Tag:Mike Leake
Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Wednesday afternoon trade rumors

By C. Trent Rosecrans

We actually got the big trades on Wednesday with a three-way deal sending Colby Rasmus to Toronto and Edwin Jackson to St. Louis, as well as the biggest domino of the non-waiver trade deadline falling, as Carlos Beltran will join the Giants on Thursday. But that doesn't mean the rumors stopped, boy oh boy, are they still hot and heavy. Here's our roundup of the morning and early afternoon's rumors:

• One official for a contender told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he believes the Rockies will move Ubaldo Jimenez. Apparently there's too much smoke for there not to be fire. The same official told Stark, "You don't do this with your best pitchers unless you're ready to trade him." 

• Even with the Cardinals rebuilding their bullpen in Wednesday's Rasmus deal, they're still talking to the Padres about Heath Bell and Mike Adams, CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller tweets.

• The Cubs are apparently interested in dumping two of their higher-priced players, Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted the Cubs are offering up much of the money left on their contracts. A rival front-office member told Heyman, "They'd have to pay 95 percent." Zambrano is making $17.875 million this season and $18 million next season. He has a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013 that takes effect if he is first or second in the 2011 Cy Young vote (not likely) or is in the top four of the 2012 Cy Young vote and is healthy. He has a full no-trade clause. Soriano is signed through 2014 at $18 million per season. The Cubs are hoping the Yankees bite, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• A's general manager Billy Beane tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he's not interested in giving away any of the available A's players on the cheap. He said the team isn't looking to dump payroll.

• After Beltran turned down the Indians (or his agent did), Cleveland has moved on and is trying to land Rasmus, B.J. Upton and Hiroki Kuroda, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Of course, that was before Rasmus was off the table.

• The Astros say they want a "very top" pitching prospect in return for Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. He notes with that price tag, most expect Hunter to stay in Houston.

• FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweets the Braves are now the most interested in Pence, but are also interested in the Padres' Ryan Ludwick.

• The Phillies have done background work on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin, Olney tweets. Philadelphia is searching for a bat that would basically replace what Jason Werth did for them last season.

• Rockies outfielder Ryan Spllborghs is a possibility for the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. He also adds the Twins are listening to offers for right-hander Kevin Slowey.

• The Yankees have asked about Florida's Ricky Nolasco, but was told the team would deal him, Heyman tweeted.

• The chances of the Dodgers trading Andre Ethier are "very slim" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports. But there's a chance as Ethier will be a free agent after 2012.

• The Reds are telling teams catcher Devin Mesoraco and shortstop Billy Hamilton are "untouchable," Rosenthal writes. However, he also notes the Rockies wouldn't require either of those two. If a deal didn't include those, it would take some other big pieces, though. The Reds' system is deep enough to have those pieces, such as Yasmandi Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Travis Wood and Mike Leake.

• Even though the Rays have said James Shields is unavailable, Rosenthal tweets Cincinnati is targeting Sheilds over Ubaldo Jimenez.

• With Rasmus off the table, the Nationals are targeting the Twins' Denard Span and could move closer Drew Storen to get the outfielder, Rosenthal said on MLB Network.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 10:42 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:14 am
 

On Deck: Cliff Lee looks for 4th straight shutout


By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Cliff LeeTHE AMAZING Cliff Lee: Things aren't looking good for the Blue Jays in their rematch of the 1993 World Series, Toronto dropped the first two games and now face Cliff Lee. Lee enters Sunday's game riding streaks of three consecutive shutouts and 32 consecutive scoreless innings. The Phillies' lefty allowed just one run in five June starts, sporting an amazing 0.21 ERA in the month, lowering his season mark to 2.66. Lee is 2-3 with a 3.81 ERA in five career starts at Rogers Centre. Jo-Jo Reyes, no stranger to streaks, is on the hill for the Blue Jays. Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET (Follow live)


SEASON SWEEP:
Every year the Indians and Reds play for the Ohio Cup, an actual three-foot high trophy, awarded to the winning team of the season series. Since the actual trophy debuted, it had belonged to the Reds, but with Cleveland's win on Friday, coupled with a sweep at Progressive Field in May, the Indians clinched their first Ohio Cup and today will go for the first sweep in series history. Right-hander Mike Leake (7-4, 3.89 ERA) is making his first start against the in-state rivals, while Mitch Talbot allowed just one run in seven innings in his lone start against the Reds, last season at Great American Ball Park. Indians at Reds, 1:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

BIG DEBUT: Nearly a year after last year's big trade that sent Lee from Seattle to Texas, one of the key pieces of the trade will make his big-league debut. Right-hander Blake Beavan, a 2007 first-round pick by the Rangers, starts today against San Diego's Mat Latos. Beavan was acquired along with first baseman Justin Smoak, reliever Josh Lueke and second baseman Matt Lawson. Beavan was 5-3 with a 4.45 ERA at Triple-A Tacoma, with 64 strikeouts and 20 walks in 93 innings. Of the four players acquired by the Mariners in the trade, Beavan is the third member of the group to appear in the big leagues. Smoak is hitting .242/.344/.446 with 12 home runs for the Mariners, while Lueke pitched in eight games -- allowing 12 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings -- before being sent down to Triple-A and the Mariners traded Lawson to Cleveland for lefty Aaron Laffey. Lawson is still at Double-A. Padres at Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: June 12, 2011 12:43 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Moustakas cranks first homer

Moustakas

By Evan Brunell

upMike Moustakas, Royals -- The latest Royal phenom banged his first career home run in his second game up; he was hitless in two other at-bats and added a walk. The blast came on a solo shot that pulled the Royals within two of a game they would tie and go on to lose 7-5. He blasted a pitch middle-away over the right-field fence, and Angels right fielder Torii Hunter spoke to the fans and got the ball back for the rookie.

Chase Utley, Phillies -- Utley had a solo home run just like Moustakas, which brought the crowd some measure of relief. Manager Charlie Manuel said recently that he felt Utley was beginning to come out of spring-training mode and was ready to hit. Boom, home run. He was 2 for 5 with a double and four RBI all told, pushing his line to a un-Utley like .252/.341/.394. The Phillies broke open the game late against the Cubs, with Utley's two-run shot capping the 7-1 victory.

Mike Leake, Reds -- In a matchup between Tim Lincecum and Mike Leake, Lincecum will win 4 out of 5 times. Well, this was one of those other times as The Freak imploded and Leake shined against a decrepit Giants lineup by going eight strong with four hits, one walk and eight whiffs. Bad offense or not, stellar outing with 113 pitches, 72 for strikes. Leake's ERA dropped all the way to 4.06 and has earned himself some rope with a second straight strong start.

DownBrandon Morrow, Blue Jays -- Morrow had a very bad day, skittering his ERA up to 5.63 by coughing up nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Yikes. He added four strikeouts against three walks and quite a few Red Sox hitters had banner days. It turned into such a rout, Toronto put backup infielder Mike McCoy into the game to pitch, where he flashed a knuckleball en route to losing 16-4.

Colby Lewis, Rangers -- Lewis lasted much shorter than Morrow, only tossing 1 1/3 innings with 52 pitches allowing six runs, two walks and a whiff. David Bush stifled the Twins offense for 4 2/3 innings before leaving with an injury and was a laugher the entire game. That's two straight bad showings for Lewis. Is he slumping or is something else going on?

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- Johnson deserves credit for punching in three runs on a double, but he did whiff in the four other at-bats. While striking out is really not any worse than grounding out, that many K's gets your attention. Johnson's hitting a moribund .221/.294/.442 and is trying to find the stroke that fueled his 26-homer season last year. He's been pulling out if it lately and has really been turning on the power but his batting average has gone backwards as of late. A couple lucky breaks, and things could be looking different.

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Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 7:03 pm
 

On Deck: Garza/Lee showdown, Pirates see Bay

OD

By Evan Brunell


LeeGarzaPITCHING SHOWDOWN:
One of the 4 p.m. games that we'll be chatting about pits two of the better pitchers going up against each other in Matt Garza and Cliff Lee. Both pitchers are less than impressive when you look at win-loss record (and hopefully the only ones that care about that mark at this point are fantasy baseball players with wins as a category) with Garza checking in at 2-5 for the bumbling Cubs while the Phillies are trying to hang onto first with a 5-5 mark from Cliff Lee. Garza's 4.07 ERA is a major disservice, as his 2.58 xFIP and 10.71 K/9 numbers indicate. Garza is pitching better than he ever has in Tampa, but you wouldn't know it from ERA. Lee, meanwhile, has a similar disparity between ERA and xFIP with a 3.62 ERA and 2.51 xFIP. This is actually a marquee pitching matchup -- you just wouldn't know it on first blush. Cubs at Phillies, 4:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

RedsGiantsSCUFFLING LEADERS:
The Reds are in danger of slipping to .500 if they lose on Saturday to the Giants and are already five games behind the Cardinals  and now have the Brewers making noise, too. The Reds are too good to let this recent funk last, but the Giants have their own problems. Still in first place up by two games, San Francisco has a lousy offense that has been compounded by injury troubles. The club appears to be on the verge of signing Bill Hall to step in at second base after Freddy Sanchez went down, but he probably won't be on deck for Saturday when Mike Leake, seeking his sixth victory, goes up against Tim Lincecum, also chasing his sixth victory. The similarities end there, as Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young Award winner with a 2.85 ERA while Leake has a 4.63 ERA and was demoted to the minors earlier this season. Reds at Giants, 4:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

BayCHASE FOR .500: A team going after a .500 record isn't really of interest to the regular fan, sure, but .500 would be a moral victory for the clubs of the Pirates (who haven't reached that mark in 18 years) and Mets (what isn't wrong with the team?). Pittsburgh is just two away from the mark while New York's win will put them at .500 for the first time since May 20. R.A. Dickey, the erstwhile knuckleballer, will toe the mound for New York  while Pittsburgh counters with James McDonald. If the Pirates want to turn their fortunes around, they might want to muster more than singles, as there have been zero extra-base hits by the team in the last two games. Saturday is also a milestone in Pittsburgh of some sort, as the team will finally play against Jason Bay (pictured) at PNC Park for the first time since the slugger was traded to Boston midway through 2008. Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 28, 2011 2:12 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rookie slams Brewers

Brandon Crawford

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brandon Crawford, Giants -- Two days ago Crawford was in the Class A California League and Friday he was making his big-league debut. The 24-year-old found himself up with bases loaded in the seventh inning with his team down two runs. With one swing of the bat against Brewers starter Shaun Marcum, Crawford gave his team the lead and had his first hit in the majors. He was the first Giant to make  grand slam his first hit since Bobby Bonds in 1968.

Kevin Correia, Pirates -- It's no real surprise that Jon Lester is tied for the most wins in the majors with seven, but it's who he's tied with that is surprising. Yep, Correia. Signed to a two-year, $8 million deal in December, the Pirates may have made one of the offseason's best moves. Correia is 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA, going 7 1/3 innings against the Cubs on Friday, allowing just four hits and no runs. It was his sixth road win of the season.

Mike Leake, Reds -- With the Reds bullpen having thrown 31 innings in its last five games, Cincinnati needed a good outing from Leake, who was just called up from his first stint in the minors. Not only did Leake give them six innings, he allowed just  one run on seven hits, leading the Reds to just their second win in their last 10 games. Leake improved to 4-2 and picked up the first win by a Reds starter since May 16.


Rick Porcello, Tigers -- The day after Tigers starter Max Scherzer went just two innings, Porcello lasted only three. Porcello gave up six runs on six hits with two walks, giving up homers to Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford in the third inning. Porcello lost the game to a pitcher twice his age -- Porcello is 22 and Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield is 44.

Twins bullpen -- Scott Baker handed the Twins bullpen a 5-0 lead and asked them to get just six outs. He got 21, it shouldn't be too difficult to get just six, right? Alex Burnett gave up a hit and a walk, before giving way to Dusty Hughes who surrendered a three-run homer to Erick Aybar. Hughes was yanked after the next batter, Bobby Abreu singled. Jim Hoey came in and gave up a double to Torii Hunter, an RBI single to Alberto Callaspo and a sacrifice fly to Russell Branyan to tie the game. Hoey got out of the inning, but then gave up a leadoff triple to Peter Bourjos in the ninth and then Maicer Izturis singled to give the Angels the lead and eventual victory. The Twins have now allowed 49 runs in the eighth inning in 49 games.

Dave Bush, Rangers -- The right-hander gave up four hits -- three of them homers -- and five runs in the 14th inning of the Rangers' 12-7 loss to the Royals. Melky Cabrera, Eric Hosmer and Brayan Pena all homered off of Bush, with the three homers totaling 1,218 feet. The Royals were in extra innings because Alex Gordon homered off of Neftali Feliz in the ninth inning to tie the game. Feliz has blown three saves this season, all three against Kansas City.

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 6:22 pm
 

Volquez's spot in rotation in jeopardy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edinson VolquezThe Reds are "mulling" Edinson Volquez's spot in the rotation after not only his bad start on Sunday against the Indians, but his even worse choice of words following the game, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

After giving up four first-inning runs and seven runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 inning on Sunday, Volquez attacked the team's offense.

"Everybody has to step up, start to score some runs," Volquez said after the game. "In the last five games, how many runs have we scored? Like 13? That's not the way we were playing last year. We're better than that."

He's not wrong -- well, except that it's 12 runs in the last five games -- but he's not exactly earned the right to bring that message.

The Reds have trailed in all 11 of Volquez's starts this season and he's given up 21 first-inning runs this season. He's usually settled down (as his total of 38 runs allowed shows). On Sunday he didn't, allowing another run in the second and two more in the third.

Reds manager Dusty Baker said the team may consider demoting Volquez from the rotation.

"We're mulling that around now," Baker said (via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.) "Last time, he was a lot better. This outing, he didn't start off well again. We've got to discuss what to do."

Sam LeCure has excelled as a long-man for the Reds and pitched better in relief than as a starter. At Triple-A, the team has Matt Maloney, who is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts, Mike Leake who is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA in one start since being sent down and Dontrelle Willis, who is 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA. Willis left his outing Saturday when he was struck in the leg by a batted ball.

Volquez does have options remaining, so he could be sent down if the team wishes to do that.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2011 8:53 pm
 

Mike Leake could excel in long relief role

Leake

By Evan Brunell

Mike Leake was bumped from the rotation to the bullpen several days ago to make way for Johnny Cueto's return to the rotation Sunday. Cueto is finally over his injury troubles and coupled with Homer Bailey's own return to the staff has created some recent roster shuffling as the Reds try to get the rotation into gear. Until then, Baker's happy to have both Leake and Sam LeCure as long relievers.

"We were going to start the season with [Leake] as the long man and my sixth starter -- don't send him out to the Minor Leagues yet," Baker told MLB.com. "That's why we sent [Matt] Maloney down to get stretched out. The way my starters have been going, I've got him and [Sam] LeCure. I've got two long guys, which is what we need right now. Once they [in the rotation] start humming again, we'll deal with that when they get there. We've got to start humming first."

Baker feels as if Leake could be quite a find in the bullpen despite giving up eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings last season in his stints as a reliever near the end of the year when Cincinnati was trying to manage the righty's innings. However, Baker brings up some good points as to why Leake may be ready to succeed as a long man.

"I think he'll be a very good long man. He stays in shape. He comes in, he throws strikes. He's keeping the ball down to get double plays," Baker said. "I don't have to hit for him if he comes up like you do a lot of relievers, because he can hit. Therefore, he can extend that part of my bullpen out, unlike a lot of guys.

"In the second half [of last year] and this year, he's had a little trouble with the lineup about the third time around. To me, that equals, in theory, a perfect long man."

Baker's right. A perfect long man would be someone who can chew up innings, and what better than someone who keeps the game moving by throwing strikes. The ability to have Leake stay in the lineup when he comes up to bat is a big one and will do nothing but improve his chances of staying on the mound.

But is Baker right about Leake struggling with the lineup the third time around? 

Absolutely.

The first time around the order, Leake performs impressively, giving up an opponent batting line of .255/.310/.385. He keeps up the good times the second time through, actually limiting batters to less extra-base hits but also coughing up more walks for a .253/.333/.382 line. But then the wheels fall off, with a .324/.365/.500 mark his third time through. You don't want to see the numbers for the fourth-plus time through.

Cincinnati has eyes on winning the division, so needs to maximize the contributions of every player on the staff. With that in mind, Leake does appear to be a great option as a long reliever and sixth starter who can step into the rotation in a pinch, allowing the Reds to avoid making a quick roster transaction. But it's not the best use of his abilities as Leake must figure out a way to limit batters turning into Robinson Cano. He can't do that without practice.

That's why, while Leake may be a better pitcher than Sam LeCure, he could find himself optioned to Triple-A once Baker and the Reds feel comfortable with the rotation. That will allow Leake to get stretched back out as insurance and also enable him to work on his issues the third time through the order.

 

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 1:38 am
Edited on: May 4, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Liriano's no-no

Francisco Liriano
By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- I'm making a new rule here, you throw a no-hitter, you get in 3 up, 3 down. I'm sure Francisco appreciates it. A tip of the cap to White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who was pretty good, too. Jackson gave up one run on six hits in eight innings.

Daniel Descalso, Cardinals -- The infielder's first career homer, a three-run shot off of Clay Hensley in the seventh inning, gave the Cardinals the lead, and ultimately the 7-5 victory over the Marlins. Descalso was 2 for 3, playing second and third in the game.

Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- Ibanez snapped an 0-for-35 streak with a fourth-inning ground-rule double off of the Nationals' Livan Hernandez. He added another double in the seventh inning that scored a run in the Phillies' 4-1 victory. He's now hitting a robust .168.

3DOWN

Mike Leake, Reds -- After Tuesday night's performance, the Reds announce Leake would be headed to the bullpen to make room for Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey to return to the rotation. Leake allowed seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Astros, but he did strike out five in that short time.

Rangers bullpen -- The Rangers' Pedro Strop gave up leads in the seventh and eighth inning as the Rangers lost in an opponent's final at-bat for the sixth time this season and second time in a row, also losing to the A's in the 10th inning on Monday. Darren Oliver allowed Hideki Matsui's walkoff on Monday, and gave up an RBI single to Jack Cust on Tuesday to score the winning run (even though it was charged to Strop). Neftali Feliz is scheduled to return soon, and it won't be too soon for the Rangers.

Josh Thole, Mets -- With bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, the Mets catcher did the one thing his team couldn't afford him to do -- ground into a double play. The Mets then lost the game in the 10th on Aubrey Huff's homer off of Taylor Buchholz. Thole also had a throwing error in the fourth inning the helped lead to a Giants' run.

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