Tag:Carlos Marmol
Posted on: September 27, 2011 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Chicago Cubs

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Chicago Cubs
Record: 70-90, 24 games back in NL Central
Manager: Mike Quade
Best hitter: Aramis Ramirez -- .306/.360/.506, 25 HR, 92 RBI, 79 R, 35 2B
Best pitcher: Matt Garza -- 9-10, 3.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 189 K, 191 IP

After the 2008 season, the Cubs were in the middle of a bit of a golden era in the franchise. They had been division champions three times in a six-year span. That isn't saying much for a lot of teams, but this franchise hadn't had that kind of success since playing in the World Series four out of five seasons from 1906-1910. Alas, they were swept in the NLDS in 2008, despite having the best regular-season record in the National League, so general manager Jim Hendry decided to do some tinkering. The Cubs finished just five games over .500 in 2009 before coming in fifth place in 2010 and are currently in fifth again. And Hendry's out of a job, likely to be followed by Quade and some other coaches.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They were 9-8 and tied for first place after the first game of a doubleheader on April 20, but that was the high point in the standings. The Cubs would go on to lose six of seven games and never be a serious threat the rest of the way. They fell to 10 games back on June 4 and never got closer than nine back in the Central from that point forward. They actually moved up to fourth place September 19 for the first time since May 26, but the overwhelming majority of the season has been spent in fifth place, thanks to the lowly Astros. The biggest positives: Starlin Castro is well on his way to being a major-league star, Darwin Barney appears an adequate option at second base, Matt Garza had a good season, Sean Marshall is still great in middle-to-late inning relief and Jeff Samardzija finally doesn't look like a huge bust. The biggest negative is that this appears to be a badly flawed roster with not near enough help on the way from the minors.

2012 AUDIT

This is the toughest assignment of the R.I.P. series, because there's no way to know the direction of the ballclub until a new general manager is hired. The club is not immediately set up to compete, but there's a stipulation: With more than $50 million in payroll falling off before 2012 and even more off the books before '13, the Cubs could decide to be a major player in free agency. The franchise has enough money to grab, for example, Prince Fielder, C.J. Wilson and still have money left over to bolster the bullpen and find a fill-in at third base. On the other hand, many would argue that still isn't enough to make the Cubs immediate contenders in the National League. If the new GM agrees, he might be more in favor of leaving the payroll low for a season or two while building the system with a youthful foundation before pouncing on big-name free agents to fill holes in 2013 or 2014. One thing that should scare fellow franchises in the NL Central if the Cubs choose to spend big in the near future, is that the Cubs are clear of all big contracts except Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol (and Matt Garza likely has a deal by then, too, I'd guess) prior to 2013 and Marmol's off after '13. They have the resources to be the Red Sox of the NL. It's just a matter of if the Cubs can put the correct plan in place, and that all comes down to who chairman Tom Ricketts hires as his next GM.

FREE AGENTS

Aramis Ramirez, 3B (mutual option)
Carlos Pena, 1B
Reed Johnson, OF
Ryan Dempster, SP (player option for '12)
John Grabow, RP
Jeff Samardzija, RP (club option for '12 and '13)

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Where to even begin? This roster is a mess. First of all, I'd listen to offers for everyone except Starlin Castro. That doesn't mean you have to trade guys like Barney, Marshall or Soto, but you never know if the return might work with the game plan of the new GM. Let's sort through some of this and see what can be done short-term with the eyes on the future. My goal would be to contend in 2013. If it happens in 2012, that's just gravy.
  • Get Prince Fielder. He's 27 and incredibly durable (has never played less than 157 games in a full season). He'd then be the anchor for the Cubs for the foreseeable future, even if it takes a few years to build around him and Castro. Also of importance, if you bat Castro second and Fielder third, Castro's strike zone woes become less an issue (though he has walked more times than he's struck out in September, so it's getting better already).
  • Give Andrew Cashner one last shot to stay healthy in the rotation and also see if Samardzija can be successful as a starter. Having a rotation of Garza, Dempster, Randy Wells, Cashner and Samardzija won't be winning any championships, but Dempster is gone after 2012 and there'd be plenty of money to go after free agents. By then, they Cubs will know if they need just one guy or up to four with Garza. And the list of free agent starters after next season could have some big names -- assuming they aren't granted contract extensions -- like Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Shaun Marcum and James Shields.
  • Read the riot act to Carlos Marmol. Considering the Cubs likely can't contend in 2012 and Marmol is signed through 2013, he has one year to fix himself. Marmol has blown an MLB-high 10 saves (he's tied with Jordan Walden). You can't count on closers to be perfect, but let's say Marmol only blew four saves, which is a very reasonable percentage. The Cubs would be 76-84, which isn't awful at all considering some of the injury issues and poor roster construction.
  • Give Bryan LaHair a shot in right field. LaHair is 28, so he's hardly a prospect, but it's possible he's a late bloomer like Ryan Ludwick or Jayson Werth. LaHair had 38 home runs, 109 RBI and a 1.070 OPS in 129 Triple-A games. He's hitting .309/.391/.545 in 19 games for the Cubs this season. Again, the eyes are on 2013 here, so if he flames out as many expect, you can address the position next offseason. But he's at least earned the chance to get an extended look in the bigs.
  • If the Cubs do fall out of contention in 2012, Marlon Byrd needs to be traded at the deadline and prospect Brett Jackson can then take over in center field. If Jackson is deemed ready earlier in the season and LaHair doesn't pan out, Byrd could be moved to right. 
  • I'd personally bring back Aramis Ramirez for two or three years, assuming the Cubs don't have to break the bank. The last thing they need is another albatross contract, so if he's demanding something like four years and $50 million, it's time to move on. But if it's reasonable, it makes sense to keep him. He's only 33 and has shown has can still swing the bat. He's got to have two to three years left of above-average production at third base. Prospect Josh Vitters had completely fallen off all prospect rankings prior to this season, but rebounded with a decent showing in Double-A this season (.283/.322/.448 with 14 homers, 81 RBI and 28 doubles) and he's still only 21. In two years, the Cubs will have an idea if he is going to be the next third baseman or not. If not, they can look outside the organziation or perhaps someone in the farm system will have emerged. Keeping Ramirez is a natural bridge to when it comes to that.
And there's a lot more, too, but those are the big ones.

The main thing here is the hire a new GM that puts the main focus on building the minor-league system. That way in a few years free agency won't be the only avenue to fill out a winning ballclub. Remember, people complain about the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies in free agency, but lots of players -- Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and several others were developed from within the respective systems. The Cubs have been terrible at developing their own in recent years and leaned on trades and free agency to bail them out. It needs to be a combination or everything will eventually fall apart like it did this season. From there, they can start to think about breaking a faux-curse and easing the pain of the legions of true fans.

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Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:16 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Montero leads Yankees

Jesus Montero

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jesus Montero, Yankees: The Yankees rookie is certainly making his case to be not only on the team's playoff roster, but also to be the team's starting designated hitter come Friday. Montero went 3 for 4, knocking in four with his fourth homer of the season in Saturday's 9-1 victory over the Red Sox. Montero is hitting .346/.414/.635 in 15 games since being called up on Sept. 1.

Alex Torres, Rays: The rookie reliever was trust into action when left-hander Jeff Niemann was pulled after allowing two runs in the first inning of the Rays' game against the Blue Jays. Torres threw five shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out five and walking one in Tampa Bay's crucial 6-2 victory over Toronto. The 23-year-old left-hander was making just his fourth big-league appearance and his first multi-inning outing, earning his first win. The Rays got Torres along with Sean Rodriguez (and Matt Sweeney) in the 2009 trade of Scott Kazmir to Anaheim. 

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Lohse would be his starter in a one-game playoff for the wild card if it comes to that on Thursday. Lohse gave him every reason to stand by that decision in Saturday's 2-1 win against the Cubs. The right-hander didn't pick up the decision, but he did have a season-high eight strikeouts in seven innings. After giving up a run on three hits in the first inning, Lohse gave up just three more hits and didn't allow a runner in scoring position over his final six innings. Lohse (14-8) lowered his ERA to 3.39.


Carlos Marmol, Cubs: The very best closers give a fan a sense of confidence -- when Mariano Rivera takes the mound, Yankees fans know the game is wrapped up. When Brian Wilson comes in, Giants fans can raise their beer (or, well, wine glass, it is the Giants). But when Carlos Marmol comes in, Cubs fans either reach for Pepto Bismol or a case of Old Style to help them forget. Marmol not only blew his 10th save of the season on Saturday, but he did it in a typical frustrating style -- after giving up a hit, he walked three batters to bring in the tying run and then uncorked a wild pitch to let in the winning run. 

Carl Crawford, Red Sox: Already a goat, if the Red Sox complete their epic collapse, his drop of a Russell Martin line drive in the second inning of Saturday's 9-1 loss to the Yankees could be the defining play of the team's disappointing finish to the 2011 season. If Crawford makes the catch, Andruw Jones would have been doubled up easily at second to end the second inning, down just a run. Instead, New York scored six runs in the inning, two on Crawford's play and then three more on Derek Jeter's homer. Crawford, batting second, drove in the Red Sox's only run, but it came in the seventh when Boston was already down 9-0. It was too little too late.

Justin Verlander, Tigers: It's not often you can put Verlander here, and it was little more than a bad outing, but it's just so shocking to see Verlander on this side of the ledger. Verlander, who should unanimously win the Cy Young Award, failed in his bid to become the first 25-game winner in the majors since Bob Welch won 26 in 1990. Verlander gave up five runs on eight hits in seven innings and had his streak of 12 consecutive starts with a win snapped as Detroit fell 6-5 to Baltimore.

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 5:12 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2011 12:38 am
 

Playoff race: Cardinals receive a gift

Carlos Marmol

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol hand-delivered an extension of the of the Cardinals' wild card hopes, giving St. Louis a 2-1 victory over the Cubs. Marmol walked three straight batters to force in the tying run and then allowed the winning run on a walk-off wild pitch. St. Louis' gift victory plus a Braves' loss in Washington cut the Braves' lead in the wild card race to two games with four left to play for both teams.

If the Cardinals win the rest of their four remaining games, the Braves would need to win two of their remaining four to force a playoff, but three wins would give them the wild card.

So, let's take a look at exactly where we stand:

Atlanta Braves
89-69
Remaining schedule: 1 @ WAS, 3 v. PHI
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 83.9 percent

St. Louis Cardinals
87-71, 2 GB
Remaining schedule: 1 v. CHC, 3 @ HOU
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 16.1 percent

The Giants were eliminated from playoff contention with their 15-2 loss to the Diamondbacks.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:37 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: All late inning heroics



By Matt Snyder

Six teams won Tuesday after scoring in their final at-bat, so let's stick with those as the theme of 3 Up, 3 Down.

Lyle Overbay, Diamondbacks. Amazing how things work out sometimes. Heading to the trade deadline, the Pirates were actually in the race for once and looked to upgrade at first base. They ended up trading for Derrek Lee, which made Overbay expendible. He was set free and ended up with Arizona. Now the Pirates have completely fallen out of the race after a miserable stretch and the Diamondbacks are in first place. Tuesday night, Overbay went 3-4 with all three of the D-Backs' RBIs, including a two-RBI double in the ninth off Roy Halladay. The Snakes beat the Phillies 3-2 and are now 3 1/2 games in front of the Giants.

Mark Kotsay, Brewers. He only got one at-bat, but that's all he needed. Kotsay came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and the score tied 1-1. He planted a Mike MacDougal offering into center field for a line drive, walk-off single. The Brewers extended their lead to seven games in the NL Central and have won 17 of their last 19.

Brian Bogusevic, Astros. Like Kotsay, all Bogusevic needed was one bases-loaded at-bat to produce a walk-off win, but unlike Kotsay, Bogusevic drove home four, not just one. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol allowed two singles and a walk before Bogusevic stepped to the plate with his team trailing by three. He went ahead and hit a walk-off grand slam to save the Astros from an eighth consecutive loss.



Arthur Rhodes/Tony La Russa, Cardinals. Rhodes was signed by the Cardinals to get left-handers out, yet he yielded a walk-off homer to the Pirates' Garrett Jones -- who is, yes, left-handed -- Tuesday night. Of course, members of the media who cover the Cardinals pointed out after the game it was the third straight night La Russa used the 41 year old and that Rhodes is best served in short doses. Tuesday, he got two outs to end the 10th and La Russa trotted him back out there for the 11th. Jones was the first batter Rhodes faced in the 11th. So who was at fault? You make the call. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have fallen seven games back of the Brewers and that race looks like it will be a mere formality quite soon.

Giants offense. In sticking with the theme, the Giants lost in walk-off fashion Tuesday night. Still, it's hard to blame the pitchers. The Giants got no-hit by a rookie -- with big upside, but it was still only his second career start -- for six innings before getting a solo home run from Cody Ross. In 11 innings, that would be their only run. They only had five hits. They've fallen 3 1/2 back of the red-hot Diamondbacks and are threatening to fall behind the Mariners for the least amount of runs scored in the majors. Something better change, fast.

Indians vs. White Sox. Are these two teams seriously in the race? This marathon game was a comedy of misplayed balls, stranded runners, poor baserunning, blown leads and pretty much everything else under the sun. Of course there was good from each side -- some timely hitting and good pitching performances -- but it was predominantly bad and I'd guess most fans of either team would agree. On the Indians side, Shin-Soo Choo was awful in right field, playing two balls into triples and misplaying a few others. They left 11 men on base -- including leaving them loaded in the 13th -- and got a bad outing from Ubaldo Jimenez. On the White Sox end, Will Ohman came in and walked two straight batters -- the second one forced in the tying run -- before recording his lone out of the game. A leadoff triple was wasted in extra innings when Brent Lillibridge was doubled off first on a lineout. Sergio Santos blew a save prior to that to send it to extras. Oh, and they left 15 men on base. But hey, the White Sox won and crept to within a half-game of the Indians for second place in the AL Central. So all is well that ends well for them. (Note: LOB numbers were by my unofficial count. I could be off by one or two. Regardless, it was bad).

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 12:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Sans chicken wings, Cueto's back



By Matt Snyder


Johnny Cueto, Reds. Cueto had been rolling right along, sporting a 1.72 ERA and 0.98 WHIP through 16 starts. He was coming off a shutout when he was shelled by the Cubs last Saturday for seven hits and five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. What was wrong? Cueto said he had chicken wings and his stomach wasn't feeling right when he took the hill. So this time around he avoided the wings and got back on track. Thursday, Cueto worked seven shutout innings against the Rockies, giving up just three hits and walking two while striking out nine in a 2-1 victory. He trimmed his league-leading ERA down to 1.94.

St. Louis Cardinals. If the Cardinals lost this one, they'd have fallen six games back to a Brewers team that is playing as well as anyone right now. That isn't an insurmountable deficit, but it would be quite the climb. Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter was touched up for two runs in the top of the first, too, but after that everything fell into place for the Cardinals. Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols hit first-inning homers to tie it. Pujols didn't let up, going 4-for-4 on the night with Matt Holliday sidelined. Carpenter labored at times, yet found a way to battle through eight innings without allowing a third run. Closer Fernando Salas worked a perfect ninth. The defense was actually good, too, as the Cardinals turned four double plays in the 5-2 win. They're still four games out and the Brewers are still the favorite, but this was a game the Cardinals needed in this race.

Mark Buehrle, White Sox. The veteran threw eight innings, allowing only six hits and three runs while walking none and striking out six. He picked up the win as the White Sox remained four games out in the AL Central, yet crept to within one of second-place Cleveland. While it was a good outing, Buehrle's in this spot because it marked his 18th stright start in which he allowed three runs or less (Mark Gonzales on Twitter). That guy gives his team a chance to win every single time he takes the ball. And he's talking retirement after this year as he's set to hit free agency. He's only 32.



Brad Mills, Blue Jays. This just in: Oakland isn't very good at offense. Entering Thursday, only the Mariners had scored fewer runs among AL teams. But the A's lit Mills up. He only lasted three innings, allowing five hits and six earned runs in a 10-3 Blue Jays' loss. Maybe the Man in White switched sides. I mean, guys don't just hit in that stadium without some kind of extra help, right?

Nationals in ninth. The Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out against fickle Cubs closer Carlos Marmol Thursday afternoon. The deficit was two and it appeared Marmol had no idea where any of his pitches were going. After an Ian Desmond strikeout -- in which he fought off several pitches out of the zone -- Wilson Ramos had an infield single to cut it to one. Brian Bixler followed with a check-swing strikeout before Rick Ankiel flew out to the warning track to end it. Of all the balls the Nats swung at in the ninth, I'm gonna guess about 35 percent were actually in the strike zone. Even their two hits were of the infield variety.

Nyjer Morgan, Brewers. I rarely have a problem with players on opposing teams having a shouting match. In fact, I quite prefer that kind of fire rather than befriending the opponents. It's supposed to be a competition. But when your teammates are telling you to stop, it's probably a bit ridiculous. According to multiple reporters (including Derrick Goold) at the game, the brief stoppage of play in the top of the eighth inning was due to Morgan yelling at Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter from the dugout. Teammates were reportedly trying to get him to stop and when the camera cut to home plate, Prince Fielder and Yadier Molina could actually be seen laughing about it. If the two clubs are at odds, that's competition. If there's only one guy yelling and everyone else is either telling him to stop or laughing, well, that's a bit out of whack.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 5:48 pm
 

Marmol's job in jeopardy after another bad outing

By Matt Snyder

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol had one of the worst imaginable outings Thursday night, as he blew his seventh save in 26 opportunities. He faced five batters, walked four and allowed a bases-loaded double. He ended up being charged with five earned runs while having recorded zero outs.

His ERA jumped more than a run, from 2.57 to 3.64. He's now blown three of his last six save chances, and his inability to command the strike zone is a constant problem.

Still, Cubs manager Mike Quade said after the game the job was still Marmol's.

“Marm’s the guy, and has been the guy and needs to be the guy. He’ll be better,” Quade said Thursday night (MLB.com).

Friday, however, gave Quade second thoughts. The Cubs went to Marmol, again, with a 2-0 lead in the ninth. He nearly coughed up the game and didn't finish the inning. Quade summoned Sean Marshall, who struck out Mike Stanton with the tying run on base. Marmol's outing began with a four-pitch walk and he would have blown the save had Hanley Ramirez not committed a baserunning gaffe. With one out and a man on, Ramirez hit a ball into the gap, but loafed out of the batter's box and was thrown out at second base. Had he made it, Marmol was looking at runners on second and third with one out. Marmol then gave up another single and was pulled for Marshall.

One or two more bad outings and it could mean the end for Marmol permanently, but for the time being, Quade said he's going with Marshall and Kerry Wood to close out games (MLB.com via Twitter). Quade reportedly said he'll let Marmol work on things for a few days and there's no set timetable for the switch. So it sounds temporary.

 I don't think there's any other option than to remove Marmol from closing duties immediately. In addition to the control woes, something seems wrong with Marmol's arm. Friday, he was throwing fastballs about 90 m.p.h. and his slider was in the mid-80s. He used to throw at least mid-90s fastball and worked up in the high-90s at times. His slider doesn't seem to have near as much bite as it used to, either.

Regardless of the reason, though, Marmol is simply not getting the job done and needs a lesser role. It's a good decision by Quade.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 3:00 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 8:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Good starts, bad finishes

Aaron Harang

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Aaron Harang, Padres: In his last two outings, Harang has combined to throw 13 scoreless innings and allow just five hits since coming off the disabled list and the Pades have no wins to show for it. On Saturday he left after six no-hit innings only to see the Padres lose in the ninth inning. Thursday, Harang gave up five hits, but struck out four and walked one during his seven innings. He left the game with a 1-0 lead to the Padres' usually stellar bullpen. But after Mike Adams' scoreless eighth, Heath Bell blew his second save of the season when Aubrey Huff homered to lead off the ninth. The Padres would go ahead and lose in the 12th (see below).

Matt Garza, Cubs: Garza has had some bad luck in his first season with the Cubs, entering Thursday's start with a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA, but with an xFIP of 2.86 -- xFIP is a metric that is supposed to take out the factors the pitch can't control, such as having Starlin Castro as your shortstop and the ballpark, which is the x part. Anyway Thursday Garza had just his second scoreless start of the season, holding the Marlins scoreless through seven innings, giving up six hits and three walks while striking out six and lowering his ERA to 3.97. Like Harang, Garza was in line for the win until the game got to his closer (see below).

Derek Holland, Rangers: Unlike the other two, Holland didn't let anyone else screw up his start. Holland allowed five hits in his second-straight shutout. The 24-year-old lefty went just 2/3 of an inning in his first start of July, but then shutout Oakland last week and Seattle on Thursday. Holland allowed five hits and a walk and struck out eight and took a perfect game into the sixth inning before walking the first batter he faced and then giving up a single to Chone Figgins. Unlike Garza or Harang, Holland picked up the W, improving to 8-4 with a 4.32 ERA.


Luke Gregerson, Padres: Bell blew his second save of the season, but it was Gregorson who picked up the loss for San Diego in the 12th inning against the Giants. The right-hander started the 12th with two walks and then committed an error to load the bases. After getting a popup and a strikeout, he threw four straight balls to Mike Fontenot to give San Francisco the lead. Pablo Sandoval's two-run single was the first hit of the inning and ended Gregorson's night in the 6-2 loss.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs: It wasn't just that Marmol walked the first three batters he faced in the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead, it was that after he gave up a double to Greg Dobbs, he failed to back up the play. It was apparent he expected all three runs to score, and they would have easily scored had Dewayne Wise not fallen after rounding third. The ball got past catcher Geovany Soto and with Marmol out of position, Wise was able to score. He then walked Emilio Bonifacio before being replaced by Kerry Wood, who allowed both of his inherited runners to score as the Marlins scored all six of their runs in the ninth, winning 6-3.

Blake Wood, Royals: Coming in to try to keep the Royals within a run over the Twins, Wood loaded the bases and then walked Ben Revere to score one run and followed that by hitting Alexi Casilla to make it 6-3. He was replaced by Everett Teaford who gave up a two-run single to Joe Mauer to close the book on Wood. Teaford was replaced by Louis Coleman, who got out of the inning, but the damage was done in Kansas City's 8-4 loss.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 12:03 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Dunn comes through



By Matt Snyder

Adam Dunn, White Sox. Maybe the 4th of July will go down as the day Dunn got things together in 2011. He's still only hitting .171 and did strike out once, but Dunn was 2-4 with two RBI Monday. He connected on a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth inning and then was at the plate in the bottom of the ninth when the White Sox won via walk-off balk (more on that below). If Dunn can regain some confidence from this game, it would do wonders for getting his season out of the gutter.

Alex Presley, Pirates. The rookie outfielder has been piling up hits for the Pirates since his promotion. Monday, Presley was 3-4 with a triple, RBI and a walk. He's now hitting .364 and more than filling the shoes of injured leadoff hitter Jose Tabata for the Pirates, who are now only 1-1/2 games out of first place in the NL Central.

Rangers offense. Sparked by three hits from both David Murphy and Michael Young -- who was a home run short of the cycle -- the Rangers pounded the Orioles' pitching staff for 13 runs and 18 hits. They had seven doubles, a triple and two homers. Every starter except Elvis Andrus collected a hit and seven players had multi-hit games. The production enabled the Rangers to win and hold on to a first place tie with the Angels.



Aaron Crow, Royals. Just a day after finding out he made the All-Star team, Crow had an awful rough outing. The Royals' setup man lost the lead in the eighth on the aforementioned Dunn home run and then lost the game in the ninth when he balked home A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski got on base with a single, was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a wild pitch from Crow. This loss falls squarely on Crow's shoulders.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs. Marmol entered the game in the bottom of the 10th with a tie game and Jayson Werth on second base. Marmol was summoned because Marcos Mateo was injured and had to leave the game. Marmol needed only five pitches to lose the game. First, he paid zero attention to Werth at second, which allowed Werth to steal third base so easily that Cubs' catcher Geovany Soto didn't even bother to throw to third. Then, on Marmol's fifth pitch, he uncorked his first wild pitch of the season, which allowed Werth to score. Yep, a walk-off wild pitch and walk-off balk in the same day.

John Lackey, Red Sox. Lackey was very solid last time out, but failed to build upon it one iota Monday. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and seven earned runs. His ERA is now back up to 7.47. The good news, Red Sox fans, is that he's only signed through 2014.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com