Wade Davis Quieting his Critics
Royals starter Wade Davis is pretty darn good reliever. He struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings last season, while walking just under 4 batters per nine. Davis has been a starter in the big leagues as well, winning 25 games and losing 22 in 64 career starts. His career ERA as a starter is right around 4.00, so he is an ok starter, nothing more. His critics say he doesn't strike out enough batters, and walks too many. This season, he has been added to the Royals rotation, and has looked great in his 3 starts thus far. Davis shut out the hot Braves lineup for 7 innings yesterday afternoon, allowing 5 hits, walking none and whiffing 7 to win his second game of the season. He lowered his ERA to 2.25 and raised his K/9 to 8.44. If he can keep his walk rate in the low 2s, he could be a breakout starter this season.
A.J. Burnett Flirts with a No-No
On May 2, 2012, A.J. Burnett faced the St. Louis Cardinals lineup, facing 22 hitters, 14 of which reached base. In 2.2 innings! He gave up 12 runs, on 12 hits and 2 walks in 2.2 innings. Last night, he faced the Cardinals, and flirted with a no hitter for 6.2 innings before giving up a hit to Carlos Beltran. Good thing for Clint Hurdle and the Pirates, actually, because the pitch was his 94th of the game. All told, Burnett shut out the Cardinals for 7 innings, giving up just the one hit, walking none and striking out 8. His is now 1-2 with a 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 35 strikeouts in 24 innings of work. His 13.13 K/9 ranks second in the majors at this point.
Colby Rasmus: The Whiff Machine
Colby Rasmus was once a highly-touted prospect, who had all the tools to be a perennial all star. Like many prospects before him, he struggled to make contact, got into some bad habits at the plate, and eventually gets traded. When a prospect is traded in his age 24 season, you might want to scratch your head and ask yourself why. Rasmus was supposed to be reborn in Toronto, away from the wrath of then Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. That has yet to happen and thus far in 2013, he is whiffing at an alarming rate. He went 0-4 with the Golden Sombrero last night, striking out 4 times, and has now struck out 23 times in his 46 at bats, good for a 50% whiff rate, leading the majors.
Here is what else I saw on Wednesday:
Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco went 2-4 with 2 runs and an RBI and is now hitting .267-.421-.467 with no home runs, 3 RBI, and a 3-4 strikeout to walk ratio in his 15 at bats this season. For comparison, teammate Ryan Hanigan is hitting .063-.184-.063 with no home runs, 2 RBI and a 5-5 strikeout to walk ratio in 32 at bats.
Rays starter Matt Moore is quietly having himself a fine start to the 2013 season. He limited the Orioles to 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 walks and 7 strikeouts in 6.2 innings to win his third game of the season. He is now 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He has given up just 8 hits in his 18 innings of work this season, but has walked 11, so he still needs to work on his control to become the ace so many expect.
Lost in the near no hitter from A.J. Burnett is how well his counterpart pitched last night as well. Cardinals young starter Shelby Miller held the Pirates to 2 runs on 6 hits, a walk and 6 strikeouts in 6 innings of work, and is now 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA, an 0.87 WHIP and a 18-5 strikeout to walk rate in 18.1 innings of work. Miller has easily made Cardinal fans forget about the loss of Chris Carpenter this season.
The Dodgers are struggling to score runs and went with Nick Punto and Justin Sellers at third base and shortstop respectively, hitting at the bottom of their order. Hanley Ramirez cannot return fast enough for their struggling lineup. They also need Matt Kemp's bat to wake up, and for GM Ned Colletti to call up Dee Gordon to play shortstop everyday. The lineup needs a spark and Gordon could provide that.
Max Scherzer and Felix Hernandez locked into a classic pitchers duel last night, as both starter tossed 8 innings, each giving up a run and striking out 12. Scherzer gave up just one run on 6 hits, a walk and 12 strikeouts, while King Felix was slightly more dominant, giving up an unearned run on 4 hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts. We already knew Felix was an ace, but Scherzer may be joining the club as well. He is now 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and a 30-4 strikeout to walk ratio in just 19 innings of work.
The Padres placed Cameron Maybin on the 15 day DL with a right wrist impingement. I was watching the Dodgers-Padres game and the Padres sideline reporter (they might have the hottest sideline reporters in the game) stated that Maybin may miss more than 15 days. Chris Denorfia takes his spot in the Padres outfield.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley was activated from the DL on Wednesday, and I will be interested to see how much power he hits for this season.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton missed his 6th straight game last night, but the plan is for him to return to the Marlins lineup on Thursday. If Stanton could ever stay healthy for a full season, he could approach 50 home runs in a season. This season, he is battling a shoulder contusion he received when crashing into the outfield wall. The last two seasons, he suffered leg injuries that delayed the start of the season for him.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter had to scale back his workouts recently, yet the team is saying this is not a setback. I don't believe them. Jeter was originally scheduled to be activated by May 1st, but that looks like a real long shot right now. I was actually surprised that some thought he would be ready for the start of the season, as ankle injuries, especially for a 39 year old, are not easy to return from.
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman left Wednesday night's game with a tight hamstring, but manager Davey Johnson indicated it was a precautionary move and he should be fine for Friday night's game. He is hitting just .226-.311-.358 with 1 HR, 3 runs and 11 RBI in 61 plate appearances this season.
After giving up 3 home runs on Tuesday night, Royals set up man Kelvin Herrera pitched a scoreless 8th in the Royals 1-0 win over the Braves. Greg Holland struck out the side in the 9th, so he appears to have a firm grasp of the closer job in Kansas City right now.
The Brewers signed free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league contract and there is a thought he could eventually become the Brewers closer should John Axford and Jim Henderson continue to struggle. Go out and grab FRod if you have more than one bench slot in your league.
After blowing his first save opportunity two days ago, Red Sox reliever, now closer, Andrew Bailey pitched a clean 9th inning, striking out two for his first save of the season. He might keep the closer job even when Joel Hanrahan comes off the DL.
Note: there will be no Roto Roundup on Friday morning, as I will be heading down to Atlantic City for a night of Texas Hold'Em at the Borgata casino this evening. I will be back at it on Saturday.