Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eric Stults vs. Jeff Weaver

You could see the disturbed look on the face of Eric Stults as he was pulled from yesterday's game after proceeding to walk the bases full in the top half of the fifth inning. Whether he wanted to exercise the demons lingering from the last time he pitched in Colorado, or was simply upset in letting a 7 run lead shrink enough to start worrying about, he was visibly bothered when walking off the mound. From Cheng Sio...
Despite the team win, starting left-hander Eric Stults struggled. In his first start since jamming his thumb on May 15 against the Marlins, Stults lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, three hits and seven walks in a no-decision. Stults threw 95 pitches, 48 of which were balls, and said his thumb was not a problem.

"I was solid for the most part in the first four innings and then kind of lost it in the last inning," Stults said. "There are really no excuses, just not executing pitches and not bearing down."

Though the Dodgers are 7-1 in games started by Stults this season Hiroki Kuroda is slated to return from the DL in early June, thus leaving only one rotational spot available. With Jeff Weaver looming large in the background it will be interesting to see who is tapped to fill that role. Though Stults could simply be moved to the bullpen it appears unlikely as he hasn't been used in relief since 2007. Furthermore, his staring/ relieving splits are polar opposites.

Starting/ Relieving Splits (Career)

ERA:dddddd4.15/ 7.65
WHIPddddd1.410/ 2.00
SO:BBddddd1.68/ .80
SO/9dddddd6.5/ 3.6

It seems as though Eric Stults is destined to be a starting pitcher, whether it be at the major league level or at AAA. Yet, if it comes down to Eric Stults or Jeff Weaver for the final starting spot, the Dodgers might be better off going with this guy...

Eric Stults/ Jeff Weaver Starting Comparison (2009)

ERA:ddddd4.29/ 3.00
WHIPdddd1.50/ 1.26
K:BBdddd1.17/ 1.29
HR/9:dddd0.4/ 0.0
Opponents BAddddd.253/ .214
Opponents OBPdddd.355/ .308
Opponents SLGdddd.399/ .321
Innings per Startdd: 4.00/ 5.00

With the exception of K:BB's Jeff Weaver is blowing Eric Stults out of the water. Frankly speaking, and believe me I never thought I'd be typing this, Jeff Weaver has been damn good this year as a starter. I've long been a supporter of Eric Stults, and subsequently a basher of Jeff Weaver; however, as long as Eric Milton doesn't make too many more appearances I think the Dodgers could do much worse for the back end of their rotation than either of the two pitchers discussed above.

Stults photo courtesy of AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Weaver photo courtesy of sonofsamhorn.net