Tag:Freddy Garcia
Posted on: September 12, 2011 4:19 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:17 pm
 

How blockbusters explain Manager of the Year

Kirk Gibson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated came up with what he calls the "Movie Plus-Minus" -- it's a stat he uses to rank movies. It's simply this: how much he expected to like a movie versus how much he actually liked a movie. It's how a good movie can still be seen as bad, because expectations were too high -- or how a bad movie can actually be good. Anyway it's all about the expectations in judging the experience, if you don't expect much and it turns out to be good you have a more favorable impression than maybe a movie that you expect to be pretty good and turns out to be about what you expected, even if that movie is much better in a vacuum.

That's exactly how it seems that the Manager of the Year Award in baseball is awarded. Manager of the Year is usually an easy formula:

(Wins) - (Expected wins) = MoY total.

The highest number of MoY gives you the hardware.

Last year nobody expected anything out of the San Diego Padres, yet they nearly won their division. So little was expected that it didn't even matter that the Giants won the division or the Padres piddled away a lead at the end, they were in it and that was enough for the voters to make Bud Black the winner. In the American League, Terry Francona may have done his best managing in 2010, but because he finished third and the Red Sox are expected to make the playoffs every year, he finished fourth in the voting with no first-place votes. Instead it was Ron Gardenhire, followed by Ron Washington and Joe Maddon.

The likely winner in the National League this year? Well, that's easy. Kirk Gibson is going to be the overwhelming, perhaps unanimous, winner because nobody expected the Diamondbacks to contend, and here they are. Manny Acta and Maddon, whose teams were picked to make the playoffs by just about nobody, are frontrunners for this year's award in the American League.

So which managers scored high on the Movie Plus-Minus? Let's look at this summer's blockbusters and who their managerial equivalents:

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson as Rise of the Planet of the Apes: In April, it sounded ridiculous -- another Plaent of the Apes reboot? Didn't anyone see Tim Burton's attempt? This was a bad idea. A horrible idea. And that's what it looked like in Arizona, where the team started the season with Armando Galarraga and Barry Enright in the rotation. How about Russell Branyan and Melvin Mora. Geoff Blum? But like Gibson, Apes director Rupert Wyatt made all the right moves, making the ridiculous exciting and harnessing the energy and genius of his enigmatic star (James Franco and Justin Upton). While it may not be the best movie or take home either an Oscar or a World Series title, it certainly had the highest Movie Plus-Minus and Gibson will take home some hardware, even if his team doesn't.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke as X-Men: First Class: The franchise has had its hits, but stumbled in its last outing (X-Men: The Last Stand and 2010). Back with a new focus (the origin story for the movie and pitching for the Brewers), the movie not only lived up to tempered expectations, it exceeded them -- just like the Brewers. A thoroughly enjoyable season for the Brewers and a fun movie, both will be punished because there were decent expectations for the movie and the season, even if they delivered the goods. As a bonus, you can also use Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to link X-Men First Class and Roenicke -- Roenicke manages Ryan Braun, who was in one of the world's worst commercials with Marissa Miller, who was on Entourage with Kevin Connolly, who was in Beyond All Boundaries with Bacon, the bad guy in X-Men: First Class.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as Green Lantern: Neither ended up being being good, but compared to expectations, it was an Oscar and a World Series. If you weren't scared off by the words "Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan", you certainly were when you heard about the CGI suit. Expectations were incredibly low, just as they were in Pittsburgh (and after 18 losing seasons, why not?). That said, there were some bright spots -- the suit wasn't anywhere near as bad as expected and there was a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to superhero cliches in the movie, while Andrew McCutchen is a superhero himself. Both had a  decent quick start, but in the end, both suffered as time went on and some concepts (a ring given to some dude by an alien, or Kevin Correia as an All-Star), proved too ridiculous for anyone to fully get behind the movie -- or the Pirates. In the end, though, you'll remember it as "not that bad" even if the Pirates do record their 19th consecutive losing season, but Hurdle will likely have a positive MoY score.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi as Super 8: You figured it would be good -- it was from J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, there was plenty of money behind it. Expectations are always high for the Yankees and neither Spielberg nor Abrams are strangers to hype. A solid leading man (Kyle Chandler, Derek Jeter) and surprising performances from others thrust into lead roles (the kids in the movie and the not-quite-kids like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia in the Yankees' rotation), made it a great summer. While some expectations can never be met, the Yankees and Super 8 got the job done. Of course, rarely are awards given for merely meeting expectations.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2: Everyone knew the story coming in -- Harry would defeat Voldemort and the trio of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels would prove as unbeatable as the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and Cloak of Invisibility. It was great fun to watch, but the source material was handed to director David Yates by J.K. Rowling, just as Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick gave Manuel this pitching and roster. Dismissed as just a press-button manager or director, the film succeeded, but those charged with doing so will have their role in making it so diminished because the perception is that it would be difficult to screw up the hand that was dealt.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy as Cowboys and Aliens: An excellent cast, a director with a good track record, beloved source material and, well, in the end it wasn't a hit.

Astros manager Brad Mills as The Smurfs: You expected it to be bad, but maybe not this bad.

Now, it'll just be interesting to see if Moneyball lives up to Art Howe's managing.

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Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:38 pm
 

'Kitchen accident' sidelines Yankees' Garcia

Freddy GarciaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia won't start on Sunday against the Rays after cutting his finger in a "kitchen accident" last week. 

A.J. Burnett will be moved up to start in his place and the rest of the team's starters will also move up a day. The Yankees had been using a six-man rotation, so with Garcia out, all the starters will be on their regular rest.

The Yankees had been hoping to go back to a five-man rotation and Garcia's injury made the decision easy.

"I told everyone I was going to tell them I was going to have a decision tomorrow as far as what we were going to do and sometimes decisions have a way of working their way out," manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger.

The cut on Garcia's finger doesn't allow him from throwing his splitter.

Ivan Nova will start Monday's opener in Kansas City, followed by Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia.

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Posted on: July 14, 2011 8:34 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:59 am
 

Colon rocked by Jays

Bartolo Colon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Has Bartolo Colon's magic worn off?

In his first start of the second half, the Yankee right-hander turned in a stinker, his second in a row. Colon gave up six hits and eight runs -- three earned -- in just 2/3 of an inning against the Blue Jays on Thursday before being replaced by Luis Ayala, who didn't help matters when he balked in a run to give Toronto a 9-0 lead after just one inning.

Colon walked two -- he was averaging just 2.2 per nine innings before Thursday --   and didn't strike out any, throwing 42 pitches to get two outs. Well, actually, he used fewer to get two outs, as seven straight Blue Jays reached with two outs before Colon was lifted.

Several Yankee beat writers speculated on Twitter that Colon could still be dealing with a hamstring injury, something that's not out of the realm of possibility. Colon went on the disabled list last month with a strained left hamstring and didn't look good coming off the mound to try to field two balls hit back at him by Rajai Davis and Yunel Escobar -- not that the 38-year old, 265-pounder (that's his listed weight) ever looks too good coming off the mound.

After the game, Colon told reporters he had no pain, but was tentative on his hamstring.

"I feel good, but sometime I feel a little bit nervous," Colon told reporters through an interpreter, according to the New York Times. "I'm afraid to push."

After coming off the disabled list, Colon pitched six scoreless innings against the Mets on July 2 and then picked up the loss in 5 2/3 innings against the Rays that lifted his ERA from 2.88 to 3.20. Thursday's outing put his ERA at 3.47, with thanks to third baseman Eduardo Nunez's error on J.P. Arencibia's grounder that loaded the bases with two outs.

Now, two bad outings happen -- it's not exactly unheard of for a pitcher to struggle at this point of the season. But Colon wasn't in baseball last season and was 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA over his last four seasons before missing 2010, so it's natural to wonder if he will regress to the mean. The Yankees are covered; Phil Hughes has returned to the rotation (with his rediscovered fastball) and Ivan Nova is in the minors just in case someone else in the rotation goes down.

Even if all Colon does is give the Yankees a great first half (6-4, 3.20 ERA), he will have been one of the best signings of the season. (He signed a minor league contract in January that pays him just $900,000 this season.) For the Yankees, $150,000 a win is like ordering off of the dollar menu. Last year the team paid $1,095,238.10 for each of CC Sabathia's 21 wins and $1,650,00 for each of A.J. Burnett's 10 victories. Between Colon and Freddy Garcia's $1.5 million contract, the Yankees could have appeared on Extreme Couponing with their bargain hunting -- even if they were stocking up on boxed macaroni and cheese to put in the pantry at their beach house.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 4:04 pm
 

On Deck: Changes atop Central leaderboards?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

CENTRAL SHOWDOWN: After taking the first two games of their series, the Brewers could take first place in the National League Central with a victory over the Cardinals at Miller Park. Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum takes on St. Louis' Jake Westbrook as the Brewers trail the Cardinals by just a half-game in the standings. Westbrook has won his last four decisions, while Marcum hasn't won in his last four, even though he allowed just two hits in six innings his last time out, Tuesday against the Mets. Cardinals at Brewers, 2:10 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

FINAL DAY IN FIRST? Having dropped their last three and eight of their last nine, the Indians have fallen into a virtual tie for first place in the American League Central with the Tigers, leading Detroit by just percentage points. Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin has seen his ERA rise nearly a run from 2.74 to 3.71 with his last two starts, allowing six earned runs in six innings in a victory over the Blue Jays and doing the same in a loss to the Twins. He faces the Yankees' Freddy Garcia, who was knocked around in his last start. However, the Tigers need to solve Felix Hernandez to either take first or keep pace with the Indians. Indians at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring) and Mariners at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)

ENCORE: In his big-league debut, Florida's Brad Hand allowed just one hit in six innings against the Braves, striking out six. However, the one hit Hand allowed was a solo home run by Atlanta's Alex Gonzalez in a tough-luck 1-0 loss to the Braves. Hand gets another chance at a victory, facing Daniel Hudson (6-5, 3.98 ERA) and the Diamondbacks. Diamondbacks at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. ET (Follow live scoring)


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Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:06 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Carrasco steps up for Tribe



By Matt Snyder

Carlos Carrasco, Indians. The reeling Indians brought a five-game losing streak into Tuesday night's game against the Twins -- who had won five in a row. The Tribe had lost 10 of 13 and were clinging to the AL Central division lead by 1 1/2 games over the Tigers. It was a lead that was seven games as recently as May 23. Someone needed to step up, and Carrasco did just that. He threw 8 1/3 shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out six. He did this with no margin for error, as the Indians only scored one unearned run.

Edinson Volquez, Reds. Volquez was demoted to Triple-A for two starts after showing few signs of life in the early-going. Tuesday, he looked like his old self, aside from the absence of the dreadlocks. While he got into trouble a few times, Volquez came through with a really good start. He gave up consecutive doubles in the second and then allowed the Cubs to load the bases, but he left them that way. It was smooth sailing after that, as Volquez didn't allow any Cub to reach second base again. He finished with five strikeouts in seven innings while allowing seven hits, two walks and one run.

Dee Gordon, Dodgers. While Gordon's actual debut came Monday night when he pinch ran late in the game, his first big-league start was Tuesday and he had one to remember. The son of "Flash" is actually the speedy one in the family and gathered his first career stolen base in the fifth inning. The final line was 3-5 with a run and stolen base. The Dodgers got the win, too, so it had to be a pretty satisfying night for Gordon.




Freddy Garcia, Yankees. As bad as the outing was, in which Garcia gave up four runs on four hits and three walks (though one was intentional) and took the loss, the worst part was he couldn't even get through two innings in the first game of a series. There's a full week of action ahead for the Yankees and the bullpen was needed for 7 1/3 innings. That's the kind of strain that can catch up in the next few games. Fortunately for the Yanks, they got a Yeoman's Effort from young Hector Noesi, who got through six innings with 71 pitches. Still, he's now going to be unavailable for the next several days and Garcia shortened the bullpen with his terrible outing. The Yankees now need a deep start from A.J. Burnett Wednesday.

Delmon Young, Twins. On a Carlos Santana double in the fourth inning, Delmon Young misplayed the ball, allowing Santana to take third base. He then scored on a ground out and the Indians won 1-0. We don't know how the game would have turned out if Young didn't commit the error, but that's the problem, no?

David Hernandez, Diamondbacks. The Arizona setup man entered Tuesday with a 1.65 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings. Unfortunately this is what can happen with one awful outing for a relief pitcher: Hernandez blew up his own ERA in one night. Worse yet, he blew the game. He was summoned with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth at Pittsburgh and the Pirates torched him for five runs on four hits. Hernandez didn't even record a single out. He faced six batters, allowing three doubles, a single, a walk and a fielder's choice in which every runner was safe. The ERA now says 3.29.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 7:54 pm
 

On Deck: Jeter's big homestand

OD

By Matt Snyder


Jeter Watch: Derek Jeter has entered the home stretch in his quest to reach 3,000 hits, and he now has a 10-game homestand where he could possibly make it. But he'll have to pick up the pace. He needs 14 hits to reach the plateau. He's averaging 1.09 hits per game so far this season, so that would give him about 11 hits during the homestand. Tuesday night, there's much more going on for the Yankees than Jeter, as the Red Sox come to town. The battle is as it always should be in the minds of many fans from the northeast: For first place in the AL East. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by one game. Taking the hill for the Red Sox is Jon Lester (7-2, 3.94). Freddy Garcia (4-4, 3.34) will go for the Yankees. As for the Jeter watch, he's faced Lester 41 times in his career, gathering 12 hits in 38 at-bats (.316) while striking out nine times. Boston at New York (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET. WATCH LIVE SCORING

Homecoming: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla and manager Fredi Gonzalez are returning to Sun Life Stadium for the first time in an opposing uniform. Uggla's return is the much bigger deal, as he manned second base for the past five seasons for the Marlins. He racked up 154 home runs, 465 RBI, 499 runs, 170 doubles and two All-Star appearances during that time and was one of the premier power-hitting second basemen in baseball. This season for the Braves, well, things haven't quite gone as planned. Uggla is hitting .172 with a .552 OPS. Coming off the best season of his career, he's compiling his worst stats, and it's not even close. The homecomings coincide with a series that is important for both the Braves and Marlins. Each are trailing the Phillies by four games in the NL East. The Marlins have lost five straight, and the Braves have dropped four of six. Tommy Hanson (6-4, 2.82) takes the mound for the Braves, and the Marlins send 21-year-old Brad Hand for his major-league debut. He was 7-1 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in Double-A. Atlanta at Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET. WATCH LIVE SCORING

Moving CarGo: For the second straight game -- and only the second time all season -- the Rockies will send Carlos Gonzalez out to center field and also bat him leadoff. The move to center comes because of Dexter Fowler's injury, but Ryan Spilborghs could have been an option, too. Moving CarGo to leadoff seems designed to do whatever it takes to jumpstart him and the Rockies' offense. There's obviously no correlation between playing a different position and better production at the plate, but Jim Tracy is trying any kind of mix to get Gonzalez on track. After an MVP-caliber season, Gonzalez is hitting .249 with a .728 OPS. Last season, those figures ended at .336 and .974. The experiment didn't work Monday night. Gonzalez went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Tuesday, he'll give it another go in San Diego. The Padres send Tim Stauffer (1-4, 3.99) to the mound to face off against Ubaldo Jimenez (1-5, 4.98). Of note there: Jimenez had been terrible until a shutout last time out. Colorado at San Diego, 10:05 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 5:49 pm
 

On Deck: Can Clayton Richard halt the streak?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ethier's Kryptonite? -- We all know about Andre Ethier's 24-game hitting streak. Tonight could be the night it ends. Ethier is 1 for 13 in his career against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard with two strikeouts and no walks. Richard is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA and pitched into the eighth inning in his last start. Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET

Welcome back -- Clint Barmes was supposed to be the Astros' long-term answer at shortstop. Instead, he suffered a broken hand in spring training and hadn't played this season. Tonight he makes his Astros debut, batting second and playing short. Barmes hit .400 (6 for 15) in four minor-league rehab games this week. Brewers at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

He lives -- The Yankees seemed to have struck gold in two reclamation projects -- two nights ago Bartolo Colon looked like he was poised for another Cy Young and tonight Freddy Garcia makes his third start of the season. In his first two, Garcia has allowed just four hits and no runs in 12 innings. He faces the hard-luck Ricky Romero, who struck out 10 Rays and allowed just five hits in his last outing and picked up a loss. He's received just four runs of support in his last four starts. Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 10:49 am
Edited on: April 29, 2011 11:14 am
 

Pepper: Radar-gun manipulation

By Evan Brunell

BASEBALL TODAY: How big of a surprise has Freddy Garcia been for the Yankees? Will Max Scherzer remain unbeaten? Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

RADAR GUN SHENANIGANS: As pitch F/X takes hold across all of baseball, it's meant the decline of radar-gun manipulation, which used to be an asset to teams.

While radar guns still vary from stadium to stadium (the Angels and Rangers reportedly run a bit slow), it's become difficult for teams to jigger radar-gun readings on the scoreboard to their advantage.

Current Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers recalled situations in San Diego when the team would purposely reduce the velocity of Brad Penny's fastballs, causing the hurler to get upset that he wasn't throwing as hard as he thought. That made Penny -- with the Dodgers at the time -- start throwing harder, which in turn made his fastball elevate for the hitter's liking.

The pitch F/X system is automatic and feeds directly to the scoreboard, so the lack of a middleman cuts out shenanigans that could otherwise take place. However, some stadiums may still manipulate readings despite annual reminders from the league not to do so.

Radar-gun readings became an issue last week when Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman was registered as throwing 93-94 mph with his fastball. That led to much concern, with many wondering if Chapman was injured. He's back to 100-plus these days, so everything is fine, but one can't help but wonder if San Diego was gaming the system, given their current reputation as a stadium where radar-gun readings are low despite having switched over to the pitch F/X system. (Arizona Republic)

WHAT IT MEANS TO LEAD OFF: A leadoff man is responsible for getting on base. Period. Stolen bases can be a nice luxury, but too many teams act as if the flip's true. (New York Times)

THE STATE OF ELLSBURY: Jacoby Ellsbury is currently in the midst of a hot streak which has seen his return to the leadoff spot in the lineup. But it's still unclear what Ellsbury really is as a hitter. To stay as leadoff man, Ellsbury needs to get on base. (Boston Globe)

BACK TO O'MALLEY? Former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley could be back to the rescue, as he may be gearing up for an eventual run at taking the team back. A Dodgers executive revealed that O'Malley has lined up two "big time" investors if -- or when -- Frank McCourt sells the club. (KLAC 570 AM)

DEFENSIVE WHIZ: Alcides Escobar doesn't even have a month's tenure with the team but is already being discussed as the best defensive Royals shortstop in franchise history. (FOX Sports Kansas City)

SLOW GOING: Chris Snyder now has the ignominious lable of slowest runner in the game now that Bengie Molina has retired (brother Jose and Yadier are, somehow, faster). In fact, Snyder has never stolen a base in a game and should end up in second place by the end of the season behind Russ Nixon, a catcher in the 60s, for most plate appearances without a steal. (Wall Street Journal)

ADJUSTING: Corey Hart has only just returned to the lineup for the Brewers, and he's not pleased with where he is swing is despite collecting two hits in his return. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

LAWN CARE: Former major leaguer and current minor-league manager Delino DeShields knows what its like to have a heralded prospect with his son, Delino Jr., in the Astros system. Funny thing, though -- his former landscaper does, too. Cecil Newton saw his son, Cam, go No. 1 overall in the NFL draft Thursday night. (Dayton Daily News)

HOME RUN! Only in this day and age can you read a story written by a fan -- also a ball-catcher who has over 4,000 baseballs caught -- on how he caught someone's first major-league home run and what it was like to meet the player. That's what happened here, and it's a nice behind-the-scenes telling of what happens when you catch such an important ball. Of course, it helps when the batter, Mike Nickeas, is "genuinely awesome." (MLBlogs.com)

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