Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
By Matt Snyder
It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.
1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).
2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.
On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.
Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.
“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”
It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."
Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."
And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.
Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).
Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.
LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).
'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."
Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”
No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."
It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.
“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”
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Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brad Penny, Eric Chavez, Gary Matthews, Heath Bell, Jake Peavy, Joe Maddon, Jose Bautista, Jose Canseco, Logan Morrison, Marlins, Matt Snyder, Mets, MVP, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Padres, Pepper, Phillies, Rays, Sean Rodriguez, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: August 8, 2011 12:49 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Josh Reddick, Red Sox: In his first four at-bats of Sunday's game against the Yankees, Reddick went hitless and left six men on base. But he came up big in the 10th inning, singling in the game-winning run, for the first walk-off hit of his career. With the win, Boston moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League East, a game ahead of the Yankees. Reddick got his shot because Carl Crawford had three hits in his first four at-bats of the game, so after David Ortiz doubled with one out in the 10th off of Phil Hughes, the Yankees elected to intentionally walk Crawford and take their chances against Reddick. Reddick swung at Hughes' first offering, lining it the other way and just inside the left-field line, easily scoring pinch-runner Darnell McDonald from second.
Jake Peavy, White Sox: Peavy picked up his first victory since June 25 -- and his first win in a start since June 22 -- with eight shutout innings against the Twins. Peavy scattered three hits and struck out six batters without a walk to improve to 5-5 on the season. The White Sox picked up their first sweep of the Twins in Minnesota in more than seven years.
Johnny Giavotella, Royals: In just his third game in the big leagues, Ned Yost put the rookie second baseman in the No. 3 spot in the lineup. The result? A double and a solo homer. In three games this season, he's 5 for 11 and slugging .909. Giavotella started a rally in the fourth inning, leading the inning off with a double, moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on Billy Butler's groundout. The Royals scored two more runs in the inning and his homer off of starter Max Scherzer in the next inning gave Kansas City a 4-0 victory, a lead they'd hold on to for a 4-3 victory over the Tigers.
Kevin Correia, Pirates: Correia wasn't awful -- but he needed to be better than that to put the stops to the Pirates' losing streak. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and four runs on four walks and three strikeouts. Correia has 10 wins away from PNC Park, but is 2-7 with a 7.71 ERA at home, as the Pirates lost 7-3 to the Padres to drop their 10th in a row. With the loss and Milwaukee's win, the Pirates fell to 10 games out of first place in the National League Central and into fourth place, a half-game behind the Reds. Pittsburgh is now five games under .500 on the season at 54-59.
Rockies resting on the sabbath: Colorado lost its 16th consecutive Sunday game, falling 3-2 to the Nationals at Coors Field. The Rockies won their first two Sunday games of the season and haven't won since. Colorado came back to tie the game in the seventh, but Jayson Werth's RBI single in the eighth gave the Nationals the lead and ultimately the victory.
Marlins defense: Logan Morrison and shortstop Emilio Bonifacio ran into each other trying to catch Corey Patterson's sixth-inning popup, allowing Patterson to reach second. After getting two outs, the Marlins intentionally walked Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday singled to right, where Mike Stanton let the ball bounce off his glove. Patterson would have scored anyway, but it allowed Pujols to go to third and Holliday to advance to third (not to mention tie the game). After an intentional walk to Lance Berkman, Jon Jay singled in two runs on a blooper. After Florida tied the game in the bottom of the inning, Bonifacio's throwing error on a Patterson grounder led to three unearned runs in the seventh and a 8-4 Cardinals victory.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: 3 Up 3 Down, AL Central, AL East, Albert Pujols, C. Trent Rosecrans, Cardinals, Carl Crawford, Corey Patterson, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, Emilio Bonifacio, Jake Peavy, Jayson Werth, Johnny Giavotella, Jon Jay, Josh Reddick, Kevin Correia, Lance Berkman, Logan Morrison, Marlins, Matt Holliday, Mike Stanton, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Pirates, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:58 pm
By Evan Brunell
TRADE IMPLICATIONS: It's never easy to get traded, and Jonny Gomes is still adjusting to life in Washington.
Unfortunately, his first game ended hitless with a hit by pitch, grounding into a bases-loaded double play in the third, then striking out with runners on the corners in the seventh inning.
“You can’t help but kind of jump into an interview, if you will,” Gomes said. “It’s everyone’s first time seeing you and whatnot. I’ve got a few years in now. I’m a little older. I’m definitely not nervous by any means. But there’s still some sea legs. I can’t remember the last time I grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, maybe ever. I had to go back in the archives to find that. So I’m a little bit out of my element, things like that. But I felt good at the plate.”Gomes admitted that staying in the National League is going a long way toward getting used to his new surroundings.
“It’s not like they’re going to pitch me different because I’m in a different uniform,” Gomes said. “There’s certain strategies with guys who hit behind you, who hit in front of you, guys who like to run, guys who don’t like to run – just kind of situational ball inside the clubhouse that I’ll have to adjust to. That just comes with days of service to this team.” (Washington Post)RASMUS FALLOUT: Why didn't the White Sox simply trade for Colby Rasmus themselves, Phil Rogers reports. His conclusion? The White Sox want to keep the manager's seat available for Tony La Russa, as there's a distinct possibility he could rejoin the ChiSox after the year. (Chicago Tribune)
NEW REP IN TORONTO: For Rasmus' part, he just wants to move on and close the St. Louis chapter of his career. Who can blame him? Rasmus is looking to play his game in Toronto, free of distractions. Free from a manager the center fielder feels never cared for Rasmus. Free from constant speculation about his father's involvement in his career. (Sportsnet.ca)
MAN ON THE MOVE: Why does Edwin Jackson keep getting traded? It's simple: Jackson is a good enough pitcher to be in demand by many teams, but has a salary that has continually risen the last few years. (Big League Stew)
MORE CONINE: After Hanley Ramirez called Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine a "chicken," he then took to the Twitter waves to speak more on the subject, and this looks PR-scripted. "I'm sorry that Mr. Conine feels that way, and I admire him for all that he accomplished in his career. Proud to leave my skin on the field and the sweat on my uniform every night for my team, as we pursue our winning goals. End of story, we have games to win!" (Twitter link)
NO HITTING: Adam Dunn never hits in the offseason, choosing to pick up a bat in spring training and find his swing then. It's always worked, but it hasn't in Chicago. The good news is that Dunn's new home near Houston is close to a place for him to swing the bat in the offseason, and he may elect to change his routine this winter. (Chicago Sun-Times)
SKIPPING ZITO: Barry Zito was rocked so badly in his last start that he may have lost his opportunity to make his next start -- and perhaps has lost his spot in the rotation. (San Francisco Chronicle)
UNPOPULAR: Hideki Irabu was never a popular Yankee, but he didn't have many fans in the Japanese media, either. A New York Times story details how Irabu got a frosty reception from his countrymates in his first Yankees news conference. (New York Times)
TIME FOR A FIVE-MAN: Jake Peavy is ready for a five-man rotation with the departure of Edwin Jackson. The only drawback is that Peavy has essentially been a five-inning pitcher all season and won't be fully healthy until next year. This is something to watch. (Chicago Sun-Times)
TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY: It's always going to be better as a big-market team. That's just a fact. But parity rules the day in 2011, and payroll space isn't why. It's because most teams are geared to contend this year than usual. (BizofBaseball.com)
Mets DEBUT: New Mets prospect Zack Wheeler will draw his first start on Monday, in Class A Port St. Lucie. Wheeler was dealt for Carlos Beltran. (Zack Wheeler Twitter)
IRREGULAR: Kenley Jansen was hospitalized after Tuesday night's game, but was released a day later after a cardio conversion put his heartbeat back in place. (MLB.com)
Rays TRADE: Joe Maddon doesn't want his team to make any trades, the manager saying he likes the combination he's got. But there's a reason he's manager, not GM. You can bet on Tampa making some moves before the weekend is out. (St. Petersburg Times)
BEST CHICAGO GM: Three GMs are in action out in Chicago this weekend: the White Sox's Kenny Williams, the Cubs' Jim Hendry and football's Jerry Angelo, leader of the Bears. Which GM inspires the most confidence to get things done? No surprise, it's Williams, who has a history of not waiting around to make his move. (Chicago Tribune)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL East, Barry Zito, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Colby Rasmus, Cubs, Dodgers, Edwin Jackson, Evan Brunell, Giants, Hanley Ramirez, Hideki Irabu, Jake Peavy, Jeff Conine, Jonny Gomes, Kenley Jansen, Marlins, Mets, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Rays, White Sox, White Sox, Yankees, Zack Wheeler
Posted on: July 15, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 4:25 pm
By Matt Snyder
White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy was originally slated to start Sunday against the Tigers. Instead he's been pushed back to Tuesday. Philip Humber will get the nod Sunday for the White Sox. Peavy has reportedly admitted he hasn't bounced back as quickly as he'd like from injury (ESPN Chicago).
The move might be cause for a bit of alarm for Peavy, as he had a rare surgery in the offseason to reattach his lat muscle. He was expected to be ready much earlier than he was, but, again, this type of surgery is very rare. Peavy is 4-3 with a 5.27 ERA. He's been stellar a few times but unable to maintain consistency. One thing is for sure, if Peavy is a bulldog on the hill: If he could will himself to stay healthy, he would.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 26, 2011 12:21 am
Edited on: June 26, 2011 4:45 pm
By Matt Snyder
Jake Peavy, White Sox. When John Danks left the game in the second inning with an oblique injury, the White Sox appeared to be doomed. After all, the bullpen had worked seven innings the previous night and the opponent -- the Nationals -- entered the game as the hottest team in the majors. Just after Danks walked off the field, however, Peavy went trotting down to the bullpen. He ended up taking the ball to start the fifth inning and straight dealing. He worked four shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven. He picked up the victory in his first career relief appearance. Peavy teamed up with Brian Bruney and Sergio Santos to throw 7-1/3 scoreless innings in relief and the White Sox broke the Nationals' four-game winning streak with a 3-0 win.
Lucas Duda, Mets. Pretty much the entire offense of the Mets could be placed here after the 17-hit, 14-run beating administered to the Rangers in Arlington Saturday afternoon, but Duda deserves special mention. He entered the game hitting just .173 and with only one multi-hit game this entire season -- and it was a two-hit game. Thus, Saturday's effort qualifies as a career day, even if he's only 25. Duda went 4-5 with three doubles, two runs and four RBI. His average rose all the way to .228. So we'll offer apologies to the rest of the team and give the spotlight to Duda.
Carlos Gomez, Brewers. Again, we're singling out one player when the entire team exploded. The Brewers beat the Twins 11-1 on the strength of 14 hits and four home runs -- one was the inside-the-park variety -- but Gomez gets a special mention. It wasn't just that he went 3-4 with a home run, two runs and two RBI, bringing his average up to .221. He also flashed his speed by scoring on a sac-fly to the second baseman.
Alexi Ogando, Rangers. Apparently I've fallen into an impromptu theme here, because this is the third straight entry where I'm spotlighting a player for a team effort. The Rangers pitchers were collectively horrible Saturday, taking the aforementioned beating from the Mets (see Duda, Lucas above). We're going to focus on Ogando because he was such an integral part of the Rangers' starting staff early in the season and has recently stumbled. Those who pay close attention to advanced metrics like FIP and BABIP knew Ogando's results were too good to be true, and now we're seeing the regression. After starting 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, Ogando's gone 0-3 with a 9.31 ERA and 2.17 WHIP. He's had two bad outings and one decent effort. It could just be him tiring a bit, a few fluky outings or a downward trend. It's certainly enough for the Rangers to be concerned, however.
Tony Sipp/Cord Phelps, Indians. The Tribe took a 1-0 loss to the Giants Saturday afternoon, and those are always rough. This one has to qualify as especially so, due to the manner in which the Giants scored their lone run. After being given a gift when Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz fell down between second and third and was tagged out in a rundown on a would-be triple, the Indians decided to give several gifts of their own. Indians second baseman Cord Phelps committed errors on two of the next three hitters, at which point starting pitcher Justin Masterson was removed from the game in favor of Tony Sipp. Sipp walked Andres Torres to load the bases and then balked home the eventual game-winning run. Yes, you read that correctly. Sipp balked with the bases loaded, which plated Miguel Tejada -- and that ended up being the only run of the game.
Cardinals defense. It's been a problem for the Redbirds all season and it surfaced again Saturday. This time around, Daniel Descalso's third-inning throwing error with two outs extended the inning and the next Blue Jays' batter -- Juan Rivera -- hit a three-run homer. The Cardinals lost 6-3. They've fallen two games back of the Brewers in the mediocre NL Central and only have a one-game lead on the Reds and Pirates.
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Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:18 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:31 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
"That's just not going to happen," Cashman told Roger Rubin of the New York Daily News.
"We have an everyday shortstop in Derek Jeter," he added. "And I think we have an everyday shortstop that would be playing for a lot of clubs in Eduardo Nunez. The Yankees don't have a need now or in the future for a shortstop.
"But we do need a setup man."
Like Rafael Soriano, another player Cashman said the team didn't have any interest in signing?
SPEAKING OF: I understand baseball memorabilia, I really do. I mean, I own a game-worn Dick Pole jersey. But a dirt keychain? After Jeter's 3,000th hit, five gallons of dirt will be dug up from the batter's box and shortstop patch and sold off in various forms. The "DJ 3K" merchandise line will include not just dirt (which will be infused into key chains, plastic disks paired with photos and in bats among other items), but also the usual T-shirts, hats, jerseys, bobbleheads, patches, balls and even necklaces. [New York Times]
"He made it very easy on me," A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Jane Lee of MLB.com. "You would, to an extent, expect that, but to the extent and the level he went, for me, was off the charts. The first thing I said to him was, 'OK, the second-base situation,' and he said, 'That's an easy one, you gotta play him.'"
Ellis is known as one of the good guys of the game, and this is another piece of evidence in that case. Ellis will play first and third for the A's, but the team's longest-tenured player won't be penciled in every day as he has been.
The 34-year-old Ellis is hitting just .210/.244/.286 in 60 games. Weeks has made the most of his opportunity when Ellis went not he DL, hitting .321/.357/.509 in the first 14 games of his big-league career.
Ellis has pride, but he understands that Weeks is a talent. In the end, that's the biggest thing -- players recognize talent. If his replacement was just someone hot, Ellis would unlikely step aside so easily, but Weeks is someone who can help the team in the long term. Ellis knows it. It can't be easy to put the ego aside like that, but he did. Hats off to Ellis.
As a side note, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle cites an "industry insider" as saying there's a "very good chance" Ellis will be traded across the San Francisco Bay to the Giants. Ellis is a free agent after the season, and with Weeks on board, it's unlikely he'll be back in Oakland next season.
PHANATIC HURT: Tom Burgoyne, the man inside the green Phillie Phanatic costume, was released from a Pennsylvania hospital Wednesday night after being hit in the head by a batted ball during a minor-league appearance at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. [Allentown Morning Call]
WELCOME BACK: The surging Twins will add DH Jim Thome and former closer Joe Nathan on Friday. Thome had five at-bats Wednesday in a simulated game at the team's complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Nathan struck out three Wednesday and allowed an unearned run, a walk and a hit in one inning for Triple-A Rochester. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
EL TIANTE JR.: Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto added a little tweak to his delivery for Wednesday's start against the Yankees, turning his back to the hitter more than he has in the past. It worked, as he held the Yankees to two hits and one run in seven innings.
"I've been doing it, but I did it a little more tonight," Cueto told reporters, including the Cincinnati Enquirer's Tom Groeschen. "I'm trying to make it tough to see the baseball, so I'm hiding it real good now."
How good? Cueto improved to 5-2 and lowered his ERA to 1.63 this season. Batters are hitting just .193/.261/.297 against Cueto this season.
PEAVY, PIERZYNSKI OK: White Sox starter Jake Peavy and catcher A.J. Pierzynski had a heated argument that was caught on live TV in the dugout, and the two headed into the tunnel to escape the cameras. Afterward, both joked about the incident and said they were OK. [MLB.com]
ROX SEEK ARMS: Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said the team -- 3 1/2 games out of first in the NL West -- will look for pitching to help fill the void left by the loss of Jorge De La Rosa. Good luck finding someone like that. [MLB.com]
END OF THE LINE?: Veteran right-hander John Maine left the Rockies' Triple-A team after a bad start Monday and will use the time to decide whether he will retire or continue his comeback from shoulder surgery last season. The 30-year-old is 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 11 starts this season. [InsidetheRockies.com]
GLOVE STORY: Last week Yankees starter Brian Gordon became the first Major League player to use a non-leather glove in a game. Gordon uses a synthetic glove handmade by a guy in Cooperstown, N.Y. [MLB.com]
THREE TRUE OUTCOMES: You hear that phrase pretty often, especially talking about Adam Dunn, as a player who seems to either hit a home run, strike out or walk in every plate appearance. Thanks to the beauty of computers, the Baseball-Reference.com blog has the 25 players (ranked by plate appearances) whose total homers plus walks plus strikeouts were at least 60 percent of their career plate appearances. Dunn is on the list, as are Thome, Carlos Pena, Ryan Howard and Rob Deer.
MLB EXPANSION?: No, not of teams -- of rosters. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN looks at both sides of the proposition. While Crasnick writes mostly about an extra position player, I can't imagine Tony La Russa not wanting another reliever in his bullpen just so he could make another pitching change in the sixth inning.
YANKEE STRIPPER, PART 2: The other man in a vintage photo of Joe DiMaggio has been identified, so we can put that to rest. Rugger Ardizoia said the picture was taken in spring training of 1941 when he was a minor leaguer with the Yankees and his fellow San Francisco native, DiMaggio, "took care" of him. [San Francisco Chronicle]
EXPOS BOOK: Jonah Keri, the author of the excellent book about the Tampa Bay Rays, The Extra 2%, will next tackle The Definitive History of the Montreal Expos. The book won't drop until 2014 -- the 10-year anniversary of the Expos' move -- but that doesn't mean it can't go on my Amazon wish list now. Or, well, as soon as Amazon has it listed. [JonahKeri.com]For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Bob Melvin, Brian Gordon, Cardinals, Chris Carpenter, Dan O'Dowd, Derek Jeter, Dick Pole, Eduardo Nunez, Expos, Giants, Jake Peavy, Jemile Weeks, Jim Thome, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Nathan, John Maine, Johnny Cueto, Jorge De La Rosa, Jose Reyes, Mark Ellis, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Phillies, Rafael Soriano, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Tim Linecum, Twins, White Sox, Yankees
Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.
For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).
Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.
LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.
The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.
SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]
MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]
FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]
HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]
RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]
TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]
NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.
COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.
WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]
CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]
NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).
GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]
LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Albert Pujols, Alcides Escobar, Blue Jays, Bob Davidson, Buster Posey, Chad Mottola, Chad Qualls, Corky Miller, Craig Gentry, Cubs, Derek Jeter, Doug Fister, Fausto Carmona, Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell, Hideki Matsui, Indians, Ivan Rodriguez, Jake Peavy, Japan, Jason Vargas, Joe Maddon, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Drabek, Mariners, Marlins, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Ozzie Guillen, Padres, Pete Kozma, Phillies, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Ron Roenicke, Royals, Ryan Ludwick, Sam Fuld, Scott Cousins, Starlin Castro, Tigers, Tony Campana, Tony La Russa, Twins, umpires, Vin Scully, White Sox
Posted on: June 18, 2011 10:15 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 12:58 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With right-hander Jake Peavy coming off the disabled list to start on Wednesday night against the Cubs, the White Sox will revert to a six-man rotation until at least the All-Star break, Ozzie Guillen told the Chicago Tribune.
"At the start, yes," Guillen said when asked if the Sox would go with six starters. "We are going to do that because I think that's the best for the club. We talked about it yesterday and we have a couple of different scenarios. Right now, we're are going to stay with it until the All-Star break."
The White Sox will put Peavy behind Edwin Jackson in the rotation, pushing Jackson' next start to Friday because of Chicago's off day on Thursday.
Of course, that was all before Saturday's game and for a moment it appeared the White Sox could lose another pitcher after John Danks was hit in the head by a Stephen Drew liner. The ball bounced off the back of Danks' head and into the stands by third base for a ground rule double. Not only did Danks stay in the game, but he smiled and laughed afterward. You can see the play here.
With the off day on Thursday and June 27, there will be even more rest for the White Sox pitchers.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.