The Orioles acquired Hammel from the Rockies in what appears to be the most one-sided trade of the off-season They finally dealt the veteran innings-eater, Jeremy Guthrie, for the aforementioned Hammel and flame-throwing reliever Matt Lindstrom. Hammel, who has a career ERA of 4.73 in seven major league seasons, has been nothing short of outstanding, sporting an 8-2 record with a 2.61 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and is among the top-10 in strikeouts in the American League. It must be the thicker air but Hammel looks like a changed man. More impressive is the fact that he is making the oft-difficult NL to AL transition while playing in arguably the best division in baseball. Guthrie on the other hand has been abysmal, with a 3-6 record, a 6.34 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of almost 1:1.
Ahh, a familiar name to Yankees fans that was part of one of Brian Cashman’s trademark, ill-fated deals for starting pitching. You may remember that the Yankees decided to part ways with Melky after being the center fielder for a championship team in exchange for Javier Vazquez, who proved not once but twice that he can’t pitch in New York. It took Melky a couple of years and a few teams to figure it out but the light has finally come on for him as he’s leading the majors in hits. After being dealt from the Royals to the Giants in exchange for lefty Jonathan Sanchez in the off-season, Melky has been playing like a man possessed. San Francisco has been kind to Cabrera as he has a slash line of .351/.388/.512 to go along with six homers and 35 RBI’s.
Don’t fret Yankees fans, you may feel like pulling your hair out seeing what Melky has done this season, but his was a case of addition by subtraction, as he and Cano were inseparable and proved to be bad influences on each other. However, once Melky left Cano turned into a superstar and, by the way we got a pretty good left-handed reliever in Boone Logan out of that deal as well. Good for Melky though, even if no one could’ve told you with a straight face in 2010 that he would end up leading the Majors in hits. We’ll file this one under “wait and see,” though, because something tells me it will be prettay, prettay tough to keep up the pace.
Chris Capuano (This one is for you, Mets Fans):,
On what is arguably one of the most surprising teams in baseball, at age 34 Chris Capuano is having a career year pitching for the NL West-leading Dodgers who continue to win despite lack of talent and injuries. After a season with the Mets in which he was a serviceable starter, Capuano has seemingly figured out how to pitch in LA LA Land. At first glance, Capuano’s stat line looks like a misprint as he is out-pitching (in terms of ERA at least) teammate and reigning NL Cy Young winner, Clayton Kershaw. Capuano is 9-2 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 15 starts with the Dodgers. Capuano’s performance is more along the lines of shocking than surprising and it will prompt some poor shmuck to shell out way too much money for him this off-season, provided that he doesn’t revert back to the Chris Capuano of old over the second half.
If you were to hazard a guess which Phillie was batting .348/.418/.560 with nine homers and 39 RBI’s, I’m willing to bet that the first name to roll off your tongue would not be Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz has always been a solid hitter, but never has he been a .350 hitter. He has picked up most of the slack for the injury-decimated Phillies line-up, while batting in the clean-up slot usually occupied by the tower of power that is Ryan Howard. The good news for Ruiz and the Phillies is that the cavalry is coming in the form of Chase Utley, who should rejoin the team this week, and Ryan Howard should be back relatively soon as well.