Tag:Brett Myers
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 11:55 am
 

On Deck: Verlander going for 20

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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Justin VerlanderGoing for 20: Of all the things Justin Verlander has done in his career, he's never won 20 games in a season. He can reach that mark today with a victory over the Twins at Target Field. Since the 28-year-old's first full season in 2006, he's won at least 17 games in five of his six seasons, including 19 in 2009. In his lone season without 17 wins, he had 17 losses in 2008. In addition to a big-league leading 19 wins this season, he's also leading the majors in starts (28), innings pitched (209 2/3), strikeouts (212), WHIP (0.878) and hits per 9 innings (6) -- in short, he's pretty good. Tigers at Twins, 4:10 p.m. ET

Boom or bust: Remember last week when the Diamondbacks had lost six straight games? Since breaking that streak on Tuesday, Arizona hasn't lost, winning their next four games. The two streaks haven't really changed their place in the standings. After beating the Phillies on Aug. 16 (the last of a seven-game winning streak), the Diamondbacks led the NL West by 3 1/2 games. They then lost six in a row and now after winning four in a row, Arizona is still 3 games up on the Giants. Arizona starter Joe Saunders has lost his last three decisions and has a 7.00 ERA in his last three starts, but is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Padres this season. Aaron Harang starts for the Padres, going for his 13th win of the season. While conventional wisdom has been that Harang has benefitted from his new spacious home at Petco Park, he's 6-0 on the road (although, his ERA is more than a run higher away from Petco, where he's 6-3). Padres at Diamondbacks, 8:10 p.m.

Giants rookie takes the hill: Astros starter Brett Myers will be make the 244th start of his career today against the Giants, while San Francisco's Eric Surkamp will be making his first. The left-handed Surkamp, 24, is 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. The North Carolina State product doesn't overpower anyone, but has a big, breaking curveball that is used as a strikeout pitch. In his last start, Surkamp allowed just two hits and struck out four in eight shutout innings. With Zack Wheeler traded to New York for Carlos Beltran, Surkamp is the team's top prospect and San Francisco hopes he can stabilize the fifth spot in the rotation, filling in for the injured Jonathan Sanchez, the ineffective Dan Runzler and the injured and ineffective Barry Zito. Astros at Giants, 9:05 p.m.


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Posted on: July 5, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 10:36 am
 

Astros in limbo as trade deadline nears

Rodriguez
By Evan Brunell

The Houston Astros are in a bit of a sticky situation.

Incoming owner Jim Crane has yet to officially assume control of the club, and until he does, cannot and will not be publicly involved in the team's maneuvers, as Fox Sports reports. That approval is not likely to come until the next owner's meetings, which take place Aug. 17-18.

“The owner definitely will have a voice at the deadline regardless of whether they have transferred [ownership] officially,” a rival executive said. “No way he won’t have a voice. [Outgoing owner Drayton] McLane will make sure of that. He will want the guy who is buying the club to have a voice.”

That leaves Houston in limbo for the trade deadline, as Crane rightly deserves to influence the team's future. Despite the ability to make his opinions known privately, Crane will be working with one hand tied behind his back. In addition to being unable to wield complete power over the trading deadline, Crane has to work with a GM that he did not hire. While Crane is widely expected to fire Ed Wade eventually, that won't come until he can both assume control and evaluate Wade's work. Wade is in a sensitive situation, as he has to pull off the best possible deal he can for his incoming owner to save his job.

McLane has resisted for years the call to rebuild, hoping to recapture the glory of winning the 2005 NL pennant. The 'Stros have been in need of a rebuild for a few years, so they're already behind the eight-ball and boast no true superstar on the team, several solid players and a farm system ranked No. 26 by Baseball America. That's a tall task that no one trading deadline can fix, but Wade and Crane can begin the process.

The Astros' best player, Hunter Pence, isn't expected to go anywhere. While his current stature as an important part of Houston's future can always change, the fact remains that he is currently the face of the franchise and is under control for two more seasons. It would not make sense for the incoming owner to kick off his tenure in the eyes of fans by trading Pence; at least not yet.

That leaves Wandy Rodriguez as the next-best player available, although Michael Bourn, Brett Myers, Jeff Keppinger and anyone not named Pence and starting pitchers Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles will be considered. Rodriguez has quietly become one of the best left-handed starters in the league and boasts a long-term deal through 2013 with a club option that converts to a player option upon trade. With a total package of $34 million due Rodriguez from the start of 2011, it's an affordable deal for a big impact that many teams can take on.

How big of an impact can Rodriguez have, though?

A pretty big one. As Ken Rosenthal points out, Rodriguez's 2.44 ERA since June 23, 2010 is the second lowest in the majors behind Felix Hernandez's 2.36. Trailing Rodriguez are Jered Weaver and Roy Halladay at 2.45 apiece, with Cole Hamels rounding out the top five at 2.49. What team wouldn't like to have an affordable left-hander who ranks among the best in the game?

You can bet the Yankees are interested. GM Brian Cashman likes to talk game about how he doesn't need to upgrade his rotation. At first blush, you can't blame him. CC Sabathia, All-Star selection or not, is an ace. A.J. Burnett has a big-money deal and big upside. Phil Hughes could be the ace of the Yankees in a couple years, so he gets a spot. Bartolo Colon, thanks to a stem-cell rejuvenated shoulder, is pitching the best he has in years while Freddy Garcia somehow is on pace for a career-low ERA. Heck, they're deep to the point that Ivan Nova was just demoted to Triple-A despite a 4.12 ERA in 16 starts.

But let's look at that list again. Sabathia is fine. Burnett runs hot or cold and posted a 5.26 ERA last season. Hughes just got past a baffling case of decreased velocity, and it's anyone's guess if he can last long-term, while Colon and Garcia were scrap-heap pickups for a reason. Also, and there's a reason that the Yankees chased Cliff Lee so hard and really want a second left-hander. That's crucial in a division stacked with imposing left-handed hitters, especially in Boston.

If the Yankees see a deal for Rodriguez, they will pounce. There are plenty of other suitors chasing starting pitching, though, starting with the Tigers but extending to virtually every other team in the majors. Houston won't have a problem moving Rodriguez, but may find the going a bit tougher with Brett Myers.

Myers joined the Astros last season after eight up-and-down years with Philadelphia. He broke out last season with a 3.14 ERA in 223 2/3 innings, but an increased allowance in home runs has mostly accounted for this year's backsliding to a 4.67 ERA. All told, Myers is who he is, which is a solid No. 3 capable of putting up an ERA in the 4.00-4.50 range. He does have value as he makes $7 million this season, $11 million the next and then the club can pick up a $10 million option if they so choose. He simply has less value because he's being paid commensurate value and it's a lot easier to find a No. 3 or 4 starter than it is a No. 1 or 2, which Rodriguez is.

Another player that could be on the move in Houston is Michael Bourn, who has a rising price tag, is a free agent after 2012 and boasts Scott Boras as his agent. Bourn's value is probably at its highest right now; he's been consistent the entire year and boasts a career-best .290/.354/.402 line at age 28, leading baseball with 35 stolen bases. Even better, he's only been caught four times, so he has serious value on the basepaths. Add in being perhaps the best defensive center fielder in the game and you have a knockout package for a team looking for the perfect leadoff man.

The Nationals are seeking a long-term center fielder and need a leadoff hitter in the worst way. Bourn fills both categories, and the specter of Boras as agent won't bother the Nats; the team has a close working relationship with Boras and often drafts or signs his players. Other teams that could use Bourn to varying degrees are the Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, Marlins (yeah, right), Padres and Rangers. Of that list, the teams that seem to have the best fit are the Jays, Braves and Brewers.

The Astros are in a challenging situation moving forward, as they clearly need to be rebuilt. Even an incoming owner with public relations issues to be concerned about has to see the situation in Houston for what it is. That makes it extremely important for Crane to communicate his intentions clearly, for Wade to not only see through Crane's wishes, but to extract a deal that solidifies both Houston's and his future.

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Posted on: June 27, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 7:22 pm
 

Rockies looking at starting pitching market

Sanchez

By Evan Brunell

The Rockies were supposed to have a deep rotation with Ubaldo Jimenez, Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin all playing integral roles with Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook serving as capable back-of-the-rotation starters.

Except Jimenez has been touch-and-go, De La Rosa was lost to Tommy John surgery earlier in the season and despite Hammel's strong 4.13 ERA, his peripherals have taken a step back. That's required Cook and Juan Nicasio to play more prominent roles and to no one's surprise, they aren't quite delivering. That's led Colorado to start poking around the starting pitching market, the Denver Post reports.

If Cook and Nicasio can turn their seasons around, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd could dial back his pursuit of a starter, but that's unlikely. The problem facing Colorado is that the market is thin. There are many teams still in the hunt for a postseason spot which narrows the pool of candidates. That jacks up the prices of pitchers who could be traded.

The Post names Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers as two pitchers the Astros will discuss. Affecting Houston's flexibility is the fact that new owner Jim Crane is not expected to take over the team by the trade deadline. That's a tough job for GM Ed Wade. The Astros need to rebuild, but can the club really engineer a rebuilding effort before Crane officially takes over?

Carlos Zambrano remains perpetually available, but the most attractive pitcher on the market has to be Anibal Sanchez. While the 27-year-old isn't available just yet, the thinking is that he could be traded if the Marlins continue sinking into the abyss. The right-hander makes $3.7 million and will enter his final year of arbitration after the season. No wonder he's available from the tightfisted Marlins club.

If Sanchez does indeed become available, he'll likely be the best pitcher available, more so than Rodriguez. While shoulder issues have plagued Sanchez over his career, he's also posted a 2.62 ERA over 16 starts and made a full 32 starts last season with a 3.55 ERA. His health may be a risk, but he's got 300 1/3 innings over the last year and a half that speaks to his recent durability. The chance to acquire a frontline ace is rare, and Sanchez is pitching like one this season. There won't be any shortage of contenders, and the Yankees especially would likely love to get their hands on the ex-Red Sox prospect.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 8:35 pm
 

Report: Astros looking to trade Myers, Keppinger

By Matt Snyder

The Astros entered Friday night's action 14 games back in the NL Central, so it's no shock they are soon to be sellers -- especially now that Drayton McLane isn't forbidding it. It won't be surprising if they look to deal more than a handful of players, but two names in specific are already available, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com: Brett Myers and Jeff Keppinger.

Myers is the bigger name to potential suitors, despite his early-season woes. The 30-year-old starting pitcher is a proven innings-eater, as he racked up 223 2/3 last season for the Astros. He's 2-6 with a 5.03 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a league-high 18 home runs allowed, but he was very effective in 2010 when he was 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA. Then again, he is owed $11 million next season, so with his bad start, it will mean he can't fetch nearly as much for the Astros as he could have in the offseason.

Keppinger might be easier to move, though. Since returning from injury, the utility player is hitting .301. He could play almost anywhere on the diamond (he's played everywhere but catcher, pitcher and center field in a major-league game during his career) and is cheap, with just one arbitration year left. 

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 4:09 pm
 

Worst hitting, pitching performances of May

Greinke

By Evan Brunell


On Wednesday, CBSSports.com will reveal its picks for hitter and pitcher of the month for May, much as was done for April's top performers.

But there's also a flip side: the worst performers of May. In other words, which players did the most to harm their value during the second month of the season?

Here are the three worst hitting and pitching performances to date among those who received near-regular playing time:

HITTERS

Sam Fuld, Rays -- The Legend of Sam Fuld had an unsavory chapter written into it as the left fielder crashed back to earth after an unsustainable start to the season. No matter how intoxicating Fuld's offensive and defensive exploits were for the Rays, he was still a 29-year-old who struggled for years to keep a big-league spot on the Cubs. His batting line so far in May is a putrid .159/.178/.261, but he's still holding onto his starting job. Desmond Jennings is faring well down in the minors, so before June is out, Fuld may become a bench player.

Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- The Japanese phenom has led baseball in hits five straight seasons and seven of 11. Unfortunately, his streak might be broken this year as he's scuffled in May, hitting just .204/.262/.325 and collecting 20 hits in 98 trips to the plate. Suzuki has never had a month with less than 25 hits, but unless he goes 6 for 6 Monday against the Orioles, that will change. Suzuki previously collected a personal-worst 25 hits in September of 2002, matched in April 2007. In addition, May has historically been one of his hottest months, and he has never gotten fewer than 32 hits in the month of May, regularly registering 40-plus. That has zero chance of happening this season -- unless the team plays about 27 innings of baseball before June 1.

Placido Polanco, Phillies -- With the Phillies' stagnant offense missing Chase Utley until recently, Polanco has been batting second or third much of the year. In such a crucial part of the lineup, he tossed up a brutal line in May: .228/.268/.277. This, after a scorching April saw him finish at .398/.447/.524. Suzuki and Polanco need to break out of their slumps, as their entire value on offense is predicated on batting average. Suzuki is 37 and Polanco 35, so they're approaching the ages where they could completely lose it at the plate. That's not going to happen just yet, but it's something to keep in mind. Polanco was signed before the 2010 season and has one more year left on his deal.



PITCHERS

Zack Greinke, Brewers -- Here's a stat from the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner that doesn't make much sense. Despite 39 strikeouts and just three walks in 28 innings, Greinke somehow has a 5.79 ERA, coughing up 18 earned runs. One problem is that five of his 29 hits allowed have gone over the fence, a highly unsustainable mark that can't continue. He's also had balls fall into play 35 percent of the time, which is a big number compared to the league average of 29 to 31 percent. In fact, his career mark in this category is 31, so that should drop as well. All in all, there's nothing to be worried about thanks to his fantastic K/BB rate, which contributes to a sterling 1.58 xFIP. Don't be surprised if Greinke is the pitcher of the month for June.

Brett Myers, Astros -- Last season, the one-time Phillie turned heads by hurling a career high 223 2/3 innings for the Astros, just the second time he broke the 200-inning barrier (2005) and only the fourth time he went over 190 innings. In his career year, Myers posted a 3.14 ERA, also a career best and just the third mark of his career under 4.00 (2005-06). This year? Well, there's a reason it was so rare for him to get an ERA under 4.00 and innings pitched over 190. He's got a 5.11 ERA this year, and while he's been unlucky, it hasn't been by a wide margin. His walk and strikeout numbers have suffered, and he's simply not pitching as well.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- There were plenty of relievers that had awful Mays -- Ryan Perry of the Tigers springs to mind -- but Aroldis Chapman takes the cake. The lefty appeared in three games but could only get one measly out. He allowed just one hit but delivered nine walks, coughing up eight earned runs in total. His 100-plus mph fastball was useless to him, as he didn't strike anyone out. Chapman doesn't appear hurt, but he was placed on the DL with what is effectively a phantom injury. He's been making inroads on his rehab assignment in the minors, so he should be back before long. The question remains, though: Why did Chapman completely and utterly lose it? And will it happen again?

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 5:44 pm
 

On Deck: Bruce streaking, Reds slumping



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Jay BruceSTREAKING AND SLUMPING: Jay Bruce may be the hottest player in the majors, but his team may be the coldest. Since Dusty Baker gave him a day off to help him get it back together on May 18, Bruce is hitting .486/.526/1.057 with six home runs and 14 RBI. His team lost the game without him and has gone 1-7 with him in eight games since. The Reds have fallen from first place in the National League Central to third, four games behind the Cardinals and a game-and-a-half behind Milwaukee. Reds at Braves, 7:35 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Tim LinecumShaun MarcumMATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Eli Whiteside may be catching Tim Lincecum, but it shouldn't hurt Lincecum. It won't help the team's offense, though. San Francisco has an OPS of .671, better than only four teams in the National League. The good news for San Francisco -- that's still better than two other teams in the offensively challenged National League West. You know what team can hit a little bit? Milwaukee. The Brewers are kind of the opposite of the Giants -- the team OPS is .737, good for fourth in the National League as a whole, and also fourth in the National League Central. On the bump for the Brewers is their best import of the season so far, Shaun Marcum. He's 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA as a Brewer. Giants at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

SEARCH FOR FIRST: The Diamondbacks can't take first tonight, but they do have a chance of finding themselves atop the National League West after this weekend. While the division-leading Giants are in Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks face the National League's worst team, the Astros. Arizona starter Daniel Hudson has won five of his last six starts and is 5-5 with a 3.82 ERA overall. Astros starter Brett Myers has allowed five or more runs in three of his last four starts and is 1-4 with a 5.00 ERA overall. Diamondbacks at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Astros reliever has suspension reduced

Anuery Rodriguez By C. Trent Rosecrans

Astros right-hander Anuery Rodriguez had his three-game suspension reduced to two after an appeal and will begin serving it immediately, sitting out games today and Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle 's Zachary Levine reports .

Rodriguez hit Florida's Gaby Sanchez in the ninth inning of last Sunday's 7-1 Astros victory. He was ejected after Marlins pitcher Edward Mujica hit Bill Hall, who had made a hard slide against Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez earlier in the series.

Astros manager Brad Mills was also ejected during that game and given a one-game suspension, which he served last Tuesday.

The Astros will be short a man in the bullpen with Rodriguez on the shelf, but with the Astros' two best starters going -- Brett Myers today and Wandy Rodriguez on Tuesday against the Mets -- and a day off, the timing could hardly be better for the Astros' bullpen.

Rodriguez, a rookie, last pitched on Tuesday and Wednesady against the Cubs and has yet to appear in a game this season with the score within fewer than three runs.
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Posted on: March 18, 2011 11:57 am
 

Myers named Houston's opening day starter

By Matt Snyder

For the first time since 2002, a pitcher other than Roy Oswalt will start on opening day for the Houston Astros. With their former ace now with Philadelphia, former Phillie Brett Myers takes over. (Ultimate Astros )

The ties between the two teams don't end there. Myers will be facing the Phillies, a team for which he started on opening day three straight years (2007-2009).

Myers, 30, is coming off the best year of his career. He went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, striking out 180 batters in 223 2/3 innings.

The news comes as little surprise with Wandy Rodriguez battling shoulder tendinitis.

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