Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup 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 today's featured pitching matchup for Wednesday, September 8th.
Yesterday, Justin Verlander
ended the White Sox seven game winning streak by pitching a gem in Detroit. White Sox starter Freddy Garcia
was only able to pitch two innings due to a lingering lower back injury.
Win: Justin Verlander (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0.86 WHIP)
The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 104-89-64, 3.70 ERA (661 ER in 1607.2 IP)
In today's 606, it's an AL East rivalry as the Rays look to take the series from the injury-plagued Red Sox. The Rays are certain to either win the AL East or the AL Wildcard, but have their sights set on taking down the New York Yankees atop the division standings. For the Red Sox, time is running out to make a postseason push.
RHP Matt Garza - TB (14-7 3.46 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Wakefield - BOS (3-10, 5.19 ERA)
Besides allowing three earned runs during his August 11th start against the Detroit Tigers, Matt Garza has pitched lights out over his past six games. During his last six games, Garza is 4-2 with a 1.32 ERA, a 27/12 K:BB ratio over 41 innings, has allowed just one home run, and hitters are also hitting at just a .208 clip. As you can imagine, Garza faces the Red Sox a lot while playing for the Rays in the American League East. In fact, he last faced the Red Sox about 11 days ago on August 28th. During that outing in St. Pete, Garza held Boston to one run on six hits over seven innings while striking out three and walking one batter. Against the Red Sox all time, Garza is 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He's also posted a 6.3 strikeout per nine (K/9) innings ratio, but has also allowed eleven home runs. While pitching in Fenway Park over eight starts, Garza is 5-2 with a 3.10 ERA and has allowed three home runs.
I did notice something with Garza's last start against the Baltimore Orioles. Garza threw his change-up at a whopping 26.5% in this start, which is a pitch he's thrown rarely this season (4.6%).
Just for laughs, I wanted to find out if Garza did the same thing during his prior start against the Orioles back on July 20th. Sure enough, he didn't.
To even check in on recent starts prior to the Orioles, I pulled his pitch selection from his last outing against the Red Sox. Even during this outing, he barely touched his change-up.
While Clay Buchholz was schedule to pitch on short rest as the Red Sox tried anything and everything to stay in the American League Wildcard race, Tim Wakefield gets the nod after the Red Sox were blown out last night. Wake last made a start on August 25th against Seattle, going 5 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs on eight hits. Because of Wake's knuckleball style, he can work as a long reliever and spot-starter and that's just what the Red Sox will call on him to do. Against the Rays this season over one start, Tim is 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA. During his only start against the Rays this season, he allowed six walks and four hits over 5 2/3 innings. For his career against Tampa Bay, he's 20-6 with a 3.60 ERA and a 6.2 K/9 ratio. Over the past three seasons, he's 1-3 with a 7.27 ERA.
Final Prediction: Matt Garza