Mark Grudzielanek- KC- Hot- Grudzielanek seems to like to collect his hits in bunches. In his last 10 games he has recorded 3 or more hits 3 times, including last night’s 3-for-4 effort and has raised his average to .319. In every season from 2002 on Grudzielanek has improved his batting average from the first half to second half, so he may be in for a very high mark the rest of the year.
Carlos Quentin- CHA- Hot- Quentin went 2-for-3, hitting 2 homers, scoring 3 times and knocking in 4 runs. Possibly very importantly he also drew a walk. Quentin’s cold bat this month (.133 before yesterday) also coincided with an abysmal Batting EYE of .20. Before July, Quentin had a respectable Batting EYE of .89. Getting more selective may help Quentin regain the form that made him an All Star this year.
Francisco Rodriguez- LAA- Cold- KRod blew only his 3rd save of the season last night against the Rangers, but he did it in a worrisome fashion. Rodriguez started his attempt to protect a 2-run lead in the 9th by walking the leadoff man on 4 pitches. Before Josh Hamilton hit a walkoff homer with 2 outs, KRod had given up another hit and 10 of his 21 pitches were balls. That was probably a generous accounting for him also, as the strike zone graphic thing on the broadcast showed that the umpire was calling a wide strike zone for him. KRod has only had one 3-up and 3-down inning in his last 7 appearances. As we pointed out last week, Rodriguez has a history of decreased performance in the second half. You are not going to want to turn him loose, but don’t count on him keeping up his first half production.
Livan Hernandez- MIN- Cold- Hernandez had control yesterday, throwing 55 of his 82 pitches for strikes and walking no one. However, wherever he put it the Boston hitters connected. Of the 24 hitters he faced, 11 got hits and 6 of them scored. Hernandez’ BHIP% continues to soar and was up to .338 before yesterday’s start. Luck has been killing him since he hasn’t been able to strike out batters with much consistency. Hernandez picked up 2 Ks yesterday, but that obviously wasn’t enough bats getting missed to make him effective. Five times in 20 starts this season Hernandez has given up 6 or more runs. There is no way to tell what kind of outing you will get from him, so he is best left alone.
Warner Madrigal- TEX- Hot- Madrigal made his first professional start last night. It was designed to be limited, as the Rangers were going to use a procession of bullpen pitchers to get through the game. Madrigal was successful, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and walking no one while recording a strikeout. His ERA is still suffering the effects of his horrendous major league debut, which started him out at a mark of 162.00, but at least now it is below 10.00 at 9.95. Manager Ron Washington seems to have confidence ion Madrigal and the poor first outing doesn’t appear to have shaken Madrigal’s own confidence, so he may end up as a key part of the Texas bullpen. If you are looking for a sleeper at closer, Madrigal may emerge as a candidate if C. J. Wilson continues to pitch erratically.