"Orlando Hernandez" and "NL leader in strikeouts". Not phrases that seem to go together well. But Hernandez has averaged seven K's per start, and if he maintains that level of whiffery tonight, he'll be back on top of the league. Here are the stats so far, for the top five in the NL last year, and El Duque:
- Hernandez, 35
- Martinez, 33
- Carpenter, 31
- Peavy, 28
- Myers, 26
- Davis, 22
Not bad, especially since he's also pitched less innings than all of the others. 11.5 K's per nine? Too good to be true, given he's never had a full season with more strikeouts than innings, and his career figure is only 7.1. Obviously, moving to the NL will help, as you face pitchers rather than DHs, but I'd happily settle for a few less strikeouts, if that ERA came down by a run or so.
Perez is another leftie, so we'll see how/if Melvin juggles the lineup. Snyder will likely catch, but it's a question of whether Easley (or maybe Andy Green, whom Melvin has been talking about putting in the starting lineup one of these days) will replace Hudson, though he's been not too bad against lefties so far. Since the return of Counsell, Easley has been the forgotten man, appearing in only one of the last six games.
Perhaps Shawn Green might be sat instead, though he is, at least, providing the illusion of production, with a .287 batting average. Against lefties, it's inevitably lower (.231), but the man with the worst split this year, by some distance, is Gonzalez:
vs. Left: 34 at-bats, .147/.310/.324 - 1 HR, 3 RBI
vs. Right: 61 at-bats, .295/.366/.623 - 4 HR, 16 RBI
Changes of him being benched? Slim. Regardless, this is the lineup I'd like to see tonight:
- Counsell, SS
- DaVanon, CF
- Jackson, 1B
- Tracy, 3B
- Byrnes, LF
- S.Green, RF
- Snyder, C
- Hudson, 2B
- Hernandez, P
The way I figure it, tucking Byrnes in left lessens the risk he poses to the right fielder. ;-) Hudson may be weaker with the bat than Easley against lefties, but I think what he brings to the table with his glove more than balances it. I really don't want to play S.Green in right, but at the moment, Gonzo is the bigger liability. Maybe we could put Byrnes in right, and Andy Green in left? Ah, the joys of entirely meaningless speculation...
Random note on a former D'back: Brad Halsey started his first game for the A's today, because Harden is on the DL. He got the win, went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. It's interesting how this trade has, judging by some results to date, been almost a wash:
Halsey: 18 IP, one start, 5 ER
Cruz: 17 IP, one start, 5 ER
Halsey has shown better control (five walks vs. ten) but Cruz has fanned more (seventeen vs. eight).