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Tag:Astros
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:44 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Keppinger does in old team, again

Jeff Keppinger

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeff Keppinger, Giants: For the second night in a row, the former Astro did in his old team. Saturday night Keppinger singled in Mark DeRosa from second with a single just over the head of 5-foot-7 Houston second baseman Jose Altuve to give San Francisco a 2-1 victory in 10 innings. On Friday, Keppinger hit a two-run double in the fifth, good for another 2-1 victory. Keppinger came to the Giants from Houston on July 19.

Chris Young, Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks center fielder made sure fans went home happy -- and it wasn't just the because of the bobbleheads in his likeness the team gave out before the game. Young hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off of San Diego starter Aaron Harang and that was enough for Joe Saunders, who allowed just an unearned run on four hits in seven innings as Arizona beat San Diego 3-1 for their fifth consecutive victory.

Brad Lincoln, Pirates: The rookie right-hander not only notched his first victory of the season (and second of his career), but also had a two-run double off of Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter in the Pirates' four-run fourth. Lincoln allowed six hits and no runs in six innings, striking out four and walking one in the Pirates' 7-0 victory over St. Louis, breaking the team's five-game road losing streak.


Chris Marrero, Nationals: Making his MLB debut, the former first-round pick by the Nationals saw a ball hit to him on the very first batter of his big-league career come right at him -- and by him, allowing Brandon Phillips reach in the first inning of the Nationals' 6-3 loss. Phillips scored on a wild pitch with two outs later in the inning. Phillips also scored on Marrero's second error when the Nationals first baseman fielded a double-play ball and threw it into left field, allowing Phillips to score from second, starting a three-run inning for the Reds. Despite his two errors, Marrero did manage his first hit, a single off of Reds starter Mike Leake in the fourth inning.

Royals bullpen: The day after Tim Collins walked in the winning run for a Kansas City loss in Cleveland, Louis Coleman surrendered a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera for an 8-7 Kansas City loss to the Indians. With two outs in the eight and the Royals leading by two runs, Coleman gave up a single to Lonnie Chisenhall and walked Kosuke Fukudome to set up Cabrera's shot. Blake Wood also gave up three hits and a run in his 1/3 of an inning of work.

C.J. Wilson, Rangers: The same day Texas manager Ron Washington told reporters Wilson was going to be the team's horse down the stretch, pitching every five days no matter what, the left-hander gave up six runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings. The Angels also hit four of their five solo homers off of Wilson as Los Angeles moved to within two games of Texas with a 8-4 victory.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 11:55 am
 

On Deck: Verlander going for 20

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Justin VerlanderGoing for 20: Of all the things Justin Verlander has done in his career, he's never won 20 games in a season. He can reach that mark today with a victory over the Twins at Target Field. Since the 28-year-old's first full season in 2006, he's won at least 17 games in five of his six seasons, including 19 in 2009. In his lone season without 17 wins, he had 17 losses in 2008. In addition to a big-league leading 19 wins this season, he's also leading the majors in starts (28), innings pitched (209 2/3), strikeouts (212), WHIP (0.878) and hits per 9 innings (6) -- in short, he's pretty good. Tigers at Twins, 4:10 p.m. ET

Boom or bust: Remember last week when the Diamondbacks had lost six straight games? Since breaking that streak on Tuesday, Arizona hasn't lost, winning their next four games. The two streaks haven't really changed their place in the standings. After beating the Phillies on Aug. 16 (the last of a seven-game winning streak), the Diamondbacks led the NL West by 3 1/2 games. They then lost six in a row and now after winning four in a row, Arizona is still 3 games up on the Giants. Arizona starter Joe Saunders has lost his last three decisions and has a 7.00 ERA in his last three starts, but is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Padres this season. Aaron Harang starts for the Padres, going for his 13th win of the season. While conventional wisdom has been that Harang has benefitted from his new spacious home at Petco Park, he's 6-0 on the road (although, his ERA is more than a run higher away from Petco, where he's 6-3). Padres at Diamondbacks, 8:10 p.m.

Giants rookie takes the hill: Astros starter Brett Myers will be make the 244th start of his career today against the Giants, while San Francisco's Eric Surkamp will be making his first. The left-handed Surkamp, 24, is 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. The North Carolina State product doesn't overpower anyone, but has a big, breaking curveball that is used as a strikeout pitch. In his last start, Surkamp allowed just two hits and struck out four in eight shutout innings. With Zack Wheeler traded to New York for Carlos Beltran, Surkamp is the team's top prospect and San Francisco hopes he can stabilize the fifth spot in the rotation, filling in for the injured Jonathan Sanchez, the ineffective Dan Runzler and the injured and ineffective Barry Zito. Astros at Giants, 9:05 p.m.


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Posted on: August 25, 2011 3:59 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 4:06 pm
 

On Deck: Watching the Wests

OD

By Matt Snyder

With four day games and only five night games, the pickings are slim for On Deck. Fortunately, we have three pretty important evening games, thanks to some of the teams out West. Follow all the action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard and keep up with the standings that update at the conclusion of every game.

Texas heat: The Angels are idle Thursday, but breathing down the neck of the Rangers again, as they've won six in a row while the Rangers have dropped two straight. The Texas lead is 2 1/2 games, while the Angels visit for a pivotal three-game series beginning Friday. Should the Rangers lose Thursday night against the Red Sox, they'd be in danger of losing the division lead during the Angels' series. All-Star Alexi Ogando (12-5, 3.30) will start for the Rangers and square off against Andrew Miller (5-1, 4.99) of the Red Sox. Ogando has faltered a bit of late, with a 5.19 ERA in his last six starts, though he was good last time out. Still, the Red Sox offense in a hitter's park is a tall order. The Rangers bats better be ready to answer the call. The Red Sox have work to do themselves, as they entered Thursday with a one-game lead in the AL East. Red Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

Snakes in D.C.: The surprising Diamondbacks are sitting atop the NL West with a two-game lead -- despite a recent six-game losing streak -- but have the defending champs hot on their heels, so every game at this point is big for Kirk Gibson's crew. Thursday night won't be easy against the Nationals, who, by the way, are in third place in the NL East. John Lannan (8-9, 3.61) takes the hill for Washington, and he's 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in his career against Arizona. The D-Backs, meanwhile, send Wade Miley (0-1, 11.25) to the mound. He only has one career start, a four-inning, five-runs-allowed loss this past Saturday against the Braves. Diamondbacks at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Giant opportunity: If the D-Backs do lose to the Nats, the Giants should move to within one game. They're taking on the Astros, who have lost four in a row and have the worst record in the majors. Further on the side of the Giants, All-Star Ryan Vogelsong (10-3, 2.47) takes the hill, and he's had great success at home (1.82 ERA in 74 1/3 innings). Meanwhile, the Astros hand the ball to Henry Sosa (0-2, 6.35). He's going on three-days' rest, as the Astros are going to activate J.A. Happ from the disabled list Friday. Astros at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 2:08 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rays walk-off on fielder's choice

Sean Rodriguez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sean Rodriguez, Rays: Rodriguez didn't get the big hit -- or any hit for that matter -- but after walking as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning, his sprint to second on a grounder gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory over Detroit. In a perfect example of how hustle helps a team, Rodriguez was on first with bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning when Elliot Johnson hit a grounder to Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge went to second to try to end the inning, but second baseman Ramon Santiago couldn't get to the bag before Rodriguez, who was safe, allowing Ben Zobrist to score the winning run on a fielder's choice. 

Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp went 4 for 4 with two homers -- one from each side of the plate -- in the A's 6-4 victory over the Yankees in 10 innings. His three-run homer in the top of the 10th off of Rafael Soriano was good for the game-winner. Crisp finished with five RBI. Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher also hit two homers (both from the left side) in the losing effort.

Tim Lincecum, Giants: Forget his usual dominating performance on the mound -- eight innings and four hits with five strikeouts is pretty much par for the course for the Giants' ace. No, it was his bat that made Wednesday night different. While the struggling Giants have been looking for offensive help, Lincecum answered the call with an RBI single in the fifth inning on a high chopper over Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman, scoring Brandon Belt from third. It was Lincecum's first RBI of the season and proved to be the game-winner in the 2-1 San Francisco victory.


Aneury Rodriguez, Astros: With bases loaded in the 10th inning, Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Troy Tulowitzki to score the winning run for a 7-6 Colorado win. Rodriguez walked Tulowitzki with one out in the inning and after allowing a single to Jonathan Herrera, a wild pitch allowed Herera to move to second, taking away the double play possibility. With first base open, the Astros chose to intentionally walk Kevin Kouzmanoff to get to Eliezer Alfonzo. With a 1-1 count, Rodriguez bounced a ball well wide of the plate, allowing Tulowitzki to score easily.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals: After walking the first two batters he faced in the third inning, Garcia allowed six consecutive hits, good for six Dodger runs. The left-hander went on to take the loss as Los Angeles added another run off of him in the fifth inning and two more off of Kyle McClellan in the sixth inning for a 9-4 victory as the Dodgers finished off their first sweep in St. Louis since 1993. Garcia hasn't won in his last six starts and lasted just five innings in four of his last five. Since going 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, Garcia's gone 5-6 with 5-6 ERA in his last 16 starts.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers have now lost three of their last four games and have been outscored 34-7 in those three losses, including a 13-2 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Starter Matt Harrison gave up seven runs on 11 hits to earn the loss for the Rangers, while the offense wasn't too hot either -- the Rangers trailed 6-0 before they picked up their first hit, a solo homer by Mike Napoli in the fourth inning. With the loss and the Angels' victory, Los Angeles moved to just 2 1/2 games behind Texas in the American League West with their sixth consecutive victory.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 8:00 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 9:20 pm
 

Rodriguez staying in Houston

Wandy RodriguezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Wandy Rodriguez is staying in Houston.

The Astros have pulled the left-hander back from waivers, Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

According to CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler, the Astros haven't backed off the high demands they wanted in return for Rodriguez at the non-waiver trade deadline -- a price the Rockies aren't willing to meet. Both sides, Knobler said, consider the talks dead at this point.

Just what was that price? Knobler says the Astros were asking for catcher Wilin Rodriguez and pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who was the key piece of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal, and didn't want to pay all of Rodriguez's money. The team will see how the market develops in the offseason where there are few arms available.

In a bit of odd timing, Rodriguez faced the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon knowing that he'd been claimed by the Rockies, who could have worked out a trade for him. He didn't exactly impress at Coors Field, allowing six runs (four earned) on 10 hits in six innings, while walking four and striking out two. He didn't factor into the decision as the Rockies won in the 10th inning on a wild pitch by reliever Aneury Rodriguez.

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Posted on: August 24, 2011 10:30 am
 

Pepper: Quade's excusing of Castro a mistake

Castro

By Evan Brunell

Lighten up: Much has been made of Starlin Castro missing a pitch in Sunday's game, with his back to the plate while playing in the field. Understandably, many people -- including ESPN announcer Bobby Valentine -- were outraged, with Valentine excoriating Castro on air.

Also unsurprisingly, Cubs players are rushing to Castro's defense, with Aramis Ramirez the latest to tell everyone to back off. And Ramirez has a pretty good idea what it may be like to be Castro, who is 21 years old. Ramirez made his big-league debut at age 19.

"People need to realize that he's only 21 -- he's going to make mistakes," Ramirez told MLB.com. "He's going to make mental mistakes. ... I made it to the big leagues when I was 19, and I made a lot of mistakes. That's part of [the game]."

Ramirez added that Castro has apologized to the team and everyone's moved on.

"I think [such a big deal was made] because it was an ESPN game, a nationally televised game," Ramirez said. "[But] that stuff shouldn't happen. Starlin would be the first one to tell you that shouldn't happen. Even when you're a veteran, you make mistakes."

Here's the problem, though: Mike Quade had something to say, and it was the wrong thing. Castro was benched Monday in a pretty clear response to his not paying attention to the pitch, but Quade passed it off as a mental day, missing an opportunity to show everyone -- including owner Tom Ricketts, who may fire Quade after the year -- that he's the boss. He missed another opportunity by excusing Castro's behavior for the limelight of being a Cubs player.

"I may agree that too much was being made of it but this is the world we're in and this is the spotlight we're under," Quade said. "You can think what you want, but when you're playing in a market like this at a level like this, you can expect this kind of attention, and you can expect to be under a microscope like this."

Since when did a player's uniform affect attention span? Not paying attention during the game is not paying attention, period.

Back at it
: The next outing for Stephen Strasburg will come on Saturday, which will be his fifth rehab start since returning from Tommy John surgery. It's also the first one that will be at a higher level than Single-A, with Strasburg heading to Triple-A, which should allow Strasburg to lock in and focus on executing pitches against advanced competition as he prepares for an early September return to Washington. (Washington Times)

Will Wandy go? Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle says that how the Astros handle the Wandy Rodriguez waiver claim situation will go a long way in determining how new owner Jim Crane will handle things. " Is he really about trying try to build things the right way for sustainable success, or is the endgame nothing more than to dump salary for dumping salary’s sake?" Campbell writes. "If the Astros do nothing more than a salary dump, however, then fans have reason to be afraid — very afraid — for the future. Houston is too big and too good of a market to become the National League’s Kansas City of the South — perpetually turning over the roster with young, cheap players without committing the resources necessary to build a winner."

Best scooper: Eric Hosmer wasn't called up to the majors until May 6, but his 27 scoops at first base (yes, this really is measured) is just one behind Adam Lind for most in the AL, while Carlos Pena leads baseball with 52. Three additional AL players have 27 scoops. “What I had to learn when I got here,” Hosmer told the Kansas City Star, “was, when you pick it, you’ve got to stay through it (with a sweeping motion). You have an imaginary line on where you think the ball is going to bounce. Before, I was just working up and down. Then I learned to go through the ball.”

Capping the draft: There were plenty of big paydays to high school and college players once the dust settled last week on the signing deadline for drafted players. The money is so exorbitant, that it's only deepened commissioner Bud Selig's resolve to introduce a hard-slotting system. But is that good for baseball? (Kansas City Star)

Moneyball: Before long, the blockbuster movie centered around the book that made so many waves in baseball will premiere, with Brad Pitt as A's GM Billy Beane. New York Magazine has a great story out about the movie and how it had to jump through hoops to get made... and what, exactly, Hollywood is taking away from Moneyball.

Game changed: But Billy Beane says the game is different these days, and the gap between the big- and low-money teams is even more pronounced, with the window for small markets to compete that much smaller than just a decade ago, as Oakland has been reduced to taking fliers on players as their only options.  “Sometimes, you’re relegated to buying that lottery ticket,” Beane told the New York Times. “Anybody will tell you that the lottery is not a great way to invest your money. But sometimes, you don’t have a lot of options.”

Window closing? Since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, they have yet to win another postseason game. With Chris Carpenter, Albert Pujols and others only getting older and reaching free agency, is it possible St. Louis' window of competition has closed? It seems like it, but how did the window get missed in the first place with strong teams over the last four years? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Brave injuries
: Tommy Hanson, one of Atlanta's best pitchers, keeps experiencing setbacks while sensation Jose Constanza is hobbled by a right-ankle sprain. Constanza is day-to-day and could be back as early as Wednesday, but Hanson is a different story. He threw a nine-pitch throwing session on Monday, the first time throwing from the mound since Aug. 6, but the report was sobering enough that his Tuesday bullpen session was canceled. Hanson will now wait for his condition to improve. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Say-Hey Kid: Cameron Maybin received an honor by spending time at the home of baseball great Willie Mays, and Maybin was understandably bowled over by the meeting. Mays has been impressed with Maybin this season and invited him over when San Diego was in San Francisco before Tuesday's game. The Giants said while Mays has been known to go out to dinner with young players, they can't recall an invitation to go to Mays' home ever being extended to a player. “I took him my jersey, signed it for him,” Maybin told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Think of that. My jersey’s in Willie Mays’ house.”

Starting Greinke: The Brewers considered delaying Zack Greinke's next start so he could face the Cardinals, but manager Ron Roenicke may not go that route. Roenicke believes that Milwaukee should focus on winning every game, while Greinke isn't keen on starting a game on eight days rest. Nothing is decided yet, but the outcome appears obvious. (MLB.com)

Web Gems: Last season, Sam Miller of the Orange County Register found an East Coast bias in Web Gems, which may have been in part due to fan voting. This season, though, with tweaked rules, there is no such bias. The top five teams with the most Web Gems in 2011 are the Indians, Rangers, Rays, Brewers and Royals.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 3:19 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Astros' Rodriguez claimed off waivers by Rockies

RodriguezBy Evan Brunell

Wandy Rodriguez has been claimed off trade waivers, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

Rosenthal adds that the claiming team are the Rockies, who could use another starter in the rotation for the coming years after trading Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland and losing Jorge De La Rosa to Tommy John surgery, which De La Rosa is unlikely to return from until the second half of 2012. One could question why the deal for Jimenez was made in this light, but the right-hander was due for a significant financial outlay in a contract extension, plus the return for Jimenez in starting pitchers Alex White and Drew Pomeranz can make their presence felt with the team next year, so if Colorado acquires Rodriguez, it will actually have deepened its rotation.

The Astros have been looking to deal the left-hander, whose three-year, $34 million extension kicked in for 2011, He is still due $24 million over the next two years, with a $13 million club option in 2014 that converts to a player option upon trade, with a $2.5 million buyout attached. Houston attempted to move Rodriguez before the deadline, and almost had a deal with the Yankees who were willing to eat all but $21 million of the contract, something the Astros balked at.

Houston could simply allow Colorado to have Rodriguez and his contract in a straight waiver claim if their main goal is to free up salary. However, Rodriguez is worth quite a bit more on the field than just the cost of his extension, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Houston yanked the 32-year-old off waivers. More than likely, the Rockies will have to assume a good chunk of the deal, as well as send a solid prospect to Houston, but Rodriguez could be worth it to Colorado.

Rodriguez has a 3.31 ERA over 23 starts for the 'Stros and a 3.35 ERA over the last four years with 113 games started, striking out 627 and walking 224 in 685 innings.

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:19 am
Edited on: August 20, 2011 1:21 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Madson melts down

Madson

By Evan Brunell


3 UpRussell Martin, Yankees:  Russell Martin blasted two bombs in Friday's game and seems to have hit a bit of a hot streak. Remember back in early April when Martin went off for six home runs and it looked like the Yankees had found their catcher of the future at the expense of the Dodgers? Well, from April 24 through July 31, Martin hit .200/.307/.283 in 267 plate appearances. Yuck! Lucky for him that he's hit another hot streak and has hammered five home runs on the month thus far, bringing his season total to 15. the night, Martin had three hits and three RBI.

Carlos Corporan, Astros: Coming into Friday's game, the 27-year old had appeared in 36 games this season, easily the most the catcher has tallied over his career. Prior to 2011, Corporan's only major-league time came back in 2009 when he had exactly one game for the Brewers. Hitting .177/.223/.239 over 123 plate appearances, even the most die-hard baseball fan would have had trouble remembering who Corporan was. Well, it's a bit easier to remember after Friday when the switch-hitter went 3 for 3 with two runs scored against the Giants, chipping in a double and all of a sudden lifting his season line to .198/.248/.267. This is probably the first and last time Corporan ever appears on 3 Up.

Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Hernandez, whose arm hasn't fallen off yet, came through with a superhuman effort on Friday when he returned after a rain delay aborted his outing in the first. Hernandez told reporters after the game that he threw over 300 warmup pitches. Couple that with 59 in the game, when he gave up four runs in four innings, walking two, striking out none and allowing seven hits. Not a great outing, but a great number of pitches for Hernandez, who says, "It's crazy, but I feel really good," CSNWashington.com tweets.



3 DownRyan Madson, Phillies (pictured): What an epic meltdown for Ryan Madson, who entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead, but just couldn't hold onto it all the way to giving up a walkoff grand slam to Ryan Zimmerman for a 8-4 loss. Madson gave up five hits in 2/3s of an inning, walking one and striking out one. Before Zimmerman could deliver a crushing blow into the left-field bleachers, though, Madson gave up two RBI singles to knot the game up at four apiece. And just like that, Madson's ERA soared from 2.06 to 3.25, but don't let that color your impression of Madson, who has had an excellent season. It's just his second blown save of the year against 23 saves.

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates:
With the score 6-2 after the top of the fifth, the game was pretty much in hand for Cincinnati. Except a funny thing happened the rest of the way as Pittsburgh scored six runs the rest of the way to tie the game up through eight innings, including back-to-back two-run outbursts in the seventh and eighth. Unfortunately, Joel Hanrahan didn't want to see Bill Bray or Nick Massett get singled out in 3 Down, so he promptly gave up three runs (two earned) on a walk and two hits, getting just one out before being yanked from the game. Because the game was tied, he wasn't charged with a blown save.

Kevin Slowey, Twins: Kevin Slowey hasn't been around much this season thanks to a baffling transition to the bullpen, an injury and eventual demotion to the minors. Slowey could have been a major asset to Minnesota this season but instead made his first start of the season on Friday and seventh appearance overall, last appearing in the bigs in mid-May. Slowey had to face the Yankees and predictably gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four while allowing 10 baserunners.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com