Wandy Rodriguez, of the Houston Astros, has had an up and down season to this point in 2007. Rodriguez's ups have been highlighted by some dominant performances at home and his lows have featured poor performances on the road. In Rodriguez's last five starts at home he is 4-0 with a 0.70 earned run average. In addition to his staggeringly low ERA, he has held opponents to a WHIP of 0.75 and he is striking out 6.75 per nine innings as well. Rodriguez will start today against the Milwaukee Brewers in Houston.
J.J. Hardy, of the Milwaukee Brewers, hit his 19th homerun of the season on Friday and it was his first homerun since June 25th. Hardy has dropped off dramatically since the beginning of June. Before June 1st Hardy was batting .304 with 15 homeruns and 46 runs batted in. Since June 1st Hardy is batting .230 with four homeruns and 18 runs batted in. For the season Hardy is now batting .268.
My stance on Rich Hill, of the Chicago Cubs, has softened, mainly due to his last outing and the fact that I've learned that he has received the worst run support of any starting pitcher in the National League this year. Here is a little perspective on how well Hill has pitched overall this year; Hill's earned run average is 3.54 to Cole Hamels' 3.64, Hill's WHIP is 1.19 compared to Hamels' 1.14, and Hill has a K/9 rate of 8.29 to Hamels' 8.40. With all of those exceptional numbers tying the two talented southpaws together the most important stat separates them significantly and the responsibility for this sits squarely on the shoulders of the Cubs offense (Hill is 6-6 and Hamels is 13-5). Hill will start today against the Colorado Rockies.
Derek Lowe, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has not received much run support at times this season and that conclusion can be drawn by looking at his 3.58 earned run average, 1.27 WHIP, and very disappointing 8-10 record. This however is not the reason that Lowe is 0-4 in his last eight starts, the reason for that is his ERA of 4.87 and the fact that he has made only two quality starts in that stretch. Lowe will have his first opportunity to turn over a new leaf today against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tim Lincecum, of the San Francisco Giants, has made eight consecutive quality starts and he has posted a 4-0 record in that stretch. Lincecum has been just short of brilliant in his last eight starts posting a 1.35 earned run average, allowing only 5.4 hits per nine innings, and striking out 9.96 per nine innings. With that said, Lincecum still has room for improvement (4.22 BB/9inn) and that is a testament to just how good this guy could be! Lincecum starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates today.