The Sports Pages: Jhonny’s Cash, Verlander’s June, and Central Sluggers Striking Out
By John Parent
Tigers ace Justin Verlander takes the hill in an attempt to quiet the New York Mets’ bats this afternoon. It will be his sixth start of the month. In the five previous June starts this year, Verlander has been very nearly unhittable.
He’s averaged better than eight innings per start this month, racked up 48 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched, all the while allowing only 22 hits and four walks for an other-wordly 12:1 K:BB ratio.
For my money, JV has been the best pitcher in baseball this season, but could it be that Phillies lefty Cliff Lee has actually been better in June? Lee is riding a streak on three straight shutouts, after all, and like Verlander, he’s also 5-0 this month. Blaine Blontz of Call to the Pen takes a deeper look at the two hurlers.
Oh and you may not have noticed, but Minnesota’s Scott Baker has gone 4-1 in his last five starts, including 7.1 innings of shutout ball yesterday against the Dodgers. Puckett’s Pond has more on Baker’s resurgence.
The Indians took two of three in Arizona this week to climb back into a tie for first place in the Central. Old friend Adam Everett was designated for assignment in order to clear the way for much heralded prospect Lonnie Chisenhall to make his debut. Chisenhall hasn’t disappointed so far, writes Steve Kubitza of Deep Left Field. Chisenhall went 3-for-8 in his first two games before getting the series finale off.
The Tribe has a problem on their hands in Grady Sizemore, of all people, writes the Plain Dealer‘s Bud Shaw. Grady’s been swinging and missing an awful lot since his latest return from DL and while I don’t see it as a huge issue, Shaw’s suggested resolution is that Cleveland should trade their once and future king. (Maybe I shouldn’t say “king” and “Cleveland” in the same sentence. Still too soon? Geesh, get over it.) Overreact much? The only way the Tribe can have any hope of winning this winnable division is with Sizemore in the lineup.
But when you’re talking about strikeouts, no one is a bigger whiffa than Chicago’s free agent “prize”, Adam Dunn. Travis Miller of Southside Showdown tells the tale of Dunn’s performance on Sunday. An 0-for-4 with four K’s, the last of which was number 100 for the season.
As much as he’s been a strikeout machine during his career, he’s on pace to blow past his previous high of 194 in one season. How bad has it gotten? Dunn is now apparently seeking answers within. With a little help from a shrink.
With southpaw John Danks hitting the DL in Chicago, Ozzie Guillen’s bunch won’t have to employ their six-man rotation any longer. The Royals and Ned Yost must have thought it was a pretty good idea, however, as they have now opted to go the same route.
With Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies coming back to health, Kansas City has decided not to option Danny Duffy back to Omaha, but instead will run six-deep with their starters. Somehow making room for guys like Davies doesn’t quite have the same feel as when the White Sox couldn’t decide between Jake Peavy and Edwin Jackson, does it? Michael Engel of Kings of Kauffman has more.
Today is the last day you can cast your ballot for the 2011 All-Star game. Have you voted Avila, today? You’d better get on that.
MCB alum Matt Snyder at Detroit Jock City says shortstop Jhonny Peralta has already earned every dollar of his two-year contract he signed last fall. I knew he was out performing expectations, but I didn’t realize it was by this much.
One Last Tigers link to throw at you today. Remember when I had to defend Jim Leyland against the unwarranted attacks of Huge idiot Bill Simonson. Well, Rogo of Designate Robertson is so much better at ripping apart bad “journalism” than I am.
That’s all I got this time, kiddies. Enjoy the links!
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