Baseball Press presents ''The 606'', a look into the three most intriguing pitching matchups of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself ''What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!'' BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at some pitching matchups for Sunday, April 11th.
Dan the Man was on fire yesterday, racking up a 3-0 record with some nice strikeout totals and a low WHIP making it a complete day on The 606. Sunday offers a ‘'Battle of the Roys'' in Houston, a West Coast battle between lefties and a youngster in Cincinnati trying to accomplish a rare feat. Let's take a look at yesterday's solid numbers:
Win: Josh Beckett (7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1.43 WHIP)
Win: Carlos Zambrano (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0.89 WHIP)
Win: CC Sabathia (7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0.39 WHIP)
The 606 Season-To-Date Record (W-L-ND): 5-4-9, 3.29 ERA (40 ER in 109.1 IP)
RHP Roy Halladay - PHI (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. RHP Roy Oswalt - HOU (0-1, 4.50 ERA)
Roy Halladay picked up where he left off last season, allowing just 1 run over 7 innings and striking out 9 against the Nationals. Roy did his normal thing against the Nats, pounding the strike zone while having good movement on his pitches. Roy is experiencing something he didn't get while in Toronto - run support. Halladay has never faced the Astros, but has faced Carlos Lee during his days with the White Sox, Lee is .368 (7 for 19) with 3 HR for his career against Halladay. Roy is 4-3 over the past two seasons during the month of April while pitching on the road. He could have a very easy day against a struggling Astros' lineup.
Despite taking the loss on Opening Day, Roy Oswalt turned in a quality start against the Giants going 6 innings and allowing three runs. Oswalt's pitching wasn't the problem as his team was facing reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. Oswalt will face a red hot Phillies team on Sunday as he looks to find the Astros their first win. Oswalt has started against the Phillies 9 times during his career compiling a 6-1, 3.23 ERA, 1.30 WHIP record. As I mentioned above, Oswalt will have his hands full with the Phillies today, especially trying to silence the bat of Placido Polanco. Polanco has scorched opposing pitching this season and is has hit .476 (10 for 21) during his career against Oswalt. Even if Oswalt pitches a gem today, he will need his offense to come through in a big way as they are only hitting .223/.249/.320 as team this year with 12 runs scored.
Final Prediction: Roy Halladay
LHP Dallas Braden - OAK (0-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders - LAA (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Making his first start since late July of 2009, Dallas Braden pitched a doozy to begin his 2010 season. Braden isn't known for his strikeout ability, but it didn't matter against the Seattle Mariners. He allowed just four hits and one earned run while racking up a career best 10 strikeouts, but finished with a no decision. Braden fanned everyone in the Mariners' lineup with the exception of Franklin Gutierrez and Ichiro Suzuki. Braden has a career line of 1-3, 4.36 ERA, 1.42 WHIP against the Angles with all three losses against the Halos coming last season (0-3, 6.35 ERA, 1.77 WHIP). Believe it or not, Erik Aybar has had the most success against Braden hitting .429 (6 for 14). Braden should find the sailing versus the Angels a little rougher as the Mariners are one of the worst hitting teams in baseball right now.
Joe Saunders ran into a bit of bad luck during his first start this season against the Minnesota Twins as he allowed 8 hits, 5 earned runs and three home runs over 5 innings pitched. I say bad luck because Saunders is usually very good during the month of April. Before 2010, Saunders was 10-1 with a 2.51 ERA, but apparently the Twinkies didn't get the memo on Saunders past April success. The main culprit for Saunders this outing was the HR. Prior to this game he had only allowed 8 total homers to left-handed hitters over his career, but last Tuesday he allowed home runs to left-handed hitters Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Saunders also has a pretty good track record against the A's during his career with a 9-3 record and a sub 4 ERA.
Final Prediction: Joe Saunders
LHP Tom Gorzelanny - CHC (0-0) vs. RHP Mike Leake - CIN (0-0)
Tom Gorzelanny makes his first start of the season while filling out the back end of the rotation for the Cubs after beating out fellow lefty Sean Marshall. He's made 3 career starts at Great American Ballpark putting up a 1-1 record with a 7.71 ERA. The Reds have pretty good numbers against Gorzelanny, but as you can imagine it's a very small sample size (most guys less than 10 at-bats).
Mike Leake will be the first starting pitcher since Jim Abbott in 1988 to make his MLB debut without pitching a single game in the minor leagues. Don't let the fact that Leake skipped the minor leagues full you, he was an outstanding college pitcher for Arizona State (16-1, 1.36 ERA in '09) and pitched in the Arizona Fall League this season. Leake doesn't offer a ‘'blow you away'' fastball, but offers something better; a fastball low in the zone with movement. In fact all of his pitches have good movement and he throws them all for strikes. He may be only 22, but he's got enough experience under his belt to make an immediate impact, but will the Reds give him the run support?
Final Prediction: Mike Leake