Nick Markakis- BAL- Hot- Since his last multi-hit game on May 2nd, Markakis had been in a 1-for-15 slump that had shaved 28 points from his batting average, dropping it from .284 to .256. He got half of that back yesterday, going 3-for-5 with a run and now stands at .270. One thing that stands out is that he had a dramatic change in strikeout rate. In April, Markakis had 26 Ks in 91 ABs, including 5 in the last 4 games of the month. Then he started out by striking out only twice in the first 6 games of May, covering 23 ABs. Markakis’ April batting average was .286 and he was batting .130 in May before yesterday. The two times he did not get a hit yesterday he struck out, equaling his total of the previous 6 games. It’s just a guess, but maybe Markakis was doing some sort of experiment to try and cut down on his strikeouts that may have affected another part of his swing.
Dallas Braden- OAK- Hot- For Braden, yesterday was a day full of irony. He ended up getting credited with the win when Mark Ellis hit a walk off homer in the 10th inning against the Orioles. This was after Braden threw 2-1/3 shutout innings, allowing only a walk and striking out 2. It was his second career major league win. The first was also against the Orioles, in Braden’s major league debut last year. The first bits of irony kick in here because Braden is likely to be sent to AAA when Keith Foulke is activated from the DL in the next couple of days. So, not only could Braden be sent down after pitching in a very effective outing but it will be after beating the only team he has defeated. To add a further bit of irony, he will probably be sent down before the A’s go to face Texas, which means that Dallas will not be going with the team to Dallas. Somewhere in this are the makings of an existentialist stage play.
Jered Weaver- LAA- Cold- Weaver was extremely inefficient last night, needing 82 pitches to get 10 outs. His strike percentage was 62% and he only walked on in his 3-1/3 IP, so the problem was not an inability to find the strike zone. Rather, it was that Weaver was like a waiter in an Italian restaurant, serving meatballs to the KC batters. Hitters have a .294 average against Weaver this year. Some of it can be attributed to bad luck, but his BHIP% has been falling (down to .299). Weaver’s strikeout and K ratios are very close to those of 2007, but this year, instead of having an ERA (3.91) more than half a run lower than expected (4.49), the numbers are close to the same (4.36 ERA compared to 4.27 XERA before last night). This indicates that his ERA is more closely reflecting his underlying numbers. Besides waiting for luck even out, Weaver needs to help himself by reclaiming his strikeout ratio of his impressive rookie campaign in order to boost his success.
Jose Guillen- KC- Hot- Guillen added 20 points to his batting average last night by going 3-for-3 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. He is still 15 points south of the Mendoza line, but maybe this is the start of a much needed regression to the mean. Guillen has been pounded by a .111 BHIPx. His production should bounce back.
Shawn Marcum- TOR- Hot- Marcum has failed to throw a quality start only once in 7 outings this season. However, an extremely low BHIP% of .181 may indicate that his success so far this year has been highly luck dependent. Marcum did have some very good signs in last night’s game, though, striking out 9 batters for the second straight start and only allowing one walk, while throwing 70 of his 110 pitches for strikes. Marcum may not be as good as his early production numbers, but he is showing improvement over past years.