Kevin Millwood- BAL- Cold- Millwood has given up twice as many homers (20) in Camden Yards as he has on the road this year. His ERA at home (5.08) is almost half a run lower than his road mark (.252) but that’s because his BABIP at home (.286) is very favorable. Millwood has been killed by those home homers and an unlucky road BABIP of .369. He wasn’t this homer prone in Texas so that’s probably an anomaly. His overall .327 BABIP will probably come down in 2011. This will mean some improvement and Millwood could be a sleeper with a full season under Buck Showalter.
Max Scherzer- DET- FYI- The Tigers are pushing Scherzer hard down the stretch. He has hit the 110+ pitch mark 7 times in his last 9 starts and 13 times overall this season. Scherzer only threw that many pitches 3 times all of last season and hadn’t hit that level at all in the majors prior to 2009. He is 26 years old, so the risk is less than for a younger pitcher, but that big a jump in high pitch games is a concern heading into 2011.
Brad Ziegler- OAK- Cold- On the off chance that Andrew Bailey’s injury is more serious than suspected (whenever “Dr. James Andrews” and “elbow” are used in the same sentence it makes me nervous), Ziegler didn’t do himself any favors with his performance yesterday. He was tagged with the loss, giving up 2 runs in the 9th on 2 hits and a walk. In his past 2 appearances, Ziegler has thrown 21 balls in 47 pitches. That kind of control and performance doesn’t make a potential closer.
Torii Hunter- LAA- Stats- Make it a fourth year in a row that Hunter has faded at the end of the year. His average so far for September is just .231. If he doesn’t have a serious bounce back in the remaining days of the season, remember this next year. It will be an official trend.
Nick Blackburn- MIN- Hot- Blackburn threw his 6th consecutive quality start, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2 in 7 IP. Since returning from the minors, Blackburn has done exactly what he needs to do in order to pitch effectively. He has increased his strikeout numbers (although with 3 Ks in his last 2 starts, that has slid back) and kept the ball on the ground. Blackburn’s GB/FB ratio of 2.38 is outstanding. That is the kind of number that makes you pay attention to him for 2011.