Dave Bush- MIL- Cold- Despite being 29 years old, Bush may still be affected by high pitch count games. He has not thrown a quality start in his last 5 outings, the first of which was a 116-pitch effort. Last night was his first start since a 110-pitch outing and he got shellacked. Bush gave up 8 runs (all earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks in just 3-1/3 IP. Last season he exceeded 110 pitches only once all year and followed that up with 2 non-quality starts. Maybe the short outing will be a blessing. If Bush has been suffering fatigue, maybe this will allow him to regroup. Keep a watch on his next start.
Ryan Braun- MIL- Great Player- Braun has shown a lot of maturity at the plate this season. After going 3-for-5 with a walk last night, he now has one more walk this year (30) than he did in his rookie year of 2007. That is with only 227 ABs, as opposed to 451 as a rookie. He is only a dozen walks short of his total with 611 ABs last year. Braun’s .55 Batting EYE is a significant improvement over his .29 career mark entering this season. Braun is benefiting from luck, as shown by a .303 BHIPx, but even with some regression to the mean, a .300 average is likely to go along with good power numbers.
Barry Zito- SF- Cold- Zito certainly had the gauge of the strike zone, only throwing 16 of 70 pitches outside of it. That’s the kind of ratio you see from a batting practice pitcher and that’s what Zito ended up looking like to the Angels, who touched him for 7 runs on 10 hits (but no walks) in just 3-2/3 IP, his worst outing of the year. It looks like Zito overcorrected for problems he had recently, walking 18 in his previous 5 starts covering 31 IP. If the only way he can prevent the walks is by being extremely hittable, the rest of the season is going to be rough.
Jair Jurrjens- ATL- FYI- In the four times Jurrjens has thrown more than 110 pitches (3 times in 2008, once this year) before his last outing he followed up with a quality start. In the short term, then, a high pitch count does not have a bad effect. As long as the Braves don’t push him that far too often, there should be little long term effect, either. His usage has been reasonable for a 23-year-old.
Wandy Rodriguez- HOU- Caution- Although his road ERA is good at 3.74, it’s still more than a run and a half higher than his home mark of 2.15. It’s also deceptive in that 7 of his 21 runs allowed on the road have been unearned. More telling is the home/away split on WHIP, which is 1.07/1.57. Going into Arlington, even a Josh Hamilton-less Texas team can be an offensive force. Rodriguez could get badly battered in this one.