Baseball Press presents ''The 606'', a look into the three most intriguing pitching matchups of the day, with a final prediction of the winning pitcher. You may be asking yourself ''What exactly does The 606 mean? There's no major league baseball for that area code- it's in Eastern Kentucky!'' BBP isn't listing players from Eastern Kentucky either. The 606 is short for 60 feet and 6 inches. If you still don't understand, I direct your attention to Official Rule 1.07 from Major League Baseball, referring to the distance from the pitching mound to home plate. Now that we've got that squared away, let's take a look at some pitching matchups for Sunday, April 18th.
Once again, Dan Port didn't disappoint with his 606 picks, as A.J. Burnett and Tim Lincecum allowed ten hits, struck out 14 and allowed zero runs combined. Justin Verlander was the odd man out, but was still able to find something to build upon as he heads into his next start.
Today's 606 features two young exciting pitchers in Oakland, as well as a matchup of established pitchers in Chavez Ravine and two pitchers looking to build upon recent success during a clash of AL Central teams.
Win: A.J. Burnett (7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1.14 WHIP)
Win: Tim Lincecum (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1.00 WHIP)
Loss: Justin Verlander (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1.14 WHIP)
The 606 Season-To-Date Record (W-L-ND): 13-11-13, 3.12 ERA (84 ER in 242 IP)
LHP Brian Matusz - BAL (1-0, 4.38) vs. LHP Brett Anderson - OAK (1-0, 0.00)
The high ERA can be deceiving for Brian Matusz fans, but you can thank the atrocious Baltimore bullpen for that. Matusz may be one of the only bright spots for the Orioles right now - he's the only pitcher to record a win this season. The future ace has made two starts this season with both coming against the Tampa Bay Rays. His last outing was nothing short of brilliant, as he allowed just two hits through eight innings while matching a career high in strikeouts with eight. One thing Matusz has received from the Orioles is run support. Matusz has received 5.2 runs per start which is plenty of runs for Brian especially the way he's pitched during the young season.
Fresh off a four-year extension, Brett Anderson has proved why he was worth the investment. The hard throwing lefty has yet to allow a run this season and has only allowed nine hits in twelve innings while striking out ten batters. Anderson has faced the dull Mariners during his first two starts of the season and will see continued success against the struggling Orioles offense. Prior to yesterday's game, the Baltimore Orioles were .128 (10 for 78) with runners in scoring position.
Final Prediction: Brett Anderson
LHP Barry Zito - SF (2-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw - LAD (1-0, 4.50)
When he's not at the center of attention for fellow BBP writer Dan Port, Barry Zito is showing signs of excellence during this young season. The last time fans saw this side of Zito was back in 2002-2003 when Zito won the Cy Young and made back to back All Star Game appearances. He's made two quality starts against the Astros and Pirates, but his real test will come against the Dodgers and their run producing offense. Zito last faced the Dodgers in Los Angles on May 8th of last season and allowed just one earned run in six innings while fanning six. Matt Kemp is a career .469 (15 for 32) against Zito for his career and Manny Ramirez has 3 career home runs off Zito for his career (who is hoping to return to the lineup today).
Clayton Kershaw is still a young pitcher (22 years old) and much is expected of him this season. Kershaw has had two rocky starts so far, walking eleven in ten innings. The control issues have led to Kershaw only being allowed to pitch into the 5th inning and that's something that manager Joe Torre will need Kershaw to change as the season progresses. Kershaw last faced the Giants on April 15th and was dominate; He struck out thirteen batters, allowed one hit and one earned run (a HR to Bengie Molina) but was credited with a no decision. During his career, Kershaw has faced the Giants two times and has an ERA of 1.13 in eight innings pitched. The Giants' lineup will have their work cut out for them as left-handed hitters are hitting .197 against Kershaw over his career.
Final Prediction: Clayton Kershaw
RHP Luke Hochevar - KC (1-0, 2.84) vs. RHP Carl Pavano - MIN (2-0, 1.38)
A starting pitcher not named Zack Grinke is making waves for the Kansas City Royals. Luke Hochevar is trying to find consistency with each start, but will face a tough test with the Twinkies this afternoon. Hoch has faced the Detroit Tigers during both of his starts this season and has allowed eleven hits in 12.2 innings pitched. His last outing against the Tigers limited him to only five innings after previously going seven innings against the Tigers due to a high pitch count. Jason Kubel has dealt out the most damage to Hochevar over his career - hitting right at a .400 AVG (4 for 10) with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Fun fact, Jim Thome has 44 home runs against the Royals which is the most of any player against Kansas City.
Carl Pavano heads to the hill looking to help the Twins complete the sweep against the Royals on Sunday. Pavano's track record suggests that he has struggled against Kansas City during his career as he's posted a 4-4, 7.08 ERA, 1.49 WHIP stat line against the Royals. Pavano opened Target Field with a win earlier this week against the Boston Red Sox throwing six strong innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. Pavano's recent success has left the Yankees asking themselves "Where was this during your time with us?" Even though Pavano has struggled against the Royals in the past the Twins' explosive lineup will keep him in the mix of things for most of the game. Pavano's biggest enemy today will be Billy Butler who has a career stat line of .429 (9 for 21), 2 HR, 6 RBI against Pavano.
Final Prediction: Carl Pavano