I think it is pretty obvious that our starting pitching is one of the big reasons we have not done well of late. I have wondered about the quality of our starting pitching since it became clear that Hendry's solutions were going to be based on Dempster being a starter, Marquis, Lieber, Trachsel (last year -- we handed over prospects for nothing there). Here is an interesting quote from a writer for Baseball Prospectus regarding Dempster and his quick start:
" The last time Dempster was a starter, he walked 22 men in 33 2/3 innings and was pulled from the rotation with a 5.35 ERA in six starts. The time before that, he had an ERA of 6.54. Before that, 5.38. So when you look at Dempster and his 2.90 ERA and 3-0 record, remember that he hasn't been successful as a starting pitcher since 2000.
While a good story, Dempster's low ERA is more about a .190 BABIP than anything else. He has a 21/14 K/BB in 31 innings, which won't get you very far. However, as with Kyle Lohse, a good defense and a new affinity for groundballs (2.17 G/F, by far his highest as a starter) are keeping the hits and extra-base hits (four) off the board. Dempster is due for a correction shortly."
We all knew about the horrible second half Marquis had in 2006 when we signed him -- and we watched the same thing happen. The problem this year is he is extending his second half performance to the first half.
I am rooting for Lieber, but what do we really expect? Hopefully, he will perform better than Trachsel did.
It is sad to me considering I thought we had a good set of young arms ready to emerge. Seeing teams do well, with deep staffs and great young arms, like the LAA (Escobar and Lackey still out), Lester and Buckholz stepping up for the Red Sox, Volquez for the Reds, anyone the Diamondbacks trot out.
Lilly is a career .500 P (barely over) with an ERA over 4. You figure he can improve since he was pitching in the AL East, but I think last year is about as good as he has got. He may or may not repeat that -- but he should not be a top of the rotation pitcher -- more like a #3 or #4. He is our #2.
Zambrano is the only star of the team and we all have hope for Hill. It is frustrating because now, we are actually getting on base more, but unless the offense scores 9 runs, we are sunk. The starters are done by the 5th and the bullpen is taxed.
Hopefully Gallagher can show some signs and get a shot. Heck, let Marshall start and give him some more experience rather than trotting out "experienced" retreads.
What is sad is I thought I remember the Royals shopping Grienke last year.
The last question I would ask is, does anyone think it is a coaching problem?