Micah Owings pitched well enough for the Diamondbacks last season that most people stopped saying he should give up pitching and become a full-time hitter, but the 29-year-old right-hander has still had to settle for a minor-league deal from the Padres.
Owings was an excellent hitter in college and has batted .286 with an .820 OPS in 217 plate appearances as a big leaguer, but came to the plate just 19 times for Arizona last year while throwing 63 innings with a 3.57 ERA and 44/23 K/BB ratio.
He’s a fairly marginal pitcher, posting a 4.91 ERA in 473 innings, so it would seemingly make sense for an NL team like the Padres to use him more in a Brooks Kieschnick-style dual role. So far no team has done that, though, and he’s expected to compete for a traditional bullpen job in spring training.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.