Scott Baker- MIN- Cold- After 4 consecutive quality starts, Baker had his worst outing of the season so far. He allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks while striking out 6 in 4.1 IP. Baker's control overall wasn't bad, he just had sporadic issues. He only threw 31 balls in his 99 pitches. Since Baker faced 24 batters, that means he threw only 11 balls to the 19 batters he didn't walk. Look at this outing as an aberration.
Brandon Inge- DET- Hot- Inge went 2-for-5 with a triple yesterday, increasing his average to .208. That has some room to increase, given that his BABIP is at .267. What is more worrisome is that Inge is still stuck on 1 homer and has an uncharacteristically low HR/FB ratio of 2.4%. He has 7 doubles in 120 ABs so far, higher than his rate of 28 doubles in 514 ABs in 2010. The question is whether the power is there and will bust out or whether Inge is hitting balls into the gap that used to go out and are now not quite making it.
AJ Burnett- NYA- Caution- Burnett only gave up 1 run and 1 hit in his 7 IP, but he issued 5 walks. He is living off a .228 BABIP right now. Regression to the mean will be ugly. Consider Burnett a "sell high" candidate.
Jose Bautista- TOR- Stats- What can we see about Bautista from some numbers? Pitchers don't like to throw him strikes (34.2% of pitches in the strike zone) but he hasn't gotten to Barry Bonds territory of being given a free pass automatically (only 1 IBB.) Bautista is selective about what he does swing at (34.4% swing%) even when it is in the zone (54.8% swinging at strikes.) This has helped Bautista fashion a .515 OBP, made up not only of a lot walks (24.6% BB%) but also an average (.350) helped by some luck (.343 BABIP.) When Bautista hits the ball (76.2% of the time he swings) it has a tendency to go high (51.9% FB%) and far (26.2% HR/FB ratio.) Production doesn't get much better than we are seeing from Bautista. Other than some reduction in his average due to regression to the mean, there is little that will knock him down unless pitchers start giving him the Bonds treatment and increase the intentional walks.
John Lackey- BOS- Caution- Lackey got bombed for the second straight outing, giving up 9 runs on 9 hits and 5 walks in 6.2 IP. He ended up throwing 117 pitches despite laboring because the Boston bullpen was shot. Lots of pitches when fatigued isn't a good recipe for a strong start the next time out. Considering that his previous start (8 runs allowed in 4 IP) followed on the heels of Lackey throwing 113 pitches in just 6 IP, he is not a good bet the next time he takes the mound. After that, he will need to be reevaluated.
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Paul Sauberer is one of the original Fantistics Analysts. Paul is a diehard fantasy baseball fan with political aspirations. Paul's earliest baseball memories are of the expansion Senators in the 1960s and his father buying him an entire box of 1969 Topps baseball cards. The Senators are no longer and the cards are definitely no longer in mint condition, but Paul's love of baseball continues. He transferred allegiance to the Orioles after the Senators left town and enjoyed the glorious times of the Birds in the 1970s. During that time, he also discovered table top baseball games (before "Rotisserie" meant anything outside of something to do with food) and that has led to decades of crunching numbers and following major league performances. Paul reacquainted himself with the Senators, now the Texas Rangers, while going to college in Texas and remains a Rangers' fan today, even after living on Long Island for 14 years with his wife and two children. Paul knows his baseball!