Commentary

Avoid Martis, but not Pavano

Updated: June 4, 2009, 1:43 PM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | Special to ESPN Insider

Sell your share of Shairon

After starting the year with a 5-0 record, Washington Nationals starter Shairon Martis has allowed 17 earned runs in his past three starts. The 22-year-old's off-speed stuff just isn't generating outs anymore. In his past three starts, hitters have almost doubled their batting average against Martis' off-speed pitches, going from .217 to .385. Additionally, he's not inducing as many swing-and-misses on the slow offerings and his whiff rate has slid from 29.0 percent to 24.4 percent. His opponent on Friday night, the New York Mets, can mash the slow stuff. Be smart and ignore the misleading 5-1 record.

The new Pavano

Let's ignore Carl Pavano's disastrous opening start to the season for a moment. The righty has a 4.06 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while allowing just five homers in 10 starts. Furthermore, he's allowed more than three earned runs in a start just once in his past seven outings. His changeup has become his go-to pitch as hitters continue to flail at it out of the zone. Of the 109 Pavano changeups thrown out of the zone, his opponents have swung on 51 of them and are managing a paltry .222 batting average on the slow temptation. In his days in pinstripes, hitters simply weren't lured by it. Against the free-swinging White Sox lineup, expect Pavano to continue to make the Indians look smart.