Tag:James McDonald
Posted on: April 28, 2011 1:38 am

3 up, 3 down: Bedard's back

Erik Bedard
By C. Trent Rosecrans


Erik Bedard, Mariners -- The left-hander picked up his first win since June 2009, as Seattle beat Detroit and Justin Verlander 10-1 on Wednesday. Bedard gave up a run on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. 

Daniel Murphy, Mets -- As a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, Murphy tied the game with his second homer of the year and then in the ninth he added a two-run double to help extend the Mets' winning streak to six games with a 6-3 victory over the Nationals.

James McDonald, Pirates and Madison Bumgarner, Giants -- This afternoon I called it the worst pitching matchup of the day and it was anything but -- I just wanted to give credit where credit was due here. Both pitchers went six innings, with Bumgarner giving up just one run on five hits, while striking out seven. McDonald allowed just four hits in his six scoreless innings, earning the win.


Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Boston's center fielder let a ball drop in front of him for a double with two outs. Two outs later, Luke Scott, hit a three-run homer for a 3-0 Baltimore lead. The Red Sox went on to lose, 5-4.

Carlos Lee, Astros -- Back-to-back Cardinals singled in runs from second by hitting grounders past the third baseman into left field, where just about any other left fielder in the game (well, maybe not Johnny Damon) throws out the runners at the plate. Instead, with Lee, the two runners score easily and St. Louis adds to its lead, which was 6-0 going into the eighth. Houston scored three in the eighth and two in the ninth, falling 6-5. That's not to mention his offensive woes -- Lee was 0 for 4 on Thursday and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

Vernon Wells, Angels -- Much of the preseason there was talk of the great outfield defense the Angles would have this season, but Wells hasn't been able to live up to the billing. He misplayed a ball in the 10th inning, giving Oakland's Cliff Pennington a triple with no outs. Conor Jackson then drove in Pennington with the winning run, And, like Lee, that's not even talking about his offensive offense -- Wells is hitting just .178/.224/.257 so far this season.

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Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:54 am

3 up, 3 down: Lohse, Hernandez twirl gems


By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Yes, you read that right. Kyle Lohse is in the '3 Up' category. He does this because he two-hit the Nationals in a complete game, punching out six while walking just two. That lowers Lohse's ERA to a sterling 2.01, although it'd be nice to see Lohse pitch against a team with actual offense. The Nats, Dodgers and Giants don't quite cut it. Still, it's possible Lohse has rediscovered the Dave Duncan magic.

Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- A game Hernandez squeaked out by pitching at the top of his game? What is this, 2010? Felix went nine, allowing just four hits to the Athletics while striking out eight and walking three. He needed that zero in the runs category to win as Seattle could only muster one run in a brilliant performance himself by Brandon McCarthy, who went the distance in the loss. (Which technically only required eight innings.) Hernandez will need to buy a gold watch for Adam Kennedy, he of 72 homers in 1,503 games, who batted third and swatted a home run. Get ready for a season's worth of wisecracks against the Mariners' O.

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates -- And Pittsburgh breathes a big sigh. Alvarez went 3-for-4, swatting a home run and adding two RBI and runs apiece. Now the much-hyped prospect is only hitting .212/.278/.303! Alvarez is expected to be an important power hitter in the middle of the order for Pittsburgh, which desperately needs things to start going right in its never-ending quest for .500. A game like this qualifies as news to note for the Bucs.


Felipe Lopez, Rays -- Go ahead and snicker. Someone who got signed to a minor-league contract, is on his eighth team (ninth if you don't count two separate tours with the Cardinals) and has thoroughly underwhelming career numbers is batting third for the Rays. Except, it's kinda worked out so far as Lopez has a .261/.292/.457 line. Like I said, kinda. But that line took a hit Thursday as Lopez whiffed three times, even if he scratched together a hit. There's going to start being a few more games like this and while Lopez is still deserving of a starting spot, at least for now, he'll end up dropped in the order quickly.

Chris Perez, Indians -- Ouch. The AL's best team (check the standings) took a rough loss Thursday as closer Chris Perez coughed up a two-run single to Melky Cabrera in the bottom ninth to cap off loading the bases en route to a 3-2 loss. Perez has been rather good so far this year, grabbing six saves and even after giving up two runs to the Royals, still has a 2.25 ERA. But he's not this good, and this is the start of a more human Perez. With the win, K.C. moves to within one game of Cleveland for the division lead. Wait, is this 2014?

James McDonald, Pirates -- McDonald really impressed last year after he came over from the Dodgers in an ill-advised deal for L.A. that got them Octavio Dotel. This year, though, he's busy living up to what it means to be a Pirate, giving up eight runs in three innings to the Marlins balloon his ERA to 10.13. McDonald still has the potential to emerge as a solid No. 3, but has also had to deal with Florida, Cincinatti and Colorado. A much tougher go of it than Lohse.

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Posted on: April 6, 2011 6:24 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 6:27 pm

Pirates impressive early on

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Pirates are better than you think.

Is Pittsburgh going to challenge for the NL Central crown? No. Are they going to break their streak of losing seasons? Probably not. But they they will be better this season than they have been in many years and in the next couple of seasons, winning baseball in the Steel City may become a reality.

Pittsburgh has taken two of three from the Cardinals and Cubs to start the season, beating St. Louis 3-1 on Wednesday.

The main reason the Pirates are sitting at 4-2 is they have a legit top of their lineup.

Pittsburgh's top four hitters -- Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay -- are hitting a combined .356/.434/.621 in the team's first games. Walker and McCutchen each have a pair of homers, with Overbay adding another.

That's not a pace the team can sustain, but McCutchen is on the edge of stardom, while Walker and Tabata are good, emerging players. Overbay is the type of player with better results than reputation. A career .274/.358/.447 hitter, he's unlikely to continue hitting .304/..385/.522, but shouldn't fall too far.

Walker's performance as a rookie last season was overshadowed by an historic first-year class, but he still put up a very good season, hitting .296/.349/.462 with 12 home runs in 110 games for his hometown team.  Tabata's prospect status took a hit in the last couple of years, but he too put up solid rookie numbers in 2010, hitting .299/.346/.400 in 102 games.

Add in Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones, and there's the making of an effective offense.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Pirates are hitting .271/.333/.409 with six home runs. With that, the Pirates' starters have a 2.52 ERA through six games. That's unlikely to continue in a rotation of Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Charlie Morton and Ross Ohlendorf they've pitched well, with Correia picking up two wins so far this season and have made the Pirates anything but a pushover early.

Joel Hanrahan has been the rare closer in the big leagues to convert all of his save chances, recording the save in all four of the PIrates' wins this season.

It should also be noted that all six games have been on the road, where Pittsburgh had an MLB-worst 17-64 record a year ago.

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Posted on: November 15, 2010 9:51 pm

Dodgers close books on Dotel trade badly

The Dodgers acquired Anthony Jackson from the Rockies to complete the Octavio Dotel trade.

The Dodgers had netted Dotel originally from the Pirates at the trade deadline for starting pitcher James McDonald and prospect Andrew Lambo. That deal was a big step back in L.A. as McDonald blossomed into a starter once given a chance and Lambo is a strong prospect with only makeup issues.

The deal looked even worse when Dotel pitched only 18 2/3 innings for the Dodgers before the team gave up on contending and schlepped Dotel off to Colorado for the final push. Dotel appeared in 5 1/3 innings for Colorado.

Jackson is 26 and has never played above Double-A, so the return for Dotel was nothing for the Dodgers. Essentially, they made a bad trade to start with and now it's horrific in hindsight.

Jackson posted a .251/.351/.325 line in Double-A for 2010 in 515 plate appearances. Over a five-year career, Jackson has a .252/.331/.340 line. He's organizational filler and nothing more.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 13, 2010 6:33 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:56 am

R.I.P. Pirates: 18 losing seasons and counting

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a 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. Now: the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Oh, Pirates. So sad. But hey, you've got one of the best ballparks in Major League Baseball, maybe one day you'll have a real major league team.


Where to start?

Well, let's avoid the debacle that was the Akinori Iwamura trade, and go straight to the biggest problem.

The Pirates' starting rotation was Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Charlie Morton -- each lost at least 10 games. Now, I know we're smart enough here not to judge a pitcher based solely on his W-L record. But all but Ohlendorf had an ERA+ of 83 or lower. That ain't good.


James McDonald Several young players showed glimpses of being productive big leaguers in the future. Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker (pictured, lower right) join Andrew McCutchen as a lineup that can play.

How about the trade of Octavio Dotel and cash to the Dodgers for right-hander James McDonald (pictured, left)? McDonald, 25, started 11 games for the Pirates after the trade and went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA. McDonald has impressive stuff and is one of the few strikeout pitchers on the roster.


Stop me if you've heard this one before, but the Pirates do have some good, young talent. Unfortunately, not much of it is ready for the big leagues.

One of the few that could help soon is Bryan Morris, a 23-year old right-hander who went 6-4 with a 4.25 ERA at Double-A Altoona.

There will certainly be players to watch in the team's minor league system, but it'll be in the lower levels in guys like Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia.


It's the Pirates, the expectations don't change. There are none besides playing 81 home games.


Oh, how about this crazy idea. You know that money you get from other teams in revenue sharing? Why not spend it on players? Radical, right?

Now, who do you sign? Right now you go for bargain innings-eaters. Maybe someone like Kevin Millwood or Brad Penny. They're not great, but they can be had and could stick around a little longer.

It's not like Carl Crawford is going to sign in Pittsburgh, but that's not the type of player the Pirates need to target at this point, instead it's filler until the real talent comes along.


The Pirates will record their 19th consecutive losing season and finish at the bottom of perhaps the weakest division in baseball once again.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: July 31, 2010 4:28 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2010 4:39 pm

Dodgers add Dotel

Octavio Dotel The Dodgers have been busy Saturday.

First Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot, now reliever Octavio Dotel has been added to the bullpen corps. For Dotel and $500,000, the Pirates swoop in and get starter James McDonald and top prospect Andrew Lambo.

Dotel has closed for the Pirates all season, posting a 4.28 ERA in 40 innings. He's punched out 48 batters, matching his whiff rate from 2009. His walk rate of 3.8 batters per nine is his lowest since 2007 and should be a force for the Dodgers in the back of the bullpen. Even better than the fact the Dodgers are getting $500,000 to help cover Dotel's deal is that Los Angeles holds a $4.5 million club option that can be exercised for 2011.

The negative comes in the return -- McDonald and Lambo is quite a bit to give up for an old reliever who can give maybe 20 innings the rest of the season.

McDonald posted an even 4.00 ERA over 63 innings in 2009, starting four games and relieving in 41. In a small sample size of 7 2/3 innings in the bigs this season, he has a 8.22 ERA. Rated the No. 56 prospect by Baseball America prior to 2009, McDonald has a 4.41 ERA in 12 starts for the Triple-A club as a 25-year-old.

He can give the Pirates some solid innings out of the rotation, although his future may be in relief where he could emerge as a late-inning weapon.

Lambo was ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the Dodgers' farm system heading into 2010 and is hitting .271/.325/.420 in 198 plate appearances with four home runs. The 21-year-old is primarily a left-fielder and has a chance to develop into an average or above-average regular for Pittsburgh. All in all, a great return for someone meaningless to the Pirates.

-- Evan Brunell

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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