Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: August 14, 2011 11:49 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Belt belts two home runs

Belt

By Evan Brunell

Jack McKeon, Marlins:  Giants first baseman Brandon Belt showed the Giants (and opponent Florida) that if Aubrey Huff's recent resurgence isn't for real, the Giants will be just fine. Belt... well, "belted" two solo home runs on Sunday to pace San Francisco over the Marlins. Ryan Vogelsong won his 10th, trimming his ERA to 2.47. But neither of them get the prize -- that goes to Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who told the Associated Press that there was no bad blood between the two teams as a result of the Buster Posey broken leg suffered at the hands of Scott Cousins earlier in the year. "Guys get carried away," McKeon said. "Vogel ... Volkswagen ... whatever his name is -- he's lucky he didn't have to face Drysdale or Gibson or one of those guys. You would get a shave and a haircut real quick."

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays: Boy, is Toronto sure glad it finally called up Brett Lawrie. The rookie has been hot so far in his early career, and delivered a game-tying double in the ninth inning that the Blue Jays would go on to win the next inning. It was his only hit in four trips to the plate, but Lawrie's already shown a knack for getting pivotal hits and is hitting .355 on the year. He's rallied the troops by wearing his heart on his sleeve and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Nick Markakis, Orioles: Markakis has been a major disappointment not just this season, but for a few years now. Markakis followed up two strong years with his best season yet in 2008 as a 24-year-old, raking 48 doubles and 20 home runs with a .306/.406/.491 mark, but he tumbled off by close to 100 points in OPS over the next two seasons. This year's been even worse, as he came into Sunday's game against Detroit with a .280/.333/.391 mark. He exacted some measure of help Sunday by going 3 for 5 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI. It's something.



Jason Marquis, Diamondbacks: Marquis' first two starts for the Diamondbacks didn't go too well, giving up eight runs (seven earned) in four innings two starts ago, following that up with another four-inning stint, coughing up seven runs (four earned). That made Sunday promising, as Marquis had given up one run through 3 1/3, but a line drive off his shin the inning previous flared up all of a sudden and he tumbled to the ground in a heap -- as did batter Josh Thole, who was plunked by Marquis' errant pitch when he took a dive. The diagnosis? Broken shin. Ouch.

Jordan Lyles, Astros: Lyles had a tough opponent in Hiroki Kuroda, who hurled seven scoreless, but Lyles didn't help matters by blowing up for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. It's the second straight time that Lyles has given up seven runs, and he drops to an unsightly 1-7 on the year and his career. His 5.32 ERA belies a pitcher that might need some more seasoning in the minors, but he's also just 20, and there's plenty better things on the horizon for the right-hander.

Jeff Francis, Royals: Leading up to the trade deadline, Francis was looking like a nice left-hander to slot in the middle of the rotation, especially in the NL. Alas, since then he's been anything but and turned in a six-run outing in just 3 2/3 innings, balls rifling all over the park with 10 hits. Francis also walked two and struck out just one in what was just an overall bad day at the park. His ERA is all the way up to 4.76 now and that luster? It's gone.

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 12:42 pm
 

On Deck: Wakefield goes for 200, Uggla for 34

On Deck


By Evan Brunell


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

AngelsJaysBEST MATCHUP: Dan Haren and Brett Cecil go head-to-head as the Angels attempt to stay close to first place, slipping to three games behind after Saturday's loss. Toronto, meanwhile, is one game over .500 and would like to stay that way. It will be difficult against Haren, who has a 2.91 ERA on the season. Toronto isn't exactly a patient bunch and Haren has pinpoint control, so it might be a long day for Toronto. Angels hitters may have a long day in store, too. Left-hander Brett Cecil's 4.31 ERA on the season doesn't draw much attention, but he's been far better since returning from the minor leagues on June 30 and has been pitching well his last four starts, throwing 29 innings of a 2.17 ERA. Angels vs. Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET

UgglaCHASE FOR 34: At this point in Dan Uggla's hitting streak, every game is appointment-viewing. If the Brave can extend his streak to 34 games, he will be tied for the 14th longest hitting streak in baseball history. Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Luis Castillo and Jimmy Rollins (all four, coincidentally, were teammates for Philadelphia in spring training) are the only players with longer hitting streaks since the turn of the century, and Rollins tops the list at 36. Matt Garza will try to blank Uggla the first few times around the order while Atlanta counters with Brandon Beachy. Cubs vs. Braves, 1:35 p.m. ET

WakefieldGOING FOR 200: The third time wasn't the charm for Tim Wakefield. Will the fourth be? It's the knuckleballer's fourth straight attempt at reaching 200 career wins. Seattle, with its moribund offense, is a pretty good target. Unfortunately, the Sox's own offense has been compromised by Kevin Youkilis, who has missed three of the last five games, including the first two of the Seattle series. Youk was mired in a slump prior to the injury too, so his absence as a force has been felt for some time. The Mariners counter with rookie Charlie Furbush on the mound. The lefty was acquired from Detroit in a deadline trade and is attempting to covert from relief to the rotation, which has been a bumpy road thus far. Red Sox vs. Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 7:13 pm
 

On Deck: Uggla and Braves on 5-game streak

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Continuing the streaks: You may have heard that Dan Uggla has a streak going, but so does his team. While Uggla's hitting streak is now at 32 games, the Braves have a more modest five-game winning streak going, tied for the longest current streak in baseball along with the Rays. Atlanta's still 7 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the National League East, but at 70-49, it has the second-best record in the National League and a six-game lead over San Francisco and St. Louis in the Wild Card race. Uggla is 1 for 2 with a walk in three career plate appearances against Cubs starter Randy Wells, who is allowing 10.7 hits per nine innings. Cubs at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

Tim LincecumAce time: After a loss and a Diamondbacks victory on Friday, the Giants are two games behind Arizona in the NL West, their biggest deficit since May 7. The good news is that their ace is on the mound tonight in Florida, as Tim Lincecum faces off against Javier Vazquez . Lincecum struggled some (by his standards) in the first half of the season, but since a disastrous start against Cincinnati in June, he has a 1.67 ERA in his last 10 starts. Of course, he needs someone to score some runs for him to pick up a victory, because even in those 10 starts in which he's allowed a total of 13 runs (12 earned) and struck out 71 batters in 64 2/3 innings, he's gone just 5-4 and the Giants are 5-5 -- maybe if he were hitting better than .095/.156/.095 -- but at least he has an excuse, he's a pitcher. The rest of his team has no such excuse. Giants at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET

Jered WeaverCy Weaver returns: Ervin Santana stepped up nicely on Friday filling Jered Weaver's usual spot in the Angels' rotation, and now the Blue Jays get to face Weaver, who was pushed back a day because of his six-game suspension for his part in the fracas in Detroit. Weaver enters the game 14-5 with a 1.78 ERA and 3.85 strikeouts for every walk. As good as he was leading up to his All-Star Game start, Weaver's been better since then, going 3-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his five starts since the break. He allowed seven hits and struck out eight in his last start, a shutout against the Mariners on Aug. 5. That said, his opposite is hardly a slouch. Toronto lefty Rickey Romero has gone at least eight innings in each of his last three starts and has given up just three runs and nine hits over that same span, while striking out 21. Angels at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET 

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:41 pm
 

On Deck: Spotlight on Turner Field

OD

By Matt Snyder

We've got our usual full slate of Friday night games, with 15 starting in a three hour and five minute window. There is, of course, the possible drama of the Giants heading to Florida to square off against the team that knocked Buster Posey out for the season, but it sounds like nothing will come of that. So we'll grab three other intriguing storylines here. And remember to keep those eyes glued on the CBSSports.com live scoreboard all night with up to the second updates.

Uggla goes for 32, Braves lead Wild Card: The Braves return home Friday with second baseman Dan Uggla bringing in the longest major-league hitting streak since Chase Utley's 35-gamer in 2006. We've already covered the matchups for this series in terms of Uggla's history against the Cubs' pitchers, so let's instead focus on the game itself here. The Braves have a five-game lead in the NL Wild Card race and host the team with the second-worst record in the National League. Still, it may not be as easy as it sounds. The Cubs come in having won nine of their past 11 and are playing solid baseball for the first time in 2011. Carlos Zambrano (9-6, 4.46) of the Cubs faces off against Mike Minor (1-2, 4.85). Cubs at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET.

Oakland's Public Enemy: Rangers starter C.J. Wilson (10-5, 3.35) had some strong words for the Oakland A's, the stadium, their fans, etc. earlier this week. He basically said everything sucks, so that couldn't have endeared him much to the A's or the Oakland fans. Wilson's former teammate Brandon McCarthy (5-5, 3.31), now of the A's, responded by saying the A's need to beat Wilson and the fans need to show up and send Wilson a message. And wouldn't you know it, the two pichers just happen to be squaring off Friday night. There doesn't seem to be any bad blood, so much as Wilson just speaking his mind and McCarthy trying to stand up for his ballclub and fans. Still, it's too bad the ptichers don't bat. It would be cool to see them go head-to-head. Rangers at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET.

Wells returns to Toronto: Vernon Wells played almost 1,400 games in 12 seasons for the Blue Jays. He was a fixture in center field for over a decade, making three All-Star Games and hauling in three Gold Gloves. This season, however, he's playing for the Angels and Friday night he'll take the field at the Rogers Centre wearing enermy garb for the first time. Wells hasn't fared well at all for the Angels, as his .208/.241/.373 line is the worst of his career. He is, however, in a pennant race of the Angels are just two games behind the Rangers in the AL West. Wells' Angels will send red-hot Ervin Santana (8-8, 3.21) to the hill as the Blue Jays counter with Brandon Morrow (8-6, 4.51). Santana is 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA -- and a no-hitter -- in his past eight starts. No word yet on the Man in White's availability, but the Jays may need him. Angels at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Angels won't change signs in Toronto



By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Angels are the next team headed to face the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and manager Mike Scioscia told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register that he doesn't "anticipate" changing the team's signs in the wake of the sign-stealing allegations.

Scioscia also added that he'd never heard of the mysterious "man in white" in the stands.

"What makes that hard to believe is if something like that is going on and a player changes teams, that information would get out," Scioscia told the paper. "If you're part of a team and you know something like that that's not kosher is going on and then you change teams -- that word is going to get out."

Scott DownsLike, by say former Blue Jays pitcher Scott Downs, now an Angel.

"I played there for six years and I didn't hear anything about anything like that," Downs told Plunkett. 

Downs added -- "I'd be dumb not to say anything [to his new team.]"

Downs also defended Jose Bautista, saying Bautista is a testament to hard work, nothing else.

It could be that Downs and Scioscia are playing dumb and they're in on a vast conspiracy keeping this on the down-low -- or that only the hitters knew of the "man in white" and kept it from the pitchers, who had no need to know and could only hurt them if they went somewhere else. Or the report could just be a rumor. Or, most likely, the truth is somewhere in-between.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 9:46 am
 

Pepper: Giants, Marlins meet again

Buster Posey

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Just when we thought we'd heard the end of the Buster Posey injury, the Giants are headed to South Florida.

For the first time since May, the Marlins and Giants will meet. You may remember Scott Cousins ran over Posey and ended the season of the reigning Rookie of the Year. In May, the Giants talked about Cousins, retribution and the rest. Well, that's not going to be a problem.

"We've moved on," Bruce Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "We have bigger things to be worried about. That's trying to win and get to the postseason. What happened is behind us."

After a 3-7 home stand, the Giants take to the road as the second-place team in the National League West, a half-game behind the Diamondbacks.

Also, Cousins won't be a target, because he's on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.

The Giants say they've moved on, so maybe we all can as well. Or at least let's hope.

(Also, that's just an awesome picture from Jason O. Watson of US Presswire.) 

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs: Blue Jays fans had some fun with the report of Toronto stealing signs. The Star in Toronto has a good photo gallery of signs the fans brought to Thursday's game.

Fast company: Justin Verlander recorded his 100th win on Thursday in his 191st career start, making him the 13th fastest to the 100-win mark since 1919. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Holliday break:  St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday missed his second consecutive game with a back injury on Thursday, but may be ready to play Friday. Holliday is unlikely to go on the DL. [MLB.com]

Good Reed: The Cubs may be having another rough season, but outfielder Reed Johnson is having an outstanding year. He's hitting .349/.389/.566 with five homers in 75 games. In five starts since coming back from back stiffness, Johnson has gone 11 for 21 and is making himself part of next season's plans. However, he is a free agent after this season. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Vandy bound: Blue Jays first-rounder Tyler Beede will not sign with the Blue Jays, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports. Beede, a right-handed starter, told teams before the draft that he wasn't going to sign, but the Blue Jays took a chance on him. He will be eligible to be drafted again in 2014.

Real fight: Usually baseball fights are millabouts with some shoving and little else. Not in the independent North American Baseball League. The league infamous for Jose Canseco and the Lake County Fielders, has another claim to shame -- the fight between former big leaguers Mike Marshall (the manager of the Chico Outlaws) and Tony Phillips. From the Los Angeles Times, here's the fight in which the 51-year-old Marshall suffered facial injuries.

Cop unhappy with Rays: The Cop from the Village People isn't happy with the Tampa Bay Rays. Victor Willis said he's planning on suing the Rays "within the next 30 days" for misappropriating his voice and image. The Village People performed after a Rays game last season and used video of the band performing YMCA in 1978 to promote the post-game concert. Problem is, Willis left the band in 1984 and he wasn't performing. Willis wrote the band's hits and doesn't need to perform to earn money, as he earns more than $1 million a year from royalties from YMCA alone, not to mention Macho Man, Go West and In the Navy. [St. Petersburg Times]

No pinch-hitter for Dunn: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he's not going to pinch-hit for Adam Dunn, even though he's thought about it. Guillen said he'll consider sitting Dunn against left-handed starters, but keep him in the games he starts. [Chicago Tribune]

Welcome back: Left-hander Brian Matusz is pitching well in Triple-A Norfolk and could be back on his way to Baltimore in short order, manager Buck Showalter told reporters. [MLB.com]

Progressive Ice: Cleveland's Progressive Field will host the Michigan-Ohio State hockey game this winter. The ballpark started Snow Days last year with a quarter-mile ice skiing track and a tubing hill. Both will be back, but they're also be a hockey rink. [New York Times]

Coming up short: Just about every game you'll hear a fan or radio announcer groan when an outfielder pulls up and lets a ball bounce in front of him. You know why he does that? Because he's not Alfonso Soriano. As soon as I saw the way Alfonso Soriano play Ian Desmond's leadoff double in the top of the eighth inning on Thursday, I thought, "that's why you pull up." Desmond turned Soirano's bad judgement into a double. It wasn't in MLB.com's highlights (or lowlights) but it's just another in the long list of Soriano's fielding mishaps.

Cactus bringing jack: A cactus statue signed by all of this year's All-Stars is being auctioned off on MLB.com with proceeds going to the cancer charities. [MLB.com]

Great news: Finally, a personal note. You may not know Dave Cameron, a writer for FanGraphs and USS Mariner, but Dave's recently been diagnosed with leukemia. Anyway, Dave's completed his first round of chemotherapy and there's no more leukemia in his body. He'll still have to go through more chemo and will be in the hospital for another week or so, but this is great news. [FanGraphs]

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Sans chicken wings, Cueto's back



By Matt Snyder


Johnny Cueto, Reds. Cueto had been rolling right along, sporting a 1.72 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 16 starts. He was coming off a shutout when he was shelled by the Cubs last Saturday for seven hits and five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. What was wrong? Cueto said he had chicken wings and his stomach wasn't feeling right when he took the hill. So this time around he avoided the wings and got back on track. Thursday, Cueto worked seven shutout innings against the Rockies, giving up just three hits and walking two while striking out nine in a 2-1 victory. He trimmed his league-leading ERA down to 1.94.

St. Louis Cardinals. If the Cardinals lost this one, they'd have fallen six games back to a Brewers team that is playing as well as anyone right now. That isn't an insurmountable deficit, but it would be quite the climb. Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter was touched up for two runs in the top of the first, too, but after that everything fell into place for the Cardinals. Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols hit first-inning homers to tie it. Pujols didn't let up, going 4-for-4 on the night with Matt Holliday sidelined. Carpenter labored at times, yet found a way to battle through eight innings without allowing a third run. Closer Fernando Salas worked a perfect ninth. The defense was actually good, too, as the Cardinals turned four double plays in the 5-2 win. They're still four games out and the Brewers are still the favorite, but this was a game the Cardinals needed in this race.

Mark Buehrle, White Sox. The veteran threw eight innings, allowing only six hits and three runs while walking none and striking out six. He picked up the win as the White Sox remained four games out in the AL Central, yet crept to within one of second-place Cleveland. While it was a good outing, Buehrle's in this spot because it marked his 18th stright start in which he allowed three runs or less (Mark Gonzales on Twitter). That guy gives his team a chance to win every single time he takes the ball. And he's talking retirement after this year as he's set to hit free agency. He's only 32.



Brad Mills, Blue Jays. This just in: Oakland isn't very good at offense. Entering Thursday, only the Mariners had scored fewer runs among AL teams. But the A's lit Mills up. He only lasted three innings, allowing five hits and six earned runs in a 10-3 Blue Jays' loss. Maybe the Man in White switched sides. I mean, guys don't just hit in that stadium without some kind of extra help, right?

Nationals in ninth. The Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out against fickle Cubs closer Carlos Marmol Thursday afternoon. The deficit was two and it appeared Marmol had no idea where any of his pitches were going. After an Ian Desmond strikeout -- in which he fought off several pitches out of the zone -- Wilson Ramos had an infield single to cut it to one. Brian Bixler followed with a check-swing strikeout before Rick Ankiel flew out to the warning track to end it. Of all the balls the Nats swung at in the ninth, I'm gonna guess about 35 percent were actually in the strike zone. Even their two hits were of the infield variety.

Nyjer Morgan, Brewers. I rarely have a problem with players on opposing teams having a shouting match. In fact, I quite prefer that kind of fire rather than befriending the opponents. It's supposed to be a competition. But when your teammates are telling you to stop, it's probably a bit ridiculous. According to multiple reporters (including Derrick Goold) at the game, the brief stoppage of play in the top of the eighth inning was due to Morgan yelling at Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter from the dugout. Teammates were reportedly trying to get him to stop and when the camera cut to home plate, Prince Fielder and Yadier Molina could actually be seen laughing about it. If the two clubs are at odds, that's competition. If there's only one guy yelling and everyone else is either telling him to stop or laughing, well, that's a bit out of whack.

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Posted on: August 11, 2011 12:22 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kipnis a big hit in Cleveland



By Matt Snyder


Jason Kipnis, Indians. On the night when Ubaldo Jimenez made a sparkling home debut for the Tribe, rookie second baseman Kipnis -- who the Indians feel can be their Utley or Pedroia -- torched the Tigers. He ended 5-for-5 with a double, home run, four runs and three RBI. He became the first Indians rookie since 1952 to accrue five hits and four runs in the same game (MLB.com). The Indians won and moved within two games of the Tigers in the AL Central.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. The heavily-hyped rookie third baseman came to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning with the bases loaded and his team trailing 3-2. He sent a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats for his first career grand slam to put the Blue Jays on top for good. He later doubled and scored to end the day 2-for-4 with six total bases, two runs and four RBI. He's hitting .389 with two homers and six RBI in just five games since his promotion.

Curtis Granderson, Yankees. He connected for home runs twice, driving in four on the two blasts, in a 9-3 Yankees win. It was a win that brought the Yankees to within 1 1/2 games of the Red Sox in the AL East, but we're listing Granderson here for a different reason. It was his 113th game of the season, and he set a new career high with 31 homers. He averaged 24 per season in the last five -- his only five full years in the bigs. The surge is a testament to the hard work in improving against left-handers, which came last August. Oh, and for those who want to complain about the ballpark, Granderson has 14 road home runs.



Jonathan Sanchez, Giants. When Ryan Vogelsong unexpectedly emerged as a solid starter, the Giants appeared to have a nice problem on their hands: Six viable starters. Then again, Barry Zito isn't very viable for the most part, and now Sanchez is falling out of favor as well. He only made it through 4 1/3 innings Wednesday afternoon against the Pirates, allowing four earned runs and, yes, four walks. Control continues to plague him. This was against a Pirates team that entered having lost 11 of their past 12 games. It's going to be interesting to see what the Giants do when Zito gets off the DL. Oh, and while we're here, the Diamondbacks won Wednesday night and took over first place in the NL West. The defending champs are certainly in danger of missing the postseason.

Aaron Crow/Joakim Soria, Royals. The Royals were in great position to win with their seemingly-adolescent offense -- in terms of age -- putting up seven runs, including three ninth-inning insurance runs. Instead, the bullpen unraveled. Crow and Soria combined to allow five runs on five hits while only recording two outs. The last run was unearned, as Sam Fuld hit a game-tying triple -- only to come home as the winning run on a throwing error. Just a miserable ninth for the Royals.

Dexter Fowler, Rockies. Don't just look at the box score here. Remember, we watch games. Those who played in college and maybe even high school will remember the Cardinal Rule of baserunning, which is to never, ever make the third out at third base. Well, Fowler did it Wednesday night. In the ninth inning. To end the game. And he was the tying run. He is absolutely fast enough to score on a single, so there was no reason for the blunder.

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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