Sunday, April 12, 2009

Three pitchers

The Arizona Diamondbacks don't have much room for error in what's typically a wide open NL West, and need all the help they can get from ace Brandon Webb. Well, Webb reported tightness in his shoulder to Bob Melvin, and the D-Backs decided to be very cautious, sitting Webb on the 15 day DL.

The D-Backs have yet to make a corresponding move. The depth chart behind #2 starter Dan Haren features an erratic Doug Davis and an overrated Jon Garland plus developing phenom Max Scherzer coming off the DL... this isn't a good start to the 2009 campaign for Arizona. Yusmeiro Petit's filled one spot early on and will likely hold it until Webb returns.

This pop gun team is around an 84 win team with Webb at full strength, so they need to hope that no one else gets hurt, that Scherzer shows more promise than inexperience, and that the rest of the rotation can overacheive.

Tim Lincecum lasted just three innings in his 2009 debut against Milwaukee, and got hit again in taking a 6-1 loss to San Diego. It's only a small sample of two starts, so let's not panic unless this happens 4-5 times in a row. The Padres just sat fastball (because duh) and managed to tee off on him. It didn't help Tim that his defense failed him: Fred Lewis let a catchable ball get by him and Eugenio Velez bobbled a ball in CF during the game. Like most strikeout pitchers, Tim's a flyball pitcher, and when he's not mowing down 10 guys a game, he lives and dies by his outfield defense. It wasn't there for him today.

Kyle Lohse threw one of the more fortunate CG shutouts you'll see, retiring 24 straight Astros at one point despite 15 flyballs to 8 groundballs and only 4 strikeouts. It helped that the Astros' 3 hitter was a struggling Lance Berkman, followed by a struggling Carlos Lee, followed by the withered remains of Miguel Tejada. Not exactly an imposing middle of the order. I'm not going to knock a 110+ pitch complete game in general, but with outs against Geoff Blum and Michael Bourn, I'm not going to call this a masterful performance against a league average lineup either.

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