Pitchers of the Week08/18/2008 1:41 PM ET
By Bryan Smith / MLB.com
Radhames Liz, Norfolk
1-1, 0.64 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14.0 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 16 SO
When Liz started his Major League career off with a 3-0 record in six starts, it seemed that despite his 5.46 ERA, he might be up with the Orioles for good. However, the wheels came off in Liz's next four starts, as he walked 18 batters and give up six home runs. The Orioles then sent Liz back to Triple-A for more seasoning, and he's been impressive since. Liz threw his best start of the season on Saturday, tossing eight shutout innings while striking out eight batters for the second consecutive start. It was the first time this season Liz worked into the eighth inning. The right-hander lost to Toledo, 2-0, five days earlier, despite allowing just one run in six innings.
Pacific Coast League
Brandon McCarthy, Oklahoma
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 13.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 SO
There's no question that at the Major League level, southpaw John Danks has been one of the reasons the White Sox are in first place this season. The left-handed Texas native won his 10th game on Sunday, lowering his ERA to 3.11 in his second season in the Majors. It was just 20 months ago that the Rangers shipped off Danks and two other Minor Leaguers for McCarthy, by then an established Major League talent. However, McCarthy has been injured and ineffective with the Rangers until recently, as the right-hander has been routinely flashing signs of his old self since joining the RedHawks. McCarthy had two scoreless starts on the week, the first a one-hitter over six innings, the second featuring seven shutout frames for his lone Triple-A win, thus far. With 97 pitches on Sunday his high for the season, it shouldn't be long before McCarthy is back in the Major Leagues.
Jean Machi, New Hampshire
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14.1 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 12 SO
Machi has played every role with the Fisher Cats this season, beginning the year in the bullpen for one game before being thrust into the rotation. Four starts later, Machi was back in the bullpen, pitching sometimes as little as one inning, other times as many as four. On July 20, Machi closed out a game, notching his first save of the season. Ten days later, he was back into the rotation, where he's pitched four times. Given his performance in his last two outings, particularly his eight shutout innings on Sunday, it's hard to imagine New Hampshire taking him out of the rotation again. Since re-joining the rotation, Machi has 23 strikeouts -- nearly half his total for the season -- in 24 innings.
Chris Mobley, Carolina
0-0, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 3G, 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO
Mobley has quickly become one of the most trusted closers in the Minor Leagues. He has been especially dominant of late, with nine appearances since the last time he was responsible for a run crossing the plate. During that time, Mobley has allowed just five hits and two walks, striking out 13 batters in 9 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting just .205 off Mobley this season, including a futile .156 since the July All-Star break.
Derek Holland, Frisco
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO
How's that for a debut? Holland is certainly getting good at debuting -- his Aug. 13 start was the third time this season he has had a first start with a new team. On April 4, it was with Clinton, and Holland was dynamite, allowing just one hit in six shutout innings. On July 14, Holland debuted with Bakersfield, winning his first start with a quality six-inning outing. However, his best debut came at his highest level yet, as Holland led Frisco to a 5-1 win over Tulsa. The left-hander is now 11-1 with 138 strikeouts in 132 2/3 innings spread across three levels. Holland has been in charge of his own fate this season, as the Rangers continue to search for a level that is challenging enough for the talented southpaw.
Travis Beazley, Lancaster
2-0, 0.75 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 12.0 IP, 10 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO
It has been a turbulent season for Beazley, who just one month ago stood at 4-10 with an ERA north of five. Since then, the right-hander has won his last three decisions, twice tied his season-high with eight strikeouts, and on Aug. 11 threw only his second scoreless start of the season. Both scoreless starts, the first coming in mid-April, were on the road, where Beazley has been much better this season. In his hitter-friendly Lancaster home, Beazley has a 2-7 record with a 5.10 ERA this season. On the road, he's 5-3 with a 3.58 ERA, and just one home run allowed. However, Beazley has been better across the board since the All-Star break, with a 3.78 ERA over his last 11 starts.
Bryan Hallberg, Salem
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO
What a decision it proved to be when Salem turned to Hallberg, the team's dynamic setup man through the season's first three months, for an emergency start on Aug. 12. Hallberg had pitched only three days prior, and on the season, he'd already made 40 appearances. However, the Avalanche needed a start, and Hallberg's arm has been as good as any on the team. So what does he do? The right-hander responds with five no-hit innings, earning his fifth win of the season by facing one batter over the minimum. The team sent Hallberg back to the bullpen five days later, and he was good again, notching seven outs and stranding the two runners he inherited.
Florida State League
Jeremy Papelbon, Daytona
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO
It's a blessing and a curse, of course, but there's no question that after every success Jeremy has in the Minors, he will inevitably be compared to his brother. So when the Cubs decided to try Papelbon's hand at starting -- after 35 relief appearances this season -- it certainly flashed back to when the Red Sox had the same aspirations for their closer in 2007. While Jon ended up staying at the back end of the Boston bullpen, it sure looks like Papelbon is fit to be a starter. The left-hander has made three starts for Daytona recently, during which he has not allowed a run through 14 innings. Papelbon has allowed just six hits and a walk in the 14 frames. On Sunday, Papelbon won his second game of the season with a season-high six shutout innings against Jupiter.
Jonathan Kibler, West Michigan
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 SO
Things just keep getting better for Jonathan Kibler, who won his fifth consecutive start on Aug. 15 with eight shutout frames against Lansing. It was the third time in his last five starts that Kibler did not allow a run, and the second time in three starts he struck out a season-high nine batters. The most important thing of late, however, has been the double-play ball for Kibler, allowing him to get out of messes unscathed. The left-hander has induced 20 doubleplays this season, including, amazingly, 10 in his last seven starts.
Mace Thurman, Dayton
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 7.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 SO
On Aug. 8, Thurman debuted with the Dragons after being promoted from Billings, where he'd allowed just one run in 16 2/3 innings. His debut was nearly enough to get him sent directly back, as Thurman allowed two walks and two singles to the four batters he faced, all of whom would score. The Reds kept him in Dayton, though, and since then, Thurman has embraced a long relief role with open arms. On Aug. 11, he got through 13 batters perfectly, striking out seven. In his next outing, the southpaw pitched three scoreless innings, striking out four more batters.
South Atlantic League
Madison Bumgarner, Augusta
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 SO
When it's mid-August and you have a 1.52 ERA and a shot at the pitching triple crown, it's pretty difficult to top yourself. But Bumgarner managed to do just that on Friday, striking out a season-high 12 batters while tossing his fourth consecutive shutout win in as many starts. Bumgarner now has a scoreless streak of 28-innings, during which he's allowed just 17 hits and two walks, while striking out 35 batters. The left-hander's 12 strikeouts marked the fifth time this season that the Hickory, N.C., native has gone into the double-digit territory, and with one more start, he's likely to cross the 150-strikeout plateau (he's at 145). Somehow the Giants prospect, who's now won Pitcher of the Week honors five times this season, continues to find a way to outshine himself.
Reynier Gonzalez, Johnson City
1-0, SV, 1.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO
The piggyback system seems to be working quite well in Johnson City, or at least quite well for Gonzalez, who has a 3.31 ERA in August. Gonzalez alternates starts with Kevin Thomas, pitching in relief every 10 days. Coming out of the bullpen has worked well for the Venezuelan, who threw four no-hit innings in relief of Thomas on Aug. 11. Five days later, it was Gonzalez who had the start, allowing just one run over five innings. Gonzalez has a 0.96 ERA in his relief appearances this season, with just two hits allowed in 9 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.
Jeff Boshers, Orem
2-0, 0.82 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO
It seems like no one has played poorly for the Owlz in the last two weeks, with the team in the midst of a franchise-record 14-game winning streak. Four pitchers have two wins during the streak, but the best of the bunch has been Boshers. On Aug. 11, the Owlz had a rare off day at the plate, scoring just four runs. However, it was Boshers who bailed them out, holding Missoula to just one run over six innings. Five days later, Boshers was even better, allowing only an unearned run to Helena over five innings. The Huntsville, Ala., native has yet to lose in 10 appearances with Orem this season.
New York-Penn League
Ramon Delgado, Batavia
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
Like Johnson City's Reynier Gonzalez, Delgado pitches in a piggyback system in Batavia, alternating between starting and relieving every five days. And, as with Gonzalez, the system seems to be working for Delgado, who hasn't lost in a month, winning four times since then. Delgado hasn't allowed an earned run since July 28, a stretch spanning 17 1/3 innings. Unlike Gonzalez, Delgado has been better on days when he's started, particularly with his command. In six starts this season, Delgado has issued just two walks over 27 1/3 innings. In six relief appearances, the right-hander has coughed up 10 free passes over 16 1/3 innings.
Carlos Pimentel, Spokane
2-0, 0.93 ERA, 2 G, 1 GS, 9.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 11 SO
Isolated relief appearances seem to be a theme this week, as yet another player earns Pitcher of the Week with one start and one relief appearance. Pimentel has been a starter all season for Spokane, but on Aug. 11, the team turned to Neil Ramirez, with Pimentel pitching out of the bullpen. The pair turned into a dynamic combination, and the Dominican right-hander didn't allow a run in 4 2/3 innings. Six days later, Pimentel was back in the rotation, and this time, he allowed just two hits and a run in five innings, earning his third consecutive victory.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.