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AL East: Pitchers have their say
We all know that teams in the East can hit, but this past week, the division's top pitchers made their presence felt as well. Josh Beckett is off to a hot start, and after getting pounded on Opening Day, Curt Schilling has rebounded nicely. Erik Bedard has thrown consecutive good games, and Scott Kazmir outdueled Johan Santana late last week, handing the perennial Cy Young candidate his first loss at the Metrodome since August 1, 2005.
The most hyped game on the week featured "King" Felix Hernandez and Daisuke Matsuzaka at Fenway Park, with the matchup between Ichiro and Matsuzaka getting most of the ink. Mike Lowell later told reporters:
"I didn't want Ichiro to hit me the ball because you couldn't even see the ball there were so many flashbulbs going off. I was thinking, I hope he hits me a ground ball because if he hits a line drive right at me, I'm seeing stars. But it was pretty cool. We had two of the best players in Japan facing off against each other. That's not something you see every day."
In the end, it was Hernandez who stole the show. Matsuzaka pitched well enough, allowing three runs off eight hits and a walk, over seven innings, but Hernandez was a load, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning. The Fenway Faithful may have gone home disappointed, but it's likely that they will not forget what they saw any time soon.
The best pitching performance of the week came on Friday night when Roy Halladay allowed a single run in 10 innings, leading the Blue Jays to a 2-1 win against the Tigers. Staked to a 1-0 lead (Alex Rios led off the game for the Jays with a home run), Halladay gave up a dinger to Magglio Ordonez in the top of the second, and then scattered four hits over the next eight innings. According to the AP:
"Halladay just had a bowling ball working out there today," Detroit's Sean Casey said. "There was late movement on everything. His sinker was late in the zone, his cutter was late in the zone. The curveball was heavy. Everything was so late. You'd go to swing and boom, that's when it would start moving. You'd go to center it and it was a ground ball. You'd roll over it or blow your bat up."
Jeremy Bonderman was almost Halladay's equal, allowing just the one run over nine innings. Rios' sac fly against Fernando Rodney in the 10th was the difference. There is a terrific analysis of the game at The Detroit Tigers Weblog.
B.J. Ryan flew to Alabama on Sunday to visit Dr. James Andrews. Ryan will have an MRI on his sore left elbow and the Jays will be waiting with bated breath for the results. General manager J.P. Ricciardi told the Toronto Sun, "He's not a complainer. You never see him in the training room. So when he says something, it just alerts you a little bit more." Asked if his closer might be facing a season-ending Tommy John surgery, Ricciardi was fatalistic. "I prepare myself for the worst -- but I don't think that's the case," he said. "The preliminary is not that, but if it is, whaddya gonna do? Call the league up and say we don't want to play anymore?"
Will Caroll, the injury guru at Baseball Prospectus, told me:
"Ryan's mechanics have always been so bad that it's been a matter if not when he'd get hurt, but he'd gone so long without an injury that he was starting to look like one of those guys that make us look stupid. He's big, 'country strong,' but even that only goes so far. If the Jays are sending him to Andrews, that's either a really bad sign (something horribly wrong) or that they're trying to convince him that there's nothing that wrong [Burnett a couple of years ago]. I think it's the latter. But I wonder if it's a cascade from his spring back injury.
Labels: AL East
posted by SI.com | View comments |
Thanks for directing me (us) to the Detroit Tigers blog re the Halladay/Bonderman pitching gem on Friday night.
A great analysis and a treat to read and ponder
It appears that you are unaware of the Baltimore Orioles, also a member of the AL East.
How is it that the "gurus" always come out of the woodwork proclaiming they've always known something was wrong AFTER it's happened. I hadn't heard anything except rave reviews of Ryan up until this past week when he blew those saves. 20/20 hindsight eh?
And did I miss something? Burnett was hurt last season and needed to be councelled then... years ago?
the diceman, schill, beckett, and wakefield will all be dominant this season. the sox will land clemens and no one will be able to hit the red sox. and dont forget the best closer in baseball is still in our pen. (papelbon)
The yankees are in a heap of trouble if they dont get some pitching help soon. Their fielding is terrible and finally the golden boy, (Mr. Overrated) Derek Jeter is leading the league in errors, I love it. A-rod is a much better ball player and would take A-rod over Jeter in a second.
PS go jays
Mention of Beckett, Schilling and Matsuzaka, but no nod to Wakefield who has the best ERA and second-best WHIP of the four? Not to mention he's so much more fun to watch.
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