Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Baseball Post: 3 picks - Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Milwaukee

April 19
Dontrelle Willis (1-0) (FLA) vs. Aaron Harang (2-1) (CIN)
Dontrelle Willis continues to be the most compelling starting pitcher in the National League even if the team working behind him is mired in that dreaded "rebuilding" mode. He's taken his team's unfortunate predicament in stride and comes off as a role model for how professional athletes should conduct themselves both on and off the field.
(Meanwhile... I wonder if film director Penny Marshall will be on hand at the Dodgers game in LA to watch Marshall (CHC) vs. Penny (LAD)...)
update: final score - FLA 8, CIN 9 -- W - Todd Coffey, L - Todd Wellemeyer
What a difference a year makes. This is not a game that the 2005 Marlins would have lost. By the same token, this is not a game that the 2005 Reds would have won either. Dontrelle Willis pitched well and left with an 8-4 lead after six innings of work. And on just about any other team in the majors he would have won this one. But this mix of rookies and unknowns (and painfully knowns) working behind him gave Cincinnati an extra inning's worth of outs with 3 errors and that was enough for a walk-off victory at the Great American Ballpark.
Dontrelle Willis: 6.0IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 4BB, 6SO, 0HR - ND
Aaron Harang: 4.0IP, 9H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 5SO, 3HR - ND

April 20
Bartolo Colon (0-2) (LAA) vs. Scott Baker (1-1) (MIN)
actual: Hector Carrasco (LAA) vs. Scott Baker (1-1) (MIN)
Last year's AL Cy Young Award winner takes to the Metrodome in Minneapolis looking for his first win of the season. Baker appeared in only 10 games last season -his first in the majors - and came away with a 3-3 record. If he can win 13 this year they'll call it a "Baker's Dozen" for sure.
update: final score - LAA 6, MIN 4 -- W - Kevin Gregg, L - Jesse Crain, SV - Francisco Rodriguez
Bartolo Colon was placed on the DL shortly before this game as longtime journeyman starter Hector Carrasco went to work on this one and only lasted 3 innings after giving up 3 earned runs. I suspect that Colon is still struggling with the injuries and soreness that sidelined him this past postseason as he really hasn't been himself for some time now. I hope he recovers soon. The Angel's offense was able to pick this one up despite the shakey pitching at the start of this one. And K-Rod seemed to have no ill-effects from his blown save just one day earlier.
Hector Carrasco: 3.0IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4SO, 0HR - ND
Scott Baker: 5.0IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 2SO, 0HR - ND

April 21
Bronson Arroyo (2-0) (CIN) vs. Ben Sheets (0-1) (MIL)
I've managed to pick all 3 of Bronson Arroyo's first three starts of the year. He is the pitching story for April and all eyes will be on his prowess at the plate as he looks for career homer #3. And after that 81-81 record last year Milwaukee Brewer fans are actually expecting a winning season this year. They do have several players I'd like to see and Ben Sheets is one starter I wouldn't want to miss.
update: final score - CIN 3, MIL 2 -- W - Bronson Arroyo, L - Ben Sheets, SV - David Weathers
This is more like it. A pitching duel as both starters went deep with plenty of strikeouts in a game that was over in just 2 hours and 17 minutes. The change of teams and leagues seems to have rejuvinated Arroyo's pitching career even if he didn't go yard for the third time in as many starts.
Bronson Arroyo: 8.0IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 8SO, 1HR - W
Ben Sheets: 7.0IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 10SO, 0HR - L

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