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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Looping through the Central

Braden Looper has pitched in the National League (interleague play aside) since his career began with the Cardinals back in 1999. All of the other new pitchers added to the 40-man roster this offseason came from the American League, with the exception of Juan Mateo, a Rule-5 addition, who has no major league experience. I wanted to look at how the new arms have done versus out NL Central opponents, but I ended up focusing on Looper because he has thrown the most innings versus the teams in our division. Ponson and Rincon haven't seen much service time against the other NL Central teams, in fact they have never faced a some of them at all, so I left them out of the mix, for now. Looper is our new $3 million per year 8th inning set-up man, so he figures to see lots of action in the 60 or so games against divisional opponents. Since he has faced each of the NL Central teams a fair number of times in his career, we can get an idea of his performance versus them. Presented here are his overall stats against each team and the split for their home parks. Let's go to the stats. vs Astros total: 24 G, 1-1, 4 SV, 33.3 IP, 2.16 ERA, 15 BB, 19 K, 27 HA, 8 ER, 0 HR at HOU: 8 G, 1 SV, 9.6 IP, 4.66 ERA, 4 BB, 6 K, 13 HA, 5 ER vs Brewers total: 19 G, 2-1, 6 SV, 22.3 IP, 3.22 ERA, 9 BB, 12 K, 24 HA, 8 ER, 2 HR at MIL: 7 G, 4 SV, 7.6 IP, 3.52 ERA, 2 BB, 3 K, 10 HA, 3 ER, 1 HR vs Cubs Total: 22 G, 0-2, 4 SV, 25 IP, 4.32 ERA, 12 BB, 13 K, 24 HA, 12 ER, 2 HR at CHN: 11 G, 0-2, 2 SV, 13.3 IP, 4.72 ERA, 9 BB, 7 K, 13 HA, 7 ER, 1 HR vs Pirates total: 17 G, 0-1, 5 SV, 19 IP, 2.84 ERA, 9 BB, 11 K, 22 HA, 6 ER, 1 HR at PIT: 5 G, 0-1, 2 SV, 5 IP, 3.60 ERA, 1 BB, 6 K, 5 HA, 2 ER, 1 HR vs Reds total: 23 G, 0-1, 8 SV, 22.6 IP, 5.56 ERA, 10 BB, 22 K, 25 HA, 14 ER, 6 HR at CIN: 6 G, 0-1, 4 SV, 4.6 IP, 11.57 ERA, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 HA, 6 ER, 3 HR Looper averages out to a little over a hit per inning against each team. It would seem that none of these teams really quiver in fear when Looper comes into the game. Encouraging is his performance against Houston, notice he hasn't given up any homers to the Astros. His ERA is a little high at Minute Maid, but can Brad Lidge say he hasn't surrendered any homers there? No Central team has done much damage to him with the long ball, except for the Reds, who murdered him with the long ball. Only half of the homers Looper gave up to the Reds came at Great American Ballpark too. Adam Dunn claims two of those home runs, confirming our reservations about his ability to face lefty sluggers. Of course, it will be important to revisit these numbers again at the end of the 2006 season, the idea being that TLR and Duncan's pitcher improvement program (patent pending) will start make the numbers look a little better, versus the NL Central teams and throughout the entire league. Do you get the feeling that Duncan and TLR really have their work cut out for them this season? And here's another question, with so much time devoted to so many "projects," will the coaches and staff have time to focus on winning a championship? Well, let's just hope we don't continue to give Adam Dunn reason to smile much in 8th innings this year.
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