Tag:Dan Uggla
Posted on: August 31, 2011 1:55 pm
 

September Storylines: Kemp's season overshadowed

Matt KempBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Dodgers may have the best player in the National League, and yet he's been overshadowed by the team's ownership story and even his own teammate, Andre Ethier who has a long hitting streak and a mysterious injury that have garnered headlines. Heck, the biggest story of the year involving Los Angeles' Matt Kemp may be better known for his breakup with his girlfriend last offseason than his breakout on the field this season.

Yep, Matt Kemp may be the best player in the National League, and Dodgerland is still talking about the McCourts, Ethier's possibly injury and the return of their broadcast team. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp leads all big leaguers in Wins Above Replacement players at 8.0 (according to Baseball-Reference.com -- FanGraphs.com has him sixth overall and second in the National League at 6.6).

If advanced metrics aren't your thing, he's hitting .321/.396/.573 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI -- numbers that put him in the running for the triple crown. (He's also tied for second in the NL in stolen bases with 35, 12 behind the Braves' Michael Bourn.)

September Storylines
    • A look at the postseason races

Last year it was Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Carlos Gonzalez challenging for the triple crown, this year Kemp has the best shot. Here's a look at his numbers, and chances.

Batting average: Kemp's currently hitting .321, good for fourth in the National League behind Jose Reyes (.335), Ryan Braun (.331) and Votto (.325) -- with David Murphy (.320) hot on his heels. A career .292 hitter, this is his best batting average since 2007, when he hit .342 in 98 games (and 311 plate appearances) as a 22-year-old. This is the best year of the 26-year-old's career, so it's not like past performance will predict production, but he has tailed off in the last month of the season in his career. Kemp's hit .264/.310/.426 in September and October in his career, while hitting .297/.354/.502 in the other months (although those numbers do include this season's production). 

Home runs: Kemp's tied for the National League lead with Mike Stanton and Pujols with 31 homers, with Lance Berkman and Dan Uggla just one homer behind, each with 30. Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder both have 29 homers, while Troy Tulowitzki and Jay Bruce each have 28 homers -- meaning the race is wide open. 

The Dodgers have 10 home games remaining on their schedule and 17 road games, which would appear to help Kemp who has 16 of his 31 homers on the road this season in fewer games, hitting a homer every 17.3 plate appearances on the road and one every 19.4 plate appearances at Dodger Stadium. However, the stadiums left on the Dodgers' tour of the National League haven't been kind to Kemp -- he has just three homers in the parks left on the team's travel schedule, with two of those coming at Arizona's Chase Field. He hasn't homered in either San Francisco's AT&T Park or San Diego's Petco Park, despite playing six games in both stadiums this season. Kemp has just two homers in San Francisco in his career (166 plate appearances) and three in San Diego (139 plate appearances). Overall, he's managed just one homer every 40.6 plate appearances in the six parks (Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona) the Dodgers will play in during September and 15 total, seven of those at Chase Field.

RBI: Kemp enters Wednesday's game with 101 RBI, already tying his career best (2009), and just one behind leaders Howard and Fielder. Tulowitzki is the only other player with more than 90 RBI, with 94 on the season. The RBI stat is dependent on what other players do, and after struggling in July, the Dodgers had one of their best offensive months of the season in August, scoring 127 runs in the month, the most of any month and getting on base at a .322 rate, only just below its .339 OBP in June. That said, that doesn't mean much, since the Dodgers followed their productive June with their worst month of the season in July. Predicting RBI is the ultimate folly, because not only does Kemp have to deliver, so do his teammates. The same thing can be said about the others on the list, as well. 

It'd be silly to predict a triple crown or even guess at a single crown for Kemp with a month to go in the season, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on -- and gives Dodger fans something to cheer about, something that's not been easy to do in 2011.

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Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kinsler, Uggla belt two HR

Kinsler

By Evan Brunell

3 UpIan Kinsler, Rangers: Ian Kinsler could do no wrong Saturday, although it wasn't enough to defeat the White Sox, by rapping out three hits in four trips to the plate, adding two runs and RBI apiece. But it only gets better -- two of Kinsler's hits went over the fence, giving him 20 homers on the season. The second baseman hasn't fulfilled high expectations set in the 2008-09 seasons, and is currently on pace to post the worst offensive season of his career. Don't tell that to John Danks, though, who coughed up both homers.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: The Rays have received fantastic starting pitching as of late, and Hellickson kept the ball rolling by blanking the Mariners in eight innings, giving up one free pass and six hits, punching out five. The outing lowered Hellickson's ERA to 3.04, which is fantastic for any pitcher, never mind one in his first full season. Hellickson is increasingly looking like the favorite to snag the Rookie of the Year award, and no one else is mounting a major challenge -- at least, not yet.

Dan Uggla, Braves: Uggla's hitting streak may be over, but he's still crushing pitchers, rocketing two home runs Saturday against Arizona. Uggla finished the night with a 2-for-3 effort, driving in three runs, scoring twice and tacking on a walk. Not including Saturday's outburst, since July 2, Uggla has hit .327/.393/.648. You can now tick these numbers up slightly more. It's been an incredible resurgence for Uggla, whose season numbers still pale in comparison to the past, but it's now no longer a lost season, as it was shaping up to be.



3 DownFrancisco Rodriguez, Brewers: In K-Rod's return to the Mets, he allowed New York to cap off what was a stunning comeback by giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including Angel Pagan's two-run home run to push the Mets ahead. Milwaukee actually ended up coming back to win the game in the top ninth thanks to Rodriguez's replacement in the Big Apple, Jason Isringhausen, blowing the lead. Before that, though, the Mets needed to push five runs across the plate in the seventh just to pull within one, and kept the good times going against Rodriguez, who was making his first appearance at Citi Field since being traded immediately after the All-Star Game ended. Since Rodriguez arrived in town, the Brewers bullpen has been fantastic, but they just didn't show up for work Saturday.

Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: And the saga continues. Wakefield made his fifth attempt at gaining 200 victories but fell short on Saturday when he was removed from the game in the middle of the sixth inning and the Royals threatening. Matt Albers relieved and offered up a walk and a single to plate Mike Moustakas with the tying run in a bang-bang play at the plate before the Royals poured on the runs against the bullpen. Wakefield walks away with four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits while striking out three and walking zero. The knuckleballer didn't exactly knock them dead Saturday, but has pitched rather well over the last five starts and deserves to have that win in hand by now.

A.J. Burnett, Yankees:  Burnett didn't exactly endear himself to Yankees brass with his start on Saturday. Already struggling through a lousy year, Burnett allowed seven runs to cross the plate in just 1 1/3 innings, walking three, whiffing one and spiking his ERA to 4.96. When skipper Joe Girardi came to yank Burnett from the game, the right-hander had some choice words for Girardi. He may want to have some choice words for himself, as he now checks in with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts over 49 innings.

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 5:19 pm
 

Dan Uggla's hitting streak snapped at 33

UgglaBy Evan Brunell

Dan Uggla's 33-game hitting streak has come to an end, leaving him tied for the 18th longest hitting streak in history and the fourth-longest since 1987. The right-hander also holds the fourth best hitting streak right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio's historic 56-game hitting streak, behind Dom DiMaggio (34 games), Paul Molitor (39) and Benito Santiago (34).

Unfortunately for the Brave, he could not solve Matt Garza or Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs, although he did contribute a sacrifice fly in the first inning in a 6-5 losing effort. Uggla was left in the hole with Brain McCann on deck when Martin Prado registered the final out of the game. The 31-year-old also fouled to first base, popped to second and grounded to shortstop.

Prior to the hitting streak, Uggla was rivaling Adam Dunn as the biggest bust of the season for a new team. Uggla, who was acquired from the Marlins in an offseason trade, entered July 5 with a dispiriting .173/.241/.327 line in 348 plate appearances, displaying none of the skills that had made him one of the game's best second basemen since being plucked by Florida in the 2006 Rule 5 draft.

The hitting streak, however, saw Uggla hit at a .377/.438/.762 clip, including eight hits in his last three games, to push his season line to .232/.300/.453. While the batting average is still a ways away from his high-water mark of .287 set in 2010 or his career .259 figure, Uggla's power has vaulted him to 27 home runs and appears a virtual lock to register his fifth straight season of at least 30 blasts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 5:19 pm
 

Dan Uggla's hitting streak snapped at 33

UgglaBy Evan Brunell

Dan Uggla's 33-game hitting streak has come to an end, leaving him tied for the 18th longest hitting streak in history and the fourth-longest since 1987. The right-hander also holds the fourth best hitting streak right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio's historic 56-game hitting streak, behind Dom DiMaggio (34 games), Paul Molitor (39) and Benito Santiago (34).

Unfortunately for the Brave, he could not solve Matt Garza or Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs, although he did contribute a sacrifice fly in the first inning in a 6-5 losing effort. Uggla was left in the hole with Brain McCann on deck when Martin Prado registered the final out of the game. The 31-year-old also fouled to first base, popped to second and grounded to shortstop.

Prior to the hitting streak, Uggla was rivaling Adam Dunn as the biggest bust of the season for a new team. Uggla, who was acquired from the Marlins in an offseason trade, entered July 5 with a dispiriting .173/.241/.327 line in 348 plate appearances, displaying none of the skills that had made him one of the game's best second basemen since being plucked by Florida in the 2006 Rule 5 draft.

The hitting streak, however, saw Uggla hit at a .377/.438/.762 clip, including eight hits in his last three games, to push his season line to .232/.300/.453. While the batting average is still a ways away from his high-water mark of .287 set in 2010 or his career .259 figure, Uggla's power has vaulted him to 27 home runs and appears a virtual lock to register his fifth straight season of at least 30 blasts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 12:42 pm
 

On Deck: Wakefield goes for 200, Uggla for 34

On Deck


By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

AngelsJaysBEST MATCHUP: Dan Haren and Brett Cecil go head-to-head as the Angels attempt to stay close to first place, slipping to three games behind after Saturday's loss. Toronto, meanwhile, is one game over .500 and would like to stay that way. It will be difficult against Haren, who has a 2.91 ERA on the season. Toronto isn't exactly a patient bunch and Haren has pinpoint control, so it might be a long day for Toronto. Angels hitters may have a long day in store, too. Left-hander Brett Cecil's 4.31 ERA on the season doesn't draw much attention, but he's been far better since returning from the minor leagues on June 30 and has been pitching well his last four starts, throwing 29 innings of a 2.17 ERA. Angels vs. Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET

UgglaCHASE FOR 34: At this point in Dan Uggla's hitting streak, every game is appointment-viewing. If the Brave can extend his streak to 34 games, he will be tied for the 14th longest hitting streak in baseball history. Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, Luis Castillo and Jimmy Rollins (all four, coincidentally, were teammates for Philadelphia in spring training) are the only players with longer hitting streaks since the turn of the century, and Rollins tops the list at 36. Matt Garza will try to blank Uggla the first few times around the order while Atlanta counters with Brandon Beachy. Cubs vs. Braves, 1:35 p.m. ET

WakefieldGOING FOR 200: The third time wasn't the charm for Tim Wakefield. Will the fourth be? It's the knuckleballer's fourth straight attempt at reaching 200 career wins. Seattle, with its moribund offense, is a pretty good target. Unfortunately, the Sox's own offense has been compromised by Kevin Youkilis, who has missed three of the last five games, including the first two of the Seattle series. Youk was mired in a slump prior to the injury too, so his absence as a force has been felt for some time. The Mariners counter with rookie Charlie Furbush on the mound. The lefty was acquired from Detroit in a deadline trade and is attempting to covert from relief to the rotation, which has been a bumpy road thus far. Red Sox vs. Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 12:13 am
 

Uggla extends streak to 33 games

Dan UgglaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Braves second baseman Dan Uggla has extended his hitting streak to 33 games with a first-inning single off of Cubs' starter Randy Wells. He added a solo homer in the fourth inning, his 15th home run during the streak and 27th overall.

Only 18 players have ever had longer hitting streaks than Uggla's, whose is the longest since 2006 when Philadelphia's Chase Utley hit in 35 consecutive games. That same season, Utley's teammate, Jimmy Rollins, had a 38-game hitting streak come to an end. Rollins hit in the final 36 games of the 2005 season and the first two of the 2006 season.

With a 3-2 count, Uggla hit a liner into center. It was the 13th time in the streak he has gotten a hit in his first plate appearance.

"I ain't complaining about getting them out of the way in the first inning either," Uggla told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It takes a little bit of the edge off."

Uggla finished 2 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. Uggla is now hitting .232 on the season. 

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:28 am
Edited on: August 13, 2011 7:13 pm
 

On Deck: Uggla and Braves on 5-game streak

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Continuing the streaks: You may have heard that Dan Uggla has a streak going, but so does his team. While Uggla's hitting streak is now at 32 games, the Braves have a more modest five-game winning streak going, tied for the longest current streak in baseball along with the Rays. Atlanta's still 7 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the National League East, but at 70-49, it has the second-best record in the National League and a six-game lead over San Francisco and St. Louis in the Wild Card race. Uggla is 1 for 2 with a walk in three career plate appearances against Cubs starter Randy Wells, who is allowing 10.7 hits per nine innings. Cubs at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

Tim LincecumAce time: After a loss and a Diamondbacks victory on Friday, the Giants are two games behind Arizona in the NL West, their biggest deficit since May 7. The good news is that their ace is on the mound tonight in Florida, as Tim Lincecum faces off against Javier Vazquez . Lincecum struggled some (by his standards) in the first half of the season, but since a disastrous start against Cincinnati in June, he has a 1.67 ERA in his last 10 starts. Of course, he needs someone to score some runs for him to pick up a victory, because even in those 10 starts in which he's allowed a total of 13 runs (12 earned) and struck out 71 batters in 64 2/3 innings, he's gone just 5-4 and the Giants are 5-5 -- maybe if he were hitting better than .095/.156/.095 -- but at least he has an excuse, he's a pitcher. The rest of his team has no such excuse. Giants at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET

Jered WeaverCy Weaver returns: Ervin Santana stepped up nicely on Friday filling Jered Weaver's usual spot in the Angels' rotation, and now the Blue Jays get to face Weaver, who was pushed back a day because of his six-game suspension for his part in the fracas in Detroit. Weaver enters the game 14-5 with a 1.78 ERA and 3.85 strikeouts for every walk. As good as he was leading up to his All-Star Game start, Weaver's been better since then, going 3-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his five starts since the break. He allowed seven hits and struck out eight in his last start, a shutout against the Mariners on Aug. 5. That said, his opposite is hardly a slouch. Toronto lefty Rickey Romero has gone at least eight innings in each of his last three starts and has given up just three runs and nine hits over that same span, while striking out 21. Angels at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET 

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 8:07 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 9:03 pm
 

Uggla extends hitting streak to 32

By Matt Snyder

Dan Uggla now has the longest hitting streak in the history of the Atlanta Braves. He extended his streak to 32 games by hitting a home run in the second inning off an 0-1 Carlos Zambrano pitch. The home run was kind of fitting, as this hasn't been a cheap hitting streak by any stretch. Not only has Uggla raised his batting average over 50 points since the streak began, but he now has 13 home runs and 18 extra-base hits in these past 32 games. Quick update: Uggla hit another homer off Zambrano. So make that 14 HRs and 19 extra-base hits during the streak.

The homer moves Uggla into sole possession of 22nd place on the list of longest streaks in baseball history. It is the longest in baseball since Chase Utley had a 35-game streak five years ago. The Braves franchise record is 37, which was set in 1945 by Tommy Holmes of the Boston Braves. The NL record is Pete Rose at 44, while the major-league record -- as nearly every baseball fan knows -- is Joe DiMaggio at 56. We can't start thinking about Rose until 40 games or DiMaggio until Rose's record is broken, though, because those are far in the distance.

Now the focus on Uggla shifts to the Braves' Saturday game against the Cubs. Randy Wells is the starting pitcher for the Cubs, and the numbers suggest Uggla has a pretty good shot at extending this thing to 33 games. But the game isn't played on paper, so we'll find out Saturday.

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