NEWSBREAK: James McDonald was scratched in favor of Charlie Morton. Morton has surrendered just one earned run to the Reds this season in two complete games, but it's hard to imagine how he can keep a sub-4.00 ERA with such a high WHIP (almost 1.5) or maintain such a low HR-rate (1/3 a dinger per 9).
The Pirates appeared briefly in first place last week - the latest point in a season for the franchise since 1997. But most of us still either don't know what to think of them or don't know to think of them. Their run differential suggests a team with with just one less win. Some of their featured talent, most notably Andrew McCutchen, evoke a team on the rise. Their pitching has been superb but widely expected, any start now, to fall like a house of cards.
In contrast to the Pirates, the Reds were largely accepted as contenders in '11, to the point that, even in 4th place with a losing record after 95 games, they get that "underachiever" benefit of the doubt. It's weird to think of the Reds as the decadent establishment, but that's how they look alongside the Buccos.
I'm still excited about Dontrelle's arrival. And you kinda have to be, because it's likely he's the de facto starting pitcher pick-up for the second half. According to Pitch F/X, Willis threw his two-seamer and slider nearly 54% of the time in his first start. He was light on his changeup, which has been prominent during his previous comeback attempts, in favor of more movement. Alongside reestablishing his control (something we saw at Louisville but not in Start 1), adding movement - and an Arroyian element of the unexpected to thwart the scouting - could be the recipe for making D-Train a productive MLB starter again.
|2011 - Dontrelle Willis||0-0||1||1||0||0||0||0||6.0||4||2||2||0||4||4||3.00||1.33|
|2011 - Charlie Morton||7-5||16||16||2||1||0||0||97.0||107||47||41||3||38||57||3.80||1.49|