Tag:Trevor Cahill
Posted on: September 30, 2011 5:18 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 6:32 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Oakland Athletics

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Oakland Athletics
Record: 74-88, 22 games back in AL West
Manager: Bob Melvin
Best hitter: Josh Willingham -- .246/.322/.477, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 69 R, 26 2B
Best pitcher: Gio Gonzalez -- 16-12, 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 197 K, 202 IP

With injuries to the pitching staff, more lack of offense, the most exciting thing happening for the A's this season came at the box office, not the ballpark. But hey, I rather enjoyed "Moneyball" -- I'd only advise going to the movie with the understanding that Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were completely ignored. If you know that going it, it's enjoyable.

2011 SEASON RECAP

They started off losing four of their first five, but didn't give up by any stretch. In fact, the A's were 22-20 and tied for first place in the AL West on May 17. Then a seven-game losing streak sunk them and a week later they began a season-killing 10-game losing streak that cost Bob Geren his job. Bob Melvin took over and went 47-52 the rest of the way. Considering how bad the offense was and that both Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson were lost for the season, that's pretty fine work and general manager Billy Beane agreed -- giving Melvin a three-year deal.

The A's finished 12th in the AL in runs scored. They don't even get on base anymore, as the .311 OBP was also good for 12th in the AL. Meanwhile the staff ERA was the third best in the AL. So it's the same old story in Oakland. They can pitch, but not hit.

2012 AUDIT

If Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden come back strong from injuries, the A's have a very solid 1-5 rotation. Trevor Cahill will need a bounce-back season, but Gonzalez and McCarthy figure to be similar to this season. Full seasons out of Joey Devine and Andrew Bailey will make the bullpen better as well. But they were already good at pitching, as the numbers show. And they're still young enough to count on the staff being good for the next several years. So, just as it has the past several seasons, everything is going to boil down to what the A's can muster on offense. Young Jemile Weeks showed he's ready to take over at second base, but many other young players still haven't shown they can be consistent offensive threats at the big-league level. There's promise with the Chris Carter/Brandon Allen/Michael Taylor group and some prospects are getting closer to joining the fray. The 2012 season will not be a complete rebuild as much as it will be preparing for 2013.

FREE AGENTS

David DeJesus, OF
Josh Willingham, OF
Coco Crisp, OF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Rich Harden, SP
Brandon McCarthy, SP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The A's have to focus entirely on the offense and should probably make an effort to get younger instead of throwing out a group of veteran cast-offs. Sure, the "Moneyball" movie had the "island of misfit toys" line, but remember, they ignored the strong foundation of youth in place. We can't do that in real life.
  • Let Harden walk and spend the money on offense. Guillermo Moscoso and the five starters mentioned in the Audit section above give the A's enough rotation depth, not to mention if Tyson Ross can return healthy. Really, let's include the bullpen here. The pitching is fine. Bring back McCarthy and otherwise there's no reason for players outside the organization to even be considered.
  • Carter has been awful against major-league pitching, but it's only been in small samples with no consistent at-bats. At some point they need to leave him in the lineup for an extended stretch to find out if he's a "quadruple-A" player or not. Likewise, they might as well stick with Allen and Taylor, too, and just go with a youth movement offensively. Between first base, right field and DH, at least two of these three should be in the lineup everyday, in different combinations. 
  • Shortstop prospect Grant Green is going to be ready for a look soon. He hit .291/.343/.408 in Double-A. Cliff Pennington will hold down the fort in the meantime.
  • With Hideki Matsui likely to be retained, there is very little reason for the A's to bother with David DeJesus. They need to see what Taylor and Carter can do. When Matsui needs the occasional off day, you have all three young sluggers in there. 
  • I would bring Willingham back. He and Matsui can provide veteran stability to the middle of the order so that there isn't any extra pressure put on the younger guys. 
  • If anyone from outside the organization is brought in, it needs to be an on-base guy. They tried to go with patchwork quasi-power hitters and didn't work. You can't score runs if you aren't getting on base, so it's time Beane's A's go back to their roots.
  • How long until Michael Choice is ready? The A's 2010 first rounder was in High-A this season, but he hit 30 home runs with a .918 OPS. Better yet, he's a center fielder, which they'll need soon. Maybe bring back Crisp for one more season to bridge the gap?
If everything breaks right, the A's could be a serious AL West contender in 2013. The pitching staff is young and good. The offense could very well be respectable again with proper development from Weeks, Taylor, Choice, Green, Allen and Carter to go with Kurt Suzuki as a future nucleus. Plugging in veterans would only hinder the youngsters.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:04 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Trout has career night

Trout
By Evan Brunell

Mike Trout, Angels: Trout authored a game we may be seeing a lot of over the next two decades, slamming three home runs and driving in five, going 2 for 4 with a walk and three runs scored. Trout was responsible for the first four runs of the game, homering in the second and fourth to push Los Angeles to a 4-0 lead in an eventual 13-6 win. The heralded prospect, just 20, absolutely will earn more playing time as a result. Over 65 at-bats on the year, his line is .246/.306/.523, which L.A. will happily take.

Roy Halladay, Phillies: Halladay had another... well, Halladay-like performance, tossing seven innings of one-run ball against the Reds, plus tacking on three RBI thanks to a bases-loaded double in the sixth. The rest of the Phillies' scoring was done on homers, with two by Ryan Howard, and one apiece by Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez. Halladay's ERA got shaved to 2.47, with his record now 16-5. He's a lock for the Cy Young and could threaten to win the MVP.

Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks:
Parra is one of these players who sticks on a roster the entire year, and even plays enough to accumulate significant playing time but is rarely featured in these wrapups. The left fielder enjoyed a 4-for-5 night, scoring three runs and driving in two, stroking a double and triple in a game that raised his overall line to .291/.351/.422 in 358 plate appearances. Parra struggled through a lousy 2010 after opening some eyes in 2009, and the 24-year-old has rebounded this year, mostly appearing in left but also making appearances in left and center field.



Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Life isn't good for Cahill, as Rotoworld.com details: "He's given up at least seven runs in three of his last 10 starts and at least five runs in four of his last 10, causing his ERA to spike from 3.16 to 4.26 ... He entered the game with a 7.00 ERA in 45 innings since the All-Star break ... Since going 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA through his first eight starts of the season, Cahill is 3-13 with an ERA approaching 6.00." Yeah, that's about right. Cahill's latest start saw the Indians paste him for five runs in 5 1/3 innings, spiking his ERA to 4.26. Cahill won 18 games last year, but has pitched wholly undeserving of that mark thus far this season.

Anthony Vasquez, Mariners: Seattle is trying to get a long look at the right-hander for next season after he posted a 3.57 ERA in 24 starts between Double- and Triple-A, but he now has two straight poor starts that could bump him from the rotation. The 24-year-old gave up eight runs, seven earned to the Angels -- four runs alone to Trout -- in just four innings, contributing three walks against just one strike out en route to shoving his ERA all the way up to 11.57 through two starts.

Tim Stauffer, Padres:  Seven earned runs and seven walks in 1 1/3 innings, giving up just one hit to the Dodgers in the meantime, with everything mentioned ocurring in the 2nd inning sans one walk. It was not a good day to be Tim Stauffer, whose promising ERA spiraled to 3.76 after entering the day at 3.42. It's a testament to how well Stauffer has pitched that his ERA isn't out of control, but it was still a nightmare outing that included walking opposing pitcher Hiroki Kuroda with the bases loaded. Reliever Anthony Bass didn't help matters, surrendering a grand slam when replacing Stauffer that added three runs to the righty's night. According to Stats, LLC, the six walks in the 2nd inning were the most since Daniel Cabrera also surrendered six walks to the Red Sox, this time in the first inning way back on April 7, 2006.

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:03 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kershaw fires gem, Trumbo walks off

Kershaw

By Evan Brunell

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: All of a sudden, Clayton Kershaw is making the NL Cy Young Award race one to watch, as Roy Halladay may not have as firm a grip on the award as might have otherwise been thought. After pumping six strikeouts past the Brewers in eight innings, the lefty lowered his ERA to 2.60 after yet another scoreless outing. Those six strikeouts inched him to one shy of 200 whiffs on the season. Let's compare Kershaw to Halladay, starting with the youngster first: 15-5 in 183 2/3 IP, 2.60 ERA, 199 K, 46 BB. Halladay has a 15-5 record in 184 2/3 IP with a 2.53 ERA, 177 K and 23 BB. I'd still take Halladay, but it's close enough that this is a race.

Colby Rasmus, Blue Jays: The ex-Cardinal didn't get his tenure in Toronto off to a fast start, but if Thursday is any indication of what he can put together on a regular bases, the Blue Jays will be quite pleased. Rasmus went 3 for 4 with a home run and two RBI, chipping in three runs as Toronto downed Oakland. It was the center fielder's fifth multi-hit game with Toronto, and his first with three hits. His bat must be heating up in the power department, because it's the second straight game he's driven a home run, sending his total from 13 to 15 in two days, and he's totaled eight RBI in his last three games.

Mark Trumbo, Angels: And just like that, the Angels snapped their five-game losing streak, stopped Texas from winning seven straight and closed the AL West deficit to a still-imposing six games. How did that happen? At the hands of Mark Trumbo, who delivered a two-run walk-off home run off of Mike Adams in the bottom of the ninth to turn a dispiriting 1-0 loss into a wild 4-0 victory. This was a game L.A. desperately needed, especially given that the Rangers run had come off of the bat of Mike Napoli with a homer. Trumbo had one other hit in the game, but his OBP is still under .300 for the year.



Phil Humber, White Sox: Phil Humber received a nasty scare on Thursday when a Kosuke Fukudome liner found the area just above his right eye, sending Humber sprawling on the mound. He was able to get up right away, though, and lobbied to stay in the game. The ChiSox weren't having any of it, so the righty left the game having pitched just 1 1/3 innings, giving up three hits, no walks or runs and punching out three. "I told them I was good, I felt like I could still pitch and wanted to be out there," Humber told the Chicago Tribune. "But at the same time, they got a job to do and take every precaution that there wasn’t anything serious going on.”

Travis Hafner, Indians:  After a three-hit game against the Red Sox on Aug. 4, Hafner was enjoying a .300/.386/.491 season. That was a step below his .347/.428/.567 line on July 7, but it was inevitable for Hafner to come back to earth. Well, that three-hit day didn't stave off the decline. While Hafner's still stayed reasonably productive, that line continues to drop, and now after striking out three times in five plate appearances on Thursday when he went hitless with an intentional walk, Hafner is at .288/.368/.461. He also struck out to end the sixth with the bases loaded and two runs already in. The Indians still won the game 4-2, but Hafner could have broke it open.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Last season, Trevor Cahill was an All-Star and received Cy Young Award votes. He wasn't named to the All-Star team this season, although that wasn't indicative of a bad season, as his 3.92 ERA was still solid. Well, it was. A seven-run outburst by tje Blue Jays knocked Cahill out of the game after 5 1/3 innings, sending his ERA skittering up to 4.17. Cahill allowed nine hits and two walks, while striking out two. Cahill has been a Jekyll-and-Hyde (mostly Jekyll) pitcher since the beginning of June, with a 5.83 ERA to show for it.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:38 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Posada produces in start

Jorge Posada

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jorge Posada, Yankees: For the first time since he'd been benched, Posada was in the Yankees' starting lineup on Saturday. He may have made manager Joe Girardi reconsider things, if only briefly. Posada was 3 for 5 with six RBI including a grand slam in the the fifth inning off of Rays reliever Brandon Gomes as part of the Yankees' 9-2 victory. It was Posada's fifth career six-RBI day and will be in the lineup as the DH again on Sunday.

Miguel Cairo, Reds: For the first time in his 16-year career, Cairo hit more than one homer in a game, blasting two homers against the Padres in the Reds' 13-1 victory. The 37-year-old now has a career-best seven homers on the season, besting his 2004 total of six with the Yankees. The Reds clubbed seven homers in all, with Cairo and Ryan Hanigan hitting two each. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier also homered. The first five homers of the game came off starter Tim Stauffer, who last just three innings, and Cairo's second homer was off reliever Anthony Bass and Hanigan hit his second off of Joe Thatcher

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Cabrera's third inning three-run homer was the Indians' only offense of the day, but it was enough for Cleveland's 3-1 victory over the Twins. It was Cabrera's 20th homer of the season, making him just the third Indians shortstop to hit that many home runs in a  season. Jhonny Peralta and Woodie Held each accomplished the feat three times, with Peralta's 24-homer season in 2005 setting the team mark for homers by a shortstop. While that doesn't sound like much, Cabrera entered the season with just 18 homers in his career. He also reached a career-high with 71 RBI.


Jered Weaver, Angels: In his first game back from a six-game suspension, the Blue Jays hit Weaver harder than Carlos Guillen.  The Angels' ace lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits. His eight runs were as many as he'd allowed in his previous seven starts and the three homers were as many as he'd allowed in his last 80 1/3 innings. Adam Lind's grand slam coped a five-run fifth, marking the first time Weaver had allowed mor ethan four runs in a start since Aug. 17, 2010. Edwin Encarnacion and Mark Teahen also homered off of Weaver, whose ERA jumped from 1.78 to 2.13.

Oakland Athletics: The A's committed four errors and had two wild pitches in a 7-1 loss to the Rangers, but A's manager Bob Melvin said, "Really, we played worse than that" (via the San Francisco Chronicle). Oakland starter Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Yorvit Torrealba broke it up with a one-out single. That same inning, Jemile Weeks committed two errors on one play, setting up Ian Kinsler's RBI double for the game's first run. Shortstop Eric Sogard had an error in the fifth and third baseman Scott Sizemore's eight-inning error led to an unearned run in the three-run Rangers' eighth. The A's lead the big leagues with 98 errors in 119 games.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: With a 5-1 lead, Guthrie allowed six consecutive two-out hits and five runs in the sixth inning, leading to a 6-5 loss to the Tigers. In his first 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander had allowed just two hits and a run but then fell apart. Guthrie fell to 5-16 on the season and the Orioles have lost nine of 11.

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Two-homer edition



By Matt Snyder

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians. What a night and what a season for the now-star shortstop. He went yard twice, including a tie-breaking two-run shot in the eighth inning. On the night, Cabrera was 3-5 with three runs, four RBI and the two homers. The Indians won 9-6 and crawled within two games of the idle Tigers in the AL Central.

Derrek Lee, Pirates. Quite a debut for Lee as a Pirate. He homered off former teammates Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood en route to driving in all three Pirates runs. Alas, it was all for naught, as the Pirates dropped their fourth straight, this time 5-3. They're now 5 1/2 games out and just one game over .500.

Dan Uggla, Braves and Rick Ankiel, Nationals. We'll combo these two in order to fit everyone who hit two homers in a game Monday night. These two played in the same game, so it works, right? Uggla is absolutely scorching hot, as he hit his 21st and 22nd homers of the season while also extending his hitting streak to 23. But his team came up short, while Ankiel helped his club prevail. Ankiel took All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens deep twice as the Nats won 5-3.



Adam Dunn, White Sox. The White Sox lost 3-2 to CC Sabathia and the Yankees Monday night and fell 4 1/2 games back in the AL Central. Maybe if Ozzie Guillen didn't insist on a hole in the middle of the lineup against lefties, they'd have found a way to score at least one more run. Dunn hit cleanup and went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Put his full season totals aside -- as ugly as they are -- and consider Dunn against lefties. He's now 3-77 (.038) with 35 strikeouts against lefties. If you figure around 650 at-bats is a full season, he'd be on pace to be punched out nearly 300 times in a full season of left-handed pitching at this pace. If Guillen absolutely insists on playing Dunn against left-handers, he should probably at least bump him down toward the bottom of the order.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics. The Mariners had failed to score at least five runs 80 times this season heading into Monday night. Cahill coughed up five to the Mariners in the second inning alone Monday. We're talking about an offense with Mike Carp and Adam Kennedy hitting fourth and fifth. We're talking about a team that ranked dead last in the majors in runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage heading into the game. And Cahill -- an All-Star and fringe Cy Young contender last season -- allowed six earned runs, two walks and a career-high 12 hits in just four innings. The A's lost 8-4 and are only 2 1/2 games ahead of the Mariners, who just had a historic losing streak.

Craig Counsell, Brewers. It may be time for the 40-year-old veteran of nearly 1,600 career games to hang it up. He hasn't had a hit since June 10, as he's zero for his last 45. The Brewers can't continue to give him opportunities much longer, especially as the pennant race heats up even more. On the other hand, the Brew Crew did pull through again Monday evening, 6-2, have won seven straight and own a 3 1/2 game lead in the NL Central.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 1:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Boomstick produces 8 RBI

Nelson Cruz

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Cruz had a career-high eight RBI in Texas' 12-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Each of Cruz's four at-bats resulted in runs scoring. He had an RBI single in the second, a three-run homer in the fourth, a two-run single in the fifth and another in the sixth. Cruz had just one RBI in his previous 11 games

Dan Uggla, Braves: As pinch hitter in the ninth inning, Uggla hit a 3-2 fastball from Nick Masset into the seats to break a tie against Cincinnati, leading the Braves to a 6-4 victory. Uggla has struggled mightily this season, but is starting to come on this month. In July, he's now hitting .279/.362/.639 with six homers and 12 RBI. It was Uggla's first career pinch-hit home run and the seventh homer in the game.

David Wright, Mets: In his first plate appearance in more than two months, Wright hit a double to drive in Justin Turner and give the Mets an early lead over the Marlins, later scoring the team's third run. In his fifth and final at-bat of the day, Wright's eighth-inning double scored Turner again to give the Mets the lead for good. His run on Daniel Murphy's double ended up as the deciding run of the team's 7-6 victory at Florida.


Dusty Baker, Reds: In the second inning of the Reds' eventual 6-4 loss to the Braves, Dusty Baker called for a suicide squeeze. Problem was it was a 2-2 count and Miguel Cairo had to try to bunt a ball that was way low and outside and was only able to foul it off, resulting in the second out of the inning. After an intentional walk to Ryan Hanigan, Bronson Arroyo struck out with the runner still at third. Baker said he thought the scoreboard was wrong and the count was 3-1.

Trevor Cahill, Athletics: Rough night for the A's right-hander at Yankee Stadium, where he gave up nine hits and 10 runs -- all earned -- in two-plus innings. With the outing, Cahill saw his ERA go from  3.16 to 3.77. Cahill pitched to five batters in the Yankees' nine-run third inning, exiting after a Eduardo Nunez singled to put two on with no outs and already three runs in. Michael Wuertz came in and allowed both runners to score before giving up a grand slam that belonged all to him.  Cahill started the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his first eight starts. Since then, he's 2-9 with a 5.35 ERA. The A's have now lost 11 straight to the Yankees.

Phil Hughes, Yankees: Easily lost in the slew of Yankees runs, right-hander Phil Hughes wasn't very good either. In his third start since coming off the disabled list, Hughes struggled, getting pulled after just 4 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs, walking four. Hughes had allowed four runs and 10 hits through 11 innings in his first two starts since coming off the DL.

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 11:25 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:41 am
 

On Deck: Another episode of the Verlander show

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Six of today's nine games are afternoon tilts, so we'll be checking the on-deck circle a little earlier today.

Justin VerlanderVERLANDER SHOW: It's gotten to the point that any time Justin Verlander is on the mound, he's a must-watch. In his last six starts, he's 6-0 with a 0.72 ERA; in his last 10, he's 8-0 with a 1.56 ERA. In winning his last six starts, Verlander has pitched 49 2/3 innings with two complete games and given up just 26 hits, walking six and striking out 51. Overall, he's 10-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 124 strikeouts, second most to James Shields (127) in the American League and tied for third overall behind Clayton Kershaw, who has 128 strikeouts this season. It's likely he'll be the leader after today's game against the Mets. Mets at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Jon LesterCole HamelsLEFTY SHOWDOWN: Both Boston's Jon Lester and Philadelphia's Cole Hamels are are making their third bid for their 10th victory of the season. Both have had a little bit of hard luck in their quest for No. 10. Lester allowed five earned runs (and seven total) in his last two outings, finishing with losses to the Brewers and Pirates, while Hamels has had worse luck -- allowing two earned runs in each of his last outings only to get one run in support. One team has to win today, but the way things have gone for these two pitchers since winning their ninth game, there's no guarantee either of them will get the elusive 10th win. Red Sox at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

MarlinsTURN THE PAGE: No team can be happier to see June end than the Florida Marlins. Florida has had just two more wins than managers this month (and one more win than the Nationals have had managers) and search for their fifth win of the month against Oakland's Trevor Cahill. So far this month, the Marlins are hitting just .223/.282/.338 and have scored 76 runs -- 35 fewer than the team scored in May. Its 18 homers are 10 fewer than May's totals. Florida pitchers have a 4.21 ERA this month and its starters have a 4.97 ERA. With the win, Florida could reach Cliff Lee's win total of the month and by the time their game starts, Verlander may have his sixth win of the month. Marlins at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: June 19, 2011 5:15 pm
 

On Deck: Founding Father's Day

OD

By Matt Snyder


Streaking Nats: Don't look now, but the team playing in our nation's capital might actually matter. In 2011. The Washington Nationals have won eight in a row and are within a game of .500. It's probably too early to look at such things, but they're only 3 1/2 games out of the Wild Card in the NL. If you haven't yet taken notice of first baseman Mike Morse, it's high time you did. Since the beginning of May, Morse is hitting .364 with 12 home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.147 OPS in 39 games. That's not just a short hot streak. That's a guy coming into his own. Morse and the Nats look to sweep the Orioles Sunday in Nationals Park. Chris Jakubauskas (1-0, 5.09) will take the hill for the Orioles while Tom Gorzelanny (2-4, 4.25) gets the nod for the home team. Baltimore at Washington, 1:35 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

Verlander Time: Maybe I should start on "No-Hitter Watch" now? Justin Verlander (8-3, 2.66) is starting Sunday, after all. The flame-throwing right-hander might have the best stuff in all of baseball, and he's locked in right now. He's gone 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA and 32 strikeouts in his last four outings. Verlander's Tigers face the Rockies on Sunday afternoon, and Verlander is needed to stop a two-game losing streak -- one that has dropped the Tigers back to second place in the AL Central. Is the thin air of Coors Field any match for Verlander? We'll soon find out. Aaron Cook (0-1, 3.97) gets the ball for the Rockies. Detroit at Colorado, 3:10 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

Reversal of Fortunes: Through Tuesday, the Oakland A's had lost 13 of 14 and had fallen eight games back in the AL West. Through Wednesday, the San Francisco Giants had won four of five and opened up a 2 1/2 game lead in the NL West, their largest since May 22. It looked as if the Bay Series could be a sweep. And it might be, only for the A's, not the Giants. The A's have now won four in a row and crept to within six games of first in the AL West, while the Giants have lost three straight and seen their lead dwindle to a half game in the NL West. Trevor Cahill (6-5, 3.42) could use a serious reversal of fortunes himself. The A's ace started the season 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA. Since then, he's been horrible, going 0-5 with a 5.67 ERA and more walks (25) than strikeouts (22). He'll get the chance to turn things around Sunday. For the Giants, Matt Cain (6-4, 3.61) gets the start. San Francisco at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

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