Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:35 am
By Matt Snyder
Red Sox offense. They really, really needed this one. And you have to give the Red Sox credit, they came through when it mattered. They fell behind 1-0 in the first inning, but then Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer. Marco Scutaro would also hit a 2-run homer later in the game. Still, the Red Sox pitching staff allowed seven runs against the Orioles and a huge effort was needed from someone offensively. It was provided by an unlikely source, as emergency catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit two home runs and drove home four in the Red Sox's 8-4 victory. The two blasts were the first two of his career and he became the youngest Red Sox player to homer twice in the same game since Nomar Garciaparra did it in 1997 -- and they were the exact same ago to the day (Ian Browne via Twitter).
Cardinals' offense. Starting pitcher Jake Westbrook was awful, and the Cardinals trailed 5-0 after three innings. It was of no matter in the end, though, because they'd piece together 13 runs in the final six frames to win the game. On the whole, the Cardinals pounded out 17 hits, including four doubles, a triple and two home runs. The biggest hits were Skip Schumaker's three-run double in the fourth, Ryan Theriot's go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh and Allen Craig's three-run homer in the eighth to put the game out of reach.
Matt Joyce, Rays. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer earlier in the game and the Rays bailed themselves out with a huge triple play, but neither would have mattered if Joyce didn't come through with a pivotal three-run bomb in the bottom of the seventh to put the Rays on top 5-3. That was the eventual final score.
Bonus Up No. 1, Prince Fielder: Three home runs is a pretty decent night, don't you think? He hits home runs a lot (230 in his career now and he's only 27), but this was the first three-homer game of his big-league career.
Bonus Up No. 2, Jose Reyes: He went deep twice and maintained his percentage-point lead for the batting title.
Bonus Up No. 3, Jarrod Parker: The 22-year-old Diamondbacks' prospect made his major-league debut against the Dodgers. He went 5 2/3 shutout innings and allowed just four hits. If you don't take the D-Backs seriously yet, imagine them with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Parker, Trevor Bauer (third overall pick this past June) and Archie Bradley (seventh overall pick this past June) in the rotation a few years from now. Oh, and Justin Upton's only 24. That's a strong foundation. And while we're here ... a walk-off grand slam after trailing 6-1 in the 10th? C'mon. Big ups to Ryan Roberts for imitating Kirk Gibson as he rounded the bases, too.
Derek Lowe, Braves. Four innings, six hits, five earned runs, a loss and the Braves are now tied in the NL wild-card race. Oh, and Lowe makes over $15 million a year.
Bronson Arroyo, Reds. How about this one? According to Elias Sports Bureau -- via a Reds' press release -- Arroyo is now the second pitcher in major-league history to have allowed at least 40 home runs and less than 50 walks in the same season. We've all heard the phrase "trust your stuff" when pitchers walk too many hitters. Maybe Arroyo should trust his stuff a bit less. Trade some of the bombs for free passes.
Russell Martin, Yankees. He hit into a huge triple play, but that's just a ground ball with bad timing. My issue came when he tried to beat the throw by diving into first base. See last night's 3 Up 3 Down -- the Nick Punto entry -- for the rant relating to that. (What, is it spreading?)
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Tags: 3 up 3 down, AL East, Allen Craig, Ben Zobrist, Braves, Brewers, Bronson Arroyo, Cardinals, Derek Lowe, Diamondbacks, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jake Westbrook, Jarrod Parker, Jose Reyes, Marco Scutaro, Matt Joyce, Matt Snyder, Mets, NL Central, NL West, Prince Fielder, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Russell Martin, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Roberts, Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumaker, Yankees
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:52 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Thanks in small part to the flying end of Upton's bat, the Rays took the opening game of their crucial four-game set at Fenway Park, beating the Red Sox 9-2.
WIth two outs in the third inning and runners on first and second, Upton's bat splintered on a slow roller to shortstop. Just as Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro was about to field the grounder, the barrel of Upton's bat reached him and he had to dodge the piece of the bat, allowing the ball to go between his legs and John Jaso to score the game's first run and extend the inning. The next batter, Evan Longoria, homered to give Tampa an early 4-0 lead -- all thanks to the bounce of a bat.
The win pulls the Rays to within three games of the American League Wild Card, with three more games agains the Red Sox. A sweep here and it's a whole new ballgame.
Boston Red Sox
83-66, 3 GB
Remaining schedule: 3 @ BOS, 4 @ NYY, 3 vs. TOR, 3 vs. NYY
Coolstandings.com expectancy of wild card: 7.8 percent
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:25 pm
By Evan Brunell
The loser, Jed Lowrie, originally took the job from Marco Scutaro after kicking the season off scorching hot, including a stretch from April 9-23 when Lowrie hit .477/.489/.773. However, Lowrie has found the going tough as of late, colliding with Carl Crawford when trying to field a pop fly on May 29. Suffering a bruised nerve, Lowrie lost most of his power and missed 45 games, returning at the beginning of August. Since then, he's shown that he can't hold down a full-time job, struggling to a .213/.262/.266 line since in 104 plate appearances.
That led Lowrie to get a cortisone shot in his shoulder on Tuesday, the Boston Herald writes.
“It got to the point where I wasn’t being helpful, productive, for the team, so I needed to do something about it,” Lowrie said. “I didn’t have any other choice. It was either shut it down for the year or get this shot and hope to play and do what I can to help the team win this year.”
From what I understand from the doctors, everything in my shoulder was so inflamed that it was almost to the point where it was shutting down again, so I had to stop that cycle,” Lowrie added. “The last couple weeks it was getting bad, so I had to do something.”
While Lowrie's been struggling, Scutaro has been chugging along and has a firm grip on the starting job. Scoot, who signed a two-year deal to become Boston's shortstop prior to the 2010 season, didn't get the year off to an encouraging start by slashing .260./328/.355 through Aug. 6 with a month-long injury sandwiched in there. But just as Lowrie returned, Scutaro heated up with a 4-for-4 day against the Yankees on Aug. 7. Since then, the 35-year-old has hit .364/.409/.525, giving the team another offensive contributor just in time for October.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 2:19 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 2:19 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Jason Kipnis, Indians: In the sixth plate appearance of his young career, the Cleveland rookie delivered his first hit -- a single to right. That's great and all, but the fact that it was done with two outs and bases loaded in the ninth inning of a tie game is what lands him here. It overshadowed the play with bases loaded and one out when Travis Buck grounded into a 9-2 putout -- Torii Hunter was playing in the infield to try to cut down the winning run at home, which he did. Temporarily.
Chris Denorfia, Padres: There are few plays as awesome as a steal of home. In the span of two days, Denrofia gave us one of the season's best defensive plays -- robbing Raul Ibanez of a home run on Sunday -- and then following that up with a great offensive play Monday. In the second inning of the Padres' 5-4 victory over the Phillies, Denorfia was on third with a runner at first and as soon as Cliff Lee lobbed a throw over to first, Denorfia broke toward the plate and beat the throw home for San Diego's first steal of home since Mark Sweeney did it in 2005.
James McDonald, Pirates: The Pittsburgh right-hander recorded a career-high nine strikeouts and picked up his seventh win of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Braves. Pittsburgh has now started seven of the last eight McDonald has started. McDonald lasted just 5 1/3 innings -- and has yet to complete seven innings in any start -- but that's good enough with the Pirates' bullpen. McDonald left the game with bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, but Chris Resop got a popup to the catcher and a strikeout to end the threat. Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his 29th save.
Twins pitchers: The most successful Twins pitcher on Monday started the game at first base before moving to right field and then the mound. Michael Cuddyer was the only Twin to take the mound and leave unscathed. His scoreless ninth was one of just two scoreless innings tossed by the Twins in their 20-6 loss to the Rangers. Left-hander Phil Dumatrait wasn't charged with a run, but came into the game in the fifth inning and allowed a two-run double to Elvis Andrus, but both runs were charged to Chuck James. Starter Nick Blackburn allowed 11 hits and nine runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 innings. Jose Mijares was charged with five runs (four earned) in 2/3 of an inning. James allowed four runs in one inning and Alex Burnett allowed two runs. Cuddyer gave up two hits and a walk, but no runs in the eighth inning.
Marco Scutaro, Red Sox: Several Red Sox hitters failed to help their cause late in the team's 3-1 loss to the Royals in 14 innings on Monday night and Tuesday morning, but Scutaro was the worst offender. In the 12th inning, Scutaro missed the sign for the suicide squeeze, allowing the Royals to easily get Josh Reddick in a rundown. He then singled and was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. He then ended the game in the 14th looking at a called third strike from Joakim Soria. The Red Sox put runners in scoring position with less than two outs in three of the five innings from the ninth to the 13th and failed to capitalize.
J.P. Howell, Rays: Howell gave up two singles and a walk to help bring Oakland to within a run of the Rays in the seventh inning before being pulled for Joel Peralta, who allowed a two-run double to Conor Jackson to give Oakland the lead for good. In 17 2/3 innings this season, Howell has allowed 21 runs and 18 earned runs.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 5:04 pm
By Evan Brunell
Jonathan Papelbon's suspension has been reduced from three games to two and he will immediately serve it, knocking him out for the first two games of interleague play as the Milwaukee Brewers come to town, the Boston Herald reports.
Daniel Bard will serve as closer in the interim. Papelbon was suspended for his actions against the Oakland Athletics almost two weeks ago. Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek were increasingly frustrated with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo's strike zone, and 'Tek received an ejection from the game in the ninth inning to show for it.
Papelbon followed two batters later, when he was seen yelling from the mound after throwing a first-pitch strike in a location that had been called a ball previously. He claims he was trying to get new catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia coming to the mound, but Randazzo felt Papelbon was yelling at him, so he stepped out from behind the plate and took steps toward the closer, yelling right back. Papelbon was admittedly antagonistic, but blew up when Randazzo ran him from the game. He ran furiously at the umpire, possibly bumping him in the process, then let Randazzo know exactly what was on Papelbon's mind.
Also on Friday, the BoSox placed shortstop Jed Lowrie on the disabled list and called up Drew Sutton. Lowrie has struggled with a shoulder injury for some time, with the injury worsening during Thursday's game. Marco Scutaro is expected to take over full-time duties at short.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 8, 2011 1:09 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2011 1:23 pm
By Matt Snyder
The promotion of light-hitting yet slick-fielding prospect Jose Iglesias makes a lot more sense Sunday morning, as Marco Scutaro has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters Scutaro is going to miss a good amount of time with an oblique injury (what else, right?).
“He’s over getting get an MRI,” Francona said. “His left oblique had been a little tender for a few days and after the rain delay [Saturday] he went back out, and I don’t know the exact incident, it started grabbing at him, and actually started grabbing at him pretty good. Even knowing the MRI wasn’t going to be till this morning, we know he’s going to be down for a while with his symptoms so we got Iglesias here.” (WEEI.com )
Don't expect to see Iglesias used as a regular, though. He's the backup to Jed Lowrie at shortstop and Francona has said he's only planning on using Iglesias as a late-inning defensive replacement or a pinch-runner. With good reason, because Iglesias is hitting .253 with zero extra base hits and a .278 OBP in Triple-A.
“I think we all think he’s got a bright future here,” Francona said. “I don’t think right now is his time to be our starting shortstop.” (Clubhouse Insider )
In other news, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Red Sox have contacted Bengie Molina, but aren't yet ready to make a strong push. The reason is simple, they are not getting much from the behind the plate. Jason Varitek works well with the pitching staff, but he's one of the worst hitters in the majors at this point. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was supposed to take over catching duties this season, but he has been suspect defensively and hasn't been much better than Varitek at the plate (.203/.247/.275). The Red Sox seem to be constantly looking for ways to improve their catching situation, but there just isn't much out there at this point. Things should change when it gets closer to the trade deadline (a Ryan Doumit, perhaps?), but for now it appears they're stuck hoping Salty starts swinging the bat.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 7, 2011 10:58 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2011 11:00 pm
By Evan Brunell
At first blush, this is a panic move by Boston, but the Red Sox didn't have much leeway here. Marco Scutaro told reporters after Saturday's game that his left side bothered him Friday and became an issue in Saturday's 4-0 win over the Twins. There's no indication what his injury is, but Scoot went 2 for 3 before being yanked from the game with J.D. Drew pinch-hitting. It's difficult to imagine that manager Terry Francona would have pinch-hit Scutaro if he didn't have to. The pinch-hit appearance forced Boston to give up the DH so that Kevin Youkilis could take the field at third, with Jed Lowrie sliding over to short.
Down on the farm, Yamaico Navarro is injured himself with an oblique strain, otherwise he would have been the obvious promotion to replace Scutaro on Boston's bench. Navarro can play second, short and third (he also has made a few appearances in the outfield) and made his big-league debut last season for Boston. The other infielders in Nate Spears and Drew Sutton are not on the 40-man roster, so the Red Sox would have had to designate a player for assignment to promote one of the two, which is not an option at the moment. The Red Sox don't plan to make the move until Sunday as they will evaluate Scutaro first before making a decision.
The Cuban is considered to be Boston's long-term solution at short, but Iglesias has a putrid .229/.256/.229 mark in 88 plate appearances for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. Last season, the 21-year-old spent the majority of the year at Double-A where he hit .285/.315/.357, outperforming expectations before going down to injury. Iglesias' calling card is his defense, and if he delivers on the hype that has followed him since defecting to America on defense, the Red Sox will gladly live with any kind of offense he can give.
Posted on: May 4, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Giants' shortstop crisis has taken another turn toward utter disaster.
With the injuries to Mark DeRosa and Pablo Sandoval, S.F. has thankfully moved a slumping Miguel Tejada to third base, which improves the defense at shortstop even if his bat remains a complete zero. In lieu of Tejada, Mike Fontenot has stepped into the breach, but Fontenot remains a bench infielder with 20 career games experience at short -- seven this year.
Even when DeRosa and Sandoval return, allowing Tejada to slide back to short, the Giants need to find a better replacement, which will have to come via trade. But who?
Jose Reyes: The Mets' Reyes has been a popular link given the shortstop's perceived availability. An impending free agent, Reyes is showing how he can impact a game when healthy, but can the Giants afford both what it would cost in a deal for Reyes, plus what it will cost to retain him? CSNBayArea.com reports that while Reyes' name has been kicked around internally, that's as far as it's gotten so far. Helping matters is that the Mets wouldn't ask for any of the Giants' current starting pitchers, which has constantly eroded trade talks elsewhere. New York would focus on San Francisco's better prospects, like pitcher Zack Wheeler, outfielder Gary Brown or shortstop Ehire Adrianza.
Problem: The Giants already have a franchise-record payroll in the $120 million range, and Reyes' pro-rated $11 million salary would have to be absorbed with no guarantee of retention after the year. And retention could be a problem, as reports surface that Reyes will ask for a deal similar to Carl Crawford's seven-year, $142 million pact. Without Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand on the team, maybe S.F. could foot the bill, but a deal of that magnitude is likely not feasible. Compounding matters is that GM Brian Sabean will not trade top prospects for a "loaner," as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. Makes sense, and is the right idea.
ESPN's Buster Olney counters this, saying Reyes could be convinced to stay with a solid multi-year offer. If Reyes agrees to a deal that pays him $15 million, the Giants could find the funds for 2012 by the expiring deals of Tejada, De Rosa and Cody Ross. The team could then start Brandon Belt in right or left-field, with Pat Burrell returning for another year in the outfield or a similar low-cost solution found. Both Aaron Rowand and Aubrey Huff's deals expire after 2012, which would then really free up cash for San Fran, so it's still entirely possible the Giants go after Reyes. Still, it's a big enough stretch financially and what type of talent would have to be surrendered that one has to question if it's the right call.
Marco Scutaro: That could cause the Giants to explore alternatives, and Scutaro is one known to have come up in Giants circles. Scoot is making just $5 million on the year and the Giants would hold a $6 million club option if it wished to keep the infielder around another year. With Jed Lowrie's emergence in Boston, Scutaro is certainly available despite his ability to function as utility infielder. The Red Sox have depth down in Triple-A for that role, so if they can find a fit, would not hesitate to move their 2010 starting shortstop.
The Red Sox wouldn't require a top prospect in return for Scutaro, so a fit could be easier reached. The Red Sox could pursue bullpen options or settle for acquiring a blue-chip prospect. This is the most likely outcome: Scutaro fits the Giants' budget, holds potential 2012 value and has a motivated seller.
Maicer Izturis / Erick Aybar / Alberto Callaspo: The Angels love their infield depth, and it's been a major help so far. Still, if and when Kendrys Morales returns to first base, someone has to hit the bench. That won't be Howie Kendrick, who is currently batting No. 3 in the order and in the process of breaking out. That leaves one of the three mentioned as bench candidates. At that point, the Giants would be interested in one of the three. Aybar is the one whose job appears most secure, although he's the worst hitter to date. Callaspo is in the midst of a hot streak but is falling back to earth and has only 32 games played at short in his career. That leaves Izturis, who is in the middle of his own hot streak and the one who has consistently been the bench player of the group, although it could be Callaspo this season.
But a fit is less clear. The club can't justify asking for one of San Francisco's best starting pitchers and there's no obvious fit on offense. It's tough to imagine the Angels agreeing to trade for a prospect to sacrifice that quality infield depth.
Jack Wilson / Brendan Ryan: When the Mariners finally promote Dustin Ackley to man second, it will relegate a good fielding, no-hit shortstop to the bench. Take your pick in Jack Wilson or Brendan Ryan. Either can easily go, and Seattle wouldn't put up too much of a fuss in the return price. While Marco Scutaro would represent the best investment both from a financial and production perspective, acquiring one of Wilson or Ryan remains the most likely outcome simply because the price would be lower for one of the two. Plus we need the humor of the sad-sack Pirates' double-play combo in Wilson and Sanchez being reunited on the World Series-defending club.
There are other options too, but they're hardly anything to get excited about. Ronny Cedeno, Cesar Izturis, Angel Sanchez, or even a return engagement by Edgar Renteria would fill a gap, but nothing more.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.