The beauty of baseball is that it is on every night and every night the match ups make the team totally different night to night.
Yankees are playing the last place Mariners in back to back to back nights? Sounds like a romp for the Yankess… until you realize Cliff Lee is pitching one night and Felix Hernandez throws the next. Mariners win 2 of 3.
So today, tonight and actually right now there are a ton of starts that I personally find intriguing.
START #1: A. J. BURNETT of the Yankees.
A.J.’s June was grotesque. He went 0-5 in 5 starts with a 11.35 ERA, a 2.261 WHIP and let up 9 homers.
Some blamed the absence of pitching coach Dave Eiland… but what is this? Cyrano DeBergerac? A.J. forgot how to pitch? As I type this, he has thrown the first 5 innings of the day game against Toronto and hasn’t let up a run. July is indeed a new month.
START #2: JAMIE MOYER of the Phillies.
Moyer’s improbable Hall of Fame run continues tonight against the lowly Pirates who seem to have already given up on 2011!
What started as a tongue in cheek question if he could reach 300 wins has transformed into an honest to goodness possibility.
If he beats the Pirates tonight, always a safe bet, he will have win number 268 and have reached double digits in wins for the 17th time in his career and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons.
START #3: JOSH JOHNSON of the Marlins
Ubaldo Jimenez still is in the lead for the ERA title, but Johnson trails him by just .002.
He is taking on the Braves, who have slowed down since their 5 game winning streak and young Kris Medlin, who is 5-1.
The Marlins are 8 games back of the Braves in the loss column but a solid series against Atlanta could help them climb back into contention. Tonight is a big game for the Fish and they have their big arm on the mound.
START #4: TIM LINCECUM of the Giants
The Giants have lost 6 straight and are in danger of playing themselves out of the race if they are not careful.
When the going gets tough, it is good to put a back to back Cy Young contender on the bump.
The Franchise’s numbers might not be as eye popping as the last two seasons, but he still has the best strikeout per 9 innings ratio in the NL and can potentially stop the bleeding in Coors Field tonight against the Rockies.
START #5: MITCH TALBOT of the Indians
The Indians’ unlikely Rookie of the Year candidate goes for his 9th win of the year against the Jekyll and Hyde Oakland A’s.
The Indians are going nowhere, but the solid year from Talbot has allowed them to shop some pitchers. (If only they had another pair of Cy Young winners to deal.)
START #6: TIM WAKEFIELD of the Red Sox
Wakefield has not looked good this year and his quest to win 15 more games and tie Roger Clemens and Cy Young for most wins in a Red Sox uniform might fall short.
But the Orioles are coming to Fenway, which is always a recipe for a win or two. Perhaps he’ll only be 14 away by the end of tonight.
START #7: DAVID PRICE of the Rays.
The can’t miss stud of the 2007 draft isn’t missing this year. In fact as of this writing, I think he is the front runner for the Cy Young Award.
He leads the league in wins and ERA and is providing an anchor for a now shaky Rays clubhouse.
If the Rays are going to leap frog the Red Sox and Yankees again, Price will lead the way… possibly starting tonight in Minnesota (who are trying to stop a slump of their own.)
START #8: MAT LATOS of the Padres
No team is more surprising in baseball than the Padres, who were expecting to be auctioning off Adrian Gonzalez at this point. Instead they are tied with the Braves for the best record in the National League.
Latos is a big reason for that as he just knows how to win. The next step for him? Pitch more than 6 innings a start.
With the Astros coming to town, he might be on line for win #9.
START #9: ROY OSWALT of the Astros
The ace of the Astros has a miserable win loss record (5-10) but all of his other numbers are respectable.
He basically is auditioning for the rest of baseball. A solid game in the terrific pitchers ballpark in San Diego could boost his worth in a trade that will have to happen in the next 30 days.
Essentially, one of the great pitchers in Astros history could be pitching his final game in an Astros uniform.
And of course…
START #10: EDWIN JACKSON of the Diamondbacks
Johnny Vander Meer is the only person to throw back to back no hitters. And if is required to mention him that whenever anyone throws a no hitter when they next take the mound.
Granted his no hitter wasn’t exactly a work of beauty… but hey! I would LOVE to throw an ugly no hitter. It’s the first game for Kirk Gibson the manager… why not give him a little history as the D’Backs welcome Gibson’s old team, the Dodgers?
So let’s hope something cool happens tonight… as long as it isn’t a no hitter against the Red Sox!