Ryan Dempster moves into major league lead in pitches thrown

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That final pitch Ryan Dempster threw Friday — a ball four to Bronson Arroyo with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh — moved him into the major league lead for pitches thrown this season. The top 11 is below. Everyone on the list has made exactly 17 starts:
1. Ryan Dempster – 1,878
2. Roy Halladay – 1,877
3. Dan Haren – 1,873
4. Yovani Gallardo – 1,869
5. Jered Weaver – 1,868
6. Felix Hernandez – 1,866
7. Kevin Millwood – 1,841
8. Aaron Harang – 1,797
9. Chris Carpenter – 1,789
10. Randy Wolf – 1,784
11. Zack Greinke – 1,770
There are also two pitchers with 16 starts up close to Dempster and Halladay in pitches per outing:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez – 1,756
2. Justin Verlander – 1,753
It will be interesting to see just how many pitchers from this group of 13 decline in the second half. Haren has a history of second-half swoons, and though he’s not pitching as well as usual, he’s taken on a very extremely heavy workload.
I think Dempster is at particular risk. He’s the only pitcher in baseball to have thrown 120 pitches on five occasions this season (Gallardo and Jimenez have done so four times). In 2008, he threw 101.2 pitches per starts. In 2009, it was 101.9. This year, he’s at 110.5. Particularly since they’re committed to him for $27.5 million between 2011 and 2012, the Cubs would be smart to be more careful with him from here on in.

Diamondbacks place Shelby Miller on the 10-day disabled list

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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that starter Shelby Miller has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Miller will get a second opinion on his elbow on Tuesday, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Pitcher Silvino Bracho has been called up from Triple-A Reno to take Miller’s spot on the roster.

Miller, 26, left Sunday’s start with what was described at the time as forearm tightness. Through his first four starts, Miller is carrying a 4.09 ERA with a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 innings.

Bracho, 24, has pitched quite well in 6 2/3 innings of relief at Reno. He’s given up just one unearned run on four hits and a walk (intentional) with 12 strikeouts.

Archie Bradley figures to take Miller’s spot in the starting rotation as Bracho will work middle relief.

Eric Thames hit two more homers

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And John Lackey is livid.

The Brewers’ first baseman homered in each of his first two plate appearances against Reds starter Amir Garrett on Monday evening, helping his team to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The first was a solo blast in the first inning, and the second was a two-run shot to the opposite field in the second inning.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Thames has tied the Brewers’ record for home runs in April with 10. Carlos Lee also hit 10 homers in April 2006.

Seven of Thames’ 10 home runs have come against the Reds. Including his first two at-bats on Monday night, Thames is hitting .379/.474/.924 with 17 RBI along with the 10 dingers. Not too shabby from a guy the Brewers signed to a three-year, $16 million contract during the offseason.

Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio both recently implied Thames is using performance-enhancing drugs, but Thames was tested immediately after last Monday’s game against the Cubs.