Saturday, May 03, 2008

Plop, Plop ... Fizz, Fizz

The last time we met, HongZhi Guo was demoted from the starting rotation and replaced with the veteran Esteban Loaiza. Guo's short stint as a starter didn't go great, but it didn't go bad either. Control was Guo's main problem. That and a pitch count that kept him from getting into the 5th inning of a game. It is my opinion that Guo was put into the starting rotation too soon, especially if he wasn't going to be allowed enough starts to stretch out his arm. There was very little margin for error in Guo's pitching performance to allow him to stay in the rotation. Once allowed to join the rotation, Guo should've been permitted to make more starts. It's not as if the Dodgers had a good pitcher waiting in the wings to take the 5th starter spot. Loaiza has been very bad in his starts, getting no deeper into games than Guo did, all the while giving up more runs than Guo did. Let's take a closer look at the 5th starter spot for the Dodgers.

Loaiza 3 11-1/3 2.38 2.38 1.59 1.50 56.0 7.52
Guo 3 10-2/3 8.44 5.06 0.84 1.89 70.3 5.45

It's obvious that Guo has better stuff than Loaiza and the much higher ceiling. The only category that Loaiza trumps Guo on is walks allowed. Control, which has always been Guo's downfall is what hurt him as a starter. The number that stands out ot me, is the fact that Guo pitched nearly the same number of innings as Loaiza as a starter (in the same number of starts) even though he had a strict pitch count in all three starts. Both Guo and Loaiza ended up taxing the bullpen at near equal levels. Keep in mind that 11 or so innings, is not a large enough sample size to go by. Now let's take a look at what each has done as a reliever.

Loaiza 4 12-2/3 4.26 1.42 0.71 0.95 NA 4.54
Guo 4 10 13.50 1.80 0.90 1.00 NA 3.10

Pitching out of the bullpen, Guo has been awesome. Guo has an impressive K/9 of 13.5 and has displayed pinpoint control pitching out of the bullpen. Does this mean that Guo should be pitching out of the bullpen? Perhaps it does for now, if for no other reason that it may help prevent wear and tear on his 4-time surgically repaired left arm. Guo should probably be allowed to pitch some more higher leverage innings if he is going to stay in the bullpen. There is no reason to waste that kind of talent in only low leverage situations. Using Torre's logic thus far, Guo will probably be named the 5th starter due to his great pitching out of the bullpen... and the cycle will continue. What it does tell me, that if Guo isn't going to be pitching in the rotation, the Dodgers could sure use the services of Clayton Kershaw, in the 5th starter spot!

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