Tag Archives: Dan Haren

Is Greinke the early favorite for Cy Young?

LA Dodgers

Zack

Clayton Kershaw gets the majority of the attention nationally when it comes to the Dodgers starting rotation, and rightfully so. At the age of 26 Kershaw has multiple Cy Young Awards with a second place finish sandwiched in between. Over the past three seasons he’s been the most consistent starting pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. Kershaw’s greatness helps elevate the Dodgers starting rotation, when completely healthy, to arguably the most dominant group in all of baseball. This season though, Kershaw has been injured. In his absence the Dodgers rotation hasn’t skipped a beat. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke all boast ERA’s below three, with both Haren and Greinke among the lead leaders in earned run average, to go with a combined 9-0 record. After sweeping the Minnesota Twins the Dodgers are now just a half game behind the San Francisco Giants for the top record in the NL West. This performance owes greatly to the success of the rotation, particularly Greinke. Zack Greinke is no secret amongst national baseball fans. The thirty-year-old right-hander, who the Dodgers signed to a massive free agent contract prior to last season, has a Cy Young Award of his own. With Kershaw out Greinke has been the dominant starter the Dodgers needed.

Is Greinke the early favorite for the National League Cy Young Award?

la dodgers pitcher

Greinke

Greinke is not the only player off to a fast start. Jose Fernandez, Adam Wainwright, Tim Hudson, Johnny Cueto and Dan Haren are all off to impressive starts. None of the aforementioned list has accomplished what Greinke has over his last 18 starts. Including the postseason Greinke has won 18 of his last 21 decisions. In his last 21 starts the right-hander has pitched at least five innings and given up two runs or less. This streak is the longest in nearly a century, since 1917. It’s indicative of the incredibly consistency that Greinke has displayed during his time as a Los Angeles Dodger. In two seasons as a Dodger Greinke has a combined record of 20-4. Baseball writers often refer to top starting pitchers as “stoppers”, not in the sense of that they are closers, but pitchers who can be relied on to provide a quality start, often in the midst of a team’s losing streak or coming off of a loss. Greinke has been a true stopper this season. Of his five wins, four have come following a Dodgers loss. His ability to consistently turn around potential losing streaks has increased his value and should be a real factor in the early ranking of Cy Young contenders.

zack g

CY Young?

The Dodgers should get Kershaw back soon, after a second minor league rehabilitation start. When Kershaw returns Los Angeles will once again have the lefty/righty combination that harkens back to the days of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. When Kershaw returns he’ll join a starting rotation that’s been firing on all cylinders of late. Dan Haren, who’s signing many questioned, has been tremendous and seems to have reclaimed the form that made him a top starter over the past decade. Hyun-Jin Ryu continues to evolve into an elite left-hander, while Josh Beckett is showing signs of the form that made him a perennial Cy Young Award candidate in the American League.

They’ve all pitched well but the ace so far this season for the Dodgers has been Zack Greinke. If he keeps up his form the Dodgers may have another Cy Young Award winner to add to the long list of great Dodger starting pitchers.

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Chris M

LA Angels 2012 Team Preview

Baseball season will soon be here and we thought it’d be nice to bring to you, every Tuesday and Thursday, a preview from each team in the NL and AL West; culminating in a divisional breakdown and projected front-runners. So without any delay, here’s a look at the 2012 Los Angeles Angels. Oh and if you want NL and AL East projections, you’re on the wrong website, son. Turn to any sports TV to get that stuff.

Infield

In 2011, the Angels were a decent offensive team.

In 2012, they should be a great offensive team.

The addition of Albert Pujols is huge. If he stays healthy, he’s going to give the Angels a .300-plus average, 40 or so home runs and well over 100 RBI. The Angels haven’t had a hitter like Pujols since Vlad Guerrero was in his heyday.

There are no true superstars to be found elsewhere in the Angels’ lineup, but as a whole, it’s pretty deep. The Angels will have to live with low batting averages from Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells, but they’ll at least hit for power. Howie Kendrick is as solid as they come when he’s healthy, and Alberto Callaspo and Erick Aybar swing quality sticks as well.

The question is what are the Angels going to do about the logjam they have at the DH spot? The Angels are hoping Mark Trumbo will be able to transition over to third base, but he seems to be a much better fit at DH. The trouble is that they also have Kendrys Morales and Bobby Abreu to worry about. They’re going to need to get at-bats, so Mike Scioscia better get ready for some lineup juggling this season.

Honestly, who else could it be but Albert Pujols?

How good is Pujols? He hit .299 with 37 homers and 99 RBI in 2011, and that was his worst season of his career.

The Outfield

Vernon Wells was simply amazing in his first season after he came over in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit 25 home runs, drove in 66 runs and he did it all despite only playing in 131 games. The Angels couldn’t have done it without him.

Pitching:

The top three in the rotation, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana had a combined 2.99 era and 45 wins. The Angels found a nice surprise from Jerome Williams as he owned a 2.31 era as a starter and 3.68 era overall.

The Angels didn’t just make one splash on the hitters side, they balanced it out by adding the top MLB pitcher on the market in CJ Wilson. They signed Wilson to a five-year, $77.5M contract in December. Wilson was the ace of the Rangers the past two years going 31-15 3.15 era. The Angels will have a total of four top pitchers in their rotation, instantly catapulting them into discussion of who has the best pitching staff along with the Phillies and Giants.

The additions of Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson immediately has the Texas Rangers looking over their shoulder as the Angels look to overthrow the two-time defending AL West Champs. A playoff berth for the Angels should be in the cards. The combination of hitting and pitching could potentially bring the Angels back to the World Series, where they won it all a decade ago. The season would be branded unsuccessful if they fail to secure a spot in the playoffs resulting in the offseason spending spree of $331.5M being all for naught.

Final words:

The Angels are a rock-solid team. There are better offenses and better fielding teams out there, but the Angels have one of the best rotations in the majors, and they have more than enough offense to support it. They’re going to win a lot of games this season.

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