Tag:On Deck
Posted on: September 18, 2011 10:58 am
 

On Deck: Verlander goes for 24

OD

By Matt Snyder

As always, follow all action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, the Playoff Race page has all the information you need about the remaining races.

24:
The Tigers already have locked up their first division title since 1987, but that doesn't mean they're packing it in the rest of the way. They're only one game ahead of the Rangers for the second-best record in the AL, and as of Sunday, that means playing the Red Sox instead of the Yankees in the first round. And having home-field advantage. But none of this is the main story Sunday. It's the Tigers' starting pitcher. Justin Verlander (23-5, 2.36) is gunning to become the first 24-game winner in baseball since Randy Johnson in 2002. The last pitcher to win at least 24 in the AL? Bob Welch in 1990, when he won a whopping 27 for the A's. Coincidentally, the A's are Verlander's opponent Sunday. Guillermo Moscoso (8-8, 3.44) is on the hill. Tigers at A's, 4:05 p.m. ET.

Rays shoot for three of four: The biggest head-to-head series of this weekend is easily the Rays-Red Sox tilt in Fenway Park. If the Rays win Sunday, they'll have taken three of four from the home team and trimmed the Wild Card deficit to two games with 10 to play. The pitching matchup certainly favors the Rays. David Price (12-12, 3.34) has a 1.60 ERA and 1.01 WHIP with more than a strikeout per inning in his last seven starts. The Red Sox send Tim Wakefield (7-6, 5.13) to the mound. He hasn't fared well as a starter (5.33 ERA) at all this season, so it's going to come down to how well the Red Sox hit Price. He's 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in four starts against Boston this year. Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. ET.
 
Giant comeback?
A five-game deficit with only 10 games to play is an awfully tall order, but the Giants are making the NL West as interesting as they can. They've won seven in a row while the Diamondbacks have dropped three straight. That magic number of six for the D-Backs has been stalled for several days, and things have a chance to get interesting before a three-game series between the two clubs next weekend in Arizona. Matt Cain (11-10, 2.79) will try to keep the good times rolling for the Giants against Esmil Rogers (6-5, 5.88) and the Rockies. Giants at Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Joe Saunders (11-12, 3.83) leads the D-Backs against Aaron Harang (13-6, 3.85) and the Padres. Diamondbacks at Padres, 4:05 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 10:15 am
 

On Deck: Lester gets another shot at Rays

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Jon LesterJeff NiemannWild card showdown, part 3: Have you heard the Rays are pressing the Red Sox for the American League wild card? And they're playing each other right now? Oh, maybe you have. Yeah, it's been covered to death, it seems, but it's still as big of a series as there is right now. Boston's win on Friday means the Rays won't leave town any closer than two games behind the Red Sox. Lefty Jon Lester takes the mound for the Red Sox, and with another victory, Boston could exhale -- at least a little. Lester was roughed up by the Rays in his last outing, as Tampa Bay recorded eight hits and four runs against him in just four innings of work. That broke a streak of five starts of allowing just one earned run or less. He's 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann's only faced the Red Sox once this season, allowing just two hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 10 on July 17. However, the Red Sox won that game, 1-0. Rays at Red Sox, 4:10 p.m. ET

Division title in sight: Both the Cardinals and the Phillies are still alive in the playoff hunt, but while the Cardinals need a lot of help, the Phillies have already clinched a playoff berth and with a win would clinch the National League East title. Of course, with a magic number of one, the Phillies could clinch the division before Roy Oswalt makes a pitch if the Braves lose their 4:10 pm. game against R.A. Dickey and the Mets at Turner Field. The Cards would welcome that as St. Louis trails Atlanta by just 3.5 games in the National League wild card race. Cardinals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

Stephen StrasburgStrasmas time again: With a combined 138-160 record, there would normally be very little reason to take notice of a September game between the Marlins and Nationals. But this isn't just any game, it's a Strasmas outing, as Stephen Strasburg makes his third start of the season. In eight total innings this season, Strasburg has allowed one run and struck out eight, allowing five hits. He has not walked a batter yet. Strasburg's last start went just three innings after throwing 31 pitches. With an extra day of rest, hopefully we'll get to see him go a little longer this time. He's scheduled to make at least one more start -- Sept. 23 against Atlanta -- and could pitch in the Nationals' last game of the season, Sept. 28 at Florida. Marlins at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:51 pm
 

On Deck: Beckett, Shields square off in battle



By Evan Brunell


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

TBBOSBest matchup: On Friday, the best matchup is not only the best pitching matchup, but the best game to watch, period. The Red Sox continued to slump Thursday, dropping the opener of a four-game series to the Rays. Now Tampa's just three games behind the BoSox for the wild card. Josh Beckett will make his first start in almost two weeks as he puts his 2.49 ERA up against James Shields, who completes games like taking candy from a baby. Shields doesn't have a good history against the Sox, but over his last four starts has thrown 34 1/3 innings of 0.79-ERA ball. Nasty. Rays vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

SabathiaRoad to 20: CC Sabathia chases after his 20th win as the Yankees begin their final series against Toronto. While Justin Verlander has been superhuman, Sabathia's season has largey been ignored. It shouldn't be. In 224 1/3 innings, Sabathia has notched a 2.93 ERA, striking out 216 and walking just 55. If not for Verlander's magical season, Sabathia would be the favorite to win the Cy Young Award. As is, he'll try to become the first Yankee pitcher to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons since Tommy John in 1980. A win (or Red Sox loss) will reduce the Yankees' magic number to single-digits. He'll oppose Dustin McGowan, replacing Brett Cecil after Cecil sliced his hand cleaning a blender. Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET

BumgarnerSeason ending? In what could be Madisom Bumgarner's final start, the left-hander will seek to even his win-loss record at 12 apiece when he opposes the Rockies. In his first full season, Bumgarner has posted a 3.33 ERA in 186 2/3 innings as a 21-year-old, turning 22 in August. It was simply a fantastic year for Bumgarner. "I'm just making better pitches and having a little better luck at the same time," Bumgarner told the Associated Press, speaking about his 2.63 ERA in the second half. "I don't know if I've gotten stronger. I still feel good. I'm not worried about wins and losses for me. The biggest thing is innings. You want to stay out there and pitch late. That's probably the most important thing." Alex White goes for Colorado. Giants vs. Rockies, 8:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 6:17 pm
 

On Deck: Rays shippin' up to Boston

OD

By Matt Snyder

Follow all the action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, keep your eyes on that Playoff Race page, which updates after each game concludes and has elimination numbers for every team still alive.

Beantown Throwdown: Oh. Yes. This is what it's all about. The Red Sox have a four-game lead over the Rays for the AL Wild Card. The Rays are now visiting the Red Sox for a four-game series. The pressure is definitely on the Rays for the time being, as they need to get at least three of four. A Red Sox split means a four-game deficit for Tampa Bay with 10 games to go, and that's an awfully tall order. Of course, if the Rays take the first two, the pressure would shift back to the Red Sox to avoid blowing what once looked an insurmountable lead (also worth noting, the Angels are currently a half-game behind the Rays, so if the Rays sweep, this thing might become a three-team race). On the other hand, the Red Sox could bury the Rays by winning three of four or sweeping them. In fact, a sweep would knock the magic number all the way down to three. As for the immediate action, the pitching matchup tilts in favor of the Rays Thursday night with Rookie of the Year candidate Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 2.96) of the Rays taking on Kyle Weiland (0-1, 6.75) of Boston. But that doesn't always decide the game. As CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler notes, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz are back in the Red Sox lineup, so that should help the hometown team. Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Still Streaking: The Tigers were down to one inning Wednesday, trailing by three runs, but that still wasn't enough to break the winning streak. It now sits at 12. Thursday night, the Tigers are looking for lucky No. 13. Amazingly, considering where things were two months ago, the Tigers are now only 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the best record in the AL. With the Yankees idle Thursday, the Tigers can creep to three. Max Scherzer (14-8, 4.27) will start Thursday for Detroit as it visits the A's in Oakland. The A's send Brandon McCarthy (8-8, 3.45) to the mound. Tigers at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET.

Ogando back on hill: Rangers starting pitcher Alexi Ogando was 10-3 with a 2.72 ERA after stifling the Angels July 19. Since then, he's 2-5 with a 6.08 ERA. The Rangers skipped his turn in the rotation once and then let him back in for a September 10 start. He allowed five runs in five innings in a Rangers loss, though only three were earned. Still, he hasn't fared very well since mid-July. With the Angels idle Thursday night, a Rangers win could push the AL West lead to 3 1/2 games. Ogando (12-8, 3.71) will start against Fausto Carmona and the Indians. Fortunately for the Rangers, Carmona has been awful recently (6.84 ERA in last five starts). Indians at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:15 pm
 

On Deck: Tigers going streaking

OD

By Matt Snyder

We're getting started early Wednesday, as it's getaway day for many teams. Follow all the action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, keep up to the minute on the playoff races -- what's left of them -- on our updating playoff race page.

Looking for 12 straight: The Tigers aren't messing around in looking to clinch their first division title since 1987 (they were a Wild Card in 2006), as they've won 11 games in a row. In the process, they've whittled their magic number to four. Not only would a 12th consecutive win lower it to at least three (an Indians loss and Tigers win would move it to two), but it would mark the longest Tigers' winning streak since 1934. Wednesday, Brad Penny (10-10, 5.19) gets the start for the Tigers against the White Sox, and he sports a 6.89 ERA in his last nine starts. On the other side, the White Sox run out Dylan Alexrod (0-0, 0.00), who is making his first major-league start and has an interesting backstory. Tigers at White Sox, 2:10 p.m. ET.

Giants' last stand: If the defending World Series champions want to have a shot at repeating, they very well better have a Rockies-like run here. They're 6 1/2 games behind the Braves (and two behind the Cardinals) in the NL Wild Card and can basically forget about the NL West. They have won three in a row and have two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (12-12, 2.68) taking the mound Wednesday afternoon against the Padres. It's a must-win, just as every game is from here on out. Seriously. Every single game. Mat Latos (7-13, 3.72) will start for the Padres. Padres at Giants, 3:45 p.m. ET.

Weaver back on track? Jered Weaver (16-7, 2.44) had consecutive terrible starts (16 hits, 13 earned runs in 11 innings) before looking like his dominant self last time out against the Yankees. With his Angels still trailing the Rangers by three games in the AL West, Weaver needs to be back on track for them to have a shot at the division. He'll take the ball Wednesday in Oakland. He's owned the A's this year (2-0, 1.19 in three starts), so it's a good bet he stays on track. The A's will start Rich Harden (4-2, 4.74). Angels at A's, 3:35 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 2:45 pm
 

On Deck: Rays in the spotlight

OD

By Matt Snyder

Make sure to keep your eyes on the live CBSSports.com scoreboard to follow along with all the game action on this Tuesday evening. Also, stay up to the minute on the playoff races in a convenient one-stop shop.

Red Hot Rays: In what is increasingly becoming the big story of September, the Rays have climbed to within three games of the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race and have presently won five in a row. With a four-game series in Boston looming in the second half of this week, the Rays will look to get even closer before playing head-to-head again. Tuesday, they square off against the Orioles. David Price (12-12, 3.40), who has pitched better than his record and ERA show, gets the ball for the Rays, while Alfredo Simon (4-8, 4.83) goes for the O's. Price is locked in right now, too, as he has a 1.64 ERA in his last six starts. Simply put: The Red Sox better win, because a Rays victory appears likely. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Verlander goes for 23; Kennedy 20: The leaders in the archaic, yet still mainstream, wins stat for the season in each respective league both start Tuesday night. Tigers ace Justin Verlander (22-5, 2.44) faces the White Sox, who are the last team to beat him. He has won 10 straight games since the Sox got him on July 15. Meanwhile, the Tigers themselves have also won 10 straight, burying the rest of the AL Central. Over in the NL, Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy (19-4, 2.90) will face the Dodgers. Kennedy entered the season with 10 career wins, so it's quite a story -- just as his first place D-Backs are. Chad Billingsley (10-10, 4.30) is his counterpart in Dodger Stadium. Tigers at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET. Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET.

No Minor start: The Braves have lost four games in a row and it's gotten to the point that the Cardinals should be visible in their rearview mirror in the NL Wild Card standings (it's 4.5 games now). With Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson on the shelf, the Braves could definitely use a big start out of someone. Tuesday night, it's Mike Minor's (5-2, 4.32) turn to give it a go. Brad Hand (1-6, 3.91) gets the ball for the Marlins. Marlins at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 12, 2011 5:40 pm
 

On Deck: Rivera looks for 600th save

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Mariano RiveraOne Mo for 600: Remember when Derek Jeter's last 20 hits were breathlessly followed? It seemed like his every step was chronicled and he was fawned upon for becoming the latest member of the admittedly elite 3,000 hit club. And much of the backlash was about how it was reported that way just because it was a Yankee player. You know, it may have more to do with Jeter's popularity than the uniform. On Sunday, Mariano Rivera recorded his 599th career save and he's now just one save from becoming only the second player to ever get to 600 saves. He's two from tying the career save mark and he's three from holding it outright, unseating Trevor Hoffman. I get that a lot of the difference is about the save stat and its worthiness and its relative youth as an official statistic, but it still seems interesting that more isn't being made of one of the all-time greats getting so close to setting a record like that. Or maybe everyone just assumed he already held the record. Yankees at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET

Roy OswaltHunter PenceFamiliar faces: Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence will be on familiar ground tonight as both make their first appearances at Minute Maid Park in a non-Astros uniform. Oswalt was traded to Philadelphia last season and Pence this season. Both have stepped up their game in Philadelphia, as Oswalt is 14-9 with a 2.88 ERA in his 19 starts with the Astros, while he was 6-11 with a 3.37 ERA in his last 19 starts with the Astros. Pence was liked in Houston, but in his short time in Philadelphia he's become beloved. In 38 games with the Phillies, he's hitting .320/.393/.551 with eight home runs and 24 RBI . He had 11 homers in 100 games for the Astros, while hitting .308/.356/.471. Houston can only hope neither of those two have the success that another form Astro has had in Houston -- Lance Berkman has hit .480/.519/1.160 with five homers in six games at Minute Maid Park this season and .429/.484/1.036 in eight games total against Houston. It's only fitting that former Phillie Brett Myers is on the hill for Houston. Phillies at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

Home sweet home: The Braves are coming off a 2-6 road trip that saw the team lose four games in the Wild Card standings to the Cardinals. The Braves are 44-28 at Turner Field this season, the third-best home record in the National League. Atlanta has nine of its final 15 games at home, while St. Louis plays 10 of its 16 remaining games on the road. The Braves will need another good start from rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy against Florida on Monday. Beachy allowed just two hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia on Sept. 7, but picked up a no-decision when Atlanta's usually dominant bullpen gave up runs in the eighth and ninth innings of a 3-2 loss. Beachy's 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Marlins this season, striking out 24 in 19 1/3 innings, but also walking 10. Marlins at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 11:22 am
 

On Deck: Brewers, Red Sox look to end skids

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Tough draw: The Brewers have lost four in a row -- after winning four in a row -- and seen their lead in the NL Central shrink to seven games. While the Brewers are still fully in control of the NL Central race with 16 games remaining, they'd love to end this skid. The problem is they face the Phillies' Cliff Lee on Saturday. Lee has been fantastic of late, winning each of his last seven starts and allowing just six runs in that time, good for a 0.96 ERA. If you take away the first game of that stretch in which he gave up four runs to the Pirates, Lee has a 0.37 ERA in his last six starts. Lefty Randy Wolf is 6-1 in his last eight starts with a 3.11 ERA. Phillies at Brewers, 7:10 p.m. ET

Shrinking lead: The American League Wild Card may actually turn out to be a race, as the Rays are now just 5.5 games behind the Red Sox and have six more games against Boston (and seven against the Yankees). Boston has lost three in a row and seven of its last nine. It may not make anyone in the Hub feel safe with Kyle Weiland on the mound. Weiland, the former Notre Dame closer, is making his third big-league start Saturday. He last pitched five days ago in relief, throwing two scoreless innings. Both of his starts so far this season have been against Baltimore, getting roughed up in a no-descision on July 10, allowing six runs on eight hits in four innings and then nine days later allowing three runs on six hits in six innings, earning the loss. Overall, he's 0-1 with a  6.75 ERA. He'll be opposite another rookie -- but a possible Rookie of the Year -- Jeremy Hellickson, who is 12-10 with a 2.90 ERA, throwing a complete game against the Orioles in his last start. He's 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox this season. Red Sox at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET

Dan HarenBest matchup: Not only are the Yankees and Angels in the only two races left in baseball, but they're also putting on the best pitching matchup of the night -- CC Sabathia against Dan Haren. Sabathia's searching for his 20th win of the season -- despite averaging nearly 16 wins a year in his first 10 years in baseball, Sabathia recorded his first 20-win season last year when he went 21-7 for the Yankees. So far this season he's 19-7 with a 2.97 ERA.  Haren's averaged 14 wins in his first six seasons as a full-time starter and needs two more wins this season to match his career high in the stat. He won 16 games for the Diamondbacks in 2008 and 15 in 2007. He's 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA this season. Yankees at Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com