If you thought Jerome Williams' save was ugly, you should have seen Dave Goltz's back in 1973.
On July 30, Jerome Williams became the first person in more than a quarter of a century to get credit for a save while allowing at least five runs. When he recorded the final 12 outs of the Angels' 15-8 victory over Texas in the opener of a four-game showdown between the two teams, Williams joined a short list of men so credited since the save was introduced as an official statistic in 1969:
After completing a three-game sweep of the Nationals in D.C., the Yankees are starting to look like the real Bronx Bombers.
The Weekend Takeaway
The Yankees and Nationals both came into this weekend’s series at Nationals Park on six-game winning streaks. But after Danny Espinosa grounded out to end Sunday’s finale, New York was on cloud nine and Washington was three in the hole.
Though the Dodgers have one more win than the Yankees and four more than the Nationals, by most measures, the teams that squared off in the nation’s capital this past weekend were the two best in baseball right now. After a month and a half of lurking in the background and struggling to find a rhythm, Joe Girardi’s squad has resoundingly announced its presence with the recent surge.
Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.
It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week. Drew Smyly and Max Scherzerwere both touched up in Chicago. Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list. Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.
National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start. I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis. They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against.
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Paulino, Dickey, Zambrano, and Ogando make the VP cut this week
We have seen a shift in recent years with dwindling offensive output giving way to more dominant pitching. At one point or another, each of the last two years has been dubbed the “Year of the Pitcher,” and 2012 is on the same path (though Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton may have something to say about that). This can be seen as a boon to fantasy owners, as Value Picks remain plentiful. Heck, just a cursory look at the top 10 starters in fantasy this season shows a handful of VP-types like Lance Lynn, Jake Peavy, and Jason Hammel. In short, there will always be some arms out there being undervalued or on the cusp of breaking out. Let’s take a look at this week’s list.
Brian Matusz and Jerome Williams both shined on the mound on Tuesday night.
The Tuesday Takeaway
When Jerome Williams threw his first complete-game shutout on June 27, 2003 against the Athletics, he was a hotshot 21-year-old seven starts into a promising career. When Brian Matusz last won a game on October 2, 2010, he was a 23-year-old blue-chipper capping off a stellar second half.
Coming into their outings on Monday, no one could have predicted that both of those runs would end on the same night. Williams had worked into the eighth inning of a start just once since returning to the majors last summer. Matusz had lost 12 straight decisions and had to do battle with a Yankees lineup ready to feast after a frustrating two-run effort the previous night. But they did.
Jerome Williams is struggling to shed a "bust" label in his return to the bigs, but what do his past pedigree and subsequent struggles tell us about the nature of pitcher prospect rankings?
When you break it down to the base level, Jerome Williams’ story isn’t unusual. “Former top prospect attempting to return to his peak” is a tried-and-true story that teeters from precocity to failure to redemptive triumph in heart-warming fashion. Maybe that’s why the first step in Williams’ return to a major-league rotation felt scripted and even a little predictable—as if the baseball gods conspired to have him face the less-than-full strength Orioles, whose six-through-nine slots went Andino-Pie-Tatum-Davis. Williams succeeded, of course, going seven innings, striking out six batters, walking none, and allowing just one run (that coming on a Matt Wieters homer).
An analysis of Williams' start with the Angels and a brief comparison to 2007.
Prior to last week, Jerome Williams last played in the major leagues in 2007. He suffered a rotator cuff injury that April and finished with a 7.20 ERA in six starts before being demoted by the Washington Nationals. Since then, he has pitched for minor league affiliates of the Nationals, Twins, Dodgers, and Athletics. He spent the 2010 season with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan, and he started the 2011 season with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League. On June 16, the Angels signed him to a minor league contract and assigned him to the Salt Lake Bees. Last week, the Angels recalled him to the major leagues.