First up, the Cole Hamels suspension. I'm not going to go into the reasoning for the suspension, that doesn't matter. I want to focus on the actual act of suspending. I feel that suspending pitchers is a joke. He has a five game suspension. So pretty much that means he pitches on an extra day of rest. It's dumb. it's not a punishment. If a position player is suspended for 3 or 5 games, he actually misses 3 or 5 games. A starting pitcher only plays once every 5 games, so in essence he is suspended for games he wasn't scheduled to be in anyway. If a player is going to be suspended from games, he needs to be suspended from games he is actually going to have an impact on. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know what kind of language the rule needs, or how to make the players union and MLB agree to it, but for a starting pitcher to be suspended and have it be an actual punishment, he needs to miss a couple turns through the rotation or something. Now, all that being said, I own Hamels on my 2nd place Blog Wars team, and I'm pumped that he will be able to pitch this week in the weekly lineup format we use.
Next Item on the agenda; Carlos Zambrano, another player on my Blog Wars team. I grabbed him with my 2nd to last pick in the draft. The definition of draft lotto ticket, he has paid dividends so far. This week (a two start week) is the first I am actually using him in my lineup. He has a rep for not being the most stable guy in the club house, but neither is his manager. The Ozzie and Carlos marriage is one I figured would work, and to this point everyone has to be happy. He picked up his first win last night, a complete game 3 hit shutout in which he struck out 9 Astros. It was his 5th quality start in a row. There is a lot to like about him this year. His K/9 is up from last year while his BB/9 are down. His ground ball rate is back to where it was when he was the ace of the Cubs staff from '03-'06/'07. His current swinging strike rate is the highest it's been since 2001. Looking at his Heat Maps on Fangraphs, he has the off-speed stuff working, keeping his slider in on righties and the change up low and in on lefties. Both pitches are avoiding the strike zone and batters are chasing. I haven't been able to watch any of this games, but I imagine it pitches are heading for the zone then breaking out of it forcing the batter to swing. At this point he has earned some trust despite the level of competition in his quality start streak. (HOU, WSH, ARI, SF, HOU again).
- Kenley Jansen is finally the Dodgers closer. I actually ranked him 9th on my preseason RP ranks. His stuff was too good to not end up closing at some point. Look at me... so quick to point out when I get something right. Lets ignore my Liriano endorsement at the end of spring, shall we?
- Jayson Werth had surgery on his wrist yesterday and it was reported that he will be out at least 12 weeks. Looks like Bryce Harper is going to be sticking around even when Zimmerman comes back from the DL. He will be in RF, while Nady and Bernadina will platoon in LF.
- Will Middlebrooks hit two HR's yesterday giving him 3 HR's, 9 RBI, and 3 runs scored in the last two games. He is the top prospect in the BoSox system, and since he was called up to replace the injured Youkilis, he has batted .381/.409/.952 in 4 games. He has 8 hits, 3 each of the homer and double variety.
Pitching Match ups
Danks @ Masterson
Batista @ Blanton
Shields @ Nova - His only loss has come against the Orioles, which doesn't sound good, but then you remember that the Orioles have the 2nd best record in baseball and you forgive him.
Feliz @ Arrieta
Jackson @ Burnett - Burnett got lit up in his last outing, but the Nationals aren't a high scoring team. I'm looking for him to bounce back here.
Delgado @ Dempster - Delgado isn't the same guy he was in his first couple starts this year. I don't expect him to be in the rotation much longer with the prospects behind him.
Sanchez @ A. Rodriguez
Haren @ Diamond
Bard @ Duffy - Duffy is getting hype love. He beat the Yanks the last time out, time for him to take down another powerhouse (even if it's in name only -zing!)
Bailey @ Gallardo
Westbrook @ Kennedy
White @ Suppan
Romero @ McCarthy
Verlander @ Millwood
Vogelsong @ Kershaw