Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Leo Mazzone Has No Solutions for Rodrigo Lopez

The Orioles so-called opening day ace, Rodrigo Lopez, is one of those pitchers, Like Brett Saberhagen, for example, with those inexplicable patterns of good year, bad year, good year, bad year and so on. With last year being a bad year, as Lopez surrendered 28 homers with a 4.90 ERA, observers were eager to see what would happen in Lopez's anticipated good year with the help of former Braves miracle worker Leo Mazzone. The problem, it seems, is that Lopez has made his living with a fastball that dips down and in, down and in, and down and in with equal effectiveness against both righties and lefties. Mazzone's mantra, however, is to throw low and away, low and away, low and away. Does that account for Lopez's 1-4 record and 6.75 ERA this year? Probably not. But there's one thing upon which most can agree: so far this year Lopez has been terrible, though not for lack of trying. Lopez has been pitching with great determination lately, so expect him to keep bearing down tonight with improved results against Detroit rookie phenom Justin Verlander.