Sunday, May 17, 2009

Half-Sat, Full-Sun

The title doesn't make a lick of sense, but I thought it had a mystic ring to it, so off I went.  This early evening Sunday article does indeed cover the remainder of last night's games (Half-Sat), and the entirety of the Sunday schedule (with the sole exception being the ESPN 8pm Giants-Mets contest).  With that in mind, we can't very well write tomorrow morning's article on just one game, so it will instead be a feature piece.  Something tells me closers deserve a chunky breakdown.

A great number of players rested today, and for the most part the decent ones played decent ball, but there were a few slightly longer-term solutions that jumped out.

NICK JOHNSON - After having a bit of a tough time in yesterday's day-night, 9-inning/6-inning double header, Johnson bounced back nicely.  He's a very good #2 hitter in the Nationals lineup (which is more than shouldering its share of the load -- the pitching staff continues to embarrass itself), and is batting a robust .333.  Not a big-time power guy, Johnson reaches base over 40% of the time, and the boppers behind him are doing a nice job of driving Johnson home.  After scoring twice today, Johnson has been plated 23 times in only 36 games: very respectable numbers for a guy on an 11-25 team!

SCOTT FELDMAN - Who?  Yeah, well, this is what our site is truly about.  Bringing to light the players that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle.  Feldman, on the season, has a mostly unspectacular 4.04 ERA, but a closer look reveals an interesting trend.  Feldman became a starter in a better Rangers rotation after already compiling an ERA over 12.  Since that time, Scott is 2-0, and has surrendered just 7 runs over nearly 30 innings.  I thought it was a fluke, and it still might be, but he's confident right now, and could continue to post good numbers as long as his sinker stays low in the zone.

And a name you may recognize...JAKE PEAVY - His start to 2009 has been utterly uninspiring, with a 2-5 record, and an ERA in the mid/high 4's.  But if you look closely at the numbers, Peavy really has been almost as good as usual, and just significantly more unlucky.  He has been burned by more big innings than usual, and rather than scattering weakly hit singles, his opponents seem to collect them in bunches, then go half the game without another hit.  My point in all this rambling is that he is the perfect buy-low candidate for this point in the season.  He's showing signs of breaking out of his little funk, despite losing his last 4 decisions (pending today's game with Cincinnati).  He has struck out 8, 12 and 9 in his previous 3 games, spanning 21 innings, and he's working on an 8-inning, 1-run outing as we speak.  If now isn't the time to try to pry Peavy from an unsuspecting owner, disenchanted with his ERA or poor record, then I'll eat my hat.

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