Thursday, March 22, 2007

Uh Oh!

Ken Gurnick reports that Guo has been pitching hurt this spring. Guo will have an MRI on his pitching shoulder, luckily it's not his elbow that has had two Tommy John surgeries. Luckily for me, I am heading out of the country for three weeks (to the land of Guo). Hopefully, this mess will be all sorted out by the time I get back. Keep the faith! vr, Xei

Friday, March 16, 2007

Woe is Guo

Mr Guo's chances to become the Dodgers 5th starter, took a serious blow today when Guo allowed not one, not two, but three home runs, including a walk to Dice-K, who was instructed not to even swing the bat. The only positive to come from his outing was that he struck out three and only walked one (but he did actually hit one batter). With Tomdrickson pitching so well (small sample size alert) this spring, things aren't looking good for Guo.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hanging Chad

Poster nuetralluke over at Minor League Baseball had what I thought was a very good breakdown of the Dodgers 5th starter competition.

The Dodgers aren't being stupid in this situation. In fact, this move makes perfect sense for them. Despite what some on this board may think about Hendrickson and Tomko, if you look at their fielding indepent era's they were both over a half a run better than Billingsley last year. Yes, Billingsley is a very good bet to improve that in the coming years but that is exactly why he needs some time to hone his craft.

The Dodgers still see Billingsley as their future ace. Several people within the organization have said so explicitly and no one has said otherwise. It is also clear that the Dodgers are one of the deepest teams in the league when it comes to viable starting pitchers. By having Tomko or Hendrickson start the season in the rotation they are giving them as good a chance as any to improve their value for possible trades in the future. It is no secret that they have been shopping Brad Penny this offseason, doesn't it seem logical that with Kuo and Billingsley nearly ready to start full time and with Elbert and possibly Miller waiting in the wings that they would want to get the most out of Hendrickson or Tomko if they were going to trade them?

All that is actually pretty irrelevant though if you believe as I do that Kuo will begin the year in the rotation. He makes much more sense than Billingsley to start not only because he was so effective as a starter at the end of last year, but also because he proved ineffective as a reliever. Coming off of two Tommy John surgeries made it difficult for Kuo to warm up effectively in relief. He said so himself and his stats as a starter and as a reliever clearly back this assertion.

Here is what's going to happen. Kuo will be sent to the minors to begin the season. There will be 100 posts by people who picked Kuo as their 'great fantasy sleeper' crying about how dumb the Dodgers are. A few weeks into the season when they actually need a 5th starter Kuo will be the guy. If Bills excels in the bullpen Penny and possibly Tomko or Hendrickson will be traded opening up a spot for him in the rotation and all will be well in the world.

And then there were three...

As Dodger Thought blogger Jon Weisman points out in blog entry, Chad Billingsley has won a ticket to the bullpen and the 5th starter is now a three pony race. This is both good and bad news for Billingsley. The good news is he made the team and will most likely be in the rotation before the all-star break. The bad news is, that he did not win the 5th starter spot. Our man Guo on the otherhand looks to be headed to AAA. The scenario GuoManiacs are pinning their hats on, is that Guo will head to AAA to stay on a 5th starter schedule. Worst case scenario would be that Guo struggles in spring training and heads to AAA to work on his control, while Tomko or god-forbid Hendrickson becomes the 5th starter to start the season.

Expected chance of being the 5th starter out of spring training.
Guo 60%
Tomko 30%
Hendrickson 10%

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stringing Along

According to Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News the Dodgers plan on stringing along their cattle heard of 5th starters into the second week of the season.

Tony Jackson wrote:
Dodgers manager Grady Little said Monday that the competition for the vacant fifth spot in the team's starting rotation - a battle that has only intensified through the first two weeks of Grapefruit League play - might not be settled until after the regular season begins.

If this is the case it won't bode well for Guo who has trouble pitching out of the pen. The good news is that Guo seems to have the inside track in the 5th starter competition. If Guo heads into the regular season as the probable 5th starter, then having him pitch out of the bullpen until April 10th is not a good idea. Jon Weisman over at Dodger Thoughts remedies this problem with the idea of starting Guo in the minors and calling him up for the April 10th start.

Jon Weisman wrote:
[Guo] is designated the fifth starter by the end of Spring Training, is sent down to Las Vegas to stay on a starting pitcher's schedule during the first week, then is called up by the Dodgers just in time to make the No. 5 starter's first start.

This seems like the best scenario and allows the bullpen a few extra days to weed out the lowest performing pitcher until Guo is called back up.

Cold medicine

Our beloved HongZhi Guo tested positive for some cold medicine at the Asian games, in which Taiwan beat the Japanese team in the finals of. The Taipei Times brushes this off as the non-story it is.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Knock, Knock.. Who's there?

GuoMania is now beginning to trickle into the local mainstream media as the Riverside Press Enterprise put up a nice article detailing the obstacles that Guo had to overcome to make it to this point in his Dodger career. The article touches on a fathers dying wish for his son to play big league baseball and high school pitching duels with Dice-K. Let's hope that the two former far east rivals, will have a few October duels here in the US.

Friday, March 02, 2007

5th Spot, Corner Pocket!

A look at the battle for the 5th spot in the Dodgers starting rotation.
Player IP K BB Hits HR K/9 K/BB HR/9 ERA WHIP
J.Mays 4 2 1 4 0 4.5 2.0 0.0 4.50 1.25
B.Tomko 4 2 0 3 0 4.5 Inf. Inf. 0.00 0.75
C.Billingsley 6-1/3 2 2 5 0 2.84 1.0 0.0 0.00 1.11
H.Guo 6 2 6 2 1 3.00 0.33 1.50 1.50 1.33
E.Stults 7 4 3 8 1 5.14 1.33 1.29 5.14 1.71
D.Houlton 3-2/3 5 1 2 1 12.27 5.0 2.45 2.45 0.82
M.Hendrickson 6-2/3 6 2 9 1 8.10 3.0 1.35 8.10 1.65