Tag:Brandon McCarthy
Posted on: August 7, 2011 12:18 am
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3 Up, 3 Down: Ellsbury goes off for six RBI

Uribe

By Evan Brunell


Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Ellsbury slammed a three-run home run that helped propel the Red Sox to victory, but he wasn't done driving in runs despite his career high coming into the game was at three. He doubled that figure to six by adding a sac fly for the game's first run, then contributing to Boston's three-run outburst in he bottom of the eighth to clinch the game by driving a two-run RBI single. The leadoff hitter continues to be red hot with a .321/.377/.522 line and is receiving heavy AL MVP consideration. While he'll have to contend with teammates Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia along with Toronto's Jose Bautista, Ellsbury is certainly deserving of the honor, and BoSox fans serenaded him with "MVP!" chants on Saturday.

Prince Fielder, Brewers: Fielder crushed four RBI in a victory over the Astros. Losses by third-place Pittsburgh and fourth-place Cincinnati left them nine and 9 1/2 back, respectively, of Milwaukee. That leaves St. Louis as the only serious contender for the division title, but the Brewers are rolling now. Fielder went 3 for 3 with two runs scored and adding two walks to push his season line to .300/.416/.562, leaving him in fantastic shape with less than two months to go before the regular season ends and he becomes a free agent. He blasted his 25th home run of the year, tying him for fourth in the NL with Mike Stanton, three behind Lance Berkman for the league lead.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics: "He was terrific," A's manager Bob Melvin told the Associated Press of McCarthy after the righty fired a five-hitter over eight innings to shut out the Rays in a 8-0 victory. "He's been as consistent a guy as we've had." The former top prospect was dealt from Chicago to Texas, but was never able to deliver on his promise amid injuries. While he still has a shoulder issue that's flared up from time to time, he's sandwiched 16 starts in the year and has a 3.31 ERA to show for it. In five starts since the All-Star Game, he's given up just 10 runs. After limiting Tampa to no walks and five hits, pushing his K/BB on the year to 74/16, it's time to take McCarthy seriously.



Neftali Feliz, Rangers: Feliz gave up three of four runs in a ninth-inning rally for Cleveland, with Texas' own last gasp in the bottom of the frame going for naught, scoring one run en route to a 7-5 loss. Feliz has been shaky all season, and the Rangers importing two top setup men spoke volumes about how secure the brass feels the late innings are down south. Feliz was able to register two outs, but didn't strike out anyone en route to giving up three hits and three earned runs, getting into trouble immediately in the inning and being gifted an out in the form of a sacrifice bunt that eventually led to the inning's first run. Feliz has a 3.64 ERA, but he's pitched worse than that, and the Rangers have to be looking forward to getting him into the rotation next season.

Adam Dunn, White Sox: At this point, it's bordering on abuse to keep slotting Adam Dunn in 3 Down. But what is one supposed to do, when Dunn consistently is one of the worst players to step on a field? At least those who can't hit a lick provide value on defense or baserunning. What exactly does Dunn provide value with? It was supposed to be hitting, but Dunn is having a season for the ages (in a not-good way) and whiffed three times against the Twins on Sunday in four hitless trips to the plate, sinking what already seems to be an unsinkable line to .163/.294/.302. Look, we get that Dunn needs to keep playing. He needs to hit for Chicago to do well, and there's a lot of years and money left on his deal, But does Ozzie Guillen really need to bat him cleanup?

Livan Hernandez, Nationals: Two home runs -- both solo shots in the bottom of the fourth -- were bad enough for Livan Hernandez, but he ended up letting seven other runs cross the plate, giving up nine all told. Sure, two runs were unearned, but that's still a lot of bad pitching in 3 2/3 innings, with the ageless pitcher giving up nine hits against zero strikeouts and walks. That's how you know you've got nothing, and Colorado hitters enjoyed teeing off Hernandez, whose ERA rose to 4.41. The 36-year-old has had several poor starts in his most recent outings, and one has to wonder if he's running out of gas.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Angels place Bourjos on DL

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Peter BourjosThe Angels' preview of Mike Trout could last a little longer than expected, as the team placed center fielder Peter Bourjos on the disabled list, retroactive to July 8.

Bourjos tested his strained right hamstring with agility drills and ran wind sprints, but it tightened up on him.

"It didn't really respond well," Bourjos told the Los Angeles Times. "It's frustrating. It felt really good [Friday] morning. It stinks to sit here and watch, but that's where I'm at right now."

Mike TroutTrout was called up before the break to replace Bourjos, who the team thought would be up for just a couple of days around the All-Star break.

Bourjos will be eligible to be activated on July 23. Trout played in three games before the break, getting one hit in 10 plate appearances, with a walk and two runs scored. He is in the starting lineup against the A's and Brandon McCarthy for Friday night's game in Oakland.

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Posted on: May 20, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 7:26 pm
 

A's make multiple pitching changes

By Evan Brunell

RossThe Oakland A's made a blizzard of moves Friday, playing starters Tyson Ross and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list as the most notable transactions.

Ross (pictured) suffered an oblique strain (surprise!) and could miss over a month, while McCarthy has a stress reaction in his shoulder that has bothered him for a few years and apparently has flared up. That's 40 percent of the rotation -- gone. And those were some pretty valuable members, too.

Ross had a 2.75 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances, with the rookie backing up his production with a 3.66 xFIP. McCarthy, meanwhile, had revitalized his career in Oakland out of the No. 5 spot in the rotation, throwing up an identical 3.39 ERA and xFIP although you wouldn't know it from his 1-4 record.

Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Guillermo Moscoso are potential replacements in the rotation, although Outman has been hit around in Triple-A as he returns from Tommy John surgery; Cramer has his own injury concerns to work through; Moscoso seems to be the one most likely to get the call -- or at least one of the two calls. There isn't a need for a No. 4 or 5 starter until Monday, so the A's will delay a decision until then.

Reliever Trystan Magnuson was also optioned after coughing up six runs over two innings Thursday. To replace the three open spots, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins and Fautino de los Santos were recalled. De los Santos, acquired in the Nick Swisher trade way back in 2008, was converted to relief for the 2010 season and is making his major-league debut after coughing up just three runs in 15 1/3 innings split between Double- and Triple-A. The 25-year-old added 21 punchouts and eight walks.  Blevins, meanwhile, was with the team just last week before being sent down to work on control problems, but events necessitated his return. Blevins gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A, so he's really nothing more than filler and can be expected to be sent back down shortly.

Devine will return to the majors for the first time since 2008, when he had a sterling 0.59 ERA in 45 2/3 innings. Injuries have robbed him of the years since, only returning to a mound this season for Triple-A and contributing 12 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out 17 and walking one. In other words, looking just like the Devine of old. It's been a long road back for the 27-year-old.

And here's what McCarthy had to say about his DL trip on Twitter:



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Posted on: May 3, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Matsui says sayonara

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Hideki Matsui, Athletics -- Matsui hit a sayonara home run (what the Japanese call the walk-off) off Texas' Darren Oliver to lead off the bottom of the 10th, giving Oakland a 5-4 victory and moving Oakland above .500 at 15-14. It was the 496th career homer for Matsui, combining his Japanese and American homers.

Mike Stanton, Marlins -- Stanton tied the game for the Marlins in the fifth inning with a solo shot and then scored the go-ahead run after leading off the eighth inning with a triple off Cardinals closer Mitchell Boggs.

Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals -- Madison Bumgarner didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, but Gorzelanny didn't give up a run in his eight innings. He allowed just three hits in the 2-0 Nationals victory. He improved to 4-0 in his career against the Giants.

3DOWN

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics -- The A's starter didn't allow any earned runs -- but he did give up four unearned runs because of two errors. So why's he on this list? Because he committed both errors. McCarthy misplayed bunts in the second and fifth, allowing the Rangers to score twice in each inning.

Miguel Tejada, Giants -- The Nationals' only two runs of the game in their 2-0 victory over the Giants came thanks to Tejada's seventh-inning error. With two outs in the inning, he let Wilson Ramos' grounder hit off his glove. Ian Desmond followed with a single, then Michael Morse hit a bleeder that made it to center and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled in the final run.

Chris Sale, White Sox -- With two outs in the ninth and a comfortable 6-0 lead, Sale hit Nick Markakis and gave up a two-run homer to Derrek Lee, he then gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero and walked Luke Scott before being lifted for closer Sergio Santos. Santos was able to strike out Adam Jones to end the team's six-game losing streak, but the bullpen has been such a concern, they would have liked to not have to use Santos in that situation.

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:40 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Floyd stymies Yankees

Floyd

By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Gavin Floyd, White Sox -- Floyd was masterful against the Yankees, pitching eight innings (he departed the game after giving up a single to lead off the ninth), while whiffing 10 and allowing just two runs in a win. Floyd now has a 3.60 ERA as the 28-year-old has proven himself to be a valuable -- and extremely consistent -- pitcher for Chicago after flaming out of Philadelphia. He could be poised to make a leap this year and has the Orioles next on the docket.

Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- Lind showed the Rangers what's what by bashing two home runs on a 3-for-5 outing, tallying up five RBI. It's more of the same for Toronto against Texas, as Anthony Andro noted on Twitter, given the Jays have cranked a staggering 31 home runs against Texas in the last 13 matchups. That's an insane number. It may be the breakout performance needed for Lind to get going; he has the potential to hit well over 30 home runs for the Jays but was off to a slow start before Tuesday's fireworks.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals -- The backup infielder has gotten some additional time lately thanks to the Skip Schumaker injury and David Freese sitting out a couple of games. His offensive slash lines were rather poor, but got a boost Tuesday thanks to a 3-for-3 night with a double, triple and three RBI. He also tacked on a walk for a night that will certainly earn him a bit more playing time over Tyler Greene moving forward.

3 DOWN

Aaron Harang, Padres -- Harang was part of the featured matchup On Deck earlier Tuesday as he was going for his NL-leading fifth victory. Instead, he gave up eight runs in six innings to the slumping Braves. Harang should still benefit greatly from playing in Petco Park, but being 4-0 with an 0.88 ERA just begged for a radical fix. Now, Harang has a more believable 3.90 ERA that he should hover around all year.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics -- OK, so maybe the Athletics didn't make out like bandits with McCarthy. Having impressed out of the No. 5 spot up until Tuesday, McCarthy was due for a course correction and got it by coughing up seven runs and 14 hits against the Angels in just 5 1/3 innings. McCarthy got dinked to death with eight singles and did not give up a home run. It remains to be seen whether this is an aberration or the regression everyone has been waiting for. History suggests the latter.

Roy Oswalt, Phillies -- Oswalt got bombed Tuesday, coughing up five runs in three innings to the Diamondbacks. The right-hander has struggled with back spasms, but reports after the game indicated that his back was not bothering him. What's with the performance, then? An interesting twist is that Oswalt, usually accessible, left the stadium without talking to reporters, much to the surprise of Phillies media writers, some of whom wondered if something was up to cause Oswalt to depart quickly. He'll certainly have some questions awaiting him tomorrow.

HONORABLE MENTION: Brett Cecil, Blue Jays -- Cecil was demoted by Toronto after showing poor velocity and getting knocked around. It was good timing for Toronto to demote him, as he was burned for 11 runs 4 1/3 innings in his first start for Triple-A. Clearly, there's something not right.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Six young arms impress on Tuesday

By Matt Snyder

One of my favorite things early in the season is when we get to the fourth and fifth games for each team -- because it's often the first look we get in the new campaign at a bevy of young starting pitchers. Whether the pitcher is making his debut, his first major-league start, or entering a season where he's expected to take a big step forward, it's always interesting to see how he fares. There were many on impressive display Tuesday. Let's take a look, remembering this snapshot excludes already-established stars like Clayton Kershaw and Yovani Gallardo (and obviously excludes stink-bomb outings like we saw from Madison Bumgarner and Luke Hochevar).

Andrew Cashner, Cubs. He'd never made a major-league start until Tuesday and I still noticed scouting types on Twitter saying he's still best suited as a reliever, but Cashner looked pretty solid before his injury . A bullpen meltdown prevented him from getting the victory, but only three baserunners and one run were given up through 5 1/3 innings. Perhaps most impressive was his efficiency, as he only threw 72 pitches.

Josh Tomlin, Indians. The 26-year-old is still a rookie despite making 12 starts last season and he handcuffed the Red Sox's vaunted offense. He worked seven innings, only giving up three hits and one run.

Mike Leake, Reds. After a huge start -- one where he completely bypassed the minor leagues -- Leake finished 2010 by going 3-4 with a 6.47 ERA after the first week of June. He would have began this season in the minors had it not been for injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, in all likelihood. Tuesday, Leake came out and threw six innings, only letting the Astros collect three hits, two walks and two earned runs. He got the "W" as the Reds moved to 4-0.

Michael Pineda, Mariners. Much discussion centered on if the Mariners should have let this prospect start the season in the majors, due to service time concerns. In terms of what he can do on the hill, there was no question he belonged. He showed it against a very potent Texas offense Tuesday. He took the loss, but threw six innings and held the Rangers to three earned runs. He struck out four, only walked one and showed his power pitching skills on several occasions. Keep an eye on this one.

Alexi Ogando, Rangers. With much of the attention on his counterpart, Ogando went out and gave the Rangers six shutout innings. The 27-year-old had 44 outings last season, but this marked his first career start in the bigs. He's ticketed back to the bullpen when Tommy Hunter returns from injury, but string a few more of these together and it's a really problem in Texas.

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies. The 23-year-old has shown brief flashes of brilliance in his early career, but hasn't had the chance to turn national heads yet. Tuesday against the Dodgers -- a team which just took three of four from the defending champs -- Chacin tossed seven shutout innings. He struck out four and outdueled Clayton Kershaw.

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Posted on: March 25, 2011 9:06 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/25: Beachy brings it



By Matt Snyder


3 UP

Brandon Beachy, Braves. Fresh off being named the Braves' No. 5 starter to open the season -- over the favorite, Mike Minor -- Beachy went out and dominated the Tigers. He threw six innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while strking out six. He took his spring ERA all the way down to 1.13. That is two earned runs in 16 innings, to go nicely with 16 strikeouts. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.63. If he carries this over into the season, the Braves will have an even more formidable rotation.

Drew Storen, Nationals. It's been a rough spring for Storen, who was initially expected to be the Nats' closer but has since been tabbed as part of a committee in the back-end of the bullpen. Friday, though, he was plugged in for the ninth inning with a one-run lead and made it stand. He threw a perfect inning, striking out two batters.

Adam Jones, Orioles. Breakout season on the horizon? He's got the goods. Friday he showed it, too. Jones went 3-4 with his fifth bomb of the spring, this one a two-run job off Scott Baker.

3 DOWN

Brandon McCarthy, A's. The former big-time prospect was having a really solid spring in his quest to earn the A's final starting spot, but he was roughed up Friday. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He even walked his first batter of the spring. Of course, he did strike out six, so the 20:1 K:BB rate should be enough for him to grab that last spot. He's looking to hold off Tyson Ross and Rich Harden -- if he's ever healthy. Ross is only 23, but he's sporting a 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 spring innings.

Mitch Talbot, Indians. The Tribe's No. 4 starter was crushed by the Brewers Friday. He gave up 14 hits and seven earned runs in six innings. He even gave up a grand slam to Carlos Gomez. Yes, that same Carlos Gomez who only has 17 career home runs in 1,308 career at-bats. Of course, he does have three this spring, so maybe he's looking to muscle up this year.

Edinson Volquez, Reds. He's here because the outing was termed as "solid" and he said afterward that he "felt great." (MLB.com ) Really? If you're the Reds and this is your ace -- especially considering Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are on the shelf and Bronson Arroyo is getting tested for valley fever -- it's gotta be a bit troubling, no? I see five innings pitched, nine hits, three earned runs and four walks. So that's 13 baserunners (a gawdawful 2.60 WHIP), including four extra base hits, and a 5.40 ERA from an ace in his last outing before the regular season. Spring stats don't mean anything and it's possible he's going to flip a switch before the real games start. I'm just saying it's pretty surprising this was considered such a good outing by Volquez and the Reds.

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:54 am
Edited on: March 24, 2011 11:52 am
 

Pepper: Lack of Mauer power not concerning

Mauer

By Evan Brunell

MAUER POWER: Joe Mauer dipped from 28 home runs in 2009 to just nine last season, one coming at the new home park of Target Field. That's partly due to struggling with injuries and partly thanks to Target Field being the hardest park to hit a home run in. Mauer struggled to adjust in the first half (.293/368/.424) but finished strong in the second half (.373/.447/.527) and isn't interested in struggling again this season.

"A lot of times, I was hitting balls to left field that would be out of a lot of other parks, and they were caught for outs," Mauer said. "So you try to muscle it up a little bit more, and you become a little late [with each swing]. So yeah, it definitely does play with your mind."

While Mauer may try to load up on away home runs, he has the proper frame of mind for how to approach his new home.

"Just keep it simple, try to hit hard line drives, find those gaps and run a little bit."

That could lead to a ton of doubles for Mauer, who racked up 43 after just 30 in 2009. While anyone would prefer homers to doubles, the fact that Mauer can still drive the ball for doubles shows that his power is far from waning.

That hasn't stopped some from questioning the eight-year, $184 million pact that will keep Mauer in a Twins uniform. The deal, universally hailed at the time, has since come under question, but GM Bill Smith dismissed the concerns.

"The contract wasn't done in a one-year vacuum," Smith said. "It's the body of work that Joe had from 2005 through 2009. And we look forward to the coming years, hopefully the coming decade, with Joe Mauer as one of the cornerstone players in this franchise." (Minnesota Star Tribune)

THE EMERGENCE: Brandon McCarthy struggled in Texas to deliver on the promise that caused the team to trade John Danks. However, now with Oakland, McCarthy has moved away from power pitching and has focused on letting the movement on his pitches do the work. That's led to a sensational spring training, and McCarthy is now ready to go for the season. (San Francisco Chronicle)

CLOSING TIME: Now that Alexi Ogando is officially returning to the bullpen, he indicated he would enjoy closing. Ogando may get that shot if Neftali Feliz remains in the rotation, but that's unlikely to happen. "I feel I'm mentally strong and don't think it will affect me that much," Ogando said. (MLB.com)

WATCH YOUR MOUTH: After years of not training players to deal with the media, the Yankees changed their tune in 2007 to integrate a media-training program. That program has since escalated to mock interviews, role playing, guest speakers and more. Derek Jeter has also assisted in this, telling youngsters that they are still on the clock even when the uniform comes off. (Wall Street Journal)

HERE'S A TIP: Daniel Hudson had such a poor start Wednesday that he landed on the 3 up, 3 down list. The righty feels he may have been tipping his pitches, as he noticed hitters "spitting" his changeups while nailing fastballs. (MLB.com)

NO PAIN, BIG GAIN: Tim Stauffer came through his start with excellent results Wednesday after skipping a previous start due to a sore hip flexor. Stauffer put together perhaps the most impressive outing a Padres starter has had so far this spring and is ready for his first full season in the majors as a starter. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

BEER, FASTER: Ever wanted a way to get your beer at the ballpark faster? You're in luck as the Red Sox are adding two beer stands to Fenway Park this season that fills beers from the bottoms up. Yes, you read that right. A recyclable magnetic cap on the bottom of the beer cup flips open to allow beer to pour in before sealing itself shut. This will allow up to 44 beers to be filled per minute. (Boston Herald)

GETTIN' IN THE GROOVE: Brian Matusz didn't mince any words when asked what went wrong during his start Wednesday. "From the get-go, warming up, I couldn't find my rhythm tonight," he said. The good news? Matusz headed to the bullpen after his 1 1/3-inning outing and found his groove then. "It's going to be four hard days of work and then be ready to go on the fifth day," he added. "It was just one of those days where I didn't have it, I didn't get in my rhythm, I didn't do it. Now I know what went wrong and I know what to fix and I'll take it from there." (MASN)

MORE HOT DOGS, PLEASE: Get this: hot dogs may actually be healthier for you than rotisserie chicken, a new study reveals. While the skin of the chicken has more protein, it also packs more carcinogenic compounds, while hot dogs, along with pepperoni and deli meat, have very low amounts. (MSNBC)

FACELIFT: A year after heading to the World Series, the Rangers have spruced up the home ballpark by throwing up a video board that is virtually more than double the size of the old one, the sound system being completely reworked, an upgraded weight room and more. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

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