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Tag:Jake Westbrook
Posted on: September 5, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: September 5, 2011 11:46 am
 

On Deck: Labor Day baseball

OD

By Matt Snyder

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Cardinals last stand: The Cardinals swept the Brewers last week in Milwaukee. Now the Brewers visit St. Louis for three games. Being 9 1/2 games out int he NL Central, the Cardinals need to sweep the Brewers again, otherwise you'd have to consider this race over. Even if they do sweep, 6 1/2 is a tall order, but it's at least feasible. Jake Westbrook (11-7, 4.72) is the Cardinals' starter Monday, and last time out he gathered the win -- and hit a grand slam -- against the Brewers. Randy Wolf (11-9, 3.58) was the starter for the Brewers that game, and it's a rematch Monday. Brewers at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. ET.

Shields rematch: The Rangers have a 3 1/2 game lead in the AL West -- which is one of the few remaining intriguing races. Monday, they'll open a series in Tampa Bay. James Shields (13-10, 2.84) is the starter for the Rays, and last time out he handcuffed the Rangers for eight shutout innings, only allowing four hits. Only the Yankees and Red Sox have scored more runs among AL teams than the Rangers, so it's a tall order to hold them down once, much less twice. Scott Feldman (1-0, 2.86) will start for the Rangers in what was supposed to be struggling Alexi Ogando's spot. Rangers at Rays, 1:10 p.m. ET.

Big week for Cleveland: The Indians trail the Tigers by 6 1/2 games and have a two-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central. This week, the Indians have three games at home against the Tigers and four in Chicago against the White Sox. Monday, Ubaldo Jimenez (8-10, 4.70) looks to get things off to a positive start for the Indians, while Doug Fister (6-13, 3.26) will try to bury them. This could be a huge series, as the Tigers could essentially put the division away, but an Indians' sweep brings things to within 3 1/2 games. The two then have another three-game series later this September.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 1:18 am
Edited on: September 1, 2011 1:22 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Pitchers muscle up



By Matt Snyder

Derek Lowe, Braves/Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. Lowe worked six innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out six in the Braves' 3-1 win. He even helped set up rookie sensation Craig Kimbrel for his record-setting 41st save. But none of that is why Lowe is here. We don't put run-of-the-mill quality starts in the "up" section. Pitchers hitting bombs does get our attention, though, and Lowe hit his first career home run. Westbrook decided to outdo Lowe, however, as he also hit his first career homer -- it's just that Westbrook's was a grand slam, helping to propel his Cardinals to an 8-3 win over the division-leading Brewers.

Jack Hannahan, Indians. Hannahan hit two solo home runs to help get the Indians to extra innings knotted at 3-3 with the A's. He then came through with an RBI single to end the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 16th inning. The win moved the Indians back into second place and kept them within 5 1/2 games of the Tigers -- who came through with a win after an eighth-inning rally.

Madison Bumgarner, Giants. The Giants badly needed someone to step up. They had lost four of six games to the two worst teams in the National League and had fallen to six games behind the upstart Diamondbacks in the NL West. Bumgarner stepped up. His performance shouldn't be all that surprising, because when he's good, he's as good as anyone in the game. Still, he's been inconsistent this season, so you never know. But Wednesday's effort was a beauty. He tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in eight shutout innings as the Giants won 4-0 to keep pace with the D-Backs -- who won their ninth straight.



Alexi Ogando, Rangers. In July, Ogando's first-half performance got him to the All-Star Game in Phoenix. Come September, he may be out of the Rangers' rotation. Ogando couldn't even get through the third inning during Texas' 4-1 loss to the Rays Wednesday. He allowed five hits, two walks and three earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings, pushing his August ERA to over 7.00. And Scott Feldman is waiting in the wings in case manager Ron Washington wants to bump Ogando.

Jake Peavy's 1st inning, White Sox. The White Sox are trying to chase down the Tigers in the AL Central and have a decent-sized gap, so every game is of vast importance at this point. Wednesday, Peavy coughed up six runs in the top of the first inning to the Twins and the White Sox lost 7-6. Meanwhile, the White Sox fell to third place and are six games out.

The Orioles. Maybe the "Man in White" traveled to Baltimore? The Blue Jays thoroughly dominated the Orioles in every facet of the game Wednesday in a 13-0 victory. The Jays pounded 20 hits -- 10 of which were of the extra-base variety -- including Jose Bautista's major-league leading 39th bomb. The Orioles didn't just limit their ineptitude to the mound, though, as they were equally futile in the batter's box. Henderson Alvarez threw eight shutout innings for the Blue Jays and Rommie Lewis closed the Orioles down in the ninth. They only managed five baserunners all game.

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Posted on: July 31, 2011 11:19 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Cueto takes MLB lead in ERA

Cueto

By Evan Brunell


UpJohnny Cueto, Reds: Cueto spun a gem on Sunday, finally qualifying for MLB leaderboards. Now that he's qualified, he boasts baseball's lowest ERA at at a scant 1.74, going the distance for a complete-game shutout, allowing three hits and one walk, while striking out six. People have been waiting for a breakout for Cueto for years, and while he's putting together the best season of his career, he's also been inordinately lucky, limiting home runs and allowing just 23 percent of batted balls to fall in for hits, compared to the league average of 29 percent. Not that his fantasy owners (me) are complaining.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies: Ibanez is an incredibly streaky hitter, being a valued member of the Philadelphia lineup in both May and July, but an albatross in the other two months. That doesn't bode well for August, does it? Anyways, Ibanez blasted two home runs against the Pirates, the latter blow tying the game in the bottom eighth before Philly walked off in the 10th. His four RBI were 2/3s of Philadelphia's total, and boosted his overall line to .247/.293/.434 which tells you how anemic he was in April and June.

Joe Saunders, Diamondbacks: Saunders is on fire, throwing 7 2/3 innings of a victory to even his record up at 8-8. He allowed just two runs, walking none and striking out three. This is part of a larger pattern for Saunders, who was roundly criticized upon his trade to Arizona last season for Dan Haren. Saunders has found the senior circuit to his liking, posting a 3.56 ERA despite pitching in a hitter's park and has pitched 16 2/3 innings of a possible 18 in his last two starts. In July, Saunders didn't allow more than three earned runs in his six starts, a big reason why Arizona has stayed in playoff contention.

Honorable mention: Justin Verlander came oh-so-close to his second no-hitter of the season, not his first flirtation with that honor. Instead, he ended up holding on for the win in what turned into a crazy game.



DownTommy Hanson, Braves: Hanson didn't exactly get hit hard, but he give up three runs in six innings. Good enough for a quality start, but despite striking out seven, he also walked three. The start means Hanson has given up 18 runs in his last 23 1/3 innings, comprised of four starts. For comparison, prior to July, the most runs Hanson had ever given up in one month alone, never mind four starts, was 10, accomplished twice in April and May before dropping to six earned in June over four starts. So that should illustrate both how good Hanson has been and the rough stretch he's entered, which has spiked his ERA to 3.13.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Westbrook took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but coughed up a walk to Koyie Hill -- the No. 8 hitter -- with one out in the sixth. The wheels came off after that, and when it was all said and done, Westbrook had given up three hits, three walks and struck out three in six innings, allowing four earned runs. Every single one of those hits, walks and runs came in the sixth. That's one way to blow up a no-no.

Trade deadline losers: The Dodgers, Orioles and Cubs were colossal losers at the trade deadline. The Dodgers traded away a potential high-impact bat for three organizational guys. The Orioles' entire season is officially a loss, and the Cubs incomprehensibly stood pat. Read more here, as well as who won the trade deadline.

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Looking back at impact of 2010 deadline deals

Westbrook

By Evan Brunell

As we hurtle toward the trade deadline on Sunday, it can be instructive to take a look back to the previous trade deadline. Looking at just the 30th and 31st, we see 13 trades were completed, with 10 on the day of reckoning. It's possible there could be a similar amount of deals this time around, but keep in mind that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, so that does limit the number of sellers and buyers.

Last season's deadline lacked one true blockbuster player, thanks to Cliff Lee being traded way back on July 9. That could change this year, with the increasing likelihood that both Hunter Pence and Ubaldo Jimenez will be traded, but last season still provides a good barometer of what to expect.

Many always think about the biggest names on the free agent market when the trade deadline rolls around, but players like Austin Kearns, Javier Lopez, Will Ohman and others were also on the move. It's not just big names teams deal for, and you'll see plenty of these small deals happen, even if they end up being insignificant in the long run.

Last year's deals can be broken up into three groups of similar size. Obviously, every team wants to be in the "paying dividends" category, but there are some that just plain "worked out," plus others that were irrelevant, either now or as early as the second the trade took place.

PAYING DIVIDENDS
There's a bit of a mix of trades in here. We've got those that instantly bore fruit for the buyer, with Jake Westbrook helping to solidify what was a flagging rotation at the time. Interestingly enough, Edwin Jackson was just acquired by St. Louis to (wait for it...) solidify a flagging rotation -- and here he is, represented in this list from a year ago when Chicago's Kenny Williams irrationally sent Hudson and Holmberg packing for Jackson, whom he hoped to flip for Adam Dunn before Washington walked away. (And that deal, by the way, has worked out just splendidly for Arizona.)

Another mid-rotation starter was dealt in the Cubs deal, but Chicago walked away the losers. They thought they were getting a possible starting second baseman in DeWitt, but instead he's been buried on the bench. (The jury is still out on Smit and Wallach, but don't hold your breath; DeWitt was the main piece) The real winner has turned out to be L.A. with Ted Lilly, who pitched well down the stretch then re-upped with the team. He's struggling this year, but is still a solid starter.

MLB Trade Deadline
You may think it odd the Royals/Braves trade is on this list, especially since Ankiel and Farnsworth are gone from Atlanta and two of three players heading back to Kansas City were no one of note, but Tim Collins is certainly of note. The fireballing lefty has been fantastic for the Royals in his rookie season, posting up a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings. If he firms up his control, he could become an elite setup man. Heck, even if not, this trade has already paid off.

Another team that considered itself buyers but ended up shooting itself in the foot was the Dodgers, who sent away James McDonald for Octavio Dotel, a pitcher that was later moved to the Rockies, signed with the Blue Jays and was dealt again to the Cardinals along with Edwin Jackson. McDonald has been a dependable middle of the rotation starter, something that was already the case when he was traded. This deal was flat out dumb, but the Pirates are certainly happy.

The last trade was a swap between two contenders hoping for fresh starts. Texas wanted its haul to help restock the farm system to deliver dividends down the road while Boston was hoping to strike gold with Saltalamacchia. After getting the year off to a bad start, Salty is hitting .287/.359/.544 since May 15.

Sometimes, it's those trades taking fliers on players or sellers taking advantage of buyers to come out ahead just a year later.

WORKED OUT
  • Yankees acquired 1B Lance Berkman and cash considerations from Houston for RHP Mark Melancon and INF Jimmy Paredes.
  • Yankees acquired RHP Kerry Wood and cash from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.
  • Pirates acquired RHP Joseph Martinez and OF John Bowker from San Francisco for LHP Javier Lopez.
These trades here all essentially worked out, but not for typical reasons you would expect.

Mark Melancon was the true prize in the Berkman trade, and has established himself as the closer in Houston. Of course, he won't get many save chances, but has racked up 10 in 49 1/3 innings, posting a 3.10 ERA while Berkman was just a passing wind, but now the Yankees get to claim that yet another 90-00s star wore pinstripes if only for a second, a la Ivan Rodriguez. Ditto the Kerry Wood deal, but Wood was actually lights out down the stretch and was a major boon to New York. This is one deal that doesn't matter anymore, but was huge for the final months of 2010.

Javier Lopez, of course, walked away with a ring in San Francisco and developed into a devastating weapon in the playoffs, giving up nothing of consequence.

IRRELEVANT
  • Indians traded OF Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
  • Orioles traded LHP Will Ohman to Florida for RHP Rick VandenHurk.
  • Diamondbacks acquired OF Ryan Church, INF Bobby Crosby and RHP D.J. Carrasco from Pittsburgh for C Chris Snyder, INF Pedro Ciriaco and cash considerations.
  • Rays acquired RHP Chad Qualls from Arizona for a player to be named.
  • Tigers traded OF Wilkin Ramirez to Atlanta for a player to be named or cash considerations.
  • Braves traded OF Mitch Jones to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
These deals are irrelevant, so we won't write much about them. But note that just as many deals paying dividends were made as irrelevant deals. Some of these, like Qualls or Snyder, were flyers that just didn't work out. It happens, but you can't blame the teams for trying. Most of these, though, were minor deals that didn't affect much of anything.

So what have we learned? The takeaways should be this: The one player that you may see in a trade deadline and not register at all may end up walking away the best player in the deal, and it may not take years for that to happen. And that for all the hubbub around big names being traded, most of the deals that go down are of the garden variety. A small deal can win a World Series (ask the Giants) just as much as a blockbuster.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 5:14 pm
 

On Deck: Central showdowns

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Central showdown: Detroit is tied with Cleveland for the lead in the American League Central with the White Sox and Twins sitting five and six games back, respectively. While Chicago and Minnesota have had their struggles so far this season, they are by no means out of the race in what has been a mediocre division. Ozzie Guillen's squad plays Detroit six times in its next nine games, giving them a chance to either make up ground or get buried in the standings. A tough road back isn't any easier with Justin Verlander getting the start for the Tigers. White Sox at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Andrew MillerProving ground: Andrew Miller has pitched well in his first four starts for the Red Sox, accumulating a 3-0 record and a 3.57 ERA while Boston has won all four games he's started. However, his four starts have come against San Diego, Pittsburgh, Houston and Baltimore -- of those, only the Pirates have a winning record and only the Orioles have a team OPS better than the league average. The Rays aren't exactly breaking out murderer's row out there, but they're at least in the hunt in the American League East. Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Make or break?: The Reds start the second half four games back of lead in the National League Central and face off against the division-leading Cardinals at home, followed by three games in Pittsburgh before coming back home for three against the Braves, four against the Mets and three against the Giants. This stretch could put the Reds back at the top of the standings or burry them behind the Cardinals, Brewers and Pirates in the division. Cincinnati has the man it wants on the mound, right-hander Johnny Cueto who enters the game 5-3 with a 1.96 ERA and allowed just one run in eight innings in a 1-0 loss to the Cardinals on July 4. That day he was facing Chris Carpenter, this time it's Jake Westbrook. Cardinals at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 2:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Pinch-Hit McGehee



By Matt Snyder


Casey McGehee, Brewers. Maybe the Brewers should just start using McGehee strictly as a pinch-hitter? It's been a rough year for McGehee, as he entered Wednesday hitting .222 with four homers, 33 RBI and a .582 OPS. This was after hitting .285 with 23 homers, 103 RBI and an .801 OPS last season. Wednesday, however, McGehee came through with a clutch pinch-hit three-run homer. It came in the bottom of the seventh and put the Brewers up for good. Earlier this season, McGehee hit a two-run go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth as a pinch-hitter. So, in just four pinch-hit at-bats, McGehee has accrued 40 percent of his home runs, driven home five runs and won two games for the Brewers. This one was huge, too, because the Brewers had lost seven of eight and fallen into fourth place in the NL Central prior to the game.

Justin Masterson, Indians. The Yankees hadn't lost a series since being swept by the Red Sox in early June, but Masterson brought home the second win in three games against the Yankees with a dominant performance Wednesday. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out six. That's quite the feat against the powerful Yankees, and the outing lowered Masterson's ERA to 2.66. Poor run support is one of the reasons Masterson was kept off the All-Star team, because his record is now just 7-6, but he's pitched far better than that.

Dan Uggla, Braves. The Braves' 9-1 win Wednesday -- their eighth in the past nine games -- was a complete team effort. Jair Jurrjens was great again and the offense pounded 14 hits for nine runs. Let us look closer at Dan Uggla, though. He'd been a disaster for the Braves for most of the season -- you could argue only Adam Dunn had hurt his team more offensively -- but the past two days should provide from confidence for Uggla. In the two Braves' wins, Uggla was 4-5 with two home runs, a double, three walks, four runs and three RBI. With that pitching staff, getting some more offense would be a big step in the Braves challenging the Phillies in the NL East, where the deficit is now three games.

Room for one more -- Nate Schierholtz, Giants: We initially published this before the Giants-Padres game concluded, because it felt like it would literally last all night, but Schierholtz took care of things in the bottom of the 14th. He slugged a walk-off homer that cleared the wall by mere inches. It was his second home run of the night as he went 3-6 with two runs and three RBI.



Ricky Romero against Red Sox. It's just not working for the Blue Jays' ace when he squares off against Boston. The Red Sox lit him up for nine hits and six earned runs, including two home runs, Wednesday. As noted on Twitter by Stats, Inc., Romero now has an 8.08 ERA in his career against the Red Sox and 3.28 against everyone else. It's an even bigger discrepancy this season, though. After the disaster in Fenway Wednesday evening, Romero has an 11.45 ERA and 2.88 WHIP this season against the Red Sox, while he's sporting a 2.45 ERA and 1.11 WHIP against everyone else.

Domonic Brown, Phillies. He tripled in the sixth inning, only he didn't. Upon appeal at second base, Brown was called out for missing the bag. He even admitted after the game he missed it. John Mayberry followed with a home run, though there's absolutely no guarantee that happens with a runner on third, because you can bet the Marlins pitch Mayberry differently. Still, Brown missed the bag and gave away an out in a game where the Phillies lost in extra innings. Brown also misplayed a Gaby Sanchez single into a three-bagger that allowed two runs to score, meaning you could say he cost the Phillies the game with the two mistakes. Still, I could much more easily tolerate a physical gaffe than a mental one. I will never understand how a player misses a bag while running the bases in high school, much less in the MLB. That's an avoidable mental error at any level.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals. The Reds came into Wednesday having scored two or less runs in four of their past five games. The Cardinals had held the Reds to just one run combined in the first two games of the series. So I guess you could say they were due, though that's likely no consolation to Westbrook. He was torched by the Reds for eight hits and seven earned runs through just 4 1/3 innings. Five of those hits were of the extra-base variety, including three homers. After seeing his offensive teammates rally and his bullpen hold strong for much of the game, Westbrook had to have felt even worse when the Cardinals lost 9-8 in the 13th inning.

Spared: Sure, the Reds ended up winning, but it shouldn't have taken 13 innings to do so after leading 8-0 through five. That is unacceptable.

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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: April 24, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Volquez to start against Cardinals tonight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezEdinson Volquez will make the start for the Reds tonight against the Cardinals, two days after he was scratched from his start following a rain delay. Jake Westrbook starts for the Cardinals.

Reds manager Dusty Baker was upset with some deception and gamesmanship by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Friday, when the Reds-Cardinals game was delayed by rain just two batters into the game. Because the home team controls the start time, La Russa started reliever Miguel Batista for those two batters before coming back with scheduled starter Kyle McClellan more than two hours later. After Volquez warmed up for the regular game time, Baker decided to put long man Matt Maloney in after the delay to protect the arm of Volquez.

The Reds listed the starter for Sunday night's game as TBA yesterday before announcing Volquez would start today.

Right-hander Sam LeCure, whose spot in the rotation was coming up on Sunday, will instead pitch Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Volquez has struggled in first innings this season, so that will be something to watch when he does make his start. His ERA in the first inning this season is 29.75 and 1.93 afterward.

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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