Game 1: Jarrod Washburn* vs Jon Garland
Game 2: Felix Hernandez vs Ervin Santana
Jon Garland has gained a bit over earlier in the year when he was abysmal at striking batters out, he's now just merely bad. Still that mediocre K rate (just over 10%) coupled with roughly average everything else leaves him with a tRA of 5.53 and a tRA+ of 85.
Ervin Santana has certainly recovered from his disastrous 2007 campaign with a good number of strikes and missed bats though he remains a predominantly flyball pitcher. Still, he's struck out his way to a 3.52 tRA and 134 tRA+.
C Jeff Mathis/Mike Napoli
1 Mark Teixeira^
2 Howie Kendrick
3 Chone Figgins^
S Erick Aybar^
L Garret Anderson*
C Torii Hunter
R Vladimir Guerrero
D Juan Rivera
Gary Matthews Jr : .636 OPS, year 2 of a five year, $50 million contract.
Ryan Rowland-Smith makes a triumphant return to the big leagues, which was nice to see.
Let's talk a bit about Jose Lopez. He still cannot draw a walk, and he's not taking hit by pitches this year either, further depressing his isolated plate patience, but he has cut down on his strikeouts while also hitting the ball with more authority. The result is a much improved batting average helping to inflate his OBP to a decent level.
His homerun per flyball continues its steady progression, now nearing 7%, up half a point over last year and his gap power has returned powering him to over 30 doubles already on the season. Another interesting development is in his pop ups. Remember last season when it seemed all Yuni and Loafie did was pop the ball up? Well both of them have reduced that tendancy, Lopez dramatically so.
What it amounts to is that Lopez is currently on pace to be about a win above average with his bat alone this season and he gains another win for playing second base. Now his defense has certainly been a concern this year. In previous years he was average to slightly above with the glove but this year (small sample size alert) he's been decidedly below.
Now, even with below average defense he comes across okay because his bat and position make him roughly 15-20 runs above average so bad defense probably robs him of that leaving him an average player, which is still quite valuable at second base and at his salary. It's valuable enough that instead of needing to replace both 2B and SS for 2009, I would say that now we can hope to count on Lopez to hold up 2B and pour that money elsewhere. However, if Lopez can maintain this level of hitting and rediscover his glove work that we've seen before you would suddenly have a potential four-win player (above replacement) which would be a huge boon to this club's chances of a speedy recovery.
Yuni really needs to go though.
THIS SERIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Plzensky Prazdroj. Plzen, CZ
Not necessarily anything fantastic, but props have to be given to the original pilsner and it's certainly a good one . If you manage to get your hands on some of it unfiltered, jump on that chance because that's a rare opportunity and a golden one.