Thursday, April 06, 2006

Baseball Post: 3 Picks over 3 Days Spanning from a King to a Gambler

Continuing with my obsession with baseball pitchers... If I were jet setting my way all over the country and taking in ball games every day this season these would be my next three destinations:

April 7
Joe Blanton (OAK) vs. Felix Hernandez (SEA)
Who wouldn't want to see King Felix make his season debut just one day shy of his 20th birthday? This guy has Seattle fans counting the days between his starts.
update: final score - OAK 5, SEA 0 W- Joe Blanton, L - Felix Hernandez
Despite the loss this wasn't a terrible outing for the King. It's hard to win much of anything with a total lack of run support (something I suspect M's pitchers will need to get used to). Hernandez only gave up one of those runs over 5 innings of work. The 4 walks tells me that his control wasn't entirely there. Blanton, on the other hand, was superb and clearly earned this victory. Only 2 hits and one walk over 8 full innings of a shutout from a guy on the back end of the rotation. Wow.
Joe Blanton: 8.0IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 6SO, 0HR - W
Felix Hernandez: 5.0IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 1SO, 0HR - L

April 8
Livan Hernandez (0-1) (WAS) vs. Roy Oswalt (1-0) (HOU)
Oswalt is already an early favorite for this year's NL Cy Young Award based on his incredible first start back on April 3rd. It's too soon to gauge the competition but he's clearly worth watching. Even if half the buzz is that annoying sound the pipe over the stadium PA system. Houston's offense is pathetic so Oswalt will have very little margin for each win. Livan Hernandez is one of my favorite active pitchers. He's led the league in innings pitched over the last 3 years and over the past 2 seasons he's led for most games started (35 both years). He's also 13th for most complete games for any active pitcher so I'd expect to see him work deep into this one.
update: final score - WAS 12, HOU 8 W - Livan Hernandez, L - Chad Qualls
As a true Livan Hernandez fan (as well as being no fan of the Astros) I would have loved this game. Late run support rescued the hard working Nationals starter and the loss raises some questions about the relief pitching in Houston. There were lots of runners stranded on base in this one - 28 overall - so this one could have easily turned into even more of a slugfest.
Livan Hernandez: 6.0IP, 12H, 6R, 4ER, 1BB, 4SO, 1HR - W
Roy Oswalt: 6.1IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3SO, 1HR - ND

April 9
Kenny Rogers (1-0) (DET) vs. Vicente Padilla (1-0) (TEX)
The Gambler returns to face his former team after losing his cool (and serving a suspension) last year. He used to anchor the Rangers' miserable rotation as the experienced ace on the staff. We'll have to see if the press photographers keep their distance from this temperamental character this time around. I've heard great things about this stadium. Even if it's a bit too batter friendly for my tastes.
update: final score - DET 3, TEX 5 W - Vincente Padilla, L - Kenny Rogers, S - Francisco Cordero
So the Gambler was greeted by boo's from the former home crowd and a clutch double by Brad Wilkerson in the 6th inning saddled him with Detroit's first loss of the season. I'm sure the Tigers will have many more. There were no home runs in this game. That's surprising given where it was played.
Kenny Rogers: 5.1IP, 12H, 5R, 5ER, 1BB, 5SO, 0HR - L
Vincente Padilla: 6.0IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3SO, 0HR - W

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