Monday, May 9, 2011
By Jeff Flinn - Contributor

Thumbs Up

That was a great series between two solid teams, that of course produced three 1-run games.

*The starting pitching continues to be solid. The starters allowed just 7 runs in 20 2/3 innings. Chatwood may have had the best game of his young career up here, allowing just 2 hits in 8 innings and looking solid in the 8th inning. Weaver didn't have his usually fastball placement, but mucked through 6 innings and kept it close. Haren pitched great, striking out 10 over 6 2/3 innings and boasts a 1.87 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings and just eight walks to go with his four wins. The 30-year-old has recorded double-digit wins, 200 innings and 200 strikeouts each of the last three seasons. His next outing is scheduled for Saturday against the Rangers. In 13 career starts against Texas, Haren is 4-6 with a 3.60 ERA.

*Walden blew away Santana on Sunday, in a great confrontation, to close the game. Thompson NEEDS to be a setup man.    His ERA is now 1.89. Downs now has pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed 3 hits, 2 BBs, and no runs, exactly what he was signed for to do. Takahashi finally had a solid appearance on Saturday night.

*The hitting finally is showing some RISP life, going 8-26 with RISP in the series and is 18-55 since Wednesday. Some of the players are finally getting away from trying to pull every pitch. Aybar has an .833 OPS, never thought I'd see that.   He is now hitting .356, and had the game changing 2-run double in the 8th inning on Sunday. Izturis has become a doubles machine, with 11 already. Callaspo continues to come out of the slump he was in, and also had a clutch 2-run double to the opposite field on Sunday. Kendrick went 6-12, and his OPS is back up to .911. Wells did most of the hitting on Saturday night against a solid rookie.

*Defensively, the Halos made zero errors in the 3 games, punctuated by several great plays on Friday night. Even Amarista made a great play in LF, despite not playing there for 3 years. They have committed just 16 errors in 35 games so far, NIGHT and DAY difference from 2010. 

Note: Kazmir is being looked to for potentially 100 pitches tomorrow in an extended ST game in Arizona.  That presents an interesting dilemma, given Chatwood's performance thus far.

Thumbs Down

*Really only Weaver's fastball command on Saturday night, his lack of a strikeout pitch and the bullpen over the last two innings on Sunday were worthy of thumbs down.  But two of the hits given up by Rodney were of the infield variety. Walden gave up one hard hit double and one well placed double, but as mentioned above, took care of Santana to close out the game.

Note: Morales is getting a 2nd opinion on his ankle. This is getting uglier by the week.
Love to hear what you think!

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