Tag:Athletics
Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Marlins' new home could bring makeover



By Matt Snyder


While it certainly doesn't necessarily mean on-field success, the Florida Marlins are about to finally have their own home. After sharing a park with the NFL's Miami Dolphins since first taking the field in 1993, the Marlins will begin 2012 with a baseball-only facility in Miami. Wednesday, local media were given a tour of the facility and the Marlins took the opportunity to sing their own praises.

"This will be the first ballpark to come in on budget and on time in a long, long time," team President David Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com). "There will not be overruns in this building. This building will come in at the $515 million mark, not one dollar over budget, [and] not one thing taken out of the building. As a matter of fact, we have been able to add things because the workers have been so efficient and it has been built so well."

Samson also noted that he's personally sat in every single seat and went with the proverbial "there's not a bad seat in the house" sentiment.

So the Marlins' fans will finally have a place that seems like a real home instead of some rental where a baseball game seems foreign and unwelcome. Attendance will surely increase (the Marlins average less than 19,000 fans per game this year -- and that's paid, not how many actually show up), but what about the problem that has plagued the Marlins for years: Payroll?

"I know it will be at levels previously unseen," Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

Interesting.

The time might be now to start ramping up the baseball excitement, south Florida.

Real life 'Wild Thing:' If you like baseball and don't love Charlie Sheen's character -- Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn -- in "Major League," well, you might have as many screws loose as Sheen. In the movie, Vaughn earned the nickname after loading the bases with walks on 12 straight pitches and then later set a record for wild pitches in an inning. Embattled Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett didn't do it in an inning, but he has now joined rare company with his wild pitches. With three Wednesday, he became the first pitcher since 1919 to have eight games with at least three wild pitches (Baseball-Reference blog).

A better Johan? Mets ace Johan Santana has been sidelined all season after having a surgical procedure in 2010. But he's getting closer and closer to possibly seeing some relief work this September, just to get him back on the mound for an inning or two. And get this: Mets' pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana's stuff is better right now than it was last season (when he had a 2.98 ERA in 199 innings). "Better velocity," Warthen said (NYDailyNews.com). "The arm was in the same slot each and every time. He wasn't searching for a place that didn't hurt."

Emotional season: Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos came to America in 2004 to chase his dream of playing Major League Baseball. But through the long visa process, his family had never been able to get here to see him play in person ... until this season. His parents recently secured a 10-year visa and finally got to see their son play a big-league game in person this homestand (Washington Times).

Rock and a hard place: "Moneyball" is coming to theaters soon, as I'm sure most of us have seen the previews during commercial breaks on TV by now. For those uninformed, it's a film adaptation of the book about A's general manager Billy Beane trying to build a team without the resources of a large-market club (or even a middle-market one). Beane hasn't really said anything about it, and Wednesday he explained why: "The hard thing for me has been figuring out how to walk this fine line," Beane said (Mercurynews.com). "If I embrace all this movie stuff, it looks like I'm really digging it. But if I put my hand up and say, 'No,' I look like I'm distancing myself from it. There's no playbook for this."

Old Style at Wrigley: Pabst brewing company nearly nixed a deal with Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans have been consuming Old Style beer since 1950, but tradition won out -- as the contract was extended through 2013. As a Cubs fan I can tell you that it's tradition to buy one and suck it down each time you attend a game -- even if it tastes like crap (it kind of does). (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Milwaukee loves 'Tony Plush:" Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan has become an unlikely popular player this season, and the T-shirt depicting his alter-ego -- "Tony Plush" -- outsells all other Brewers' T-shirts three-fold (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). I wonder if Chris Carpenter wants one (click here if you don't get it)? I kid, but it would at the very least be a funny prank for a teammate to get him one.

Wild beats Man: A squirrel broke into the Indians' bullpen Wednesday night and closer Chris Perez attempted to capture it with his jacket. He lost, as the squirrel ran up the bullpen wall and jumped into the center-field bushes (Detroit Free-Press).

Happy Anniversary: On this day 25 years ago, Rafael Palmeiro made his major-league debut (Hardball Times). He'd go on to accumulate 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, nearly 2,000 RBI, a Gold Glove in a season when he only played 28 games in the field and one embarrassing display in front of Congress that has now been immortalized by Larry David.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:23 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Williams' gem leads Angels

Jerome Williams

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jerome Williams, Angels: Williams was one of three pitchers to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning along with Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso and Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt, but neither of those pitchers was pitching for such high stakes. With the Rangers losing earlier in the day to the Rays, the Angels took the field Wednesday night knowing they could make up ground on their rivals in the only real playoff race left. Williams retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced before Seattle's Trayvon Robinson homered to lead off the sixth inning and put Los Angeles in a 1-0 hole. It looked as if Robinson's stellar start would go for naught until the Angels rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to give Robinson and the Angels the 3-1 victory and to pull to 2.5 games behind the Rangers. Robinson's homer was the only hit the Mariners would record, as Williams struck out five and walked one.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles: Reynolds struck out four times (fun stat for the guy who's always sitting next to me at baseball games, strikeouts are worth one out, just like any other way a player makes an out), but with two outs in the 11th inning, Reynolds came through against Hector Noesi with an RBI single to give Baltimore a 5-4 victory in the Bronx.

Carlos Pena, Cubs: Pena was hitting just .135 off of left-handed pitchers and Reds lefty Bill Bray had limited left-handed hitters to just a .188 batting average this season -- so Dusty Baker's decision to replace Logan Ondrusek with Bray was sound. It just didn't work. With the game tied at 3 and one on and one out in the eighth inning, Pena caught up to Bray's first-pitch slider that didn't slide and put it on Sheffield Avenue for a 6-3 Cubs victory. Pena has five home runs and 16 RBI against the Reds this season.


A.J. Burnett, Yankees: As far as Burnett starts go, the Yankee whipping boy wasn't too bad on Wednesday, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking four. No, those aren't great numbers, but it's certainly good for Burnett this season. However, he did make history -- and not the kind he'd like -- on Wednesday with three wild pitches. It was the eighth time he's recorded at least three wild pitches in his career, the most in the modern history. Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro and Tommy John all had seven games with three wild pitches, which is pretty decent company. Burnett has 23 wild pitches this season, the most in baseball.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox: Thanks to Bard, Tim Wakefield failed in his eighth attempt at his 200th career victory. With Boston leading 8-6 in the eighth inning, Bard hit the first batter he faced and after loading the bases and recording two outs, he gave up the lead by walking Eric Thames and Jose Bautista to tie the game. Matt Albers then came in to relieve Bard and gave up a three-run double to Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in five in the game to give the Jays the lead for good. Wakefield wasn't great, allowing five runs (four earned) and three hits in five innings. He walked three and hit two more, but was in line to record the W.

Orlando Cabrera, Giants: Many around the Bay Area are wondering why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with Cabrera over rookie Brandon Crawford at shortstop everyday. It didn't get any better in the team's 3-1 loss to the Padres on Wednesday. In the eighth inning, Cabrera dropped an easy popup behind the infield by Wil Venable, who later scored on a Cameron Maybin triple to give San Diego a two-run cushion going into the ninth with closer Heath Bell on the mound. It was Cabrera's fifth error in 30 games with the Giants. He's also struggling at the plate, going 3 for 28 in the team's last 10 games, including an 0-for-3 night on Wednesday.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:41 am
 

Video: Francoeur gets A's rookie at 1st from RF

Jeff FrancoeurBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The story, no doubt, at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland was right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, but there was something else that was more rare than a no-hitter that happened in Wednesday's game -- a 9-3 putout.

Kansas City's Jeff Francoeur threw out Oakland rookie Michael Taylor at first to end the second inning of the A's 7-0 victory over the Royals. It was just the fifth 9-3 putout in the American League since 1974 -- a span that has seen 47 no-hitters in the AL alone. The play is less rare in the National League, where it has been done 31 times since 1974, including once by Francoeur who got Padres pitcher Mat Latos at first.

Since coming up to the big leagues in 2005, Francoeur has 97 outfield assists -- the most in baseball over that span. However, Wednesday was the first time he got a position player.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," Francoeur told the Associated Press. "The ball was just laced at me, with the perfect hop and I just let it go. You kind of feel bad because you do it to a guy who is playing his fourth game in the big leagues, but that was really fun."

See the play here:


"I knew it was going to be a close play," Taylor told MLB.com. "I hit it and knew I hit it right at him. I took off and it hopped right to him, and he made a strong throw. It was a great play. He did everything he was supposed to do, and I did what I was supposed to do, and he came out on top."

Michael TaylorFrancoeur also got Jemile Weeks in the first inning on Coco Crisp's double with a little help from cutoff man Johnny Giavotella.

Kansas City leads the majors this season with 48 outfield assists, 25 of them have come at home plate. While Francoeur now has 15 outfield assists on the season, he's second on the team in the category to left fielder Alex Gordon, who has 20 outfield assists. Center fielder Melky Cabrera has 12 and Mitch Maier has one.

As for the other side of the play, Taylor isn't exactly a Molina brother. The 25-year-old outfielder has 75 stolen bases in his minor-league career and 15 triples and appeared to be running out of the box (there's only so much that gets caught on camera). In the sixth inning, he even added an infield single -- even if he couldn't beat out the hit to the outfield earlier in the game. He added a defensive highlight of his own on the very next play -- catching a foul ball off the bat of Savlador Perez after it popped out of his own glove (see it here). 

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 6:33 pm
 

A's Guillermo Moscoso loses no-hitter in 8th

MoscosoBy Evan Brunell

Royals rookie catcher Salvador Perez broke up a no-hitter attempt by Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso with a two-out single to right with two outs in the eight inning of Wednesday's game at McAfee Coliseum.

In just his 18th Major League start, Moscoso took a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings, walking just one. He didn't walk a batter until he had two outs in the sixth inning, meaning he retired his first 17 batters on Wednesday. That coupled with the 13 consecutive batters he retired to finish his start against the Mariners on Friday, meant he retired 30 consecutive batters, setting an Oakland record for most consecutive batters faced. The previous record was 29, shared by Catfish Hunter (1968) and Dallas Braden (2010). Both Hunter and Braden had a perfect game during their stretch.

It wasn't a question of Moscoso blowing hitters away ala Justin Verlander -- he's only struck out four, so the defense has been strong behind the right-hander. One of those strong defensive plays came on the first batter of the eighth inning when Jemile Weeks snagged a liner by Jeff Francouer for the first out of the inning.

Mosoco has never thrown more than eight innings in the majors, and did that just once, in a tough loss to the Blue Jays on Aug. 21. In that game, he allowed just three hits and a run in eight innings, striking out seven, but his offense didn't score for him. That wasn't a problem on Wednesday as the A's gave him a seven-run lead behind 11 hits. 

After giving up the single to Salvado Perez, he got Mike Moustakas to fly out to left to end the inning.

Moscoso went 8 2/3 innings, giving up another hit to Alex Gordon in the ninth inning before leaving in favor of Fautino De Los Santos following an error by third baseman Scott Sizemore that put runners on second and third. De Los Santos got Eric Hosmer to pop out to Sizemore to end the game. Moscoso picked up the win, evening his season record at 8-8 and lowering his ERA to 3.34.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 11:43 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 12:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Jesus connects twice



By Matt Snyder


Jesus Montero, Yankees. Monday was quite a day for the Yankees' heavily hyped young slugger. The 21 year old hit his first and second career major-league home runs in an 11-10 Yankees' victory. The locals were excited enough that Montero got a curtain call after each homer. Meanwhile the Yankees opened up a 2 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East with their fifth consecutive victory.

Doug Fister, Tigers. You think the Tigers don't have a good starting pitcher after Justin Verlander? Think again. Fister dominated the Indians for eight innings, allowing only four hits and one earned run while striking out 13 in a 4-2 win. His ERA is down to 3.17. If you insist on looking at his win-loss record (7-13), at least concede his playing for the Mariners until late July drastically hurt him.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. Neither the Red Sox nor the Blue Jays scored a run through 10 1/2 innings Monday, but the Jays' rookie third baseman came through with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th. He also stole a base earlier in the game as he continues to pretty much do it all for his ballclub. Though it's tough for the Blue Jays to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in terms of payroll in the AL East, an offensive nucleus of Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and Lawrie looks pretty damn solid for the next several years.

Also take note of the efforts put forth by James Shields (click here), Cliff Lee (click here) and Zach Stewart (click here), who had big Labor Day outings in their own right.



Andrew Bailey, Athletics. He only faced four hitters in the 10th inning, but it was enough to gather the loss after giving up three hits and being charged with three earned runs while only recording one out in an 11-6 loss.

Padres offense. The Padres managed two runs against the Giants, which wouldn't normally be that bad, but it's a season-long issue that we're going to point out. Giants starter Madison Bumgarner struck out 13 while reliever Santiago Casilla struck out two as the Padres fell 7-2. It marked the 11th time this season the Padres' offense has collectively struck out 13 or more times in a game (Follow the Padres via Twitter). When power is an issue (the Padres rank dead last in the majors in home runs) and speed is a strength (the Padres are first in the majors in stolen bases), it's probably a good idea to put the ball in play as much as possible.

Twins offense. They managed one run on eight hits Monday ... in a doubleheader. The Twins also had two walks and only one extra base hit. They only left nine men on base, which wouldn't be so awful for two games, except for the fact that they only got 10 guys on base. In light of this, the 4-0 and 2-1 losses shouldn't be surprising.

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Playoff race: AL West may be the only one left

Mark Trumbo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's a breakdown of the AL West race, with all data through games of Sept. 3

Texas Rangers
Record: 79-61
22 games remaining: 9 home, 13 away
Winning percentage of remaining opponents: .512
Baseball Prospectus expectancy of division title: 92 percent

Los Angeles Angels
Record: 75-64, 3.5 GB
23 games remaining: 10 home, 13 away
Winning percentage of remaining opponents: .481
Baseball Prospectus expectancy of division title: 8 percent

The two teams have one series remaining head-to-head -- three games in Anaheim on the last three days of the season, Sept. 26-28. Texas leads the season series 9-7.

Playoff race

The Angels headed into Texas on a six-game winning streak at the end of August, but then dropped two of three at Rangers Ballpark and split a series against the woeful Mariners. The Angles split their first two games against the Twins, who like the Mariners enter Sunday with a 58-80 record, before returning home with another shot against the Mariners. The Rangers, on the other hand, finish their series against the Red Sox on Sunday before heading to Tampa Bay to face the Rays for three.

While the Angles and Rangers are at the top of the division, the other two teams in the division could decide their playoff representative -- Los Angeles has three more games against the Mariners and six more against the A's, while the Rangers play the A's and Mariners six times each the remainder of the season.

Since taking two of three from the Angels, the Rangers are 3-2 against the Rays and Red Sox, with another series against the Rays starting on Monday at Tampa Bay. Texas hasn't exactly struggled to score runs this year -- ranking third in the majors in runs scored -- but the return of Adrian Beltre isn't going to hurt. After missing more than a month with a strained left hamstring, Beltre is 3 for 11 with 4 RBI in three games since his return. The Rangers don't expect outfielder Nelson Cruz back until at least the middle of this month, so Beltre's return is a welcome sight.

The Angels made up for a rare bad start by ace Jered Weaver with rookie Mark Trumbo's grand slam and Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos added solo homers in the team's 10-6 victory on Saturday. Another rookie, 20-year-old Mike Trout, could be the Angels' x-factor. Widely considered one of the game's elite prospects, Trout's played like it in his second stint in the big leagues, hitting .406/.500/.844 with four homers since being called up on Aug. 19. 

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:15 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kottaras cycles, Santos implodes

Kottaras

By Evan Brunell

3 UpGeorge Kottaras, Brewers: Kottaras delivered MLB's first cycle of the year, going 4 for 5 with two runs and RBI apiece. In order, Kottaras flied out to start the game, homered, tripled, rapped a RBI single and then a ground-rule double in the top of the ninth. STATS, LLC also found that two of the last three catchers to cycle were Brewers, with Chad Moeller accomplishing the feat in 2004. The Brewers took down Houston, 8-2.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics:
Brandon McCarthy has been dazzling as of late, and contributed a complete-game shutout on Saturday, pumping 10 strikeouts by the Mariners while allowing just three hits. It was a tour de force for the righty, who threw 114 pitches for 78 strikes. "As much time as I've spent hurt, and you've got everyone out there and behind you when things are going well, it kind of makes you feel like you're on top of the world," McCarthy said, whose promising career was wrecked for years with Texas. "I had to remember to focus and not get caught up in it."

Billy Hamilton, Dayton Dragons (Reds Class A): We don't usually cover minor leaguers in this space, but Hamilton accomplished a cool feat Saturday. He stole three bases to reach 100 on the year, the first minor leaguer to do so since Chris Harris with 111 back in 2001. Hamilton also contributed a 2-for-3 effort in the outing to push his overall line to .278/.339/.360 for the year. The 20-year-old can flat out steal -- obviously -- and if his post-All-Star line of .318/.380/.388 line can be believed, could be in line for quite a few 3 Ups down the line. The last time a major leaguer stole 100 in a season was Vince Coleman's 109 in 1987.



3 DownSergio Santos, White Sox: Santos didn't quite take to his role as anointed 2012 closer too well Saturday. Santos gave up three runs in the ninth, getting just two outs, as the Tigers walked off on a Miguel Cabrera homer (with a two-run shot by Ryan Raburn earlier in the inning). It was Santos' fifth blown save of the year, and while this outing won't affect his status for next year (well, the team is managed by Ozzie Guillen...), it sure can't feel good. "I think every loss hurts when you play this game or when you compete," Guillen said. "But this one is very painful. This game was huge for us. It was a very important game."

Brian Duensing, Twins:
Not only did Duensing give up five earned runs in 1 1/3 of an inning (drawing the loss in a 10-6 game), he came out of the game hurt. He had to leave the game with a right oblique strain, and could miss the rest of the year the way oblique strains have acted these days. Or he could only need to miss a start. Either way, it was a lousy outing for the lefty, whose ERA is now 5.24.

Tyler Colvin, Cubs: A year after impressing people, Colvin has delivered an extraordinarily poor year. He struck out three times en route to an 0-for-5 night on Saturday, dropping his line to .145/.200/.306 in 186 at-bats. The Cubs may have some openings in the outfield next season, but Colvin is giving no indication he will be part of the mix with an OPS over 300 points lower than 2010's .816 on the backing of 20 homers.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 12:34 am
 

Red Sox trade for Conor Jackson

By Matt Snyder

The Boston Red Sox have traded minor-league pitcher Jason Rice to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Conor Jackson, the A's have announced.

J.D. Drew is presently on the disabled list and suffered a sprained middle finger on his minor-league rehab assignment, so Jackson could be insurance for the injury-prone Drew. Josh Reddick has been admirably filling in for Drew in right field, so it wasn't really a glaring need for the AL East leaders. Instead of figuring prominently, Jackson likely just provides more depth as rosters expand.

Jackson, 29, is hitting .249/.315/.342 with four homers, 38 RBI and 30 runs in 368 plate appearances this season.

Rice, 25, is 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 89 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket this season.

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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