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Paul Byrd, Indians
Data: 3-10, 5.53 ERA
Malfunction: Byrd has lost five starts in a row. Over that time, he has gone just 25 and 1/3 innings, surrendering 24 earned runs and 36 hits.
Diagnosis: "This has been as tough a month and a half that I've ever had in the big leagues," Byrd said. "My arm feels great, like I have a good fastball, but I'm just not able to get through the game without giving up a lot of runs. I can't figure it out. I'll have to talk to (pitching coach) Carl (Willis), possibly change some things up, try to figure out why the hitters are seeing the ball so well." (CantonRep.com)
Reboot Directions: Byrd has to start ordering better room service. In 10 starts on the road this season, the right-hander is 1-8 with a 7.21 ERA, compared to a decent 2-2 record and a 3.40 ERA at home. The good news for Byrd is that he faces the Tigers on Wednesday, the only team he has beaten this year on the road, going seven innings and giving up just two runs to earn the victory.
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Chone Figgins, Angels
Data: .284 average, 0 HR, 9 RBI
Malfunction: Since June 25, the Angels third baseman is 6-for-38.
Diagnosis: The problem with Figgins this season is that he can't seem to stay healthy. He was out of the lineup last week because of an infected knee, and he also spent some time on the DL earlier in the year because of a hamstring injury.
Reboot Directions: Figgins has ripped left-handed pitching this season, compiling a .326 average. He could bust out of his slump tonight, when he faces Texas left-hander Matt Harrison, who will be making his major league debut.
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Josh Willingham, Marlins
Data: .279, 8 HR, 23 RBI
Malfunction: Since July 1, Willingham is 3-for-24 with 0 HR and 1 RBI.
Diagnosis: Like Figgins, Willingham has battled injuries throughout the season. He recently returned to action after being on the DL since late April because of a back injury. "It's been fun to watch them, but it's been frustrating not being able to play," Willingham said. (MLB.com)
Reboot Directions: It seems like Willingham just needs some time to get his swing back. Before the DL stint, he was hitting .341 with 6 homers and 16 RBIs. Although the sample size is small, look for him to have some success tonight when he faces Randy Wolf and the Padres. Willingham is 2-for-3 against him in his career with a home run and two RBIs.
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Adam Eaton, Phillies
Data: 3-7, 5.20 ERA
Malfunction: Eaton has lost four of his last five outings. During that stretch, the right hander has given up 20 earned runs and 42 hits over 26 and 1/3 innings.
Diagnosis: "The loss was definitely put on the right person today, that's for sure," said Eaton, who gave eight runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 innings last night against the Mets. "It's definitely frustrating. Obviously, the end result, seeing what we did, and what I did ... " (DelcoTimes.com)
Reboot Directions: Eaton has struggled to find a groove at home. He has a 2-3 record and a 5.74 ERA. Although he won't admit it, he has to be concerned that if he doesn't start pitching better soon, he might end up like Brett Myers and get sent down to the minors. "I haven't even thought about it, to be honest with you," Eaton said, when asked last night whether there is increased competition in the rotation. "Today I pitched bad. I sucked."
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Alex Gordon, Royals
Data: .253 average, 11 HR, 42 RBI
Malfunction: Since June 28, Gordon is 5-for-35 with 1 HR and 3 RBI.
Diagnosis: Gordon's biggest problem seems to be that he can't hit consistently against left-handed pitching. He is hitting just .196 against left-handers this season, compared to a .277 average against righties. He has also struck out 80 times this season, which ranks him fourth-most in the American League.
Reboot Directions: This is only Gordon's second full season in the big leagues, so he is still learning to hit on this level (although Evan Longoria doesn't seem to be having the same problem). In the short term, the numbers suggest he might break out of his slump tonight when the Royals take on Jose Contreras the White Sox. Gordon is 4-for-14 against him in his career.