Random NL Central thoughts
Jaime Garcia- he's threw a few rough outings in a row and we'll see whether he comes out of it or continues to digress. Garcia's last four starts include a gem vs. Milwaukee and three of his worst starts of his career. The oddity of this is the Brewer game was a 3 hitter over 7 innings and marked the third time Garcia faced Milwaukee this year. The bad starts came against KC, the Dodgers and Rockies- teams that have not faced Garcia previously.
Are there any similarities between these teams that lit up Jaime Garcia? There's really not anything to go on as far as I can tell. To me, it just looks like JG is getting close to that 100 inning mark and getting tired. Maybe he can clear things up between starts. Let's not forget this is a guy who threw 37 innings last year and already has 103 in 2010. And last year Jaime only had eight starts while this year he already has 18.
John Jay has looked like a completely different player at the plate since returning from Memphis. He took 3 walks in 5 plate appearances Sunday and his July line looks like walks will begin to be a factor. Actually Jay's 5 July bb's are the first of his career as he had none prior to being demoted in June. Maybe his fate at the plate began to change just before his demotion. His last two games included his first homer and first multi-hit game of his career. Jay's July line : .438/.514/.750/.1.264 . That's in 32 at bats and includes a couple homers and four doubles. The big questions now are 1. how long can Jay keep it up? and 2. what happens to him once Ryan Ludwick returns? I suspect one thing that will happen is that the Randy Winn experiment will come to an unceremonious end.
John Axford- the guy has been pretty solid closing for the Brewcrew. He's not a top tier closer but has had some good outings and has been able to rebound from some bad ones. It looks like Trevor Hoffman is beginning to turn the corner so I guess the next question is where does Milwaukee send him in a trade? Speaking of trades, the Mat Gamel talks have really quieted down lately. I guess that's partly because he's not exactly tearing up Nashville.
Looks like Travis Wood is off to a better start than what Mike Leake was off to earlier this year. This Reds team worries me as a Cardinal fan. I think they are legit. We'll just have to see how the young arms perform around mid-late September. That includes the rebuilt arm of Edinson Volquez. They have a lot of depth though. Come toward the end of the season the Reds should have Homer Bailey and Aaron Harang back. That may not sound like a lot but it's probably more than what most teams in baseball are expecting at the tail end of their rotations. Of course, there may not be a starting spot available for either of them. But expanded rosters will give the Reds flexibility.
Are the Cubs the worst ran big market club in sports? I realize their market does not equal the Red Sox or Yankees. But still, they have the 3rd highest payroll in baseball*. Anyone can take a look at their screwed up rosters moves and contract and see why they are always (it seems) out of contention by the middle of May. Here's their payroll via ESPN-
Now off to something else-
Anyone else looking for a big 2nd half from Brandon Inge? So he's just hit 6 homers thus far and this time last year he had 21. The extra base hits are about the same 30 to 31 and the hitting line is not that dissimilar .264/ .342/ .411 this season's first half verses last year's first half of .268/.360/ .515 . Sure the SLG was higher last year- he had more homers. But last season he had 9 doubles and a triple at the break while this year he has 22 doubles and 2 triples. Inge's hitting vs. RHP is way ahead of last year- about 40 points higher in AVG and OBP. I'm expecting a pretty decent 2nd half from him.