Tag:Tony La Russa
Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 1:02 pm
 

Pepper: Is it Rasmus or La Russa in St. Louis?

Colby Rasmus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Soap operas are being taken off network TV, but at least we still have baseball.

By the way he's portrayed, you'd expect St. Louis center fielder Colby Rasmus to be the guy with the badly dyed goatee and have ominous music every time he appears on screen. That's at least the way Cardinals manager Tony La Russa (speaking of bad dye jobs) keeps playing it.

The latest barb? Speaking to KSDK-TV in St. Louis, La Russa said Rasmus doesn't listen to the team's coaches.

"No, he doesn't listen to the Cardinal coaches much now, and that's why he gets in these funks, in my opinion," La Russa said, according to MLB.com. "If he would just stay with [basically] what they teach, he would have … but I actually feel concern for him, because he hears it from so many places, he's got to be confused."

That, of course, is a swipe at Rasmus' dad, who has been critical of La Russa publically. 

The Cardinals are actively shopping Rasmus, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler tweeted yesterday, and if they do deal him, it's got to be a sign that the 66-year-old La Russa will stick around a couple of more years in St. Louis. Dealing Rasmus doesn't make much sense (unless there's a huge return) in a baseball-sense, but it does placate La Russa. La Russa is signed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2012. It may come down to a decision for general manager John Mozeliak whether he wants to tie his future to a talented 24-year-old or a manager who has managed more than 5,000 games. What happens before Sunday could tell us quite a bit about the future of the Cardinals.

No platoon: Sticking with the Cardinals and La Russa, Daniel Descalso has started at shortstop in five of the 11 games since the All-Star break, but La Russa denies there's a platoon with Descalso and Ryan Theriot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Contentious in Chicago: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd got into a shouting match with a fan before Tuesday's game in Milwaukee. The fan yelled "you guys suck," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Byrd responded, "We may suck, but you're pathetic." 

Chipper out again: Braves third baseman Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup from a knee injury on Monday, but then miss Tuesday's game and will miss the next few with a right quad injury. The 39-year-old has played in 78 games this season. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Conspiracy theory: Phillies fans got on Giants manager Bruce Bochy for how he used Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the All-Star Game. Several fans at the team's hotel heckled Bochy saying he tried to overuse both Philadelphia pitchers -- though Bochy notes he used both for fewer than 25 pitches. [San Jose Mercury News]

Throwing Trout back: The Angels are expected to send heralded prospect Mike Trout back to the minor leagues soon. [Orange County Register]

'Cool cat': That's how Giants reliever Sergio Romo described President Barak Obama after the Giants' visit to the White House. I'm sure plenty of people said that about Chester A. Arthur, too. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Reds return: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com takes a closer look at the two minor league players the Reds received in return for Jonny Gomes.

Perfect in minors: Former Padre Justin Germano threw a perfect game for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers on Tuesday. It was just the fifth perfect game in the history of the International League. The Clippers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Indians. [Columbus Dispatch]

Barton hurt: There's nothing we here at Eye On Baseball like more than making fun of our fellow team member's bad calls -- like my call of Manny Ramirez as the AL Comeback Player of the Year -- so it never fails that any mention of Daric Barton gets Evan Brunell some good-nature ribbing. Brunell said he'd take Barton over Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard -- so yeah. (Of course, I had some questionable picks, too -- Rasmus No. 1 in center?) But the point other than making fun of Evan? Well, it's that Barton, now in Triple-A, has a tear in his labrum and will see a doctor today. [San Francisco Chronicle]

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Pepper: @DatDudeBP leads MLB tweeters

By C. Trent Rosecrans



BASEBALL TODAY:
CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about Derek Jeter, but also notes these games against the Yankees are not just big for Jeter's chase of 3,000 but also vital for the Rays. There's also the Braves-Phillies series, but Danny points out why that may not be as big of a series.

TWITTER 140: Our own @JamesonFleming put together the sports world's top 140 Twitter users and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) comes in as baseball's best Twitter user.

Phillips didn't start using Twitter until this offseason, but has embraced the technology, holding contests for fans and also taking suggestions on restaurants and off-day activities. Earlier this season, a teen asked Phillips to come to his baseball game on a day the Reds were off, and Phillips stopped by. He also sent a pair fans to spring training and then another pair to San Francisco for the Reds' games at AT&T Park.

He has even won over some Cardinals fans, an amazing feat considering Cardinal nation's distaste for the Reds second baseman, who last year used not-so-nice words to describe Tony La Russa's club.

Florida's Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) is fourth on the list and the second baseball player. Brewers closer John Axford (@JohnAxford) is the third MLB player in the Top 10.

LAST ONE THE TOUGHEST: George Brett told the Associated Press he thought the last hit would be the toughest for Derek Jeter in his quest for 3,000. Of course, Brett reached the mark with a four-hit game. Brett also said he wasn't sure how many more players would reach the milestone.

"Is that desire still going to be there when they're worth $250 million when they're 37 years old?" Brett said.

GOTTA BE THE SHOES: Jeter will be wearing special shoes for his 3,000th hit, and you can get a matching pair. Yahoo!'s Big League Stew has all the details on the details of the shoes.

JETER'S BALLS: One more Jeter entry -- a look at the special baseballs that MLB will use to try to track Jeter's 3,000th hit. [BizofBaseball.com]

CARDS LOCK UP GARCIA?: There are reports from the radio station partially owned by the Cardinals that say the team has reached a four-year deal with two option years with left-hander Jaime Garcia. The deal would cover all three arbitration years and one year of free agency for the 25-year-old Garcia. He's 8-3 this season with a 3.23 ERA and is 22-12 with a  3.07 ERA in his career. [MLB.com]

HARPER STILL TOPS: Baseball America released its Midseason Top 50 Prospects List, and the Nationals' Bryce Harper leads the list, followed by Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Rays' lefty Matt Moore.

ALL-STAR SWITCH: Royals right-hander Aaron Crow may have made the All-Star team as a reliever, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost sees the team's former first-rounder as a starter down the line, as soon as next spring. [MLB.com]

DOCTOR MAY NAME NAMES: Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States to treat athletes, and he may be pressed to give the names of athletes he treated and gave illegal drugs. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets are among the players who have been treated by Galea in the past. [New York Times]

BORAS SPEAKS AT SABR: Super-agent Scott Boras talked of his love of baseball at the Society for American Baseball Research's annual conference on Thursday. Boras talked about his first superstar -- a cow on his family's farm. [Orange County Register]

SCHILLING TALKS PEDS: Former All-Star Curt Schilling went on a Philadelphia radio station Wednesday and said that no "team in the last 20 years that's won clean." Schilling said he thinks the recent decline in offensive numbers are because of MLB's testing policies. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

NO TAPE MEASURE NEEDED: Ever wonder how they calculate home-run distances so quickly? There's a chart, of course, but how is that chart made? Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has that story.

CRADLE OF MANAGERS: The Kansas City A's didn't produce a lot of wins, but they did produce their fair share of managers. Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, but the former Red Sox manager), Dick Williams, Hank Bauer, Dick Howser and Tony La Russa all played for the A's in KC. Two of the game's more successful coaches, Dave Duncan and Charlie Lau, also played for the A's during their stint in Kansas City. [Joe Posnanski]

SLUGGER EMPATHY: Twins designated hitter Jim Thome said it wasn't his place to comment on Adam Dunn's struggles, but said he did empathize with the struggling Chicago DH. "As a guy who swings and misses and has struck out a ton, it's hard," Thome told the Chicago Tribune. "When you can have success and are blessed to play a long time and [then go through] those periods, it's tough."

NO STARS FOR ALL-STARS: Major League Baseball has added stars to the uniforms of All-Stars, but apparently the designations are purely optional, as the Cardinals' three All-Stars declined to take part to keep their uniforms uniform. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

STARLING UNDECIDED: The Royals took a gamble when they picked prep outfielder Bubba Starling with the fifth overall pick in last month's draft, as Starling is also a top-flight quarterback committed to Nebraska. Starling told the Kansas City Star he hasn't decided whether he's going to play football for Nebraska or sign with the Royals for millions of dollars. Starling said he's going to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday and will work out with the team, but won't enroll in classes for the summer.

SAVES RECORD: You need more evidence they keep stats for everything? Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has set the record for most first-half saves by a rookie. Kimbrel's 27th save Thursday broke the record of 26 set by Boston's Jonathan Papelbon in 2006. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

LAWRIE PROGRESSING: Just before he was scheduled to be called up in May, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Lawrie began hitting off a tee earlier this week, and he's improving. The team doesn't expect him to be able to play in games until August. [MLB.com]

ROYAL SHAME: The Royals have once again taken the cheap route in their tribute to the Nergro Leagues, ditching the vintage uniforms. While there are many good signs for the Royals' future, this is a reminder that David Glass is still the owner. [Kansas City Star]

MYTHBUSTER: Scientists are using a lab at Washington State to measure some baseball physics. Among the findings, corked bats don't work, humidors do, and the balls from 2004 performed the same as a ball from the late 70s. [Popular Mechanics]

REMEMBERING BUDDIN: Former Red Sox shortstop Dan Buddin died last week. He's remembered mostly for not being very good -- he averaged 30 errors a year and didn't hit very well, either. A really good remembrance by FanGraphs.com's Alex Remington on the man Boston booed.

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: No rule change needed at 1B

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.

RULE CHANGE NEEDED?: And just yesterday, I was going to make a sarcastic joke that I was surprised I hadn't heard Giants fans complain about safety at first base after the Albert Pujols injury.

For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a  poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).

Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.

LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.

The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.

The Padres could also move some of their relievers, with the Phillies and Cardinals having already checked in on the availability of Chad Qualls and Heath Bell.[FoxSports.com]

SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]

MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]

FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]

HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]

GREEN LIGHT: The Rangers' Craig Gentry is pretty fast. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]

TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]

NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.

ARMS SALE: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks at what the Mariners could get for Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, two guys who are having pretty decent years.

COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.

WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]

NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).

GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]

LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 16, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Pepper: Giants happy Marlins are losing?



By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Can the Pirates finally have a winning season? I discuss this and the AL Central race, AL West race and the spiraling Cardinals with Scott Braun in Thursday's version of Baseball Today. Click on the video above to watch.

TURN THE PAGE, GUYS: On May 26, Scott Cousins bowled over Buster Posey of the Giants and knocked him out for the season. The Marlins completed a sweep of the Giants that night. Since then, the Marlins are 3-17, and Cousins is on the DL with a back injury. Via Extra Baggs, apparently this "hasn't gone unnoticed" for the Giants and they feel like -- off the record, of course -- "karma's a bitch." C'mon guys. You won a World Series last year and now your catcher suffered a freak injury that could have happened to anyone. This kind of petty nonsense has a place in junior high, but not the bigs -- and certainly not from a division leader with a World Series ring. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen a season-ending injury cause so much upheaval -- locally or nationally. It's a shame it happened, but good Lord, he's still alive.

TELL US HOW YOU REALLY FEEL: "The interleague thing is just awful," said Adam Dunn (Chicago Tribune). The White Sox DH, who is finally starting to awake from an extended early-season slumber, is speaking specifically about how the DH affects interleague play. People like David Ortiz will have to sit as they visit NL parks while utility players from NL teams end up DHing in AL parks. Of course, even if interleague play is eliminated, the World Series would still have this issue. And that's kind of an important series, no?

ALONG THOSE LINES: With Eric Hosmer now firmly entrenched at first base, the Royals have no place to put Billy Butler this weekend in St. Louis. Thus, one of their best hitters will be relegated to pinch-hitting duty. (KansasCity.com)

WHITHER COLON INVESTIGATION: Earlier in the season, news broke that Bartolo Colon had received a stem-cell procedure in the Dominican Republic that helped repair his shoulder and elbow. Immediately, Major League Baseball wanted to be sure no banned substances were used in the procedure and began an investigation. Since then, absolutely nothing has happened, and there's no sign of things progressing any time soon. (NYTimes.com blog)

QUIET, PLEASE. MAD SCIENTIST AT WORK: Albert Pujols hadn't started a game at third base since 2002 until this season. Wednesday night marked his third start this season at the hot corner -- as injuries and other circumstances have led manager Tony La Russa to move Pujols across the diamond. The two errors he committed were far from the only reason the Cardinals lost to the Nationals 10-0, but still were worth mentioning. Don't think they deterred La Russa from doing it again, though. "If we had the seventh game of the World Series and it was the same set of circumstances, I'd play him at third base hoping they'd hit 27 balls to him. That's how good a third baseman he is," La Russa said (StLtoday.com). Yeah, keep telling yourself that, Tony.

DAMON'S STOCK RISING: Johnny Damon is nearing his 500th double. When that happens, he'll join 10 other players as the only ones in MLB history to stockpile 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples and 200 home runs (page/TB">Rays%29" target="_blank">TBO.com). That might sound like cherry-picking numbers -- because, well, it kind of is -- but the players he joins prove it means something: George Brett, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Robin Yount. All 10 are in the Hall of Fame.

SETTLING IN: Alex Gordon was probably one of the last guys you'd envision to be a leadoff hitter entering the season, but since making the switch about a month ago, he's morphed into a nice leadoff man. He's raised his on-base percentage by taking a lot more pitches, a deliberate approach. “I definitely haven’t been perfect at it, but my main goal is just to try to get on and give these guys a chance to drive me in.” (KansasCity.com)

HOCKEY AT PROGRESSIVE: The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry will be on full display at Progressive Field in 2012, according to the AP. The two collegiate hockey teams will reportedly square off where the Cleveland Indians play, marking the first major outdoor hockey game in Ohio.

INGE ON TRACK: Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge has been sidelined for the past two weeks with mono, but he's set to start a rehab assignment Thursday night with Triple-A Toledo (Detroit Free Press). While he's been out, the Tigers have continued their surge all the way to the top of the AL Central.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 5:20 pm
 

On Deck: 1st game and 5,000th game



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Mike MoustakasThe Moose has landed: Before the season, many argued about who was the better Royals prospect: Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas. Hosmer's been pretty impressive since being called up (.309/.349/.485 with five home runs in 32 games), so Moustakas has a bit to live up to. Moustakas was hitting .287/.347/.498 at Triple-A Omaha this season with 10 home runs and will be given a chance to play third base every day. He's making his debut about 50 miles from his home in Northridge, Calif., so that will be a nice perk for the No. 2 pick of the 2007 MLB Draft. Royals at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET (Watch live scoring)

Carlos ZambranoPut up or shut up: Carlos Zambrano hasn't pitched since saying the Cubs are "embarrassing" and a "Triple-A team." Well, the Cubs are on a modest two-game winning streak, and it's time for Zambrano to help out the cause against the Phillies. However, it's not the easiest matchup for the Cubs, not just because of the Phillies as a team but because Roy Halladay is on the mound for Philadelphia. That said, Halladay has never beaten the Cubs in three outings. Cubs at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live scoring)

Tony La Russa5,000th game: Tony La Russa will manage the 5,000th game of his career Friday night, making him just the second manager to ever be at the helm for that many games. (He joins Connie Mack, who managed 7,755 games.) To put it in perspective, the active manager with the second-most games managed is Jim Leyland with 3,075 going into Friday night. Funny thing, though, most of us think of Leyland as one of the older managers around, but he's actually younger (by more than two months) than La Russa. La Russa's Cardinals face off against Ron Roenicke, who will be managing his 64th career game. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET (Watch live scoring)

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 1:19 am
Edited on: May 29, 2011 1:34 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Clutch Corey



By Matt Snyder

Corey Patterson, Blue Jays. Does it get any better than a five-hit game? It does if the fifth one was a walk-off home run in the 14th inning. Patterson went 5-7 with four runs scored and the provided the big blow in the Jays' extra-innings victory over the White Sox Saturday afternoon. Granted, he may have seen a pretty fat pitch with the great Jose Bautista (are we getting used to that yet, or does it still sound weird?) standing in the on-deck circle, but Patterson still had to deliver. He did, in a big way. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are still lingering in the AL East (3 1/2 games back).

Paul Maholm, Pirates. I could have included the entire Pirates team here, as the offense pounded 10 hits and four home runs en route to a 10-0 victory over the Cubs. Here's why I didn't, though: This was the least the offense could do for Maholm. He entered the game with a respectable 3.65 ERA and was just 1-7 because he was receiving an average of 1.42 runs in support per start. Talk about your bad fortune, and because of it, people who still judge pitchers solely on wins and losses -- and there are plenty of them -- would think he sucks. Throw that 3.65 ERA in 61 2/3 innings on high-powered offensive team and Maholm's a pretty solid pitcher. For comparison's sake, Max Scherzer is 6-2 with a 3.86 ERA. Jon Lester is 7-1 with a 3.36 ERA. Anyway, when Maholm got the support Saturday in Wrigley, he made it stand up. He needed only 91 pitches to slice through the Cubs' lineup, allowing only three hits, no walks and no runs. That ERA is now all the way down to 3.18. He deserves respect, so please ignore that unfair 2-7 record.

The Brewers' walk-off win. Jonathan Lucroy stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth Saturday afternoon. He brought a .328 batting average, five homers, 23 RBI and had a 1.110 OPS since May 8. He entered as a pinch-hitter for fellow catcher Wil Nieves. Oh, and Lucroy had zero sacrifice bunts in 423 career plate appearances. So when Ryan Braun broke for home (from third base) and Lucroy put down a suicide squeeze bunt to win the game, it was a thing of beauty. You don't often see a walk-off suicide squeeze, and you definitely don't often see a team take a risk like the Brewers took Saturday. Say the inexperienced bunter Lucroy pops it up? Double play, inning over. What if he whiffs? Braun is dead to rights at home and now a two-out hit is needed. A sacrifice fly, base hit or fielder's choice wins the game for the Brewers, but instead they won with a suicide squeeze from a dude who never bunts. No guts, no glory.




Tony La Russa, Cardinals. After Jaime Garcia allowed six runs in the first inning and one in the second, I was ready to list him here. Then he suffered and suffered and suffered some more in the fourth inning until La Russa finally, mercifully removed his man. At the end of the outing, Garcia had thrown 106 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, having allowed 11 hits, 11 earned runs and four walks. His ERA went from 1.93 to 3.28. I'd really like to understand the rationale for a manager to just leave his best pitcher out there as he's taking a beating like that. There's no reason to tire him out when the game's out of hand -- Garcia told reporters after the game he was cooked -- and now you have to worry about confidence issues heading into the next outing. There's just no reason to leave him hung out to dry like that in his first bad outing of the season.

Sean O'Sullivan, Royals. There was so much bad about this, it's hard to know where to begin. O'Sullivan gave up a whopping 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up 10 runs. He allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs in the second inning to Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Endy Chavez. He walked two yet struck out only one. The cherry on top -- via SI.com's Joe Posnanski -- is that O'Sullivan became the first pitcher this season to cough up five home runs in a single game. It has now only happened 87 times in baseball history. That's pretty rare. For some perspective, teams like the Reds, Phillies, Yankees, Cubs and Braves have played more than 15,000 games. So, yeah, rough night for O'Sullivan.

Seattle fans/security. Four times -- FOUR! -- a fan ran onto the playing surface Saturday night in Safeco Field during the Yankees-Mariners game. The third one was stark naked. What an absolute embarrassment for the four morons who think they did something cool, but even more of one for the Mariners organization. I can see how one or even two could slip past the goalie. There are lots more fans than security personnel. But after being beaten twice, you gotta pull out the big guns and start lining up employees along every single section to make sure there are no more. Not only is a field intrusion a nuisance, but it's a severe risk to the players, coaches, managers and umpires. Who knows what these people running on the field are capable of? Lock it up, Safeco Field.

As for any fans who might think it's cool and/or funny to repeat the feat? It's not. If you disagree, you are a loser in major need of a life.

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 8:30 pm
 

La Russa irked by Reds broadcaster

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Little surprise here, but Tony La Russa is upset at other people and what they do or say.

Marty BrennamanOn Tuesday, he was asked about these comments from Reds radio play-by-play man Marty Brennaman (right) during Monday's Reds-Cubs broadcast about the complaints made by Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter, who complained about the mound at Great American Ball Park:

Marty Brennaman: The grounds crew did an incredible job, despite what that whiner and excuse-maker Chris Carpenter complained about the mound and the smoke after the fireworks -- Travis Wood didn't.

Jim Kelch: It's always something when they come in here.

Brennaman: Yeah, that's the line Joe Petini laid on the media, that every time they come in here, it's always something with that team. Oh, really? You might be the most unliked team in baseball and it's always the other team? Unbelievable.

(via the Cincinnati Enquirer)

Joe Pettini, the acting manager of the Cardinals over the weekend, said, "It's always something when you come in here." 

Later, Brennaman called Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan "infantile" for his criticism of Reds closer Francisco Cordero for hitting Albert Pujols in Sunday's Reds victory.

Well, Tuesday, La Russa fired back.

"I think the safest thing to say is he's a Hall of Famer, and he should get the respect that inclusion in that place deserves," La Russa said, according to MLB.com's Matthew Leach. "And then he ought to earn it every day from his Hall of Fame induction forward. He ought to earn it and not abuse it."

Brennaman won the Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2000. Brennaman is well known for saying exactly what he feels on the air and that's gotten him in trouble occasionally, but he's been paid for many, many years to say exactly what he feels and that's not changed anytime recently. That's what makes listening to Brennaman a joy, he calls a great game and doesn't let anything hold him back -- even to the dismay of some Reds players and officials. There are homers out there, but Brennaman isn't one of them.

Brennaman was honored by the Hall of Fame because he does his job well, and sometimes that includes criticism. La Russa will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as soon as he's eligible, but that will be as a manager, not a broadcaster. He doesn't have to like what Brennaman said, but Brennaman is living up to his reputation -- and his duties -- as he says what he did about the Cardinals, Carpenter and Duncan. La Russa, too, has a right to defend his players and coaches, even though at time it may be better just to decline comment. But hey, it keeps keep us bloggers employed, so there's that. And with the Reds and Cardinals battling for the NL Central crown (along with the Brewers and Cubs) in a race that won't be decided until the end of the season, the back-and-forth should give us fodder for months to come.

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 6:12 pm
 

La Russa back, Pujols at third, Rasmus injured

By Matt Snyder

After a week-long absence due to shingles around his right eye, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is returning to the dugout Monday night.

"Everything's better," La Russa said before the Cardinals began a four-game homestand with the first of two games against Philadelphia. "I'm just going to take the improvement, keep going and quit talking about it."

La Russa is feeling better, reportedly due to some pain medication he's been using.

"I just wish I'd taken pain medicine," La Russa said. "I went through all that agony for nothing."

Just in case anyone was wondering, he's at least feeling well enough to tinker with his lineup.

Albert Pujols will get the start at third base, reportedly at his own request (StLToday.com), a position he played two innings one game earlier this season but otherwise hasn't appeared since 2002. His last start at third was September 23, 2002.

The move enables La Russa to use Nick Punto at second base and Lance Berkman at first -- where the two are best suited -- while Allen Craig will man right field and John Jay plays center.

Some of the movement has been caused by the Cardinals' bad defense, others due to injuries. David Freese is on the disabled list, so third base is a makeshift situation. Rasmus is absent from the lineup for the second straight day.

The issue with Rasmus bears watching. He tweaked his abdomen last Monday lifting weights and the pain has reportedly increased since then, forcing him to sit out Sunday and then again Monday evening. He's had an ultrasound as the team doctors attempt to gather more information on what ails him. (Derrick Gould via Twitter)

Rasmus is hitting .305 with three home runs, 15 RBI and an NL-best 31 runs scored.

The Cardinals are 22-19 on the year and trail the Reds by 1 1/2 games in the NL Central after being swept in three games at Cincinnati.

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