Around the Majors: May 8, 2013: Breaking Down The Hot Starts For Ian Kinsler, Jordan Zimmermann & More

Generally the conversation in this column is left for things we see in the box scores, but if you saw the replay of Adam Rosales ninth inning “double”, you understand why it’s being mentioned here.  It was clearly a home run, which would’ve meant a blown save for Chris Perez (1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K).  It’s amazing that, even with the replay, they still managed to get the call wrong but as we’ve learned that’s part of the game.

Now, let’s turn to the rest of the news from yesterday’s games:

  • There was a Dan Uggla sighting, as he went 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 4 R.  He does have 7 HR on the season, though to go with a .209 average and just 12 RBI.  He entered the day with a 34.1% strikeout rate, an excessive number even for a notorious strikeout artist (23.5% for his career).  He also has had a low fly ball rate (34.4% compared to 45.3%), so there is some hope.  That said, don’t expect much more than power from Uggla.  If he does improve on the peripherals and hit .250-.260 the rest of the way, consider it a gift.
  • It has been a difficult season for Jesus Montero, though he came up with the big hit off A.J. Burnett (7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 9 K) to help deliver the victory for the Mariners.  Montero finished going 1-4 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R, putting him at .205 with 3 HR and 8 RBI as he continues to share time behind the plate with Kelly Shoppach.  Lucky for Montero Mike Zunino is struggling at Triple-A, otherwise his rope would seem a lot shorter.  He has not been hitting the ball as hard as he did last season (16.9% line drive rate vs. 24.6%).  Last season, in fact, his lowest line drive rate was 20.0% in April.  Don’t grow frustrated, he should turn things around.
  • We might as well mention the performance of Felix Hernandez, who allowed 1 ER on 6 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 8.0 IP.  He’s now 5-2 with a 1.53 ERA.  So much for the concerns about his arm, huh?
  • Interesting to see the Cubs use Luis Valbuena, not only at 2B but in the third spot in the order yesterday.  He responded by going 1-2 with 2 R and is now hitting .270 with 5 HR and 13 RBI on the season.  Is he generally a big power threat?  Not really, as he’s never hit more than 18 HR in a season and currently is enjoying a 15.6% HR/FB rate (6.9% for his career).   
  • The Marlins clearly believe in Marcell Ozuna, as they slid him into the cleanup spot yesterday where he went 0-4.  Justin Ruggiano was therefore moved down to the fifth spot, where he went 1-3.  Don’t expect Ozuna to be the regular cleanup hitter, and while it’s no guarantee it’s clear that the team is testing him to see if he can stick for the remainder of the season.  He’s worth owning in all five-outfielder formats at this point.
  • Given the lineups, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that Ricky Nolasco (7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K) and Jason Marquis (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K) both pitched well.  However, don’t get too excited over either pitcher.
  • Jonathan Pettibone allowed 3 ER on 7 H and 4 BB, striking out 1, over 5.2 IP.  Given the news on Roy Halladay, at this point it appears that Pettibone is going to be in the rotation barring something happening.  He has a 3.63 ERA, though he’s been hit hard (26.0% line drive rate entering the day) and been prone to the HR (1.62 HR/9 entering the day and gave up one to Hunter Pence yesterday).  He needs to correct those issues otherwise the Phillies will turn to another option.
  • With Josh Reddick being placed on the DL, Daric Barton was recalled and slid into the 1B slot with Brandon Moss being moved to the OF.  Barton, who doesn’t have much upside, immediately contributed by going 1-3 with 2 RBI.  He’s more of an AL-Only option.
  • Justin Masterson was pretty good, allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to improve to 5-2 with a 3.67 ERA on the season.  It’s a nice bounce back, after allowing 12 ER over his previous 13.0 IP.  If he’s throwing strikes (65 of 100 pitches went for strikes yesterday), he should have success.  That said, he was pitching over his head a little bit earlier in the season and does struggle against LHP, so don’t consider him an ace.
  • It was a big day for Mike Moustakas, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R.  We all know the potential and can only hope that this marks the start of things to come.  He does have 3 multi-hit games in his past seven, which includes both of his HR and 6 of his 8 RBI on the season.  At least it’s something.  Don’t give up hope quite yet.
  • Allen Webster was recalled to make a spot start against the Twins, but things went terribly wrong.  He lasted just 1.2 IP giving up 8 ER on 6 H (2 of which were HR) and 3 BB, striking out 2.  Felix Doubront, who Webster replaced in the rotation, came on to allow 6 ER on 12 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.1 IP.  Would anyone be surprised to see Alfredo Aceves back up and in the rotation?
  • Jordan Zimmermann continued to roll, allowing 1 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 7.0 IP to improve to 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.  He’s showing a much improved groundball rate (50.3%), which is going to help his production.  However, considering his 21.8% line drive rate, .209 BABIP and 84.6% strand rate, there’s going to be a regression in his future.
  • After getting pushed back a few times Jake Peavy was finally able to take the mound yesterday and looked just fine.  Taking on the Mets he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 6.2 IP.  While we will want to continue monitoring his health, just to be safe, there’s no reason to shy away from him.
  • It wasn’t pretty for Matt Moore, though he was able to improve to 6-1 on the season.  He lasted just 5.0 innings (throwing 104 pitches) allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 4 BB, striking out just 2.  After a great start, things have turned in his past two outings due to a drop in strikeouts (5 K total) and control issues (8 BB).  He also has now allowed at least 1 HR in five straight starts.  We knew there had to be a regression and you have to expect the strikeouts will pick back up so don’t get too concerned.
  • So much for Ricky Romero, who lasted just 0.1 IP yesterday allowing 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB.  We were hopeful he’d turn it around, but at this point it’s hard to have much faith in him.
  • In year’s past when Ian Kinsler hit for big-time power it came at the expense of his batting average.  Thus far in 2013 that isn’t the case.  After going 3-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R he is hitting .324 with 7 HR and 20 RBI.  What’s different?  He’s striking out at an extremely low rate (7.9%), but the biggest thing is that he is generating power without posting an elevated fly ball rate (39.5%).  If he can maintain that, the numbers are going to be impressive.
  • Bud Norris completely stymied the Angels, allowing 1 ER on 9 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 8.0 IP.  He is now sporting a 2.30 ERA over 31.1 IP at home, compared to a 5.93 ERA in 13.2 IP on the road.  The same thing happened in 2012 (1.71 vs. 6.94) and has been the trend for his entire career (3.39 vs. 5.41).  With two starts on the road next week, including one in Detroit, he’s not a recommended option.
  • Jayson Nix is playing virtually every day at this point, though he’s produced a .232 average with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R and 1 SB over 82 AB.  Middle infield may be shallow, but there’s just nothing to buy into here.
  • Is there anyone hotter than Paul Goldschmidt right now?  He went 2-4 with 2 HR, 3 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at 7-13 with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 4 R (he had 3 RBI in each of the games) over the three game series in Los Angeles.  Think the Dodgers can’t wait for him to get out of town?

Bullpen Notes:

  • J.J. Hoover had a few rogue saves recently, but he allowed 2 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 1, over his inning of work in what was clearly a step backwards.  Don’t consider him the definite next in line should the Reds need it.  Jonathan Broxton or Sean Marshall (who also allowed an ER yesterday) are more likely the long-term replacement options.
  • It was a poor outing for Sergio Romo, who allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 1 BB in an inning of work to blow his second save of the season.  These things happen and there is no reason for concern.

One comment

  1. Milo says:

    Allen Webster killed me yesterday. No more speculation on call ups…until maybe next time.

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