Tag:Justin Masterson
Posted on: August 9, 2011 3:35 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 3:36 pm
 

On Deck: Central hangs in balance

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

It's all Central, all night on Tuesday...

FisterMastersonBEST MATCHUP: And by best matchup, we mean pitching matchup, not the best for the ratings. But even past the pitchers, there's a pretty intriguing storyline going on in this game. Detroit is in command of first place in the AL Central, with Cleveland four games back and sliding. If the Indians win tonight, they stay in the hunt. But more intriguing is what happens if they lose, because that could mean a fall to third place if the White Sox win on Tuesday (see below). Doug Fister, making his second start since being added from Seattle at the trade deadline, will go up against Indians ace Justin Masterson (or is Ubaldo Jimenez their ace now?). Masterson has been on a roll all season and struck out nine Red Sox over six innings last time out. The two clubs face each other 12 more times in the last 50 games, so first place is definitely not secure. Tigers vs. Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET

White SoxRISING: Yep, here the White Sox come. Winners of four straight, things are starting to look up in Chicago, even as Adam Dunn and Alex Rios occupy very expensive seats on the pine. At least they can free the bench from splinters. In all seriousness, Chicago deleted one of its better starting pitchers at the trade deadline in Edwin Jackson, but have received contributions from the two players they fetched in return from Toronto. Zach Stewart made a solid spot-start the other day while Jason Frasor has helped stabilize the bullpen. Gavin Floyd will battle Jo-Jo Reyes on Tuesday. Reyes is also an ex-Blue Jay, with Baltimore claiming him off waivers late last week. A win with an Indians loss will vault the ChiSox into second. It's not every day White Sox fans root for the Tigers, but tonight, that will be the case. White Sox vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET

BrewersCardsRACE FOR FIRST: We're still chatting about the Central division, but let's switch leagues over to the NL, when a four-game winning streak will be snapped. Both Milwaukee and St. Louis have paced each other the last four games out, with the Brew Crew holding a three-game lead for the division title. The Pirates and Reds are for all intents and purposes down and out, leaving a two-horse race down the stretch. Shaun Marcum has been huge for Milwaukee with a 10-3 record and 3.58 ERA, and he'll be going up against Edwin Jackson, who gave up just one run in his Cardinals debut over seven innings against the Cubs, but coughed up eight earned in seven innings against Milwaukee on August 3, as skipper Tony La Russa improbably left him in the game too long, claiming the bullpen needed to be saved. Brewers vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:28 pm
 

On Deck: Kipnis' streak, Bedard's debut

OD

By Matt Snyder

Ten teams get Thursday off while there were two day games, so we're looking at an eight-game slate Thursday night. Remember you can keep up with all the action on CBSSports.com's live scoreboard.

Power surge/BoSox debut: This just in: Indians' rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis is pretty good. He has only been in the bigs for 10 games, but he's now homered in four straight. He's the first player in major league history to go deep four times within his first two weeks of being promoted  and is also the first second baseman in Indians' history to do so (Cleveland Plain-Dealer). He'll put that streak on the line Thursday night against the Red Sox, who will send Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.45) to the mound for his Red Sox debut. This is a pretty big game for both teams, as the Red Sox have a one-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, while the Indians have fallen to four games back in the AL Central they once owned. They've lost 10 of 13. Justin Masterson (8-7, 2.56) will attempt to turn the tide for the Tribe. Indians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Honeymoon over? The Pirates have been one of the big stories of the 2011 baseball season, as they were buyers at the trade deadline instead of sellers for the first time in ages. After having lost six straight, however, the Pirates have fallen below .500 for the first time in over six weeks. They're now six games out in the NL Central as the Brewers have really started to fire on all cylinders. Worse yet, the Brewers are in danger of being swept in four games by the Cubs, who came to Pittsburgh with a 42-65 record. James McDonald (7-5, 4.17) will try to get the Pirates off the schneid, while Rodrigo Lopez (2-3, 4.40) starts for the Cubs. Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Rematch: The two teams that faced off last October in the NLCS open a four-game series Thursday night in San Francisco. Both are currently in first place again in their respective divisions, though the Phillies are much more a postseason lock at this point. They have an eight-game lead in the NL East and the best record in baseball. The Giants, meanwhile, are clinging to a one-game lead in the NL West over upstart Arizona. Cliff Lee (10-7, 3.14) -- who saw the Giants in the World Series last year as a member of the Rangers -- gets the nod for the Phillies. Madison Bumgarner (6-10, 3.80) is looking to rebound from a bad last start for the Giants, but the last time he saw the Phillies he threw two scoreless innings in relief as the Giants clinched the National League pennant in Game 6 of the NLCS. Phillies at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: July 24, 2011 11:45 am
 

On Deck: Halladay squares off against Stauffer

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

StaufferHalladayBEST MATCHUP
: Tim Stauffer and Roy Halladay battle each other on the hill in Sunday's best matchup, which features the only two pitchers with sub-3.00 ERAs heading up against each other. The Phillies ace you know plenty about, with Halladay registering a 2.57 ERA. Just another day at the office. Stauffer, meanwhile, is a former first-round pick gone bust who suddenly is delivering on his promise. While his success has been aided by Petco Park somewhat, a 2.83 ERA is impressive no matter where you pitch, and his defense-independent ERA (xFIP) is a stable 3.28. Padres vs. Phillies, 1:35 p.m. ET

White SoxIndiansCENTRAL RACE: The Indians are clinging to second place in the AL Central, just one game behind the Tigers. While Indians have predictably fallen off since their hot start, at this point they should be able to stay in the race barring a monumental collapse. Calling up second baseman Jason Kipnis should help the team move past the losses of Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore on offense. Justin Masterson will take the mound with a 2.64 ERA. One interesting subplot is to watch how many fastballs Masterson tosses -- 103 of 104 pitches his last time out against the Twins were all fastballs. The ChiSox, meanwhile, are 4 1/2 out of first and have an opportunity to narrow the gap with Edwin Jackson on the hill White Sox vs. Indians, 1:05 p.m. ET

WillisSTAYING IN THE HUNT: Atlanta needs to win to stay in the division hunt, as a four-game winning streak by the Phillies has their lead up to five games. While Atlanta remains in the driver's seat for the wild card, it's too early for the Braves to pack in the division title chase, especially if they can import a bat at the trade deadline. Cincy, meanwhile, is four games out of a winnable NL Central and will send resurgent Dontrelle Willis to the mound to oppose Brandon Beachy. Willis will get to face Dan Uggla for the first time since the left-hander was traded to Detroit before the 2008 season. Braves vs. Reds 8:05 p.m. ET

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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: July 6, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 9:50 pm
 

On Deck: Giants turn to Bumgarner

OD

By Matt Snyder


Wednesday serves as getaway day for some this week, so there are five day games being played, though it still leaves 10 for the evening set. One of the afternoon games was an all-important contest for the NL West race. The Diamondbacks lost to the Brewers, so that opens an opportunity for the Giants.

The Hot Hand: Youngster Madison Bumgarner started 3-9 for the Giants, but had pitched much better than the record showed and only really had a few bad outings. In his last two starts, however, Bumgarner has a 1.26 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 20 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. This is the type of stuff expected from the 21-year-old left-hander more often as he matures. Wednesday night, he'll look to play streak-stopper for the Giants, as they've lost three straight and entered Wednesday with a one-game lead over the D-Backs in the NL West. The D-Backs loss means the Giants can increase the lead to two with a victory. Bumgarner (4-9, 3.65) will square off against Dustin Moseley (2-8, 3.07) and the Padres, who have won 10 of 13 and have moved comfortably above the Dodgers to stay out of last place in the division. San Diego at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m. ET Follow Live on Gametracker

Hughes Returns: We'll obviously still have Jeter Watch, as the quest for 3,000 hits continues in Cleveland Wednesday night, but there's another reason that game is newsworthy for the Yankees. Phil Hughes (0-1, 13.94) makes his return to the hill from the disabled list. Hughes was an All-Star last season after starting 10-1 with a 3.17 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. He had a 5.07 ERA the rest of the way as his velocity and strikeout rate went down. This season, things got worse. His first three starts were a debacle and he was put on the DL with shoulder inflammation. The good news is Hughes' velocity seems to have returned during his minor-league rehab stint, but Wednesday night is still a huge test. He'll face the first-place Indians and underrated starting pitcher Justin Masterson (6-6, 2.85). New York (AL) at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET Follow Live on Gametracker

Break Up the Bucs: Since a four-game losing streak the third week of June, the Pirates have gone 10-4 and are currently riding a three-game winning streak. They're only one game behind the Cardinals in the loss column for first place in the NL Central. So it's possible they'll be just a half-game behind the Cards once play ends Wednesday night. The only thing standing between the Pirates being five games over .500 for the first time of the season is the worst team in baseball: The Astros. Bud Norris (4-6, 3.51) gets the ball for the Astros while Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.63) takes the hill for the Pirates. Houston at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m. ET Follow Live on Gametracker

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Posted on: July 2, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: July 2, 2011 1:46 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Ellis likes Colorado



By Matt Snyder

Mark Ellis, Rockies. Well, if one day is a harbinger of things to come, the Rockies' acquisition of Ellis via trade was the correct move. Ellis had played all 1,056 games of his major-league career in an Oakland uniform before Friday night. The Rockies needed some offensive punch and didn't have much flexibility in terms of money or prospects they wanted to deal, so they took a shot on Ellis -- who just lost his starting job for the A's to Jemile Weeks. All Ellis did was go 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and three RBI. Decent debut, eh? Obviously, Ellis isn't going to immediately transform into a beast, but he's in a cushy lineup spot -- behind Carlos Gonzalez and protected by Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki. The Rockies went on to win 9-0 over the Royals, so while it was likely pretty weird to play for a different team, Ellis had to have had a fun night in his new uniform.

Alexi Ogando, Rangers. Ogando, the Rangers and all Rangers fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Ogando started the season 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA, but most advanced metrics showed he was fortunate in terms of balls in play and several other measures. He had also not started more than seven games since 2007 ... in the Dominican Summer League. So when Ogando went 0-3 with a 9.31 ERA in his next three starts, the worries that he was in a permanent tailspin started to surface. Friday night's outing should, at least temporarily, alleviate those concerns. Ogando took a perfect game into the fifth and a shutout into the seventh against the Marlins. He finished with 6 2/3 innings, eight strikeouts, five hits, two earned runs and two walks. He picked up his eighth win of the season. Though Ogando faltered a bit in the seventh, this outing has to be very encouraging.

Justin Masterson, Indians. It's not the best measure of a pitcher -- considering run support and defense play such a huge factor -- but Masterson hadn't won a game since April 26. He started the season 5-0 and entered Friday night 5-6, despite a 2.08 ERA in his previous four starts. And unfortunately lots of pitchers have been trained to believe the only thing that matters are the wins and losses (which I would agree with if this was an individual sport, but I digress), so good for Masterson on picking up the win Friday. He went eight strong innings, allowing only four hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 2.85 and is having quite the season. Meanwhile, the Indians moved back into first place in the AL Central.



Mike Quade, Cubs. Randy Wells came into Friday with a 6.25 ERA and 1.64 WHIP on the season. He gave up two runs in the top of the first inning to the White Sox. After that, he settled in and pitched very well for the next five innings. Still, Quade had Kerry Wood fresh off the DL, along with Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol at the back-end of his bullpen. It's actually the only true strength the Cubs have. It was fine to run Wells out there for the seventh inning, but once he allowed a single and game-tying home run, it was probably enough to go to the 'pen. Nah, Quade let him stay in. When Wells gave up a single to Rios, Quade let him stay. A ground out from Gordon Beckham advanced the go-ahead run to second base and a walk to Adam Dunn meant Wells had allowed four of five guys he faced to reach base in the seventh. Keep in mind, Dunn has one hit in about a billion at-bats against left-handers this season and Marshall is left-handed. Plus, Juan Pierre was on deck and is also a lefty. Nah, Quade stuck with Wells. Pierre tripled in two and the game was over. To Quade's credit, he took the blame after the game (Paul Sullivan via Twitter), but this shouldn't be happening. I realize the bullpen threw 12 innings the day before, but the three-man back-end was fine to get the job done.

Frank Francisco, Blue Jays. He's not doing much to endear himself to Blue Jays' fans, is he? Francisco entered the game Friday afternoon with a one-run lead. The Jays had taken the lead with a huge Jose Bautista two-run shot in the seventh. And it was Canada Day. Francisco went out and coughed up the game nearly as efficiently as he could have. He walked Placido Polanco and then gave up a double to Chase Utley and a single to Ryan Howard -- which plated two runs and put the Phillies on top. Francisco now has nine saves but four blown saves and an ERA of 5.01.

Padres offense. Before we get into the Padres here, let's give Jason Vargas some credit. The Mariners' starter has now thrown two shutouts in his past three outings. That's outstanding, though the second one comes with a bit of an asterisk. You see, the Padres now have 13 shutout losses. In 83 games. So, basically, 16 percent of the time the Padres play a game, they don't score a run. According to Stats, Inc., this is the most shutout losses for a team prior to the All-Star break since 2004, when the Expos were shutout 13 times. And we still have more than a week of games left. In the Padres' nine games before the break, all nine are in pitcher's parks (Safeco Field, AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium). They'll see Michael Pineda, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain among other solid starters. Simply put: The smart money is on the Padres making dubious history before July 11.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:10 pm
 

On Deck: Alexi Ogando, Justin Masterson duel

OD

By Evan Brunell


MastersonOgandoBEST MATCHUP: The Rangers took the first game of the four-game set with the Indians and will send Alexi Ogando to the hill in an attempt to ensure a series split at a minimum. Ogando's a good man for the job, as he's 5-0 on the year with a surprising 2.33 ERA. The converted reliever, who actually lost his shot at the rotation in spring training before injuries shoved him back into the mix, has been a surprise all season and has held up with a two-pitch combo that batters can't deal with. He'll be opposed by Justin Masterson, who's coming off a rough month that saw his ERA rise to 3.07 but does have a 2.03 ERA in night starts this year. Rangers at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

TigersCHWRIVALRY: The Tigers have won four in a row to pull within 4 1/2 of the Indians, while the White Sox are coming off a sweep of the Red Sox. One of these streaks has to come to an end Friday. Detroit has its own personal winning streak against Chicago, taking the last nine games between the two division rivals. A victory will match the Tigers' longest sustained success against the White Sox since 1923. Andrew Oliver will attempt to accomplish the feat for Detroit in just his second career start after stepping in to replace Phil Coke. The ChiSox will counter with Mark Buehrle. Tigers at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

HamelsINTACT: Now that Shane Victorino has been activated off the disabled list, the Phillies will field their expected lineup for the first time all season. They'll battle the Pirates and hope to avoid three straight losses behind the back of Cole Hamels. The lefty was overlooked this offseason as the No. 4 man in the Big Four, but Hamels leads the rotation in victories (7) and is third in ERA (3.01). Hamels is gunning for his fourth straight victory, a streak he previously accomplished twice. Jeff Karstens, meanwhile, will try to avoid his third straight loss and has been a nice surprise so far, tossing up a 3.58 ERA. Phillies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com