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Tag:Rays
Posted on: September 19, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: September 19, 2011 10:32 am
 

Pepper: Crawford apologizes to Red Sox fans



By Matt Snyder


With the Rays climbing to within two games of the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race, it's going to be a fun final two weeks for baseball fans. Some interesting perspective on the drama comes from current Red Sox and former Rays' left fielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford played nine seasons and 1,253 regular-season games for the Rays. He's easily the best player in the history of the young franchise at this point, but he walked this past offseason for a seven-year, $142 million deal and signed with the Red Sox. And he's now having the worst season of his career, from an individual standpoint.

In a diary entry for ESPN.com, Crawford notes that hears the boos from "haters" when the Red Sox visit Tampa Bay and that those fans need to realize he's going to be coming back for six more years. Two more entries of note:

"If Tampa makes a miracle comeback and takes the wild card from us, I will be devastated. I definitely wouldn't want to lose to those guys and watch them get into the playoffs while we go home. That would just be devastating to me."

And ...

"I want to end the diary saying something to the fans of Boston. I just want to say I'm sorry for the year I've had. You guys have been really supportive and I appreciate that. Hopefully when we get into these playoffs, I can be the real Carl Crawford that I know I am. We'll see."

I love seeing that kind of accountability from someone who could easily just blow everyone off and count his millions.

Ironman: Speaking of the Rays, Johnny Damon has now tied Pete Rose and Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Hank Aaron with an impressive streak. Damon has now played in at least 140 games in 16 different seasons, making it a four-way tie atop the all-time record book (TampaBay.com). Does anyone doubt Damon can do it again next year and set the record? I sure don't.

More from Damon: This is funny, and true. Damon points out that Red Sox fans have to root for the Yankees now. “They’re going to have to root for them if they want a chance at the postseason,” Damon said (BostonHerald.com). “They couldn’t root for me when I played in New York. Now they have to root for the whole team.” Man, how much are Yankees fans relishing this?

Happy Birthday: Hall of Famer Joe Morgan turns 68 Monday (Hardball Times). The two-time MVP is widely considered the best second baseman to ever play the game (and was also a broadcaster for years, but we'll leave that alone, being his birthday and all ... )

While we're here: Speaking of Joe, he just led the world's largest chicken dance. Check it out (via Big League Stew):



Sigh: Tigers manager Jim Leyland says he isn't an "on-base percentage guy." (MLB.com) Look, Leyland knows a lot more about baseball than I do, which is quite an obvious fact. But that doesn't mean he can't be wrong about certain things. I just don't understand what it is with the so-called "old-school mentality" that prevents people from grasping that OBP is the percentage of times batters don't make an out. I don't get how you can not be an OBP guy. You go to the plate with a bat. The main object is to not make an out. It's very, very simple. Leyland, thankfully, doesn't say he likes batting average, but instead slugging. Slugging percentage is much more important than average, but OBP is much more important. Think about it. Even if you're just churning out singles and walks over and over, you're still scoring runs. Slugging is very important, too, which is why OPS has gotten more and more run in recent years.

Humbled Ozzie: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen recently made a trip to the Negro Baseball League Museum in Kansas City and came away with a renewed appreciation for everything he has. "It’s so different, and sometimes you shake your head at what these guys went through all this stuff for baseball to be better now than then," he said (Chicago Tribune).

Shoot him up: Phillies slugging first baseman Ryan Howard has bursitis in his left ankle, and he'll have a cortisone shot to help him deal with the issue the rest of the season. (MLB.com)

Johan 'felt good:' Mets ace Johan Santana threw a three-inning simulated game Sunday and he "felt good." (ESPN New York)

Johnson wants Wang back: Chien-Ming Wang has been a bit inconsistent in his return to the hill this season, but he's shown flashes of being solid -- like in his quality-start win Sunday. It will be tough to squeeze into the Nationals' rotation next season, especially if they land a free agent like C.J. Wilson, but current Nats manager Davey Johnson says he'd bring Wang back. "As far as I'm concerned, he's a keeper," Johnson said (MASN Sports).

Don't rush: Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa underwent Tommy John surgery June 3, but he's looking to be back by opening day of next season. That wouldn't be unheard of, but it would be just 10 months after a procedure which typically has a 10-14 month recovery period. So it would certainly be a quick recovery. Jim Tracy, his manager, wants De La Rosa to be patient. “I told him (De La Rosa) about Dr. Jobe and the importance of following the program and don’t try to deviate,’’ said Tracy (DenverPost.com). “Don’t try to speed it up. If you do that and you follow the program and you don’t try to speed it up, you’ll feel like you have a bionic arm. Because it will completely heal and you’ll basically have a brand new elbow.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 18, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: September 18, 2011 11:58 pm
 

Playoff Race: Red Sox Wild Card lead shrinking

By Matt Snyder

The series that could have virtually locked up a playoff berth for the Red Sox ended up bringing the Rays to within two games. After being swept by the Rays last weekend, the Red Sox dropped three of four to Tampa Bay at home and now cling to a slim lead in the Wild Card. Meanwhile, the Angels are within four games as well, so it's become a three-team race to a certain extent -- though the Angels would need a lot of help with just 10 games remaining.

Let's break it down.

Boston Red Sox
87-65
Remaining schedule: 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 81.9 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 percent

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
83-69, 4 GB
Remaining schedule: 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com chances of winning Wild Card: 1.4 percent

On the surface, it would appear the Rays have easily the toughest road, but those last three games against the Yankees may not be as tough as they seem. It's entirely plausible the Yankees have nothing to play for, considering they have more than a three-game lead for the best record in the AL. Then you shift your focus to the Red Sox playing seven games against the hapless Orioles. Only the O's haven't been so hapless lately. Within the past two weeks, the Orioles have won consecutive games against the Yankees and taken two of three from both the Rays and Angels.

So, yes, the Red Sox still have the best shot at making the postseason from this group, but it's not a slam dunk. Remember, those computer odds don't factor in momentum or injuries.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:58 am
 

On Deck: Verlander goes for 24

OD

By Matt Snyder

As always, follow all action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, the Playoff Race page has all the information you need about the remaining races.

24:
The Tigers already have locked up their first division title since 1987, but that doesn't mean they're packing it in the rest of the way. They're only one game ahead of the Rangers for the second-best record in the AL, and as of Sunday, that means playing the Red Sox instead of the Yankees in the first round. And having home-field advantage. But none of this is the main story Sunday. It's the Tigers' starting pitcher. Justin Verlander (23-5, 2.36) is gunning to become the first 24-game winner in baseball since Randy Johnson in 2002. The last pitcher to win at least 24 in the AL? Bob Welch in 1990, when he won a whopping 27 for the A's. Coincidentally, the A's are Verlander's opponent Sunday. Guillermo Moscoso (8-8, 3.44) is on the hill. Tigers at A's, 4:05 p.m. ET.

Rays shoot for three of four: The biggest head-to-head series of this weekend is easily the Rays-Red Sox tilt in Fenway Park. If the Rays win Sunday, they'll have taken three of four from the home team and trimmed the Wild Card deficit to two games with 10 to play. The pitching matchup certainly favors the Rays. David Price (12-12, 3.34) has a 1.60 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning in his last seven starts. The Red Sox send Tim Wakefield (7-6, 5.13) to the mound. He hasn't fared well as a starter (5.33 ERA) at all this season, so it's going to come down to how well the Red Sox hit Price. He's 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in four starts against Boston this year. Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. ET.
 
Giant comeback?
A five-game deficit with only 10 games to play is an awfully tall order, but the Giants are making the NL West as interesting as they can. They've won seven in a row while the Diamondbacks have dropped three straight. That magic number of six for the D-Backs has been stalled for several days, and things have a chance to get interesting before a three-game series between the two clubs next weekend in Arizona. Matt Cain (11-10, 2.79) will try to keep the good times rolling for the Giants against Esmil Rogers (6-5, 5.88) and the Rockies. Giants at Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Joe Saunders (11-12, 3.83) leads the D-Backs against Aaron Harang (13-6, 3.85) and the Padres. Diamondbacks at Padres, 4:05 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 7:30 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Playoff race: Rays take another from Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tampa Bay won't sweep in Boston, but they could win three of four against the Red Sox and head to New York just two games behind the current American League wild card leaders. With Saturday's 4-3 victory over Boston, the Rays moved to within three games of the Red Sox with a seeming mismatch of David Price against Tim Wakefield on tap for Sunday.

Ben Zobrist's two-run homer in the first set the ton for the Rays, who were able to get to Red Sox starter Jon Lester for four runs on five hits in seven innings.

Jeff Niemann lasted just five innings for the Rays, but gave up only two runs, while rookie Matt Moore -- in just his second big-league appearance -- went three big innings in relief, allowing a run on two hits. Moore, manager Joe Maddon told CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler, may just be the Rays' "wild card" in the wild card race.

Tampa Bay finishes its four-game series in Boston on Sunday before heading to New York for four more games against the Yankees. It should be noted, the Yankees' lead over the Red Sox is just 4.5 games, so things could get interesting in that race as well, if the Rays continue to play tormentor against the AL East powers.

The Angels' already slim chances seemed to be dashed with another loss in Baltimore

Boston Red Sox
87-64
Remaining schedule: 1 vs. TB, 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 85.8 percent 

Tampa Bay Rays
84-67, 3 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 5.1 percent 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
82-69, 5 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 0.6 percent

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

Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:15 am
 

On Deck: Lester gets another shot at Rays

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Jon LesterJeff NiemannWild card showdown, part 3: Have you heard the Rays are pressing the Red Sox for the American League wild card? And they're playing each other right now? Oh, maybe you have. Yeah, it's been covered to death, it seems, but it's still as big of a series as there is right now. Boston's win on Friday means the Rays won't leave town any closer than two games behind the Red Sox. Lefty Jon Lester takes the mound for the Red Sox, and with another victory, Boston could exhale -- at least a little. Lester was roughed up by the Rays in his last outing, as Tampa Bay recorded eight hits and four runs against him in just four innings of work. That broke a streak of five starts of allowing just one earned run or less. He's 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann's only faced the Red Sox once this season, allowing just two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 10 on July 17. However, the Red Sox won that game, 1-0. Rays at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. ET

Division title in sight: Both the Cardinals and the Phillies are still alive in the playoff hunt, but while the Cardinals need a lot of help, the Phillies have already clinched a playoff berth and with a win would clinch the National League East title. Of course, with a magic number of one, the Phillies could clinch the division before Roy Oswalt makes a pitch if the Braves lose their 4:10 pm. game against R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Turner Field. The Cards would welcome that as St. Louis trails Atlanta by just 3.5 games in the National League wild card race. Cardinals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

Stephen StrasburgStrasmas time again: With a combined 138-160 record, there would normally be very little reason to take notice of a September game between the Marlins and Nationals. But this isn't just any game, it's a Strasmas outing, as Stephen Strasburg makes his third start of the season. In eight total innings this season, Strasburg has allowed one run and struck out eight, allowing five hits. He has not walked a batter yet. Strasburg's last start went just three innings after throwing 31 pitches. With an extra day of rest, hopefully we'll get to see him go a little longer this time. He's scheduled to make at least one more start -- Sept. 23 against Atlanta -- and could pitch in the Nationals' last game of the season, Sept. 28 at Florida. Marlins at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 1:54 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Aviles makes his first homer count

Mike Aviles

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Aviles, Red Sox: Starting in place of the hobbled Kevin Youkilis, Avilies was nearly the goat when his sacrifice attempt in the second inning resulted in a double play. He made up for it in the fourth inning with his first homer in a Red Sox uniform, giving Boston a 4-3 lead -- one they'd hold on to for the big win against the surging Rays. Aviles had just three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 70 plate appearances since his trade from Kansas City on July 29 before hitting the game-winning homer.

Ryan Braun, Brewers: With two homers on Friday in Cincinnati, Braun became the second Brewer in franchise history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. His 29th homer of the season came in the third inning off of Bronson Arroyo (more on that later) and he hit his 30th off of reliever Jeremy Horst in the eighth inning. He entered the game with 31 stolen bases. Tommy Harper hit 31 homers and stole 38 bases for the Brewers in 1970, the team's first season in Milwaukee.

Adron Chambers, Cardinals: In just his second career plate appearance, the Cardinals outfielder singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning to help lead the Cardinals to a 4-2 victory. Chambers had an excellent at-bat, fouling off three pitches before lining the ball into right off Phillies reliever Michael Schwimer


Bronson Arroyo, Reds: Prince Fielder's solo shot in the second inning was the 41st homer given up by the Reds starter this season, a new franchise record. The old record was set by left-hander Eric Milton in 2005. But the record wouldn't stay at 41 long, Mark Kotsay and Ryan Braun went back-to-back in the third and George Kottaras homered in the seventh to increase Arroyo's total to 44. Arroyo easily leads the majors in homers allowed this season -- the Rangers' Colby Lewis is second with 33 and Houston's Brett Myers has allowed 31. Only four pitchers in history have allowed more than Arroyo's 44 homers, Bert Blyleven (50, 1986), Jose Lima (48, 2000), Blyleven (46, 1987), Robin Roberts (46, 1956).  Jamie Moyer also allowed 44 in 2004. With two more possible starts, Arroyo could challenge Blyleven's record. Interestingly enough, he's allowed the same number of walks as homers this season. The only pitcher in history to allow more homers than walks (with more than 40 walks) was Roberts in 1956 when he walked just 40 batters.

Derek Lowe, Braves: With Jair Jurrjens unavailable for the first round of the playoffs and Tommy Hanson questionable, if the Braves hang on to win the wild card, they'll need Derek Lowe in the NLDS. Lowe's hardly inspiring confidence right now, allowing six runs on nine hits in just 2 1/3 innings against the same Mets team that had their manager bash them the day before. Lowe, 38, is 0-3 with a 10.15 ERA in August. Rookie Julio Teheran gave up four runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings after relieving Lowe.

Ian Kinsler, Rangers: With two outs and two on in the third, the Rangers second baseman charged a chopper by Dustin Ackley and tried to get rid of the ball quickly to end the inning, but his throw from about 40 feet went well wide of first, allowing the Mariners' first run of the game to score. Pitcher C.J. Wilson didn't help himself, either when his wild pitch allowed another run to score. The Rangers then got a bad break when Mike Carp hit a ball off the bag at second to score yet another run in the three-run third. All three runs in the inning were unearned, and Wilson needed 41 pitches to get through the inning -- 18 following Kinsler's error. Kinsler did record one of the four hits the Rangers managed off of starter Blake Beavans.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 11:21 pm
 

Playoff race: Beckett, Red Sox top Rays

Josh Beckett

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh Beckett wasn't great, but he was good enough, as the Red Sox took Game 2 of the series with the Rays, 4-3. With the loss, Tampa Bay can't leave Boston any closer than two games out of the wild card race before heading to New York for four games with the Yankees.

Making his first start since suffering a sprained ankle on Sept. 5, Beckett went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out seven and walking one.

It was a much-needed win for the Red Sox, who had lost six straight to the Rays since beating them Aug. 16.

Meanwhile, the Angels' hopes of a a wild card berth took a series shot with an 8-3 drubbing in Baltimore.

Boston Red Sox
87-63
Remaining schedule: 2 vs. TB, 4 vs. BAL, 3 @ NYY, 3 @ BAL
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 80.6 percent

Tampa Bay Rays
83-67, 4 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 3.1 percent 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
82-68, 5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 vs. OAK, 3 vs. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 1 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:51 pm
 

On Deck: Beckett, Shields square off in battle



By Evan Brunell


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

TBBOSBest matchup: On Friday, the best matchup is not only the best pitching matchup, but the best game to watch, period. The Red Sox continued to slump Thursday, dropping the opener of a four-game series to the Rays. Now Tampa's just three games behind the BoSox for the wild card. Josh Beckett will make his first start in almost two weeks as he puts his 2.49 ERA up against James Shields, who completes games like taking candy from a baby. Shields doesn't have a good history against the Sox, but over his last four starts has thrown 34 1/3 innings of 0.79-ERA ball. Nasty. Rays vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

SabathiaRoad to 20: CC Sabathia chases after his 20th win as the Yankees begin their final series against Toronto. While Justin Verlander has been superhuman, Sabathia's season has largey been ignored. It shouldn't be. In 224 1/3 innings, Sabathia has notched a 2.93 ERA, striking out 216 and walking just 55. If not for Verlander's magical season, Sabathia would be the favorite to win the Cy Young Award. As is, he'll try to become the first Yankee pitcher to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons since Tommy John in 1980. A win (or Red Sox loss) will reduce the Yankees' magic number to single-digits. He'll oppose Dustin McGowan, replacing Brett Cecil after Cecil sliced his hand cleaning a blender. Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

BumgarnerSeason ending? In what could be Madisom Bumgarner's final start, the left-hander will seek to even his win-loss record at 12 apiece when he opposes the Rockies. In his first full season, Bumgarner has posted a 3.33 ERA in 186 2/3 innings as a 21-year-old, turning 22 in August. It was simply a fantastic year for Bumgarner. "I'm just making better pitches and having a little better luck at the same time," Bumgarner told the Associated Press, speaking about his 2.63 ERA in the second half. "I don't know if I've gotten stronger. I still feel good. I'm not worried about wins and losses for me. The biggest thing is innings. You want to stay out there and pitch late. That's probably the most important thing." Alex White goes for Colorado. Giants vs. Rockies, 8:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com