Today it’s all about pitchers. I just started typing some random bits of information that caught my fancy, and when I looked up I realized that everything I penned had to do with guys who take the hill. So without further ado, here are five men, who throw the ball for a living, that I thought you might enjoy reading about today.
Joe Blanton threw seven shutout innings on Tuesday to lower his ERA down to 3.82. In 14 of his last 15 appearances he has allowed three or fewer earned runs. The man may not know how to wear stirrups, or how to shave his ridiculous looking facial hair, but he knows what to do with the ball in his hand.
Angel Guzman has been shut down for the remainder of the 2009 season do to a strained right triceps muscle. You may not have realized it, but he was actually the most consistent arm in the Cubs’ bullpen this season. Kevin Gregg leads the team with 23 saves and Carlos Marmol leads the group with 27 holds and 86 Ks in 70 innings, but guess who has the best WHIP on the team? That’s right, it’s Guzman with his 1.05 WHIP in 61 innings. Guzman also owns a 2.95 ERA on the year which also is the best mark of any hurler on the squad who has thrown more than 30 innings. See what I mean?
Josh Johnson picked up 10 strikeouts on Tuesday in his fifth loss of the season. Johnson threw five innings to leave him on the precipice of a milestone with 199.1 innings pitched on the season. Still, the Marlins continue to baby him. Johnson has been allowed to throw more than five innings just one time in four starts despite allowing two or fewer runs three times in this stretch. In fact, Johnson has now gone seven starts without tossing seven innings. Managing a pitchers innings count is important, especially when a guy is coming off injury, but if you are just going to pull him out of the game every time he hits 90 pitches (he tossed 92 on Tuesday), what’s to keep the other team from simply taking pitches and trying to drive up a guys pitch count so that they can get into the bullpen?
Pat Misch has lost each of his last three appearances for the Mets, hardly a shock given that he owns a 1-11 record in his big league career. In fact, it took him 55 appearances at the big league level to come up with his first victory, and in his three appearances since then he has gone 0-3 with a 12.40 ERA with two Ks and two BBs over 12.1 innings for the Mets. The Mets have decided to return Misch to the pen after those three outings. They certainly have some sharp guys making decisions with the Mets don’t they?
Manny Parra (neck) will make his scheduled start on Friday as he attempts to improve on his 10-10 record. No word yet on if he will resemble a major league pitcher or not in that outing given his 6.42 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over his 25 starts this season. Those numbers got me to thinking. How easy is it to win 10 or more games with an ERA over 6.40? So I looked it up and the answer is – not very. It’s only happened twice in the last decade though Parra could make himself the third man on the list joining Ryan Drese and Colby Lewis. If we add on another decade, and take things back to 1990, one more name is added in LaTroy Hawkins. Going back to 1980, no one else makes the cut. Ditto if we go back to 1970, 1960, 1950, 1940. In fact, since the era of modern baseball began way back in 1900 there have only been three seasons in baseball history with an ERA over 6.40 and at least 10 victories in a single season. If Parra wants to become a part of history all he needs to do is continue along at his current rate and he will make it four. You don’t think he would purposefully throw a few batting practice type fastballs to see if he could keep that ERA high do you? Me neither, but it may be the only shot he ever has at history so perhaps I’ll shoot him an email to let him know he is on the edge of something really big.
By Ray Flowers