Top 10 active pitchers who keep it in the yard

Some pitchers give up 1-2 home runs or more per game, while some of them are masters at keeping the ball in the park. We did a gopher ball list last year, so here is the opposite…the pitchers who give up the fewest home runs per nine innings, and therefore the guys you want in the game when the game is on the line:

1. Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees (0.4953)—Amazingly, Rivera gave up 11 home runs his rookie year (1995) and since then, only 50. That’s 50 home runs in like 15 years, or about 3 per season. That’s just sick. No wonder the guy has so many career saves (538).

2. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (0.7141)—If only Hudson was able to stay healthy for any length of time, he’d be a lock for the Hall of Fame.

3. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (0.7221)—When you have a ball that drops like six feet before it reaches home plate, you’re not going to have a lot of hitters get under your pitches. What you’ll get are lots of ground balls.

4. Aaron Cook, Colorado Rockies (0.7384)—If you’re a pitcher in Colorado, it’s sort of like being a meatball sandwich in a pizza joint. You’ll get noticed, but only when they run out of pizza…or in this case, when the Rockies aren’t hitting. Still, when you think about Cook and how he’s spent his entire career in Denver, being fourth on this list is quite an accomplishment.

5. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (0.7385)—A perfect game only added to Halladay’s Hall of Fame resume.

6. Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (0.7445)—He’s always angry but always has nasty stuff, and, like Cook, he pitches in a hitter-friendly park.

7. Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (0.7671)—Lucky for the Yankees, Pettitte’s career high of 27 home runs allowed was when he was with the Astros in 2006.

8. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros (0.7729)—He has an impeccable nose for the strike zone, but puts enough on his pitches to keep hitters guessing and in the park.

9. Jake Westbrook, Cleveland Indians (0.7999)—He hasn’t pitched much in the last three years, but when he does, Jake Westbrook is very good at keeping the ball in the yard.

10. AJ Burnett, New York Yankees (0.8213)—As if the Yankees needed another guy like this in their rotation.

Source: Baseball Reference

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Rockies’ Aaron Cook placed on the DL


Bad news for Rockies fans coming out of Colorado. Ace Aaron Cook has been placed on the DL due to shoulder strain. The team has called up right-handed reliever Matt Herges from Triple-A Colorado Springs to replace the injured Cook on the roster.

The Rockies began the day leading the NL wild-card race by one game over San Francisco.

Cook was hurt during Friday night’s 6-3 loss to the Giants. Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Cook felt something in his shoulder during a four-pitch walk to Nate Schierholtz to start the fourth inning. Cook motioned to the dugout after the walk and was taken out after being looked at by trainer Keith Dugger.

Tracy said Cook will have an MRI on Monday and the early signs are encouraging that it won’t be a serious injury.

Cook hasn’t been on the DL since 2007 when he experienced an oblique strain. With that injury, Cook missed the last seven weeks of the regular season. There’s word that Cook could miss up to three and a half weeks with this recent problem.

With a rotation of Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Marquis, Jason Hammell, and Jorge De La Rosa, it’s a miracle the Rockies are in the playoff hunt. Normally, I would say that Cook’s absence wouldn’t hurt their chances — as he’s usually pretty mediocre — but he’s been vital to the Rockies unexpected success. On the Rockies DL, Cook will be joining relievers Manuel Corpas and Juan Rincon.

Still, the Rockies aren’t the only club in the NL West having to soldier through pitching injuries. All on the DL, Randy Johnson of the Giants and both Hiroki Kuroda and Jason Schmidt of the Dodgers can only watch as their teams compete down the stretch.

Either Adam Eaton or Josh Fogg will start in place of Cook next Wednesday against the Dodgers.

2009 MLB Preview: #21 Colorado Rockies

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Offseason Movement: The biggest move the Rockies made this offseason was trading outfielder Matt Holliday to the A’s in exchange for pitchers Huston Street and Greg Smith, as well as outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Street takes over for Brian Fuentes, who signed with the Angels. Colorado also added pitchers Jason Marquis and Alan Embree, as well as outfielder Matt Murton.

Top Prospect: Dexter Fowler, OF
Fowler is destined to start the season in the minors, but the Rockies hope that he’ll become a middle of the order hitter and flash some pop in due time. He has tons of speed, but he’s an unpolished player overall, and one that will need time to mature. With a current rash of outfielders already on the big league roster, Colorado isn’t likely to rush Fowler or Carlos Gonzalez, the latter being acquired in the Matt Holliday trade.

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