Friday, April 25, 2008

Musical Guos

Dodger manager Joe Torre announced that Esteban Loaiza will retake HongZhi Guo's place in the starting rotationi. I felt it was a little too soon for Guo to be in the starting rotation given his conditioning after coming back from a 4th surgery. But this game of musical chairs of moving him from the bullpen to the rotation and back to the bullpen all in the month of April cannot be a good thing. Guo didn't pitch all that bad. It appears that Guo, Loaiza and possibly Park are just being used as place holders until Kershaw is ready to come up.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rough Time Of It

Last night was a step back for HongZhi Guo in his quest to secure the 5th starter spot. It was not a typical Guo-like performance. Normally, Guo litters the box score with Ks and BBs, while being stingy in the Hits/HR categories. Last night, was quite the opposite. Guo only struck out one batter and didn't walk any batters. Guo instead pitched to contact. Whether that was on purpose or not, I have no idea. It could've been a strategy to keep his walk rate down and help him pitch deeper in to the game. Cincinnati is not exactly the stadium you want to pitch to contact at, as it's a hitters park. Guo found that out when he gave up a homerun to Reds slugger Adam Dunn, Guo's first of the season. Guo recorded nine outs on batted balls in play (BABIP), as one of them came on a double play. Meanwhile, Guo gave up seven hits on BABIP, which most people will tell you is very unlucky. How unlucky Guo was is up for debate as some balls that went for hits were hit hard and more than a few were not. In previous starts, Guo's high walk rates got him to his pitch count quickly and last night it was the high hit rate. One of these days Guo will put it all together. Let's just hope it comes sooner rather than later. Guo's next start should come Sunday April 27th at home against the Rockies.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I am a Walk, I am an Island

HongZhi Guo, making his first start of the 2008, after battling back from his fourth arm surgery pitched well after escaping a few first inning jitters. Guo walked three batters in a row with two outs in the first inning, allowing the Pirates their only run when his last walk plated Nate McLouth who had lead off the game with a single to right field. Guo struck out Jose Bautista for the final out and ended up stringing together five consecutive strike outs. Guo registered a total of six strike-outs in four innings, he walked four batters and allowed only two singles. It was a very typical Guo outing. Getting into trouble with walks, making a lot of pitches and striking out a lot of batters. Still, it was his first start of the season and hopefully he will improve on it five games from now. Look for Guo to have a similar pitch count of 75 pitches in his next start, before Torre begins bumping it up a little bit each time Guo goes out to the mound.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yo Ho Yo Ho

Guo Joins The Rotation.
Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo will bump Esteban Loaiza from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Pirates, according to manager Joe Torre.

The goal of management is to bide time with Loaiza, Park and Kuo taking starts for another month or so while preserving the arm of 20-year-old phenom Clayton Kershaw, who has never pitched more than 122 innings in a professional season.

Skinny: What a great moment for Guo fans. For a while it looked as if this day would never happen. I am not surprised that Guo finds himself in the rotation, just a little surprised that it is happening this early. This spot in the rotation will eventually go to Kershaw and the Dodgers would like to keep Kershaw down in the minors for another month or two. Guo's innings also need to be watched, and I don't expect him to pitch more than 5 innings per start on most occasions. Between his four time surgically repaired pitching arm and his tendancy to be a little wild, the bullpen better be well rested on days that Guo starts. Luckily for Guo, his first start will be against a weak hitting Pirates team. Best of luck!!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hot Start

HongZhi Guo is off to a hot start in 2008. He has yet to give up a run, is allowing less than one hit per inning and over one strike out per inning. He has struggled a bit with his control, issuing 4 walks in 6+ innings. Guo's first outing of the season came as a starter, as he substituted for scheduled starter Chad Billingsley when rain threatened the early innings of the game. Guo's second outing saw Guo pitch 3+ effective innings against the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers may in fact be looking for a new 5th starter shortly if Loaiza doesn't turn things around, but I don't see Guo as being the first option to fill that role. Guo's innings will be watched closely the first third of the season, as he is coming of a fourth arm surgery. Let's take a close look at Guo's rate stats after the first week of the season.

Guo 6-2/3 0 8 4 4 0 10.8 5.4 2.0 1.20 0.00