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Game 141 Open Thread: September 8, 2005

given another strong outing by mark mulder last night, rockin' redbird posted this question in the comments to this morning's post:

what's your overall take on Mulder now? We've both been stragglers about jumping on his bandwagon, and obviously the true test of his worth is yet to come, but I gotta say that I'm believing in him more and more. . . .

me too, RR, for a simple reason: he's a better pitcher now than he has been at any point in the season. i didn't trust his "comeback" in july, because his basic markers were average at best -- a whip of 1.40, more walks than strikeouts, only three starts that lasted more than 6 innings. but in august/september, mulder has been outstanding in every respect. his era's about the same -- 2.29 in july, 2.40 in aug/sept -- and he's had the same number of starts (6 in july, 6 in aug/sept). but he's truly pitching well now. look:

july aug/sep
2.29 era 2.40
1.40 whip 1.04
.260 avg .226
.341 obp .276
.418 slg .276
13-17 k-bb 23-11

in other words, he's not just surviving by the skin of his teeth anymore; he's pitching with authority. as rockin' red says, mulder's true test will come in the playoffs. but when mulder was going bad back in june, i predicted with confidence that we would not be seeing any "ace"-like performances out of him this year:

if he starts pitching anywhere near his 2001-2003 form before this season is out, his will be a rare case indeed. it's more likely that, given time to make adjustments, mulder will eventually re-establish himself as a good, if not great, pitcher -- not in 2005; maybe in 2006.

i was wrong; for the last month-plus, he has pitched like an ace. and he deserves all the credit in the world for working his way back to this point.

moving on: billy wagner blew his 2d straight save to the astros, and the phillies tumbled 3 games behind houston in the loss column. the astros and marlins have edged ahead of the pack for the moment; but that'll change next week, when the two square off in a four-game series in houston.

john sickels at Minor League Ball thinks aaron herr is an interesting prospect, despite his feeble 15-108 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

cardnilly warns against pre-playoff burnout in a fine post today. his question of the day: is it ethical to blow off a close friend's (or relative's) wedding that happens to fall smack-dab in the middle of the nlcs?

carp benson
20-4, 2.28 9-6, 3.99