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Tag:Elvis Andrus
Posted on: September 5, 2011 12:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bloomquist kills Giants' hopes

Willie Bloomquist

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks: Bloomquist's two-run triple in the eighth inning may have been the final nail in the defending champions' 2011 coffin. Ryan Vogelsong held the Diamondbacks scoreless into the eighth inning before Ryan Roberts homered and then after Gerardo Parra singled and Geoff Blum walked, Bloomquist fired Ramon Ramirez's first pitch into the corner in right, scoring the eventual winning runs. With the 4-1 victory, Arizona leaves San Francisco up seven games in the division with 22 games remaining for each team.

Shaun Marcum, Brewers: Marcum again showed why the Brewers could be a team to be reckoned with in the postseason. Although Zack Greinke was the team's most high-profile pickup in the offseason, Marcum's been just as good, if not better. Marcum, acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays, improved to 12-5 with a 3.11 ERA after allowing just one hit and a walk in seven innings in a 4-0 victory over the Astros. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning when Jordan Schafer singled up the middle with one out. No Astro made it to second base until the eighth when Francisco Rodriguez walked J.B. Shuck and then a single to Jason Bourgeois. However, Rodriguez recovered to retire the next two batters he faced to quell the scare. With the win and the Cardinals' loss to the Reds, Milwaukee now leads the NL Central by 9 1/2 games.

Derek Jeter, Yankees: Many of us said Jeter was too old and should just be sent out back and shot (or, you know, out to stud or whatever Derek Jeter will do after he's done with baseball), but those of us who said that (with me raising my hand right here) were wrong. The Captain didn't just go 2 for 5, tying a career-high five RBI in Sunday's 9-3 rout of Toronto, but since the All-Star break he's hitting .343/.397/.448. The one thing he hasn't done much of in that span is hit homers, but he had his second of the second half on Sunday and first since July 25. However, on a team with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, the Yankees don't need Jeter to hit homers, just be on base when the others do.


John Lackey, Red Sox: A favorite whipping boy of Red Sox fans, Lackey looked as if he were getting it together -- going five straight starts without giving up more than four earned runs (baby steps, people, baby steps). That streak ended on Sunday. Lackey allowed six runs on eight hits in five-plus innings of work. He didn't retire a batter in the Rangers' seven-run sixth inning, leaving after allowing three straight singles, threw a wild pitch and then walked a batter before being lifted. Lefty Felix Doubront gave up Lackey's final three runs and then three of his own in a 11-4 Rangers victory.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles: The Orioles third baseman committed two errors in the Orioles' 8-1 loss to the Rays, taking over the lead in the majors for errors, leapfrogging shortstops Elvis Andrus of the Rangers and Starlin Castro of the Cubs, who both have 25 errors. Reynolds hadn't started a game at third base since Aug. 14, but was moved back to third on Sunday to give Robert Andino a day off. Reynolds booted a two-out grounder with bases loaded in the third inning and led to four unearned runs in the inning. Reynolds' fielding percentage is down to .897 at third base. He's dead last in pretty much any fielding stat you want to name, UZR, UZR/150 and fielding percentage among them -- and it's not really close. Among qualified third basemen, none have a fielding percentage less than .940.

David Herndon, Phillies: His 2-1 pitch to Mike Cameron with bases loaded in the bottom of the 14th was close -- but his 3-1 pitch wasn't, as Herndon walked in Emilio Bonifacio to give Florida a 5-4 victory. Herndon loaded the bases in the 13th inning, but got out of it. He couldn't repeat the feat in the 14th, despite not allowing a ball out of the infield. In 3 2/3 innings, he walked seven batters -- so really blaming one call on one pitch doesn't carry much weight.

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Posted on: July 17, 2011 3:02 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:50 am
 

Rockies need 'Herschel Walker' deal for Jimenez

Ubaldo Jimenez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It seems Ubaldo Jimenez is this season's hot name that could go nowhere.

Last week it was the Reds who popped up as a possible landing spot for Jimenez, but now it seems more are involved. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Rockies have been in contact with the Yankees about Jimenez. Heyman said later on MLB Network that 12 teams have contacted the Rockies about JImenez, adding the Red Sox and Rays as possible bidders. Troy Renck of the Denver Post adds the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies as teams with interest in Jimenez.

It's easy to understand why teams would want Jimenez -- he's one of the top talents in the game, even if he's not putting up the dominant numbers he did a year ago when he was 15-1 with a  2.20 ERA in the first half. This season he's 5-8 with a 4.08 ERA, but most of his struggles have been at Coors Field, where his ERA more than three-and-a-half runs higher than it is on the road -- .5.89 at home and 2.28 on the road. His strikeout rate (8.1 per nine innings) is down slightly (8.7 last season), but so are his walks (3.5 walks per nine innings in 2011 and 3.7 in 2010).

And it's not just Jimenez's presence on the mound that makes him attractive, he's a relative bargain, signed through next season and he makes just $4.2 million in 2012 and has team options for both 2013 ($5.75 million) and 2014 ($8 million), but the 2014 option is voided if he's traded. Evan at $8 million, Jimenez is a bargain -- for comparison, Colorado's Aaron Cook is making $9.25 million this season and enters today's start with an 0-4 record and 5.82 ERA. Another team won't benefit from the 2014 option, but any team trading for him would get Jimenez for the next two seasons for less than $10 million.

As a comparison, perhaps one of the other top names on the trade market is Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who is in the first year of a three-year, $34 million contract.

Jesus MonteroThe Rockies have spent their entire existence searching for an ace pitcher that's not bothered pitching at Coors Field, in Jimenez, they've finally got him. So, why would the Rockies trade him? That's a pretty good question. The short answer is that it doesn't cost anything to listen.

"We would have to be absolutely overwhelmed," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver Post. "It would have to be a Herschel Walker deal."

In 1989 the Dallas Cowboys sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings along with four draft picks in return for five players and eight draft picks. The Cowboys turned those draft picks into Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Darren Woodson, Dixon Edwards and more draft picks, including the one that led to the first overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). That trade laid the foundation for the Cowboys' three Super Bowl titles in the mid-90s.

In a baseball equivalent, you could call it a Mark Teixeira trade. In baseball, you can't trade draft picks, but prospects are the equivalent of NFL draft picks. In 2007, the Rangers sent Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That's a pretty good haul -- and that's for a player that was scheduled to be a free agent. Jimenez could cost more because of the extra years of team control with a very team-friendly contract.

The market has changed in reaction to that trade, with fewer teams giving up that much for rentals, but Jimenez won't be a rental, so he could command a king's ransom.

What are the Rockies looking for? Mainly they want young pitching talent that can be under team control for a long time, but that's major league ready. They'd also want a top-notch position prospect, as well. The Yankees would likely need to give up catcher Jesus Montero (right) and a top pitching prospect such as Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances in addition to other prospects. Heyman said on MLB Network that the Rockies have asked for not just Montero, Banuelos and Betances, but also Ivan Nova. The Reds could spare first baseman Yonder Alonso, but would have to send some pitching such as Mike Leake and/or Travis Wood to the Rockies in addition to other players.

There have been reports that Jimenez is unhappy with being on the trading block, but he denies that's the case.

"I won't be bothered by trade rumors. I am mentally strong," Jimenez told Renck. "Don't forget that about me."

It would be foolish for someone like O'Dowd not to listen, but in the end, if the Rockies do trade him, it will have to be for a massive collection of talent.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Rangers murderer's row paces AL West All-Stars

By C. Trent Rosecrans

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The American League West may be able to put together the best rotation in baseball, but putting together a lineup from players just from the division is a little tougher. Of the four teams in the division, only the Rangers are better than league average in runs (455), on-base percentage (.332), OPS (.788) and home runs (111). That makes it no surprise that our lineup for the American League West All-Star team has a heavy Ranger lean, as five of the nine position players are from Texas, including the heart of the order from No. 3 to No. 7 in the lineup.

Kurt SuzukiC Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: There are some serious slim pickings in this category, with the only real choice coming between the A's Suzuki and Seattle's Miguel Olivo. Neither was considered a snub when the All-Star team was announced, and for good reason. Suzuki is hitting .224/.291/.342, while Olivo is hitting .223/.265/.392. Olivo does have 12 home runs and 40 RBI, but I just could justify putting someone with a .265 on-base percentage on any time of All-Star team. Suzuki also brings top-flight defense, so he gets the nod.

Mitch Moreland1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers: This is an intriguing group of young first basemen. The preseason pick would have been Daric Barton, but he's now in the minor leagues. The Angels' Mark Trumbo (.259/.303/.474) and Mariners' Justin Smoak (.232/.330/.423)are starting to put up some good numbers, but the pick here is Moreland (.279/.341/.458), whose average numbers are better, even if his counting stats aren't up to the other two. The difference is small enough to go with the Moreland.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Howard Kendrick ANA 2B
2 Peter Bourjos ANA CF
3 Josh Hamilton TEX LF
4 Michael Young TEX DH
5 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
6 Nelson Cruz TEX RF
7 Mitch Moreland TEX 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki OAK C
9 Elvis Andrus TEX SS

Howie Kendrick2B Howard Kendrick, Angels: Finally, a real-live All-Star. The 27-year-old Kendrick is making his first All-Star appearance, hitting .305/.361/.466 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. A very good defensive second baseman, he also adds value by being able to play all over the diamond. He's started games at second base, left field and first base this season and has also started one game in his career at third base.

Adrian Beltre3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers: You can argue he's not worth the five-year, $80 million contract given to him by the Rangers, but it's tough to argue that he's not the best third baseman in the division. Hitting .272/.314/.492 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, plus exceptional defense, the choice here is clear.

Elvis AndrusSS Elvis Andrus, Rangers: You're not going to confuse Andrus with Cal Ripken Jr. or Alex Rodriguez anytime soon, but the smooth-fielding shortstop is getting on base at a .332 clip and also has 26 stolen bases. Erick Aybar is equal with Andrus in batting average (.283) and better slugging (.431), but lower on-base percentage (.316). I'll take Andrus' glove, as well, so he gets the call.

Josh HamiltonLF Josh Hamilton, Rangers: Hamilton missed 36 games after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder in April, but he's still accumulated 11 home runs to go along with 49 RBI and a line of .305/.359/.549. While Hamilton's played all over the outfield, he's started the most games in left, and that's probably the best spot for him. And he's certainly the best choice in the division.

Peter BourjosCF Peter Bourjos, Angels: Although he's currently hobbled by tightness in his right hamstring, Bourjos is the class of AL West center fielders, hitting .272/.323/.397. He also covers a ton of ground, which helps in this division that features some spacious ballparks. 

Nelson CruzRF Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Like Hamilton, the Rangers right fielder has missed a good chunk of games with a trip to the disabled list in May, but he's still hit 20 home runs and knocked in 55. His .293 on-base percentage is lower than you'd like to see, but his slugging (.520) makes up for it. He beats out Torii Hunter who has a slightly better on-base percentage, much better defense, but pales in comparison in slugging.

Michael YoungDH Michael Young, Rangers: The Rangers sure are glad they didn't heed Young's trade request this offseason. Filling in at various spots in the field for injured Rangers, he's also taken to the designated hitter spot without a hiccup. Young is hitting .326/.360/.486 with eight home runs and 59 RBI. He's also played 25 games at first base, 11 at second base and four at third, while the bulk of his playing time has come as a DH.

Jered WeaverSP Jered Weaver, Angels: Starting pitching is probably the deepest category in this division -- and looking at the starting pitching across the AL West may help explain the tough time finding offensive standouts (or it could be vice-versa, though I'll stick with the pitching in this division). Weaver gets the nod with a record of  11-4 and a 1.86 ERA. He's struck out 120 in 140 1/3 innings and walked just 31. Weaver lost his arbitration case with the Angels this year, he'll have a pretty good case this offseason, going into his last arbitration year. Apologies to Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61), Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20), Michael Pineda (8-6, 3.03) and Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 2.47).

Scott DownsMR Scott Downs, Angels: The 35-year-old Downs has been around so long that he's a former Expo, but he's maybe having his best season yet. Signed by the Angels this offseason, he's produced for his new team, going 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 20 in 29 2/3 innings. He gets the nod over A's side-armer Brad Ziegler (2-1, 1.78).

Jordan WaldenCL Jordan Walden, Angels: The All-Star picked up his 20th save of the season on Sunday, closing out the Angels' victory over the Mariners by striking out the only batter he faced. His ERA is down to 2.84 and has 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, while walking 17. Brandon League is also an All-Star and his 23 saves lead the American League. His lower strikeouts and higher ERA are the reason Walden gets the nod, even though the Angel has two more blown saves than League.

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:30 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Bay plays hero

Jason Bay

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Jason Bay, Mets: At one point someone on TV said, "Jason Bay's the Mets' last hope," and I thought to myself, that's the most ominous statement I've heard in a long time. Well, Bay proved me wrong. He walked in the ninth against Mariano Rivera and went on to score the game-tying run on Rony Paulino pinch-hit single off of Rivera. The next inning he singled with two outs and bases loaded to give the Mets a 3-2 victory over the Yankees.

Blake Beavan, Mariners: In his big-league debut, Beavan allowed three hits and a run in seven innings. The right-hander was acquired by the Mariners in last year's Cliff Lee deal and was called up to replace Erik Bedard, who went on the 15-day DL earlier this week. A control specialist, Beavan threw 64 strikes and 26 balls. 

Melky Cabrera, Royals: Cabrera was one of two Royals to finish a triple shy of the cycle in Kansas City's 16-8 victory over the Rockies. Cabrera finished with two homers and five RBIs. Eric Hosmer drove in four with four hits, including two singles. Kansas City had 12 extra-base hits in the win.


Cliff Lee, Phillies: He's not going to appear here much, but he certainly deserves to be in this slot following Sunday's game. Not only was his scoreless innings streak stopped at 34 in the third inning, he gave up four runs on three homers in the eighth inning, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in 7 1/3 innings in a loss to the Blue Jays

Ramiro Pena, Yankees: Filling in not only for Derek Jeter, but also Eduardo Nunez, Pena committed two errors in the last two innings, including a crucial error in the 10th inning that extended the inning for Bay. Pena's ninth-inning error nearly ended the game, but Brett Gardner and Russell Martin made great plays to nail Lucas Duda at the plate and send the game to the 10th. In the 10th, Pena bobbled a ball hit by Daniel Murphy with two on and two out, loading the bases for Bay. The good news is Jeter returns Monday.

Elvis Andrus, Rangers: With two outs in the eighth inning and Texas holding on to a 2-1 lead, Andrus booted a ball by Hanley Ramirez, allowing the tying run to score. Logan Morris followed with a two-run double and Mike Stanton added an RBI single. Florida went on to win, 6-4. Andrus' 16 errors is tied with Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro for second-most in baseball, with Baltimore third baseman Mark Reynolds leading the way with 19.

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Posted on: June 26, 2011 9:46 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Sportsman of the day: Terry Collins

By Matt Snyder

Mets manager Terry Collins has guided his ballclub to a 39-39 record, despite ownership turmoil, constant trade rumors and several key injuries. They just took two of three in Texas from the defending AL Champion Rangers and are only five games behind the Braves for the NL Wild Card. But none of that is why we're talking about Collins right now.

Sunday, in an eventual 8-5 Mets win, the Rangers had several close calls go against them and were yelling at the umpires throughout the game. Manager Ron Washington was ejected. Then, the umpiring crew gave Collins a choice of which Rangers player would be ejected because of the general complaining coming from the entire team. He chose Elvis Andrus, the Rangers usual starting shortstop who was sitting out due to a wrist injury. He reportedly did so as an act of sportsmanship (ESPN Dallas), even though he wanted the umpires to toss hot-hitting Michael Young.

"I wanted [Young] out," Collins said (AP). "I was tired of watching Young hit the ball out of the ballpark. And that's who it was [doing most of the yelling], too."

Sure, it's probably the same move every other manager would have made, but Collins still went through with it. He easily could have chosen Young or big bopper Nelson Cruz. Instead, Collins picked the guy who wasn't going to see the field anyway. He deserves kudos for that.

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Posted on: June 25, 2011 2:25 pm
 

Andrus out for weekend with wrist injury

By Matt Snyder

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus will not be in the lineup when the Rangers face the Mets Saturday or Sunday. He injured his left wrist on a head-first slide during Friday night's game. Andrus still hasn't visited Rangers team doctor Keith Meister, though he doesn't feel the injury is anything to be concerned about long-term.

"I don't think it will take too long," Andrus said. "Maybe a few days and I'll be ready." (ESPN Dallas)

For now, expect Andrus to miss two to three games, but we'll know more once he's been examined.

The Rangers suffer a decent blow to the offense with Andrus out, as he's replaced in the starting lineup by Andres Blanco. Andrus is hitting .278 with 22 stolen bases and 45 runs scored. Blanco is hitting just .150 with a .209 on-base percentage. He only has one stolen base and two home runs in his entire career.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 10:31 am
 

Andrus pulled for lack of effort

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Elvis AndrusRangers manager Ron Washington pulled shortstop Elvis Andrus for his effort on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning of the Rangers' 6-1 loss to the Twins.

"I didn't like his attitude," Washington told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "The inning before there were a couple of plays he didn't make, but he gave the effort. There are going to be plays that you can't make. On that play, there wasn't energy. Elvis is better than that. I didn't chew him out, but I let him know that."

Andrus was given an error on a throw that drew first baseman Michael Young off the bag, allowing Rene Rivera to reach base. It was his second error of the game. A ball bounced off his glove in the seventh inning, leading to five unearned runs.

Andrus offered little defense for his eighth-inning miscue.

"I was still a little upset, I think, about the inning before," Andrus told Grant. "I got upset with myself and I think that was still bothering me because I didn't help the pitcher out. But things happen. There is no excuse. There's nothing really that I can say about it."

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 12, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Liriano loses bid for second no-hitter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Francisco LirianoSearching for his second no-hitter of the season, Francisco Liriano lost a perfect game in the seventh inning and the no-hitter in the eighth. However, Liriano did pick up his fourth win of the season in a 6-1 victory over the Rangers

After watching a lengthy bottom of the seventh for the Twins, which saw Minnesota score five runs and Texas use three pitchers, Adrian Beltre singled to lead off the eighth. Yorvit Torrealba added an RBI single in the inning, breaking up Liriano's shutout bid. Alex Burnett pitched a perfect ninth for the Twins, giving Minnesota its ninth win in 11 games. Coupled with the losses by the Tigers and Indians, the Twins pulled to nine games out of first in the American League Central at 26-39.

Liriano was perfect through 6 1/3 when third baseman Luke Hughes committed an error on Elvis Andrus' bouncer down the third-base line with one out in the seventh. Hughes tried to backhand the ball and it bounced off his glove and into foul territory, allowing Andrus to advance to second.

Liriano walked six and struck out two White Sox on May 3 in his no-hitter. Liriano needed 123 pitches that night, but had used just 73 through seven on Sunday and finished with 97 pitches in eight innings.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison left the game in the bottom of the seventh when Danny Valencia lined one off his left arm for a hit to lead off the seventh. Harrison allowed just five hits and two runs in his six innings, walking three and striking out three. Yesterday, Rangers Matt Bush had to leave after he was hit by a Twins batter in the leg. The Twins scored five runs in the inning, keeping Liriano on the bench for roughly a half-hour.

Liriano was trying to join Roy Halladay (2010), Nolan Ryan (1973), Virgil Trucks (1952), Allie Reynolds (1951) and Johnny Vander Meer (1938) as pitchers who have thrown two no-hitters in one season.

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