Tag:Daniel Hudson
Posted on: August 12, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Beat Down: Nick Piecoro on the Diamondbacks



By C. Trent Rosecrans

If newspapers still existed and you opened one up this morning, you'd open up the sports section and see that the Arizona Diamondbacks were in first place in the National League West. It's one of those things that nobody really expected to see on Aug. 12, but there it is. I sure didn't expect it, and wasn't sure I knew exactly how it happened. So, I figured I could research the whole thing and write something about it, or I could go to someone who has been there the entire season, so I e-mailed my buddy Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

Piecoro is in his fifth season covering the Diamondbacks. I first met him in the press box at Chase Field in 2007 when he was surfing my iTunes library from his computer and sought me out to talk music. Since then, we've had numerous pizzas and beers together, talking baseball and, more often, music. So when I thought about the Diamondbacks, I quickly thought of Nick. And then I thought this might be a good weekly feature looking at some of the teams around MLB from the people who see them the most and know them the best. So, for the first installment of the Beat Down, here's Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:

Eye On Baseball:  So, really, first-place Diamondbacks? Really? Give me the short version of how this happened...

Nick Piecoro: I know, right? Well, there are a bunch of reasons. I’ll start with the emergence of Justin Upton, who has turned into a force in the middle of the lineup, a threat to do damage every time he’s up. They lead the league in home runs, so there’s a real element of a quick-strike offense. And if you look at their Baseball-Reference page, pretty much everyone in the lineup is at least close to a 100 OPS+, meaning there are no black holes in the lineup.

Then there’s the pitching staff. Ian Kennedy has pitched like a No. 1, and Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter (he of tomahawk-throwing fame) have slotted in well behind him. In the bullpen, they no longer cough up leads every night, and that’s thanks mainly to Kevin Towers acquisitions David Hernandez and J.J. Putz.

EOB: Did you see this coming? I sure didn't. I will say, our senior writers -- Scott Miller and Danny Knobler -- did say the D-Backs would be interesting this year, but I don't think any of us expected this.

NP: No way, not me. In spring training, they were a disaster. Part of the reason they’ve been able to turn it around is because they were quick to act to make changes with guys who weren’t getting the job done, and the list is long: Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Russell Branyan, Melvin Mora, Aaron Heilman, Juan Miranda, Zach Duke. Some got more rope than others, but the point is, anyone making predictions before the season was looking at a completely different roster than what they have now. Heck, Ryan Roberts, who has 15 home runs, wouldn’t have made the team in spring training if not for Geoff Blum’s injury.

EOB: How much of this is Kirk Gibson? Is the attitude he brought real? Has it actually changed things?

NP: You have to give him credit, certainly. You hear people talk about a manager’s personality rubbing off on his team, it’s hard not to see some of that with this group of guys, particularly when it comes to their penchant for comebacks and the whole never-say-die stuff. They’re a hard-nosed bunch and that’s exactly the kind of player Gibson was and manager he is. Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of a manager’s impact; I mean, all the stuff above explains their status as contenders well enough in my mind. (That and the fact the NL West and the NL as a whole is mostly devoid of good teams.) A friend likes to say that players win games, managers lose them and umpires ruin them. Well, if that’s the case, Gibson is doing an excellent job of not losing them.

EOB: Is Justin Upton your MVP?

NP:  Maybe not yet. But he could be.

EOB: I'm guessing he's not on the trade market this winter...

NP: Uh, no. I’m not sure I understand why he was out there last winter.

EOB: Are they set up for the long haul?

NP:  You would think so, yeah. They have literally no bad contracts -- not a one -- and they have a bunch of guys coming in the system, namely a few potential frontline-type starting pitchers in Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer. They’ll have a few decisions to make in the next couple offseasons with core guys like Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero set to become free agents, but they’re in great position to retain who they want to retain and even should have money to spend to plug whatever holes might exist.

EOB: Finally, you're perhaps the hippest beat writer in the loop, what are you listening to right now?

NP: Heh. Is that like saying someone’s the MVP of the Pacific Coast League? I’ve been fairly obsessed with the new Handsome Furs album (link to "Serve the People" with a note that the album art has a nekkid lady). And -- how’s this for timing? -- I’m actually going tonight to see Cut Copy, an awesome band from Australia that have this catchy 80s-dance-pop thing going on (link here to "Far Away"). I’ve also been really into the new ones from Cults, Destroyer, Foster the People and others I can’t think of right now.

Thanks to Nick and you can check out his blog here and on Twitter @NickPiecoro.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:08 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 2:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Mighty Casey (Kotchman)

Casey Kotchman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Casey Kotchman, Rays: Kotchman recently qualified for the batting title and is now second in the American League with a .341 average behind Boston's Adrian Gonzalez. But he's not here because of his two singles (though his seventh-inning single tied the game at 1), it's because of his final plate appearance of the 2-1 victory over the Royals -- leading off the ninth inning with a walk-off homer, his seventh of the season, second in the last two days and third in the last six games.

Shane Victorino, Phillies: It's a good thing for the Phillies that Shane Victorino appealed his suspension. Because of the appeal, Victorino was able to play Monday night against the Dodgers and he made the most of his opportunity, doubling twice and adding a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Phillies' 5-3 victory. He scored three times against the team that drafted him in 1999 but allowed him to be drafted twice in the Rule 5 draft -- first by San Diego in 2002 and then against in 2004 by the Phillies.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Morton threw eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and three walks, while striking out four as the Pirates snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory over the Giants


Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks: Just a half-game out of first place going into the series against baseball's worst team, Hudson may have been feeling a little too confident before Monday's outing against Houston. The Diamondbacks' right-hander allowed five first-inning runs and two more in the second, falling to 11-8. In his shortest outing of the season, Hudson lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits.

Heath Bell, Padres: The All-Star closer came into the game in the ninth with a two-run lead. All-Star closers are supposed to close those types of games, especially against a team so beat up by injures as the Mets. But Bell allowed four singles in the ninth inning to the Mets' Jason Pridie, Justin Turner, David Wright and Lucas Duda to score three runs and give the Mets a 9-8 victory.

Josh Bell, Orioles: Baltimore's third baseman was charged with an error in the sixth inning of the Orioles' game against the White Sox, but it was a play he should have made that didn't get ruled an error that he really regretted. With a runner on second and two outs in the eighth inning, Bell had a shot at Alex Rios' smash but the ball went under his glove and into left field, allowing the eventual winning run to score in Chicago's 7-6 victory.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Wakefield aiming for 200

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Tim WakefieldGoing for 200:
Boston's Tim Wakefield will take his third chance at winning his 200th game of his career. The 45-year-old knuckleballer has pitched well in his last two starts, but wasn't able to pick up the win. He gave up three runs to both the White Sox on July 29 and to the Indians on Aug. 3, going a combined 13 2/3 innings and 11 strikeouts with just four walks. Baker's looking to bounce back from a three-inning outing against the Angels on Aug. 3. He gave up five hits and four runs (three earned), throwing 77 pitches in the outing. Red Sox at Twins, 7:10 p.m. ET


Perfect timing:
If you're a team just a half-game out of first place, there are few things that can make you happier than seeing a four-game series against the Astros coming up on the schedule. Arizona is 5-5 over its last 10 games but is still just a half-game out in the National League West thanks to San Francisco's recent struggles. The Astros are 40 games under .500. Daniel Hudson starts for the Diamondbacks opposite Houston's best pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, in the series opener tonight. Watch for Arizona's Justin Upton who is putting up MVP numbers. Upton is hitting .366/.418/..831 with seven homers and 22 RBI over his last 18 games and has a homer in his five plate appearances against Rodriguez. Astros at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

Ryan VogelsongThis one goes to 11?: Pittsburgh has an uphill climb in San Francisco if it wants to stop its 10-game losing streak. While the Pirates will miss Tim Lincecum in the three-game series, they have to face former Pirate Ryan Vogelsong, who is 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While Vogelsong's ERA is slightly higher at AT&T Park, batters aren't hitting him as well at home, putting up a .228/.290/.312 line. He's allowed just three homers in his 11 home starts. Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton got the Pirates' losing streak started in Philadelphia by allowing eight runs in four innings. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start, but the Pirates lost a 1-0 game to the Cubs. Pirates at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 2, 2011 5:13 pm
 

On Deck: Snakes in striking distance

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Knocking on the door: Everyone has assumed (myself included) the Giants could just walk from the trade deadline to the playoffs, but if you haven't looked at the National League West standings of late, the Arizona Diamondbacks are just a game behind the Giants. Tonight Tim Lincecum tries to put a little breathing room between the Giants and Diamondbacks. Lincecum hasn't allowed more than a run in a game since Independence Day, going 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts. He's faced the Diamondbacks just once this season, throwing eight shutout innings on May 10. Hudson, however, has struggled a little bit the last month, going 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in five July starts, while batters are hitting .302/.350/.429 against him. He's 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts against San Francisco this season. Diamondbacks at Giants, 10:15 p.m.

Mat LatosHiroki KurodaBad luck club: Need further evidence against the win statistic as a way to judge a pitcher? How about Tuesday's matchup of San Diego's Mat Latos and Los Angeles' Hiroki Kuroda? The two have a combined 23 losses, despite both pithing too poorly. Over his last five starts, Latos has a 3.69 ERA and batters are hitting just .219/.287/.289 during that stretch. Still, he's 0-2 and the Padres are 1-4 in his five July starts. Four of Latos' five wins on the season came in a five-start stretch from May 15 to June 5, and during that time he gave up more hits and struck out fewer batters than he did in the five starts in July. And then there's 2011 Cy Unlucky in the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda, who sports a 3.11 ERA and a 6-13 record. Over his last 12 starts, he has a 3.38 EERA but is 1-10. Dodgers at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET.

Central showdown: Could Milwaukee be pulling away in the National League Central? Winners of seven in a row, the Brewers have increased their lead in the division to 3 1/2 games, their largest lead of the season. Not only are the Brewers looking to extend a winning streak, so too is starter Shaun Marcum, who has won each of his last three starts. Marcum is 10-3 with a 3.33 ERA, allowing two runs in each of his last three starts. However, the Brewers must contend with Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, who is 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA. In his only start against MIlwaukee this season, Garcia threw a two-hit shutout on May 6, striking out eight Brewers. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:02 am
 

On Deck: Twins look to bounce back



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Slow day in baseball today, with just five games on the schedule, three of those taking place during the day.

START ANOTHER STREAK: The Twins lost their first game in more than a week on Wednesday, falling to the defending World Series champs. Things don't get much easier for Minnesota, facing Tim Lincecum on Thursday. Twins starter Brian Duensing is having a June himself, going 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA this month. The lefty is 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 interleague starts of his career. The Twins have won 15 of their last 18 games and seven of their last nine on the road. Twins at Giants, 3:45 p.m. ET (Follow live)

ROAD WARRIORS: Your first-place Diamondbacks (yes, you read that right) are more than happy to be on the road and in interleague play. After starting the season 5-13 on the road, the Diamondbacks have won 14 of their last 18 in the road grays. The team is also 6-2 in interleague play so far this season and have Daniel Hudson (8-5, 3.56 ERA) on the mound against a winless Felipe Paulino (0-4, 4.10) in Kansas City as the Diamondbacks seek a sweep over the Royals. Diamondbacks at Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Roy OswaltChris CarpenterSTRUGGLING STARTERS: A Roy Oswalt-Chris Carpenter showdown should be a premier pitching matchup. Instead, the two have combined for just one win in their last 15 starts. Oswalt picked up his fourth victory of the season on June 12, snapping a seven-start winless streak, only to start another winless streak in his last outing, last Friday at Seattle. Carpenter's lone victory of the season came more than a month ago on May 10. Like Oswalt, it came against the Cubs, so maybe neither really count. Phillies at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Follow live)

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 12:52 am
Edited on: June 18, 2011 12:54 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Lind bringing big stick



By Matt Snyder


Adam Lind, Blue Jays. Think Jose Bautista is the only Jay who goes yard with regularity? Oh, how mistaken you are. Lind hit a home run for the fourth consecutive game Friday night. The two-run, seventh-inning blast put the Jays on top for good in a 3-2 win over the Reds and was Lind's 15th on the season. Because of injury woes, Lind's only played in 45 games, too. His OPS is over 1.000 and he's only one year removed from a 35-homer, 114-RBI campaign. He's not Bautista, but he demands more attention than he's been getting. It's one of the best 3-4 lineup combos in baseball, actually.

Doug Davis, Cubs. Davis walked into Wrigley Field Friday afternoon with an 0-5 record, a 5.90 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. He hadn't even remotely resembled a major-league pitcher ... until Friday ... against the Yankees. Yes, the team with Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano through the middle of the lineup. Davis completely handcuffed them, taking a shutout into the eighth inning. He finished with 7 1/3 innings, three hits, one earned run and three walks with four strikeouts. The only run he allowed came when Sean Marshall allowed an inherited runner from Davis to score on a base hit in the eighth. Meanwhile, the Cubs have now won four of five against the Yankees and Brewers after a 2-11 stretch.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks. The 24-year-old right-hander was traded to Arizona from the White Sox for Edwin Jackson during the 2010 season. Friday, he squared off against not only the White Sox, but Jackson too. Needless to say, Hudson made a statement. He went the distance, allowing only three hits, one walk and one earned run in gathering his eighth victory of the season. That had to be pretty satisfying. It was probably just as satisfying that the D-Backs moved to within a half game in the NL West while the White Sox remain 5-1/2 back in the AL Central.




Rick Porcello, Tigers. We could probably put the whole Tigers' pitching staff and defense here, but Porcello's the one who got the ball rolling. After being spotted a 1-0 lead -- and it really should have been more, so this was an all-around team effort of futility -- Porcello coughed up eight hits, two walks and six earned runs in three innings. By the time the game ended, the Tigers had surrendered 14 hits, 10 earned runs, three unearned runs and a 13-6 loss. With the loss, the Tigers fell back into a first-place tie with the Indians. As an aside, that AL Central race is going to be awesome. Nothing would surprise me.

Padres' first inning. If you throw out the bottom of the first inning, the Padres took it to the Twins Friday night. It's just that you don't get to pick and choose like that. The Padres committed an error, a wild pitch, a passed ball and then allowed three hits -- including a Michael Cuddyer three-run homer -- en route to a five-run inning for the Twins. They were even given a gift when Ben Revere stole third but slid past the bag and was tagged out by Chase Headley. But the result was a 5-0 Twins lead and the final score was 6-5 Twins. That's a bad, bad inning.

Orioles' situational hitting. OK, let's figure this one out. The Orioles had 18 hits. Derrek Lee, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones combined for 13 of them, yet those three also combined for just one run and zero RBI. The Orioles lost 8-4. That's some pretty fine work to waste that many knocks. Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com points out it's the first time since 2007 a team had 18 hits and four runs. On the flip-side, the Nationals scored eight runs on just 10 hits. They mixed in six walks -- while the Orioles had zero. Maybe take a few more pitches, O's? Either way, leaving so many on base isn't going to get the job done.

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 9:32 pm
 

On Deck: Interleague intrigue

OD

By Matt Snyder


Only the Dodgers and Astros are stuck playing one another in an intraleague matchup Friday night, as the other 28 teams are engaged with an opponent from the other league. The Yankees visited Wrigley Field for the first time since 2003 this afternoon, we've got a Bay Area showdown, the Marlins and Rays squaring off and a Baltimore-D.C. tilt. There are some odd-ball games series like the Blue Jays-Reds and a great bout between first place teams in the Brewers-Red Sox series. But that's not all ...

Trading Places: Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) had a brief stint in Arizona -- one that included his only career no-hitter -- before he was traded to the White Sox. Part of the package that went to Arizona included Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82). Coincidentally, the two will take the mound against each other Friday night in Arizona. The White Sox continue to search for consistency from any aspect of the team, but now it's the offense as they only scored one run in two losses at Minnesota. They are 5-1/2 games out in the AL Central, kind of that middle range where you're definitely in striking distance but don't want to fall much farther back. The Diamondbacks avoided a sweep at the hands of the Giants with a win Thursday night and trail the defending champs by just 1-1/2 games. Chicago (AL) at Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET.  Watch Live Scoring

Different directions: Don't look now, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have won 11 of 16 games and are only three games out in the NL Central. We're past the halfway point of June, so we can't cling to "it's early" any longer. The Pirates haven't had a winning record since 1992, so being two games over 68 into the season is a big deal. Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the early season was the Indians hot start. But they're 6-16 since May 23 and have completely blown a seven game lead in that time. In fact, they now trail the Tigers by a game in the AL Central. Still, if we forget everything we've seen so far and look at the standings, the Indians are a game out and Pirates are three out. In looking at the interleague schedule, there's no way anyone would have predicted back in mid-March this series would be so meaningful come mid-June. Kevin Correia (8-5, 3.73) takes the hill for the Pirates while Josh Tomlin (7-4, 4.14) goes for the Tribe. Do note the Indians' offense receives a boost as Travis Hafner has been activated from the disabled list. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring

He's Back: Joe Mauer has been activated off the disabled list and will start for the first time since April 12. He'll hit third and catch as the Twins host the Padres. Clayton Richard (2-8, 4.06) gets the start for the Padres. Mauer is 2-5 against Richard in his career. Brian Duensing (3-6, 4.98) takes the hill for the Twins, who are showing signs of life after being abysmal for much of the first two months. They've now won 11 of 13 and have climbed to within nine games in the AL Central. San Diego at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m. ET.  Watch Live Scoring

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Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm
 

Pepper: New Marlins ballpark draws raves


Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.

By Evan Brunell

NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.

One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.

"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."

The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."

Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

WASHING JOCKS
: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)

MAKE A WISH
: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)

SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)

FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)

GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)

SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)

PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)

GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)

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