelming choice to take the ball for the senior circuit, receiving over 30 more votes than his closest competitor.

All members of the BBA were eligible to make their selections.  Bloggers were allowed to vote for either the American League, the National League, or both leagues if they so desired.  Ballots were published on the individual blogs as a show of transparency.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in 2009 and numbers 184 blogs covering all major league teams and various other aspects of baseball among its members, as well as blogs and sites that have affiliated as Friends of the BBA.  The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may be heard at Blog Talk Radio each Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk.

The list of participating blogs:

American League (48)

Game 76, Mets @ Marlins (P.R.)

The forecast has rain in the forecast for the next three days, but let's see if we can play some baseball tonight. Here is the line-up that will face R Nolasco for the 4th time this year:

J Reyes SS
J Feliciano CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
J Francoeur RF
H Blanco C
R Tejada 2B
RA Dickey P

My Prediction: Mets lose a tough game, 4-3, and Dickey's magical run/perfect record to the start of the year comes to an end.

I hope I'm wrong, LET'S GO METS!

Carlos Beltran Daily Update

Here is a short excerpt from Will Carrol, the injury expert for Baseball Prospectus (pay site).

One observer told me that Beltran didn't appear troubled running out his double, but that he wasn't very fast, either. "He used to glide out there. Now he looks more like a Molina," he said. The same held true for Beltran's play in the field, where he was able to make two routine catches. He wasn't tested there, but the observer I spoke with said that a ball to the gap looked like an issue. He did point out one reason for Beltran playing center field: "You told us a couple years ago that stopping was often the painful part, and I think that's the case here. He's jogged, run, hit, and caught, but I haven't seen him do a hard stop yet."

My Take: Carlos Beltran looks like a Molina? Serenity now...He still has 2 1/2 weeks left on his rehab assignment, but I don't see any chance that he can't jog without limping if he isn't able to do that already. It's been 5+ months since his surgery...

J Mejia diagnosed with a "Posterior Cuff Strain"

  1. What exactly is a posterior cuff strain?
    1. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles, and the two muscles that are referred to the "posterior cuff" are the teres minor and infraspinatus. Specifically, they are the two main muscles that allow the arm to externally rotate (allow the pitcher to get into a "90/90 position", also referred to as the cocked position).
  2. How does someone strain their posterior cuff?
    1. That's where it gets complicated. The posterior cuff strain, or rotator cuff tendonitis is a result of 'something', but it's not 100% clear what that 'something' is.
      1. Is the something the result of putting a 20-year old who has never pitched in the bullpen and having him warm up multiple times a week?
      2. Is it the result of conditioning the body for the above bullpen work and the body wasn't able to adjust to throwing 40+ pitches when he went down to the minors?
      3. Is there something in his delivery that is causing the tendonitis, or was it the above work-load changes that caused the strain?
    2. The main role of the external rotators in pitching is to decelerate the arm while following through.
      1. There is a tremendous amount of stress during that part of the pitching motion
  3. What is the prognosis?
    1. First the Mets will make sure if he pain-free before having him resume throwing of any type (playing catch). No one can guess when this will occur (can be two days to two months, but I'll guess short-term).
    2. He will also undergo a formal rehab program to strengthen his rotator cuff, specially the external rotators.
    3. Long-term he should be fine and this may turn into a case where the Mets are just being overly cautious with their young star, and this is the correct thing to do.

Scouting Ricky Nolasco (for the 4th time)

The 27 year-old RHP Ricky Nolasco was drafted in the fourth round by the Cubs in 2001, and was traded by the Cubs in 2005 along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre. Think about that for a minute. Wow. He's in his fifth major league season with the Marlins, and has started 30+ games the past two years. He got sent down early last year, and since then he has been almost un-hittable. He was one of the best pitchers in the National League in the 2nd half of last year, with a FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching - a measure that runs on a similar scale to ERA but strips out factors such as defense, run and bullpen support) of 2.34 after June 7th. In 2008, he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, which is what the Marlins are expecting in the future from Nolasco. He has had minor elbow and shoulder pain in the past (went on the DL in 2007), but no surgical history. He has swing-and-miss stuff (7.8 K/9 for his career, 9.5 K/9 last year), and minimizes walks (2.1 W/9 for his career). He's started 16 games against the Mets, and is 4-6 with a 5.66 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.

Nolasco throws from a 3/4 arm slot and is a four-pitch pitcher, with a low 90s fastball (88-93 both a two and four seam) and a plus 85-mph slider with sharp and late break, as well as a 75-mph curveball and 85-mph split-finger fastball that he throws from the same release point as his fastball. His slider is one of the best in the majors, and he throws it 25% of the time. He had success with his split last year, but is struggling with it so far this year (decreased three miles an hour and this may be the cause).

Prior to his start versus the Mets on May 16th, Nolasco was 3-2 in seven starts, with a 3.66 ERA and 1.09 WHIP (he had decreased his amount of walks to 1.74 W/9). He had gone 6+ innings in six of his seven starts, and has allowed three or less runs in five of those games. In his first start of the year versus the Mets (April 7), he threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and only six base runners. Nolasco threw six innings and got the win versus the Mets (May 16), allowing six hits and two earned runs. His next two starts after that he saw his ERA balloon, as he only threw 9 1/3 innings and let up 11 earned runs. He rebounded to throw seven strong innings (three earned runs) versus the Brewers. On June 6th, Nolasco faced the Mets for the 3rd time, throwing 5 1/3 innings, allowed eight hits and walked three, three earned runs and only two strikeouts. In the three starts since, he's let up six home runs in 15 1/3 innings. His ERA currently sits at 4.92 ERA and 1.37 WHIP (due to a high BAPIP, .327)

One interesting stat to keep your eyes on has been his decreasing K/9 rate to below league average to 6.8 (last year it was 9.5). This is thought to be due to his ineffective splitter and the resultant decrease in swings and misses. He also has let up 17 home runs in 89 2/3 innings so far, but none against the Mets.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

J Mejia leaves game with Injury

After throwing 44 pitches, he left the game and has been diagnosed with "shoulder stiffness".

That isn't going to help his trade value (which may be a blessing in disguise).

Another home series win

Mets win 6-0 today, getting home runs from D Wright and Frenchy, as well as a nice pitched game from Niese.

Mets are most likely going to be 1/2 game out of first place (barring a comeback from the Braves), and start a three-game set versus the Marlins in Puerto Rico tomorrow night.  The Mets will face Nolasco, Robertson and C Volstad. The Mets have already faced Nolasco and Robertson three times this year, and will be facing Volstad for the 1st time.

Game 75: Mets vs Twins

Here is the line-up that will face RHP Scott Baker:

J Reyes, SS
J Feliciano CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
R Tejada 2B
J Niese, P

Baker is a four-pitch pitcher, with a 90-95 mph fastball (averages 91), a curve (81 mph), slider (84 mph) and solid change (83 mph). His curve-ball has been his best pitch this year. He is a fly-ball pitcher. He gets a lot of swings and misses (> 10% past three years) and 35% swing rate at balls out of the zone. He also gets ahead in the count, with a 66% 1st pitch strike rate. One interesting stat: when he falls behind a hitter 2-0 or 3-0, he has thrown a fastball every time this year.

My prediction: Mets win the game, the series and finish up the home-stand 4-2.

As always, LET'S GO METS!

Scouting Report, RHP Scott Baker

I saw Baker throw when I went to Target Field in May this year.


Baker is a four-pitch pitcher, with a 90-95 mph fastball (averages 91), a curve (81 mph), slider (84 mph) and solid change (83 mph). His curve-ball has been his best pitch this year. He is a fly-ball pitcher. He gets a lot of swings and misses (> 10% past three years) and 35% swing rate at balls out of the zone. He also gets ahead in the count, with a 66% 1st pitch strike rate. One interesting stat: when he falls behind a hitter 2-0 or 3-0, he has thrown a fastball every time this year.

Mets lose

I didn't watch the game yesterday, but Johan let up four in the first and the game was over already, as the Mets got three-hit by Pavano and lost 6-0.

Baker vs Niese in the rubber game today, 1:10.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Today's line-up

Here is the line-up that will face RHP C Pavano:

J Reyes SS
J Feliciano CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF
A Cora 2B
J Santana P

My prediction: Johan impresses his old 'mates, as Mets win again and will be in position to sweep the series tomorrow. Final score today, 3-1.

As always, LET'S GO METS!

Scouting Report, RHP Carl Pavano

The 34-year old CT native is in his 12th major league season, and he's 88-84 for his career. He sports a 4.39 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He's pitching in his 5th organization (Montreal, Florida, NYY, Cleveland and now Minnesota), and has made 26 starts for the Twins. In case you were wondering, he made 26 starts during his notorious four-year contract with the Yankees. His career year was 2004 with the Marlins when he was an all-star and finished 6th in the Cy Young Voting.  He's started 19 games against the Mets and is 7-7 with a 3.60 ERA, but that doesn't hold much relevance against this current Mets team.

He has earned the reputation as a "fragile starter", who throws from a 3/4s arm slot and has a slight pause in his delivery. He throws an 88-92 mph fastball which has good movement, a slider that has big downward movement (83 mph), and a plus change (80 mph). His fastball got hammered last year, but it has been an above average pitch this year, along with his great change. He gets a ton of swings out of the strike zone (36%), which is highest in the majors, and like most Twins pitchers, throws first pitch strikes (66%).

He's made 14 starts this year and is 8-6, with a 3.64 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He's benefiting from a low, unsustainable BAPIP (.267), but is helping himself by minimizing walks 1.31 W/9. He's only striking out 5.1 K/9. He's gone 7+ innings in six straight starts. In his last start, he threw a complete game versus the Phillies, allowing only four hits and one earned run.

Summary: He is earning only "7 million this year" and is giving the Twins more value than that, but he has a low margin for error. He is a 12-year veteran and is a useful mid-rotation pitcher for the Twins.

Friday, June 25, 2010

And the Ball Game is Over! Another Happy Recap

Mets win the series opener, 5-2, as Pelfrey gets the win, and K-rod with the save.

Mets are 23-6 in their last 29 games at Citi Field. Very impressive. Keep it going tomorrow and Sunday...

Pavano vs Johan tomorrow, 1:10 PM.

Game 73: Mets (41-31) vs Twins (40-32)

Here is the line-up that faces RHP Kevin Slowey:

J Reyes SS
J Feliciano CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
J Thole C
J Francoeur RF (yes he's still bad versus righties and shouldn't be starting)
R Tejada 2B
M Pelfrey P

My Prediction: Mets hit a couple home runs off of Slowey and Pelf dominates; Mets win 5-1.


Friday Morning News and Notes

  1. Josh Thole was recalled as an emergency catcher with R Barajas having a stiff back. Raul Valdes was sent down to AAA to make room for Thole
    1. Thole is going to be showcased/I mean catch the game tonight. Wonder if the Mariners will have any scouts in attendance...
  2. Carlos Beltran played 5 innings of centerfield in his 1st rehab game in Port St. Lucie. He didn't get any chances in the field, was 0-2 (two ground outs), and a walk in three plate appearances. to see video, check out Metsblog, who has video from ESPN embedded.
    1. Beltran also has said he would like to play in his native Puerto Rico next week when the Mets play the Marlins.
      1. My take: Fat chance this happens; it would be fun for him to play in front of his family, but it makes zero sense to play on artifical turf.
  3. Bobby Valentine supposed will be the next manager of the Marlins, and is expected to accept the offer of a 4-year deal.
    1. I like Bobby and respect him as one of the brightest "minds" in baseball
    2. With the way the Mets season is playing out, there isn't much chance that the Mets will not extend Jerry Manuel's contract, so this doesn't impact the Mets all that much...
Weekend coverage may be sparse this weekend with a lot of family time happening. I will try to get the scouting report up for Carl Pavano tomorrow morning, but can't guarantee it right now.

Prediction for the weekend: Mets win 2 of 3 and end the homestand 4-2. I'll take it.

Scouting Report, RHP Kevin Slowey

The 26-year old Slowey was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft out of Winthrop University by the Twins (they drafted Matt Garza in the 1st round) and he quickly climbed up the ladder due to his exceptional ability to walk no one and strike people out. He made his debut in 2007, allowed 13 home runs in seven starts, and was sent back down to AAA. He relies on that pinpoint control and command because he doesn't have overwhelming stuff.  He's 33-19 for his career, with a 4.43 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He's an extreme fly-ball pitcher (lowest ground-ball rate in the majors at points this year), and lefties handle him well (.293/.340/.503). Slowey had major wrist surgery/reconstruction on August 4, 2009 (he had two screws put in), and there was some early reports that he lost some range of motion and fear that it would effect his pinpoint control, but as you will see below, it hasn't. Slowey was 10-3 in 2009 before his season ended with the above injury. He has not faced the Mets in his career.

Slowey has a clean, repeatable, free and easy delivery, throwing from a 3/4 arm slot. He has an excellent feel for pitching and his command and control are among the best in the majors. He throws a 88-91 mph fastball, both two and four-seam (two seam added this year), and it has some late movement. He's not afraid to throw it up in the zone when ahead in the count. He also throws a tight, but slow curve (75 mph), a quick-biting slider (86 mph), and a change-up (84 mph). So as you can see, he doesn't have a big differential in velocity between his fastball, change and slider (all within 6 mph). The only pitch which is markedly different is the slow curve. His fastball has been his only above average pitch in the past four years. As noted earlier, he doesn't walk many (1.5 W/9 for his career), and strikes out 6.9/9, which is a good combination. He throws 1st pitch strikes often (66%) and throws strikes 55% of the time (league average is 47%).

So far this year, Slowey is 7-4 in 14 starts (only 76 innings), with a 4.58 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. His walk rate has risen slightly to 2 W/9, but his K rate also declined to 6.7 K/9. As mentioned above, he's an extreme fly-ball pitcher, and his ground-ball rate is the lowest in the majors and of his career (28%). Due to the high fly-ball rate, he is susceptible to the long ball, and he's allowed 12 home runs thus far in 76 innings, including four in the last two games. We know he throws strikes and has great control, but what is a sign of impending trouble for him is that hitters are not swinging and missing at his pitches; his swinging strike rate is 5.8%, the lowest of his career and way below league average (8.3%). He's having trouble going deep into games this year (only four of 14 starts are 6+ innings), and has only reached the 100 pitch mark five times (highest 104). Over his last 10 starts (53 innings), he's only walked eight hitters. In his last start he got bombed at CBP by the Phillies, lasting only five outs, allowed seven hits, including two home runs, and seven earned runs.

In summary: He's a #3/4 starter at his best, which is not a slight on him; he just has a very small margin of error.  The Mets should add their lefty-hitters to the line-up (C Carter, A Cora), and expect to have a lot of fly ball outs unless the wind is blowing out, which would signal a quick call to the bullpen for the Twins.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mets Lose, but Win the Series

The Mets battled back and never gave up, but still lost 6-5. D Wright will be remembered for failing to come through in the 7th with the bases loaded and a 2-0 count vs Phil Coke and 1 out, but he struck out and I Davis flew out to end the threat.

Takahashi lasted only 4+ innings, let up 8 hits, walked 4 and let up 6 earned runs, including 2 home runs. The bullpen came through with 5 shutout innings.  

Mets remain only 1/2 game out of 1st place, and open up a series versus the Twins tomorrow. K Slowey vs M Pelfrey, 7:10 PM

Game 72: Mets vs Tigers

Here is the Mets line-up that goes for the sweep today and will face RHP A Galarraga:

J Reyes SS
J Feliciano CF (Pagan taking the night off after leaving with a minor muscle strain last night)
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
J Francoeur RF (just as a reminder he still is terrible versus RHP, 1-8 this series, and C Carter is a better alternative)
H Blanco C
R Tejada 2B
H Takahashi P

My prediction: I get to write another happy ending tonight, as the Mets take care of business and start out this homestand which people would be "happy with 3-3 or 4-2" 3-0.

As always, LET'S GO METS!

Cliff Lee Chatter/Trade Rumors

It's June 24th, yet the talk of trading deadline deals are already taking shape. Today, you can send you a thank you note to Geoff Baker and his Mariners Blog, which proclaimed the Mets and Twins to be the front-runners for Cliff Lee.

His proposed trade for the Mets is J Mejia and A Pagan for the rental services of Cliff Lee.

My Take: The Mets aren't looking to trade Mejia, Niese or Ike (at least I hope not), so this trade will not materialize.  Also, the price for Lee should be decreasing every single day from here on out, as every week that goes by that's one/two less starts that he will make for his new team. That's in theory obviously. If the Mets can get Lee without trading one of the big three, then go ahead. But I want to hold on to the future instead of mortgaging the future.

What I'm Reading Today 6/24

1. A Great comparision of Jason Bay's stance from last year to this year over at Fangraphs.

Here are some interesting stats for Jason Bay and his lack of power to Right Field.

Here are his stats when hitting the ball to the right side:

2010: .188/.176/.375, 35 wRC+
2009: .267/.267/.533, 103 wRC+
2008: .256/.247/.522, 92 wRC+

However, if we look at the numbers to right field a little closer, we can learn some more:
2010: 8.8% LD, 5.9% GB, 85.3% FB, 24.1% IFFB, 3.4% HR/FB, .152 BABIP
2009: 9.8% LD, 11.5% GB, 78.7% FB, 20.8% IFFB, 8.3% HR/FB, .214 BABIP
2008: 8.6% LD, 9.7% GB, 81.7% FB, 13.2% IFFB, 6.6% HR/FB, .205 BABIP
2. Here is a list of the 2010 Leaders by position of WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and their "All-Star team" (ESPN Insider only).

Comparing it to my All-Star team which I posted yesterday, I was in agreement on 5 of the American League Starters, and only 3 in the NL.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance will announce their All-Star teams soon, and I will again re-visit my votes at that time.

I'm not a huge All-Star game fan and dislike that it determines home-field advantage for the World Series, but that's not going away, so I am not going to waste time writing about it.

3. Be sure to check out the MLB Standings, as the Mets are only .5 games out of first place once again!

Scouting Report, RHP Armando Galarraga

Everyone knows Galarraga's name and he will forever be linked to Jim Joyce and what is now universally known as the "imperfect game." What most people don't know is his background and if he's going to be remember for anything else in his career (my opinion: NO). The 28-year old was signed as an international free agent by the Expos when he was 16, and was traded to the Rangers in 2005 in the deal for Alfonso Soriano. He was then traded to the Tigers in 2008 for a minor leaguer (Michael Hernandez). Everyone loved his slider, and he used it often, but had numerous injury problems (Tommy John and recurrent elbow pain since, even as recent as last August), and he also lacked a development of a 3rd pitch to get lefties out consistently. In 2008 for the Tigers, his first full year in the majors (debuted in 2007) he was 13-7, with a 3.73 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, finishing 4th in ROY voting and the Tigers thought they had a future rotation fixture. He was getting by laregly based on luck, as his advanced metrics predicted his impending doom. He had a below league average K/9, and had an unsustainable BAPIP of .247 and a high LOB % rate. His FIP for 2008 was 4.88. Well last year his stats did correct, and he went 6-10 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.56 WHIP (largely due to normal regression of BAPIP to .302). Righties have a tough time with his fastball/slider, as they have only hit .216/.281/.363 versus him in his career. Lefties are a different story; .279/.355/.505. As we will see below, he doesn't have an out-pitch/anything he can get lefties to swing and miss consistently. He has never faced the Mets in his brief career.

He has a clean motion, where he stays tall and throws from a 3/4 arm slot. He throws a 91 mph sinking fastball to both sides of the plate (63% of his pitches vs 49% 2008 and 2009), and his plus slider that is very tough on righties (86 mph). As mentioned previously, he relied heavily on his slider and threw it > 38% of the time in 2008 and 2009, but this year that's decreased to 30%.  He throws his change-up only a few times a game (6% down from 12%) and he tends to telegraph it, slowing both his arm and his body down. His fastball has been his best pitch this year (he increased his velocity 1+ mph this off-season), but his slider has been hit hard. He's throwing 1st pitch strikes 62% of the time (58% league average) and has a very tough time getting swings and misses, only 6% (league average 8.2%).

During his 'imperfect game', he did a great job of throwing his fastball inside to righties and then got them to chase his slider low and away. Versus lefties he did a great job locating his fastball on the outer half of the plate; but he only got one swing and a miss from a lefty during that game.

This year Galarraga has made six starts, and is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA (4.76 FIP) and 1.11 WHIP.  He is striking out only 3.5/9 (league average is 7), and minimizing walks  to 2.1/9 (league average is 3.4/9). He's benefiting from an unsustainable BAPIP .233 and a 77% strand rate (71% league average). In his last start versus the Diamondbacks, he lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, walking two and let up four earned runs, while striking out only two. He's gone > six innings only twice out of his six starts and has allowed a home run in each of his last three games.

Looking at his stats and his pitches, he seems destined to the bullpen as a righty-specialist (Kiko Calero anyone?) The Mets need to load up on the lefties versus Galarraga tonight.

Another Happy Recap

Mets won again, RA Dickey was apparently brilliant again (was in a conference in Philly and couldn't watch the game); 8 shutout innings. Mets go for sweep tomorrow, Takahashi vs "imperfect game", 7:10

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Game 71 Mets vs Tigers

Here is the line-up that will face RHP J Bonderman:

J Reyes SS
A Pagan CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
J Francouer RF
H Blanco C
R Tejada 2B
RA Dickey P

My prediction: Mets need a brilliant pitching performance from Dickey, and they get it, as the Mets 6-9 jitters combine for two hits or less. Mets win 2-0.


AL and NL All-Star Ballots

As part of my participation of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I pick and share my picks for my AL and NL all-star teams before the teams are announced.  Below are my selections with some tidbits, and I will post the consensus of the bloggers alliance when the results are finalized. Feel free to post your comments below.

AL Starting Team:
C: V Martinez. Runner-up was Joe Mauer, but his lack of power this year led me to V-Mart
1B: M Cabrera. Runner-up was another Twin, J Morneau. M Cabrera is just a machine right now
2B: R Cano. He is hands-down the best 2B in the AL this year
3B: E Longoria. Runner-up is surprisingly A Beltre, who also plays great defense, but gets penalized in my book for taking out two outfielders on his own team
SS: D Jeter. Runner-up A Gonzalez of Toronto, but Jeter gets it based partly on longevity and A-Gon's .265 average doesn't help.
OF S Choo. He is one of the most under-rated players in the game, playing on a bad Cleveland team
OF C Crawford. Crawford is hitting .310, has 25 SB and plays great defense.
OF J Hamilton. He's been on fire recently, and he is hitting .337 and has 16 HRs.
DH: V Guerrero. I had written him off as completely finished, but he has proven me wrong thus far, hitting .327 with 15 home runs.

Starting Pitcher: C Lee. Runner-up D Price. Although Price leads the league in ERA, C Lee deserves the start to his unfathomable .46 walk rate per 9 innings (4 walks in 77 2/3 innings so far). He has an ERA of 2.55 in 10 starts, and his FIP is 1.89.

NL Roster:
C: B McCann. His .379 OBP is the deciding factor in an underwhelming selection of catchers.
1B: A Pujols. Runner-up A Gonzalez. Both are having good years, but Pujols gets the slight edge
2B: K Johnson. Runner-up C Utley. I suspect Utley was playing through an injury and K Johnson benefits from an early-year power surge.
3B: D Wright. I know a lot of fans are disappointed with Wright this year with his increasing K's, but he still is the class of the NL 3rd baseman, as he's on pace for 25+ HR/25 + SB, with 110+ RBIs.
SS: H Rameriz. Although Reyes has been hot lately, Hanley has been consistent this year (despite his benching).
OF: R Braun LF. .304 average with 10 homers and 10+ steals. Perennial all-star
OF C Rasmus CF. Plays terrific defensive CF, and has really progressed in hitting lefties this year. This 2nd year player is hitting .280 and 14 home runs.
OF M Holliday. Steady and consistent, he's hitting .308 with 11 home runs.

Starting Pitcher: U Jimenez. Runner-ups is J Johnson. Both of these pitchers have been phenomenal this year.

Scouting Report, RHP Jeremy Bonderman

Bonderman is still only 27-years old, but after domintating the Yankees in the 2006 ALDS, every one had him ticketed to stardom and a future Cy Young winner. Injuries have certainly derailed his career (blisters and elbow pain in 2007, 2008 shoulder surgery to correct Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and last year he still was recovering/building up arm strength), but this year he has re-surfaced as a "new pitcher". He was a 1st round pick of the A's in 2001, and made his debut for the Tigers in 2003, going 6-19 with a 5.56 ERA (4.69 FIP). His best year was in 2006, when he started 34 games (214 innings), and went 14-8 with a 4.08 ERA (3.29 FIP) and 1.3 WHIP, while striking out 8.5/9.  The key to his success was his devastating slider, which he threw 35% of the time, by far the most in the majors. His career numbers are still skewed from that 2003 season, as his career marks are 62-71, 4.73 ERA 1.38 WHIP. He has faced the Mets twice and is 1-1 with a 7+ ERA, but I discount those stats because like I said previously, Bonderman is a "new pitcher" now.

When Bonderman first came up, he was throwing 93-96 and was a power pitcher. Those days are over, as his fastball sits at 90 and occasionally can dial it up to 93-94. He is throwing a two-seamer more than his four-seam (37% to 28%) to try to induce more ground-balls, but he's still largely a fly-ball pitcher. He still has a plus slider (84 mph), but is throwing it 25% of the time compared to 35% in 2006 and 2007. Occasionally throws his change-up (82 mph), but it's a below average pitch. He's back up to striking out around the league average (7.1/9) and walking less than 2.4/9. He's getting 33% swings at pitches out of the strike zone (league average 28%), the highest of his career and a big reason for his success, as well as 9.2% swinging strike (league average 8.3%). He throws first pitch fastball 76% of the time, and when he gets to two strikes, he throws his slider 40% of the time (except for 3-2).

This year Bonderman is 3-4 in 12 starts (13 games), throwing 75 1/3 innings, with a 4.06 ERA (3.69 FIP), and 1.23 WHIP. Two dismal starts have inflated his ERA (April 16 @ Seattle: 4 innings, 8 earned runs, and June 6 @ the Royals: 5 2/3 innings, 7 earned runs). Due to both of those games, he has a 6+ ERA on the road this year. Aside from the Royals implosion, he has had seven quality starts since May 1st,  allowing three runs in only one other game, and sports a 2.96 ERA during that time. His last start versus the Nationals was impressive, throwing seven innings, allowing five hits, no walks, and two runs, while striking out seven, and needing only 95 pitches. He has only thrown 100 pitches three times this year as he still may be trying to build his stamina. He has allowed a home run in four consecutive games, with Adam Dunn hammering a hanging slider last game, but the game was already out of reach.

Manager Jim Leyland loves his "no-fear" attitude, and the new Bonderman may not be a future ace, but could be a solid #3/4 starter if he continues to mature and understand his new philosophy/repertoire.

Weekly but soon to be Daily Beltran Update

Omar Minaya announced yesterday that despite Beltran still having a limp, he's going to play in his first rehab game on Thursday with the Port St. Lucie Mets. So barring any set-backs, he will be playing for the Mets within 3 weeks (position players have 20 days, pitchers have 30 days for rehab assignments). But again, that's barring any set-backs. Three weeks puts him coming back right after the All-Star Game (July 13).

No one knows how his knee will respond to playing center field or playing every day, so get ready for the daily Beltran updates.

And I've been talking about for a month or two that most likely Beltran would be shifted to the corner outfield (RF), but Jerry Manuel disagrees with the rest of baseball world, basically saying he thought it was harder to play right field than center field. He never ceases to amaze me. I guess Manuel has never heard of the defensive spectrum which has been around for 100+ years and made popular by Bill James in the 1980s. Center-field is the 4th hardest defensive position (2B, SS and catcher are harder), while Right field is 3rd easiest (1B and LF easier).

Maybe "keep it gangsta" means I have no idea what I'm doing but let me make you guys laugh and you won't criticize my every move.  That doesn't work Jerry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mets Win, 10 games over .500

The Mets offense erupted against the Tigers bullpen after the rain delay (but even hit and made Verlander work before he exited), scoring 14 runs in the first six innings of the game, and winning in a rout 14-6.

Jerry Manuel sent Jon Niese back to the mound after over an hour and a half elapsed after a rain delay and a long Mets offensive inning, for the sole fact he wanted to get him a win. Personal stat versus the greater concern for a young man's career, risking injury in the process. Have we seen a blatant disregard for a young pitcher's best long-term interest put on the back-burner for short-term gratification any other time so far this year?

  • When you score 14 runs, it's pretty easy to accumulate stats.
    • Reyes 3-6, 3 runs scored
    • Pagan 4-6, 3 runs, 4 rbi's
    • D Wright 3-3, 2 walks, 3 runs, 2 rbi's
    • I Davis 3-6, 3 rbi's
    • J Bay 1-2, 2 walks, 2 rbi's
  • Verlander wasn't sharp, throwing 2+ innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 earned runs (3 inherited runs scored)
  • Niese threw well the 1st 3 innings, but then allowed 9 base runners and only retired 5 hitters after the rain delay.
    • Just asking why the need was there to send him out there after a rain delay and 90 minutes since he threw his last pitch, especially since it was 10-0  (not that the score should influence this decision).
 Star of the Game: A Pagan

Dickey vs Bonderman tomorrow, 7:10 start

Game 70: Mets (39-30) vs Tigers (38-30)

Here is the line-up that will face Justin Verlander (be sure to check out his thorough scouting report from earlier today):

J Reyes SS
A Pagan CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
R Barajas C
J Francoeur RF (yes he's still terrible versus righties, as evident by his .299 career OBP, yet he still plays every darn day. Thanks Jerry)
R Tejada 2B
J Niese P

My Prediction: Mets offense can only muster one run, and while Niese throws well, he just can't match Verlander, and the Mets lose 3-1.

As always, LET'S GO METS! (and prove me wrong).

As far as a prediction for the three game series, I think the Mets will win 2 of 3.

Weekly John Maine Update

Last I talked about John Maine at length was when he left his start after five pitches, and I made the comment that he had thrown his last pitch as a New York Met. He has since made two rehab starts (topped out at 88 mph), and now has a complaint that "he doesn't feel right." He was expected to see the doctor yesterday, but that didn't happen according to the reports.

Maine is definitely on the path to being non-tendered at the end of the year, and my prediction he's thrown his last pitch as a Met is looking better and better each day.

This picture was taken back on April 30th versus the Dodgers when he threw 80%+ fastballs, but that picture says 1000 words, as he's stiff and can't finish his pitches. Whether this is a result of a shoulder problem, I don't know for sure.

Also from the same game, it doesn't look like he's using his glove-side at all, just trying to generate all his velocity from his right shoulder.

What does anyone else see based on these pictures/video from Maine's recent starts? Think this could result in a pretty good pitching mechanics discussion.

Scouting Report, RHP Justin Verlander

This 27-year old righty signed a 5-year, $80 million dollar contract extension this off-season and received one 1st place vote for the Cy Young last year (he had a great year, but not above Zach or King Felix), while finishing 3rd in the voting. He was the 2nd overall pick in 2004 out of Old Dominion University by the Tigers, and made his major league debut less than a year later (July 4, 2005). He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2006 (17-9, 3.63 ERA). This is his 5th full year as a starting pitcher, and the last four years he's made 30+ starts, and 200+ innings the last three years, including 240 last year. He's 73-47 for his career, with a 3.88 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He has never faced the Mets in his career.

Verlander has outstanding, filthy, great, whatever adjective you want to use, Stuff. His fastball AVERAGES 96 mph (gained 2 mph between 2008 and 2009) and can touch 100 mph (8 times this year, 15 last year). He has started to mix in a 2-seam fastball 10% of the time, and that is thrown around 94 mph.  He also throws a power curve 20% of the time (80 mph), a change that fades from lefties 14% of the time (86 mph), while also occasionally mixing in a quick slider (88 mph). His three main pitches (fast, change and curve) are all plus to plus-plus pitches. He's throwing 1st pitch strikes 65% of the time this year (league average 58%). All that sounds great, but the biggest concern is the significant mileage/abuse his arm sustained last year. He lead the league in number of pitches by a significant margin (10% more than anyone else), and he once again leads the league in pitches per start (> 112). He has a big body (6'5", 225 pounds), but it remains to be seen if the high pitch counts will have any impact on his long-term durability.

This year, he's 8-4 in 14 starts (94 IP), with a 3.54 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He is striking out 8.1 per 9 innings, and walking less than 3/9 (last year his K/9 was 10+, BB/9 2.36). He's a fly-ball pitcher, but does minimize home runs (7 in 94 innings this year). He's gone 7+ innings in eight of the 14 starts, including his last six starts. He has made four straight quality starts. In his last start for the Nationals, he threw 8 innings, allowing only 7 hits (2 home runs surprisingly), zero walks, 3 runs, and 11 strike-outs.

He is being paid like an ace, and he is a legit ace. He will be an annual cy young candidate as long as his arm can handle the abuse. His top comps are: Sabathia (2008), Oswalt (2005) , Peavy (2008), Santana (2006).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Seat Geek

Some of you may have noticed a new widget on the web site over the past week showing you ticket prices for upcoming Mets games. Seat Geek is a web site that searches Ebay, Stubhub and RazrGatr for the best price, and makes a prediction on whether the price of the tickets will rise, fall or plateau for upcoming games. So they do the hard work of searching the major secondary market sites and show you all the different tickets available.

Be sure to check out the web site, and if you are planning on buying tickets through stubhub/any secondary market, click through the widget from my web site.

I know there are a lot of cheap tickets out there for the upcoming home-stand, so if you aren't doing anything, go out to Citi Field and support our team.

Off Day Thoughts

Today was a very low-key day off, with the big news of Mejia being sent down yesterday, and not much else going on today.

Here are the pitching match-ups for the upcoming Tigers series:

Game 1: Niese vs Verlander (Advantage Tigers)
Game 2: Dickey vs Bonderman (Push)
Game 3: Takahashi vs Galarraga (Push)

As always, each of the opposing pitchers will have the scouting reports posted in the morning.

Looking forward to watching baseball tomorrow night, and if you don't have any plans, GO OUT TO CITI FIELD and support this team after a great road trip.

Link: NL East Weekly Preview

Once again Bill over at Citi Slickers has done a nice job briefly recapping last week's action, the standings as of today, and the week ahead for all the NL East teams. Check it out here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mejia sent down!!

In a move that should've been done 69 games ago (but no one is counting), J Mejia is going to be pitching (starting) in AA.


B Parnell is expected to be recalled according to ESPN's Adam Rubin

Lose the Game and the Series...

Tex hits a grannie and Mets lose 4-0. Enjoy the rest of your Father's Day. still a successful road trip for the Mets!

Game 69: Mets @ Yankees

Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers out there. Hope you get to enjoy a beautiful day.

Here is the line-up that will face LHP CC Sabathia:

J Reyes SS
A Pagan CF
D Wright 3B
I Davis 1B
J Bay LF
R Barajas C
F Tatis DH
J Francoeur RF
R Tejada 2B

J Santana P

My Prediction: Final score 2-1, and the Mets pull it out, win the series, and end the road trip 8-1.

LET'S GO METS! and again Happy Father's Day.

Scouting Report, LHP CC Sabathia

The 29-year old CC Sabathia is in his 10th major league season and was drafted in the 1st round (20th pick) in the 1998 draft. He has been a complete workhorse throughout his career, as he has worked 250+ innings over the past three seasons (post-seasons included). He has been an ace throughout his career; his ERA is 3.61, with a K/9 rate above league average (7.54), and a good 2.81 W/9. Although he is a fly-ball pitcher, he has not allowed many home runs over his career. Coming into the season, Sabathia was 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, including a win on June 26 at Citi Field last season. He is no slouch at the plate, with a .261 career average and three home runs in 90+ at bats.

Sabathia has a balanced and repeatable 3/4 arm action, with a low to mid 90s fastball (average 93 mph) that he will throw to both sides of the plate. He throws a slurve (80 mph) and features a plus change-up (86 mph) that fades from right handed hitters. His fastball and change-up were two of the best pitches in the game last year, but this year he is relying on the success of his slider and change-up. He has thrown his 2-seamer more this year than in the past.

Prior to May 23rd, Sabathia had thrown 7+ innings in five of his nine starts this year, and was 4-2 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. He had seen a slight decrease in his K/9 (6.4) and an increase in W/9 (2.8), along with an increase in home runs this year (8 HR in 60 innings).  On Sunday night baseball vs the Mets on the 23rd of May, Sabathia got hit around, lasting only 5 innings, allowing 6 runs (5 earned), 10 hits, including 2 home runs, and walked 2. 

Up to date (June 20), his record sits at 7-3 in his 14 starts, but 4 of his 7 wins have come against the Orioles. He has had a tough season for his high standards, as his ERA sits at 4.00 and 1.21 WHIP. His K rate has rebounded up to 7.41 K/9, the benefit of 22 k's over the past 3 starts (all wins, 21 innings). He's allowed 12 home runs, and it's the highest rate of his career.

He has a reputation as a 2nd half pitcher, and it's well deserved. His record after the all-star break for his career is 69-37, with a 3.32 ERA and 1.20 WHIP (compared to 3.90 ERA and 1.255 WHIP in the 1st half). So for those Yankee fans reading today, don't worry too much about his slightly worrisome start of his season.