Homecoming. It's a wonderful excuse to wear silly clothing and have fun in high school. (Moreso than normal, anyway.) Which might explain the featured photo today of Dontrelle Willis.
A Diamondback for just a couple of weeks, Willis (Fangraphs stats) is headed back to Detroit today wearing Arizona's uniform. He'll set to start today opposite of Armando Galarraga, who interestingly enough stole his job and pitched a (near) perfect game soon after. Later in the weekend, Edwin Jackson will make a return trip to the mound in Detroit, too. He's scheduled to face Rick Porcello.
And not quite a homecoming, but another member of the Winter Meetings trade, Max Scherzer is currently scheduled to face his former team on Sunday.
Here's Willis's two starts for the Diamondbacks:
Willis is the most interesting one to me. I don't see him pitching any better for the Diamondbacks than he pitched for the Tigers. His two starts so far for them show that much. Willis threw just 49 strikes in 96 pitches his latest time out, resulting in six walks in four innings.
Detroit's strategy should be simple: Make Willis throw the ball in the strike zone. No freebies. But even then, Willis always has the potential to get better results than you think he ought to, as the runs allowed show. So we could be in for some frustration tonight.
Edwin Jackson struggled mightily for awhile -- at one point his ERA was as high as 8.07. More recently he threw a complete game, three-hitter against the Dodgers, though. What's Jackson's big problem? Mainly his control problems have cropped up again. He's striking out more, but he's walking more too. He's also giving up too many hard hit balls, as shown in his line drive rate and home runs per fly ball.
And, yes, he's gotten a bit unlucky too. His ERA, at 5.18, is a full run higher than his FIP (4.16) and xFIP (4.10).
Jackson has the potential to leave the home fans unhappy on Saturday, especially with as poorly as Porcello has been pitching.
Just to glance at Scherzer for any Diamondbacks fans who may be stopping by: He started off terrific, then fell into a funk that resulted in a trip down to Triple-A. The way he tells the story, he took a look at the video and noticed a slight error in his mechanics. With those fixed, he tore up his minor league competition and returned to Detroit.
He's pitched four games since that return:
The second game back was a bit of a let down. He's still walking too many and allowing too many hits too.
So maybe that portion of the Great Trade of 09 was a bit of a tie.
In any case, three pitchers going up against their former teams in three days is a great homecoming for the fans, indeed.
In other news:
- I got name-dropped by Rogo in another of his bits that's pretty enjoyable, so go give him a read.
- Detroit News' Lynn Henning -- OK, Rogo is not going to like that segue -- wrote that the Tigers have to take advantage of their schedule. So far it's let them catch up three games on the Twins in the past week, but they've just got to keep winning.
- Oakland Press' Jim Hawkins wrote about Patrick Leyland following in his dad's footsteps. Hopefully his playing career goes better than dear old dad's!
- Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi: All's Quiet on the Tigers' Trade Front
- Samara draws. You look. Those are the rules. You must obey.
- Fangraphs asks the question we do around here: why do managers bat replacement players in important lineup spots? They conclude ... they don't know either.
- Now if you don't mind, I must commence freaking out about soccer. But Rogo-nac already knew that...