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53_game_thread_here_comes_wandy | May | 2009 Articles

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5/3 Game Thread: Here Comes Wandy

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I think I'm irrationally prejudiced against Wandy Rodriguez because his first name is Wandy. He is the only guy named Wandy ever to pitch in the major leagues. (There have been three Wandys in the minors -- Wandy Hernandez, Wandy Terrero, and Wandy Morla. All four are Dominican.) Wandy just isn't a name that strikes fear into me as a fan.

But, like I said Friday, he's a pretty good pitcher these days. He won 10 games in the majors in 2005 at the age of 26 -- still his career high -- but his strikeout rate has steadily risen since then, from 5.6 K/9 as a rookie to 8.6 K/9 last year. Over the same period, his walk rate declined from 3.7 BB/9 as a rookie to 2.9 last year, making his K/BB nearly 3 -- which is extremely solid. Though injuries limited him to 25 starts and 137 1/3 innings, his ERA+ last year was 120, good enough to tie him for 33rd in baseball among pitchers with that many innings. (He was exactly tied with his teammate, Roy Oswalt, who had an identical 3.54 ERA.)

Wandy basically has 3 pitches: high-80s fastball, low- to mid-80s changeup, and mid-70s curveball. Right now, he's leading the Astros in ERA, but that's largely due to the fact that he hasn't yet allowed a homer in 5 starts -- and, considering he's averaging more than 1 per 9 for his career, that's likely to change some time soon. He also has allowed nearly 1 hit per inning, and has a career WHIP around 1.4 -- which means that he'll give us baserunners, whether or not we're willing to take advantage of them. (Tonight, when we scored 1 run on 7 hits and 9 walks, we clearly had no such intentions.)

Here's hoping the weather's improved!

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