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Tag:Kyle McClellan
Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:41 am
 

Astros latest team to fall victim to U2

U2By C. Trent Rosecrans

Count the Houston Astros among the growing number of teams none too thrilled with U2.

Following Monday's loss to the Cardinals, several Astros complained about the new grass surface at Busch Stadium. U2 held a concert at Busch Stadium on July 17 and the team stripped the outfield of grass and re-sodded it afterwards. With the high temperatures, it was difficult for the grass to take root in time for Monday's game, the first post-Bono game held at Busch Stadium, Derrek Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote.

The Edge and company helped the home team in the second inning, when Astros right fielder Hunter Pence slipped on the new sod, allowing St. Louis' Nick Punto to cruise to a triple and drive in a run. St. Louis added another with a one-out fielder's choice by starter Kyle McClellan.

"We knew there was a new sod and ground balls were going to be tougher," Pence told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. "We really didn't expect all the slipping to go down."

Center fielder Michael Bourn said he had trouble all game.

"If you try to plant good, you'll end up falling," Bourn told Levine.

He added, "You could tell it's very new out there. The cracks are still in the ground, which means the grass had just been planted. We just had to try to get used to it. It's real hard to keep your ground out there. It's real hard to keep your feet underneath you."

Manager Brad Mills said the team was "not thrilled" with the state of the field.

"You want the sure footing and so forth, but it wasn't there and it cost us a little bit," Mills said.

U2 has already given the Mariners an unfair advantage in its series with the Marlins, with three of Florida's "home games" being played at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariners won two of the three games.

A U2 concert at Angel Stadium in Anaheim forced the Angels to go on a 12-game road trip that covered more than 8,000 miles. The Angels went 8-4 on the trip and showed no ill-effects on their next homstand, winning 11 of 13 upon their return.

Oakland didn't have quite as long of a road trip as their AL West brethren, going on just a 10-game trip because of U2's concert in Oakland. However, they didn't handle it as well as the Angels, going 1-9 on the 10-game trip to facilitate the band, that like the A's peaked in the late 80s and early 90s.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Holliday, McClellan headed to DL for Cards

By Matt Snyder

The injury woes for the NL Central continue to mount, this time to the division-leading Cardinals. Left fielder Matt Holliday and starting pitcher Kyle McClellan will be placed on the disabled list Thursday, according to general manager John Mozeliak (Derrick Gould via Twitter).

Holliday has played sparingly since suffering a quadriceps injury about a week and a half ago, last getting a pinch-hit appearance Monday. He underwent an MRI Wednesday, and apparently the Cardinals didn't like what they saw. He's a huge part of one of the NL's strongest offenses, as he hits between sluggers Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman. Holliday is hitting an NL-best .342 with 31 RBI, 31 runs and a .975 OPS. With Holliday down, look for John Jay to start in left field while Berkman sticks in right. Of course, there's always the possibility that Tony La Russa will put Pujols at third, Berkman at first, Jay in right and Allen Craig in left.

McClellan finally got his shot to start this season due to Adam Wainwright's injury, and he hasn't disappointed. He's 6-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He has scuffled a bit in the past month but was still productive at times. He has a hip injury and is expected to be out until the middle of June. Lance Lynn will get the start for the Cardinals on Thursday. Lynn, 24, is 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 62 innings for Triple-A Memphis.

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 10:30 am
 

On Deck: Beckett, Sabathia poised for showdown

Beckett

By Evan Brunell


BEST MATCHUP: For the second straight day, Red Sox-Yankees highlight the proceedings. It's not East Coast bias, honest. It's the fact that Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are going up against each other, and it's real hard to ignore their numbers on the season. This is shaping up to be a fantastic pitcher's duel as Beckett has roared back from a forgettable 2010 season to post a 1.99 ERA so far. Yep, his ERA is under 2.00, which places him third in the AL. He'll be opposed by Sabathia, who has been excellent as well with a 2.89 ERA for the Bombers. While the Red Sox can't reach .500 with the victory, they can strike panic in the heart of the Bronx by pulling to one win behind the club even if they'll remain two games back. That's because the Red Sox have played two more games on the year. Red Sox at Yankees, 7:10 p.m. ET

CUETO'S BACK
: Another game repeat from Friday's On Deck, but this one is a game the Cardinals have been wanting for a while. There's no love lost for Cueto in the Cardinals clubhouse. It's Cueto's first time on the mound since ending backup catcher Jason LaRue's career after a series of kicks to the head (yes, this really happened) during a brawl last August where Cueto felt himself cornered and lashed out -- it's also just Cueto's second start of the year after beginning the year on the DL and shining in his debut. "I don't think our guys have anything more than going out there trying to beat him," Cardinals acting manager Joe Pettini told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "What happened last year, I think, still leaves a mark. I think they remember and think about it." A motivated StL team will send Kyle McClellan to the hill, who is undefeated in his conversion to the rotation with a 5-0, 3.30 mark. He'll find it tough to keep other thoughts from creeping into his mind; he's bailing to St. Louis right after the game as his wife is expected to give birth to his first child, a daughter, on Sunday. St. Louis at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m. ET

DIVISION AT STAKE
: The Angels have lost two straight; the Rangers have won two in a row including taking out the Angels on Friday night 4-1. Texas can leapfrog Los Angeles into first place with a victory but will have a hard road. The pitching matchup says it all, with Derek Holland (3-1, 5.18 ERA) going up against Dan Haren (4-2, 1.87 ERA). Haren boasts the best K/BB ratio in the majors, non-Phillies division, which is how we'll have to describe most accomplishments for the next few years. Anyways, he's got an even 7.00 rate with 56 whiffs and eight walks in 57 2/3 innings. Yeah, good luck, Texas. Angels at Rangers, 4:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Pepper: Talking Thursday's pitchers

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Kyle McClellan remain perfect on the season? Can Ryan Dempster get back on track? Will Jon Lester get the Red Sox a much needed win? I joined Lauren Shehadi to discuss some of Thursday's more intriguing starting pitchers.

DISABLED DELMON: Twins outfielder Delmon Young hadn't played since April 18, but was hoping to avoid a DL stint. Instead, he's been unable to to get loose during batting practice and the Twins finally saved and placed him on the DL, retroactive to April 19. That's quite a while the Twins played short-handed, and they've been doing so pretty much all season anyway. At some point, expect their fortunes to turn. It all has to even out, right? (MLB.com )

SLOGGING SOX:
The White Sox have gotten the bad end of basestealing this season offensively and defensively. They've allowed opposing runners to swipe 19 bags in 21 chances while only converting 14 of 30 attempts of their own. That's a vast discrepancy. The latter part of the equation is especially tough to understand with Juan Pierre in the lineup, considering he stole 68 of 86 last season. He's only five of 11 thus far in 2011. Of course, manager Ozzie Guillen had his usually colorful explanation on the matter: "We don't have that many people on base, so maybe we forgot how to run the bases." (Chicago Sun-Times )

THERIOT BACK SOON: The Cardinals don't expect Ryan Theriot to need a trip to the disabled list with his current ribcage injury. He may even take the field Thursday against the Astros. (StLtoday.com )

BELT BACK IN OUTFIELD? One of the reasons the Giants were said to have initially brought Brandon Belt to the majors on the opening day roster was that he was a superior first baseman. Of course, it also pushed Aubrey Huff into right field, where he's a butcher. So when Belt returns, it will reportedly be as an outfielder. He'd likely fit on either corner. The move only sounds like it would be for early in Belt's career, as general manager Brian Sabean said: "We know he can play first base." (SFgate.com )

LOGAN'S CAST: Logan Morrison of the Marlins recently got a cast off his injured foot. He's now selling the cast on eBay with proceeds going to the American Lung Association. That's not all, as he had the cast signed by every member of the Marlins -- except Hanley Ramirez.

CUDDYER ON MINORS: Twins slugger Michael Cuddyer writes a column for FOX Sports North, and in his latest installment he discusses the minor leagues, specifically how much it makes him appreciate the majors. He goes through the differences of each level, specifically how travel, food and lodging all get better with each promotion. I especially enjoyed this part about Class A: "I was only 19 and excited to start my professional career, so I really didn’t mind the six-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa. I didn’t mind the Econo Lodge that had a hole in the floor where I could see the room below me. I didn’t even mind the $12 per diem we received for all three meals. I didn’t know any better — I just thought it was great that I got to play baseball every day." (fsnorth.com )

AARDSMA STILL NOT READY: Mariners closer David Aardsma is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. It was his fourth outing, but he still wasn't right -- as he gave up a walk and triple to begin the inning. According to manager Eric Wedge, the Mariners are going to "give him the time that he needs to just get more comfortable being on the mound." (Seattle Times )

CEDENO OUT, WOOD IN: Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno was benched Wednesday night for the second straight game and it was said to be a "manager's decision" by skipper Clint Hurdle. Tuesday night, Cedeno entered as a pinch-runner and was caught stealing. Later in the game, he received an at-bat and grounded out to third. He must have thought the ball was foul, because he didn't run it out. Interestingly, the once-touted-now-maligned Brandon Wood got the start at short in each of the past two games. It's early and a small sample, but Wood is showing some good signs. He's hitting .250 with a double, two runs and two RBI. The best news, however, is that he's walked twice and only struck out once, giving him a .400 on-base percentage. (Bucco Blog )

BELTRE SUSPENDED BY Rangers: Yeah, if it was Adrian he'd get his own story. We're talking about 21-year-old Rangers prospect Engel Beltre. What happened was Double-A Frisco of the Texas League had a would-be go-ahead home run overturned and ruled a double in the ninth inning of a recent game. Both the manager and pitching coach were ejected in the aftermath. Then water bottles began to be thrown on the field by fans and a plastic trash can was hurled into the stands by Beltre. “It is definitely not something we condone,’’ Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It is a black eye for all involved.’’ (ESPN Dallas )

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Posted on: April 24, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Volquez to start against Cardinals tonight

By C. Trent Rosecrans

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE

1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE

1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

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Posted on: March 27, 2011 7:59 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/27: McClellan's super spring

By Matt Snyder

3 UP

Kyle McClellan, Cardinals. He can't make the Cardinals forget about Adam Wainwright, but he's doing his damnedest to try. The Cards' No. 5 starter -- who only got a shot at the rotation when Wainwright was lost for the season -- went six strong innings Sunday. He did allow an earned run, just the second of the spring, to shoot his ERA all the way up to 0.78. He struck out five while allowing only five baserunners.

Rajai Davis, Blue Jays. Man, what a day. Davis went 5-5 with two doubles, a triple and three runs scored. Oh yeah, he stole a base, too, for good measure.

Chris Coghlan, Marlins. He's had a shortened spring due to some injuries, but Sunday should prove he's on track to begin the season on a good note. The outfielder went 2-3 with a triple -- which was bases-loaded clearing -- two runs and three RBI. With Mike Stanton back in full effect and the presence of Logan Morrison, the Marlins have a strong young outfield.

3 DOWN

Chris Davis, Rangers. He only got one at-bat, but made it count with a strikeout. This is notable because, as blogger Scott Lucas points out , Davis struck out in eight of his last 11 at-bats. In fairness to Davis, we should point out he's got an OPS of over 1.100 with five home runs and 17 RBI this spring.

Carl Pavano, Twins. He was treated poorly by his former 'mates, as the Yankees touched Pavano up in six innings -- to the tune of 11 hits and five runs. His spring ERA is still a sweet 2.16, though.

Ricky Romero, Blue Jays. In 5 1/3 innings, Romero gave up eight hits and five earned runs. Even worse, the outing came against the Orioles, who had zero projected starters in the lineup. So he essentially allowed a run per inning to backup players on a team that finished in last place last season. On the bright side, he did strikeout six and walk none.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Pepper: Sign spring's end is near



By Matt Snyder


How can you best tell when spring is winding down and the real Major League Baseball season is nearing? Well, a few things. The snow finally stops falling. I guess, though this year who really knows. It's liable to snow at some places into May at this rate. Another good sign is watching the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS (shameless plug alert). How about baseball teams starting to name -- or get close to naming -- a fifth starting pitcher? That's a pretty good one, and it's happening in a lot of different places right now.

We've already passed along that Mark Rogers has been demoted, which leaves Wily Peralta the Brewers' likely five . We've also noted Michael Pineda being in Seattle's driver's seat as well. But there are plenty more.

Esmil Rogers looks like he's opening up a lead over John Maine and Greg Reynolds for the Rockies, after working five innings Tuesday and only facing the minimum 15 batters. (Denver Post )

Brandon McCarthy has gotten in the good graces of manager Bob Geren for being "impressive" and "consistent" in looking to win the A's fifth starting job behind a pretty underrated top four of Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez. (San Francisco Chronicle )

Ever since Adam Wainwright went down with injury and the Cardinals said they were going to look internally, Kyle McClellan has been the front-runner to take the remaining spot. And every outing since then, he's gotten rave reviews and been tabbed as the front-runner. Thus, it would be pretty shocking if he didn't get the job. Still, the word from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is that McClellan is merely "closer" to getting the nod.

Speaking of shocking, it would be just as shocking if Randy Wells doesn't win one of the Cubs' two remaining rotation slots. He's throwing well this spring and has the past experience. It also appears that former first-round pick Andrew Cashner is putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field as well. We'll get back to Cashner in a second. (MLB.com )

Of course, there is one team a bit behind the curve here. The Texas Rangers, your defending American League champs, still have a whopping seven guys in the mix for two spots. If a decision is made to start Neftali Feliz, one that seems increasingly likely with each passing day, that narrows the field to six guys for one spot. Those six: Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Michael Kirkman, Alexi Ogando, Dave Bush and Eric Hurley. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram )

THE PROFESSOR: Of the two nicknames you see listed for Greg Maddux on baseball-reference.com, I always preferred "the Professor," even though it's nowhere near mainstream. He was so much more cerebral than his opposition, seemingly getting guys out just with his mind. Thus, it's only fitting he's passing along some knowledge to Cashner in Cubs camp as a special assistant. His latest nugget? "Walks are overrated." It's not surprising, coming from a guy who probably never walked someone by accident in his prime. Those who remember watching him in the mid-90s are nodding in agreement. You could feel when Maddux was walking someone on purpose; otherwise it didn't happen. Oh, and if Maddux's wisdom isn't enough, Kerry Wood has also taken Cashner under his wing. (Chicago Tribune )

RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: Hey, someone has to fill the void left by Mark Reynolds -- both in terms of power and strikeouts. Despite his lackluster defense -- which is reportedly a concern for manager Kirk Gibson -- Russell Branyan is turning heads by killing the ball this spring, to the tune of a 1.274 OPS. And don't scoff. While Branyan has a bad batting average and strikeout issues, his career OPS-plus is 115 and he averages 31 home runs over the course of 162 games. He need only hold off Juan Miranda and once-big prospect Brandon Allen. (MLB.com )

NO WORRIES: Clayton Kershaw was torched Tuesday by the Rangers, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn't worried about his likely ace. Nor should he be, considering it's only the spring and Kershaw entered the game with a 0.00 ERA through 11 1/3 innings. (Los Angeles Times )

SWITCHBACK: Prior to the ALDS last year, the rules for the dreaded catwalk at Tropicana Field were altered, but now those rules are reverting back to where they were in the regular season of 2010. Check out the complete list on St. Petersburg Times .

GETTING GRADY BACK: Sunday could be the day. Grady Sizemore hasn't seen game action in about 10 months, but reportedly he has a real shot to play Sunday. Obviously huge news for the Tribe. (Cleveland.com )

KEEPING DICE-K: There's been a lot of talk about the Red Sox trading Daisuke Matsuzaka of late. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe makes a good case to fans that Dice-K is actually a pretty average major-league pitcher and that, as the fifth starter, that's really all the team needs. Put the absurd salary aside and just enjoy the good Red Sox team, he pleads. I tend to agree. (Boston Globe )

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