April was a tough month, y'all, especially for down-rotation starters on struggling teams. Some very interesting names spent the entire month without a victory, and a handful of them will be on the mound tonight searching for their first win on the year. Note, of course, that wins and losses are no way to measure how well a pitcher is doing. But tell that to their statistically-ignorant moms and dads who are having trouble bragging about their son's performance in the major leagues. Not everybody's kid can be as awesome as Tim Lincecum, after all.
Here are your choices:
- Joe Blanton, Phillies: Fella went 4-0 down the stretch after being traded to the Phils and helped them win the World Series blah blah blah. Well get over your ginormous 2008 hangover already, Country Joe, because your 8.41 ERA after four winless starts is embarrassing Harry Kalas' gold-throated ghost. He'll try to notch a win tonight in St. Louis. Albert Pujols is salivating.
- Francisco Liriano, Twins: Hey, remember 2006? Yeah so does Francisco Liriano, which is why he cried himself to sleep every night in April after going 0-4 with a 6.04 ERA in five starts. Dude is not inducing ground balls as much since he's pretty much abandoned his slider after recovering from Tommy John surgery. His fastball has lost some speed, but Frenchy'll face the free-swinging Tigers tonight. I expect a perfect game with 26 strikeouts.
- John Lannan, Nationals: This dude has been at least league-average over five winless starts. He can pretty much blame that big fat zero on the big fat zeroes who make up the Nationals offense. Over those five starts, his team scored a whopping twelve runs. In fact, he threw seven scoreless innings against the Braves a week ago but the team ended up losing the game 1-0. No matter, he's up against fellow big loser Brian Moehler and the Astros tonight, so I'd expect at least a quality start.
- Brett Anderson, Athletics: Who? Oh yeah, Brett Anderson, who has had at least two decent starts but with a 5.01 ERA, will struggle to ever win a game with the league's worst slugging offense behind him. Tonight, they face the Angels, who possess the league's worst bullpen. Q.E.D the A's will come from behind to win but our man Brett won't get any credit. Sorry, Moms Anderson!
- Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies: After a terrible first start, De La Rosa has strung together three straight good ones, including five innings of hot scoreless action against the bigtime Dodgers and two quality starts. With a 3.57 ERA, it's only a matter of time before the Rockies offense decides to provide him with some old time Coors Field run support. That won't happen tonight in spacious Petco Park against his winless counterpart Kevin Correia.
So if I was forced at gunpoint to pick some winners tonight among this collection of losers, I'd take John Lannan and Kevin Correia, only because their teams will be facing poorer opponents. But if I was an actual betting man, I'd abandon this group of chuckleheads and put down an exacta on King Felix Hernandez versus the Rangers and S.I. cover boy Zack Greinke against the ChiSox.