Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:05 am
By Evan Brunell
Mariano Rivera, Yankees: Rivera became the second closer with 600 saves when he set the Mariners down (but giving up Ichiro Suzuki's 170th hit of the season) to close out a 3-2 victory. Trevor Hoffman is the lone other closer to reach the mark, finishing with 601, so Rivera is also close to setting history in a record that will not be broken for a very long time. It was also his 41st save of the year, two behind Jose Valverde of the Tigers to lead the league in yet another impeccable season for the ageless wonder.
Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Both Pedroia and Ellsbury rapped out a 4-for-5 night, with the Laser Show recording his first multi-homer game of the season with two blasts. Overall, he notched five RBI during a night where Pedroia joined the 20/20 club, scoring four times as well. Ellsbury added another four runs scored in the 18-6 trouncing, blasting his 27th homer of the season and driving in three. Ellsbury is now at .321/.380/.542 with the year, and Pedroia snaps a little slump with the night and is now slashing .300/.384/.471. Tim Wakefield grabbed his 200th win in the game.
Bruce Chen, Royals: It's not often you see someone like Bruce Chen on 3 Up, but he blanked Minnesota over eight innings, whiffing eight and allowing just three baserunners. It was a dominating night for the journeyman who has settled into a nice career with the Royals over the last two years. His ERA is now at 4.04 and should receive some interest on the free-agent market with his second straight strong year. He returned to the Royals when no other team was willing to bite on Chen's resurgent year, but things will change now for the 34-year-old.
Javy Guerra, Dodgers: Javy Guerra spectacularly imploded night, handing the Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory in a positively awful top of the 10th. Here's how it went: Guerra gave up a leadoff single to Gerardo Parra, who earlier had drawn the ire of L.A. by getting into an argument with Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, staring at pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo after a brushback, then pimping a home run. He missed a pitchout, which allowed Aaren Hill to bunt. If he hadn't been bunting, the pitch would have gone to the backstop. Then he whiffed Justin Upton before intentionally walking Miguel Montero. All inning, he's been jittery, and he combusted by allowing a walk to Paul Goldschmidt on four straight balls. It's more of the same to Chris Young, with two significantly high fastballs followed by a ball low and outside, then another high fastball to walk in the winning run.
Cole Hamels, Phillies: It wasn't a good night to be a Phillies ace, as Cole Hamels drew his eighth loss by lasting just five innings, allowing five runs (one unearned) en route to losing to baseball's worst team, the Astros. Hamels struck out six and walked one, so fared rather well there but couldn't buy an out in the field, giving up nine hits, a season-high. He's had such a good year overall, though, that the outing only set his ERA back to 2.71.
Justin Masterson, Indians: Masterson got crushed in his continuing regression to the mean, coughing up six earned runs over five innings. He allowed eight hits and three walks, punching out just two as his ERA rose to 3.20 after ending July with a 2.56 mark and August at 2.83. He also gave up three homers in the losing effort. Masterson has taken a major step forward this year and make have evolved into an ace, but it will take until the end of 2012 to find out.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Every year August is the month when some teams pull away in the playoff race and others fade -- it's one of the biggest months of the season, even if it doesn't have the drama of September or the stakes of October. By the time August is done, there are few surprises -- what you see is what you get.
While one surprise team (Pittsburgh) fizzled, another (Arizona) sizzled. The Diamondbacks started August two games back in the NL West and now lead the defending champion Giants by six games. The D-Backs finished August on a nine-game winning streak -- they also had a seven-game winning streak earlier in the month. Kirk Gibson's club did have a six-game losing streak in the past 31 days, but the Giants have struggled all month, allowing some breathing distance for the D-Backs.
This August has seen Atlanta's Dan Uggla go from a disappointment to, well, Dan Uggla. His hitting streak ended at 33 games, but his average increased from .206 at the end of July to .232 at the end of August. In all, he hit in 22 of 26 August games and went .340/.405/.670 with 10 homers as the Braves solidified their hold on the NL wild-card spot.
But it's Detroit's Alex Avila who gains the nod as our Batter of the Month.
Meanwhile nine different pitchers picked up five wins. Some of the names (Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander) aren't surprising, while some (Ivan Nova, Ian Kennedy, Ricky Romero) were young guns making their mark. Another was a pitcher (Hiroki Kuroda) finally getting run support and the last (Bruce Chen) was a total surprise.
But Lee was The Man. He started five games. He won five games. He only allowed two earned runs, which both came in the same game. He averaged nearly eight innings per start, saving the Phillies bullpen some extra work. He struck out nearly a batter per inning while allowing less than one baserunner per inning, meaning he kept the pressure off his defense. Basically, Lee did it all for the Phillies in August, and that's why he snags this Pitcher award for a second consecutive month.
Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, Al Melchior, AL West, Alex Avila, Batter of the Month, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Bruce Chen, C. Trent Rosecrans, Clayton Kershaw, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee, Curtis Granders, Dan Uggla, Danny Knobler, David Ortiz, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Evan Brunell, Evan Longoria, Hiroki Kuroda, Ian Kennedy, Ivan Nova, Joey Votto, Justin Verlander, Matt Snyder, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Phillies, Pirates, Pitcher of the Month, Players of the Month, Rays, Reds, Ricky Romero, Royals, Scott Miller, Scott White, Tigers, Tigers, Yankees, Zack Greinke
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:23 pm
By Evan Brunell
Today's the last weekday prior to the trade deadline, which expires on Sunday. Will there be a flurry of activity much like there was Wednesday when Colby Rasmus was part of a three-team deal and Carlos Beltran headed to San Francisco? It's too early to tell, but here's the latest rumors, headlined by Hunter Pence. If you're looking for information on Ubaldo Jimenez, we've broken that off into its own story -- head here and check it out.
On Thursday, a deal between Philadelphia and Houston was so close that Pence was told during the game that night he was being removed due to a trade, as Heyman reports, but he never came out of the game. That's because a potential deal Philadelphia would have engineered with Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart and a third piece fell through when the 'Stros wanted Domonic Brown. Both sides are so close, though, it's hard to imagine a trade doesn't eventually happen. Heyman, for his part, thinks a deal will happen if it's Brown and Cosart for Pence.
However, Joel Sherman of the New York Post isn't ready to count out Atlanta. The 'Stros appear to prefer the Braves' prospects, but Atlanta refuses to deal Mike Minor. If that changes, Pence could be a Brave. Will that be enough to keep him out of Philly, a team Heyman says will "do whatever it takes" to get Pence?
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL East, AL West, Aramis Ramirez, Astros, Braves, Bruce Chen, Cardinals, Carlos Pena, Cubs, Delmon Young, Denard Span, Diamondbacks, Drew Storen, Erik Bedard, Evan Brunell, Health Bell, Hunter Pence, Indians, Jason Kubel, Jason Marquis, Jeff Francis, Kevin Slowey, Mariners, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Royals, Ryan Ludwick, Tigers, trade deadline, Twins
Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:33 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You may have missed it last night, but Hideki Matsui hit his 168th home run of his Major League Baseball career. Why's that meaningful? Well, in addition to his 332 homers for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, he has 500 in his professional career.
Sure, 500 combined isn't the same as 500 in MLB, but it's still a cool accomplishment. Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 home runs, was impressed by the accomplishment.
"To keep hitting home runs during a tough schedule while maintaining your conditioning is not easy," Oh told the Associated Press.
Matsui was less impressed. "It isn't like I've been aiming for this, because I don't really combine numbers from Japan and here. To me, they are two separate leagues," he told the AP.
And he's right, there are differences. The ballparks in Japan are smaller, the ball is slightly different, the pitchers are different and the season is shorter. But still, 500 is a lot of home runs, even if you're in Little League. He was never quite the same feared power hitter here that he was in Japan, but he did produce for many years and has been a good big leaguer, adjusting his game to his new surroundings.
I lived in Japan when he first came up, and the hype he received is like nothing I've seen in the United States -- I'd say it's more like if Bryce Harper were a Yankee. That's how famous he was even in high school in Japan, where the high school baseball tournament is covered like the NCAA basketball tournament here.
The 500 mark has been achieved by 25 in MLB and eight in Japan -- and just one, Matsui, has done it combined between the two.
KOTCHMAN QUALIFIED: It's been easy to miss, but Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman is having a heck of a season. He needed four plate appearances Wednesday to qualify for the batting title. Kotchman not only got his four appearances, he picked up three hits, raising his batting average to .337, which is second in the American League to Boston's Adrian Gonzalez (.343). [Tampa Tribune]
UNHAPPY DAYS IN CHICAGO: It's been a severely disappointing season in Chicago, and both managers are none too happy with their teams. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had some choice words for his team after a loss to Bruce Chen and the Royals [Chicago Tribune]; Cubs manager Mike Quade targeted his ire on two young players, Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. [Chicago Sun-Times].
STRONG COFFEY: Nats reliever Todd Coffey wasn't too happy about allowing a run in Tuesday night's game and reacted by throwing a water cooler -- nearly drenching Jerry Hairston. Let that be a lesson kids, another reason to wear high socks -- your pants don't get wet if Coffey spills on you. [Washington Post]
SWEET MUSIC: The New York Times music critic writes about the beautiful sounds of a ballpark. Listen to the sweet sound of summer. Maybe they should make it a MP3 so I can listen to it when there's snow on the ground.
JETER FATIGUE: Sick of hearing about Derek Jeter? Well, there's a browser tool for that. If you're using Google's Chrome, you can download the Jeter Filter to avoid all those pesky references to the Captain. Too bad this wasn't around a week or so ago (I kid, I kid). [Big League Stew]
CHAVEZ REVINE IS SAFE: The group that owns the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles says that it is not interested in building a downtown baseball stadium, contrary to earlier reports. "It's not even an idea. It simply doesn't work," AEG president Tim Leiweke told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
CLOSER IN WAITING?: If Florida trades Leo Nunez, it's like Edward Mujica will get the nod as the team's closer. You fantasy baseball folk may want to remember that and get in on him early. [Miami Herald]
SORIANO CLOSE: Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano made his first rehab appearance Tuesday, allowing two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings at Class A Tampa. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn't know yet how he'd use Soriano upon his return. [New York Daily News]
DARVISH WATCH: One of the big names we'll be sick of hearing come January or so is Japanese import Yu Darvish. The Angels, Yankees and Mets were among the teams that watched his last start. [YakyuBaka.com]
NO MO NO-NO: Monday the Royals' Luis Mendoza of the Royals' Triple-A team in Omaha threw a no-hitter and the next night the Double-A squad in Northwest Arkansas threw a combined no-hitter. Well, Wednesday the Royals not only didn't have a no-hitter, but they had another taken away when the Pacific Coast League stripped Mendoza of his no-hitter, changing an error call to a hit -- again. Monday night outfielder David Lough of the Storm Chasers was charged with an error. Then just minutes after Mendoza celebrated his no-hitter, it was changed to a hit. And then an hour later, it was changed back to an error. And now Wednesday it was changed back to a hit. Mendoza threw a no-hitter for Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2009. [Kansas City Star]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Allen Craig, Athletics, Bruce Chen, C. Trent Rosecrans, Casey Kotchman, Cubs, Darwin Barney, David Lough, Derek Jeter, Dodgers, Edward Mujica, Hideki Matsui, Japan, Joe Girardi, Leo Nunez, Luis Mendoza, Marlins, Mike Quade, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Ozzie Guillen, Rafael Soriano, Rays, Royals, Starlin Castro, Todd Coffey, White Sox, Yankees, Yu Darvish
Posted on: July 1, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 12:36 pm
With interleague play heading into the last week, is it still a good idea? What can you expect from the return of Rich Harden? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer with the latest.
By Evan Brunell
The Royals are preparing for trade season, but caution that they won't just start dealing players if it doesn't make sense.
"We won’t move forward in any direction that doesn’t fit long term with what we’re trying to do,” GM Dayton Moore said. "We’ll always look for ways to improve our baseball team and be open-minded. There are a lot of potentially creative ideas that could exist"
Moore is expected to listen to trade offers for veteran players such as Jeff Francouer, Bruce Chen and the like, plus bigger pieces like Joakim Soria and Billy Butler. While K.C. would charge a high price for Soria, scouts are intrigued by Billy Butler and believe the DH could play in the NL.
“Have you watched Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard play defense?” one scout asked. “I don’t think they’re any better [defensively] than Butler. The bigger concern is he’s not driving the ball like he did in the past.”
Scouts also believe that the most interest will likely come for Wilson Betemit, Melky Cabrera and Mike Aviles. Betemit is being squeezed out but has still put up productive numbers that any team could use in the infield, while Cabrera is hitting for significantly more power than in his forgettable 2010. Aviles, meanwhile, is at Triple-A after being optioned recently, but that may only serve to boost his value.
“Teams love those guys with options,” one scout said. “You stash them away until you need them, and Aviles is one of those guys who has shown he can hit. He’s the type of guy who can really help a good team.” (Kansas City Star)
ON THE HUNT: The Tigers are looking around for starting pitching, as behind Justin Verlander there hasn't been much production in the rotation. Phil Coke just lost his spot to Charlie Furbush, but that appears to be nothing more than a Band-Aid. The problem is that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, shrinking the available candidates. Detroit could use a left-handed starter, which plays well in their park. That could lead to the Royals' Bruce Chen or Astros' Wandy Rodriguez being moved to the Motor City. (Fox Sports)WAITING: Chris Davis has torn apart Triple-A and is proving he has nothing left at that level to prove. Davis has 19 home runs and a .363 batting average in just 24 games. Both manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels admit that Davis is ready for the majors, but the slugger will have to wait for a spot to open. (ESPN Dallas)
SLUMP-BUSTER: The White Sox are headed to Wrigley Field for a weekend series and Adam Dunn has to be hoping a return to friendly grounds will spark his season. Dunn's 1.061 OPS is the highest mark he's registered in any stadium with at least 25 at-bats, an OPS he can only dream of given his current .619 showing. (Baseball-Reference's Dunn page)
HEAD-FIRST: Elvis Andrus will not be diving head-first into bases for some time after spraining the wrist last week on such a slide. "I have to," Andrus said. "I don't want to be in between on that play again. For now I feel comfortable if I go feet first. I used to do it a lot last year every time so it won't be that hard. I just mentally focus and try to protect my wrist for a little while and then when I feel comfortable I will [slide head first] for sure." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
DREW BOOED: J.D. Drew was roundly booed Thursday when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, marking the first time he played in the Philadelphia series. He would go on to knock a single in the ninth, which he mentioned was his "only source of revenge." Drew also noted he is not booed when out of uniform and doesn't think he is recognized. In the same story, several Red Sox react to the news of Mike Cameron's designation for assignment. (Boston Herald)
THANKS FOR THE HELP: Marcos Mateo shut out the Giants for five innings Thursday, but Chicago needs fresh arms thanks to a makeup game Monday, doubleheader Tuesday and 13-inning gamer Thursday. While Mateo may deserve to stay in the bigs, he could be jettisoned to make room for a fresh arm, which could end up being Kerry Wood, who is ready to come off the DL. (Chicago Tribune)
REHAB SET: Dustin McGowan hasn't pitched in a big-league game since 2008 and already saw his rehab bid set back with forearm stiffness. But now, McGowan will graduate from extended spring training to Class A. He will have 30 days before he must be activated from the DL or put him back on. (MLB.com)
FIRST PITCH: Carlos Zambrano left Thursday's game with lower back soreness in the second, but threw out the first pitch for the National Pro Fastpitch Bandits' softball game later that night. Outrage or no big deal? You decide. (@CSNBoyle)
BEER DROPPING: A combination of both the Cubs and White Sox playing poorly along with less than optimal weather has seen what Rich Harris, a vendor for both teams, says is a 30 percent less load. That's a lot of money for beer vendors, who get paid on commission, to miss out on. "The best thing baseball-wise that could happen from here on out on both sides of town is win, win, win," Harris said. "That would make everyone happy -- the teams, the fans and us." (Chicago Tribune)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 7:57 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Royals have announced their rotation, and it has Luke Hochevar at the top, slated for the opening day assignment as the Kansas City Star reveals. Following Hochevar is Jeff Francis, Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen and Vin Mazzaro, although Mazzaro will be held back as the club does not need a fifth starter until April 16. That will allow an extra relief pitcher to be carried and for K.C. to continue evaluating some bullpen pitchers on the bubble.
Hochevar has a career 5.60 ERA, so he's hardly worthy of the billing. It just goes to show you how dire the rotation is as they await arrivals of pitchers like Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Jake Odorizzi, among others.
While Hochevar did improve greatly on his career ERA by posting a 4.81 mark in 2010, that came in just 103 innings as he struggled with injury and posted a 3.2 BB/9 and 6.6 K/9. His advanced pitching metrics, such as FIP, are far more kind to Hochevar, with FIP giving Hochevar a 3.93 mark. The issue that plagues Hochevar the most comes with stranding baserunners, as league average hovers around 71 percent each year. Given that strand rate is influenced by factors largely out of the pitcher's control, it's been argued that a poor (or good) strand rate shouldn't be used to evaluate a pitcher's effectiveness.
However, Hochevar's strand rate hasn't cracked 65 percent in the three years of extended playing time he's had in the majors. In fact, that 65 percent happened in 2010, also the year he's posted his best ERA, FIP and xFIP numbers. That speaks to something particularly damaging Hochevar's ERA, such as a porous bullpen that constantly gives up inherited baserunners. That can't be the entire cause of it, however.
Other factors that could come into play is the defense. As a groundball pitcher, Hochevar induces a ton of grounders which is good from a BABIP perspective, but bad when you have a poor defense behind you. That was certainly the case in Kansas City the last few years, especially when the disastrous Yuniesky Betancourt played short.
Another reason could be that Hochevar simply doesn't function well with baserunners on, whether mentally or from the stretch. Hochevar's K/9 rate dips from 7.02 pitching with no one on to 6.15 with men on base. His walk rate also spikes to 4.37 from 2.34, so it appears Hochevar struggles to pitch from the stretch.
There doesn't appear to be one specific smoking gun for Hochevar's problems with stranded runners, although one should point to his struggles pitching out of the stretch as a primary cause. If he can somehow arrest that issue, Hochevar could evolve into a solid back of the rotation starter. As it is, however, Hochevar would struggle to crack the rotation in a lot of cities, but in K.C. he happens to be the ace.
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans3 UP
1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.
2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.
1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).
2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.
3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.
Posted on: January 15, 2011 6:54 pm
Hey, check out the Royals getting all spendy with the free agents. Two days, two signings, as today it's being reported that they are following their signing of Jeff Francis with a deal to bring back Bruce Chen.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports via Twitter that Chen will sign a $2 million deal with $1.5 million in possible performance bonuses. Chen made 33 appearances, 23 of them starts, for the Royals last season, with a team-leading 12 wins and 4.17 ERA. Considering the departed Zack Greinke (10-14) was the only other Royal to win more than eight games last season, bringing back Chen at that price is a no-brainer.
This also gives the left-hander a chance to do something he's never done: spend three full seasons in the same city. The Royals are Chen's 10th team in a 12-year career.
-- David Andriesen