Piggyback Ride: 10 MLB Pitchers Whose Back SHOULD be Hurting
With Josh Beckett sidelined for yet another start due to back issues, it’s time to take a look at 10 current pitchers in the majors whose backs SHOULD be hurting them.
Carrying the load for an MLB team can be a burden, and aces such as right-handers Zack Greinke (Kansas City Royals) and Roy Oswalt (Houston Astros) know this all too well.
Today, we’re going take a look at 10 guys who are doing everything in their power to carry the team, but in most cases, to no avail.
Roy Oswalt, RHP (Houston Astros)
Roy Oswalt holds an outstanding 2.63 ERA in 2010, yet he is sadly just 2-4 overall this season (through seven starts) for the Astros.
A highly-discussed trade prospect, many and any clubs would be stupid not take a look at Houston’s ace, who is once again putting up phenomenal numbers (he has 45 strikeouts this year).
Will Oswalt still be pitching for Houston (13-21) come late summer?
All those answers and more as this MLB season wears on—and the Astros are finally beginning to play some solid baseball after winning four straight.
Zack Greinke, RHP (Kansas City Royals)
Zack Greinke probably has more of a reason to complain about lack of support than even Houston’s Roy Oswalt; Greinke is currently 0-4 this season for Kansas City (through seven starts)—yet holds an exceptional 2.51 ERA in 2010.
The Royals, 12-23 this year, are in the cellar in the American League Central.
But there’s not much more Greinke can do for his club, registering an ERA below 3.00 with 36 strikeouts thus far.
Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (Chicago Cubs)
Tom Gorzelanny, 1-4 this season for the Chicago Cubs (through six starts), has garnered an outstanding 2.83 ERA in 2010 and the southpaw is still looking to pick up his second win of the year.
The Cubs, 15-20 this year and currently in fourth place in the National League Central, are having a hard time keeping pace.
However, Gorzelanny has done everything to help the Cubs garner wins, again, to no avail.
Kevin Millwood, RHP (Baltimore Orioles)
Baltimore’s Kevin Millwood, currently holding an exceptional 3.69 ERA in 2010, is 0-4 through eight starts this season with the Orioles.
Millwood’s ERA was actually lower than his current 3.69 prior to his eighth start of the season, but needless to say he is still winless.
The Orioles, 11-24 in 2010 and in last place in the American League East, are 4-6 over their last 10 games (and they’ve actually won two in a row).
In addition to pitching a complete game and compiling 41 strikeouts this season, Milwood also has four no-decisions.
Clayton Richard, LHP (San Diego Padres)
Southpaw Clayton Richard is 2-2 this season (through seven starts) with an amazing 3.21 ERA.
After bouncing between the Chicago White Sox (2008-2009) and the Padres (early 2009-2010), Richard has gone beyond expectations this season.
San Diego, though, is still running away with first-place in the National League West with an overall record of 22-12.
In spite of his impressive performance, the Padres’ have lacked run support when Richard is on the mound.
Ryan Dempster, RHP (Chicago Cubs)
Ryan Dempster, the second Chicago Cubs starter to make this list, is 2-3 this season (through seven starts) with a miraculous 3.44 ERA.
Entering his seventh straight season in Chicago, Dempster has taken two no-decisions this year and has struck out 46 batters while walking just 14.
Anibal Sanchez, RHP (Florida Marlins)
Florida’s Anibal Sanchez has done almost everything in his power to win for the Marlins when he takes the mound—currently holding a 4.08 ERA with a 1-2 record (through six starts).
The Marlins, 16-18 on the season and in the cellar in the National League East (tied with the Atlanta Braves), are amazingly just 4.5 games out of first-place.
Sanchez, meanwhile, has taken a trio of no-decisions in 2010 (his fifth season in Florida) despite striking out 21 and walking just 12 this season.
Dave Bush, RHP (Milwaukee Brewers)
Milwaukee’s Dave Bush has a 4.24 ERA in 2010 but he has just one win (and three losses) through seven starts.
The Brewers, 15-19 this season and currently in third place in the National League Central, are just 4.5 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.
Bush, meanwhile, has 22 strikeouts this year and has taken three no-decisions in his fifth straight season with Milwaukee.
Felix Hernandez, RHP (Seattle Mariners)
Felix Hernandez, 2-3 this season through eight starts, has a very respectable 3.88 ERA in 2010.
The Mariners, 13-21 on the season, are 6.5 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers in the American League West.
Entering his sixth straight season in Seattle, Hernandez has 46 strikeouts with 22 walks (and he’s picked up three no-decisions along the way).
Felipe Paulino, RHP (Houston Astros)
Felipe Paulino, 0-5 this season (through six starts) with the Houston Astros, has a fairly-high 4.67 ERA—but he should have at least one or two wins to show for it.
But this comes as no surprise that Paulino is pitching for the Astros, currently 13-21 on the season despite a four-game winning streak and a sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Taking just one no-decision and a handful of losses through his six starts this season, Paulino has 34 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 2010.
Regardless of a somewhat-inflated ERA, the Astros need to produce more runs for their young right-hander if they expect to make a run this year.
Five Honorable Mentions...
The following MLB pitchers could have easily made this list, and they just barely missed the final cut:
Brett Myers, RHP (Houston Astros): currently 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA through seven starts.
Rodrigo Lopez, RHP (Arizona Diamondbacks): 1-2, has a 4.30 ERA through seven starts.
Ervin Santana, RHP (Los Angeles Angels): has a 4.40 ERA, yet is only 1-3 through seven starts.
Joel Pineiro, RHP (Los Angeles Angels): 2-4 this season with a 4.50 ERA through seven starts.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (Houston Astros): 2-4 this season through seven starts with a 4.81 ERA.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com