Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Charlie Morton
Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:33 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:50 pm
 

On Deck: Jack McKeon's back

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


MarlinsMCKEON'S RETURN: The Marlins will have their new skipper taking over tonight, as 80-year-old Jack McKeon will take the ropes as manager for the first time since 2005. McKeon is the third manager of the team in 2011 and fifth in two years as Edwin Rodriguez, who replaced Fredi Gonzalez last season, resigned before Sunday's game. After the bench coach managed Sunday, McKeon took over on an interim basis. At 7:10 p.m. ET, McKeon will become the second-oldest manager behind Connie Mack in baseball history and will host the Angels as the Marlins look to stop their losing streak, now at 10 straight and with 20 losses in their last 22 games. Jered Weaver takes on Anibal Sanchez in a nice pitching matchup. Angels vs. Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

MortonPUMPKIN TIME? Charlie Morton has been a revelation at 27 for the Pirates as he's adopted Roy Halladay's pitching style. Morton continues to impress with a 3.21 ERA. But his last two starts haven't been that great, and his 46 strikeouts and 34 walks aren't exactly impressive. Morton has yet to face an AL team on the year and, while the Orioles aren't the cream of the crop, will present a nice test for the righty as the Pirates look to get back to .500 after a weekend sweep by the Indians. He'll duel Jake Arrieta, who has eight wins despite a 4.45 ERA. Morton has seven. Orioles vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

RomeroHudsonPITCHING DUEL: A nice matchup is in store for the 1992 World Series contestants, as Toronto heads to Atlanta with Ricky Romero and his 3.01 ERA ready to do battle. Romero tied a career high in his last start with 12 strikeouts over eight innings and seems to be developing into a feared left-handed starter right before our eyes. Going up against him is seasoned veteran Tim Hudson, looking to crack the 4.00-ERA barrier as he is eight points over. The Braves have lost six of their last nine at home, so there's a desperation to turn around their fortunes. Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar will be back in town for the first time since being traded to Toronto last season. Blue Jays vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 11, 2011 1:26 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Sizemore helps stop A's skid

Scott Sizemore

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Scott Sizemore, Athletics -- Sizemore's two-out, three-run double in the ninth gave the A's a 7-5 victory over the White Sox on Friday. With the hit, the A's snapped their 10-game losing streak and gave Bob Melvin his first victory at the helm in Oakland. Sizemore was 3 for 4 on the night and is 5 for 9 since joining the A's.

Dillon Gee, Mets -- Gee became the first rookie to start a season 7-0 since Jered Weaver won nine in a row in 2006. It's the fourth-best streak to start a season in Mets history. Gee gave up a run in the first, but nothing else as he went eight innings in the 8-1 Mets victory. Gee allowed eight hits, all singles, while striking out five and walking none.

Ichiro's replacements --  Carlos Peguero started in right field for the slumping Ichiro Suzuki, while Chone Figgins was leading off instead of Suzuki. Both notched a pair of hits, with Peguero hitting a homer and a triple, scoring twice. Figgins, who entered the game hitting .187, recorded a single and a double in the Mariners' 3-2 victory over the Tigers.


Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked more like the 2010 Charlie Morton than the 2011 version on Friday, allowing seven runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in just four-plus innings. His ERA rose more than a half-run, from 2.52 to 3.08, dropping the Pirates to two games under .500 on the season. 

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs -- Carlos Marmol didn't have a chance to blow a lead as Zambrano put the Cubs in a seven-run hole in Philadelphia, exiting following Placido Polanco's seventh-inning grand slam. Zambrano, of course, criticized his teammates and closer following a blown save in St. Louis on Sunday.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse gave up four runs on five hits in five innings in the Cardinals' 8-0 loss to the Brewers. He hasn't won at Miller Park since June 26, 2005, when he was a member of the Minnesota Twins and hasn't beaten the Brewers since July 25, 2007, as a member of the Reds.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 3:06 pm
 

On Deck: Lester goes for MLB-leading eighth win

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


PiratesMetsBEST MATCHUP: Did you ever think that Charlie Morton and Dillon Gee would be worthy of the best pitching matchup of the day? Yeah, me neither. Morton is an impressive 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA for the Pirates despite an underwhelming K/BB ratio. Given that Morton has held up so far and really has his groundball tendencies working, it's possible he's for real. Meanwhile, Gee has seen the Mets win each of his six starts in a year where he's bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. He has a pristine 4-0 record with a 3.83 ERA but gave up four runs in six innings to the Cubs last time out. Both the Mets and Pirates have 24 wins apiece, while the Pirates have one less loss at 27. Pittsburgh's still hanging around the chase for .500. Somehow. Pirates vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET

HarangGOT HIS NUMBER
: Who will the Braves start behind the plate on Monday against the Padres' Aaron Harang? Does it matter? Brian McCann is 8 for 17 lifetime against Harang with two home runs, while backup catcher David Ross is 4 for 9 with three home runs. That's a nice problem to have, especially as Harang will be pitching away from the friendly confines of Petco Park against Tim Hudson. Other Braves who hit Harang well include Dan Uggla, who has a .429 batting average and two home runs in 25 plate appearances against him. Chipper Jones is 6 for 15, so there could be some fireworks during the game. Padres vs. Braves, 1:05 p.m. ET

LesterCHASE FOR EIGHT: There are five seven-game winners in the NL but only one over in the junior circuit, and that's Boston's Jon Lester. He'll have a chance to become baseball's first eight-game winner when he takes on Jake Peavy and the White Sox. Lester has benefited from run support this year, as he's received 59 runs on the backs of the Red Sox offense over his last 11 starts, including 24 over his past two. While Lester's been a bit lucky in this regard as he's appeared hittable this season in spurts, he still has a quality 3.36 ERA. After Toronto knocked them around, the ChiSox are hoping to avoid their fourth straight loss. The good news is that Gordon Beckham is expected to be back at second base after sitting out two games thanks to being smacked in the eye with a baseball. White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 .p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.




Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:38 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Peavy masterful

Jake Peavy

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Jake Peavy, White Sox-- While it seemed like a long time coming, Peavy was the Jake Peavy of old, holding the Indians -- who had scored 31 runs in their last three games -- scoreless, allowing just three hits. Peavy struck out nine and walked none. With Ozzie Guillen understandably having little faith in his bullpen, Peavy finished the game in 111 pitches.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- The Pirates right-hander notched his second complete-game victory over the Reds on Wednesday and the second shutout of his career on Wednesday night. The Pirates victory snapped Pittsburgh's six-game losing streak and the Reds' five-game winning streak. Morton allowed five hits, striking out five and walking two.

Cody Ross, Giants -- Ross picked up Brian Wilson, who blew a save, by launching a three-run homer in the top of the ninth off of the Dodgers' Lance Cormier. Ross was 2 for 5 with three runs scored in the 8-5 Giants victory.


Daric Barton, Athletics -- Barton is a phenomenal defensive first baseman, or at least he has been. On Wednesday, he notched his sixth error of the season and it was costly. After Delmon Young led off the 10th inning with a single, Alexi Casilla popped up a bunt attempt, but Barton elected to let it drop and try to throw Young out at second. Instead, he threw it past second, moving both runners up. Trevor Plouffe (who had a costly error of his own) hit a sacrifice fly to give Minnesota a 4-3 victory and drop the A's out of first place in the American League West. He also filed out to end the game.

Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays -- Encarnacion has earned the nickname "E5" for his play at third base. Well, that changed for a night, at least, as he was instead "E3" -- committed two of the Jays' five errors in the loss to the Rays. Encarnacion has 10 errors this season, seven at third and three at first. The Blue Jays have just 31 total errors, with Encarnacion making up for nearly a third of them.

Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Royals -- Both entered the game as pinch runners in the ninth after Eric Hosmer's game-tying homer, and both were picked off by Neftali Feliz before Wilson Betemit struck out looking to end the inning. The Royals lost 5-4 in 11 innings.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 7, 2011 11:19 am
 

On Deck: Verlander's chase for Ks, Teheran debuts

Verlander
OD

By Evan Brunell

BEST MATCHUP:  Justin Verlander (2-3, 3.75 ERA) will look to stop the Tigers' recent streak of futility when Detroit takes on Toronto, who will counter with Ricky Romero (2-3, 3.00 ERA). Both Verlander and Romero are two of the league's better pitchers in the early going. Romero had his previous start pushed back two days after straining his left oblique muscle. That injury is something to watch, given recent rash of obliques knocking players out for extended periods of time. Romero is also looking to build on the momentum of defeating the Yankees to break a personal three-game losing streak. Verlander, meanwhile, will attempt to narrow the gap between himself and Cliff Lee for baseball's lead in strikeouts. Lee has 60 on the night after a brilliant 16-K effort Friday night while Verlander is currently at 51. Tigers at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. ET

PHENOM LOOKS TO EXTEND STREAK: The Atlanta Braves withstood Lee's outburst to take out the Phillies for its sixth straight victory, which pushed Philly's edge in the NL East to 3 1/2. Atlanta still has to leapfrog the Marlins, who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Braves and face the Nationals Saturday. Atlanta will toss out rookie Julio Teheran, who is making his first career start in a spot start. Teheran is widely considered the best pitching prospect in the game and is not even of drinking age. The Braves' rotation is all sorts of silly deep, isn't it? Philly will counter with one of its non-aces, as Kyle Kendrick replaces Roy Oswalt in the rotation. It will be Kendrick's first start of the year after making eight relief appearances, tossing 13 innings of a 2.08 ERA but with a horrid 2/8 K/BB ratio. He's going to have his hands full with the streaking Atlanta squad. Braves at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

CELLAR DWELLERS: Not every day you advocate a game between two of the worst teams in the NL, but hey. Houston and Pittsburgh are actually both holding their own so far, with the Bucs checking in at a 15-17 record and Houston 13-19 and playoff aspirations still firmly in hand. Teams aside, this is an intriguing pitching matchup, as Bud Norris is breaking out before our very eyes. He's improving his command the more he pitches and now has to be talked about in the same vein as Brandon Morrow and could even be better than his Jays counterpart. Opposing Norris is Charlie Morton and his new Roy Halladay pitching motion which has delivered a 3.75 ERA thus far. However, a 5.40 BB/9 means the wheels will fall off anytime now. How long can Morton continue to defeat inevitability? Astros at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: April 21, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 1:37 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/20: Garland goes the distance

By Evan Brunell

Garland3 UP

Jon Garland, Dodgers -- In Jon Garland's second start of the season on the day MLB announced it was taking over the team, he twirled a beauty by going the distance, allowing just four hits, one earned run and two walks while punching out four. That made it a splended 50th birthday for Don Mattingly, as his Dodgers moved one game under .500. Juan Uribe was the hitting star of the game, driving in four runs in three hits for a 6-1 final score.

Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick has been a piss-poor Padre ever since being acquired at the trade deadline last season. Ludwick was acquired both to be a middle-of-the-order bat en route to a postseason berth, then was supposed to make San Diego forget about trading Adrian Gonzalez. Instead, he had a .195/.293/.307 line for S.D. in 300 plate appearances split across two years. Not good, but he woke up in Wednesday's doubleheader. In the afternoon game, he collected two hits and a walk, but the real damage came in the night game. His 2 RBI were instrumental in the 6-5 takedown of Chicago, tacking on two runs and three hits while cranking his second home run of the year. Entering the day hitting .135/.262/.212, Ludwick is now up to .200/.314/.350. Hey, progress.

Shane Victorino, Phillies -- Shane Victorino wasn't supposed to be the leadoff hitter, but has stepped up big time with the loss of Chase Utley and moving of Jimmy Rollins to the No. 3 spot. The Flyin' Hawaiian knocked two hits against the Brewers in three trips to the plate, scoring two runs, driving in one with a homer and walking once. Victorino is now hitting .324/.370/.515 on the year and is certainly the star on offense in the early going for Philadelphia.

3 DOWN

Jason Heyward, Braves -- Jason Heyward has entered a bit of a slump, as his three strikeouts Wednesday dropped his average to .190 even as he's only struck out 11 times this year against 11 walks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez believes Heyward needs to be more patient at the plate as he only has three walks in his past 11 games after walking at least once in the first eight games of the year. "It seems like he’s been making outs and swinging at balls early in counts [and out of the strike zone]," Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Heyward didn't seem to take that advice Wednesday, but no worries -- he's too good to dail.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Ellsbury struck out three times in four plate appearances, tying for the day's second-most strikeouts. Dexter Fowler won that honor with four, but at least added a hit. What Ellsbury's been up to this season is concerning, as Peter Gammons noted on WEEI. Hitting .182/.262/.418 with four homers, Gammons says:

I think one of the things that’s killed them is that Jacoby Ellsbury has forgotten what his job is in baseball, which is to get on base and run. His four home runs, to me, are one of the worst things that’s happened to this team early in the season, because I think it’s encouraged him to get wider and wider with his swing.

They need him hitting leadoff. They need him to get on base 37 percent of the time or 38 percent of the time. I think he’s kind of gotten away from that. I appreciate he didn’t play for a year, and I understand how difficult it is to come back, but I think that’s sort of been overlooked. The guy who’s supposed to hit leadoff isn’t getting on base.

Something to watch.

Charlie Morton, Pirates -- Morton looked like he was onto something as he completely revamped his windup to become a Roy Halladay clone. The problem, however, is that he started relying on one pitch in one location with his sinker. Morton got away with it until Wednesday when he was pounded for six runs in five innings against the Marlins, walking three and whiffing six. Morton's main issues here are trusting his other pitches and cutting down on the walks. He looks promising enough that if he starts mixing in more pitches, he really could be a find. But until he realizes that hs start to the season was the aberration and not the new normal, he'll have more nights like this.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:18 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/15: Charlie in charge

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Charlie Morton, Pirates. He was one out away from a shutout of the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Jay Bruce homered, but that didn't stop Morton from finishing the complete-game gem. He only gave up five hits and two walks while suffocating a pretty solid offense (granted, Brandon Phillips was out). He entered the game with a 2.08 ERA, but had walked 10 hitters with only three strikeouts. Friday, Morton improved significantly, striking out three to those two walks.

Justin Masterson, Indians. That ERA now reads 1.33. Masterson held down the Orioles through seven innings, only giving up four hits and a run. He has been absolutely brilliant thus far in 2011, as has his team. The Indians are 9-4 and tied for first with the Royals (what is this, the bizarro AL Central?).

Cardinals offense. Lance Berkman was supposed to be cooked, instead he's hit six home runs this week, after his two-HR night Friday. Albert Pujols was scuffling a bit to open to the season, but everyone with a brain knew it was only a matter of time. Well, that time has arrived. He's hit three homers in his past two games, including two Friday night. Colby Rasmus, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Matt Holliday are raking and the Cardinals are now the first team since the 2000 Tigers to collect at least 15 hits in four straight games. During that span, they've scored 43 runs.

3DOWN

Bobby Jenks, Red Sox. Pretty disgusting outing for the big man. It reads: walk, single, strikeout, single, single, single -- with a stolen base and wild pitch intertwined. He left with just 1/3 of an inning worked while having allowed four runs. The 2-10 Red Sox lost by one. But don't take my word for how bad Jenks was, you can get it straight from the horse's mouth: "I flat out stunk tonight." (Boston Herald )

Nick Blackburn, Twins. It still amazes me how quickly he nailed down a rotation spot in the spring while Kevin Slowey was sent to the bullpen. But we're past that now. Friday night, against a Rays lineup with Matt Joyce and Felipe Lopez making up the 3-4 hitters, Blackburn was shelled. He coughed up 10 hits and five earned runs in six innings, as the Twins fell to 4-9.

Erik Bedard, Mariners. I'm glad he's healthy, because no one should wish all the rehab he's gone through the past few years on anyone. Still, Bedard is clearly struggling to work back to form. He needed 106 pitches just to get through 4 2/3 innings, while giving up seven hits, three walks and four earned runs. This was against a Royals lineup sans Alex Gordon and Wilson Betemit (before you laugh, check out their numbers thus far).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 6:27 pm
 

Pirates impressive early on


By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Pirates are better than you think.

Is Pittsburgh going to challenge for the NL Central crown? No. Are they going to break their streak of losing seasons? Probably not. But they they will be better this season than they have been in many years and in the next couple of seasons, winning baseball in the Steel City may become a reality.

Pittsburgh has taken two of three from the Cardinals and Cubs to start the season, beating St. Louis 3-1 on Wednesday.

The main reason the Pirates are sitting at 4-2 is they have a legit top of their lineup.

Pittsburgh's top four hitters -- Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay -- are hitting a combined .356/.434/.621 in the team's first games. Walker and McCutchen each have a pair of homers, with Overbay adding another.

That's not a pace the team can sustain, but McCutchen is on the edge of stardom, while Walker and Tabata are good, emerging players. Overbay is the type of player with better results than reputation. A career .274/.358/.447 hitter, he's unlikely to continue hitting .304/..385/.522, but shouldn't fall too far.

Walker's performance as a rookie last season was overshadowed by an historic first-year class, but he still put up a very good season, hitting .296/.349/.462 with 12 home runs in 110 games for his hometown team.  Tabata's prospect status took a hit in the last couple of years, but he too put up solid rookie numbers in 2010, hitting .299/.346/.400 in 102 games.

Add in Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones, and there's the making of an effective offense.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Pirates are hitting .271/.333/.409 with six home runs. With that, the Pirates' starters have a 2.52 ERA through six games. That's unlikely to continue in a rotation of Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf they've pitched well, with Correia picking up two wins so far this season and have made the Pirates anything but a pushover early.

Joel Hanrahan has been the rare closer in the big leagues to convert all of his save chances, recording the save in all four of the PIrates' wins this season.

It should also be noted that all six games have been on the road, where Pittsburgh had an MLB-worst 17-64 record a year ago.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com