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Tag:Brandon Phillips
Posted on: September 12, 2011 10:12 am
 

Pepper: Ortiz says it's time to panic



By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Wild Cards were all sewn up -- or so we thought.

While it appeared the Braves and Red Sox would cruise to the Wild Card (or the AL East title for Boston), but in the last week, things have gotten interesting. St. Louis swept Atlanta to move just 4.5 games behind Atlanta and Tampa Bay is now just 3.5 games behind the Red Sox as Boston finished a 1-6 road trip, including being swept by the Rays.

Still, there's not a whole lot of baseball left, the two favorites are still favored by mathematicians to hold onto their leads. So it's not time to panic, right?

"Hell yeah, you've got to panic at this point, but you're not going to do anything panicking but playing better," Boston's David Ortiz told reporters (Boston Herald). "Of course you're freaked out, you go on this road trip, 1-6, it's not good. We've got these guys breathing down our next and we're not in first place, either."

Give him credit, Ortiz is always entertaining and this time he's right. The team should worry about the Rays and can't get too worked up about it because panic doesn't help a team play any better. It's an interesting balancing act, playing with urgency, but not panic. Baseball's a tough game that's even tougher when you press.

Cuddyer's homer helped save teammate: Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer hit two game-winning homers in a minor-league playoff series in 2001 to lead his team to a victory in the best-of-five series. If his team had lost the series, teammate Brad Thomas and his wife, Kylie, had already booked a flight home to Australia. The couple would have started its journey on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001. With the win, Thomas and his wife had to stay for the next series.

"He credits me for saving his life," Cuddyer told MLB.com. "I mean, I don't know about that. It was just a twist of fate."

Thomas is currently on the Tigers' 60-day disabled list.

Cuddyer also wrote about the incident on FoxSports North.

Wainwright remembers: We all have our own personal stories about where we were on Sept. 11, 2001 -- I drove from Athens, Ga., to Washington, D.C., the day before to go to see PJ Harvey at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 10, 2001. I still have the ticket stub and a September 12, 2001, Washington Post to share with my kids some day. Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was in New York for the Red Sox-Yankees game on Sept. 10, 2001, and then cancelled a morning meeting near the World Trade Center the next day in order to get on the road to Cooperstown with his brother. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Waiting on Theo: Matt touched on this yesterday, but word is Tom Ricketts is willing to wait for his dream GM, Boston's Theo Epstein. While MLB looks down on major offseason announcements before the end of the World Series, those decisions happen all the time and are usually uncovered before the official announcement. However, there is a real wait if one of those interviewed and hired is still working. That could be the case with Boston's Epstein, reportedly Ricketts' top pick. If Epstein is in the least bit interested, Ricketts will wait. [Chicago Tribune]

Beckett to throw: Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett will test his injured right ankle in a bullpen session Monday and could return to the rotation by the end of the week -- welcome news to the Red Sox. [Boston Herald]

Weeks to go slow: Rickie Weeks returned to the Brewers' lineup on Sunday, walking and being hit by a pitch in his only plate appearances and was taken out of the game after four innings. The team plans on taking it slow with him. The Brewers are off on Monday and manager Ron Roenicke said he would try to get Weeks back into the game on Tuesday and maybe increase his innings. Weeks missed six weeks after suffering a severe left ankle sprain. [Appleton Post-Crescent]

Cruz ready to return: The Rangers are in the closest playoff race in baseball, leading the Angels by 2.5 games and they get some good news on Tuesday when Nelson Cruz says he'll be ready to return from the disabled list. Cruz went on the DL on Aug. 30 with a strained left hamstring and ran in the outfield on Saturday. The Rangers don't have any minor-league affiliates still playing, so the team will activate Cruz without a rehab assignment. [MLB.com]

Zimmermann bored sitting out: Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann hasn't pitched in two weeks and won't pitch in the final two weeks of the season. The good news is that next season he won't have an innings limit. With Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals have the building blocks for a very good rotation. [Washington Post]

Prado struggling: An All-Star in 2010, Atlanta's Martin Prado his having a disappointing 2011. The 27-year-old super utility player is hitting .261/.307/.385 this season, well below the .307/.356/.454 line he put up in his first five seasons in the big leagues. The prolonged slump is costing him sleep, Prado told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Romine relishes chance: While Jesus Montero garnered headlines when he was called up, the Yankees have a better catching prospect, Austin Romine. With injuries to Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, Romine made his big-league debut on Sunday. Romine had thought his season was over after Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre finished its season, but Joe Girardi needed a replacement and got in touch with Romine on Saturday. Girardi hadn't been able to get in touch with the catcher, so he had to go to the Angels' clubhouse to talk to Romine's brother, Andrew, an infielder with the Angles, to get a better number. Austin Romine replaced Montero in the ninth inning, catching Mariano Rivera, who recorded his 599th career save. [MLB.com]

ThunderBolts to White Sox: Just two years ago Dylan Axelrod was pitching for the Windy City ThunderBolts of the independent Frontier League. On Wednesday, he'll be throwing in the Windy City again, but for the White Sox in place of former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. [Chicago Tribune]

Mo Coco: Reds closer Francisco Cordero is willing to re-negotiate his $12 million option for 2012 and general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that an extension is a "possibility." Cordero, a whipping boy in Cincinnati, has had an outstanding year, recording 32 saves with a 2.30 ERA with five blown saves. Since coming to the Reds in 2008, Cordero has 145 saves and 23 blown saves, converting 86 percent of his chances with a 2.94 ERA. The Reds don't have an obvious candidate to take over in the ninth inning if they decline his $12 million option. He was the team's highest-paid player in 2011 and his $12 million in 2012 would be the tied for the team's highest-paid player along with second baseman Brandon Phillips, who also has a $12 million option for 2012 that the team is expected to pick up.

Eat before you go: We see a report like this just about every year, but it's always a good reminder -- if you want your food handled properly before you eat it, you've got to make sure to do it yourself. [CBS Chicago]

Bourjos takes blame: We all have those people we know or work with that will never admit fault -- there's always some crazy excuse or reason something went wrong, and it's never their fault, it's some extenuating circumstance. The Angels' Peter Bourjos is not that guy. His error doomed the Angels on Sunday, and instead of complaining about the sun or anything, taking full responsibility for the play that killed his team. [Los Angeles Times]

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:37 pm
 

Phillips 'disappointed' about contract situation

By Matt Snyder

Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips' four-year contract is up at the end of the season. He desires to stay in Cincinnati long-term, so he's holding out hope the Reds do more than pick up the one-year, $12 million option in the contract. He wants a multi-year extension and is a bit down that he hasn't heard anything about it just yet.

"I've always said from Day 1 that this is where I want to be at," Phillips said on Friday (MLB.com). "I thought there might be some talks going on during the season but I haven't heard anything all year. I was very disappointed about it. It hurts bad that this is where I want to be at and I've paid blood, sweat and tears for this organization, but the only thing I can do is thank them very much for giving me a second opportunity. I can't really trip about anything that much. I came here and got my career back to where it should be going."

Phillips, 30, made his second consecutive All-Star Game this season and is widely considered the best defensive second baseman in baseball. He's hitting .298 with 12 home runs, 73 RBI, 76 runs and a .778 OPS.

General manager Walt Jocketty did tell MLB.com that he planned on discussing the contract with Phillips' agent at some point, it just hasn't happened yet.

Oh, and if the Reds plan on simply picking up that option?

"If they just pick my option up and don't extend me, I feel like that's a slap in my face," Phillips said (MLB.com). "If the team wants you, they will make room. They will show you they want you here, period. They did it for some of the other guys.

"If they're going to have me for just one year, I feel like they don't see me in the future."

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: July 16, 2011 11:22 am
 

On Deck: All eyes on Phillips

OD

By Matt Snyder


Saturday brings us the usual full slate of games, which you can follow on CBSSports.com's live scoreboard. The biggest story of the day has to be St. Louis' Public Enemy No. 1.

DatDudeBP vs. Saint Louie: Brandon Phillips is not especially liked in St. Louis, and that's putting it mildly. Last season he called the Cardinals "little bitches" and then incited a brawl when he tapped Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on the shin guards. This season he's been quiet in terms of not starting any fights, but he found a way Friday night to best the Cardinals with a walk-off homer. Despite being a game under .500, the Reds are only three games out in the dreadful NL Central. The Cardinals are tied for first with the Pirates (feels weird to type, but also kind of cool). The Brewers trail by just a half-game. So the Reds-Cardinals matchup is a big one again Saturday. Chris Carpenter (4-7, 3.85) for the Cards squares off against the Reds' Bronson Arroyo (7-7, 5.58). St. Louis at Cincinnati, 7:10 p.m. ET.

CC looks to turn tide: The Yankees have come out of the break and lost two at Toronto. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have now won five in a row. It's a trend the Bronx Bombers would certainly love to stop, as they trail the Red Sox by 1 1/2 games in the AL East. Saturday marks a pretty good shot for the Yanks to reverse things, as CC Sabathia (13-4, 2.72) gets the ball. It won't be easy for the New York offense, however, because All-Star Ricky Romero (7-8, 3.09) is the Blue Jays starter. Romero is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts this season against the Yankees. New York (AL) at Toronto, 1:07 p.m. ET.

King Felix's tall task: The Mariners were in the thick of the AL West race for a bit. Losing seven games in a row doesn't help, nor does the fact that the Rangers have all of a sudden won nine straight. That means in just over a week's worth of games, the Mariners have fallen all the way down to 9 1/2 games out of first. They were 2 1/2 back before this stretch, which is the kind of thing that effectively moves teams from buyers to sellers in July. Fortunately for Seattle, it sends its best pitcher, Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), to the mound. Unfortunately for Seattle, the opponent is the red-hot Rangers and All-Star pitcher C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20). Texas at Seattle, 10:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 16, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: July 16, 2011 9:38 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Phillips stings Cardinals

Brandon Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Brandon Phillips, Reds:Phillips didn't exactly enhance his standing in St. Louis. Already the most hated man in eastern Missouri, Phillips hit a two-out, walk-off homer to give the Reds a 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Phillips had an error that gave St. Louis its first lead off starter Johnny Cueto

Jeff Karstens, Pirates: The Pirates right-hander allowed just five hits and needed only 83 pitches in a shutout victory in Houston, which when coupled with losses by the Cardinals and Brewers catapulted the Pirates into a tie for first place. Seriously, a tie for first place. Karstens became  the first Pirate to win five-straight decisions since 2006 and lowered his ERA to 2.34, third-best in the National League, leapfrogging Roy Halladay.

Eric Hosmer, Royals: With two outs in the ninth, Hosmer took Twins closer Matt Capps deep over the wall in center at Target Field, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead. Closer Joakim Soria made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but the Royals held on for the victory. Hosmer now has nine home runs on the season.


Nationals defense: Washington had five errors in Friday's 11-1 loss to the Braves. First baseman Michael Morse had two errors on one play in the first inning and added another later in the game. Morse had just one error in his first six seasons in the big leagues. Shortstop Ian Desmond had another error in the Braves' four-run first. Ryan Zimmerman added the team's fifth miscue later when a ball went between his legs in the sixth.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: Usually a player's 1,000th career hit would be a time of celebration. Not for Ramirez, who was slow out of the box on a ball to the gap in the ninth inning. Cubs center-fielder Marlon Byrd made a strong throw to second to nab Ramirez. The Marlins scored their only run of the game one batter later on Logan Morrison's RBI single that should have tied the game at 2. Instead, the Cubs lifted a struggling Carlos Marmol, and Sean Marshall picked up a one-out save for Chicago, ending Florida's six-game winning streak.

Matt Tolbert, Twins: When you come in a pinch-runner, you're supposed to be smart on the basebaths. That's all the Twins ask of Tolbert -- well, that and running faster than Jim Thome -- but he didn't do his job. With one out in the ninth and the Twins trailing 2-1, Tolbert stood on third with Luke Hughes at the plate. Hughes hit a tapper back to the mound, but instead of holding at third, Tolbert was easily thrown out at the plate. One batter later Tsuyoshi Nishioka grounded out to end the game.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 7:42 am
 

Bell's slide steals the show

Heath Bell

By C. Trent Rosecrans


PHOENIX -- Heath Bell was sure he wouldn't get hurt sliding into the pitchers mound in the eighth inning -- he'd practiced it after all.

Wait… what?

"Yeah, I practiced," Bell said of his slide.

Where?

"On my lawn. Last week," Bell said. "I'm not going to do something stupid… well, I'm not going to do something stupid without preparing myself."

 Bell has sprinted in from the bullpen for every appearance since 2009, but for his third All-Star Game, he wanted to do something a little special. The result had players and fans alike laughing as the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Bell came in to face Jhonny Peralta with two outs in the eighth and just before he got to the mound, he slowed his run and slid feet-first, tearing up a little of the infield sod along the way.

See the play here.

The idea was hatched in the Padres' bullpen recently as Bell tried to conjure a signature move for his All-Star appearance. Finally, fellow right-hander Anthony Bass suggested the slide.

Even with the practice under his belt, Bell had second thoughts during the game. First manager Bruce Bochy gave his "this game really counts" speech before the game and Bell reconsidered. Then during his run, he thought maybe it was just a bit too much. But when he saw third baseman Pablo Sandoval clear the way for his slide -- he went for it.

At second base, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips had gotten full warning that Bell was going to do "something." He saw the sprint and thought it was nothing new -- Phillips' former teammate Todd Coffey has been doing that for the last five years. And then Bell went into a slide.

"What in the world?" Phillips recalled. "It was funny. It was classic."

What about first basmean Joey Votto? What did he think?

"I think he was safe. I wasn't really that surprised," Votto said. "I was expecting more from Brian Wilson afterwards, though. I thought maybe he'd do something cool, like parachute in."

Wilson said he enjoyed Bell's slide, but had just one thought.

"You better get the guy out," Wilson said.

Bell needed five pitches, but did get Peralta to pop up to Phillips, ending the inning.

"It was my third All-Star Game and I wanted to have a blast," Bell said. "I did and I did my job."


For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:55 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 3:53 am
 

Reds' Phillips revels in Fielder's homer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brandon PhillipsPHOENIX -- For once, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was happy to see Prince Fielder hit a home run. This time the homer by the Brewers' slugger led to a Phillips victory.

"I can say thank you Prince -- because you just gave homefield advantage to the Reds in the World Series, thank you Prince," Phillips said."I'm going to give him a big kiss on the cheek."

The Brewers just took three of four from the Reds before the break and lead Cincinnati by four games in the National League Central.

Later when Phillips was ask on Twitter about the Brewers' trade for Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez, Phillips stood his ground, "Great move by them, but that don't mean nothing! We will find a way," he tweeted.

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 7:04 pm
 

Phillips on being No. 3 on Twitter 140

By Matt Snyder

PHOENIX - Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is well known for his incredible defense, but he's gaining steam from fans on Twitter. He was recently named No. 3 on CBSSports.com's Twitter 140 -- a collection of the best tweeps in the sports world. CBSSports.com caught up Monday with Phillips to ask him about the ranking. Check out his thoughts below.



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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 8, 2011 5:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Offense rules in NL Central

By C. Trent Rosecrans
2011 All-Star Game

SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL West

The National League Central has the most teams, some of the game's brightest stars and perhaps its best story in the Pittsburgh Pirates. How deep is the talent in the NL Central? The last two men to win the National League MVP are first basemen in the division and neither makes this NL Central All-Star team. The pitching isn't too deep, at least in terms of starters, but this lineup can absolutely mash the ball.

Ramon HernandezC Ramon Hernandez, Reds: This one is a surprise, as Yadier Molina -- perhaps the game's best defensive catcher -- is an All-Star and a deserving one at that. But the nod here goes to the guy Reds manager Dusty Baker calls "Clutch Man Monie." On opening day, his three-run homer gave the Reds a walk-off victory and he's been producing at the plate since, including a ninth-inning homer yesterday against Brewers closer John Axford and the delivered the game's winning hit in the 13th inning Wednesday night in St. Louis. Hernandez's overall line -- .316/.374/.526 -- makes up for the difference between his defense and Molina's. Molina is hitting a respectable .279/.329/.408, but Clutch Man Monie has been money, especially for a player who is still essentially splitting time with Ryan Hanigan.

Prince Fielder1B Joey Votto, Reds: Votto was the National League MVP in 2010, but Prince Fielder's been the league's MVP for the first half of this season. Fielder is hitting .302/.418/.588 with 22 home runs and 71 RBI, tied for the most in the league. Votto's been good as well, but Fielder's power numbers put him over the top. So why is Votto listed here instead of Fielder? Because as I filled out the lineup card, I looked and had Votto as DH and Fielder at first. Anyone who has seen those two with gloves on their hand know you'd rather have Votto (especially with Starlin Castro also in the infield) playing the field. So Fielder wins the spot, but Votto gets the nod, if that makes sense.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Andrew McCutchen PIT CF
2 Rickie Weeks MIL 2B
3 Joey Votto CIN 1B
4 Prince Fielder MIL DH
5 Lance Berkman STL RF
6 Ryan Braun MIL LF
7 Aramis Ramirez CHI 3B
8 Ramon Hernandez CIN C
9 Starlin Castro CHI SS

Rickie Weeks2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers: Another Brewer nips a Red. While Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips is far and away a better defensive player, Weeks is having an incredible offensive season so far. Weeks is hitting .275/.345/.476 with 15 home runs. Phillips has 10 more RBI, but that's not all that surprising considering Weeks is used as a leadoff man. 

Aramis Ramirez3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: It's easy for Ramirez to get lost among the Cubs' mounting losses, but the 33-year-old is having a solid season, which may be his last with the Cubs. The Cubs hold a $16 million option on Ramirez for 2012, with a $2 million buyout. The Ricketts family may want to find a cheaper option, but Ramirez has produced this year, hitting .298/.346/.495 with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. He's also playing a decent third base, much better than his reputation would suggest. 

Starlin CastroSS Starlin Castro, Cubs: Sure, he's a mess defensively, but the kid can absolutely rake. Castro is hitting .305/.334/.428 with two home runs and 38 RBI, while stealing 10 bags as well. The 21-year-old is the player the Cubs will build around in the future, and for good cause. He also doesn't have a lot of competition in this division. The Pirates' Ronny Cedeno has been good defensively, but lacking offensively. The Cardinals' Ryan Theriot is hitting well, but was a below-average defensive second baseman and now he's playing short and then there's Yuniesky Betancourt, who has been terrible offensively and defensively.

LF Ryan Braun, Brewers: Talk about a stacked offensive division -- in left field you've got Matt Holliday and Braun. Braun, though gets the nod. He's been healthy (of course, Holliday's problems may make his numbers more impressive) and produced, hitting .320/.402/559 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. He's also stolen 19 bases to boot.

Andrew McCutchenCF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: If Bruce Bochy doesn't want him, I'll sure as heck take him as my starter in center. A Gold Glove-caliber fielder, plus a .291/.389/.491 slash line and 12 homers and 15 stolen bases. McCutchen should be in the MVP discussion with the season he's had. If it weren't for McCutchen, Michael Bourn would be the pick. Bourn's hitting .288/.350/.399 with 35 stolen bases. Between those two and Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs, you could put together a heck of a relay team.

Lance BerkmanRF Lance Berkman, Cardinals: Sure he's a first baseman playing in the outfield, but who cares because he's made up for his atrocious defense with an offensive rebirth. The Cardinals gambled on Berkman this offseason and have been rewarded to the tune of .287/.399/.598 with a league-leading 23 home runs and 62 RBIs. The division also has Jay Bruce, Corey Hart and Hunter Pence, so it has right fielders to spare (not to mention Jon Jay, who played right field while Berkman was playing first for Albert Pujols.)

Prince FielderDH Prince Fielder, Brewers: This is a bit of a cheat, since I initially picked Fielder at first base. The decision here was between Votto and Holliday, and in a toss-up, I went with the reigning MVP, although either has a good case. Votto's hitting .319/.434/.497 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI, while Holliday is hitting .320/.417/.570 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. Votto's seen fewer pitches to drive than he did a year ago, but is still producing. And once I was filling out the lineup card, I went with Votto at first base and Fielder as the DH.

Johnny CuetoSP Johnny Cueto, Reds: This division doesn't have a Cy Young candidate in the bunch, but does have several good young pitchers, including the 25-year-old Cueto, who started the season on the disabled list but is 5-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Cardinals' Jaime Garcia is 8-4 with a 3.23 ERA and one of the best young left-handers in the game and Chicago's Matt Garza has been a victim of pitching for the Cubs, going 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA and an xFIP of 2.86.

Sean MarshallRP Sean Marshall, Cubs: The Cubs' left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA, striking out 43 in 41 1/3 innings, while walking just nine. His xFIP is 2.27 and he's induced ground balls on 60.4 percent of the balls put in play, a good characteristic for a middle reliever, who will often come into the game with runners on base. Apologies to the Reds' Bill Bray and the Cardinals' Jason Motte.

Joel HanrahanCL Joel Hanrahan, Pirates: Hanrahan leads the division in saves with 25 and hasn't blown a single save this season.  Of the eight runners he's inherited this year, none of scored. He has 33 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings and eight walks. He's allowed just six earned runs (good for a 1.37 ERA). The division has several good starters, including the Reds' Francisco Cordero (17 saves, 1.69 ERA), the Brewers' John Axford (23 saves, 2.90 ERA) and the Cardinals' Fernando Salas (15 saves, 2.41 ERA).

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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