Brendon Morrow- SEA- Hot- Morrow was supposed to throw no more than 100 pitches last night, but when he was carrying a no hitter into the late innings, that notion went out the window. Morrow finally gave up a hit to the Yankees’ Wilson Betemit with 2 outs in the 8th, but he had been looking weary in walking Hideki Matsui earlier in the evening. He ended up being charged with 1 run in the 7-2/3 IP on the 1 hit and 3 walks while striking out 8. This initial return on Morrow’s conversion from reliever to starter is an unqualified success and puts him right in the thick of the Mariners’ rotation plans for 2009.
James Shields- TB- Caution- The flip side to Shields’ outstanding performance at Tropicana Field is a very poor record on the road. Since he is pitching in Toronto today, his 5.84 road ERA and 1.44 WHIP with 12 homers in 69-1/3 IP are the relevant numbers to look at. On the plus side, he has not had as much trouble lately as early in the season. Only once in his first 7 road starts did Shields post a quality start. He has managed to throw 3 quality starts in his last 5 away from home. In two of those, however, he allowed the maximum 3 runs to be able to qualify.
Jason Giambi- NYA- Cold- Giambi’s batting average has tanked in the second half. He is hitting just .229 since the All Star Break and it’s even worse this month. Giambi has just 2 hits (both doubles) in 18 ABs so far in September. He has maintained his homer ratio (with 9 in 231 ABs since the break after hitting 19 in 261 first half ABs) but the doubles this month were the first he hit since July 2nd. Giambi has had a dramatic loss of plate discipline, with a Batting EYE of .92 in the first half turning into .52 in the second. This is almost entirely due to an increase in strikeouts. He already has 41 Ks since the Break, while striking out 49 times in almost twice as many first half at bats. The indicators have not been good.
Armando Galarraga- DET- Cold- The Twins seem to have Galarraga’s number. In 5 starts against Minnesota he is 0-4 with a 5.46 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and .61 BB/IP ratio. Against the rest of the majors he is 12-1 with a 2.91 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and .30 BB/IP ratio. The Tigers are done with the Twins for the season so this will not be an issue for Galarraga in his last few starts. The bigger question is whether the Twins’ hitters have found a weakness in his game and if so, when will word get around the league. Since it hasn’t happened so far, the odds are low and this is probably just an anomaly.
Mark Buehrle- CHA- Hot- There has been no middle ground for Buehrle of late. Over his last 9 starts he has either allowed 5 or more runs (5 times) or 1 or fewer (the other 4). Last night was one of the good nights as he tossed 6 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. If consistency is what you want, Buehrle is not your guy. If you don’t mind rolling the dice, put him out there and see what happens.