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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:


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


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


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


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…


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


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


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


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


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…


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…


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…


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


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…


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


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