Posts Tagged ‘Tim Lincecum’

Starting Rotation: National League West

January 23, 2010

The last last starting rotations I will look at are the starting rotations of the National League West. It’s no surprise that nine out of the last 11 NL Cy Young award winners have come from the West.

With the divisions big ballparks and offensively challenged lineups, the NL West is a pitcher’s dream. Any pitcher worth their salt, would love to pitch in this division.

Here are the starting lineups for each National League West team as presently constructed.

Colorado Rockies

1. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

2. Aaron Cook, RHP

3. Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

4. Jeff Francis, LHP

5. Jason Hammel, RHP

Quick Take – I like this rotation, but I don’t love it. I would love for the Rockies to add one more reliable pitcher like Jon Garland. Francis returns to the Rockies after missing the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury. Cook is really underrated.

San Francisco Giants

1. Tim Lincecum, RHP

2. Matt Cain, RHP

3. Barry Zito, LHP

4. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – Linceum and Cain form one of the best one-two punches not only in the NL, but in all of baseball. Lincecum is aiming for his third straight Cy Young award. There is a big dropoff after Lincecum and Cain. I am not sold on Sanchez.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Chad Billingsley, RHP

2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP

3. Vicente Padilla, RHP

4. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP

5. James McDonald, RHP

Quick Take – Which Billingsley will show up in 2010? The one that was an All Star in the first half of 2009 or the one that faded in the second half? Dodgers need him to come back strong next season. This rotation will miss Randy Wolf , who pitched well for them down the stretch in 2009.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Dan Haren, RHP

2. Brandon Webb, RHP

3. Edwin Jackson, RHP

4. Billy Buckner, RHP

5. Ian Kennedy, RHP

Quick Take – Can Webb come back in 2010? That is the big question surrounding this rotation. If he can, the Diamondbacks will be in business in 2010. Jackson needs to pitch like he did in the first half with the Detroit Tigers, not the second half. Kennedy thinks he is a great pitcher, now he gets a chance to prove it.

San Diego Padres

1. Chris Young, RHP

2. Clayton Richard, LHP

3. Kevin Correia, RHP

4. Mat Latos, RHP

5. Tim Stauffer, RHP

Quick Take – Gone is staff ace Jake Peavy, but in is Latos and Richard. Richard pitched well last year (5-2 with a 4.08 ERA) for the Padres after coming over in the Peavy trade. Latos is a top prospect, who showed glimpses of brilliance in his first stint at the majors.

That concludes my starting rotation series for this week. I will revisit each starting rotation as the regular season approaches.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


Starting Nine: National League West

January 16, 2010

Last but least in our Starting Nine series, is the National League West. Usually known as being the worst offensive division in baseball, the NL West has improved offensively this offseason.

The San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks have added offensive pieces this offseason and as long as the young Colorado Rockie hitters continue to improve, they will always be dangerous.

Here are the lineups for each team in the National League West as presently constructed today.

Colorado Rockies

1. Dexter Fowler, CF

2. Carlos Gonzalez, LF

3. Todd Helton, 1B

4. Troy Tulowitzki, SS

5. Brad Hawpe, RF

6. Ian Stewart, 3B

7. Chris Iannetta, C

8. Clint Barmes, 2B

9. Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Quick Take – This lineup is the class of the NL West. This lineup has everything you want–speed, power, and patience. Look for Carlos Gonzalez to have a breakout year and become everyone’s mancrush when it comes to fantasy baseball.

San Francisco Giants

1. Freddy Sanchez, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B

4. Aubrey Huff, 1B

5. Mark DeRosa, LF

6. Aaron Rowand, CF

7. Buster Posey, C

8. Nate Schierholtz, RF

9. Tim Lincecum, P

Quick Take – It’s hard to make up a lineup when every guy in that lineup is the same. This lineup has very little power, very little speed, and not a single person that scares an opposing pitching.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. James Loney, 1B

3. Manny Ramirez, LF

4. Matt Kemp, CF

5. Andre Ethier, RF

6. Casey Blake, 3B

7. Russell Martin, C

8. Blake DeWitt, 2B

9. Chad Billingsley, P

Quick Take – I originally had Ethier in the two-hole and Loney in the six-hole like the Dodgers had in the NLCS last year. I didn’t like that lineup then, and I don’t like it now. Ethier is better served in a RBI position in the lineup.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Gerardo Parra, CF

2. Stephen Drew, SS

3. Justin Upton, RF

4. Mark Reynolds, 3B

5. Adam LaRoche, 1B

6. Conor Jackson, LF

7. Miguel Montero, C

8. Kelly Johnson, 2B

8. Dan Haren, P

Quick Take – With the addition of LaRoche and a healthy Jackson, this lineup all of a sudden looks very deep. Upton is only getting better and he will be a MVP candidate in 2010.

San Diego Padres

1. Everth Cabrera, SS

2. David Eckstein, 2B

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4. Kyle Blanks, lF

5. Chase Headley, 3B

6. Nick Hundley, C

7. Will Venable, RF

8. Tony Gwynn, CF

9. Chris Young, P

Quick Take – Kevin Kouzmanoff was traded to the Oakland A’s less than 24 hours ago, so now there is zero reason to pitch to A. Gonzalez in 2010. With Kouzmanoff gone, this is a big year for Headley. Look for newly acquired Scott Hairston to platoon with Gwynn in center.

Well that’s it for our Starting Nine series. I hoped you enjoyed it. I will update this series as the regular season approaches.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

What Each MLB Team Should Be Thankful For

November 26, 2009

For me, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. It’s one of the few times of the year when all bets are off when it comes to food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanksgiving is also the time of year where we give thanks to what we have in life. It’s no different for all 30 teams of Major League Baseball. Each team has something they can be thankful for.

NL East

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies should be thankful that they have one of the best GM’s in the game in Ruben Amaro Jr. A GM who doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves should be thankful the Minor League Player of the Year, Jason Heyward is on his way. The kid looks like a star.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins should be thankful they are getting a new stadium in 2012. Maybe then they can keep their young stars like Josh Johnson

New York Mets: The Mets should be thankful that 2009 is finally coming to an end. 2010 can’t be much worse.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals should be thankful that new GM Mike Rizzo has more of a clue than former GM Jim Bowden

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals should be thankful for the fact that they get to watch the best player in the game on a day in and day out basis.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs should be thankful that after so many years of being labeled “lovable losers,” they are finally dedicated to winning. Whether or not they are making the right moves to win is another story.

Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers should be thankful that they have an owner in Mark Attanasio, who runs a small market team, but has a big market mentality.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds should be thankful that Jay Bruce, Drew Stubbs, and Joey Votto are young stars, who should provide a solid foundation for the future.

Houston Astros: The Astros should be thankful that Wandy Rodriguez established himself as a solid No. 2 starter in 2009.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates should be thankful for the fact that GM Neal Huntington has the team moving in the right direction. The Pirates are making the right moves to compete in the future.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers should be thankful for Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who appear to be the foundation of the Dodgers’ offense for years to come.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies should be thankful that they have one of the best and exciting young teams in baseball. The Rockies have finally figured out how to win in Colorado.

The Giants should be thankful for Lincecum

San Francisco Giants: The Giants should be thankful for being able to watch Tim Lincecum every five days. His unique delivery continues to amaze fans and baffle hitters.

San Diego Padres: The Padres should be thankful that it appears that they will not be trading star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks should be thankful that Brandon Webb is making progress and looks to be healthy in 2010.

AL East

New York Yankees: The Yankees should be thankful that they are the Yankees. No other team in professional sports has the advantage they have.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox should be thankful for their minor-league system, which allows them to trade for players like Victor Martinez and potentially Roy Halladay or Miguel Cabrera.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays should be thankful that they have the most athletic team in baseball and after so many years of losing, they have a winner in Tampa.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays should be thankful for the fact they got to watch Roy Halladay pitch in a Blue Jays’ uniform for the last 12 years. He will go down as the best player in franchise history.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles should be thankful for that after so many years of not having a clue, they are moving in the right direction. Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Nick Markakis provide a solid foundation for the future.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins: The Twins should be thankful for Joe Mauer. When it is all said and done, I believe he will go down as the greatest catcher of all time.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers should be thankful for Mike Ilitch. Despite a ravaged economy in Detroit, Ilitch does his best to put a winner on the field in the Motor City.

Chicago White Sox: The White Sox should be thankful for employing Ozzie Guillen. His press conferences have provided baseball fans with hours of comedy. Oh yeah, the guy is a pretty good manager.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals should be thankful that there is only more year left in the Jose Guillen era in Kansas City.

Cleveland Indians: The Indians should be thankful that Grady Sizemore, Carlos Santana, Azdrubal Cabrera, Matt LaPorta, and Shin-Soo Choo provide hope for the future.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The Angles should be thankful for that they have one of the best run organizations in baseball. The job Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia have done in Anaheim has been impressive.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners should be thankful for the fact that if they make a couple of solid moves this offseason, they could win the AL West in 2010.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers should be thankful for GM Jon Daniels. His trades and drafting over the last four years have the Rangers poised to make a run at the AL West crown in 2010.

Oakland A’s: The A’s should be thankful for Andrew Bailey. The 2009 AL Rookie of the Year and a great year and should anchor the backend of the A’s bullpen for years to come–or at least until Billy Beane trades him.

I would like to give thanks to all my readers for taking the time out of their days to read my blog. For that, I am truly grateful.


The Freak Does It Again: Lincecum Wins NL Cy Young Award

November 19, 2009

My preseason NL Cy Young pick: Cole Hamels

NL Cy Young award winner: Tim Lincecum

For the second year in a row, San Francisco Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum has won the National League Cy Young award. Great, now I have to hear St. Louis Cardinal fans whine some more.

Is there a fan base in sports that is more sensitive about their players winning awards than Cardinal fans? It’s overkill.

And if you don’t believe me, here is the “tweet” of the year from Keith Law: “Do the Cardinals sell a pacifier with the team logo on it?”

Just spot on.

Lincecum received 100 points to beat out Cardinal pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in a very close race. Carpenter received 94 votes and Wainwright received 90 points.

Lincecum won his second Cy Young today

Just like with his fellow Cy Young award winner, Zack Greinke, Lincecum’s win total didn’t reflect how good of a year he really had. Lincecum only had 15 wins, which tied him for forth in the NL with seven other pitchers.

Lincecum however,  led the NL in strike outs with 261, complete games with four, quality starts with 26, was second in ERA with 2.48, and was forth in WHIP with 1.05.

Lincecum is off to an amazing start in his career. Do you realized that he has pitched just two full seasons in the majors and has won two Cy Young awards?

That is ridiculous.

The only one I could think of off the top of my head who has accomplished something like this would be Roger Clemens in 86′-87′. Clemens started 15 games in 85′ and then broke out in 86′.

Lincecum becomes the first pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young awards since Randy Johnson won four in a row from 1999-2002.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Fantasy Week In Revew, Sept. 7 – 13

September 14, 2009

As hard as it may be to believe, there’s still fantasy baseball to be played. With fantasy football now in full swing, many people are forgetting that the fantasy baseball playoffs are in full swing.

Not me.

As always, here are the fantasy studs and the players who could kill your fantasy baseball hopes for the week of September 7th-13th.

Fantasy Studs

Billy Butler – .419/2/12 with one SB. It seems like Butler has been around forever, but he is only 23 years old. He could be in-line for a massive breakout season in 2010.

Russell Martin – .286/2/9/.385. It’s good to see Martin make a celebrity guest appearance in the fantasy stud column.

Juan Uribe – .409/3/7. Uribe has been red hot for the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately, the rest of the Giants’ offense hasn’t followed suit.

Raul Ibanez – .333/4/7. Ibanez hasn’t been the same since coming back from a groin injury a couple of months ago. Hopefully for the Philadelphia Phillies Ibanez is getting hot at the right time.

Javier Vazquez – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 17 K’s in 16 IP. Has anyone noticed the year Vazquez is having? If the Atlanta Braves gave him any run support, he would be right up there in the Cy Young race.

Pedro Martinez – 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 11 K’s in 14.2 IP. The good news — Pedro pitched eight shutout innings against the New York Mets. The bad news — it took him 130 pitches to do it.

Not sure how smart that was by Charlie Manuel leaving him in there for that long.

Jason Frasor – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and three K’s in 3.1 IP. Frasor is making the case to be the Toronto Blue Jays closer in 2010.

Joakim Soria – Four saves with a 0.00 ERA and eight K’s in 3.2 IP. Soria has had a down year by his standards. A trip to the DL this year really hurt Soria.

Reasons for Concern

Alfonso Soriano – Soriano will miss the remainder of the season because of knee surgery. It’s been a pretty awful season for Soriano and for owners who depended on him.

I for one, have never been a fan of Soriano. Soriano will be 34 next year and I expect his production to be on a steady decline from here on out.

Brad Lidge – The Phillies officially removed Lidge from his closers duties. The plan is to have Lidge pitch in “low-stress” situations until he gets himself right.

Lidge has had six months to get himself right and if it hasn’t happened by now, I don’t think it will happen this year.

Tim Lincecum – Lincecum missed his last start because of back pain. His missed start caused a lot of fantasy owners first-round heartbreak.

The good news is that if you made it past the first round and have Lincecum on your team, he is expected to start tonight against the Colorado Rockies.

Thoughts From Around The Majors

September 10, 2009

Like George Costanza, I am back baby!!! I am back in New York City from a fantastic three days in Milwaukee and Iowa/Field of Dreams. I will be doing a full recap of the trip and everything that took place on it tomorrow.

For today, I am going to give some thoughts as to what has been going on in the majors the last couple of days.

Here we go…

Carlos Beltran made his return to the New York Mets on Tuesday. Why? Maybe I am in the minority here, but I really don’t see a reason why Beltran would play these last couple of weeks.

Why is Beltran playing?

Why is Beltran playing?

The Mets are out of the playoff race, so only more harm than good can come out of Beltran playing. What good can come out of this? Beltran gets a couple of more hits or RBI for the back of his baseball card?

If the Mets want to see if he is healthy, they could have waited till the offseason to see that in private workouts.

The Phillies have a massive closer problem. The baseball gods are punishing Brad Lidge for being perfect last season. After not getting the job done against the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, my guess is that Brett Myers becomes the Phillies’ closer.

Congratulations to Derek Jeter. Jeter last night against the Tampa Bay Rays, broke Lou Gehrig’s record for hits by a New York Yankee. While this is great for Jeter, let’s not go crazy here folks.

A. Did anyone ever associate Gehrig with the Yankees’ hit record? And B. When Jeter gets 3,000 hits, it will be a more impressive feat.

Los Angeles Dodgers are hanging on for dear life. Is there any contending team that wants to run out the clock on the regular season faster than the Los Angeles Dodgers?

The Colorado Rockies are on the Dodgers like white on rice. The Dodgers lost the Arizona Diamondbacks last (I will say that Ramon Troncoso had Mark Reynolds struckout three times in that final AB.) and the Rockies are now just 2.5 games behind the Dodgers.

The Dodgers look like first-round fodder for the Phillies or the St. Louis Cardinals at this point.

Tim Lincecum goes down with an injury. I hope Lincecum is okay and by all reports, he is improving. Lincecum missed his last start because of a stiff back.

Lincecum began feeling some tightness in his back when the team returned from Milwaukee. Ironically, my buddy Tom had the same injury returning from Milwaukee.

Coincidence? I think not.

So with the NFL season officially starting today, a lot of people have asked me my predictions for the upcoming season. I know this is a baseball site, but it never hurts to make some predictions…

AFC East

1. New England Patriots

2. Miami Dolphins

3. New York Jets

4. Buffalo Bills

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Cincinnati Bengals – x

3. Baltimore Ravens

4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – x

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Houston Texans

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers

2. Denver Broncos

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Oakland Raiders

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. New York Giants – x

3. Dallas Cowboys

4. Washington Redskins

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Minnesota Vikings – x

3. Chicago Bears

4. Detroit Lions

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Carolina Panthers

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West

1. Arizona Cardinals

2. Seattle Seahawks

3. San Francisco 49ers

4. St. Louis Rams

x = Wild Card

AFC Championship Game – Patriots vs Chargers

NFC Championship Game – Eagles vs Packers

Super Bowl – Chargers vs Packers

NFL Champions – Chargers

Brad Penny to Sign With San Francisco Giants

August 31, 2009


As if the San Francisco Giants needed more pitching, according to’s Jon Heyman, Brad Penny will sign with the Giants today. Penny passed through waivers early this afternoon, which made him a free agent and free to sign with any team.

The Giants will pay Penny a pro-rated portion of baseball’s minimum salary, which will be around $75,000.

Just like all recently released, aging, failed comeback attempt with the Boston Red Sox pitchers, Penny will probably pitch swimingly in the NL.

Penny will join a Giants rotation that includes Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez.

Original Post

Can you believe that Brad Penny was 6-2 at one point during the season? After watching Penny pitch for the last couple of months, it’s almost impossible to believe.

Penny has been terrible in the monthof August going 0-3 witha stellar 8.31 ERA and combined with the fact Boston Red Sox needed a roster spot for the newly acquired Billy Wagner, the Red Sox and Penny have agreed to part ways.

After missing some of the 2008 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers because he was battling a shoulder injury, the Red Sox took a $5 million flier on Penny in the offseason. It was a classic high-risk, high-reward signing.

At the end of June, the Penny signing was looking like it was paying off. He was  6-3 with a 4.79 ERA. It’s not the greatest ERA in the world, but A. he was winning games, so nobody cared and B. this is what was expected out of Penny.

Penny was released by the Red Sox

Penny was released by the Red Sox

Penny was signed to give the starting rotation depth, not to be a number one or number two starter.

Once the All-Star break hit however, Penny went down hill. He was 1-5 in the second-half with a 7.82 ERA. His last two starts versus the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees were unwatchable.

12 earned runs in 9.2 innings pitched in those two big starts and letting the Rangers run around the bases like a Little League team running on a poor kid who has never caught before spelled doom for Penny.

Despite having a fastball that could still reach the mid-90’s, I saw three major pitching flaws in Penny.

  1. Despite still having the ability to reach back for that 95 mph fastball, that fastball was as straight as an arrow. As Billy Koch taught us, any major league hitter can hit a straight 95 mph+ fastball.
  2. Penny had no secondary pitches. He had a flat curveball and an even more flat slider. Penny couldn’t throw his offspeed stuff for strikes and when he got behind in the count (which was quite often), hitters were just sitting on his straight fastball.
  3. Penny had zero ability to hold runners on. Teams ran all over Penny, especially the Rangers. Penny has no pickoff move and never adjusted his deliveryto home plate. Back in the day when he had overpowering stuff, he could get away with that. Not so much anymore.

I think if Theo Epstein was in playing GM in a perfect world, he would have loved to have traded Penny right after he beat the Yankees on June 11th. He pitched six shutout innings and hs value was at it’s peak. Unfortunately because of the John Smoltz disaster and the Daisuke Matsuzaka injury, Epstein had to hold on to Penny

Now that he is free to sign with any team, my guess is Penny will end up where all failed American League pitchers end up – the National League. A return to the Florida Marlins does make sense.

The side story of this move is that it puts the final nail in the coffin in Theo Epstein’s disastrous offseason. John Smoltz was released, Rocco Baldelli has been injury prone, but has hit lefities well to his credit (.303 avg), and now Penny has been let go.

You might want to take a different approach next season Theo.

The Resurrection of Barry Zito

August 31, 2009

It has only taken him 83 starts, but Barry Zito is finally starting to pitch like the pitcher the San Francisco Giants thought he was when they signed him to seven year, $126 million contract in 2007. In case you haven’t noticed, Zito is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.

Zito has been pitching like an ace lately

Zito has been pitching like an ace lately

In his first 18 starts of the season, it was more of the same mediocre pitching from Zito. He was 5-9 with a 5.01 ERA and was roughly giving up a hit per inning. By sending Zito out there every fifth day, the Giants were trying to piss into a Mr. Coffee and expecting to get Taster’s Choice.

It just wasn’t going to happen.

However, since the All-Star break, Zito has pitched like it is 2002 all over again (the year he won the AL Cy Young). In his last nine starts Zito is 4-2 with a 1.92 ERA and has held hitters to a .225 batting average.

It was Zito’s last start against Colorado on Saturday night where he really stood out. In the middle of a pennant race, Zito had perhaps his best start of the season. Zito tossed 8.1 innings of one run baseball and kept a powerful Rockies lineup off balance all night.

What I have noticed recently about Zito is that he is making better quality pitches with his offspead stuff. At the beginning of the season, Zito was missing so bad with his offspead stuff that hitters were just sitting on his 87 mph fastball. Any major league hitter can hit a 95 mph fastball if they are sitting on it, let along an 87 mph fastball.

Now Zito is making quality pitches with his offspead stuff, which keeps a hitter honest. He is not throwing his offspead pitches for strikes all the time, but he is missing close enough where a hitter has to respect it.

The Giants already have Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain pitching like Cy Young candidates. If Barry Zito continues to pitch like he has in August, the Giants will have three pitchers on top of their game down the stretch.

That would be tough for any team to beat.

Fantasy Week In Review, July 27-August 2nd…

August 3, 2009

Believe it or not, there was more to last week than just the July 31st trading deadline. Hard to believe right? Well, the fantasy baseball season is in it’s final stretch. For a lot of leagues, August is the final month of the regular season.

That being said, I added a couple of more players to the potential pickups section in order to help your team out. Here are the fantasy studs, the players players of concern and the potential pickups for the week of July 27 – August 2nd.

Fantasy Studs

Jhonny Peralta – .407/3/12. Yes, the Cleveland Indians still have some major-league players left.

Gordon Beckham – .393/2/10 with one SB. With this second half surge, Beckham might win the American League Rookie of the Year.

Josh Willingham – .375/3/9. If a man hits two grand slams in one game, he is a fantasy stud.

Bobby Abreu – .500/1/8/.517 with two SB’s.  There are a lot of people who don’t like Abreu as a player, but there is one thing for sure – the man puts up numbers.

Matt Holliday – .536/3/8/.600. I think Holliday likes playing in front of people and in a pennant race. The complete opposite of playing in Oakland.

Tim Lincecum – 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 23 K’s in 17 IP. When Lincecum is on a roll like this, he is one of the most exciting pitchers to watch. Just spectacular.

Chris Carpenter – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and seven K’s in 16 IP. Carpenter isn’t striking out many batters, but he is working efficiently and deep into games.

Cliff Lee – 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 10 K’s in 16 IP. American League, National League, it doesn’t matter to Lee. He is pitching lights out right now.

Reasons for Concern

Ian Kinsler – Kinsler was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring. Can this guy stay healthy just one year? Please? Fantasy owners are begging him.

This is a big loss not only to the Rangers, but to all fantasy owners who have Kinsler on their team. Kinsler was tied for second with Chase Utley for HR’s by a second baseman with 23 and was forth in RBI with 63.

George Sherrill – This might be one of the only issues people have with the trade deadline. In the blink of an eyelash, Sherrill went from valuable closer to useless fantasy set-up man.

Unless your league counts Holds as a stat or Jonathan Broxton gets hurt (I’ll knock on wood for all you Dodger fans), Sherrill has pretty much become useless for the purposes of fantasy baseball.

Potential Pickups

Jason Frasor – With current closer Scott Downs landing on the 15-day DL with a left big toe injury, Frasor becomes the defacto closer in Toronto. The Blue Jays are struggling, but Frasor should be able to get you a couple of saves down the stretch.

Clayton Richard – Richard went to the San Diego Padres in the Jake Peavy trade and now gets to pitch in the Yellowstone Park of baseball. I have always liked Richard, so if he can get any run support he could be valuable down the stretch.

Josh Reddick – The Boston Red Sox 22-year old rookie is off to a .364/1/2 in his first three major league games. With JD Drew and Jason Bay hurting, Reddick should be getting his AB’s in Boston.

Jim Johnson – Just as a pitcher can go from valuable closer to set-up guy, the complete opposite can happen to a set-up guy. With the trade of George Sherrill, the Baltimore Orioles’ Jim Johnson goes from set-up guy to potential closer in Baltimore.

Johnson has a 3.28 ERA and 14 Holds in 49.1 IP this year. Just like with Frasor, Johnson might get you some saves down the stretch.

Should The Dodgers Be Concerned With Chad Billingsley?

July 29, 2009

There are a lot of great pitchers in the game today who are 25-years old and younger. Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, and Chad Billingsley come to mind. What is amazing is that at such a young age, all these pitchers are considered the ace of their respective staffs.

With so much responsibility put on their shoulders (literally), it’s not uncommon for young pitchers to go through a slump during the course of the long baseball season. That is exactly what I think is happening to Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley will be fine

Billingsley will be fine

Billingsley was roughed up again last night. This time it was by the St Louis Cardinals. Billingsley gave up six runs, an uncharacteristic six walks, and four hits in 5.2 innings of work last night.

What made this game frustrating for Dodgers’ fans is that Billingsley was cruising for five innings. For what ever reason, Billingsley imploded in the sixth inning – four walks (two were intentional), two wild pitches, three hits, and six runs. Ouch.

I have seen this before with another young pitcher – Jon Lester. In many games this year (May 15 at Seattle comes to mind), Lester would be cruising and then all of a sudden just lose it in the fifth or six inning. His stuff was still there, but his location was off and by the time he figured it out, it was too late. 

Despite Billingsley’s 7.52 ERA in July and his 2,225 pitches thrown this year (third behind Justin Verlander and Adam Wainwright), if I was a Dodger fan, I would not be too concerned about your ace. He doesn’t appear hurt and he is just in a pitching slump. It happens to every young pitcher in the game.

Slumps happen at different points of the season. For Tim Lincecum it was April and for Jon Lester it was May. Billingsley will be fine – he is too good not to be.

One last note about the Dodgers. How about Matt Kemp? I thought it was a bad move by Joe Torre to bat Kemp eighth. However, it has worked. Kemp is batting .443 and has an OPS of 1.177 hitting in the No. Eight hole. Not too shabby.