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This is somewhat bass-ackwards...

In the rush to leave the house today, I didn't actually get the FanGraph from Sunday's game, etc. posted before today's thread. So, later than expected: here it is, the Heroes and Zeroes from the Giants series, and some random other chit-chat regarding Vargas. Just got back from the game - I had to bail early, but that was to pick up Mrs. SnakePit, so that's my excuse. And since it was 12-2 at that time, I don't feel too guilty... Full report on that tomorrow!

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Today: Homeward bound

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 50: vs Giants, on road

Webb: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 ER
Edgar Gonzalez: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 ER
Valverde: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 ER
Luis Gonzalez: 1-for-8
Lyon: 0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 ER

I can't help feeling I must have miscounted somewhere down the line, because it doesn't seem right that this upcoming, final series will only be the 51st of the year. Oh, well, never mind: here, you get the quality research that you pay for. :-) Two and a half decent starting performances, two wins; the unlucky loser is, naturally, Brandon Webb. Poor defense and the batting practice ball served up by Lyon to Alou ensured there was no W for our Cy Young man this series. Edgar Gonzalez had another sterling outing; I can't help being concerned a little bit, as to whether he has enough plus pitches to be successful long term, but thus far...

Valverde was solid in two appearances, though only one of them was a save - and even that one was thoroughly undeserved, as I noted in the diaries. Sorry to have to mention Luis Gonzalez below the line, but this road-trip has been pretty wretched for Gonzo (5-for-29, and 1-for-17 in LA and SF). Indeed, August (.237) and September (.244) have been bad in general. One wonders if, perhaps, his mind was elsewhere? Couldn't really blame him if that were the case. I'm pretty sure we will not see this position repeated by Luis over the weekend.

Today's new poll question is the latest in our ongoing "Re-sign or let go?" series, this time focusing on occasionally-effective starter, Claudio Vargas. Overall, Vargas is second on the team in wins, with a 12-10 record in 30 starts, despite a 4.89 ERA [discounting one bullpen appearance]. He's had 16 quality starts, a WHIP of 1.41 and opponents are batting .277 against him. Assuming a front four of Webb, A.N.Other, Hernandez v2.0 and EdGon, a month or so ago, I'd have been inclined to let him go without a second thought, but on his recent performances, Claudio might still prove to have some upside.

I say this, because Vargas has been surprisingly effective over the past couple of months. In his last ten starts, eight have led to him allowing three earned runs or less, with a ERA over that time of 3.75. That would be a very respectable figure for someone at the back end of our rotation, to say the least. However, there are two big questionmarks regarding him. Firstly, his inconsistency. Three months this year, his ERA has been between 5.50 and 6.00, and he seems capable of no more than three decent outings before having a horrible one. And when he's bad...

The other knock is his ability to pitch deep into games - in thirty starts, he never pitched past the seventh inning this year, and 30% of the time, lasted five or less. This stems from a combination of several factors. He tends to take a lot of pitches to get through innings in general; he walks his fair share of people; and he doesn't appear to have much stamina. He only reached 110 pitches once this year, and after the 90th pitch, hitters are at .308 off him this season. He hits the wall around there, and does so hard.

On the other hand It looks likely to be another seller's market for pitching this off-season. Vargas currently only earns $1.3m, so would probably be available for a couple of million or so next year. And to be blunt, I'm unsure whether or not EnGon, or any of the other rookies (Owings, Nippert, etc.), would be a better alternative for the back of the rotation than Vargas, particularly at the start of the season. Of course, I'd probably be happiest if Juan Cruz was to step up and occupy the spot, but that currently seems unlikely. Without that, Vargas may be as good as anyone else, at least until we know who from Tucson is genuinely a better option. Discuss...