|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Ryan Garko||.103||Paul Byrd||-.166|
|Craig Breslow||.005||Casey Blake||-.153|
|Jorge Julio||.001||Franklin Gutierrez||-.100|
Last season, Paul Byrd allowed 28 walks and hit 6 batters (192.1 IP). Last night, in 4.1 innings, he walked 2 and hit 2. And even when he wasn't missing the plate, he was missing wildly within the strike zone. It's a good thing this game was played at night, for the score could have been a lot worse. Or could have been a lot better, if Eric Wedge had seen the writing on the wall and pulled him after three or four innings.
A couple of defensive miscues behind Byrd in the fifth knocked him out for good. Jhonny Peralta misplayed a liner by Mike Sweeney, and later in the inning, Asdrubal Cabrera inexplicably tried to throw home on a weakly-hit grounder to second, leaving the bases loaded with nobody out.
On the other side, Justin Duchscherer, making his first start in five season, was Byrd's anithesis, throwing every pitch in his arsenal for strikes. He racked up 6 strikeouts in five innings, then had to leave with a bicep injury. He had thrown just 72 pitches up to that point.
Let's close out with some good things that happened last night. Jorge Julio, who IMO is being used in the right role so far, ate up 2.1 innings after replacing Byrd, then Craig Breslow finished the game with a 1.1-inning outing, saving the Circle of Trust for the rest of the series. And Travis Hafner and Ryan Garko both hit their first home runs of the season.