Monday, April 4, 2011

Stat Line of the Day: April 4th

Matt Garza (CHC): 7.0 IP, 12 H, 3 ER (3 R), 0 walks, 12 strikeouts 
Garza had quite a start on Sunday, his first as a Cub
When we came up with the idea of having a Stat Line of the Day, this is exactly the kind of performance we were on the lookout for. This was Garza's first start as a member of the Chicago Cubs, and he had quite a puzzling performance against a talented young Pirates lineup. Giving up 12 hits is usually a recipe for disaster, but Garza had two things going in his favor--first, he didn't walk anybody (allowing for a fantastic ball-strike ratio of three-to-one), and second, all 12 hits were singles. In addition, Garza had another impressive stat in his line, getting those 12 strikeouts. If you want to find a way to pitch around baserunners in nearly every inning (the 4th was the only inning Garza retired the Pirates in order), the best way to do that is to ensure they don't even put the ball in play. Eight of those strikeouts were swinging, so it's clear that Garza was around the strike zone very often on Sunday. So what happens when you take 12 hits and 12 strikeouts in the same game? Well, fairly normal results actually--the three runs in seven innings come out to a very respectable 3.86 ERA, as well as a game score of 53. It seems like rather often it's not the hits that tend to get to a pitcher as much as it is the walks. By limiting his walks (to zero), Garza was able to concentrate on throwing strikes, getting around baserunners, and actually had the lead when he left after the seventh inning--if not for a 9th inning comeback, Garza would have started his Cubs career 1-0, even after all that.

Honorable Mentions

G. Hill (SAN): 26 min, 29 pts (10-16 FG, 4-7 3PT, 5-5 FT), 4 assists vs. Suns
When you have more points than minutes, that's usually a good sign. When you do it on 62.5% shooting, that's an even better sign. When it helps the Spurs win for first time in 7 games and stop their late-season free-fall, that's the best sign of all. Hill's Spurs were also +28 in the minutes he played (compare that with Tony Parker's -1 over the same amount of minutes in the same game).

J. Garcia (STL): 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 9 K's, 2 BB vs. Padres
No, the Padres don't have the greatest lineup in the world, especially after losing Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox, but a 2-hit shutout just three days into the season gets a spot for being impressive no matter who you're facing. All four hits were singles, including one to Padres pitcher Dustin Moseley.

R. Hanigan (CIN): 4-4, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 HR, 1 BB vs. Brewers
Sure it's only two games, but you can't really complain about an OPS (on-base plus slugging %) of 2.321--just slighty above the 31-year-old catcher's career OPS of .772.

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