Sunday, April 16, 2006

Baseball Post: 3 picks - Boston, Phoenix, Toronto

April 16
Jarrod Washburn (1-1) (SEA) vs. Josh Beckett (2-0) (BOS)
Washburn was a bit of an under rated presence in the Angel's rotation last year with his 3.20 ERA in 29 starts. He's a Mariner now and I'm curious to see how he helps them out at Fenway Park - a place that's always been a tough stop for the M's. Beckett is also with a new team as the Red Sox benefited from the Florida Marlin fire sale this past off-season. I'm curious to see how he takes to American League hitters and the green monster. On paper these two pitchers appear to be well matched.
update: final score - SEA 2, BOS 3 -- W - Josh Beckett, L - Jarrod Washburn, SV - Jonathan Papelbon
The M's just never seem to catch much of a break at Fenway. This time around there was a bad call in the first inning that allowed a run to score for Boston and the wind seemed to be a factor in some odd plays as well. But there are still some questions about Washburn's control that will need to be resolved over the next few starts. It sounds like his fastball isn't really hitting the target with consistency. I'll have to take a look at some footage to see if Johjima is moving around more than usual. Beckett, however, also had the wind to contend with and managed to be pretty sharp as he takes his record to 3-0.
Jarrod Washburn: 6.0IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 4BB, 5SO, 0HR - L
Josh Beckett: 7.0IP, 6H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 5SO, 0HR - W

April 17
Matt Morris (2-0) (SFG) vs. Miguel Batista (1-0) (ARI)
actual: Jeff Fassero (1-0) (SFG) vs. Miguel Batista (1-0) (ARI)
After spending 2005 as a closer for the Toronto Blue Jays, Miguel Batista returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks and struck out 11 Rockies in his first start. Was that the start of a career year for Batista? We'll have to see how he fares against the Giants. Morris was part of that great Cardinals rotation last year and he's already started out with a pair of wins for San Francisco.
update: final score - SFG 10, ARI 9 -- W - Steve Kline, L - Jose Valverde, SV - Tim Worrell
I remember Jeff Fassero as the only pitcher to record a win in the Mariner's ill-fated 1997 postseason. The only thing holding off the Baltimore Orioles from a clean sweep in the first round. At which point the chorus of Mariner fans will drown me out with the mantra: "we will never again discuss the 1997 postseason. It never happened." Fassero has pitched for 9 teams over the past 15 years. Tonight was not his best night. This was an ugly game all around and it pretty well sums up the overall attractiveness of the National League West division. Fassero didn't even pitch the minimum 5 innings for a win and there were just too many runs scored for a quality start on either side. It was a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth by Steve Finley to score Ray Durham that led to a merciful end to this train wreck of a game.
Jeff Fassero: 4.0IP, 7H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 2SO, 2HR - ND
Miguel Batista: 5.0IP, 11H, 7R, 6ER, 2BB, 6SO, 0HR - ND

April 18
Randy Johnson (2-1) (NYY) vs. Gustavo Chacin (2-0) (TOR)
This is a match of southpaws at opposite ends of their respective careers. The Big Unit has done it all in 18+ years as a pitcher: 5 Cy Young awards spanning both leagues, 10-time All-Star, a World Series ring and World Series MVP award, 9 time strikeout leader and one perfect game all under his belt as he closes out his career in pinstripes. I think Chacin has many of these same accomplishments ahead of him if he stays on his current trajectory. This will be only his 37th career big league start. And unlike the Big Unit, Chacin has his own cologne.
update: final score - NYY 5, TOR 10 -- W - Gustavo Chacin, L - Randy Johnson
This one turned out to be a bit of a slugfest as neither of these starters were sharp early on. Chacin gave up 4 runs and 2 homers in the first inning before settling down to pick up a win on Johnson's uncharacteristcally poor start. It sounds like the all-star's control wasn't working for him and he was pulled early. Toronto has some good pitching this year and I hope they put a good scare into the Yankees more than once from now to October.
Randy Johnson: 3.1IP, 9H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 2SO, 2HR - L
Gustavo Chacin: 6.0IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 1SO, 2HR - W

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