Baseball Press presents "The 606", a look at the most intriguing pitching matchup 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 today's featured pitching matchup for Thursday, July 22nd.
Yesterday, a pretty highly anticipated matchup didn't live up to the hype, as neither Stephen Strasburg
nor Bronson Arroyo
made it out of the 6th inning in Cincinnati. Arroyo took the loss by allowing 7 runs in one of his worst outings of the season.
Loss: Bronson Arroyo (5.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1.59 WHIP)
The 606 Season-to-Date Record (W-L-ND): 87-76-50, 3.86 ERA (564 ER in 1316 IP)
Today's 606 takes us to Texas, where Anaheim's young ace takes on Texas's recently acquired mercenary starter in a clash of AL West contenders.
RHP Jered Weaver - LAA (9-5, 3.16 ERA) vs. LHP Cliff Lee - TEX (8-4, 2.59 ERA)
After a couple of stumbles heading into the All Star break, Jered Weaver was back to his winning ways in his latest start, going 7 innings and allowing just 2 runs against the Mariners in a 3-2 win over Felix Hernandez on July 16th. Weaver's 142 strikeouts still lead all of baseball, and his 9.98 K/9 rank behind only Toronto's Brandon Morrow for the major league lead. The young righty defeated Texas in Anaheim with 7 innings of 2-hit ball back on July 1st, but in his last start in Texas on May 18th, Weaver had his worst outing of the season. In that game, he allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks in just 4.2 innings, striking out just one and taking a no decision. In 16 career starts against Texas, he's 5-3 with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, which are very close to his overall career averages of 3.64 and 1.22. Weaver may struggle in this one, as he is quickly earning a reputation as a pitcher who is much more effective at home. In 9 starts (60 innings) in Anaheim this season, Weaver is 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA, but just 5-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 road starts (68 innings). Likewise, in 62 career home starts, Weaver is 31-13 with a 3.05 ERA and just 29-19 with a 4.20 ERA on the road.
hasn't notched a win since joining the Rangers via trade back on July 9th, but he has put in a pair of 9 inning starts, including a 2 run, 6 hit, 6 strikeout performance in a game that went into extra innings in his latest game back on July 17th. Lee has gone at least 8 innings in 11 of his 15 outings this season, and is averaging over 8 innings per start. With all of those innings and an AL-best 2.59 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, the most remarkable thing about Lee's season thus far is that he only has an 8-4 record. In addition, he's walked just 7 hitters in his 121.2 innings of work this year, and may stand a real chance of becoming the first pitcher to log more wins than walks in a season since Bret Saberhagen
in 1994 (14 wins, 13 walks, in 24 starts). He'll likely need to raise that win total to have a real chance at that achievement, and he'll look to get his first victory for the AL West-leading Rangers on Thursday. He may need to be a bit careful with Angels outfielder Juan Rivera
, who has 3 home runs in just 14 at-bats in their matchups.
Final Prediction: Cliff Lee