Tag:Orioles
Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:16 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 10:57 pm
 

Who should win the Gold Glove in the AL?

Suzuki

By Evan Brunell

As C. Trent Rosecrans explained when selecting the most-deserving players to win the NL Gold Glove, it's one of baseball's most difficult awards to give out.

An award that should specifically celebrate the aspect of defense in baseball is instead largely given to those who are considered good defenders, but who reign supreme in popularity and offense. With managers and players voting on the award, you sometimes see some strange occurrences -- such as Rafael Palmeiro winning a Gold Glove in 1999, when he played just 28 games at first base while functioning as a DH.

Here, though, defense rules and offense drools. Let's take a look at some of the best defenders the game has to offer...

Catcher: Matt Wieters, Orioles
-- Wieters doesn't have fantastic range, but he has plenty. Combine that with great hands that have led to a .995 fielding percentage and just one passed ball all season, and it's easy to see why the Oriole receives the nod for the award. Also, runners fear Wieters' arm -- he's only allowed 56 stolen bases all season, while the next-lowest total among catchers who qualify for the batting title is J.P. Arencibia's 77, achieved in 10 less starts. Oh, and Wieters has nabbed 32 runners for a caught-stealing rate of 36 percent, a high percentage for a catcher.

Others considered: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, Jeff Mathis

First base: Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- What Texiera has over his competition is the ability to do everything a regular first baseman is asked to do -- except very well. He brings the complete package to the table, showing an uncanny ability to scoop balls out of the dirt and possessing enough speed and quickness to  make plays out of his zone. No matter what defensive aspect you bring up, Teixeira is among the elite, both in the eyes of scouts and in defensive statistics.

Others considered: Adrian Gonzalez, Casey Kotchman, Mark Trumbo

Second base: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- Pedroia's fielding has been a major boon to his overall value this season. His numbers at the keystone position are what has vaulted him into the fringes of the MVP race and he dominates the game in all facets fielding. Range, plays out of the zone, total balls handled, errors ... no matter what you throw at Pedroia, he's going to go all out to get to the ball and make the play, which happens more often than not.

Others considered: Howie Kendrick, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers -- Beltre somehow only has two Gold Gloves despite a career of success. That success continues in 2011 in Texas, as Beltre has tremendous range compared with soft hands. Evan Longoria is a fantastic defender as well, but in the AL there simply is no comparison to Beltre. With 11 errors, Beltre is on pace to post his lowest error total since 2004, when he had 10.

Others considered: Alberto Callaspo, Evan Longoria, Brent Morel

Shortstop: Brendan Ryan, Mariners -- There's some pretty good competition at shortstop for best defender, but Ryan takes home the honors, showing the junior circuit how it's done in his first season in the AL. Ryan has an impeccable reputation on defense and did nothing to sully that reputation in Seattle. Elvis Andrus and Alcides Escobar, also in his first year in the AL, gave Ryan a run for his money and is also deserving of this award. Only one can win it, though.

Others considered: Elvis Andrus, Alcides Escobar, Alexi Ramirez

Left field: Brett Gardner, Yankees -- Was there any doubt? Gardner absolutely blows away the competition in left field. His prowess is so remarkable, words can't describe it. Luckily, there's a graphic drawn of his amazing range compared to the average left fielder, which you can view right here. There really isn't another left fielder that comes close, not even perennial Gold Glover Carl Crawford, who has seen his defensive numbers suffer due to the Green Monster. As advanced as metrics are these days, the Green Monster still fouls up the data, but Gardner is too far ahead of the pack that even adjusting for the Monster would still leave Gardner the clear victor.

Others considered: Alex Gordon, Vernon Wells

Center field: Austin Jackson, Tigers -- Like shortstop, center field is littered with strong defenders. That isn't a surprise, given the emphasis placed on both positions being strong defensively. Jackson has made himself at home in Comerica Park's spacious outfield, running down 114 balls outside of his zone. That's an astronomical number, and Jackson blends it with a strong overall game, even if his arm could be stronger.

Others considered: Peter Bourjos, Franklin Gutierrez, Jacoby Ellsbury

Right field: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- Ichiro Suzuki simply does it all, with strong talent across the board. He knows where to go when the ball comes off the bat, rarely out of position. While Suzuki is 37, he still has enough speed to cover the ground required of him and continues to flash a strong arm, even if runners quit running on him 10 years ago.

Others considered: David DeJesus, Jeff Francouer, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher

Pitcher: Mark Buerhle, White Sox

Buehrle has been considered the class of fielding pitchers since Greg Maddux retired and is working on two straight Gold Gloves. Buerhle's claim to fame on defense comes from this play on Opening Day 2010, which was the best fielding play of the entire season. As a left-hander he adds that much more value on defense with the ability to hold runners closer to first base, limiting steals.

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: September 20, 2011 10:22 am
 

Pepper: Harwell statue vandalized



By Matt Snyder


Evidently nothing is sacred to the masses.

A statue of late, legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell outside Comerica Park in Detroit was vandalized recently. His likeness is now without glasses, and it appears someone needed to use a crowbar in order to pry the glasses off the statue. The Tigers are going to have new glasses put on the statue, but that doesn't mean they can prevent some dregs of society from taking them away again.

"We're going to attach them as strongly as possible," says Omri Amrany of the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany in Fort Sheridan, Ill. (Detroit News), "but if somebody has a crowbar and a little persuasion, you cannot keep the glasses on anybody. Anything that can break a car can break a statue."

I wish I could say I was surprised to read this, but I wasn't. Going into some tirade about society's ills would be misplaced, though, because one bad egg doesn't mean everyone is sick. It's just amazing the kind of things that some of these losers think are cool. What are you possibly going to do with some bronze glasses? Get a life.

Must-read story: Earlier this season, Marlins pitcher Chris Hatcher gave a ball to the son of a U.S. soldier who was about to go back out to Kuwait. Hatcher just received a neatly-folded American flag in the mail from the soldier and plans to proudly display it at his home. The entire story -- at Fish Tank blog -- is definitely worth a read.

Favorites for Prince: Jon Heyman of SI.com runs down a list of who he believes will be the favorites to land Prince Fielder in free agency this coming offseason. Here is the list, in order of likelihood (according to Heyman): 1. Orioles, 2. Cubs, 3. Rangers, 4. Nationals, 5. Dodgers, 6. Brewers, 7. Mariners, 8. Cardinals, 9. Marlins.

Yankees, Red Sox most popular: Judging simply from the number of Facebook "likes," the Yankees and Red Sox have the most fans. Yes, I know, this is shocking. The Cubs check in at No. 3, followed by the Giants, Phillies and Braves (Biz of Baseball).

Hanson's chance: Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson hasn't started since August 6, but there's a chance he'll get one more outing this season. He'll throw in an instructional league game Friday, likely around 65 pitches, and if there are no setbacks, the Braves might start him on the final game of the regular season. One caveat, though, is that if a playoff berth is on the line, the Braves will start Tim Hudson, not Hanson (AJC.com). Still, this is good news for the Braves in terms of possibly having Hanson back for the playoffs -- should they hold on.

Puma's honesty: You ever hear players saying it's not all about the money? Yeah, at least 95 percent of them are lying. Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman is telling the truth now, though, as his negotiations with the Cardinals have slowed. "It's always about money," Berkman said (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). "No matter what people say, it's always about the money."

Someone call "People" magazine: Brad Pitt has a new love. Sorry Angelina. Pitt feels "a little bit romantic about the A's," after starring in "Moneyball" and meeting Billy Beane. (SFGate.com)

Papi's pitch: The Red Sox has serious depth issues in the starting rotation due to injuries and John Lackey's underperformance. Meanwhile, Alfredo Aceves has a 2.82 ERA in 102 innings this season and is pitching very well out of the bullpen. At least one Red Sox player believes this is out of whack. "To be honest with you, the way things are going, he should be starting," David Ortiz said (MLB.com). "Simple as that. Give it a shot."

White Sox have failed: According to first baseman Paul Konerko, it's playoffs-or-bust every single season for the White Sox. So 2011 is "a failure." (Chicago Tribune)

Manuel's bat: Indians slugger Jim Thome was recently presented with a game-used Charlie Manuel bat. Manuel mentored Thome all the way back in the minors in 1990 and then managed him on the 2005 Phillies. In fact, Manuel is the one who urged Thome to use his famous bat point (toward the pitcher) as a timing mechanism. "It's pretty awesome," Thome said of Manuel's bat (MLB.com). "It's going in my office at home."

Bauer, Cole updates: Former college teammates (UCLA) Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole were two of the top three picks in the 2011 MLB Draft. Cole went first overall to the Pirates while Bauer went third to the D-Backs. Cole will likely pitch in the Arizona Fall League, his first competitive pitching since the draft (MLB.com). Bauer has gotten some work in at the Double-A level, but he's been knocked around a bit (7.56 ERA in four starts), so he won't make the bigs this season, as had previously been rumored (MLB.com). Expect both to challenge for rotation spots at some point next season.

New closer: The Orioles have obviously changed closers from Kevin Gregg to Jim Johnson, even though manager Buck Showalter hasn't said so. Johnson has five saves in September to Gregg's one. (Orioles Insider)

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kennedy makes Cy Young case



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: For anyone not including Arizona's right-hander in their Cy Young discussion, Kennedy gave them something to think about on Monday. Not only did he become baseball's second 20-game winner this season, he did it in fantastic fashion, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to one hit over eight innings, while striking out a career-high 12. The only hit Kennedy gave up was to Pirates starter Jeff Karstens -- the rest of the Pirates were unable to do anything against Kennedy, who lowered his ERA to 2.88.

Mike Carp, Mariners: Five RBI in a game signals a heck of a day at the plate, but the Mariners' designated hitter drove in five in one inning on Monday. Carp doubled home the first run of the team's nine-run third inning and then hit a grand slam later after Indians reliever Chad Durbin took over for starter David Huff, as Seattle won 12-6 in seven innings as the rainout make-up game was called for rain.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Opposite Roy Halladay, the Cardinals' right-hander allowed just an unearned run on seven hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings of the Cardinals' big 4-3 win. Coupled with the Braves' loss, the Cardinals are now just 2.5 games back in the wild-card race. In his three starts this month, Lohse has gone 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA, with 14 strikeouts and five walks. On the season, he's now 14-8 with a 3.47 ERA.


Howie Kendrick, Angels: Kendrick is one of the game's best defensive players, but even the best make mistakes. And Monday's mistake was one of the biggest of the season, as the Angels fell further behind and nearly out of the playoff chase with a 10-inning loss in Toronto. With no outs in the 10th inning and runners on first and second, Scott Downs got the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista to hit a grounder to third, where Macier Izturis cleanly fielded the ball and threw to Kendrick to try to apparently start the double play. But when Kendrick tried to turn two, he just dropped the ball. It was ruled that Kendrick dropped the ball on the transfer, so there was one out, but not two. It was a chance for the Angels to get two -- instead they only got one, and ended up losing the game and perhaps any hope of the playoffs.

Chipper Jones, Braves: Jones wasn't charged with an error in the ninth inning, but it was a play he probably should have made -- as he lost a Emilio Bonifacio chopper in the lights of Sun Life Stadium. If Jones fields the ball cleanly, the Braves shake hands and feel better about their 3 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals in the wild-card race. Instead, rookie closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a walk-off homer to Omar Infante. Coincidently, it was Infante's seventh-inning error that allowed the Braves to take the lead.

Brian Matusz, Orioles: If Baltimore's left-hander doesn't pitch again this season, his 10.68 ERA could be the highest in major league history for any pitcher with at least 10 starts. Matusz, 1-8, can take solace in who hold the record he is about to break -- Halladay had a 10.64 ERA in 13 starts in 2000.

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Playoff race: Red Sox split, keep 2-game lead

Connor Jackson

By C. Trent Rosecrans


I have a saying at the blackjack table -- pushing ain't losing. And that's about how the Red Sox feel after splitting a doubleheader with the Orioles while the Rays were idle. It wasn't pretty, that's for sure, but Boston entered Monday with a two-game lead in the American League wild-card standings and finished the day with a two game lead in the wild-card race.

Boston dropped its first game of the day, 6-5 to the Orioles, before rebounding to beat Baltimore 18-9 in the nightcap. Boston starter John Lackey was awful again, allowing eight runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings, but he was better than Baltimore's Brian Matusz, who didn't get out of the second inning, allowing six runs on six hits.

Boston trailed 3-0 after the top of the first, but came back with four in their half of the inning and had an 11-2 lead after three innings. Baltimore got as close as 11-0 before the Red Sox pounded out seven runs in the seventh.

Boston plays Baltimore five more times to try to hold on to their lead.

Here's the rest of the particulars: 

Boston Red Sox
88-65
Remaining schedule: 2 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 86.1 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
85-67, 2 GB
Remaining schedule: 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 8.5 percent

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
83-70, 4.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 0.6 percent

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 3:57 pm
 

On Deck: Kennedy's bid for 20

OD

By Matt Snyder

As always, follow all the game action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, the Playoff Race standings page will be updating at the conclusion of every game.

Snakes' ace: Along with his team as a whole, Diamondbacks' starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (19-4, 2.99) is one of the better stories in baseball this season. He's setting out to make it even better Monday, as he takes the hill against the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates. A win would make him the first Arizona pitcher since Brandon Webb (2008) to win 20 games. It would also shrink the D-Backs' magic number to four in the NL West, as the Giants are idle Monday. Jeff Karstens (9-8, 3.45) gets the ball for the Pirates, who were battered Sunday 15-1 by the Dodgers. Karstens has a 6.20 ERA in his past four starts. Pirates at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET.

Home Sweet Road: The Braves are reeling in September, to the point that a once-huge lead in the NL wild card has shrunk and two teams are within striking distance. So maybe a trip down to Sun Life Stadium will help solve the issue? After all, the Braves have beaten the Marlins six straight times in Florida. Another good sign for the Braves is Mike Minor (5-2, 4.11) is the starting pitcher. The 23-year-old lefty has thrown pretty well since a few rough starts in the first half. He has a 3.33 ERA in his last eight starts and the Braves have won nine of his last 10 starts. Ricky Nolasco (10-11, 4.42) is the starter for the Marlins. Braves at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Big effort needed from Big John: It's time for John Lackey (12-12, 6.19) to earn his hefty eight-figure salary. The Red Sox lost 6-5 Monday afternoon, meaning they only have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Rays in the AL wild-card race and only a one-game advantage in the loss column. Lackey comes in as a major disappointment for the Red Sox this season, but a win here could go a long way in making amends with the fan base. If the Red Sox do lose, that means they'd have the same amount of losses this season as the Rays. What started off a few weeks ago as a remote possibility would then become awfully real. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the struggling Brian Matusz (1-7, 9.84) takes the hill for Baltimore. Orioles at Red Sox, about 7:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 3:23 pm
 

Flaw in replay system exposed yet again

By Matt Snyder

We have yet another example in a long line of examples that MLB's instant replay system is badly flawed. Monday afternoon, the Red Sox trailed the Orioles 6-4 with a runner on third base. David Ortiz sent a rocket down the right field line and it was ruled foul. Only one problem: Replays showed that the ball clearly hit the wall in fair territory, probably about one foot to the left of the foul pole (if you're facing it).

Ortiz would fly out to end the inning, and the picture at right is his reaction after said fly out.

Now, if there was no replay at all, this wouldn't be an issue. The human element -- as we so often hear as an excuse -- says the umpire just missed a tough call. The ball was hit incredibly hard and he was standing more than 100 feet away. It's understandable that he missed it.

What's not understandable is that Major League Baseball uses replay to determine whether a ball is a home run or not, yet doesn't use replay to determine fair/foul calls. It's very simple. The ball is either fair or foul. The technology is at our disposal. Yet it's not used. Can anyone justify this?

Even if the umpire didn't miss this particular call -- and I guess it's possible the ball barely grazed the wall in foul territory, I just don't think it did -- the point remains the same. Why isn't instant replay used on fair/foul calls?

The arguments against replay here don't hold any water. It's a boundary play, so there's no judgment whatsoever. The delay of the umpires conferring with one another and Red Sox manager Terry Francona's subsequent argument was longer than if the umpires had just looked at a video screen and realized it was a fair ball.

Even if the MLB still holds this "human element" near and dear to its heart on possible catches, plays at bases and with the strike zone, it has to at least admit that fair/foul calls are boundary calls just like home runs. You review one, so review the other. Or do neither. Pick one.

As things stand, it's just unbalanced. Kind of like only one league having a DH, huh?

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 18, 2011 1:35 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Chipper gets the Mets again

Chipper Jones

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chipper Jones, Braves: For the 39th time in his career, Jones knocked in the go-ahead run against the Mets. His two-out RBI single drove in the game's only run as Atlanta's Tim Hudson and New York's R.A. Dickey engaged in a fantastic pitcher's duel. Hudson struck out 10, while Dickey allowed just three hits, two to Jones. It was also Jones' 153rd RBI against the Mets, only Willie Stargell (182) and Mike Schmidt (162) have driven in more against New York. Only Stargell has driven in more go-ahead runs against the Mets (40).

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: After missing six games with a sprained left thumb, A-Rod returned to the Yankees lineup and made an immediate impact, collecting two hits, including his 16th homer of the season, a three-run shot off Henderson Alvarez to pull the Yankees to within a run of the Blue Jays in the sixth inning. It was the 629th homer of Rodriguez's career, putting him one behind former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list.

Mike Moustakas, Royals: There were plenty of raised eyebrows when the Royals' third baseman struggled in his first two months in the big leagues. He was hitting just .182/.237/.227 in his first 53 games in Kansas City with just one home run. That .182 batting average after an 0-for-4 night on Aug. 16 against the Yankees was a low point. The next night he went 3 for 3 against the Yankees and since then he's hitting .385/.418/.548, raising his season line to .252/.301/.338. Saturday he went 3 for 5 with his third homer in four days, as the Royals picked up their seventh straight win.


Ervin Santana, Angels: In what may have been the Angels' last shot at the postseason, the right-hander gave up two homers in a five-run first in Baltimore. Los Angeles has now lost four of its last six games, while the Rangers won in Seattle. Santana retired just two of the first nine batters he faced, allowing a two-run homer to J.J. Hardy and a three-run homer by Mark Reynolds. He allowed just one more hit in his final six innings of work, but the damage was already done.

Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: St. Louis had a chance to get out of a sticky situation in the eighth inning, trailing by two, but with bases loaded and two outs, Octavio Dotel got Hunter Pence to ground into what appeared to be an easy play to end the inning. Furcal looked first at second for a force but couldn't get a hustling Chase Utley. Furcal had to double pump and try to get Pence at first, but with Pence running down the line, the Phillies outfielder was safe, scoring a run and leaving the bases loaded. The next batter, Raul Ibanez, hit a grand slam, making a close game a laugher. St. Louis had scored two in the eighth to pull within a run of the Phillies but then gave up six runs in the bottom half of the inning, in no small part to Furcal's mistake.

Robinson Cano, Yankees: It didn't end up hurting the Yankees, but Cano did cost the team a run in the fourth inning with a base running gaffe. Cano was on second and Mark Teixeira was on third with one out when Nick Swisher hit a liner into center. Cano assumed it would drop, while Teixeira was waiting to see what happened. Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus ran it down and as Teixeira went back to third to tag up, Cano raced around him for the inning's third out.

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Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:45 pm
 

Playoff race: Angels falling behind

Ervin Santana

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Angels' slim hopes of a playoff appearance took a major hit on Saturday, with Los Angeles losing its second game in Baltimore and Texas beating Seattle to give the Rangers a 4.5-game lead in the American League West.

Los Angeles has now lost four of its last six in what was supposed to be the easy part of its schedule. Starter Ervin Santana gave up two homers in a five-run first for the Orioles and the team got shut down by Zach Britton, who allowed just three hits and a run in seven innings.

Texas rallied from an early three-run deficit, as Josh Hamilton had four hits and drove in three while hitting his first daytime home run of the season.

Texas Rangers
87-65
Remaining schedule: 1 @ SEA, 3 @ OAK, 3 vs. SEA, 3 @ LAA
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 96.1 percent

Los Angeles Angels
82-69, 4.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 v. OAK, 3 v. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 3.9 percent

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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