Chad Gaudin's transformation from reliever to starter continues to be a success as he tossed another quality start last night against the Giants to improve to 3-1. Gaudin surrendered two runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out two in six innings as he rebounded from his poorest outing of the year, a no-decision against the Indians on May 13, in which he gave up four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. Gaudin averages only 5 2/3 innings per start, which is to be expected of a pitcher who had only 10 starts in 101 major league appearances coming into the year. But all you need is five innings to get a win, which is exactly what Gaudin has given the A's in seven of his nine assignments. He's also rebounded nicely from his horrific 0.86 K/BB ratio of a year ago to post a more respectable 2.11 ratio in 52 innings this year. Except for a case of gopherballitis during a brief trial with the Blue Jays in 2005, Gaudin has done exceptionally well at keeping the ball in the yard during his career. His G/F ratio of 2.00 is well above his career mark of .90, which suggests he won't continue inducing batters to beat the ball into the ground, but even his worst G/F ratios resulted in very few homers allowed.
Angel Berroa was called up from Triple-A on Monday after hitting .303/.336/.369 for Omaha, but he still hasn't taken much playing time from shortstop Tony Pena Jr. Berroa entered Friday's game pinch running for Mike Sweeney in the seventh but was cut down at the plate on a throw from third baseman Garrett Atkins on a fielder's choice. Shane Costa pinch hit for Berroa in the eighth, so the former Rookie of the Year had no official line. Pena went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, but is hitting .315 in May after hitting only .204 in April. I wouldn't get too excited about Berroa, regardless. His .24 EYE in Triple-A suggests that he still doesn't get it; it's only .01 points higher than the .23 EYE he's posted in 2,292 major league at-bats.
Ho hum. Roger Clemens tossed 58 pitches, 42 of which were strikes, in his first minor league stint of the season, allowing only one run (on a solo homer) on three hits in four innings. He fanned two and walked none of the Single-A batters he faced. He's expected to make his next start in Double-A on May 23 and might make another start at Triple-A before making his major league debut in early June. Hopefully George Steinbrenner will acquiesce to his desire to be the center of attention and allow Clemens to start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, where the Rocket will be unmercifully booed and chants of "Where is Roger?...in the shower"will pierce the night air surrounding the Fens. I can't wait.
While the Indians consider what to do with Andy Marte, who will either be optioned to Buffalo or recalled from the DL before Saturday's game, Casey Blake and Ryan Garko are making life difficult for Cleveland brass. Blake went 1-for-4 with an RBI Friday and is hitting .317/.389/.460 in 63 May at-bats. Garko has been even better, hitting .386/.419/.667 in May after going 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs, and two runs scored. On the season Garko is batting .321/.374/.527 with six homers and 15 RBIs in 112 at-bats and has played a flawless first base. Blake, who's hitting .264/.354/.421 with three homers and 16 RBIs on the year, isn't tearing the cover off the ball like Garko, but his versatility and ability to play multiple positions make him a valuable addition to any lineup. Marte, who has career marks of .200/.263/.362 in 260 at-bats since 2005, has gone 8-for-29 (.276) with two homers and three RBIs in nine games for Buffalo this season.
You Mark Buehrle owners have my permission to kick Ozzie Guillen in the nether region (not that you really need my permission for anything) for removing Buehrle from a game he was seemingly in control of and turning it over to the erratic Mike MacDougal. Buehrle threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball when he was removed from the game with two outs and two on in the seventh. MacDougal came in and promptly surrendered the lead, allowing a two-run triple to Angel Pagan, then uncorking a wild pitch (that was questionably scored a passed ball) that allowed the go-ahead run to score. The first two runs were charged to Buehrle, giving him a line of: 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. The meltdown also cost Buehrle what should have been his third win of the year. Except for a home run he surrendered to Michael Barrett on a mediocre fastball that caught too much of the plate, the southpaw was extremely effective, allowing a couple of dinkers and bleeders to a Cubs lineup that really didn't get good wood on the ball through the first seven frames. He's allowed homers in six of his eight starts now and his HR rate (one every seven innings) is worse than his career average (one every 8 2/3 innings), but it's improved over last season's dismal mark. He's on pace to allow 33 homers this year (assuming 230 IP), but that won't hurt him (or you) if most of them are solo shots like the one Barrett hit.