Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 3:06 pm
By Evan Brunell
BEST 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
GOT 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
CHASE 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
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Posted on: May 20, 2011 1:51 am
Edited on: May 20, 2011 9:17 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jason Giambi, Rockies -- Thursday Giambi became the second-oldest player to ever hit three home runs in a game, younger only than the great Stan Musial, who hit three homers against the Mets on July 8, 1962, when he was 41. The other members of the 40-plus, three-homer game club? Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. That's pretty good company. Giambi drove in all seven of the Rockies' runs in a 7-1 victory over the Phillies. Giambi entered the game with just three hits all season, hitting .115 (3 for 26) with one home run and four RBI. He raised his average to .194. It was the first time in his career he hit three homers in one game.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- The Pirates are now 5-1 at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park this season, with James McDonald solving the Reds. The Pirates' win, coupled with the Cardinals' victory over the Astros, dropped Cincinnati from first place. The bad news for the Pirates is they don't return to Cincinnati again this year, so no Skyline and no easy wins.
Dillon Gee, Mets -- Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez broke up Gee's no-hitter with two outs in the sixth inning, but the Mets rookie allowed just one more hit in 7 2/3 innings, striking out three. Gee moved to 3-0 on the season and continued his mastery of the Nationals -- last season he made his big-league debut against Washington and didn't allow a hit until the sixth.
Torii Hunter, Angels -- Back in center field for the first time this season, Hunter lost a routine fly ball off the bat of Carlos Peguero in the sun in the ninth inning with two outs in a tie game. The ball fell in for a hit and Jack Cust scored from third for the winning run.
Francisco Carmona, Indians -- Carmona gave up six runs in the first two innings of Thursday's 8-2 loss to the White Sox and two more in his fifth and final inning of work. In two games against Chicago this season, Carmona has an ERA of 20.25 and a batting average against of .429. Take away his two starts against the White Sox and he'd be 3-2 with a 2.56 ERA. Instead, he's 3-4 with a 4.76 ERA.
Neftali Feliz, Rangers -- For the second night in a row, the Rangers closer blew a save against the Royals. This time Ron Washington waited to bring Feliz in until after Eric Hosmer led off the inning. On Wednesday, Hosmer homered off of Feliz to tie the game and Thursday he singled off of starter Derek Holland to begin the ninth before Washington brought in Feliz. Feliz gave up two singles to blow the Rangers' 1-0 lead. After a walk, Washington lifted Feliz in favor of Mark Lowe, who got out of the inning. However, unlike Wednesday, the Royals prevailed in extra innings Thursday, as Jeff Francouer drove in the winning run in the 10th. Feliz has walked 12 batters so far this season after walking just 18 all of last season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: January 14, 2011 1:09 pm
Guaranteed spots are Mike Pelfrey (pictured), R.A. Dickey and Jonathan Niese, with Johan Santana out for at least the first half of the season. That leaves Dillon Gee, Chris Capuano, Pat Misch, Boof Bonser and D.J. Carrasco as contenders for the remaining spots although Warthen says he hopes the Mets can sign Chris Young.
Gee and Capuano likely have the inside track to the rotation, as Gee's emergence could give the club a starting pitcher for years to come while Capuano has a track record of success, although injuries have impacted his career. Carrasco has had recent success as a reliever, and asking him to return to starting may be too much to ask.
Warthen added that of those to not make the rotation, one and possibly two would pitch out of the bullpen. Carrasco will certainly be one of those, while its anyone's guess who the other is. Misch has had success as a swingman and could reprise that role.
The big question mark is Oliver Perez, entering the final year of his ill-advised contract that will pay him $12 million. Perez is currently struggling in the Mexican Pacific League, but Warthen sees room for optimism based on talks he has had with Perez's bullpen catcher in Rafael Arroyo.
“At times he thinks that Ollie is up-and-down, and his heart isn’t as in it as much as it should be at times," Warthen said. "But he feels good, and he’s getting in shape, and he’s working hard, realizing that this is a big year.”
-- Evan Brunell
Posted on: January 11, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:25 am
Sports Illustrated 's Tom Verducci has come out with his Verducci Effect watch list for 2011 , led by San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
The Verducci Effect states pitchers 25 and younger shouldn't increase their workload more than 30 innings from one year to the next. (In fairness to Verducci, he originally called it the "Year After Effect" because the year after the jump in innings there was a regression or injury).
Last year the 10 on the watch list finished with four pitchers who were hurt or regressed, two we about the same and four -- Mat Latos, Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson and Max Scherzer had breakout years. Verducci notes it was "as strong a showing against the Verducci Effect since I started tracking it."
The 10 on his list for 2011, followed by their age and innings increase in 2010:
Madison Bumgarner, 21, 73
Alex Sanabia, 22, 66 1/3
Mat Latos, 23, 61 2/3
David Price, 25, 58 2/3
Brandon Beachy, 24, 57
Phil Hughes, 24, 46
Brett Cecil, 24, 41 1/3
Gio Gonzalez, 25, 41
Dillon Gee, 24, 40
Travis Wood, 23, 38 1/3
Ivan Nova, 23, 38 1/3
That's not to say all of these pitchers will struggle or get hurt next season -- pitchers are being watch more closely than ever -- but it is something to watch.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
Tags: Alex Sanabia, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon Beachy, Braves, Brett Cecil, David Price, Dillon Gee, Felix Hernandez, Giants, Gio Gonzalez, Ivan Nova, Josh Johnson, Madison Bumgarner, Mariners, Marlins, Mat Latos, Max Scherzer, Mets, Padres, Phil Hughes, Rays, Reds, Tigers, Tom Verducci, Travis Wood, Yankees
Posted on: October 5, 2010 6:28 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 12:33 am
All eyes will be on eight teams starting Oct. 6 for yet another chapter of postseason baseball. As the sports world waits for the crowning of a new (or as the Yankees hope, repeat) champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. First up, the Mess -- er, Mets.
Since coming one game away from the NL pennant in 2006, the Mets have morphed into a squad of underperforming and overpaid players with controversy dogging the team every step of the way.
Owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon cleaned house as the 2010 season handed New York its second straight losing season. General manager Omar Minaya, despite a deal taking him through 2012, was shown the door along with skipper Jerry Manuel (the two are shown with Jeff Wilpon in the below picture to the right). The only problem? Minaya's maneuverings will handicap his successor for at least one season.
WHAT WENT WRONG
You name it and it happened in New York. Johan Santana fought off rape allegations prior to the season, posted his worst strikeout rate since 2001 and then went down with a shoulder injury that renders him questionable for 2011. Francisco Rodriguez also had his own problems with women, striking his (now ex-) girlfriend's father and being placed on the disciplined list. His return to the Mets is highly questionable even as he posted one of the better seasons of his career.
Neither Jason Bay or Carlos Beltran had lady troubles but they had injury troubles, with Bay's first year of a four-year, $66 million contract ending with just six home runs before a concussion ended his season. Beltran angered ownership by having unsanctioned knee surgery prior to the season, returning for an unsavory second half that has prompted calls for his trade.
Meanwhile, the onerous contracts of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo just wouldn't go away. Perez constantly refused assignment to the minors and eventually became a mop-up reliever who only pitched on the road... all for $12 million. Luis Castillo spent the season becoming a bench player by the time for the low, low price of $6.25 million.
Let that be a lesson: Sign for lots of money with the Mets and expect that things will go very, very wrong for you.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
All was not lost in the Big Apple, however. Franchise star David Wright rebounded from 10 home runs in the inaugural season of Citi Field to bash 29 and cement his status as one of the best players in the game today.
Wright found a new person to throw to across the diamond as the Mets imported rookie Ike Davis after Mike Jacobs flamed out. Davis was promoted aggressively, debuting on April 19 and tossing up a .264/.351/.440 line in 601 PA, contributing 19 home runs. Along with Davis, youngster Josh Thole established himself as a permanent starter with the Mets. Thole will enter 2011 as the starting catcher and while he has no power to speak of, has enough contact and plate discipline skills to stick as a starter.
Meanwhile, Angel Pagan took the opportunity that Beltran's injury afforded him and ran with it to the point where many feel the switch-hitter should play center field with Beltran shifting to left in 2011. Pagan finished at .290/.340/.425 with 37 stolen bases in 633 PA.
The Mets also benefited from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, originally signed as depth but exploding for a 2.84 ERA in 26 starts and one relief appearance. Dickey, at 35, has one more year of club control and should have a rotation spot locked up next season along with Jonathon Niese. Niese, 23, posted a 4.20 ERA in 30 starts in his first taste of full-time major league action.
HELP ON THE WAY
The Mets lost the services of Dan Murphy all season, but he should be back in action for 2011 and could be valuable to the Mets coming off the bench. While Murphy was slated to start at first base for the Mets in 2010, Davis (photo below, left) now has that position sewn up, and Murphy can't impede on Jason Bay's haunt. Thus, Murphy is learning to play second base and should compete for the position next season although it's more likely Murphy ends up a jack-of-all-trades, filling in all over the diamond.
More encouraging than Murphy's return is how well set-up the Mets seem to infuse young pitching into the team. Dillon Gee captured the hearts of headline writers across the nation while Bobby Parnell flashed heat that may make him the club's next closer. In addition, Jenrry Meija put aside an idiotic attempt to put him in the bullpen to return late in the year as a starter. Mejia may or may not open 2011 in the rotation, but his inclusion on the big-league roster will happen at some point in 2011 and put him on the fast track towards being a top pitcher.
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011
The Mets will always expect to contend, especially with a payroll that will have no trouble clearing $100 million. Even if the Mets are spendthrifts, the 2011 payroll is already on the hook for at least $108 million guaranteed, although that's in actual payroll, not Collective Bargaining Agreement-payroll, used for the luxury tax, that calculates a contract's average annual value and not actual salary earned.
This mark is achieved using guaranteed salaries only, which means the payroll will take off once Jose Reyes' $11 million option is exercised and arbitration payouts roll in for Mike Pelfrey and Pagan -- plus the litany of other holes that need to be plugged. So yes, the Mets and its fans will expect to contend for a division crown. And really, with the talent on the team, there's no reason not to expect to be in the thick of things. Unfortunately, logic dictates that the Mets will finish around the .500 threshold, and expectations behind the scenes will reflect that.
With so much money committed to injured, questionable or dead weight players, the incoming general manager will be forced to hold the status quo with an eye towards a big impact and transition in 2012.
SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011
Even though the new general manager will have his or her hands tied for the most part, there are still two areas that need to be addressed if a dream season is to happen. The first is to get a capable second baseman and slot Tejada in the minors. There are three free-agent second basemen that could pan out include Bill Hall, Orlando Hudson and Juan Uribe. All are coming off solid seasons and will be affordable.
With Santana out for at least the first half, the Mets need to go after a solid starter to plug the breach behind Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey and likely Dillon Gee. The Mets shouldn't go crazy for a replacement, but could absolutely find a solid pitcher on a one-year deal. Jon Garland has done this in recent years and keeps throwing up value. Other names include Chris Young, who dominated for the Padres down the stretch after missing much of the season to injury.
Lastly, the bullpen needs to be addressed. Whether Francisco Rodriguez ends up back in Met threads or not, the Mets have no surefire options behind him unless one counts Bobby Parnell who should set up next season. Pedro Feliciano and Hisanori Takahashi are set to be free agents, while the rest of the relievers are flotsam.
The Mets need to go out and find someone with a history of closing but who is open to setting up as a way to minimize Rodriguez so his $17.5 million option does not vest. That includes players such as Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Kerry Wood, J.J. Putz and Koji Uehara.
The Mets could surprise prognosticators next season if the new GM clears out the chaff and brings in depth at second and the bullpen. So much went wrong for the Mets that you have to bank on a regression to the mean making the club better. The Mets should hover over .500 and if just a few things break in their favor, could contend for a postseason spot.
-- Evan Brunell
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