Tag:Dallas BRaden
Posted on: April 20, 2011 10:27 am
 

Pepper: Greinke progressing

Zack Greinke
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Great news for the Brewers -- with the Reds' loss and Brewers' win on Tuesday, the Brewers are tied for first place in the National League Central. And Zack Greinke is on his way back.

Greinke threw three scoreless innings at Class A Brevard County on Tuesday night. Greinke retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, struck out four and threw 35 pitches. He allowed a single hit, to Tampa's Mitch Abeita, who singled with one out int he third. Greinke struck out the next two batters he faced.

According to the Brewers, Greinke said he "felt great" and threw 91-94 mph with his fastball.

Greinke's next start is expected to be Sunday for Triple-A Nashville. The Brewers want him to make at least three starts in the minor leagues, so he'd return May 4 against the Braves at Turner Field.

And hey, with the Brewers in contention, Greinke may decide to try this year, so that's nice. [MLB.com]

BASEBALL TODAY -- NESN.com's Tony Lee joins Lauren Shehadi to talk Red Sox as Boston is still looking for its first road win following Tuesday's loss in Oakland (as predicted on yesterday's Baseball Today by some wise, handsome baseball writer).

MESSAGE SENT -- Tim Hudson didn't mean to throw at Dodgers rookie Jerry Sands on Monday -- he was just throwing at his body. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

A-ROD RETURNING -- Alex Rodriguez is expected back in the Yankees' lineup tonight. He hasn't played since leaving Saturday's game with lower-back and oblique stiffness. [New York Post]

SO YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE -- If the Nationals win both games of their doubleheader today and the Phillies and Marlins both lose, Washington will lead the NL East. [Washington Post]

MISSING MARTINEZ -- The Tigers won't move the hobbled Magglio Ordonez to designated hitter full-time with Victor Martinez on the disabled list. Alex Aliva will catch most of the games with Martinez out, but Omir Santos, called up Tuesday, will catch some, including today. [Detroit Free Press]

UPTON HISTORY -- A cool look at the history of Upton brothers rumors -- and there's been a lot for the pair from Chesapeake, Va, the latest that the Nationals are now scouting B.J. Upton (he's the one with the Rays). [MLBTradeRumors.com]

Mets PLATOON -- The Mets will platoon Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner at second base. [New York Times]

STAND BY YOUR MAN -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has issued a vote of confidence in his closer, Jonathan Broxton. Broxton has a 6.14 ERA, but has converted all five of his save opportunities this season. [MLB.com]

SIZEMORE'S SCHEDULE -- The Indians will be watching Grady Sizemore carefully in his return. He won't play more than two games in a row during his first week back and that could be the plan for a while. [Akron Beacon Journal]

BRADEN TO SEE SPECIALIST -- A's left-hander Dallas Braden will see Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Wednesday for another opinion on his stiff left shoulder. Right-hander Tyson Ross will take Braden's spot in the rotation, starting Friday in Seattle. [MLB.com]

MOYER'S PLAN -- Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer, 48, will start his throwing work on May 1. Moyer had Tommy John surgery on Dec. 1. [Philly.com]

KINGLY DRAW? -- Do more people come to see Felix Hernandez pitch? The Seattle Times' Larry Stone breaks down the numbers and the result is -- a few. [Seattle Times]

DODGER VICE CHAIRMAN -- I think Frank McCourt is awesome and should be emperor of the universe.

Hey, we all want a good, cushy job. Writing positive things about mcCourt worked for Steve Soboroff. The Los Angels developer was hired by the Dodgers as their vice chairman and will be charged with "leading the efforts to improve the fan experience at the stadium, strengthening ties to the region's community and philanthropic organizations, and expanding conservation and sustainability programs at Dodger Stadium."

To me it sounds like you've just got to go to a ton of baseball games, complain about the lines at the bathroom, go to some parties and drink some beers and wine -- and when you're done, make sure you throw the cans and bottles into the recycling bin. And all he had to do was write a letter to the Los Angeles Times saying the Dodgers' owner is super-duper. So, yeah, Frank McCourt, over here! I think you're awesome and doing a bang-up job.

YANKEE THEFT -- A woman is accusing the Yankees of stealing their famous top-hat logo from her late uncle in 1936. [New York Post]

BYE BYE PING -- Are the new college bat rules helping or hurting scouting? [FanGraphs]

GARBAGE ON, OFF THE FIELD -- The Mariners gave away compost as a promotion -- luckily for players, it was given away after the game. [MetsGrrl]

YOUK! -- The Kevin Youkilis Photoshop contest. [Big League Stew]

ANGELIC WEDDING -- If you find a woman who will let you have your wedding at a baseball stadium? Well, that means you are a lucky, lucky man. Congrats, Matt Griffin. [Orange County Register]

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Posted on: April 17, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm
 

Pepper: Dangerous game for fans, too

Jose Salazar

By C. Trent Rosecrans


When I went to Class A game the other day, I sat in the front row just to film from that angle and I was shocked at just how close I was sitting -- and how little the fans around me were paying attention.

Of course, it's worse at the minor-league level and in spring training where the stadiums are smaller, but it's still dangerous at the big-league level. Last night in Los Angeles, a fan at the Dodgers game was hit by a foul ball from Matt Holliday and carried off on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. [Associated Press ]

This spring, of course, Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was struck in the face by a foul ball and lost an eye.

On Friday, Salazar returned to manage the Lynchburg Hillcats.

This weekend, it was a feel-good story to see Salazar back in uniform, but it was so close to being different. [Lynchburg News Advance ]

STRANGE BALK -- Take a minute to watch this -- last night Justin Verlander tried to pick off Daric Barton at first, but caught a cleat in the dirt, so instead of making a bad throw to first, he threw home and hit David DeJesus. Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck ruled it a balk, awarding Barton second base. DeJesus later walked. Verlander said afterward, even he laughed at how it looked. [MLB.com ]

BRADEN LEAVES EARLY -- A's starter Dallas Braden left Saturday's game with shoulder stiffness after five innings. There's no update yet, but it could be bad news for the A's. [San Francisco Chronicle ]

AFRICAN-AMERICAN PARTICIPATION DECLINES
-- As teams honored Jackie Robinson this weekend, the Mets' Willie Harris finds the lack of African-Americans in the game "sad." Only 9.1 percent of major leaguers on opening day 2010 were African-American, while 20 percent were in 1995. Harris said he doesn't think MLB markets its top African-American stars, such as Torii Hunter, Carl Crawford and CC Sabathia, well enough. [New York Daily News

Rockies STARTER FALLS - - For the first time this season, a Rockies starter picked up a loss in the game. Jason Hamel was the first Rockies starter to earn an L, falling 8-3 to the Cubs and ending the Rockies' seven-game winning streak. [Associated Press ]

AND THERE'S THAT
--The other day White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he has the league's best bullpen, despite his relievers blowing six saves and converting just one. On Saturday, he said he knows he has a good defensive team, despite its 15 errors this season, 13 in the last 10 games. [Chicago Tribune ]
 
SPEAKING OF -- The A's lead the majors with 17 errors, including one more on Saturday. First baseman Daric Barton -- widely viewed as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- is tied for the team-lead with three errors. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has three, as well. [MLB.com ]

EARNING HIS KEEP -- Could this be the year Alfonso Soriano lives up to his promise and salary? Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs and 12 RBI. [Chicago Tribune ]

NO LEFTY -- The Dodgers don't have a left-handed reliever in their bullpen after Hong-Chih Kuo was place don the disabled list and replaced on the roster by right-hander Ramon Troncoso. [Los Angeles Times ]

ROYAL PEN -- One of the reasons the Royals are leading in the American League Central is their bullpen, well, almost all of their bullpen. In a reversal of expectations, only closer Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in baseball the last couple of years, has struggled. Manager Ned Yost said his closer is just "human" and should be fine. Still, the likes of Tim Collins, Jeremy Jeffress and Aaron Crow have impressed. [Kansas City Star ]

NEW PITCH -- Giants closer Brian Wilson is playing coy about a new pitch in his arsenal. Wilson, who will talk about most subjects, isn't discussing a new pitch he's throwing to right-handed batters. It may be a two-seam fastball, a cutter or even a screwball. [San Jose Mercury News ]

ATTENDANCE WOES -- This month six teams have set records for their lowest attendance since their current park opened -- the Braves, Indians, Mariners, Cardinals, Yankees and Twins. Overall attendance is down just two percent this year, which is less than I expected. [USA Today ]

HOW LOW CAN IT GO? -- Seattle is being hit particularly hard at the turnstiles. [Seattle Times ]

UBIQUITOUS OBLUQUE -- I missed this earlier this week, but heard Tim McCarver bring it up during yesterday's Mets-Braves games -- Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times wrote a great article about the oblique injury, noting 14 players had gone on the DL this year with an oblique injury. Also, before MRI technology improved to its current point, the injury had been called rib cage or abdominal injuries, the diagnosis is just better nowadays.

BIG DRAFT -- What if you had to pick from Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Ricky Romero, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Mike Pelfrey, Wade Townsend, Chris Volstad, John Mayberry Jr., Jacoby Ellsbury, Colby Rasmus or Clay Buchholz? The 2005 draft offered those choices. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ]

WRIGLEY GRIDIRON -- The Cubs and Northwestern want to continue playing football games at Wrigley Field, despite the challenges they faced this season. In the end, money wins. [Chicago Tribune ]

TUCSON HOME -- Padres owner Jeff Moorad said Tucson will be the Triple-A home for the Padres for at least another year and could be an option if the team isn't able to get funding for a park in Escondido, Calif. [Arizona Daily Star ]

A DIFFERENT MANNY -- Manny Ramirez changed when he went to Boston. [Akron Beacon-Journal ]

HOT DOGGIN' -- A look at the best and craziest hot dogs at ballparks this season. I'm thinking about getting that Meat Lovers Dog at Great American Ball Park later today. I'll take pictures. In the name of "journalism" of course. I'm also curious about the Bahn Mi Dog at Nationals Stadium and [SeriousEats.com ]

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Posted on: April 6, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 12:58 pm
 

A's calling up Ross; Braden still starting

UPDATE (12:57 p.m. EST): Dallas Braden is still expected to start for the A's tonight in Toronto, even though right-hander Tyson Ross is expected to join the team.

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Dallas Braden may or may not be making his scheduled start tonight.

The A's have called up right-hander Tyson Ross, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser (via Twitter), but his exact role is unclear at this point.

Slusser says the team rarely announces player moves until the player actually reports to the team. The A's are in Toronto for the second game of a three-game series.

Braden is scheduled to start opposite Jesse Litsch. Slusser tweets she's heard Braden is fine, while others have reported Braden has a neck injury. 

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Posted on: March 24, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Cahill to lead strong A's rotation

By Matt Snyder

More A's
Fresh off an All-Star season as a 22 year old, Trevor Cahill has been named the Oakland A's opening day starter. The 6-foot-4 right-hander went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 196 2/3 innings. He was the logical choice to get the ball first, though that doesn't mean he's alone in being young and talented on that staff.

The A's led the AL in starting rotation ERA last season and should be even better this year.

Brett Anderson is also only 23 and looked dominant in several stretches last season. Injuries held him to only 19 starts, but he had a sparkling 2.80 ERA in 112 1/3 innings. Dallas Braden is 27, gets in fights with A-Rod and throws perfect games on Mother's Day. Gio Gonzalez has an awesome name and deals -- had a 3.23 ERA and 171 K last season to go with his 15-9 record.

That top four is going to be among the best in baseball, and it's criminally underrated when it comes to casual fans. Plus, there's variety in terms of power and off-speed, in addition to having two lefties and two righties. Now that the A's have some punch in the lineup, watch out.

In fact, we're revealing staff predictions next week, but I'll say it now: Oakland is winning the AL West this year.

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Posted on: February 20, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: February 20, 2011 11:50 am
 

Godzilla, meet Godzilla

Dallas Braden had a gift for Hideki Matsui upon the latter's arrival to spring training. Godzilla, meet Godzilla:

No word on how Braden got this created (or if he simply bought it somewhere), but this is a pretty cool welcome to the club.

(Photo courtesy the San Francisco Chronicle.)

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 9:53 am
 

Morning Pepper: Cabrera concern

Miguel Cabrera
Some things are more important than baseball. Miguel Cabrera's life is one of those things.

For the second time in his career, Cabrera's alcohol abuse has become a public issue. The first was at the end of a season, this time it's at the beginning.

Cabrera underwent counseling after the 2009 season and his incident with his wife at their home. He rebounded with the greatest season of his young career in 2010, but then came Wednesday's arrest for DUI in Florida.

Now is the time for the Tigers to worry about Cabrera, not the 2011 season. Cabrera needs professional help right now, and if he needs to miss all of spring training or even part of the regular season, so be it.

The team is apparently doing due diligence in Cabrera's fate, which is not only the right thing to do for the person, it's also the best thing to do as a business. Cabrera is 27 and has the prime years of his career ahead of him. He's also signed through 2015 (at $20 million or more per season from now throughout he end of the contract), so his problem is the Tigers' problem.

It's a sad tale, and hopefully has a happy ending. That ending doesn't necessarily have to do with baseball, but Cabrera's well-being and the rest of his life.

WORST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE?: Even thought he cliches about "best shape of his life" spring training stories have become cliche, but no need to wear that meme out with Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.

Alvarez "clearly looks bulkier," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 's Rob Biertempfel writes . Clint Hurdle says he's just "big-boned."

MEET THE BENCH: Cubs manager Mike Quade said he'll consider pulling left fielder Alfonso Soriano late in games. (Chicago Tribune )

SAFETY FIRST: Carlos Santana will play some first base this spring, hoping to keep his bat in the lineup and give his legs a break from catching.

Santana said he played third and the outfield in the Dodgers system and expects the move to be relatively easy.

The Indians did the same thing with Victor Martinez before they traded him to Bosoton. (Cleveland Plain Dealer )

ROSTER MOVE: In one of the more striking roster moves of the season, the Orioles have placed Alfredo Simon on the restricted list to make room on their roster for Vladimir Guerrero, whose signing became official today.

Simon is in jail in the Dominican Republic as the prime suspect in a fatal shooting. (Baltimore Sun )

ARBITRATION DATE: Astros outfielder Hunter Pence is headed to an arbitration hearing today in Phoenix.

Pence will make either $6.9 million if he wins his case, $5.15 million if he loses it. I wouldn't mind losing like that.

OPENING A'S: Oakland manager Bob Geren won't make a decision about his opening-day starter until later in spring training. It's likely between Trevor Cahill, Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson. (San Francisco Chronicle )

LEAGUE LEADERS: The Mariners may not lead the league in much, but their bullpen could lead the league in tattoos.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times talks to relievers Brandon League and Justin Miller about their tattoos.

Baker also has a story about the ol' days when players had to have off-season jobs.

MUST READ: Sean Kirst of the Syracuse Post-Standard writes about Jacob Francis   the first African-American umpire. Francis umpired an exhibition game between the Syracuse Stars and the Proivdence Grays in 1885. He may have also been a neighbor of Moses Fleetwood Walker.

TODAY IN HISTORY: Feb. 18, 1944, the Reds signed 15-year old Joe Nuxhall to a major-league contract. Nuxhall was in uniform on opening day, but didn't appear in a game until June 10, 1944. Eight years later, he'd start his big-league career in earnest, pitching until 1966.

TODAY'S TIMEWASTER: Seamheads.com has this amazing ballpark database. Go there only if you don't have plans for the next hour.

BROWSER SWITCH?: I tried out Google's Chrome browser, but didn't have much luck with it, so I stuck with Firefox. However, the newest feature may get me to switch -- a personal blacklist can remove sites from Google search results .

BAD NEWS: Giordano's filed for bankruptcy .

GOOD NEWS: Radiohead's releasing the digital version of its new album a day early , so if, like me, you've already ordered it, you should get it today.

VAN LENNON: A Jump-Imagine mashup for your enjoyment.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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



Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 3:49 pm
 

Top 10 baseball storylines from 2010

Honorable Mention CBSSports.com will be revealing its Top 10 Stories of the 2010 season next week, but here at MLB Facts and Rumors we're going to reveal our own Top 10 list, sans the storylines that will be appearing on the overall list.

Here's the top storylines from the 2010 season that didn't make the cut:

  10. Felix Hernandez wins AL Cy Young
The Mariners ace ran away with the Cy Young Award after posting a 2.27 ERA (3.26 xFIP), whiffing 232 in 249 2/3 innings and walking just 70 batters and posting a 13-12 record.

Wait, what?

Yup -- a starting pitcher won the Cy Young with a 13-12 record. Now, there have been past winners who had shoddy records, but in light of Zack Greinke's victory in 2009 with "just" a 16-8 record, it's clear that wins are being marginalized -- and that's a good thing.

Hernandez The majority of GMs and front-office executives understand the fallacy of judging a pitcher's performance on wins. After all, for a pitcher to get a win, the offense and defense play important parts -- and one could argue the offense plays a more important role. Hernandez was clearly the best pitcher in the league (although CC Sabathia did get short shrift) and deserves the award, but could you have seen this coming just five years ago?

Nope. We're in the middle of a seismic shift where advanced statistics are starting to take hold in mainstream media -- for the better. While the statistics used in the sabermetric community (such as xFIP, which is quoted often in this blog) will always be ahead of mainstream media, the mere fact one can find national writers quoting ERA+ is a positive.

  9. End of an era for legendary managers
Four managers with impressive pedigrees saw their managerial careers come to an end (well -- for now).

In Toronto, Cito Gaston ended his return to the managerial ranks by guiding the team to a 85-77 record. Of course, Gaston will be remembered more for his original stint as a Blue Jay where he won back-to-back World Series titles.

Cox Lou Piniella was another to exit stage left, stepping down near the end of yet another disappointing season as Cubs skipper. Piniella takes with him a 116-win season (2001 Mariners) and World Series ring (1990 Reds) along with 1,835 victories.

Joe Torre joins Piniella as another ex-Yankees manager who retired. After Torre bounced around from the Mets to Braves to Cardinals, he landed with the Yankees with almost 15 years experience and then turned into a star. He won four titles in five seasons and remained in New York for 12 years. He just finished up a three-year stint with the Dodgers that saw him win an additional two division titles and retire with 2,326 victories.

Last, but definitely not least, is Bobby Cox (pictured). Cox managed the Braves for 25 years from 1978-81 and then again from 1990-2010. In between, he managed the Blue Jays and served as Atlanta's general manager. Cox had just three losing seasons as Braves manager, going 40-57 in 1990, 79-83 in 2006 and 72-90 in 2008. He oversaw the vaunted trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and won 100-plus games five times, capturing his World Series ring in 1995. All told, he won 2,504 games and lost 2,001.

  8. Chase for Triple Crown
At one point during the season, a Triple Crown was a distinct possibility in both the AL and NL. Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera had a showdown in the AL, but Hamilton's missing most of September cut short any possibility of winning the Triple Crown. Hamilton beat Cabrera in batting average, .359 to .328, but Miggy bested Hamilton with 38 homers to the Ranger's 32. (Jose Bautista pulled away from the field with 54 home runs, but this was a lot closer in July and August than it ended up being.) Cabrera overcame Bautista to win the RBI title with 126 ribbies, and Hamilton was 12th with 100 RBI on the nose.

Pujols The NL was a lot more closer with the combatants as Joey Votto and Albert Pujols (pictured). Pujols ended up with 118 RBI, Votto 113 -- but the reigning NL MVP beat Pujols in batting average with a .324 mark as compared to Phat Albert's .312. (Carlos Gonzalez won the title with a .336 mark.) Ah, but Pujols walked away the home-run king with 42 bombs, Votto cranking 37.

  7. Rookies of the Year
In the AL, two rookies grabbed everyone's attention with center fielder Austin Jackson flourishing in Detroit and Neftali Feliz notching 40 saves. A slow start derailed Brian Matusz's hype in Baltimore, but by the end of the year it was looking like he could be the ace many had predicted him to be.

The real story was in the NL, where there was a plethora of candidates in Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake, Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, Ian Desmond, David Freese, Mike Stanton, Travis Wood, Pedro Alvarez, Aroldis Chapman, Starlin Castro, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Jose Tabata, Jon Niese...

Yep, there was a bona fide youth movement in the NL this year, and it should be one fun league to watch over the next few seasons. In any other given year, at least five, if not more, could have won Rookie of the Year awards. But they didn't.

Posey So, who actually got the Rookie of the Year Awards?

The AL honor went to Feliz for his 40 saves in 69 1/3 innings, punching out 71 and walking 18. He has the potential to be a stud closer for years... or could be moved back to the rotation. Your move, Texas.

In the NL, Buster Posey (pictured) whisked the award away from Jason Heyward with a .305/.357/.505 line in 443 plate appearances, bashing 18 home runs and leading the Giants to the World Series. Nah, he didn't set any expectations for himself.

  6. Dodger Divorce
This storyline isn't quite over, but 2010 saw the sordid trial and subsequent decision by the judge that both Frank and Jamie McCourt own the Dodgers. Whether or not this pushes the team to sell isn't known yet, but this was a divorce that captured the hearts of tabloids and overshadowed the constant Hollywood marital troubles that plague movie celebrities.

At the crux of the issue were two separate agreements that detailed either Frank (pictured below left) possessing sole ownership of the club, or both. Frank's lawyer admitted he made changed to the marital agreement without notifying Jamie or her representatives that gave Frank sole ownership.

With the agreement nullified, Frank is pursuing other avenues to be declared the sole owner while Jamie and representatives say that the Dodgers must be treated like community property. While there's still more battles to be had, the war is over: both McCourts own the team and it's difficult to fathom both co-existing, which will lead to the team's sale.

 
McCourt 5. Year of the Pitcher
Six no-hitters were thrown in 2010, a remarkable achievement. Only two other times were six no-hitters thrown, and that's not including the Perfect Game That Wasn't in Armando Galarraga's perfecto.

Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in Rockies franchise history against the Braves on April 17 to get the no-nos started. Matt Garza also tossed a franchise-first no-hitter, doing so for the Rays vs. the Tigers on July 26, the final no-hitter of the regular season.

Dallas Braden then followed that up with a perfect game against the Rays on May 9th, adding a nice little wrinkle to the earlier flap with Alex Rodriguez, when he yelled at the third baseman to "get off my mound." Rodriguez responded in Pedro Martinez form , asking just who the heck Braden was. Cue perfect game. Now people know who Braden is.

New Phillie Roy Halladay (pictured) followed in Braden's footsteps 20 days later, pitching perfect against the Marlins May 29.

Edwin Jackson joined in on the fun June 25th, throwing an incredible 149 pitches to notch a no-no for the Diamondbacks.

Lastly, Halladay did perhaps the most impressive feat of all, blanking the Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on October 6. It's the second no-hitter to be thrown in the postseason, behind Don Larsen's perfecto in 1956. He was one walk in the 5th away from a second perfect game.

Halladay That wasn't all that made the year all about pitchers, however. Fifteen hurlers tied the all-time record for most pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts, paced by Jered Weaver's 233 whiffs.

  4. George Steinbrenner passes
Steinbrenner was someone who loomed over baseball from Day One upon his acquisition of the Yankees in 1973. Brash and loud, Steinbrenner wouldn't accept any form of losing and while New York won two World Series in 1976-77 and appeared in two others in 1976 and 1981, New York quickly fell into obscurity as Steinbrenner's demands weren't the way a club should be run.

His overturn of management personnel was rough as well, as 20 managers served under his watch over his first 23 seasons, Billy Martin the poster boy for this overturn. Steinbrenner was also suspended for 15 months after the 1974 season for illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon. It wouldn't be his last suspension.

Despite this, however, the Yankees reinvigorated a brand that had been dormant for a decade. Then, the best thing that could have happened to New York did with King George's second suspension, handed out for paying a gambler for trying to dig up information on star Dave Winfield, whom Steinbrenner had made the highest-paid player in baseball history at the time before clashing with the Hall of Famer.

This allowed Gene Michael, the GM, to take over day-to-day Yankees business and upon Steinbrenner's reinstatement in 1993, he was more willing to be hands off -- as hands off as he could be, anyways.

This shift led the Yankees to their glory years behind Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and so on. The Yankees captured four World Series in a five-year span, three straight from 1998-2000. They would continue to be the face of baseball throughout the beginning of the 21st century and captured another World Series in 2009, the last postseason Steinbrenner would see.

Steinbrenner The Boss passed on the morning of the 2010 All-Star Game, July 13. With that, the Yankees lost perhaps their most influential and important owner in franchise history (although one could make a case for Jacob Ruppert ).

  3. Cliff Lee Watch
On MLB Facts and Rumors, Cliff Lee has been written more than any other player -- and team. The Cliff Lee tag beats out the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Orioles, Rockies, Padres, Blue Jays, Tigers, Brewers, Royals, Angels, Athletics, Astros and Indians. That's a lot.

That's not all, however. There's also a Cliff Lee Watch tag, detailing his adventures through trades and free agency. What does that top? Well, Derek Jeter for one. Only Adam Dunn, Stephen Strasburg and Lee himself are the only players that top that tag. Yep, that means Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton... they've all been written about less than Lee's nomadic career.

Wow.

Lee is truly a journalist's dream, with the specter of free agency and constant trades keeping Lee at the forefront of the news. First Lee was dealt to the Phillies, and their push to the World Series provided plenty of fodder. Then you had Lee being traded to the Mariners and the head-scratching element of Philly turning around and acquiring Roy Halladay.

Lee Then the Mariners flailed, and Lee was in a tug of war between the Rangers and Yankees. With Texas, he advanced to the World Series yet again, but hit free agency and we all know how that turned out.

Lee has been a big part of baseball coverage the last two years, and especially this year as he went from the Phillies to Mariners to Rangers and back to Philadelphia. I've never quite seen a player sustain coverage this long in so many different ways.

  2. Strasmas
Cliff Lee may have dominated the off-the-field storylines, but Stephen Strasburg was a phenom on the field. He rocketed through the minors, with each of his farm starts must-see status.

Then: his debut.

Seven innings, two earned runs, no walks, 14 strikeouts -- and a whole lot of Nationals fans grinning ear to ear. He reached 100 mph on two pitches, and 34 of 94 pitches broke the 98-mph barrier.

It didn't stop there, as Strasmas blew through city after city, leaving shell-shocked players in its wake as Strasburg racked up 92 strikeouts in 68 innings over 12 starts. He posted a 2.91 ERA while walking just 17 and was an instant ace. Even a disabled-list stint in July for shoulder inflammation wasn't enough to curb the hype.

Until August 21.

Strasburg Then, Tommy John surgery showed up in Strasburg's stocking as a big lump of coal.

Strasburg was one of the most hyped pitchers of all time (David Clyde 's got nothing on this guy) and delivered with TJ surgery providing the rock bottom. And all the while, tons of ink was devoted to Strasburg. In fact, Strasburg was the most-written about player on MLB Facts and Rumors until Lee got sent to Texas.

  1. Jim Joyce blows Armando Galarraga's perfect game
What more can one say about this?

It was a brutal reminder to all that baseball simply needs instant replay. In this day and age, an "aw shucks, I messed up" isn't enough. Fans want to know that what they see on the field is legitimate. How many times do you hear about the 1985 World Series-winning Royals without the name Jorge Orta added?

How about the 1996 Yankees, who have to tote around Jeffrey Maier as part of its legacy?
Galarraga and Joyce
Imagine what would have happened in the 2004 ALCS had the original call of Mark Bellhorn's double had been upheld, as well as Alex Rodriguez's purse-slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove?

Give Joyce credit for owning up to blowing the call and being genuinely bothered by the fact Armando Galarraga lost his shot at history on a blown call.

Give credit too, for Galarraga and the Tigers for being incredibly gracious. The actions of the two involved defused what could have been a powder-keg situation. (Just look at the picture -- talk about reconciliation.)

That doesn't change what happened, though. And what happened was this: Armando Galarraga lost a perfecto on the final out of the game in which there is irrefutable proof that the batter was out.

In the Year of the Pitcher with Lee and Strasburg as the most-talked about players and amidst the slow advent (and inevitable arrival) of expanded instant replay, it's perhaps fitting that this storyline heads the list of top storylines of the baseball season that did not make the all-inclusive Top 10 sports list, due to run on CBSSports.com next week.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:09 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Wilson, Braden hit Thailand

Brian Wilson
I'd have to think really hard to come up with something that sounds more awesome than going to Thailand with Brian Wilson.

The Giants closer is an interesting guy, to say the least. If you're not familiar with the man behind the beard, check out this video, which features Wilson proclaiming himself a "certified ninja" with a 188 IQ, and playing a prank on a TV host involving a man in bondage gear.

Dallas Braden is a character in his own right, and the two friends recently took a trip together to Thailand. Braden told the San Francisco Chronicle that Wilson was an international rock star.

"Absolutely, everywhere we went," Braden said. "Brian was loving every minute of it. It was awesome.

"I don't know if the Giants know it, but he's the best ambassador for their team. He never turned anyone away, he posed for photos with everyone. They'd say, 'Are you the guy with the beard from the Giants?' and he soaked it up. He showed the love."

Braden said Wilson's trademark beard started to lose its black luster toward the end of the trip.

"I said, 'Dude, you must have forgot the Just For Men,' because you could see some red shining through."

-- David Andriesen

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