Yesterday, 7-15-05, was a great day for pitching match-ups. David Wells (video highlight) starting for the Red Sox against the team he loves most still agitates the achiest spot in my breaky baseball heart. I couldn’t bear to write it, and, without that one topping the list, there were no Games To Watch.
Today’s much easier, and hardly less exciting.
Yankees @ Red Sox 1:20
Randy Johnson LHP (9-6, 4.16) @ Matt Clement (10-2, 3.45)
Johnson can handle the hostility at Fenway Park, and I think he can feed off it. Dare I suggest that he’s not afraid to hit a batter? I still hold that the Yankees lost to Boston so often last year in part because they didn’t know how to channel revenge through their inherent good manners.
Watching Clement pitch for the Cubs at Wrigley years ago, I remember picking up a funny feeling from him. He was solid but uneven, and the unevenness has stayed with him. Despite his grand improvements, this all-star can crack.
White Sox @ Indians 1:20
Mark Buehrle, LHP (10-3, 2.58) @ Jake Westbrook RHP (6-11, 4.57)
In a late switch, all-star Mark Buehrle will start for the first place White Sox in place of John Garland. Hard to argue with that.
Even Westbrook’s high-ish ERA shows that he has been better than his Win-Loss record indicates. Lately, he’s allowed an unusual amount of runs to score for this season, which has been a fairly successful one for him.
Astros @Cardinals 4:15
Roy Oswalt, RHP (12-7, 2.39) @ Jason Marquis, RHP (8-6, 3.89)
After a promising few pitches in the All-Star game, Oswalt lost some luck and let go of his cool. His record speaks for itself, however. Marquis may well be up to the challenge. I’ve always liked his chances, though he didn’t look too good in the postseason last year.
Nationals @ Brewers 7:05
Esteban Loaiza RHP (5-5, 3.57) @ Chris Capuano (10-6, 3.63)
Now that the Nationals are hitting behind him, Loaiza — who seemed to rely on his own run-support for awhile — should be able to relax back into the sophisticated and tough pitcher he is. I look forward to seeing his opponent for the first time.
Braves @ Mets 7:10
Tim Hudson, RHP (6-5, 3.78) @ Victor Zambrano, RHP (4-7, 3.58)
Floraine Kay always says to be wary when the Braves are willing to give up on one of their pitchers. A corollary: Note well when Atlanta picks up a pitcher who has been written off as finished. Everyone had something to say when Oakland kept only one of their dominating triumvirate of Hudson-Mulder-Zito. Leo Mazzone, Atlanta’s longtime pitching coach, seems to be having the last word.
When Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson said he needed only a few minutes with Zambrano to “fix” him, I was instinctively skeptical. I still am, but I must cite the complicity of the Mets’ bats in constructing his failing Win-Loss record.
Angels @ Twins 7:10
Bartolo Colon, RHP (11-5, 3.42) @ Johan Santana, LHP (7-5, 3.98)
Colon is another all-star pitcher who started well and ended up unlucky in Tuesday’s game. He deserved better. If you ask the Yankees, Santana is much more dangerous than his record appears. This should be fun to watch.