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Tag:BRett Lawrie
Posted on: September 2, 2011 12:54 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Remember me?



By Matt Snyder


Albert Pujols, Cardinals. So ... about that "disappointing season" ... Thursday, Pujols hit a solo home run in the first inning, a grand slam in the third inning and ended the day 4-4 with five RBI and three runs as the Cardinals trimmed the Brewers lead to 7 1/2 games in the NL Central with an 8-4 win. Pujols is now hitting .292 with a .917 OPS, 90 runs, 84 RBI and an NL-best 34 home runs. You'd be hard pressed to name a handful of players more scary in the batter's box to opposing pitchers, even in the worst season of his career.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. The kid the Jays got in return for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum just keeps hitting. With the score tied at six in the eighth inning Thursday, Lawrie hit a two-run bomb to propel the Blue Jays to victory. On the day, Lawrie was 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and two RBI. In just 26 games since getting his call to the show, Lawrie has 32 hits, six doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 20 RBI, 15 runs and four stolen bases. He's hitting .340/.392/.713 and he's only 21 years old. Needless to say, the return on Marcum looks like it is going to be quite nice for years to come.

Miguel Batista, Mets. The 40-year-old veteran made his Mets debut Thursday, meaning he's now pitched for 10 different teams. He put together a quality start, working six innings and allowing two earned runs, which was enough to earn the victory. It was the 100th win in his 17-season career (he has 375 relief appearances to 240 starts, so it's not as unproductive as it looks).



The Pittsburgh Pirates. Remember when the Pirates were a whopping seven games over .500? It wasn't that long ago. It was the third week of July. They were in first place in the NL Central. It's buried far in the rearview mirror at this point, though. After being held in check by Dana Eveland for eight innings Thursday, the Pirates are 11-31 since July 19. They're now 18 1/2 games out and are actually in danger of falling into fifth place at some point this month. Pirates fans were tweeting that Thursday's game was "rock bottom" due to Eveland holding the Bucs to one run over eight innings and drawing a walk at the plate, in addition to some awful defense in the seventh inning.

Yankees/Red Sox game pace. The game lasted four hours and 21 minutes. The final score was 4-2. It's taken on a life of its own at this point -- and, as Mr. Teixeira said, it's brutal. It is just amazing how long these Yanks-Sox games take. In the generation of 140 characters and endless Internet and TV options, you wonder about the lasting impact of this with the next few generations -- as these are baseball's two marquee franchises and easily get the most exposure in coverage. I have no problem with either the Yankees or Red Sox, so don't waste your time with those accusations. My bias is pro-baseball long-term. What percentage of teenagers would rather watch baseball for four hours than basketball for two or football for three? They'll be adults with jobs soon. This game pace issue is going to be a problem for our game if things don't change. It's hard enough to sell a 162-game regular season in this day and age. Think about it. We fell in love with this game as kids. The game needs to be sold to kids. Four and a half hour games that end around 11:30 on a school night don't cut it.

Tigers' pitching staff. It was a pretty good team effort to be carved up by the Royals for 11 runs on 17 hits, which included four doubles and two home runs. Starter Jacob Turner and Phil Coke -- who took the loss -- were the worst, but all five of the pitchers in the game were bad. The only one who wasn't charged with a run was Luis Marte, but he only recorded two outs and allowed three baserunners (and two inherited runners to score).

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

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


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.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:58 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 12:00 am
 

Blue Jays to go red?

Brett LawrieBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Blue Jays are going red, or so it may seem.

The Star in Toronto reports the Blue Jays will change their uniform in 2012 and although the team isn't saying much about it, it's expected to be "more Canadian," the newspaper speculated. That can only mean more red and more maple leafs.

The Blue Jays already wear a red maple leaf on their right sleeve, but could feature more red in their uniform. The team's hat featured a large red maple leaf from 1997-2002.

In 2004, the team deemphasized the blue part of its name, wearing gray and black hats before phasing out the gray hats before the 2006 season.

With Canadian Brett Lawrie in the fold and the Expos out of the picture, the Jays are trying to brand themselves as Canada's team and market the team throughout the country. The team also affiliated itself with a minor league team in Vancouver.

"Part of it is … we've put a team in Vancouver and we're also trying to get as much TV exposure in Canada as we can," Jays president Paul Beeston told the Star. "But still, we have to perform on the field, that's our best marketing tool."

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 6, 2011 1:12 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Major-league debuts are a blast

Giovatella

By Evan Brunell


upJohnny Giavotella, Royals: The rookie Giavotella, who hit .338/.390/.481 for Triple-A, is the newest wave of Royals youngsters. This one is poised to hold second base for a long time on the strength of his bat and he got things started Friday against the Tigers with a 2-for-3 effort with a walk and run scored, getting his first major-league hit off of Rick Porcello. The 24-year-old tacked on an RBI for good measure, singling home Eric Hosmer in the seventh during a three-run outburst to tie the game. Detroit pushed a run across in the top of the 10th to win the game.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays: Lawrie, like Giavotella, was making his major-league debut. This time it was over with Toronto, and he wasted no time showing why he's ticketed to be the Jays' third baseman for the next 10 years by collecting two hits in four trips to the plate, driving in a run with two out. He batted ninth, but that will quickly change. Lawrie could have been called up in early June but took a pitch off the hand a day before he was getting called up which cost him months of recuperation. He's finally up, though, and Toronto's pieces for a nice run starting in 2012 is clicking into place.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Another powerful day for Quentin, who rocketed two homers and totaled four RBI on the day to bump his overall line to .259/.346/.512. It's a resurgence for the oft-injured righty, who is on pace to post 34 home runs, just shy of his career high of 46 in 2008. Giving how good pitching is these days though, this could be Quentin's most impressive season.



KarstensJeff Karstens, Pirates: Karstens has been pitching way above his head this year and paid for it Friday with a regression to the mean. He coughed up nine earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out two. His ERA spiked from 2.49 to 3.05. Still, Karstens has gotten this far pitching this well, so he must be doing something right. While he's simply not a 2.49 ERA kind of pitcher -- and not quite 3.05 either -- he has shown that he can be a very good pitcher.

J.A. Happ, Astros: Ugh. Happ's ERA is now a sky-high 6.26. That's in 22 starts, so it's a legit 6.26. Happ had a 18-8 record from 2009-10 between the Phillies and Houston, posting a 3.09 ERA. Those who looked at peripherals and/or advanced statistics knew this was all a fluke. Those who saw nothing but the win-loss record were delivered a blow this season, as Happ gave up six runs in four innings to the Brewers, walking three and striking out two. Oh, and his record? 4-14. The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine notes that Happ is the first pitcher in Astros history to allow at least five runs in eight consecutive starts. Oh, and he's the fourth pitcher since 1948 to allow five runs in eight straight starts.

Drew Stubbs, Reds: Stubbs has skidded this season with a .252/.327/.386 mark. This wasn't supposed to happen, not after Stubbs notched a 20-30 season last year with a .255/.329/.444 mark, but his power has all but vanished this year and leads baseball with 145 strikeouts, three of which came against the Cubs on Friday, going hitless in four at-bats. The loss was the second straight for the Reds, who have gone 4-6 in their last 10 and are now 8 1/2 games out of first with a 54-58 record. If they're going to get to the postseason, they need to at the very least stop losing ground.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 4, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 4:43 pm
 

Blue Jays promote prospect Lawrie

By Matt Snyder

The next heavily-hyped prospect to hit the majors this season will be Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays. They have selected Lawrie's contract from Triple-A Las Vegas, according to Major League Baseball's official Twitter feed.

Lawrie, 21, was a top 40 prospect in all of baseball prior to this season, according to most outlets that do rankings. He was a second baseman in the Brewers' system -- where he was blocked by All-Star Rickie Weeks -- but was traded to the Jays this past offseason for starting pitcher Shaun Marcum. The Blue Jays then shifted Lawrie to third base, where he's been adapting in Triple-A this season.

Lawrie is hitting .353 with 18 homers, 61 RBI, 64 runs, 13 stolen bases and a 1.076 OPS off Triple-A pitching -- in 69 games -- so it would seem the time is now to see if he's ready to handle big-league pitching yet. He was reportedly close to a promotion earlier this season but fell injured, delaying things a bit. But he's healthy now and likely to be joining the Blue Jays' everyday starting lineup immediately.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 10:10 pm
 

Jays' Lawrie close to be called up... again

Brett LawrieBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Once again, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie is knocking on the door of the big leagues.

Lawrie was on the verge of being called up in May when he was hit in the hand by a fastball, suffering a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. But he's back and in 16 games with Triple-A Las Vegas since coming off the disabled list, Lawrie is hitting .344/.417/.625 with three home runs.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell told reporters Lawrie was still in the team's immediate plans.

"We haven't changed from our goal of getting him at-bats and games played at the big-league level prior to September," Farrell told reporters, including Ken Fidlin of QMI Agency.

When he's called up, the team will have to make a decision not at third base, but in right field. Jose Bautista will move from third base to right field. The team could send down either outfielders Travis Snider or Eric Thames, or release designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.

Thames is hitting .285/.326/.485, while Snider is hitting .236/.282/.368. Both are young, though. Thames is 24 and Snider is just 23. That could mean the odd man out is  Encarnacion. Encarnacion, 28, is hitting .270/.314/.444, but has seen his homers decrease to just nine this season in 325 plate appearances. Last season he had 21 homers in 367 plate appearances.

"The most important thing is that we're getting to a point with our roster that performance -- what you do between the lines -- directly impacts that decision," Farrell said. 

Lawrie was acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Brewers that sent Shaun Marcum to Milwaukee and sent Lawrie, a native of British Columbia, to Toronto.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Pepper: Baseball's color issue



By Matt Snyder


There's a lengthy article in the Star-Telegram about the extremely low number of African-American players in baseball, and how it trickles down to fans. Curtis Granderson points out that he can rarely count 10 in the crowd, excluding stadium personnel. Is this a problem? Upon first glance, my thoughts were no. It's not an issue of racism, because it's pretty clear major-league teams will sign anyone that can help them win. My gut feeling is that more young African-American kids are drawn to basketball and football. Just look at the demographics and diversity in those leagues. As long as there's no discrimination, why does it matter what color the players and fans are?

But Corey Patterson of the Blue Jays makes a salient point (Star-Telegram).
"I really do like all of my teammates and I'm friends with them," Patterson said. "But it does bother me. It does. I'm not saying the whole stadium needs to be brown or black, it's not that. I could talk about this until I'm blue in the face, and you might sympathize, but it doesn't affect you, so you don't think about it too long.

"My mental processes might be different because of the environment I'm in.

"It's hard for me to explain. Someone might say it's fine and we're all cool, but it's easier said if you're the majority."
And he's right. Since I'm white, I don't know what the Pattersons and Grandersons of the MLB are going through. I always thought that just being accepting and supportive of everyone -- regardless of color -- was enough, but maybe the MLB does need to spend more money on campaigns to get all children in the country excited about baseball. After all, studies have shown most baseball fans are adults, while kids are more drawn to basketball, football and soccer. This could become less an issue of diversity down the road and more an issue of losing fans ... of all colors.

Getting defensive: The Rays are hanging around in the race this season despite having a less-than-exciting offense and having lost a lights-out back-end of the bullpen duo. They are, as usual, doing it with stellar defense. Steve Slowinski on TampaBay.com opines that this could be the best defensive team the Rays have had in the past decade. That's saying something, because they've been among the best defensive teams in baseball for the past four to five years.

Historic futility: The Mariners are on pace in July to have the fourth-lowest runs scored in a month -- in which the team plays at least 20 games -- in the history of baseball. No wonder they fell completely out of the race in a matter of two weeks. (The Seattle Times)

Runaway groom bride: A man wearing a wedding dress ran onto the playing surface during play at Turner Field Saturday night. The idiot was promptly tackled by security and arrested, but hey, I'm sure it was definitely worth it. (Big League Stew)

Pujols 'taunts' fans: After Albert Pujols' big three-run homer Saturday night in Cincinnati, Pujols told the Reds fans to quiet down, via body language (check out the screen-grab by clicking here). I can see some being up in arms about this -- because, let's face it, there is always at least one person who gets mad about anything these days -- but I have no issue. I actually kind of like it. Then again, I did grow up a Pacers fan and saw this from Reggie Miller on a regular basis. (via Hardball Talk)

Caught napping, literally: Saturday in Wrigley Field, the TV cameras caught Marlins relief pitcher Edward Mujica sleeping in the bullpen. Cubs broadcaster and former All-Star catcher Bob Brenly was aghast, calling it "embarrassing," though Mujica said it was less than five minutes that he had his eyes closed. Check out the video on MLB.com.

Already in trouble? As I noted in 3 Up, 3 Down Saturday night, Barry Zito had three really good starts before Saturday's debacle, but that seems to have been all he needed to shake the confidence of management. The possibility of skipping Zito's next turn is being discussed. Now, obviously it wouldn't be punishment of any sort, it's just that Zito is the No. 5 starter and the logistics of the schedule work out that a turn can be skipped. But had he thrown another gem Saturday, I doubt this would be a thought. (SFGate.com)

Let 'er rip, big fella: Adam Dunn has a pretty good shot at breaking the record for strikeouts in a season, and his manager isn't going to stand in the way. Ozzie Guillen told reporters that he'll bench Dunn if he's not helping the ballclub, but he won't specifically bench him to avoid the strikeout mark. (Chicago Tribune)

Cursed left hand: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was reportedly close to a promotion to the bigs before he was hit in the hand with a pitch May 31. The broken hand shelved him for weeks and he's now on rehab assignment. Saturday night, he was hit with a pitch on the same hand again -- only this time he walked away uninjured, due to a protective batting glove. At least he found out it works. (National Post)

Here today, gone tomorrow: Padres catcher Luis Martinez made his major-league debut Friday night and was then sent back to the minors less than 24 hours later. He still said it was a "dream come true" and is hoping to make it back. (MLB.com)

Happy Anniversary: Sunday marked exactly 70 years since Joe DiMaggio's famed 56-game hitting streak ended. Will anyone ever reach that mark again? I seriously doubt it. (Big League Stew)

80-dollar dog: Yes, there's a hot dog for sale with the hefty price tag of $80 -- the Broxton Rox, of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. Here's the description of the monstrosity: "The foot-long wiener will get the royal treatment. After deep frying, it will be rolled in truffle oil, then coated in porcini dust. The dog is to be topped with white truffle shavings and crème fraiche. If that doesn't gild the lily enough, the frank will be finished with caviar and fresh roe." (ThePostGame.com)

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