Corey Patterson was told to sit in the corner last night and think about what he's done with his last 17 ABs which is nada. He is down to .219 on the year. No word as to whether he'll be back in the lineup tonight.
When the Red Sox are getting to Mike Mussina you know things are going badly for the veteran starter. One of the All-Time great Red Sox killers gave up 7 runs last night in 6.2 IP on 10 hits, a walk and 2 Ks. This start wasn't as bad as its bottom line as the Red Sox busted open a 4-2 game with three in the 7th. As much as Mussina kills the Sox normally, Manny kills the Yankees at The Stadium and he got to Mussina in the first with a 3-run bomb that set the stage for this one. You can also smell the angst in the Bronx these days (at least I think that's what that is) as they booed Mussina in frustration. Mike seems disharmonious at this point in the year. He is a creature of habit and this has been far short of routine season so far. He had some good moments last night and I think that once he gets a few turns on his normal 4-days-rest pattern (he has had 5 and 6 and 5 days rest between his last three starts) we'll have a better idea of what we are dealing with here. The results haven't been great so far (2-3, 6.52) to be sure, but it's still too early to give up on Moose.
Jon Lester lurks in wings of course but Julian Tavares is doing yeoman's work for the Red Sox of late. Last night he tamed a very good Yankees lineup at Yankee Stadium. Julian gave up 2 runs over 5.2 IP on 3 hits, 4 walks and 2 Ks. He collects the win, improving to 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA but over his last 5 starts now he's allowed more than 3 runs just once. He has given up 12 runs in those 5 starts over 28.2 IP (3.76) on 24 hits and 13 walks (1.29). Even that is a bit deceptive because 10 of those 24 hits can in one start against the O's in 5 IP. He's limited the Yankees (twice), Twins, and Tigers to just 14 hits in the other 23.2 IP in that stretch. That's pretty impressive for a 5th starter. He's nobody's savior of course, but if you have been shuttling pitchers in and out of your last two starting slots, Julian is presenting himself as a decent option of late.
Another hit for Haverhill High School alum Carlos Pena last night. He now owns an 8-game hitting streak in which he has gone 13- for 28 (.464) raising his average to .305 on the year. Only his pro history keeps me skeptical at this point. Carlos is a very solid, even-tempered kid with a very good offensive skill set, I just can't prove that statistically. One thing he is doing so far this year is controlling his K rate, relatively speaking anyway. He's at a what would be a career best 24.8% if it holds as opposed to his 29.5% career rate. He does much better in AAA (23.4% last year) and that should translate better in the majors than it has with him so far. Late week, incredibly, he turned 29 (I used to walk my new born daughter down to Haverhill Stadium to watch him play) so it's unrealistic to bank on the fact that he is finding a light switch of some sort. It's much easier to believe he's living off of an unreasonably high .329 BHIP%. Track him if you feel the need, or jump on the hot streak if you want, but I'm guessing his success will be fleeting ... as much as it pains me to say it.
That sigh of relief you heard last night was John Santana owners who started the night looking down the barrel of a three-game personal losing streak and calculating exactly how big a problem they face if Johan isn't Johan this year. He was certainly Johan against the Rangers last night in Arlington, striking out 13 as he held Texas to 1 run in 7 IP on 4 hits and 2 walks. Now the Rangers are the 5th most productive offense in the majors in terms of runs produced but they are also 8th in the majors in most strikeouts. They are a free-swinging bunch so this was somewhat predictable. Still, Johan improves to 5-4 on the year and lowers his ERA to 3.05 and that's pretty damn good. It's just not quite what his owners paid for this year. The problem with owning a guy like Santana is that he can still pitch well and not earn back what you paid for him. You know what though? Everything is fine. The only peripheral that is out of line for Johan this year is his BB rate which sits at 2.5/9, his highest since 2003 three when he posted ... you can probably guess it ... a 3.07 ERA. His WHIP that year was 1.10, same as this year, and both are the high-water marks in WHIP in that span (I love it when a stat model comes together). The only other thing to worry about is that things could be worse. Johan has posted a 84.7% strand percentage which is higher than is should be and a career high for him. That is probably due to a K rate that is a tick higher than normal so far this year at 11.0/9. Since walking 3 in 6 IP on 4/29 against the Tigers however, Johan has not walked 3 in a game in 4 starts and he's walked 7 in the 25 IP since ... a rate of 2.5/9. That seems to be the issue so far and I have every confidence that his BB rate will rebound towards his historical norms. I don't see any red flags here and Johan owners should sit tight and remain calm.
John Danks won his third straight start in Tuesday allowing the A's 3 runs with 1 earned in 6 IP on 7 hits, 2 walks and 1 k. He improves to 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA. Hmmm .. what do you think? Over those three starts, he has allowed 4 earned runs in 19 IP (1.89) on 17 hits and 7 walks (1.26 WHIP) while fanning 12. It looks like the indicators say this is a solid streak with quality pitching. His K rate this year (6.8) in the majors is down from his 9.1 in AAA last year and so it looks like there is even some room for growth here. He will need that K rate to come up a bit to help cover some persistent command issues, and the fact he does not throw a ton of ground balls. Still his numbers are for real. This is how well he is pitching. He is in the process of firming up his grip on his rotation slot.
The Tigers options Andrew Miller to AA Erie on Tuesday after his strong MLB debut on Friday. Miller was filling in for Jeremy Bonderman and pitched well enough to earn a second start. This tells me that Bonderman will be available to start for the Tigers tomorrow.
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