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Tag:Jay Bruce
Posted on: August 10, 2011 1:25 am
 

Angels' Hunter makes friends in the Bronx

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Torii Hunter turned down the chance at picking up an extra buck on Tuesday night after a fan offered him a dollar reward for his sunglasses.

In the fourth inning of the Angles' 6-4 victory in New York, Hunter went back to the warning track at Yankee Stadium to catch a fly by Nick Swisher and record the second out of the game. He noticed a fan had lost his sunglasses and went back to the warning track to retrieve the fan's sunglasses. When Hunter reached up to hand him the sunglasses, the fan offered him a dollar, which Hunter refused.

"He dropped his glasses, they fell over and he wanted to give me a dollar," Hunter told MLB.com's Joey Nowak. "I said thanks, though. It was a nice gesture."

Hunter is known as one of the best guys in baseball. Oddly though, he wasn't the only one to retrieve a pair of sunglasses on Tuesday. In Cincinnati, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce fielded a foul ball and noticed a dropped pair of glasses. In addition to handing the fan their glasses back, Bruce handed them a ball, as well.

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:53 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Renteria stings old team



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Renteria, Reds: The reigning World Series MVP stuck it to his old team with an RBI single in the 13th inning, ending Cincinnati's four-game losing skid. Renteria hasn't been very good this year -- hitting .238/.305/.298 -- but he came up big against Giants closer Brian Wilson, lining a single down the right-field line to score Jay Bruce from second for a 4-3 Reds win. It was his second walk-off RBI of the year in extras and he's now 5 for 9 in extra innings. A little extra praise here for Reds reliever Jose Arredondo, who not only picked up the victory, but also singled off Wilson in his first big-league plate appearance after the Reds had run out of position players.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With several teams scouting Baltimore's right-hander, the 32-year-old impressed, holding the Yankees to just four hits and one run in seven innings. The Cardinals, Tigers, Brewers, Rangers and Red Sox have all expressed interest in Guthrie, who lowered his ERA from 4.33 to 4.18 and improved his record to 5-14.

A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: In a washing machine, the red socks will overpower the white ones -- but recently it's been the other way around on the baseball field. Pierzynski's two-run homer in the seventh inning led to Chicago's seventh straight victory over Boston and its 14th win in the last 16 battles of the Sox. Both teams managed just three hits, but Pierzynski made his lone hit count, homering off of Tim Wakefield to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh to deny Wakefield his 200th career victory.


Hitting streaks: Florida's Emilio Bonifacio and Boston's Dustin Pedroia both went 0 for 4 on Friday, ending a 26-game hitting streak for Bonifacio and a 25-game hitting streak for Pedroia. Both of their teams also lost while managing just three hits -- the Marlins 5-0 in Atlanta and the Red Sox 3-1 to the White Sox.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Much has been made of the similarities between Morton and Roy Halladay -- their motions do look awfully similar. But on Friday, the results couldn't be more different. Morton allowed eight runs on nine hits in four innings, while Halladay allowed just a single hit over seven innings in Philadelphia's 10-3 victory over the Pirates.

Carlos Carrasco, Indians: After giving up his third homer of the game -- a fourth-inning grand slam by Melky Cabrera (that Cabrera admired for way too long) -- the Indians right-hander threw at the head of Royals DH Billy Butler, who had homered in the first. Carrasco was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Scott Barry. Butler was restrained by Indians catcher Lou Marson and both dugouts and benches cleared. Not to be outdone, Carrasco yelled back at Royals players as he exited the field. Carrasco took his ninth loss of the season and allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. Butler added his second homer later in the game.

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 1:56 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bard helps Francona get 1,000th win

Daniel Bard

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Daniel Bard, Red Sox: The right-handed reliever notched his 24th straight scoreless inning and team-record 23rd consecutive scoreless outing. It may not have been pretty, but got the job done after loading the bases with no outs in the eighth inning of the team's 3-1 victory over Seattle. Bard got Mike Carp to fly out to left, Jack Cust looking at a backdoor slider and Franklin Guitierrez to ground out, ending the inning. Bard hasn't allowed a run since May 23 and just 11 all season (and just seven since an opening day meltdown in against Texas), lowering his ERA to 1.85 on the season. The victory was the 1,000th for Terry Francona as a manager and extended Seattle's losing streak to 14 games.

Randy Wells, Cubs: The right-hander picked up his first win since April, allowing just one run on five hits in six innings against the Astros. Wells won his first start of the season on April 4 against Arizona before going on the disabled list with a strained right forearm, missing nearly two months. In nine starts since coming off the DL, Wells was 0-3 with a 7.38 ERA and the Cubs had gone 2-7 in those starts.

Sick Reds: Neither Jay Bruce nor Edgar Renteria felt well enough on Saturday to start the Reds' game against the Braves, but both came in when needed and performed. Renteria, battling a stomach illness, was forced into action when Zack Cozart suffered a hyperextended left elbow in the fourth inning. Renteria went 2 for 4 with three RBI, the most runs he's batted in since his three-run homer in last year's World Series.  Retneria drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth, making it 3-2 Reds. Cincinnati would go on to score eight more, including another RBI single by Renteria in the seven-run seventh. Bruce, struggling an inner-ear problem,  was called on to pinch hit leading off the sixth and doubled off of Derek Lowe. He was immediately pulled for pinch-runner Mike Leake, who scored the team's second run of the day on Renteria's double. 


Houston Astros: How about this stat from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com? The Astros' last 27 hits have all been singles. That includes nine hits in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs and 10 hits in Friday's 4-2 loss in Chicago. Their last extra-base hit was Humberto Quintero's second-inning double on Wednesday. Houston has now lost 33 of its last 43 games.

Chad Qualls, Padres: Coming into Saturday's game in Philadelphia, Qualls had allowed just home run in 48 1/3 innings -- an intro like that tells you exactly what's coming: Qualls allowed three homers along with another hit and a walk in his 1/3 inning of work in the Phillies' five-run seventh inning. Michael Martinez's three-run shot broke a tie, and then Ryan Howard and Chase Utley also took him deep in the inning to give Philadelphia a nice cushion in an eventual 8-6 victory. Philadelphia has now beaten San Diego in nine straight contests.

Corey Patterson, Blue Jays: Patterson came into the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, but misplayed Michael Young's drive to right, allowing the winning run to score with two outs in the ninth inning of Texas' 5-4 victory. Toronto reliever Marc Rzepczynski came into the game in the ninth with a 4-3 lead and walked Mike Napoli before committing a throwing error on Mitch Moreland's bunt attempt. Jon Rauch replaced Rzepczynski, but the Rangers had back-to-back sacrifice bunts to tie the game and set up Young's game-winner. On Young's liner, Patterson got turned around twice and let the ball bounce off the wall, allowing Craig Gentry to score easily from third.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 4:18 pm
 

Joey Votto, Canadian hero

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Last year Joey Votto was the winner of the "Final Vote" and only had three days to prepare for his first All-Star Game. This year the reigning National League MVP was voted in by his peers and enjoying his second All-Star appearance.

At the All-Star Game in Phoenix on Monday, Votto talked about being the face of Canadian baseball, his friendship with fellow Canadian Justin Morneau and watching teammate Jay Bruce enjoy his first All-Star appearance.


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Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Offense rules in NL Central

By C. Trent Rosecrans
2011 All-Star Game

SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL West

The National League Central has the most teams, some of the game's brightest stars and perhaps its best story in the Pittsburgh Pirates. How deep is the talent in the NL Central? The last two men to win the National League MVP are first basemen in the division and neither makes this NL Central All-Star team. The pitching isn't too deep, at least in terms of starters, but this lineup can absolutely mash the ball.

Ramon HernandezC Ramon Hernandez, Reds: This one is a surprise, as Yadier Molina -- perhaps the game's best defensive catcher -- is an All-Star and a deserving one at that. But the nod here goes to the guy Reds manager Dusty Baker calls "Clutch Man Monie." On opening day, his three-run homer gave the Reds a walk-off victory and he's been producing at the plate since, including a ninth-inning homer yesterday against Brewers closer John Axford and the delivered the game's winning hit in the 13th inning Wednesday night in St. Louis. Hernandez's overall line -- .316/.374/.526 -- makes up for the difference between his defense and Molina's. Molina is hitting a respectable .279/.329/.408, but Clutch Man Monie has been money, especially for a player who is still essentially splitting time with Ryan Hanigan.

Prince Fielder1B Joey Votto, Reds: Votto was the National League MVP in 2010, but Prince Fielder's been the league's MVP for the first half of this season. Fielder is hitting .302/.418/.588 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI, tied for the most in the league. Votto's been good as well, but Fielder's power numbers put him over the top. So why is Votto listed here instead of Fielder? Because as I filled out the lineup card, I looked and had Votto as DH and Fielder at first. Anyone who has seen those two with gloves on their hand know you'd rather have Votto (especially with Starlin Castro also in the infield) playing the field. So Fielder wins the spot, but Votto gets the nod, if that makes sense.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Andrew McCutchen PIT CF
2 Rickie Weeks MIL 2B
3 Joey Votto CIN 1B
4 Prince Fielder MIL DH
5 Lance Berkman STL RF
6 Ryan Braun MIL LF
7 Aramis Ramirez CHI 3B
8 Ramon Hernandez CIN C
9 Starlin Castro CHI SS

Rickie Weeks2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Another Brewer nips a Red. While Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips is far and away a better defensive player, Weeks is having an incredible offensive season so far. Weeks is hitting .275/.345/.476 with 15 home runs. Phillips has 10 more RBI, but that's not all that surprising considering Weeks is used as a leadoff man. 

Aramis Ramirez3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: It's easy for Ramirez to get lost among the Cubs' mounting losses, but the 33-year-old is having a solid season, which may be his last with the Cubs. The Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, with a $2 million buyout. The Ricketts family may want to find a cheaper option, but Ramirez has produced this year, hitting .298/.346/.495 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. He's also playing a decent third base, much better than his reputation would suggest. 

Starlin CastroSS Starlin Castro, Cubs: Sure, he's a mess defensively, but the kid can absolutely rake. Castro is hitting .305/.334/.428 with two home runs and 38 RBI, while stealing 10 bags as well. The 21-year-old is the player the Cubs will build around in the future, and for good cause. He also doesn't have a lot of competition in this division. The Pirates' Ronny Cedeno has been good defensively, but lacking offensively. The Cardinals' Ryan Theriot is hitting well, but was a below-average defensive second baseman and now he's playing short and then there's Yuniesky Betancourt, who has been terrible offensively and defensively.

LF Ryan Braun, Brewers: Talk about a stacked offensive division -- in left field you've got Matt Holliday and Braun. Braun, though gets the nod. He's been healthy (of course, Holliday's problems may make his numbers more impressive) and produced, hitting .320/.402/559 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He's also stolen 19 bases to boot.

Andrew McCutchenCF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: If Bruce Bochy doesn't want him, I'll sure as heck take him as my starter in center. A Gold Glove-caliber fielder, plus a .291/.389/.491 slash line and 12 homers and 15 stolen bases. McCutchen should be in the MVP discussion with the season he's had. If it weren't for McCutchen, Michael Bourn would be the pick. Bourn's hitting .288/.350/.399 with 35 stolen bases. Between those two and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs, you could put together a heck of a relay team.

Lance BerkmanRF Lance Berkman, Cardinals: Sure he's a first baseman playing in the outfield, but who cares because he's made up for his atrocious defense with an offensive rebirth. The Cardinals gambled on Berkman this offseason and have been rewarded to the tune of .287/.399/.598 with a league-leading 23 home runs and 62 RBIs. The division also has Jay Bruce, Corey Hart and Hunter Pence, so it has right fielders to spare (not to mention Jon Jay, who played right field while Berkman was playing first for Albert Pujols.)

Prince FielderDH Prince Fielder, Brewers: This is a bit of a cheat, since I initially picked Fielder at first base. The decision here was between Votto and Holliday, and in a toss-up, I went with the reigning MVP, although either has a good case. Votto's hitting .319/.434/.497 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI, while Holliday is hitting .320/.417/.570 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. Votto's seen fewer pitches to drive than he did a year ago, but is still producing. And once I was filling out the lineup card, I went with Votto at first base and Fielder as the DH.

Johnny CuetoSP Johnny Cueto, Reds: This division doesn't have a Cy Young candidate in the bunch, but does have several good young pitchers, including the 25-year-old Cueto, who started the season on the disabled list but is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia is 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA and one of the best young left-handers in the game and Chicago's Matt Garza has been a victim of pitching for the Cubs, going 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA and an xFIP of 2.86.

Sean MarshallRP Sean Marshall, Cubs: The Cubs' left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA, striking out 43 in 41 1/3 innings, while walking just nine. His xFIP is 2.27 and he's induced ground balls on 60.4 percent of the balls put in play, a good characteristic for a middle reliever, who will often come into the game with runners on base. Apologies to the Reds' Bill Bray and the Cardinals' Jason Motte.

Joel HanrahanCL Joel Hanrahan, Pirates: Hanrahan leads the division in saves with 25 and hasn't blown a single save this season.  Of the eight runners he's inherited this year, none of scored. He has 33 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings and eight walks. He's allowed just six earned runs (good for a 1.37 ERA). The division has several good starters, including the Reds' Francisco Cordero (17 saves, 1.69 ERA), the Brewers' John Axford (23 saves, 2.90 ERA) and the Cardinals' Fernando Salas (15 saves, 2.41 ERA).

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 7:18 pm
 

On Deck: Pujols back, not in lineup



By C. Trent Rosecrans


SUPERMAN'S BACK: Albert Pujols is back after missing a little more than two weeks with a broken bone in his wrist. He's not starting tonight, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him pinch-hit at some point. Pujols is 4 for 10 with two homers in his career against Reds starter Edinson Volquez. Reds left-fielder Jonny Gomes is 4 for 8 with two doubles in his career against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia. However, the Reds' two-through-five hitters (Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce) have combined to hit just .179 (7 for 39) against the Cardinals left-hander. Reds at Cardinals, 7:09 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Ryan BraunBRAUN, TOO: Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun is back after missing two games with a strained left calf will miss his third game and will not be available to play at all Tuesday. Braun has a 22-game hitting streak that will resume when he does. It's too bad for the Brewers that Braun isn't playing tonight, as he is hitting .366/.418/.573 with three homers during the streak. Braun is 7 for 19 with two homers in his career against Diamondbacks starter Zach Duke. Duke is 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA in seven starts at Miller Park and the Brewers haven't lost back-to-back games at home this season. Diamondbacks at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Justin VerlanderDan HarenBEST MATCHUP: Justin Verlander may be the game's best pitcher right now and will look to prove it by becoming the first 12-game winner in baseball (although the Yankees' CC Sabathia will have a chance earlier in the night). Verlander is 11-3 with a 2.32 ERA and was 6-0 with a 0.92 ERA in June. He faces off against Dan Haren, who has four wins in his last six outings after suffering a seven-start winless streak. Haren was dominating in his last start, allowing just two hits in 7 1/3 innings against the Nationals, and is 8-5 with a 2.85 ERA this season. He's even better at home where he has just a 3-3 record, but a 2.12 ERA and opponents are batting .090 points lower against him at Angel Stadium than on the road. Tigers at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 4:01 pm
 

Hurdle upset with McCutchen's snub

Clint Hurdle

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't happy about Andrew McCutchen's All-Star snub and made sure everyone knew about before Monday's game against the Astros.

John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passes along Hurdle's tirade:

"I know the challenges that come from [picking an All-Star team]," said Hurdle, who managed the NL All-Star team in 2008. "I sat in that chair. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity and be one of those managers and be disappointed in the entire process. The MLB whiffed. That he's not one of the guys getting in this little vote thing, getting into play in that. They whiffed on that. That's an absolute whiff."

"Look at the numbers he has," Hurdle said. "You can look at metrics. You can look at straight batting average, OPS, stolen bases. Whatever you want to look at, he's an All-Star.

"The players, they whiffed. Everybody whiffed on this one for me, in Andrew's case. Being his manager, I'm going to take my 42 seconds of soap box and remind everybody what a whiff-job they did with him not being on the All-Star team."

McCutchen entered Monday with a slash line of .294/.393/.498 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He's absolutely one of the best players in the National League, and not just outfielders.

The fans voted for the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, Brewers' Ryan Braun and Cardinals' Lance Berkman, while the players added St. Louis' Matt Holliday, Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Houston's Hunter Pence. National League manager Bruce Bochy added Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. Upton was the Diamondbacks' lone representative. 

The five players on the Final Vote ballot are the Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy, Nationals first baseman Mike Morse and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

McCutchen is second in WAR (3.7) among NL outfielders according to Baseball-Reference.com and sixth among NL outfielders in OPS (.892) and fifth in OPS+ (150).

In the end, Hurdle knows exactly the reason McCutchen was overlooked and pointed that out as well -- "The name on the front of the jersey has some challenges with it," Hurdle said. "We're out to knock them down. That has been our goal since the start of the season. This is another one we've faced and we'll knock this one down as well."

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 3:39 pm
 

National League pitchers and reserves

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Albert Pujols may be back before the All-Star Game, the Cardinals said on Saturday, but he won't be on the All-Star team. Here's the rest of the National League team:

National League

Pitchers

Jonny Venters, Braves (players' pick)

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (players' pick)

Cole Hamels, Phillies (players' pick)

Jair Jurrjens, Braves (players' pick)

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates (players' pick)

Heath Bell, Padres (manager's pick)

Matt Cain, Giants (manager's pick)

Roy Halladay, Phillies (players' pick)

Tim Lincecum, Giants (manager's pick)

Brian Wilson, Giants (players' pick)

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants (manager's pick)

Cliff Lee, Phillies (player's pick)

Tyler Clippard, Nationals (manager's pick)

Reserves

OF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (manager's pick)

3B Chipper Jones, Braves (players' pick)

SS Starlin Castro, Cubs (manager's pick)

2B Brandon Phillips, Reds (players' pick)

OF Jay Bruce, Reds (players' pick)

1B Joey Votto, Reds (players' pick)

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (players' pick)

1B Gaby Sanchez, Marlins (manager's pick)

OF Hunter Pence, Astros (players' pick)

OF Carlos Beltran, Mets (manager's pick)

OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals (players' pick)

C Yadier Molina, Cardinals (players' pick)

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