The new and improved Josh Beckett made his second start for the Red Sox in their home opener in Tuesday pitching very effectively against the Ms. Beckett held Seattle to 1 run in 7 IP on just two hits without a walk while striking out 8. Of course, the M's hadn't seen live pitching since Truman was President, but Josh continued to feature his change, and what was an outstanding curve. The changes in Josh's mental approach and the real-world implementation of that change are significant and real. Of course, those changes haven't been challenged yet and the true test will be if he sticks with this new plan when some team starts hitting him in the first inning or two in some start. Yesterday however, he needed just 84 pitches (61 strikes) and added 9 GB to his 8 K accounting for 17 of the 21 outs he got. Only 5 hitters got the ball out of the infield and Beckett retired the last 14 he faced. This was the Josh Beckett that the Sox traded Hanley Ramirez et al for - very encouraging. If he can string a few of these together, Josh will return to the starting pitching top shelf, especially in AL-only leagues.
An interesting start yesterday for C.C. Sabathia as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim faced the Cleveland Indians of Milwaukee, Hasenpfeffer Inc. He gave up 3 runs, just one earned in 7 IP while 'scattering"10 hits and 2 walks and striking out 7. That is a 1.71 WHIP on the day and probably should have resulted in about 5 runs. C.C improves to 2-0 on the year with a 2.77 ERA. He's given up 18 hits in 13 IP however along with 2 walks for a 1.53 WHIP. He did improve his K rate yesterday after striking out two in 6 IP vs. the White Sox in his first start. Opponents are hitting .329 off of Sabathia to this point and he needs to reign that in and quickly. He'll see the White Sox for the second time this weekend and if you have a comparable alternative you may want to use it.
Alex Gordon is on the board! He snapped a 13 AB hitless streak and a 1- for -24 start to the season when he took Josh Towers deep in the sixth inning of Tuesday's game. Good for him. Hopefully for Gordon's owners this will get the monkey off of his back and he can relax a bit at the plate. Normally possessing decent plate command Alex has fanned 10 times in 26 ABs without drawing a walk. Even accounting for the weather he's clearly pressing, and he needs to find some sort of comfort level before the Royals start thinking about finding it for him. Young players are emotionally volatile; this may be an icebreaker.
Zack Greinke continued to look solid in his second start of the year against a good Jays lineup on Tuesday. He held the Jays to 1 run over 6 IP on 6 hits without a walk while striking out 5. He threw 64 strikes in 98 pitches and had a pretty level GB/FB split. Combined with his strong outing against the Red Sox in his first start (1 run in 7IP on 8 hits, a walk and 7 K) this is just what the doctor ordered for a start for Zack this season. Once a very bright prospect felled temporarily by social anxiety, he's the closest thing to a whiffleball pitcher in the majors today (I saw him throw a 58 mph curveball for a strike once ...without a bounce) and he backs it up with a low-to-mid 90s fastball which has always made him very intriguing. Hopefully he's gathered some personal strength concerning his issues and is back on course. This is the kind of thing we expected from him when he made The Show the first time around.
As I speculated a couple of weeks ago the return target for Jered Weaver (shoulder) is beginning to slip. He's "penciled in"to face the Red Sox on Monday after throwing 90 pitches tonight in a single-A rehab start. The Angels however are already speculating about a second rehab outing. They will of course be overly cautious with Weaver and rightfully so. We'll know more tomorrow morning but if I were a betting man I wouldn't lean too heavily on two starts out of Weaver next week.
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