Just some random observations about our rotation...
The rookie keeps impressing. He still needs a bit better strikeout rate (something closer to 6.0 K/9 would make me feel better) but he's doing all the other things a pitcher with his skill set needs to do to compete at the major league level. He's killing worms (49.9% ground ball rate), he's not walking guys (2.32 BB/9) and he's keeping the ball in the park (0.85 HR/9). You've got to love the attitude, the guy doesn't quit or get shell shocked. His strikeouts are a bit lacking (4.56 K/9) but he looks to have the skills to be a legitimate back of the rotation starter.
Another guy who keeps succeeding on pure will power at this point. Hernandez came to Baltimore with a rep as a guy who could pile up the strikeouts but that hasn't happened yet (so far he's only striking out guys at Bergesen levels...). He has kept the ball in the park (0.80 HR/9) but is giving up fly balls at a 55% rate...so that HR rate is bound to rise and his ERA with it.
But give credit to Hernandez. He's not able to strike guys out at a rate that he's used to but he's worked around that, kept his head about him and battled the best he could. Hernanadez may not ultimately succeed but it won't be because of his makeup.
Guthrie gave up his 23rd home run of the season on Saturday, one short of his career high...and it's not even August.
Guthrie is on pace to surrender 37 home runs, surpassing Sidney Ponson, Scott McGregor and Robin Roberts for the club record. According to HitTrackerOnline.com, damn near all the homers given up by Guthrie are legitimate, almost none of them are counted as lucky shots.
Here's hoping that Guthrie's just having a bad year. Better for him to return to form in 2010 than in 2009 in my opinion.
Rich Hill/Jason Berken
With the impending promotion of Chris Tillman, the fates of Hill and Berken are linked in competition to remain with the club.
Jason Berken really doesn't have the resume to be in the majors at this point. He was promoted to AAA due to a lack of arms and then promptly to the majors for the same reason. He can be a useful arm in the future but could use some more seasoning in an environment where he's not getting shelled every start. The one plus for Berken...he has a FIP of 4.76 versus his actual ERA of 6.55 which indicates that he may have been pitching better than the surface results. But I'm guessing that's small consolation to Berken.
Hill is not good. There's no doubt about it. A 7.64 ERA and a 5.13 FIP. But there are two guys struggling in the rotation and only one Chris Tillman to call up from Norfolk. If you're asking me to pick a guy for cannon fodder, I'll take the veteran and save the psyche of the kid. Fans can be angry about Hill taking the mound every 5 days but the eye has to be on 2010 and 2011. Let Berken go work things out in Norfolk/Bowie. Hill can fall on his sword for the next two months.
His stats in Norfolk:
W-L IP ERA K BB HR
Tillman - AAA 8-6 96.2 2.70 99 26 5
His last outing was not good but I imagine he'll be better than most of what we already have.