20 games in, we have our first off night not counting opening day's rain out and we're at .500. An improvement over where we were last year at this time, but still not satisfied with what I'm seeing - are you?
I'm not sure how big a difference it would have made given the lack of hitting, but I think our pitching (in particular three members of the starting 5) could use some improvement. Here are my grades so far in '08:
A: Wang, Pettitte, Rivera, Chamberlain, and Bruney. Actually, I think Bruney gets an A+. He's come to play, his demeanor on the mound reminds of Jeff Nelson. By an large, these four have set the standard.
B: Ross Ohlendorf - this guy is pretty good, saved the pen with his effort on Saturday.
C: Mike Mussina, Kyle Farnsworth, and Billy Traber. Traber's numbers are better than his actual performance so far. He doesn't seem to be able hold any runners on base when he comes in. They get charged to someone else, thus the low ERA. Mussina and Farny I think we've beaten to death.
F: Hawkins, Hughes, and Kennedy. When it comes to Hawkins, he had a few bad outings, has shown some improvement, but at the end of the day, you are only eligible for an F when you wear The Warrior's number and wonder why people get upset - an F for stupidity for him. And on Hughes and Kennedy, 0-5 with an avg. ERA above 9 - what else needs to be said? We drain the bull pen when these two take the hill.
Here's what I'm thinking. (I mean, other than having second thoughts about doing the deal for Santana this past off season) You give Hughes and Kennedy one more start to see if they can show some signs of improvement. If not, you have to send them down to fine tune their game (both need help with location: Hughes puts the ball belt high middle of the plate, and Kennedy has the '07 Farnsworth cold of falling behind every single hitter he faces). At that time I think it would prove wise to give Joba his earned shot at the starting rotation or you give (like you didn't know this was coming) Kei Igawa or Darrell Rasner (both with a couple of wins and an ERA at 2 or lower at SWB) another shot and see what happens from there.
I think the end game is, finding a pair of starters that can go 6 innings and have the team in position to win. Right now, the two young guns aren't up to task (yet).