30 MLB notes Part 3

Posted: 04/14/2012 by levcohen in Baseball

Now for the early notes for the final 10 teams

Philadelphia Phillies: 2-3 The Phillies problem is clear: they can’t hit. In their first series (against the Pirates), there were just 13 runs scored by the teams combined. They then went home and couldn’t solve the Marlins #5 starter, Anibal Sanchez. In four games, they had only scored 8 runs. Finally they decided to hit in their fifth game, scoring 7 runs. But without their two best hitters, we can be sure that they won’t score too many runs. The Phillies pitchers have been great overall. In 5 starts, they have 4 quality starts, and only Cole Hamels has an ERA above 1.50. Ace Roy Halladay has been fantastic. He has the Phillies only two wins, and in 15 innings he has a .60 ERA. The bullpen has been shaky at times. In the second game, Joe Blanton (usually the Phillies #5 starter) came into the game in the 10th inning, and gave up the game winning run. In the third game, the ‘pen gave up 4 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings, blowing a win for Vance Worley. Overall, this is still one of the best teams in the NL, if only because of their starting pitching. Moral: It isn’t time to panic, but the Phillies are obviously going to have a hard time scoring runs, at least until Ryan Howard and Chase Utley come back.

Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-3 After a promising start to the season, the Pirates look lost against the Dodgers. After taking 2 of 3 against the Phillies, they have scored only 2 runs in 2 games against LA. The Pirates have a lot of problems, but their main one so far this season is their inability to score runs. Through 5 games, they have just 9 runs and a .504 OPS, both last in the MLB. Let’s face it. The Pirates have a lot of scrapy hitters (Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, Matt Harrison), and they have guys who hit for power (Casey McGehee, Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones), but they don’t have enough that do a little of both. Their only player who hits for good power and average is Andrew McCutchen. Pitt’s pitching has been great, and they have a 2.05 team ERA. Their SP’s have combined to allow 7 earned runs in 30 innings. What’s depressing about the Pirates SP’s? The Pirates starting pitchers have 0 wins. Both wins have come from the bullpen. This shows how bad the Pirates hitting has been. Moral: The Pirates won’t have pitching this good all year, so they really need their hitting to step up.

San Diego Padres: 2-4 After losing their first 3 games, the Padres have rebounded by winning two of their last 3. They are another team that isn’t hitting well, as their team batting average (.183) is the worst in the NL. Every starting player is hitting .222 or lower, with the worst being catcher Nick Hundley, who doesn’t have a hit in 15 at bats. The pitching has been pretty good. Clayton Richard had a superb start, giving up only 2 hits (no runs) in 7 innings, and Edinson Volquez was decent. New closer Houston Street has thrown 3 scoreless innings, earning one save in the process. However, I think that the Padres will be a bottom 3 offense in the MLB this season, and their pitching can only do so much, even in PETCO Park (an extreme pitchers park). Help is on the way, as San Diego has a lot of good prospects. For now, they will have to suffer through a season without many bright spots. Moral: The pitching is average, so they will need support from the offense, and I don’t see that happening.

San Francisco Giants: 1-4 The Giants have not had a great start to the season. First, they were swept by the Diamondbacks, losing by just one run in each game. They went to Colorado and beat the Rockies 7-0, thanks to the first shutout of the year, by Barry Zito, who might have the worst contract in MLB history. However, whatever confidence they had gained was destroyed when they lost 17-8 to the Rockies. Surprisingly, the Giants problem this year has been pitching, which has always been their strong suit. Their 6.37 ERA is the worst mark in the NL, and it isn’t close. The Brewers are the next worst with a 4.67 mark. Their ace in Tim Lincecum (a two time cy young award winner) has been especially bad, with an ERA of nearly 13. The Giants have had pretty good hitting. Moral: I think this is too small of a sample size to count out the Giants and their pitching. Look for their hitting to stay decent, and their pitching to improve.

Seattle Mariners: 4-4 The Mariners have started the season off pretty well, considering their preseason expectations. They are going to finish 3rd or 4th in the AL West, and are in a rebuilding year. They took 3 of 4 from Oakland (1 of 2 in Japan), before losing 3 out of 4 in a series against the Rangers. This is probably what we will see from the Mariners throughout the season. They can beat the bad teams, but shouldn’t be a match for any of the good teams in the AL (and there are a lot). The M’s hitters and pitchers have both been decent, but not fantastic. They have scored 31 runs, which is near the top of the MLB. However, they have played more games than any other team. Their team OPS is 20th, which is probably closer to the offense we will see from them. The M’s are near the bottom in team ERA, but that should get better. Moral: The Mariners are a mediocre team with a lot of talent in the minor leagues (Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, James Paxton are all legit top 70 prospects)

St. Louis Cardinals: 5-2 The Cardinals are off to a great 5-2 start. They are hitting above .300 as a team, and lead the league in runs, OBP, SLG, OPS. They are second in average. Albert who? Last year’s world series hero David Freese has been especially good, hitting .429 with 3 homers and 10 RBI. Lance Berkman also has an unreal .565 OBP. They have also been pitching well, with a 2.93 ERA and WHIP under 1.00 Moral: Very impressive start for the World Series champs.

Tampa Bay Rays: 4-2 The Rays are off to a nice 4-2 start, especially considering they’ve played two of the top teams in MLB. After sweeping the division rival Yankees, the Rays lost 2 of 3 to the Tigers, but also gave the Tigers their only loss of the season. The Rays starting pitching has been good, as usual. However, their bullpen has been a cause for concern, as 4 of the 7 RP’s that have pitched have an ERA above 10.00. That is simply atrocious. While that is bad news, worse news is that their closer (Kyle Farnsworth), is on the DL and won’t be back for at least a month. Fernando Rodney is now closing, and he is a very, very, very bad pitcher. The Rays are going to need to get a lot of innings out of their SP, and that is something that is likely to happen, as their SP’s led the MLB in innings pitched last year. Their power hitting is about average, but they have gotten on base a lot. Two regulars have OBP’s over over .500. Moral: The Rays are a good team, but they need to get a ton of innings out of their SP. 

Texas Rangers: 5-2 The Rangers have gotten off to a nice start. Here is the best news so far:

  • Neftali Feliz, the closer last year, threw 7 scoreless innings in his first start.
  • Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis, and Derek Holland look like they are pitching much better than last year
  • 4 regulars are hitting over .300
  • David Murphy looks like he is breaking out
  • Ian Kinsler still has the power. He has 3 homers

And the worst news:

  • Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus are a combined 7/49
  • Yu Darvish had a shaky first start, but clearly rebounded in the later innings
  • Joe Nathan, the new closer, has 2 saves but has both Rangers losses and has a 9.00 ERA

Moral: The Rangers are a world series contender

Toronto Blue Jays: 4-3 The Blue Jays are a team that could surprise people and make the playoffs. So far, they have been carried by a few timely hits and superb pitching. The starting pitching has given up only 11 earned runs in 37 innings, good for a 2.97 ERA. Their hitting has been decent, and they have stepped up when they needed to. This is going to be a hard division to win, but the Jays have been really surprising. Moral: Don’t count out the Blue Jays.

Washington Nationals: 6-2 The Nats are another team that have gotten out to a great start. After starting the season 2-2, they have won four in a row, giving the Mets their only 2 losses and winning the first two in the series against the team that is favored to win the NL Central, the Reds. The Nats pitching has been fantastic, with a team ERA under 2.00. Their starting pitching have given up just 10 runs in 47.2 innings, a 2.10 ERA. Their bullpen has been even better, even without injured closer Drew Storen. Their hitting has been below average, but that has been the case with a lot of teams. Pitching has the edge over hitting in April and May, as they need less time to get their timing back, and aren’t bothered by the cold as much. Moral: The Nats could win the NL East.


  1. Marinite says:

    The guy who provided two of our Giants tickets last summer commented to his seatmate that Cain had a no hitter going. Jinx! Immediately came the only hit against him.

  2. Marinite says:

    That is amazing. I didn’t realize that. I also hadn’t realized that, but for that hit, Cain would have had a perfect game, not just a no-hitter, wouldn’t he?

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