19 April 2008: Just Get High While The Radio's On

Saturday, April 19 2008 @ 07:30 AM EDT

Contributed by: Alex Obal

And just relax and sing a song
And drive your car up on the lawn
And let me play your guitar

1. Tigers 8, Jays 4. Tough one. David Purcey battles opening-day jitters throughout his 4.1 innings and hands out seven walks to the Tigers. Using gritty clutchness and an assist from Jason Frasor, Purcey minimizes the damage brilliantly and only finds himself on the hook for one run. Unfortunately, the Tigers methodically pile up seven unanswered runs against the Jays' bullpen to make a winner out of Kenny Rogers. The Jays are now 0-4 when the opposition starts a lefthanded pitcher.

2. The Mockingbird has a pitch-f/x breakdown of Purcey's debut. It drives home the point about Purcey's wildness. And his fastball's natural movement. And also about how tough the ability to throw the curve for strikes makes him.

3. Cause for optimism: Purcey didn't face a single lefty batter last night, and he still survived. Actually, maybe that's a bad sign. Purcey's splits were very backwards in AA last year. Any reason why that might be? Should we expect that to continue?

4. As expected, the Jays sent Purcey back to Syracuse after his spot start, and promoted righty Shawn Camp. I love this move. I'm biased though. Last April I kind of proclaimed Camp the best reliever in the Rays' pen, way better than that chump Al Reyes...

But I'm still a bit shocked that Camp didn't cost anything more than a minor-league contract. Shawn Camp's major-league peripheral stats are wonderful; his actual output is an anomaly of Towersesque proportions. Camp is a sinkerballer who gets excellent sinkerballer outcomes. He has a career 56.4% groundball rate, and an extremely good strikeout-to-walk ratio for such a pronounced groundball pitcher (16.2% K, 6.3% BB, 2.55 K/BB in 230.2 career innings). Yet because of a .358 career BABIP and a 15.0% career HR/fly, Camp has surrendered a .319/.372/.482 career line.

It's not like Camp is prone to giving up liners: his career 17.7% line drive rate is below average. And the legendary ability of the Devil Rays' defense to convert batted balls into baserunners probably has something to do with Camp's batted-ball luck issues. But that can't explain all of it. Can it? It certainly doesn't account for the homer problem, and a .358 BABIP is really high. He still has to be historically unlucky or Idiosyncratically Hittable to some degree. It will be interesting to see how much pitching in front of the Jays helps him.

Weird cases like Camp and Josh Towers are a prime reason why Project Hangtime is something I'm eagerly looking forward to.

5. McGowan and Bonderman at the RC, 1:07. There will be strikeouts.