Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mr. Javier Vazquez 

Javier Vazquez, thanks to his 7 scoreless innings last night, has driven down his ERA from 37.80 to 7.65. This gradual improvement mirrors the progress of a certain Diamondbacks pitcher last year whose first performance merited a 27.00 ERA but who pitched a scoreless game in his fourth start.

Unfortunately for us, that pitcher was one Mr. Casey Daigle.

The weirdness in Vazquez's 7-inning shutout (and eventual 2-1 win over the Giants) is that he arguably didn't pitch much better than he did in his second and third starts:

4/4: 1 2/3 IP, 10 hits, 0 walks, 2 Ks… and 7 runs (WHIP: 6.00)
4/9: 5 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 3 walks, 7 Ks… and 6 runs (WHIP: 1.50)
4/14: 6 IP, 8 hits, 1 walk, 8 Ks… and 5 runs (WHIP: 1.50)
4/20: 7 IP, 8 hits, 2 walks, 2 Ks… and no runs (WHIP: 1.43)

Now his starts on the 9th and 14th include one homerun each, so that explains part of the run differential, but it's not clear that the starts have improved much.

Except for the pitch count per inning:

4/4: 25.2
4/9: 19.3
4/14: 15.7
4/20: 12.9

Of course, Vazquez was bailed out by 3 double plays, making 23 for the D-Backs this season thus far. This number leads the league. The number per game, 1.53, is close to double the rate at which the team turned two last year, when it turned 144.

Then again, Royce Clayton hit into a double play of his own, giving him 5 for the year. If that seems like a lot, it is -- he's tied for the major league lead with Marquis Grissom (who hit into a double play of his own last night). Not that anybody else hit well last night, either.

Tonight we face our first "A-list" pitcher of the year in Jason Schmidt. I'm not hopeful of our chances (especially given our offensive anemia of late), but at least we can do no worse than a split...

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