Tag:Ben Zobrist
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:10 pm
 

34th man candidates revealed

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not only is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen left off the National League roster, he's not even on the ballot for the 34th roster spot with online voting at MLB.com. Here are the five candidates from each league for the last spot on their respective All-Star squads.

American League

Alex Gordon, Royals

Adam Jones, Orioles

Paul Konerko, White Sox

Victor Martinez, Tigers

Ben Zobrist, Rays

National League

Michael Morse, Nationals

Shane Victorino, Phillies

Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Todd Helton, Rockies

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks 

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Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 2:23 pm
 

Maddon going 'unconventional' against Marcum

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Rays manager Joe Maddon is known to buck the old managerial book, but today's is a little different.

Against Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum, Maddon is loading up on right-handed hitters. He announced the move on Twitter:


Joe Maddon 

That means the team is keeping Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon, John Jaso and Reid Brignac on the bench. That means Ben Zobrist in right for Joyce, Sean Rodriguez at second, Elliot Johnson at shortstop and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate. Johnson and Zobrist are the switch hitters.

Maddon's one of baseball's best managers, and if I had the No. 1 pick in a managerial draft, he'd be my choice. That said, I'm not sure about this one. The rationale is likely that right-handers will have a better chance against Marcum's excellent changeup.

The numbers, however, don't exactly reflect that.

So far this season, right-handed batters are hitting .160/.225/.251 against Marcum and lefties are hitting .274/.312/.415 against him. Of the eight homers Marcum has allowed this season, five have been to left-handed batters in 20 fewer plate appearances. His career numbers are a lot closer, as right-handers hit .239/.297/.417 against him and lefties hit .241/.304/.401.

As for the two Rays switch hitters, Zobrist's numbers are pretty similar as a right-handed batter and a left-handed batter; Johnson is much better from the right side (.273/.400/.303) than the left (.167/.180/.354). 

Of course, Marcum is in his first year with the Brewers and these Rays are familiar with the former Blue Jay. As noted in Jonah Keri's The Extra 2%Maddon used a similar strategy against Marcum last season and the right-hander was 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against the Rays. The Rays won three of those games. In the first, Marcum allowed 10 hits and five runs (four earned), but threw eight innings of one-run ball before giving up three hits and four runs in the ninth. The Rays pounded him in their next matchup, with 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. The second two matchups were less successful for Maddon's team, with Marcum going six innings each time, allowing five hits and one run in one start and six hits and three runs in the other.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Rays down another shortstop

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Elliot JohnsonWith Reid Brignac on the bereavement list, the last thing the Rays needed was an injury at shortstop. I bring this up, of course, because shortstop Elliot Johnson left Monday's game with left knee soreness.

The Rays moved Sean Rodriguez from second to short, moved Ben Zobrist from right field to second and Matt Joyce went into the game in right.

Johnson left the game in the sixth inning. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote Johnson was hobbling since being thrown out trying to steal third in the fifth inning.

The team called up Felipe Lopez yesterday to take Brignac's place. Lopez was an All-Star shortstop in 2005. He started 19 games at shortstop last season for the Cardinals.

Brignac is expected back by Wednesday after the death of his grandfather.

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 12:31 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Young, Zobrist sizzle

Young

By Evan Brunell

Michael Young, Rangers -- Funny how things work out. Although Young was already slated to receive the bulk of starts at DH, injuries have really opened the door for Young and he's played in every single game so far. The 34-year-old is hitting .348 after a 4-for-4 night with a homer led Texas over New York, 7-5. It's safe to say that he has no complaints about his playing time, even as he toggles between first and second base along with DH.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks -- A fine effort for Hudson, who allowed just five hits in seven innings, punching out six Padres in seven innings. Hudson hasn't quite lived up to the expectations he set last season after coming over in the Edwin Jackson trade... but really, who could? Hudson's ERA got pushed down to 4.47 and he's gotten into a nice groove over his last three starts with 20 strikeouts and just one walk in 20 innings.

Ben Zobrist, Rays -- The Zorilla extended his hitting streak to 13 with his fine 4-for-5 effort and continues to show that his down 2010 season was the aberration, not new norm. His three runs scored helped push the Rays to a 8-3 victory over the Orioles. Zobrist is now up to .283/.350/.577, making him one of the AL's best hitters to date.

Honorable mention -- Some dude named Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays in an outing that defeats Francisco Liriano for best no-hitter of the season while Yovanni Gallardo took a no-hitter into the eighth and settled for one-hitting the Cardinals through eight.


Francisco Cordero, Reds -- Cordero couldn't hold off a scorching hot Carlos Pena, who homered in the ninth inning before Kosuke Fukudome walked off with a single. It was Cordero's first blown save of the season and he simply didn't have it today. He registered two outs, whiffing one but coughed up four hits and two earned runs to push his ERA to a still-low 2.45. There's no closer controversy yet in Cincinnati, although Aroldis Chapman lurks.

Jason Kubel, Twins -- Jason Kubel whiffed all four trips to the plate, just like Juan Uribe did for the Dodgers, except Uribe had one more at-bat where he at least put the ball in play before registering an out. Kubel gets the honors here because he batted cleanup and stood idly by while Minnesota registered only three hits in a meek showing against Boston.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles -- Guthrie's been a nice surprise so far this season and seems to have taken a leap forward toward being a solid No. 2 for many teams. Except he took a step back Saturday by coughing up seven earned runs in five innings along with 10 hits allowed. He did allow just one walk and whiffed four, so it wasn't all bad. The Rays were simply on fire, led by Zobrist and B.J. Upton. Guthrie's ERA now stands at 4.09 and will draw the Rays on Friday.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 1:26 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Zobrist knocks in 10

Ben Zobrist
By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Ben Zobrist, Rays -- Zobrist had 10 RBI on Thursday, eight in the first game of the doubleheader and two more in the nightcap in a sweep of the Twins. Zobrist was 4 for 6 with two doubles and a homer in the first game, and was 3 for 4 with a two-run homer in the second.

Brian Vogelsong, Giants -- The right-hander won his first game since Sept. 14, 2005. The 33-year-old made his first big league start since 2004. He spent some time in Japan before coming back to the U.S. last year, when he pitched in the Phillies and Dodgers systems before signing a minor-league contract this spring. He made two relief appearances in the last two weeks before pitching in Barry Zito's spot in the rotation, where he allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings against his old team, the Pirates.

Lance Berkman, Cardinals -- Against his old team, Berkman hit a three-run homer from the right side of the plate and an RBI single from the left side -- in the sixth inning alone. He added a solo homer (from the left side) in the ninth inning, going 4 for 5 with two homers on the night. 

3DOWN

Royals pitching -- Kansas City starter Kyle Davies gave up four home runs to the Indians on Thursday, making it 17 homers surrendered by Royals pitchers in the six-game road trip through Texas and Cleveland.

Ryan Dempster, Cubs -- The best thing you can say about Dempster's outing on Thursday was it didn't last long. Dempster lasted just one out, but gave up seven runs on four hits, four walks and a hit batter before he was yanked. The big blow was Stephen Drew's grand slam.

Eduardo Nunez, Yankees -- Derek Jeter certainly has his critics when it comes to his defense, but those complaints are usually about his range. Nunez got the start at shortstop for the Yankees on Thursday and bobbled the first play of the game, letting Brent Lillibridge reach on an error. He added a throwing error in the seventh inning.

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 5:34 pm
 

On Deck: Royal slide

Royals
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Fading -- The Royals enter tonight's game 12-12, losers of their last five and eight of their last 10. Kansas City's 10-4 start proved a nice little "oh, look who's in first?" story that we seem to get every April, but the team is beginning to resemble the 100-loss team that most expected heading into the season. Enjoy your .500 Royals while you still can. Royals at Indians, 7:05 p.m ET

Matchup of the night -- Chicago's Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.88 ERA) has no-hit stuff and a no-hitter to prove it. CC Sabathia (1-1, 2.73) just has the stuff. White Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

Hot in the cold -- It may have snowed last night during the Twins-Rays game, but Ben Zobrist isn't struggling with the cold. Zobrist had eight RBI on two doubles and a homer as part of his 4-for-6 performance in Game 1 of the doubleheader. The record for most RBI in a doubleheader is 13, held by St. Louis' Mark Whiten (who had 12 in one of the games) in 1993 and San Diego's Nate Colbert in 1972. The AL record is 11, held by Cleveland Earl Averill (1930), Boston's Jim Tabor (1939) and Baltimore's Boog Powell (1966). Rays at Twins, Game 2. 8:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: December 26, 2010 2:57 pm
 

Joyce penciled into left field, Jennings in farm

JoyceAlthough the Rays have a top left field prospect that could replace Carl Crawford, the club will likely go with Matt Joyce in left to open the year as Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Joyce, acquired in a deal for Edwin Jackson from the Tigers two seasons ago, cranked 10 home runs in just 261 plate appearances for the Rays with a .241/.360/.477 line.  Joyce has good power potential and could help replace the void in the middle of the lineup left by Crawford and Carlos Pena.

While Joyce can play right field, the team is envisioning Ben Zobrist manning that position and making Jennings work for a spot on the big-league roster. It's possible (if not outright likely) the club will keep Jennings down until the early summer, ensuring he won't qualify for arbitration as a Super Two player.

Given the team has yet to find a solution at first base, it remains possible that Jennings could open the year with the club in left, Joyce in right and Zobrist manning first with Dan Johnson coming off the bench. Tampa also needs to find a DH and continue rebuilding their bullpen.

Most teams are done shopping and are now turning their attention to arbitration-eligible players, but the Rays still have plenty of work ahead of them.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: September 7, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:05 pm
 

Rays test their bench

Joe Maddon How about this for a record you didn't know existed?

Monday night the Rays tied a major-league record by using six pinch hitters in one inning. It was the ninth time that's happened -- and the seventh in September, when rosters expand.

Joe Maddon did it in the seventh inning of Monday's game in Boston because his team was being blown out and wanted to give his regulars some rest and get his bench players some at-bats.

"They all looked good up there. We like our depth, we like our bench," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times ' Marc Topkin . "I want to keep them sharp, I've got to get them out there. Hopefully as we proceed and hopefully make the playoffs we're going to have to make a lot of tough decisions regarding who those 25 people are going to be, so these guys have got to play. If they're going to contribute the rest of this month they just can't sit on the bench."

How'd it work? Well enough for six pinch hitters to get to bat -- as well as three starters -- who accounted for two of the three outs. None of the starters got a hit, with Carlos Pena walking. The pinch hitters went 3 for 4 with two walks, scoring all three runs in the inning.

Here's how it went down:

The Red Sox started the inning with Robert Coello replacing starter Jon Lester.

Dan Johnson, batting for Ben Zobrist, singled to center.

Kelly Shoppach flied out to center.

Matt Joyce, batting for B.J. Upton, singled to right.

Willy Aybar, batting for Jason Bartlett, singled to center, loading the bases.

Brad Hawpe, batting for Carl Crawford, walked, scoring a run.

Desmond Jennings, batting for Evan Longoria, walked, scoring a run.

The Red Sox pulled Coello and put in Dustin Richardson.

Carlos Pena walked, scoring a run.

Out goes Richardson, in comes Scott Atchison.

Reid Brignac, batting for Sean Rodrgiuez, pops out to first.

Rico Baldelli flied out to end the inning.

The last team to use six pinch hitters in an inning was the Mariners in 2007 and the last two do it in a non-September game was the Expos in May of 1970.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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