Greg Maddux- LAN- Cold- Maddux continues his extreme home/road splits even when the road venue is his former home. Pitching in San Diego last night he was touched for 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 IP while striking out 4. It was not his worst start by any means, but did make his road record 3-8 with a 5.98 ERA as opposed to 4-4 with a 2.65 ERA wherever home happens to be.
Mark Saccomanno- HOU- Hot- Mark Saccomanno has seen one pitch in his major league career and hit it out of the park. He made his major league debut last night, homering in a pinch hitting role. Saccomanno has shown some power, hitting 27 homers at AAA Round Rock this year after slugging 22 there in 2007. However his plate discipline is highly suspect, with 35 walks and 94 strikeouts in 528 minor league at bats this year. Despite posting a .297 batting average at Round Rock, his OBP was only .339. Saccomanno is a free swinging slugger who is making his major league debut at age 28 because he has not shown the skills needed to consistently succeed at the major league level.
Wilkin Castillo- CIN- Hot- Castillo went 3-for-4 yesterday to raise his major league batting average to .500 (5-for-10). Small sample sizes can be great. Castillo has not hit better at the AAA level than the .248 mark he had this year combined at Tucson and Louisville. Expect him to cool off, although his performance so far has earned him at least one more time in the starting lineup.
Jair Jurrjens- ATL- FYI- Jurrjens has already pitched 30 more innings than he has in any other professional season. Still, the Braves plan on keeping him in the rotation for the rest of the year, despite his showing some signs of fatigue. Jurrjens has 4 more scheduled starts this season and 3 of them will be with an extra day of rest due to off days in the schedule. They are trying to stretch him out so that he will be a pitcher capable of throwing 200+ innings per season. With 170-1/3 IP this year, he will be close to that mark in 2007. Bobby Cox has been using Jurrjens carefully. In only 3 of his 28 starts has he thrown more than 110 pitches. For a 22-year-old, that is a reasonable amount. If the Braves succeed in this plan they could have a workhorse on their hands.
Tim Lincecum- SF- Danger- Manager Bruce Bochy is playing with fire in his overuse of Lincecum. At 24, Lincecum is still at a vulnerable age where throwing too many pitches can have very negative consequences. Last night, the tossed 127, two starts after throwing 132. Since 110 pitches is the level deemed safe, Bochy is pushing Lincecum way into the red zone. In his 14 starts since June 28th, Lincecum has thrown fewer than 110 pitches only 3 times. This puts him at great risk for arm trouble or a statistical drop off next year.