Blog Entry

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James

Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:35 am
 


By Matt Snyder

James Shields, Rays. Since Shields threw a shutout on May 22, he was 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in his next three starts. Sure, two of them weren't awful and one was -- skewing the small sample numbers a bit -- but he wasn't throwing the ball near as well as he was earlier in the season. His task Tuesday night was to face the now-mighty Red Sox, who entered the game with a nine-game winning streak -- one in which they'd averaged about nine runs per game. After a shaky first, where Shields left the bases loaded, he settled in and threw a complete-game shutout. The victory moved the Rays to within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox. Shields has already set the Rays record with three shutouts in a season and is the fastest to three shutouts in the AL since Randy Johnson and David Cone in 1994.

Domonic Brown, Phillies. The Phillies slugged five home runs en route to a 9-1 victory of the disappearing Marlins, but the highlight was Brown's upper tank shot in the seventh. It was not only majestic, but also his second blast of the game. As too many long-time members of the lineup get closer to being too old, the 23-year-old outfielder provides a glimpse into the future.

Johnny Cueto, Reds. As the Reds creep closer to the NL Central leaders -- we'll get to them in a moment -- they can definitely start to feel very confident when one member of the rotation gets the ball each turn. Cueto has now thrown 14 consecutive innings without having allowed an earned run and his ERA has shrunk to 1.68 through eight starts and 53 2/3 innings. Coming out and giving an effort like Tuesday night's -- seven innings, five hits, five strikeouts, zero earned runs -- against Clayton Kershaw is the stuff aces are made of.

Also: Don't forget to give props to Justin Verlander for shutting out the Indians and moving the Tigers into first place. It's just that it's not really surprising anymore.




Alexi Ogando, Rangers. So much for that sparkling ERA, WHIP and undefeated record. Ogando entered Tuesday with a 7-0 record, 2.10 ERA and MLB-best 0.898 WHIP. He couldn't even get out of the second Tuesday, though. The Yankees tuned him up for six earned runs on six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. This came after a 1-2-3 first inning, too. Ogando now has a 12.38 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in Yankee Stadium this season. Everywhere else? 1.68 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Fortunately for him and the Rangers, this will be his last outing in the Bronx this season -- well, unless he has to pitch there in the playoffs. If it comes to that, they'll surely find a way to avoid throwing him in his house of horrors.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. The DL-stint may have cured his back, but it didn't do much to alter the path this disaster of a season has taken for the star shortstop. Ramirez returned to the lineup in the leadoff spot and proceeded to go 0-4 with two strikeouts. Granted it wasn't exactly an easy matchup against a locked-in Cole Hamels, but it certainly wasn't encouraging for Ramirez, either.

Brewers', Cardinals' bullpens. As the two teams fight for the top of the NL Central, they seem to be going out of their way to blow late leads. Tuesday, they each coughed up leads against sub-par teams. The Cardinals held a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh against the Nationals. Miguel Batista, Trever Miller and Jason Motte combined to allow five hits, three walks, a hit-by-pitch and six earned runs. Yes, that was all in one inning. Most of the damage was allowed by Batista, but Miller hit the only guy he faced and Motte let two inherited runners cross home plate. Not to be outdone, Marco Estrada of the Brewers gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to the Cubs. The big blow was an Aramis Ramirez two-run home run, which tied the score at four and eventually sent the game to extra innings. In the 10th, Tim Dillard allowed a Tony Campana double, a sacrifice and a Starlin Castro single to lose the game. The Brewers have now lost two in a row to the Cubs. The Cardinals have lost four straight. They're tied atop the Central, though the Reds and Pirates are in striking distance. Meltdowns like Tuesday are the reason no one has pulled away.

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:11 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 6:54 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James

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Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: June 15, 2011 4:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James

I am loving the fact that we can still say, in mid-June, that the Pirates are in striking distance! How often has that been true since 1992.


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