Sunday, May 11, 2008

Arroyo Could Throw NL East Race a Curve

The Mets yesterday played a great first game of their doubleheader. They actually had timely hits, production from Dos Carloses and a gutty effort from Santana who was fighting allergies. The only slight blemish was some mediocre bullpen efforts. Still pitching with a big lead, that can be overlooked to some extent.

The pitching match up in the second game made the monkeys nervous. Bronson Arroyo entered the game with an 8.63 ERA. Arroyo has been a solid middle of the rotation starter for several years and since water usually finds its level, Arroyo was due for a good start. In fact, Arroyo had a great start, pitching eight innings allowing one run on four hits while striking out nine. Willie Randolph may take another hit from fans for the Mets coming out sluggish in the nightcap of the doubleheader, but this time that would be unfair. Arroyo was just that good yesterday.

Arroyo throws a fastball that has average speed, but above average movement. More importantly, he throws a curveball that is among baseball's best when he is on. Arroyo is battle tested having pitched in many big games for the Red Sox before joining the Reds. He embraced the pressure and actually gave the Red Sox a "hometown discount" when he signed a contract to keep him in Boston. He was shaken when the Red Sox sent him to the Reds in an ill-advised trade for Willie Mo Pena in 2006.

Arroyo did excel his first year with the Reds going 14-11 with a 3.29 ERA. He was rewarded with a nice contract extension through 2010. This year young pitchers Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto have emerged to be a big part of the Reds' rotation. The Reds also have Homer Baily on the horizon and Aaron Harang as their ace. With the Reds struggling, the one pitcher they might consider moving who would supply some more prospects as well as payroll relief would be Bronson Arroyo.

The NL East are filled with contenders who need to add a solid, innings eating starter. Obviously the Mets would be one with a bullpen that has been overworked the first quarter of the season. With John Smoltz moving to the bullpen, Arroyo would be a great pickup for the Braves. Besides Cole Hamels, the Phillies have not had reliable starting pitching. Arroyo is a guy all three contenders (and no the monkeys still do not believe the Marlins are contenders just yet)will be looking at. The one who gets him might have the division on a hook.

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