Brandon McCarthy- TEX- Hot- McCarthy enters tonight’s start against the Yankees with 3 consecutive quality starts under his belt. His season will e an interesting test of the new philosophy Nolan Ryan and pitching coach Mike Maddux have brought to the Texas staff. They are preaching a hefty conditioning program that will result in starters going deeper into games. Before being removed after 6 IP and 87 pitches in his last outing, McCarthy threw 118 and 124 pitches in his previous two starts. At age 25, McCarthy’s arm should have finished developing, but his recent injury woes make pitch counts that high against usual wisdom. The Rangers pitchers have been much improved, but whether that is a vindication of Ryan’s methods or just a statistical blip is still unknown. After years of experience following the Rangers and their mound woes I lean towards the skeptical side. How McCarthy fares in new Yankee Stadium will be an interesting piece of data for evaluating the new Texas pitching regimen.
Chien-Ming Wang- NYA- FYI- Wang has looked good since coming back on May 22nd and going into the bullpen to build strength. The control is there (2 walks in 8 IP). The strikeouts are there (7). The ground balls are there (14:3 GB/FB ratio). Thus he is being thrown into the fire as a starter, facing the Rangers in new Yankee Stadium. That’s a pretty tough situation for a pitcher. If he can come out of it relatively unscathed, then Wang is ready to be a fantasy producer again.
Josh Beckett- BOS- Hot- Beckett allowed no earned runs (3 overall) on 2 hits and 2 walks in 7-2/3 IP while striking out 9. Those are good numbers. However, Terry Francona let Beckett throw 119 pitches to get that far. It is the 7th time in 11 starts that Beckett has thrown more than 110 pitches. That is a very heavy workload in the early part of the season. If he continues to throw a lot of pitches and put up some success, consider Beckett for the sell high column.
Gerald Laird- DET- Cold- Laird went hitless yesterday, for the 6th time in his last 7 games. His batting average during that time has dropped from .248 to .226. There is a silver lining in this cloud, however. Laird has drawn a walk in each of his last 3 games and his Batting EYE is now .68, far above his norm. A BHIPx of .223 is also impacting him. Combine these factors with Laird not getting any statistical benefit from playing his home games in Arlington TX (at whatever they were calling that ballpark in any given year) and there is definite room for upward movement in his numbers.
Chone Figgins- LAA- Hot- With BHIPx numbers of .345 and .305 in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Figgins’ .308 mark so far this year is not out of line. With his speed, he could be expected to have a higher than average number and although this is very high, he has shown an ability to sustain it. Going 3-for-5 yesterday brought Figgins’ batting average above .300 for the first time this season, to .303. This combination of average and speed (20 SB) makes him extremely valuable. If someone is trying to sell high, it may not be that bad a deal to acquire him.