A few Baker-related notes:
- Strikeouts: In his first two games, Baker managed to punch out just five batters in 8.2 innings, but in Monday's start, he K-ed seven men in six innings. I expect him to continue to keep the walks down if only because they've never been an issue before, and his enormous WHIP is sure to shrink as he returns to normal strikeout rates. Baker's K/9 last year was 7.4, and he had a sweet little 3.32:1 K/BB ratio as well. Despite the fact that he lost again, the way Baker changed speeds and hit corners was encouraging.
- Duration of start: Going six innings and 99 pitches also bodes well for Baker's immediate future. He got into a little trouble at times, but Gardy left him alone. Baker bounced back after an awful first inning to keep the team in the game. He battled tonight, and churning out six frames helps out the bullpen. Hopefully they'll get another rest tomorrow with Liriano pitching.
- The way runs were scored: Baker gave up seven homers in his first two outings, but didn't throw any gopher balls on Monday. In fact, his homers-per-nine innings rate was about 1.0 from 2007-2008, so while he has a slight propensity to give up the long ball, Baker he'll start to get more ground balls and Ks to limit batters' opportunities to take him deep.
Since my public humiliation of Joe Crede last Friday, he's actually picked up the pace, going 5-for-16 (.312) with two homers and three RBI. Not that Crede has to bash the snot out of the ball all the time, but we just needed something from the guy.
Big game tonight - hopefully Liriano can be a losing-streak stopper for our local nine against James Shields. Game time is 7:10.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!