Articles by Ryan Ceisner

A listing of all the articles written by Ryan Ceisner for the RotoWire Blog.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Kerry Collins will spend the preseason wearing a headset. The Titans will almost exclusively use backups Vince Young and Patrick Ramsey as their quarterback in preseason games, allowing Collins to rest. Collins has enough years in this league that he should not get rusty from a lack of preseason playing time. Seeing a minimal of exhibition action will increase the odds the-soon-to-be-37-year-old is healthy to start the season.

Willie Parker’s back acting up. Parker sat out of practice both days this weekend due to back spasms. While it only seems to be a day-to-day malady, this adds to our doubts regarding his ability to stay healthy for a full season. Rashard Mendenhall’s and Mewelde Moore’s values rise slightly.

Donnie Avery to miss the rest of camp. Avery, who topped the Rams’ depth chart to start camp, left Friday’s practice with a foot injury, and coach Steve Spagnuolo announced Avery would miss four-to-six weeks. That puts his return sometime in mid-to-late September, so he will probably miss the first couple weeks of the season. The type of injury has yet to be specified, so it may take even longer for Avery to get up to full speed. The pickings are spare in the rest of the Rams’ receiving arsenal, but Laurent Robinson, Ronald Curry and Keenan Burton could see time as the No. 1 receiver on the practice field.

Miami QB depth chart established. Chad Pennington is one, Chad Henne is two and Pat White is three. No big surprises here. Barring an injury to Pennington, White’s ability to run the Wildcat means he has more fantasy potential than Henne at this point.

NFL Training Camp Notes

Lots of WR drama on this gorgeous Sunday. Not sure what the whether is like where you are, but Chicago’s spring-like summer continues, and I spent the 80-degree, sunny day enjoying Klezmer music. Or at least trying to enjoy Klezmer music.


Modern medicine repairs Marques Colston‘s knee.
Colston had microfracture surgery in January to fix a hole in his kneecap, but he has been able to partake in minicamps and OTAs, as well as the Saints’ first few days of training camp. At this point, it does not look like the knee will affect his status as Drew Brees’ top target. His presence on the field should boost Brees’ value, and he will draw opposing defensive backs off the Saints’ other receivers.

Titans sign, PUP Kenny Britt. Britt, the Titans’ first-round selection in the 2009 Draft, signed with the team Saturday night for five years and $12 million dollars. He tweaked his hamstring in June OTAs, and head coach Jeff Fisher said he wants Britt to rehab it for another week or so. That means Britt will miss the Titans’ preseason opener against the Bills August 9. Receivers typically have a longer learning curve in their first season, so any time Britt misses will hurt his long-term fantasy value.

Carson Palmer calls in sick. Palmer fell ill sometime Saturday afternoon, and he sat out Saturday night and Sunday. Head coach Marvin Lewis insisted the absences were unrelated to Palmer’s elbow issues. Barring Palmer developing a case of life-sucking valley fever (see: Conor Jackson), we are not too concerned.

Roddy White wants his money. White missed Sunday’s day of camp as the Falcons’ first holdout in a decade. He developed a nice rapport with Matt Ryan last season, and that should not be harmed by White’s demands for more money. Team officials say negotiations are “ongoing,” and a deal may be reached soon.

Brandon Marshall suffers a hamstring injury. He suffered this in the final throes of Sunday’s camp, so the details are still filtering through. He has plenty of time to heal up. Eddie Royal should get reps as the No. 1 receiver.

Donald Brown signs deal. Brown, the Colts’ first round pick in the 2009 Draft, came to undisclosed terms with his first NFL franchise Sunday. He signed on the dotted line soon enough to allow him to report to camp on time, so he should have enough time to learn the offense. He should get the short end of a timeshare with Joseph Addai, but Addai does not have a history of staying healthy.

Beanie Missing a week? Chris Wells signed a deal with the Cardinals Saturday and promptly sprained his right ankle that afternoon. He will sit for most of this week before getting re-evaluated. Durability doubts haunted the Bean during his stay at the Ohio State University, and his rising fantasy stock would fall if he can not stay on the professional field.

Percy Harvin officially a professional footballer. The Vikings drafted Harvin with their first pick of April’s draft, and they signed him to a five-year deal Sunday. He missed two days of camp, but he should get plenty of reps as a returner, receiver and runner. Those in all-purpose yards leagues would be wise to take note.

Willie Parker does his best Hines Ward impression. Parker apparently wants to get more involved in the Steelers’ passing game, and he has been catching up to 250 balls a day. He caught 31 passes in 2006, but only three landed in his hands in 2008. Learning how to catch would help him fend off Rashard Mendenhall.

A good week to all.

What We’re Keeping our Eis on — Saturday Edition

Don’t see Year One. I’m not quite sure why I did. It has enough funny people in it that you get a few laughs, but that’s about it. There were several instances when the theater bursted with laughter. Then the lights came on, and I realized 75 percent of the crowd was under the age of 16. It’s that kind of humor.

Any way. Here’s what the RW army and I will be watching…..

PIT @ COL

Charlie Morton v Jason Hammel

This will be Mr. Morton’s first start since his Pirates’ debut when a hammy injury got him pulled after one inning… He was fairly sharp in that lone inning, throwing nine of his 12 pitches for strikes and allowing only one hit… He threw seven scoreless innings (with seven strikeouts) in his only start for Triple-A Indy, and he had a 1.057 WHIP in 10 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett… DVR displays his man love for Mr. Hammel in this week’s Chin Music… It would be fair to say Mr. Hammel has far exceeded our expectations in his move to the Rockies’ rotation, but his home/road splits are what you would expect out of Coors Field pitcher… .Opponents hit 360/.388/.595 of him at home, .248/.296/.338 on the road… Five of the six home runs hit off him came at home, as did six of the eight bags stolen while he was on the hill… He has been fairly strong in three June starts, posting a .206 BAA and a 15:3 K:BB ratio… Two of those starts came on the road, and the home game was against the hapless Mariners

BAL @ PHI

Bradley Bergesen v J.A. Happ

Bergesen is coming off his best start as a MLB pitcher, throwing a two-run complete game against the Braves… He made two mistakes, and both ended up as David Ross solo home runs… He only had three strikeouts in the game, which was a bit below his season average of 4.2 per nine… Mr. Bergesen averaged 5.8 K/9 in 93 minor league games, but most of that time was spent in levels below Double-A… He only has one MLB game with more than three K’s…Mr. Happ has not lost through 17 appearances (five starts)… He came away with no-decisions in his past two starts despite allowing a combined five home runs and throwing only 58 percent of his pitches for strikes… He faced two good offenses in those games (Mets, Red Sox), but chances are those starts are more indicative of his potential than his seven shutout innings against the Padres

TOR @ WAS

Brett Cecil v Ross Detwiler

The Jays will recall Mr. Cecil prior to the game to take Roy Halladay’s (groin) spot in the rotation… He made four starts for the Jays earlier in the season before being shipped back to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he reportedly worked on mixing up his pitches… He allowed five home runs in a game against the Red Sox that earned him his demotion, but he only allowed two in nine minor league games… He had a 18:6 K:BB in his four MLB starts, and a 23:11 in the 31.2 innings since getting demoted… Mr. Detwiler did not strike out a batter and walked five in a June 14 no-decision to the Rays… He struck out 11 over his first two June starts, but batters also hit .300 of him in those games…He has only allowed two home runs all season (Craig Monroe and Gabe Kapler)… He has yet to win a game at home

ATL @ BOS

Derek Lowe v Josh Beckett

This will be Mr. Lowe’s first start against the Red Sox, a team for which he threw 1037 innings from 1997 until 2004… He threw a season-low 2.1 innings against the Orioles June 14… he allowed seven runs on eight hits in that game, including a two-run blast to Ty Wigginton… That was only the third home run he allowed all year… He had gone at least seven innings in his five starts prior…. He held opposing batters to a .262 OBP in those five games… His 5.1 K/9 is a three-season low… Mr. Beckett is also coming off a rough start… He allowed six earned runs in six innings against the Phillies… On the plus side, he did not walk a batter in the game, his first time accomplishing that feat this season… His 3.5 BB/9 this year is his highest during his four-year tenure in Boston…Only two of the seven home runs he has given up have come in Fenway

NY-A @ FLA

A.J. Burnett v Josh Johnson

Mr. Burnett’s 41 bases on balls tie him with Fausto Carmona and Kyle Davies for the most allowed in the American League… He has the wild pitch lead all to himself (he has eight)… He allowed four walks while striking out eight over seven scoreless innings against the Mets in his last start… Take away his one-strikeout performance against the Red Sox June 9, and he has at least seven in his last five starts… He has thrown 110+ pitches in seven of his 13 starts…This will be Mr. Burnett’s first start against he Marlins, a team he threw 853.2 for between 1999 and 2005… Mr. Johnson comes off his second complete game of the season… He struck out six over those nine innings but allowed two home runs… He has pitched 37.2 innings over his past five starts, during which he struck out 31 (to 10 walks)… He has a 3.11 ERA in those starts, but a .214 BAA… The Marlins are 11-3 in his 14 starts 

HOU @ MIN

Brian Moehler v Scot Baker

Mr. Moehler held the Diamondbacks to three runs over six innings in his last start to pick up his third win of the season… He allowed two home runs in the game, brining his 10-game total to nine… He has given up at least one in each of his three June starts… Strikeouts have also been in short supply… He only has 31 in 50 innings despite 64 percent of his pitches going for strikes… Things have turned around for Mr. Baker in his three June starts… He has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings… He has only walked two… Even better, he has only allowed one home run after surrendering 14 between May and April… One has to wonder if the turn-around may have something to do with his opponents (CLE, @OAK, @CHI-N)… Still, the strikeout numbers are way better than expected

CHI-A @ CIN

Clayton Richard v Johnny Cueto

After surprising most when called upon to be a starter in late-May, Mr. Richard has failed to pitch out of the sixth inning in any of his three June starts… Control issues have re-surfaced in June, and he has more walks (12) than strikeouts (11) in 15 innings… He has not pitched in nearly a week due to an off day and a rain out…

LA @ ANA

Jeff Weaver v Jered Weaver

The battle of the Weavers could jumble this write-up… For the purposes of clarity, Jeff will be referred to as Mr. F and Jered as Mr. R… Mr. F has bounced between the bullpen and rotation this year… He has gone 1-0 in three starts with a .214 BAA… However, he also has posted a 9:7 K:BB in those 15 innings, and opposing teams have stole four bases on him… None of those starts exceeded five innings, and he has yet to cross the 70-pitch mark since May 10… He has only allowed two home runs on the year, but one has to wonder if he has been on the hill long enough this season to allow too many… It is unclear how long Mr. F will remain in the rotation with Eric Stults on the DL… Mr. R has quietly put in one of the better first-halfs in the AL this season… His ERA stood at 3.13 on May 1, and he has gone 5-1 with a 51:16 K:BB ratio and a 1.53 ERA in the 59 innings since… Opponents have hit .184/.239/.295 in that span, and he has not allowed a home run since May 12…  Oh yeah, he threw a complete game shutout against the Padres June 14… He averages 102 pitches per start, which is a little concerning for a pitcher with an injury history

TEX @ SF

Derek Holland v Matt Cain

Mr. Holland held the Dodgers to five hits in his last start, but four walks helped them score four runs in five innings… Those walks helped inflate his pitch count to 89, prompting his pulling… That was his first game with a negative K:BB, as he only struck out two… Opponents have slugged .561 off him in his four starts… They have slugged .530 off him in nine relief appearances… Mr. Cain, they guy who threw incredibly well and received incredibly poor run support during his short major league career, has finally gotten what little support he requires and is 9-1… He comes off his third complete game of the season… He did not walk a single A in his nine innings June 14, but he struck out nine… His 182 ERA+ is third best in the NL…His 1.258 WHIP does not rank in the NL’s top 10, and his low ERA can be explained by a fairly high strand rate (.86)

OAK @ SD

Brett Anderson v Walter Silva

Mr. Anderson allowed two home runs in his last start against the Giants, brining his 12-game total to 13… Six of those home runs came with two outs… He also struck out a career-high six in that game against the Giants, which brought his June K:BB to 15:2… His fastball velocities have fluctuated between the low- and mid-90s, which may have something to do with his inconsistency this season… Mr. Silva will be recalled from Triple-A Portland prior to the game to fill out an injury-riddled Padres rotation… He threw seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball in his last start, striking out seven members of Triple-A Fresno… He has not made a major league start since April 13, when he allowed five runs and three walks (two strikeouts) against the Mets… He only allowed two home runs in 10 minor league games

AZ @ SEA

Billy Buckner v Jason Vargas

Mr. Buckner landed in the Diamondbacks’ rotation May 22, and he has taken five turns… He averages just under six innings per starts and has stuck out 23 to eight walks… The one big downside has been his six home runs… He allowed two in each of his past two starts… He has allowed a total of 14 runs of those two starts (Giants and Astros at home)… He has struck out five in each of his last four, but remains the team’s No. 5 starter… Mr. Vargas allowed a franchise-record six doubles in his 4.2 innings of work last Saturday… He had only allowed a total of two doubles this season entering that game… He gave up 12 hits and seven runs that day in Denver… He gets this start after Erik Bedard went on the DL…

What We’re Keeping Our Eis On — Wednesday Edition

I don’t know how many of you have attended a postponed game, but let me tell you, it is quite the disappointing experience. I attended my first yesterday, expecting to experience my first game at Wrigley Field since defecting from the Cubs to the White Sox in 2000. It only felt like a steady drizzle, almost undetectable to an individual who partook in a few pregame beverages. A pair of players in blue started playing catch outside the home dugout. “That looks like a good sign,” my friend said. Turns out it was not. Within a matter of seconds, the man on PA informed the drenched crowd the game between the White Sox and Cubs had been cancelled, and encouraged us to visit Cubs.com. Not fun. Not fun at all.

Onto tonight’s action. Somewhat of a lighter load than most Wednesdays, as two games were played in the afternoon.

Here is what the RW army and I will be watching:

ATL @ CIN
 
Javier Vazquez v Micah Owings
 
You’d think holding the Pirates to two hits in eight innings would earn Mr. Vazquez the win… Not the case June 11, as he earned the no-decision even with 12 K’s… That brought his season total to 105, tops in the NL… He also ranks second in K/BB (6.563) and second in WHIP (1.032)… He left all four of his no-decisions with the game tied or with his team in the lead… Mr. Owings has been hard-pressed for a win since he threw the final 5.2 innings of a 16-inning game against San Diego May 16… He is 0-3 in the five starts since then with a 21:17 K:BB rate and .293/.403/.455… To make matters worse, Mr. Owings is only slugging .486 with one home run through 35 at-bats… Those kinds of numbers will not earn him any DH time when the Reds play in AL parks
 
MIL @ CLE
 
Jeff Suppan v David Huff
 
 Mr. Suppan beat the White Sox in his last start, holding them to two runs in 6.2 innings… It was his second start of the season in which he did not walk a batter, but the ChiSox have drawn a below-average 210 walks this year… The start was only the fourth time all season he pitched into the seventh inning, and he has yet to reach the eighth inning… He averages 5.64 pitches per out, but has only crossed 100 pitches in four starts… Oddly enough, none of those four starts were the ones in which he saw the seventh inning… Mr. Huff won his last two starts (STL, @CHI-A), evening his six-start record to 2-2… This will already be his fourth start of June… He had 13 strikeouts to five walks in 17.1 innings and 64 percent of his 306 pitches have gone for strikes (compared to 58 percent in his three May starts)… The most encouraging stat about Mr. Huff’s win over the Cardinals was his 7.1 innings, which was by far the deepest he had worked into a game… He could be in a competition to keep his job when Jake Westbrook and Aaron Laffey return by late-June/early-July
 
NY-N @ BAL
 
Tim Redding v Koji Uehara
 
Mr. Redding remains winless through five starts with the Mets, though his two June starts are marked improvements over his three May ones… He has allowed a total of four earned runs on 12 hits through 13 innings, and he has struck out eight to two walks… Six of those K’s came against the Phillies (Chase Utley, Jason Werth twice, Raul Ibanez twice, Ryan Howard)… He should enjoy some good job security, barring a trade… Mr. Uehara’s first start back a hamstring injury started well, but he may have lost some focus after a rain delay… Two of his three strikeouts came before the delay, but six of his seven hits allowed and all four runs surrendered came after the delay… He has not won a game since his second start of the season (April 13)… Mr. Uehara has a 38:7 K:BB in the 45.2 innings until now, with only four home runs allowed
 
WAS @ NY-A
 
John Lannan v Chien-Ming Wang
 
Mr. Lannan has only allowed three runs (two earned) in 15 June innings… He only owns four strikeouts to five walks in those two starts… His 4.4 K/9 this year is a disappointment from last year’s 5.8… He averaged 6.3 over parts of three minor league seasons, so we would hope it would start climbing…He averages just under six innings per start (5.92)… He faces his childhood team in the Yankees… This may be Mr. Wang’s last shot to prove he should remain in the Yank’s rotation… He has a 21.60 ERA in 13.1 innings as a starter (five starts) compared to a 2.25 in eight innings (three games) of relief… 10:10 K:BB as a starter, 7:2 in relief… His wife gave birth to their first child Tuesday, but hopefully he got enough rest… He has yet to last more than 4.2 innings in a start
 
TOR @ PHI
 
Scott Richmond v Jamie Moyer
 
Mr. Richmond makes the spot start in place of the hobbled Roy Halladay (groin)… Halladay should be back this weekend, so this could be Mr. R’s only turn in the rotation…  He has pitched almost exclusively from the bullpen since May 31, as the team has not needed a fifth starter…. He made a start on June 6 against the Royals… He only lasted 4.2 innings in that game, allowing five runs on five hits… He has struck out 18 to six walks over his past five games (three starts) and has held opposing batters to a .217 avearage… I just read Mr. Moyer is the Mariners’ career innings pitched leader… He has thrown a bit better since he won the 250th game of his career May 31… He has 0-0 in the two starts since, but has not issued a walk… 62 percent of his 200 pitches went for strikes and opposing batters have an OBP under .300… Since a four-walk game on May 2, he has not issued more than two in a game… He only averages 2.2 BB’s per nine
 
FLA @ BOS
 
Andrew Miller v Brad Penny
 
Mr. Miller struck out eight in his June 11 start against the Cardinals… He walked away with a no-decision after the Marlins’ bullpen blew his lead… He allowed a home run in the game, but it was only his second one allowed all year… He has gone 2-1 with a 34:15 K:BB in the six starts since he returned from the DL May 16… Batters have only hit .242 and slugged .364 in those starts… Mr. Penny shut out the Yankees over six innings and struck out five in his last start… He has a stellar 22:3 K:BB over his past four starts… He has only allowed three home runs in six starts at Fenway in 2009… His name should get bandied about in trade rumors for the next few weeks
 
DET @ STL
 
Edwin Jackson v Todd Wellemeyer
 
I’m a fan of Mr. Jackson’s story (high school outfielder turned 18-year-old pitching phenom turned washed up prospect turned swing man turned Ray turned Tiger turned All-Star?)… He has allowed only six home runs in 13 games… His five-inning performance against the White Sox June 11 was his shortest since April 23… He had averaged 7.16 innings per start between April 23 and June 11… June 11 was also the first time all season Mr. Jackson posted a negative K:BB ratio… Mr. Wellemeyer dealt with some velocity problems in his June 11 start against the Marlins… His fastball, can touch mid-90s, barely broke the 90 mph mark… He paid for the drop to the tune of 11 hits in six innings and only one strikeout… Mr. Wellemeyer’s velocity chart on FanGraphs shows his velocity has been a bit below average this season, but noticeably lower in his last start… He owns a career 6.1 K/9 as a starter, but that number is down to 5.5 in 2009
 
HOU @ TEX
 
Russ Ortiz v Matt Harrison

Mr. Ortiz was dropped from the Astros’ rotation to start the month of May, but this will be his second straight spot start… How’s that for alliteration?… He threw 5.1 scoreless against the Cubs, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out five… He has now thrown 17.2 scoreless innings, a span that stretches to May 22… Opposing batters have hit .217/.299/.233 during the streak… He will likely hold onto a rotation spot for as long as Felipe Paulino (groin) remains on the DL… Mr. Harrison will be activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game… He had been placed on that list May 29 because of shoulder inflammation… Mr. Harrison made two rehab starts with Double-A Frisco, holding opposing batters to a .240 OBP but issuing four walks in seven innings… He had lost the two starts prior to the DL stint, including an 11-hit, seven-run five-inning outing against the Yankees May 25…
 
TB @ COL
 
David Price v Aaron Cook
 
Control problems fated Mr. Price to a brief outing (4.1 innings) in his last start… He threw 105 pitches (61 for strikes) and struck out and walked six… Low inning counts and high strikeout numbers result in a preposterous 12.3 K/9… The same is true for walks, and he averages 8.5 per nine… The high walk numbers mean he has a 1.632 WHIP, but a 0.897 strand rate allows him to enjoy a sub-2.50 ERA… Mr. Cook held the Brewers to one run on seven hits in six innings June 11 to pick up his second straight win… He struck out a season-high seven even though less than 60 percent of his pitches went for strikes… He has only allowed two home runs over his past eight starts… A good trend for a guy who plays his home games in Denver… He has held opposing batters to a .246/.288/.338 line over his past five starts (35 innings) and struck out 18 to seven walks…

AZ @ KC

Max Scherzer v Zack Greinke

Mr. Scherzer has yet to allow a run in June, throwing five scoreless against the Padres and 7.2 against the Giants… He struck out six and allowed three hits in each of those games… Even though he went 2.2 more innings in the second start, he only faced four more batters… Location was that big of an issue against the Padres, as he walked five… Mr. Greinke has been something of a mortal in his past three starts, posting a combined 5.12 ERA and .291 BAA… He still struck out 16 over those three games to four walks… He remains one of the most automatic of plays in fantasy leagues
 
SEA @ SD
 
Garrett Olson v Chad Gaudin

Mr. Olson continues to start for the Mariners while the team waits for Ryan Rowland-Smith to work out his control issues at Triple-A Tacoma… He picked up his first win of the year in his last start, holding the Orioles to two runs on five hits in five innings… He walked three and allowed a Luke Scott home run in the game… He exhibited perseverance by continuing to pitch after nearly a 30-minute rain delay, but a 3:1 BB:K is not very good… He only has a 1.11 K/BB in his four starts… That number grows to 2.33 when tallying relief appearances, but then it’s only 7:3…. Mr. Gaudin was called on to pitch two innings of an 18-inning game on June 7, which may have messed with his funk for his June 12 start… He lasted only three innings against the Angels on that day, allowing eight runs on 10 hits and two home runs (Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales)…. Those were season-high totals for runs and hits, though he had previously posted simlar numbers (seven runs to Arizona, eight hits to the Dodgers)… The start broke something of a good strikeout streak… He only K’d two in that game, but struck out 21 over his previous three starts
 
PIT @ MIN
 
Ian Snell v Fracisco Liriano
 
Mr. Snell has not won a game since April 18 and has compiled a 1-7 record… He held the Tigers to two runs in seven innings in his June 12 start, but he allowed 10 hits and walked two… Only 59 percent of his pitches have gone for strikes since that last win… He has only allowed four home runs since then, but it has to be hard for batters to hit it deep when the ball hardly reaches the zone… His name has come up in two hot rumors (to the Rockies and to the Rangers) in the past week, and it would not be surprising to see some contender add him to the back of its rotation… He is due the rest of his $3 million for 2009 and then only $4.25 million in 2010 with club options in 2011 and 12… Mr. Liriano has also had a hard time raising his personal “W” flag, failing to earn a win since May 9… He makes Wednesday’s start on nearly a week of rest, his longest stretch between starts all season… He struck out seven A’s in six innings in his June 10 start, but he has walked six in 12 June innings… I think that’s about all I’ll talk about Liriano. I’ve already made enough fun of him in earlier posts.

OAK v LA
 
Trevor Cahill v Hiroki Kuroda

Mr. Caill has not lost in three June starts… He has allowed seven runs in 18.2 innings in the month, and he has held opposing hitters to a .270 OBP… He has struck out 20 in 32 innings since a zero-K game on May 17… Eight of his 10 home runs allowed have come against batters who hit fifth or lower and only three home runs scored more than one run… Mr. Kuroda has gone 0-2 in the three starts since returning from the 15-day DL June 1… That has more to do with the Dodgers scoring all of four runs in those three games than with the way he pitched… He delivered 17 strikeouts in 16.1 innings and only walked six… He did not walk a Ranger over 5.1 innings in his June 12 start, but he was pulled in the sixth inning after allowing a leadoff home run and two one-out singles (both of which scored)… He has not thrown more than 96 pitches since returning from the DL

What We’re Keeping Our Eis On — Wednesday Edition (And Draft Thoughts)

Your’s truly will be following all 15 games tonight…. That’s a lot of games on a bum pinky

First, I’d like to share a thought about the MLB draft. Why is it held midseason rather than after the season? Say it were held the weekend after the World Series, so the second weekend in November. You could use the playoffs as a platform to promote some of the more exciting prospects. Assuming the picks sign in a prompt manner, they would be able to play in winter ball, be accessible to the fans during Spring Training and you may even see one or two make it on the active roster before the end of the season. I think the average fan would be much more interested if there was even a fraction of a chance their team’s top pick could make the roster by the end of the season. Also, I think MLB needs to do something about getting more college and top high school games on MLB Network. Do they do that already? I don’t have it on my cable package. The NFL and NBA drafts are popular not only because of the visibility of the professional league, but those collegiate sports are also extremely popular. College baseball is a different beast because of its sheer population, but the more national exposure it gets, the more excited fans can get about the draftees. Just my thought.

Here’s what the RW Army and I will be watching:

CIN @ WAS

Aaron Harang v Shairon Martis

Harang had the misfortune of facing Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, both on top of their stuff, in his last start… He threw an eight-inning complete game, and all three of the Cardinals’ runs came off Pujols’ bat… Harang hit a batter in back-to-back starts in April, but has gone nine outings without one…. He has allowed at least one home run in eight straight… Opposing batters have slugged .522 in those games… This was supposed to be Ross Detwiler’s start for Washington, but he was forced into action Tuesday to replace Jordan Zimmermann… Martis held the Mets to one run on three hits and four walks in his last start… The fact that he needed 110 pitches to record 15 outs is a bit concerning… He is winless in his past four starts after sprinting to a 5-0 record… He owns a 6:10 K:BB and allowed four home runs in those four games

SEA @ BAL

Felix Hernandez v Jeremy Guthrie

Hernandez’s 9.077 K/9 earns him the ninth spot in that category in the American League… His 79 strikeouts rank fifth… He has worked into the sixth inning in all but two starts and he averaged 6.525 innings per start… He allowed a total of two earned runs over his past three starts (SF, @ANA, MIN)… He struck out 23 in those three games… Guthrie could not make it out of the first inning in a June 5 start against the A’s… He struck out 10 in the start prior, but neither of his outs June 5 came via the K, though 19 of his 29 pitches went for strikes… If there’s any positive in his 83 ERA+ season, it is the fact that he has only waked 2.8 per nine

PIT @ ATL

Charlie Morton v Jair Jurrjens

Morton just arrived in the Pirates organization last week via the Nate McClouth deal, and he is already up with the new team to face the old team… His recall should push Jeff Karstens to the ‘pen… He started one game for Triple-A Indianapolis between the trade and this call-up… He went seven shutout innings against Lehigh Valley with seven strikeouts… He struck out 55 to 16 walks with Triple-A Gwinnett … Jurrjens took the loss in the Braves’ 5-3 loss to the Brewers June 5… He had allowed a total of 14 earned runs in his first 10 starts, but has let up nine between his past two games… Jurrjens hit four batsmen in 2008, but has yet to hit one in 2009… He has held right-handed batters to a .199/.258/.329 line in 146 at-bats this year

KC @ CLE

Gil Meche v Carl Pavano

Meche was able to walk five Rays in his last start and still walk away with only one run allowed and a no-decision… It was his second five-walk performance of the season, and his 3.6 BB/9 this year is the highest it has been since he came to KC… In addition, his 6.6 K/9 is more than one strikeout less than last year’s 7.8, when he finished fifth in the AL with 183 strikeouts… Pavano’s last start was a complete game shutout against the White Sox… He struck out six in the game and allowed only three hits… His numbers per nine (seven strikeouts, 1.9 walks, 0.9 HR’s) are better than they were in his 18-8 season for Florida… His ERA and WHIP do not follow that trend, but they could soon fall in the offensively inconsistent AL Central… He is 4-2 in the division with 31 strikeouts to four walks…

STL v FLA

Adam Wainwright v Chris Volstad

Wainwright took the loss to the Rockies in his last start… Still, he struck out eight in his six innings of work, bringing his past five game total to 34… He has 10 walks in that same span (36.2 innings)… He has allowed eight home runs on the year, and six of those came against outfielders… He has thrown at least 100 pitches in nine of his 12 starts… He induced more ground balls than fly balls in his past five starts… He allowed only 13 line drives in those five games… Volstad’s Achilles heel this season (metaphorically speaking, there’s nothing wrong with his ankle) has been the home run… He has allowed 1.5 per nine through 74 innings after never posting a rate higher than 0.7 in a minor league season… He has allowed 12 this year, and three of those came against the Phillies’ Ryan Howard

ANA @ TB

John Lackey v Jeff Niemann

Lackey comes off his best start of this short season…. He held the Jays to two runs on seven hits in seven innings, striking out a season-high six… He has gone at least seven innings in his last three starts while only averaging 108.6 pitches per game… 64 percent of those pitches go for strikes, though he only has 13 strikeouts over those three games… Right-handed batters only hit .231 off him, but lefties have had enormous success, hitting .396/.415/.563… Niemann also comes off his best outing of the season… His was a two-hit complete game shutout of the Royals June 3… He struck out a career-high nine, and both hits allowed were singles… He has walked a total of three batters over his past four starts, though that includes his rain-shortened May 28 start… He struck out 21 over that same period of time, with 68 percent of his pitches going for strikes… His rotation spot should be safe when Scott Kazmir (quad) returns from the DL

PHI @ NY-N

Cole Hamels v Mike Pelfrey

Starters “coming off their best start of the season” seems to be a trend tonight, and Hamels follows that pattern… He threw a five-hit CG shutout against the Dodgers June 4… He struck out five and walked none in that game… Despite a higher-than-desired ERA, Hamels has only walked six since the start of May… He struck out 40 (in 40 innings) over that same span…Take away that disastrous April altogether, and Hamels has thrown 66 percent of his pitches for strikes and posted a BAA of .243 and an ERA of 3.15… Pelfrey does not come off his best start of the season… He allowed the Mets to score nine runs (eight earned) in 3.2 innings on June 4… He called it the “worst game of his career,” so he may come out a little bit more focused Wednesday… Pelfrey has gone over a month since his last win, but was pretty good in the five starts before the Pittsburgh Pelting… The Mets went 4-1 in those five games, and he held opposing batters to a .246/.281/.317 line with 17 strikeouts and six walks

NY-A @ BOS

Chien-Ming Wang v Tim Wakefield

Wang flopped in his return to the Yankees’ rotation… He threw eight innings of two-run ball in the bullpen, but could not escape the fifth in his June 4 start against the Rangers… One bright spot from the start was his 5:1 K:BB in the game… That ratio was 2:6 in the three April starts that led to his demotion to Triple-A…  He thinks he can last 100 pitches in this start, which should take him into the fifth or sixth, barring a Boston Barrage… Wakefield has factored in all but one start this season… He won his last game, holding Detroit to three runs in 6.2 innings… He walked none in that game, but he averages a decade-high four walks per nine this season… He has a sparkling .191 BAA in his first time through the order

COL @ MIL

Jorge De La Rosa v Dave Bush

De La Rosa’s 9.391 K/9 is seventh-best in the NL… Unfortunately, his four wild pitches rank ninth… He finally won his first game in 11 tries June 5 against the Cardinals… He struck out seven in the game, but he also allowed two home runs… Only two of his six home runs have come at Coors… Despite the high K rate, only 60 percent of his pitches go for strikes… Bush makes this start with a bruised pitching arm, but he was able to throw a successful bullpen session Monday… He was reportedly in pain for much of his last start, but he still managed to hold the Marlins to four runs on seven hits in six innings…. His eight HBP leads the NL… His 14 home runs allowed are second worst…

TOR @ TEX

Ricky Romero v Kevin Millwood

Romero’s last start was his first win since returning from the DL May 26… He struck out five, walked two and allowed three runs in his seven innings of work… He has allowed seven home runs (!) and eight walks (!!) in his three games back… It seems fairly safe to say his ERA will not return to its pre-DL sub-2.00 level… Millwood allowed only one run (unearned) over eight innings in his June 5 start in Boston… He has gone into the eighth inning six times this season, and his 85 innings pitched this season are Top 10 in the AL… His Texas incarnation may be one of the last pitchers you would expect to own a sub-3.000 12 starts into the season, but he has done just that despite averaging home runs, more walks and less strikeouts than last year…

CHI-N @ HOU

Carlos Zambrano v Wandy Rodriguez

Zambrano went 6.2 shutout innings in his last start, holding the Reds to two hits while striking out seven… He walked five, but his strikeout total (53) is still more than double his walk total (26)… This is his first time accomplishing that feat since 2005He has not allowed a home run since April 17, though he has spent some time on the DL… Rodriguez started the season as one of the year’s biggest surprises… He had a 1.83 ERA, 53:16 K:BB and .209 BAA through nine starts, but he has lasted a combined 13.2 innings over his last three… Batters are hitting .426/.474/.691 off him in those three starts…. He feared he may be tipping some pitches, but a videotape review did not reveal anything…

DET @ CHI-A

Justin Verlander v John Danks

Verlander has not picked up a loss since April 17… The Tigers are 7-2 in his starts since then… He has posted a 2.05 ERA, .208/.271/.281 opponents’ line and a 77:17 K:BB ratio in his past 61.1 innings… He has actually allowed less base runners (65) than strikeout victims (77)… Danks has not been so sharp over his past five starts… He has kept the K rate high (23 in 25.2 innings), but he also walked 14 and allowed 23 runs (21 earned) to go with a .311 BAA… Even left-handed batters are getting him good… They hit .290 off him with three home runs in 69 at-bats… That’s actually a worse line than his stats against right-handed batters

SF @ AZ

Barry Zito v Doug Davis

Zito eked out his second win of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Marlins… He only lasted five innings, thanks to a pitch count of 95 and the heart of the Marlins’ lineup due up in the sixth… He had a 19:14 K:BB in the four losses leading up to the win… His seven HBP are second-worst in the NL… Four of those came in April… Davis has also had a hard time finding wins, and he picked up his first win in over a month in his June 5 start against the Padres… He walked four in the game, marking the third time in four games he walked four or more… He threw six shutout innings against the Padres, his first start without a run since April 29… He does quite a bit better against left-handed batters, holding them to a .176 batting average and striking out 22 to six walks…

MIN @ OAK

Francisco Lirano v Dallas Braden

How disappointing has Liriano been this season? I misspelled his name in the first draft of this blog… Who would have thought he would lead the AL in losses through 12 starts… He showed some signs of life in his last start, holding the Mariners to three hits and one run in six innings… Still, it was a weak opponent and he walked four… He allowed nine home runs in 121 innings in that memorable 2006 season, but he has already allowed 10 in 64.2… Braden comes off one of his best starts of the season… He held the Orioles to one run (a solo home run) on five hits in seven innings, walking none… He struck out seven in the game, bringing his five-game K:BB ratio to 23:7… He has eclipsed 100 pitches just three times this year

SD @ LA

Wade LeBlanc v Clayton Kershaw

Chad Gaudin was slotted to start for San Diego, but he pitched in the Padres’ 18-inning loss Sunday… LeBlanc was a September call-up starter in 2008, and this will be his first start of 2009… He had 41 strikeouts in 50.1 innings for Triple-A Portland… He only walked 17… This may be his only start before the Padres’ rotation gets in its regular order… Kershaw only lasted 5.1 innings against the Phillies in his last start… He allowed two runs on four hits and three walks, striking out five… He allows the second-fewest hits per nine in the NL, only trailing Yovani Gallardo… Unfortunately his 35 walks are the fifth-most

What We’re Keeping our Eis On — Saturday Edition

… Because gas is almost three dollars a gallon ‘round here. Also, why donesn’t the NBA have some sort of LeBron-Kobe one-on-one PPV event sometime this summer. I’d pay to watch that. Or at least go to a bar to watch it.

Just pitchers again. Look for hitters in the main MLB section.

Here’s what the RW Army and I will be looking for:

SF @ FLA

Jonathan Sanchez v Andrew Miller

Sanchez only lasted 4.1 innings in a May 31 start against the Cardinals… He needed 83 pitches to record his 13 outs, and he exited after allowing two doubles and two walks (one intentional) in the fifth inning… He threw a May-low two strikeouts in that game, but he still boasts an 8.6 K/9… He has a 36:32 K:BB against right-handed batters, but that number betters to 9:2 against lefties… Miller also only lasted 4.1 innings in his last start… It was his worst start since returning from an oblique injury May 16… He owns 21 strikeouts in 22.1 innings since returning, but he has also walked 14… Either he or Sean West will be bullpen or minors bound if/when Ricky Nolasco returns from his stint with Triple-A New Orleans

PIT @ HOU

Paul Maholm v Roy Oswalt

Maholm picked up his second loss of the season in a seven-inning, one-run effort against the Astros May 31… He has held left-handed batters to a .259 OBP, but righties get on base at a .342 clip… All three of his home runs allowed this season have come against right-handed batters (Bill Hall, Carlos Beltran, Milton Bradley)… Maholm allowed seven runs May 9 against the Mets and May 25 against the Cubs, but allowed a total of four runs in his other four May starts… Oswalt struck out eight in seven innings June 1 against the Rockies… The only run allowed in that game was a solo home run to Todd Helton… He has allowed a stunning 12 home runs in 12 starts… He has struck out 27 in his past 25.1 innings (four starts) to only five walks… The trade winds here will continue to swirl, but his no-trade clause will probably silence most of the rumors

NY-N @ WAS

John Maine v John Lannan

John Maine has been combating a stomach since his last start, and his Friday start was pushed back to Saturday… Maine threw six scoreless innings against the Marlins in his last start, picking up his second consecutive win… He allowed only two home runs in May and held batters to a .212 batting average… However, he walked 20 batters in 36 innings… Lannan has struck out nearly a batter less per nine this season than last season (4.9 v 5.8)… He K’d seven Phillies in five innings in his last start… He also had two May starts without a strikeout… He averaged 17.16 pitches per inning in May… That may be the reason he averaged less than six innings per start

CHI-N @ CIN

Ryan Dempster v Matt Maloney

Dempster has been quietly nursing a blister on his middle finger all season, and manager Lou Piniella cited it when pulling him after 99 pitches in his last start… He was supposed to start Friday, but Wednesday’s rain-out (not the blister) pushed him back to Saturday… He threw seven shutout innings against the Dodgers in his last start… He had one sub-par start in May (six runs in four innings against the Pirates), but was otherwise above-average… Maloney makes his MLB debut in taking Edinson Volquez’s rotation spot… Maloney had a career nine strikeouts per nine in five minor league seasons, and he had struck out 58 to nine walks thus far in the 2009 campaign… He allowed 18 home runs last season at Triple-A Louisville, but only gave up three this year… A poor start here and the Reds may grab Homer Bailey to make Volquez’s next start

ANA @ DET

Kelvim Escobar v Edwin Jackson

This is Escobar’s first start regular season start since Sept. 29, 2007… He suffered a few setbacks during his rehab process, so it may be wise to observe his first start or two before making a transaction… He faces a tough opponent in Jackson, who threw two shutouts in May… He struck out 36 to 10 in 42.1 May innings and held opposing batters to a .270 OBP… He gave up four home runs in April, but only one in May… In fact, opposing batters only slugged .314 off him in May

MIL @ ATL

Jeff Suppan v Javier Vazquez

Suppan failed to go more than five innings in any of his past three starts… He allowed eight walks and five home runs in those three games… His five strikeouts June 1 against Florida were his most since April 25… On the flip side, five strikeouts would be a bad day for Vazquez… His 86 strikeouts rank third in the National League… He has only walked one in each of his past three starts, and he only has three starts all year with multiple walks… Vazquez has not allowed a home run since May 9… All six of his home runs came over three games

TEX @ BOS

Derek Holland v Jon Lester

Holland was supposed to start Tuesday, but he was pushed back to allow Vicente Padilla to start… He still got into Tuesday’s game, throwing 1.1 innings of relief… Holland has struck out nine in his 10.2 innings as a starter, and he has also allowed three home runs… He has allowed six home runs in his 27 innings of work, but he has only given up eight walks… Lester K’d a season-high 12 in his May 31 start, and he still complained about how his change-up wasn’t working the way he wanted it to… Imagine how he would do if he got that off-speed stuff going… He averages 10.2 strikeouts per nine, which makes his 5.65 ERA much more palatable… His 11 home runs allowed may be a contributing factor to the bloated ERA

COL @ STL

Aaron Cook v Todd Wellemeyer

Cook has never been much of a strikeout guy, but his 28 strikeouts to 25 walks is pretty unsightly… He has allowed eight home runs this year, six of which came away from Coors…. He went all of May without allowing a homer, but allowed one to Carlos Lee in his June 1 start… I’ll admit that while watching a Cardinals’ game on MLB.tv the other day, I thought Wellemeyer was coming on the pre-game show as an analyst and not a pitcher… He has allowed 35 earned runs this season (tied for 10th-worst in the NL)… Only six of those runs have scored from the home run… His ERA reached a zenith of 5.87 May 17, and he has gone 2-1 since then with a .250 BAA and 12 strikeouts in 16.1 innings

BAL @ OAK

Jason Berken v Trevor Cahill

Berken has only allowed three earned runs in his first two MLB starts, but his K:BB ratio stands even at five… He averaged 6.2 K/9 between Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie prior to the call-up… He averaged 2.5 walks per nine during his four-season minor league career… Cahill has not won a game since May 12… He is 0-3 with 13 earned runs on 22 hits in the four starts since, with a 13:6 K:BB ratio in 21.1 innings… He averages 16.9 pitches per inning… Batters get on base at a .344 clip against Cahill

AZ @ SD

Max Scherzer v Kevin Correia

Scherzer only lasted 3.2 innings in his last start, against the Braves… Eight runs on 10 hits snapped a streak of five quality starts in six chances… It also snapped a two-game streak of 10 strikeouts… He allowed seven home runs in six May starts… He also had a May average of 3.52 walks per nine… Correia also had a short outing in his last start, allowing 13 baserunners and two home runs in 4.1 innings of work… His lone win of the season came May 15 against the Reds… He has allowed a home run in each of his past four games… Three of those games have been played in spacious Petco

What We’re Keeping Our Eis On — Wednesday Edition

We have an early edition of the notes today… Why? I’m not quite sure… Just pitchers again, but check out our writers’ updates in the MLB News section… I’ll come on before the games start (got all of ‘em tonight) and throw some of the more important notes into the comment section…

NY-N @ PIT

Mike Pelfrey v Russ Ohlendorf

Pelfrey held the Marlins to one run on five hits in 7.2 innings in his last start but wound up with an ND… After a four-walk performance to begin May, Pelfrey finished the rest of the month with six in five games (34.2 innings)… He struck out six in each of his past two games (@ BOS, FLA), but his 3.7 K/9 this season is a career low… A 31-pitch first inning doomed Ohlendorf in his last start, which lasted all of five innings… He allowed at least one home run in every May game, and allowed 10 in his past seven… He went more than six innings just once in six May games

BOS @ DET

Josh Beckett v Armando Galarraga

Beckett’s ERA fell below 5.00 for the first time since April 25 after holding the Twins to one run on three hits in seven innings… His eight K’s in that game were a May-high… As were the four walks… His walk rate this season (four per nine) is off the charts… It stood below 2.0 the past two years… Galararraga has been reportedly working on his mechanics, but has five losses in his past six starts… the other start was an ND… He allowed 10 home runs in those six starts… He could be out of the rotation after a few more starts to clear room for Jeremy Bonderman

SF @ WAS

Randy Johnson v Jordan Zimmermann

This is Johnson’s first go at win No. 300… These milestones are not automatic… Just ask Jamie Moyer, who was stuck on 249 for five starts… Johnson’s attack at 300 should not draw out as long… He has allowed two earned runs on nine hits over his past two starts, striking out 11… Note those starts were against the light-hitting Mariners and Braves, while the Nationals have scored 240 runs this year… I just dealt for Zimmermann in a home league, so he’s due to pitch poorly… In all seriousness, the guy has done a great job of finding the strike zone this season…. 66 percent of his pitches have gone for strikes… He has done a pretty poor job of missing bats (.298 BAA, .357 Opponents’ OBP)… 47 strikeouts in 46 innings means he knows how to get guys out, but he does not know how to avoid mistakes (seven home runs, three HBP)… President Schoenke did a great job poking fun of the media’s proclamations of “Last 300 ever”…  I’ll say Zimmermann chalks up No. 301 23 years from today… Probably won’t happen, but I’ll start running infomercials if it does

TEX @ NY-A

Scott Feldman v Andy Pettitte

Feldman made his first start of the season April 25 and has yet to pick up a loss… He has drawn some pretty favorable matchups, but his only true mistake has been a two home run game in Houston May 23… Only 12 strikeouts in his past four games (25 innings), but opposing batters hit just .205/.286/.307 off him in that span… Playing against the Yankees in NYS does not qualify as a cushy matchup, and we would not expect his stats to come out as pristine… Pettitte walked five in five innings in his last start before a stiff back ushered in his yanking… He played catch in the interim, and said he is capable of starting… Do not expect him to be at 100 percent

MIL @ FLA

Braden Looper v Sean West

Looper’s last start was emotional, coming a day after his grandfather’s funeral… He held the Reds to two runs on two hits in seven innings and picked up his fifth win of the season… Like a few other pitchers already mentioned in this blog, Looper gave up a home run in every May start (nine in six starts)… Those accounted for 25 percent of his hits allowed in the month… 65 percent of his May pitches found the strikezone, but he earned only 16 K’s in 35.1 innings… He allowed five runs on eight hits against the Marlins May 13, but the Brewers pounded in eight runs to give Looper the win… West is not related to Adam, of Batman and Family Guy fame… He drew two tough matchups in his first two starts (TB, @NY-N), and Wednesday’s assignment is not much easier… He allowed a total of three runs on eight hits in those two starts (13 innings)… He struck out seven, but also  walked five… He will need near-perfect performances from here on out if he wants to stay in the rotation… Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) returned from the DL Tuesday and Ricky Nolasco (terrible pitching) could be back from Triple-A NOLA after another start or two…

ANA @ TOR

Jered Weaver v Casey Janssen

Weaver makes this start on nearly a week of rest (his last start was May 27)… It is unclear how that will affect him, as he averaged 4.2 days of rest during his 10-game tear to start the season… He has given up seven home runs in those 10 starts, but has not allowed one since May 12… His 1.034 WHIP is second in the AL only to Zack Greinke, as are his two complete games… Janssen has been good, but far from dominant, in his first two starts since 2007… He allowed 11 hits and two walks in seven innings Friday against Boston, but he stranded 10 of those runners… Only two strikeouts to three walks, but he was never much of a strikeout pitcher…

CHI-N @ ATL

Ted Lilly v Derek Lowe

Lilly was stellar against the Dodgers in his last start, holding the team from LA to one run in seven innings… That run was a Matt Kemp solo shot that came after six scoreless innings… I may start calling him TR after learning his first two names are Theodore Roosevelt… TR has factored in 10 decisions in 10 starts… He has had four starts with zero walks, but he has had four starts with 3+ walks… He has allowed 11 home runs this year, but four came in his first start…  Those 11 bombs have only resulted in 15 runs… Lowe allowed a season-high 10 hits in his last start… Four of those hits (and four runs) came after a Kelly Johnson error that would have otherwise ended the inning… He only has eight strikeout to five walks over his last four starts (29 innings)… But opposing batters have only hit .221/.252/.298 off him in that same stretch…

KC @ TB

Brian Bannister v Jeff Niemann

A matchup of a guy who started the year at Triple-A and a guy who was expected to be at Triple-A once David Price got the call… Banny has pitched surprisingly well in his eight starts, striking out 5.6 per nine and allowing 0.6 home runs per game… Things have gotten a bit rougher since suffering some shoulder stiffness May 13… He is allowing batters to hit .342/.380/.493 in the three starts since, though he has struck out 12 in 17 innings… One has to wonder if that shoulder problem is still hanging out in the background somewhere… Niemann only pitched three innings in his last start because of a rain delay… Four of the nine outs recorded to that point came via the K… He has hit four batsmen this year, but has not hit one since May 7… Only two walks allowed over his past 17 innings of work (to 12 strikeouts)

COL @ HOU

Jason Marquis v Brian Moehler

Marquis’ first five games at Coors have been worse than his first five games on the road…. However, he has given up four bombs on the road compared to two at home… He did not allow a run on six hits in eight innings in his last start… That start was against the soft-hitting Padres… He had a 20:12 K:BB ratio in 42.1 May innings… Moehler also thrived off poor hitting in his last start, throwing a complete game against the Pirates May 29… He allowed one run on seven hits and had a shutout going into the ninth inning… This was his first complete game since the 2000 season, so we’re not expecting another anytime soon… His 6.2 K/9 this season is a career high, and he had at least four in every May game

CLE @ MIN

Cliff Lee v Anthony Swarzak

A year after winning the Cy Young, Lee leads the American League in hits allowed with 88… He threw four complete games last season, but has not reached the ninth inning this season… He has finished the eighth inning on three occasion… He still does a good job at keeping the ball in the yard (four home runs through 11 starts) and still throws 3.38 times as many strikeouts as walks…. Swarzak’s second start was a step back from his first… After holding the Brewers to no runs in seven innings in his MLB debut, he allowed four walks to three strikeouts in six innings against the Sawx and Jason Varitek homered twice… 24 flyballs to 17 grounders in two starts

CIN @ STL

Johnny Cueto v Kyle Lohse

Cueto took the loss to the Brewers in his last start, and the long ball was his downfall (two allowed)… He has pitched at least seven innings in all but his first two starts… Calling his control inconsistent would be a compliment… He struck out nine and walked one in a May 3 start, but then he walked four and only K’d three in this May 29 game against the Brewers… His K/9 is holds at a healthy 6.7, but that’s a point-and-a-half lower than last year’s 8.2… Fortunately the walk rate is also down, and his ERA+ stands at 180… Lohse was supposed to start Friday, but a bruised forearm pushed it back to Tuesday and then Wednesday… Lohse threw a few good bullpen sessions since suffering the injury, but he could be on a short leash… May was a weird month for Lohse, who dealt with left elbow, back and forearm issues… Two starts lasted for less than five innings, but he threw eight shutout innings against the Royals in his final start of the month

OAK @ CHI-A

Josh Outman v Clayton Richard

Is there any better name for a pitcher than the “Out” Man?… Probably… He has struck out 40 in 47 innings, which translates to a 7.7 K/9… He has also averaged four walks per nine innings… Those ratios did not play out in a May 25 start, in which he walked five D-Backs and struck out none… He rebounded in his next outing, striking out nine Rangers in 6.2 innings… He faces Chicago for the first time in his career and the Sox are notoriously bad at facing pitchers for the first time… Take away a 3.1-inning start that began Richard’s tenure as a starter and he has struck out 18 in 20 innings, walked only seven and held opposing batters to a .191/.263/.309 clip… Talk in the Chicago media now has Bartolo Colon exiting when Jose Contreras returns … He was fairly efficient in his last start, achieving 21 outs and in 92 pitches

PHI @ SD

J.A. Happ v Chris Young (the pitcher)

Happ went to the veritable Northwestern University, alma mater of Rotowire’s founders… Happ has been suitable since replacing Chan Ho Park in the Phillies’ rotation, going 1-0 with five runs allowed on seven hits in 11.1 innings… He allowed a home run in both games, but struck out nine to three walks… A .184 BAA as a starter is nothing to complain about either… Young only allowed one run and two hits in his May 29 start against the Rockies, but he let up six walks… Six Walks… he had a game of five walks a month earlier on April 27…  Six walks… Outside of a four-homer game May 13 against the Cubs, he has only allowed two long balls this season

BAL @ SEA

Bradley Bergesen v Jason Vargas

Bergesen beat the Tigers in his last start, going a career-high eight innings… He walked four May 19 in NYS, but has not walked any since… 69 percent of his pitches went for strikes in his last two starts, and he held opposing batters to a .291 OBP… Note he has been re-united with minor league battery-mate Matt Wieters, who caught hits eight innings against the Detroit boys…  Vargas replaced Carlos Silva in the M’s rotation May 12, and has gone 3-1 since with five earned runs allowed on 18 hits in 23.2 innings… He has held opposing batters to a .214 batting average, and only waked eight… He struck out seven Giants May 22, but only has six strikeouts over his other three starts… He owns a 1.90 ERA in his four starts, but he’s no Johan/Zack

AZ v LA

Jon Garland v Chad Billingsley

Garland has given up 19 earned runs and 29 hits over his last three starts… He lasted 2.2 innings in a May 29 start against the Braves… He only struck out seven over his past five starts while walking 12… He said he will use some altered mechanics Wednesday, but it’s unclear how much that will change the results, especially when he’s going up against a strong Dodger lineup… Billingsley has a career-high 9.2 K/9 through 11 starts… His 76 strikeouts are sixth best in the NL and he should top 200, barring health issues… He held the Cubs to two runs in seven innings in his last start but could not pick up the win… The home run allowed in that start was only his second of the season…

-DK Out