How Much Easier Did Jon Garland’s Life Just Get?

jongarlanddebut.jpgAs we all know, Jon Garland got to do the fun “head to the other clubhouse” walk of shame when he was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Dodgers during the game on Monday night, and after a rough start, Garland was pretty effective last night. Here’s the fun part, though: Garland’s second start will also be against the Diamondbacks, likely on Tuesday in Arizona.

So instead of having to face Manny, Kemp, and the Dodgers, Garland now gets two starts against a team with a collective batting average 19 points lower and an OBP 20 points lower than he otherwise would have. Not only that, he’s backed up by the top relief corps in baseball, as opposed to the 23rd – a difference of 1.22 runs allowed per game.

But wait! It gets better. The Arizona defense has been abysmal - their 111 errors not only is the second-most in baseball, it’s nearly double the 63 the Dodgers have clanked in having the fourth-fewest in baseball. No, errors aren’t a great metric for judging defense, and I know that, but that’s a glaring enough difference to make it a worthwhile data point. And he gets to do it twice!

It only gets better from here on out for him, too. It’s hard to say exactly when he’s going to pitch – it seems likely that Randy Wolf and Chad Billingsley stick on regular schedules while everyone else gets juggled between off-days and resting Clayton Kershaw – but if Garland were to start every 5th day, he’d have something like this facing him:

ARI, @ARI, @SF, SF, @WAS, @PIT, COL

San Francisco is the worst hitting team in baseball, with Pittsburgh just 24th (in OPS). We’ve just discussed Arizona’s struggles, and while Washington’s mid-level at best, they’re hardly a threat, especially in their home park. Colorado’s the only dangerous team, but even that start is away from Coors and the Rockies might have nothing to play for on the last day of the season.

Toss in the adrenaline boost of going from a loser to a team with a lot to play for and the fun of finally getting to pitch for your hometown team, and it looks like Mr. Garland hit the lottery on this one.

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