Tag:Joakim Soria
Posted on: June 27, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 27, 2011 10:31 am
 

Pepper: Is the trade deadline too soon?

By C. Trent Rosecrans


BASEBALL TODAY: Are the Nationals headed in the right direction with Davey Johnson? MLB.com's Tom Bororstein joins Lauren Shihadi to discuss the Nationals, as well as the upcoming Reds-Rays series, the Indians-Diamondbacks and more.

PUSH IT BACK: In a month, we here at Eye On Baseball will be churning out rumors and speculation left and right -- who has interest in whom, which team is a buyer and which is a seller and what backup second baseman has some trade value. It's part of the baseball calendar, the last weekend of July. But is that too early?

Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune says it is, and I'm not sure he's wrong.

The nonwaiver trade deadline is at the two-thirds mark of the season, and that may be too soon for teams to decide just exactly what their chances are to make the best decision about folding or going all in on a postseason run.

The best reason to change it is that it forces too many teams -- especially those without a high payroll flexibility -- to give up too soon. Who wants to pay to see 25 games or so to see a team that has given up hope? Push the trade deadline back and lie to us a little longer, we like that.

NEW YORK TRADE TIME?: Could this be the year the Mets and Yankees make a big trade with each other? The two teams have only made nine trades with each other in their history. It's unlikely Jose Reyes will go across town, but Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak could help the Yankees. [Wall Street Journal]

STRETCHING PINEDA: While nobody gave it any consideration when Michael Pineda broke the Mariners' camp in the rotation, it's now going to become an issue -- will the Mariners allow the rookie starter to add innings to his arm if the Mariners stick in the American League West race?

Seattle manager Eric Wedge says the team has a plan, not just for Pineda but the team's other pitchers as well, to try to limit innings, but still have his starters ready for September. The biggest thing is not limiting innings, but his game-to-game pitch count, Wedge said. [Seattle Times]

BARNEY SAYS IT GETS BETTER: Cubs rookie Darwin Barney not only participated in the "It Gets Better" project aimed at gay teens, but also said he was "honored" to ask. A cool deal for both Barney and an ever better deal for the campaign started by Cubs fan Dan Savage. The Giants have also shot a spot for the project. [Chicago Tribune]

HARANG STILL OUT: Padres starter Aaron Harang is unlikely to return from a stress fracture in his right foot until after the All-Star break. Harang leads the Padres' staff with a 7-2 record and 3.71 ERA. He's been on the DL since June 13. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

SORIA BACK: Since being reinstated as the Royals' closer, Joakim Soria hasn't allowed a run in 10 games (12 innings). He's only allowed four hits and two walks while striking out 12 and notching six saves. [Kansas City Star]

WE'RE GOING STREAKING!: Who is the streakiest team in baseball? Beyondtheboxscore.com has done the math and it's the Boston Red Sox. The least streaky? Well, that would be the consistently bad Chicago Cubs. The Cubs, amazingly enough, haven't won three games in a row all season.

JENKS BACK SOON: Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is expected to join the team Monday in Philadelphia and could be activated on Tuesday. [Boston Herald]

Marlins STILL WOOING BIG NAMES: Nobody expects Jack McKeon to manager the Marlins next season. Florida hired its interim manager after last season and look at how that turned out. Apparently owner Jeffrey Loria wants a big-name manager, and that's likely Bobby Valentine or Ozzie Guillen. [Palm Beach Post]

BYRD'S FACEMASK: Bringing flashbacks of Terry Steinbach, Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd will wear a helmet with extra protection in his rehab start at Triple-A Iowa. Byrd was hit in the face last month and suffered facial fractures. [Chicago Tribune]

FINDING NIMMO: The Mets made Brandon Nimmo the first-ever first-round draft pick from the state of Wyoming. Wyoming hasn't had a first-rounder before because of its combination of low population and harsh climate. Nimmo's dad, Ron, has helped on both causes, raising his sons there and building a barn where they could hone their baseball skills year-round. [New York Post]

CHANGEUP PITCHES: The Brewers want right-hander Yovani Gallardo to throw more changeups. Gallardo is 9-4 with a 3.92 ERA this season, but is throwing the changeup just 1.6 percent of the time and none in his last two starts. The Brewers believe the pitch could help him lower his pitch counts and go deeper into games. [MLB.com]

HANLEY TO STAY AT CLEANUP: The Marlins new regime is going to continue using shortstop Hanley Ramirez as the team's cleanup hitter. Ramirez was hitting .200/.298/.295 overall when he was put in the fourth spot by new manager Jack McKeon and in five games in that spot, he's hitting .400/.429/.450 with four RBI, raising his overall line to .218/.309/.309. [Palm Beach Post]

SMALL GESTURE, BIG DEAL: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune writes a really neat tale of Curt Schilling and a World War II veteran who recently passed away.

ROSE BRINGS 'EM IN: There's apparently not a whole lot going on in the greater Bristol area of Virginia and Tennessee, because Pete Rose is bringing in the fans. No, not the Hit King, but Pete Rose Jr., manager of the Bristol White Sox of the short-season Class A Appalachian League. Still, it's cool Rose is chasing his dream. If there's one thing when you look at his career path, he may not have his father's talent, but he does have his drive. [Bristol Herald Courier]

THIS IS WRONG: That's it. Just wrong. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 1:14 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 1:19 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Dunn goes deep



By Matt Snyder


Adam Dunn, White Sox. He's still on pace to have the worst season of his career by a huge margin, but Dunn's gotta be pretty happy with his performance Thursday night. After two games off, he returned to the lineup and slugged his sixth home run of the season -- his first since May 24.

Alex Avila, Tigers. Avila tripled twice in the Tigers' victory. He's a catcher, as we know, so a two-triple game has to be a rarity, right? According to Baseball-Reference.com, this was the 75th time a catcher has hit two triples since 1919. It was the 18th time in the past 40 years. The 24 year old, who was really only made the starter due to his defense, is now hitting .297 with nine homers, 33 RBI, 13 doubles and three triples. He's got a real shot to play in the All-Star Game.

Johnny Cueto, Reds. Cueto stifled the Giants Thursday night in his best start of the season. He worked seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out eight and picking up the win. It was the first scoreless appearance by a Reds starter since Homer Bailey's May 10 outing. The start also marked the sixth quality start in seven tries for Cueto, who lowered his ERA to 1.93 and could really be emerging as the ace of the Reds' deep staff. The win kept the Reds five games out in the NL Central.




Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers. If the Dodgers score seven runs for their young ace -- especially against the recently-punchless Rockies -- it should be an easy victory. Instead, Kershaw just didn't have it Thursday night in the thin air of Coors Field. He gave up seven hits, three walks and six earned runs in six innings.

Trevor Cahill, A's. The manager change didn't help in Game 1 of the Bob Melvin era for Oakland. The A's were worked over by the White Sox, 9-4, and ace Trevor Cahill was beaten down in less than three innings of work. Cahill was only able to get through 2 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits, three walks and six earned runs. He's now 0-4 with a 5.35 ERA in his last six starts -- and the A's are 0-6 in those starts. You're supposed to feel confident in a win with your ace on the hill. That's not happening. Hey, at least Cahill's healthy, though, unlike about half the Oakland pitchers who have been on the 40-man roster this year.

Ryan Madson/Placido Polanco, Phillies. There will be no repeat of Brad Lidge's 2008 season in Philly (when he saved 41 games without blowing a single chance). Ryan Madson entered the game Thursday night against the Cubs having converted all 14 of his save opportunities, but a Geovany Soto home run tied it. Madson almost took the loss, as Tyler Colvin followed with what was initially ruled a home run. The umpires ruled fan interference and a ground-rule double after video review, and Madson got out of the inning with a tie game. Then, in the top of the 11th, Placido Polanco committed a throwing error with two outs that allowed the Cubs to plate the go-ahead run. The Phillies then went down in the bottom half of the inning and lost a game they should have won.

BONUS UP AND DOWN: Joakim Soria returned to his customary role as the Royals closer and picked up the save. So that's good. It's just that he didn't look in control at all. He allowed back-to-back singles with one out and then walked the bases loaded with two outs before getting Corey Patterson to pop up and end the game. Soria faced six hitters and threw at least two balls to four of them. Both singles were hit pretty hard, too. But, again, he did lock down the save and didn't allow a run.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:55 am
 

Pepper: Royals hope to shake Pujols curse



By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY -- CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller, with his belly full of Kansas City barbecue, joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about the Red Sox and Yankees, as well as Dan Haren, Ubaldo Jimenez and more.

HOMETOWN BOY STAYS -- One of the more interesting picks in the first round of the draft last night was the Royals taking Bubba Starling with the fifth pick overall. Conventional wisdom going into the draft was the team would take a college arm to help supplement its incoming wave of talent. However, the team went with Starling, the top athlete in the draft. 

Don't discount the Albert Pujols factor here. Since 2001, Royals fans and others have been asking how the Royals could have missed on Albert Pujols, who went to high school and junior college in Kansas City (don't mind the fact everyone missed on Pujols, who wasn't drafted until the 13th round of the 1999 draft.) With Starling coming out of nearby Gardner, Kan., the Royals won't have to hear that criticism if Starling lives up to his potential.

BRUIN BONANZA -- UCLA baseball coach John Savage said he knew from the day Gerrit Cole stepped on campus that he'd likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. (UCLABruins.com)

Mets MAIN MAN -- Although he's best-known as the stat geek from Moneyball, the Mets' Paul DePodesta (who looks nothing like Jonah Hill), is the key to the Mets' scouting department. (Newark Star-Ledger)

SORIA'S BACK -- If you missed it, Joakim Soria is back as the Royals' closer, even though Aaron Crow never got a chance to close a game in his eight games as the team's designated closer. (CBSSports.com)

MINDREADER -- In addition to being a columnist, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times is also apparently a mind-reader. The omniscient Cowley says Carlos Zambrano is a liar and really wants out of Chicago (or at least the North side), because Zambrano said he wants to move on from his comments that the way the Cubs are playing is "embarrassing." Even though, to be fair, Zambrano said he wanted to move on before another "embarrassing" loss in Cincinnati.

BLAME GAME -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan took credit for Monday's loss, even though he probably doesn't deserve it. (Seattle Times)

MOVING ON UP -- The Indians have promoted former Yankees first baseman Nick Johnson -- to Triple-A. Johnson played two games at Double-A and had one hit in nine plate appearances (with three walks). He's not on Cleveland's 40-man roster, so manager Manny Acta said not to expect him in Cleveland anytime soon. (MLB.com)

A'S SHUFFLE -- A's third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, hitting just .221. was demoted to Triple-A on Monday. Utility man Adam Rosales was activiated from the 60-day disabled list. Kouzmanoff wasn't just struggling at the plate; he also had nine errors, the second-most in the American League. (MLB.com)

ZIMMERMAN UPDATE -- The Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman played seven innings at Class A Potomac on Monday, but manager Jim Riggleman said it's "unlikely" he will return before Sunday, when the team wraps up an 11-game road trip. (Washington Post)

PEAVY AVOIDS DL -- White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy will miss a start, but isn't expected to go on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a mild strain of his right groin. (Chicago Tribune)

FLASH GORDON -- Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon made his debut last night and his father, former pitcher Tom Gordon, was in the stands to see his son enter the game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning. Gordon scored the Dodgers' only run. While his father was nicknamed "Flash," the name may be more appropriate for the son, because it describes his blazing speed.

CARTER STARTS TREATMENT -- Hall of Famer Gary Carter began his chemotherapy treatment on Saturday and will begin radiation treatment today. (ESPNNewYork.com)

VENTURA RETURNS -- Former White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura has returned to the organization as a special adviser to player development director Buddy Bell -- that's two pretty good defensive third basemen in the front office. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 6:48 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Huff hammers three homers

Huff

By Evan Brunell


3 UpAubrey Huff, Giants -- A hat trick for Aubrey Huff, who blasted three home runs to lead the Giants to a 12-7 victory. Huff's three blasts tallied six RBI, adding on a single as well. His monstrous night pushed him to .233/.291/.413 overall, tacking on a home run against St. Louis on Wednesday too. Huff and the Giants really needed this night, both in a game that ended up in a high-scoring affair and to spark the Giants' and his own moribud offiense.

Xavier Paul, Pirates -- Paul came into the game with just three RBI in 41 at-bats, hitting .220 but has been on fire the last two days. He has six hits and three RBI, four of the hits coming Thursday against the Mets, who engineered a seven-run comeback to take down the Pirates 9-8. Paul did all he could at the top of the order, scoring three runs and boosting his average to .305. And this is why Garrett Jones is losing playing time.

Joakim Soria, Royals -- The way K.C. is trying to fix Soria is by pitching him in low-leverage outings where he can go multiple innings to work on his pitches. It got a chance Thursday as Soria got to pitch three innings due to what was an unfortunate (for them) trumping by Minnesota, with the Twins wining 8-2. Soria's two innings to finish the game were perfect, although he didn't strike anyone out. Given contact percentage is a large reason why he's not effective, that's not great news. But hey, dude was perfect, right?


Guillermo Mota, Giants -- Mota gave up four runs in one inning to almost blow the game for the Giants, if not for Huff's heroics. Mota entered the seventh inning with a 12-3 lead, which quickly fell to 12-7 with a grand slam by Colby Rasmus, who also tripled twice for a beastly game. Mota finished the inning and Jeremy Affeldt went on to get a two-inning save. Mota's failings were put on display in a .GIF to the right tweeted by @davidtiao that you can see to your right and offers a nice cameo of A's manager Bob Geren.



Sean O'Sullivan, Royals -- Soria was perfect. O'Sullivan was not, coughing up eight hits in 2 2/3 innings and seven runs, although only three were earned, to the Twins. Still, he didn't contribute much with his two walks to just one whiff, the eight hits and only TWO swing and misses in 69 pitchers, both on the curveball. So that's 21 fastballs, all which made contact for a hit or foul. Not good, and that ERA's a tidy 6.92 now. Move on the horizon?

Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- Pelfrey was no better, rounding out bad days for pitchers. Pelfrey went up against the Mets and gave up eight hits, three of which belonged to Paul, in five innings. His ERA spiked to 5.56 and it's time to wonder if Pelfrey is hurt or the No. 2-caliber starter Pelfrey we saw last season was an aberration.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Soria to stretch out in relief; will not start

Soria

By Evan Brunell


The Royals plan to deploy booted closer Joakim Soria in middle relief, angling to use him in low-pressure situations and pitching multiple innings.

No, it's not to start a conversion to starting that many have called for over the years -- it's so Soria gets an extended chance to work on all four pitches in his repertoire, as MLB.com reports.

"It just gives him the opportunity to throw more pitches. It's pretty simple," manager Ned Yost said. "The more pitches he throws, the quicker he's going to get back to form."

Soria's vaunted repertoire and history as a starter in the minors has caused many to scratch their heads as to why K.C. hasn't attempted to make Soria a starter. Even an average starter brings far more value to a team than a good reliever. While Soria's been far more than just a good reliever, that means he'd probably be a pretty good starter, too.

"Let me put it this way: There's been no serious talk about that," Yost told MLB.com in a separate report.  "He's got the pitches to be a starter. But there's no thought of that right now."

When Soria proves ready to return to the closer's role, the Royals won't hesitate to do just that and boot new closer Aaron Crow from the role.

"Everybody's pulling for him and everybody wants him to get back to his old self, so I'm right there with everybody else, just pulling for him," Crow said, who has yet to earn a save but received the promotion on the strength of a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings. The rookie, who has been converted from starting, has found a new lease on life in the bullpen.

"He's got a lot of confidence in himself. He's got great stuff, and he's had great success at this point," Yost said of Crow. "We could actually do it probably with a number of guys, because they've all got pretty good numbers down there. But we'll just start with Aaron. He's been the eighth-inning guy, and he moves up."

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 9:02 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 9:53 pm
 

Royals replacing Soria as closer

Joakim SoriaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

After Sunday's Joakim Soria meltdown, manager Ned Yost calmly answered questions about his embattled closer.

No, he wouldn't replace him. Yes, if the Royals were in a save situation in the ninth on Monday, he'd call on Soria. In fact, Yost said, the worst thing he could do at that point was pull Soria from the closer's role.

Well, on Monday Soria got another shot to close out a game with the Royals leading the Angels 8-7. He struck out the first batter he faced. Then Bobby Abreu singled and on an 0-2 count, Torii Hunter gave the Angels the lead with a homer to left. Soria allowed another run on two more hits before finishing the inning. It was his fifth blown save in 12 chances this season. Last season he converted 43 of 46 save opportunities. 

"Last night I asked for another chance and if I blew another save, I'd need a break, and that happened," Soria said.

Shortly after the Royals' 10-8 loss, the Royals announced the next time there was a save situation, rookie Aaron Crow will get the call.

Crow, a first-round pick by the Royals in 2009, has spent most of his career as a starter, but has been a reliever this season -- and he's been excellent. In 22 appearances, he's pitched 27 innings, allowed 19 hits and four runs, while striking out 26 and walking nine. He's 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP. He has a 2.91 xFIP.

The 24-year-old right-hander throws in the mid-90s, but it's his slider that has been his best pitch so far this season. 

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:09 am
Edited on: May 30, 2011 10:27 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kershaw dominates

Clayton Kershaw

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers-- The Dodgers' left-hander threw a two-hitter and struck out 10 in Los Angeles' 8-0 victory over the Marlins. It was his second career shutout. Kershaw allowed just a soft single by Omar Infante and a line-drive double by Logan Morrison, while walking one. So far this season, he has 87 strikeouts in 79 innings with only 24 walks.

Martin Prado, Braves -- Prado not only hit the two-run homer that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead over the Reds, but also threw out Paul Janish at the plate to end the eighth inning (although, an assist to home plate umpire Dan Iassogna, who missed the call.)

Bobby Abreu, Angels -- With his eighth-inning RBI double, Abreu moved past Lou Gehrig on the all-time list with 535 in his career, giving him 32nd on the all-time list by himself. He's three behind the Rockies' Todd Helton, who also doubled on Sunday. Helton's one behind Al Simmons, who is 30th with 539. Tris Speaker holds the record with 792, if you were curious, followed by Pete Rose (746), Stan Musial (725), Ty Cobb (724), Craig Biggio (668) and George Brett (665). Ivan Rodriguez leads all active players with 569. 


Vance Worley, Phillies -- The Phillies have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Vance Worley. Which of these doesn't belong? If it weren't already clear, Sunday may have helped. Joe Blanton's replacement in the Phillies' heralded rotation allowed 12 hits and eight runs (five earned) in three innings on Sunday, needing 71 pitches to get through three. Of those 71 pitches, the Mets only swung and missed at three of them.

Joakim Soria, Royals -- The one-time Mexicutioner has only been killing the Royals this season. After his team gave him a lead in the ninth, he gave up a homer to Nelson Cruz. He would have gotten out of the inning if Brayan Pena made a tag on the play at the plate, but he didn't. Soria has already marked a career-high with four blown saves this season and has an ERA of 5.57. Despite his struggles, manager Ned Yost said he's standing by Soria as the team's closer. "Jack is our best option," Yost said after the game. "I've been through this five or six times. The worst thing you can do is to start messing around with the bullpen."

Jeff Fulchino, Astros -- The Diamondbacks bullpen has been a big reason Arizona has moved into first place, but Arizona was also helped out by Houston's 'pen. Sunday, Houston blew its 13th of 20 save opportunities this season. Fulchino was the loser against the Diamondbacks, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk in the eight inning, erasing J.A. Happ's strong start.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 2:12 pm
 

What's wrong with Joakim Soria?

By Matt Snyder

Royals closer Joakim Soria has a 4.30 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP and two blown saves in eight chances so far in 2011. He entered the season with a 2.01 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 255 career innings. He'd converted 132 saves and only blown three saves in each of the past three seasons.

While 14 2/3 innings in 2011 is a pretty small sample, it's evident this has not been the Joakim Soria we grew accustomed to seeing for the past four seasons. He was consistently one of the game's elite closers and now all of a sudden -- at the ripe age of 26 -- he's pretty vulnerable. So, what gives?

Maybe it's because he's distanced himself from the "Mexicutioner" moniker. I kid, I kid.

Usually with a small sample of futility for a pitcher who should be better, the first places you look are FIP, xFIP and BABIP. Any of those stats should tell you whether or not his poor performance is a reflection of bad luck -- stuff like a bunch of weak hits finding holes and falling between outfielders -- or if he's really causing the problems. In Soria's case, he hasn't been unlucky.

FIP: 4.25 against a 4.30 ERA
xFIP: 4.612 against a 4.30 ERA
BABIP: .267 against a career mark of .257

Soria entered the season striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings while walking just 2.5 per nine. This season, Soria is only striking out 5.5 hitters per nine innings and is walking 4.3 per nine. That's a pretty awful K/BB rate, especially for a guy who used to have a stellar mark in that category.

Less control and missing far fewer bats is easily the reason Soria's coughing up runs (and games) at a much higher rate than ever before, in addition to his inability to strand runners as much as he has in year's past (66.3 percent left on base this year, and his career mark is 83.5 percent).

If you look at his pitch selection on Fangraphs.com, there's a small indication he may have less confidence in his fastball this season. First of all, it's the slowest it's ever been. Secondly, Soria's throwing a higher percentage of sliders and changeups than he ever has before in his career.

Assuming Soria's healthy -- and there's every reason to assume as much -- odds are Soria works himself back into a groove sometime soon. He might need to throw less sliders and more heavily pound the zone with his fastball to do so. When he starts missing bats, the strand rate will go back up and his ERA will come down. He's definitely done enough the past handful of seasons to earn the benefit of the doubt in a bad six weeks.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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