Washington turns to Edwin Jackson to try to take the series lead over Chris Carpenter and the Cards.
For all the rumors of organizational discontent with Game Two starter Jaime Garcia, who lasted only two innings on Monday, the Cardinals routed the Nationals 12-4 despite the southpaw’s apparently ill-advised appearance, pulling even at one game apiece. Which team will get the upper hand this afternoon? Here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for Game Three:
Hughes, Hutchison, and Leake bring the VP jelly to BP this week.
With a big wave of interleague on the horizon, pitcher values vary in a way we haven’t seen yet this year as they face new teams in new venues. For example, the Angels and Athletics have featured some useful starting pitchers this year, the former more so than the latter, but as they each head into Coors Field to face the Rockies over the next week, there could be some trouble on the horizon. This could be especially problemsome for Ervin Santana, Bartolo Colon, and Tom Milone given their home run rates.
Pitchers are starting to drop to like flies, making Value Picks even more important as they move from luxuries to necessities as replacements. Cory Luebke has a partially torn UCL, Jeff Niemann suffered a broken leg and hit the 60-day disabled list, Danny Duffy is likely set for Tommy John surgery, Vance Worley joined the DL ranks with elbow inflammation, and Joe Wieland (hardly a mixed league stalwart five minutes into his career), went down earlier this month with an elbow injury of his own.
Philip Humber's perfect game ended with a controversial call, but close plays to preserve no-hitters are the norm, not the exception.
Since the start of the 2009 season, 12 nine-inning no-hitters have been pitched. Over the same span, 24 nine-inning one-hitters have been pitched. The former will be remembered. The latter will not, except by Anibal Sanchez, who threw three of them. (Don’t feel too bad for Anibal Sanchez, since he already had a no-hitter. Anibal Sanchez: pretty good at pitching.)
The difference between a no-hitter and a one-hitter is—wait for it—one hit. But it’s too simple to say that, really. A hit can be a long home run or a hard line drive that lands somewhere on the field. It can also be an infield dribbler, a well-placed pop-up, or a routine fly that would have been caught by literally anyone but Raul Ibanez. This is a hit:
The Nationals rotation throws harder than any staff in baseball has over the past few seasons, and that just might win them the NL East.
The Washington Nationals haven’t hit very well this season: their .252 TAv ranks ninth in the National League. They haven’t run very well, either: they rank third from last in the big leagues in Baserunning Runs (-2.2). Nonetheless, the Nats have an 11-4 record, good for first place in the National League East and the third-best record in baseball, behind only the 11-2 Rangers and the 11-3 Dodgers. In a tight division like the NL East, a quick start can improve a team’s playoff odds significantly. The Nats’ chances of making the playoffs have risen from 7.9 percent before their first game to 19.2 percent today.
How have the Nats succeeded, if not by outslugging their opponents or regularly taking the extra base? The source of the team’s success has been defense and pitching—starting pitching, in particular. Before Edwin Jackson allowed five runs in five innings against the Astros on Thursday night, no Nats starter had allowed more than four runs in an outing. Through the team’s first 13 games, the starting rotation produced nine quality starts with a 1.65 ERA and a 2.20 RA, by far the best marks in baseball.
The signing of Edwin Jackson brings back some memories of the prospect that once was.
The story of the day, in what has been a slow news week, is Edwin Jackson signing a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals. There are plenty of people out there doing the smart, prudent thing by talking about what this means for the team in 2012, and how a crowded fight for the final spot in the Nationals rotation will work out. Unfortunately, that's not how my mind works. When I think about Edwin Jackson, the first thing I think about is September 9, 2003.
A look at Edwin Jackson's carpetbagging career and what that might mean for the team that signs him
"I don't see how they could move him. I don't see why they'd ever put him out there. The stuff is too good. Yeah, he's still inconsistent. But at least he's consistently less inconsistent than he used to be." – An anonymous executive on Edwin Jackson in May 2008.
Scott Boras is the most consistent agent in sports. He deals out binders, lingo, and last-minute market-breaking contracts on a whim, all the while dodging the spit hawked his way by owners, executives, and fans. It is fitting then, that the steady Boras is representing Edwin Jackson, perceived as a capricious asset, even in the world of starting pitchers. If Boras is Boras, expect Jackson to sign a contract between today and spring training that ensures his solvency for lifetimes—a contract that could leave a front office with buyer’s remorse.