Tag:Ian Kennedy
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 2:04 am
 

Verlander, Kershaw win pitching triple crowns

By C. Trent Rosecrans

So, now that we've got that pesky playoff thing all figured out, we can get to the important stuff, like batting titles and the such, right?

OK, while eight teams still have something to play for, 22 other teams are done, and so are the regular-season individual titles. So what were the best marks in the biggest individual categories? Here you go:

American League
Batting average: .344 -- Miguel Cabrera
Home runs: 43 -- Jose Bautista
RBIs: 119 -- Curtis Granderson
Stolen bases: 49 -- Coco Crisp, Brett Gardner
Wins: 24 -- Justin Verlander
ERA: 2.40 -- Justin Verlander
Strikeouts: 250 -- Justin Verlander
Saves: 49 -- Jose Valverde

National League
Batting average: .337 -- Jose Reyes
Home runs: 39 -- Matt Kemp
RBIs: 126 -- Matt Kemp
Stolen bases: 61 -- Michael Bourn
Wins: 21 -- Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kennedy
ERA: 2.28 -- Clayton Kershaw
Strikeouts: 248 -- Clayton Kershaw
Saves: 46 -- John Axford, Craig Kimbrel

If you want to know who led in other stats, you can check out our stats page.

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

Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:59 pm
 

Breakout of Year Awards: Ellsbury, Morse shine

Ellsbury, Morse

By Evan Brunell

There's been plenty of discussion recently on who should win the awards baseball will hand out after the postseason. There are no shortage of opinions on who should grab the MVP or the Cy Young Award, to say nothing of Rookie of the Years, Gold Gloves and Comeback Player of the Year. But where's the category that rewards players who broke out? There hasn't one ... until now. Here's a top three, followed by two others.

MLB Awards
  • MVP candidates: AL | NL
  • Cy Young Award: AL | NL
  • Rookie of the YearAL | NL 
  • Comeback players: AL | NL
  • Gold Gloves: AL | NL
  • Tin Gloves: AL | NL
  • Manager of the Year: AL | NL
Eye on Baseball will chronicle the five top candidates per league for the Breakout Player of the Year. It's important to keep in mind the separation between a breakout and a comeback. By its very name, to win the Comeback Player of the Year, you have to have "come back" from something. Breaking out has no such restrictions. Who had a season for the ages that has most adjusted a player's value for the better? Last season, Jose Bautista would have ran away with this award in the AL. Who takes the top spot this year?

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Surprised? Don't be. Ellsbury is by all accounts one of the three top candidates to win the AL MVP award alongside Bautista and Justin Verlander. Just a year ago, Ellsbury played in just 18 games, struggling with fractured ribs suffered in an early-April crash. His commitment and toughness were called into question, and the 28-year-old was entering a make-or-break year. Safe to say he made it, with a .323/.378/.552 line with 31 homers and 38 steals, becoming Boston's first-ever 30/30 man. By Wins Above Replacement, Ellsbury has more than doubled his previous best season of 2008, his first full season in the bigs.

2. Doug Fister, Tigers: Last season, I picked up Fister in a fantasy baseball league midway through the season. That's how poorly he was thought of -- he was an injury replacement halfway through the year, even though he finished the season with 28 starts and a 4.11 ERA. While Fister displayed strong command, he didn't strike out many batters and averaged 88-mph on his fastball without a true out pitch. He wasn't considered a pitcher worth caring about. Except this year, his fastball velocity has ticked up and his slider has developed into a weapon. Then, he got traded to Detroit where he's gone bananas, giving Fister a total season ERA of 2.83 in 216 1/3 innings. Now, Fister is Detroit's No. 2 starter in October and no one thinks that's odd. So, yeah: Breakout.

3. Alex Avila, Tigers
: Fister's new batterymate in Detroit had a season truly out of nowhere. At least Ellsbury was a former first-round pick dripping with talent while Fister had previous success in the majors. Avila, though, struggled to a .228/.316/.340 line in 333 plate appearances last season. Certainly lower than his minor-league average line of .280/.373/.424, but even that didn't portend what was coming. In 2011, Avila was one of the best catchers -- strike that, one of the best players -- with a .298/.391/.513 mark in 543 PA, banging 33 doubles and 19 HR.

Also deserving:

Alex Gordon, Royals: One compared to George Brett, it took Gordon five years and a position switch, but he's finally delivering on his promise with a .303/.376/.502 figure.

Brandon McCarthy, Ahtletics: McCarthy had one of the best seasons a pitcher could have, dodging his way through a couple bumps and bruises to post a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts, allowing just 1.5 walks per nine and striking out 6.5. That's Doug Fister-ian. And just like that, the A's have yet another good pitcher.



1. Michael Morse, Nationals: Morse followed in Jose Bautista's footsteps by hinting toward a breakout season, slamming 15 homers in part-time duty. But a 30-homer season? That was tough to envision, and yet the 29-year-old broke out this year with just that and added to it by hitting .303. Now the Nationals have a fearsome middle-of-the-order bat at minimal charge and the ability to play either first base or left field. Morse's development is for real, and his power is here to stay.

2. Ryan Vogelsong, Giants: You had to know Vogelsong would land on this list. And why not? Vogelsong didn't throw one major-league pitch for four years before casually throwing up a 2.71 ERA over 179 2/3 innings this season. From 2000-06, Vogelsong was nothing short of an awful pitcher, so this is absolutely a breakout in every sense of the word ... and he began the year as a 33-year-old. His peripherals are strong enough that you can expect the fun to continue next season.

3. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: The former Yankees top prospect has found a home in Arizona, following up a solid 2010 with a sublime 2011 that should get him some Cy Young Award votes. Kennedy's soaked up 222 innings, posted a 21-4 record and a pristine 2.88 ERA, striking out 198 while at it. That's a fantastic pitcher through and through. While Kennedy may not have been ready for the AL East when he was with the Yankees, he'd certainly do just fine anywhere the way he's come along.

Also deserving:

Cameron Maybin, Padres: Maybin struggled for consistent playing time for years in Florida and finally got his chance with San Diego. His overall numbers are depressed because he plays in Petco Park, but his defense more than makes up for it. To give you an idea of how good he has been offensively, here are his road numbers: .294/.349/.457. Safe to say the Pads picked the pocket of Florida here.

Yadier Molina, Cardinals: Molina is a great defender with a fantastic arm. We all know that. He's also, for the first time in his career, been a significant contributor on offense with a .306/.349/.469 line, punching 32 doubles and 14 homers. It's power never seen before from Yadier.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 20, 2011 2:03 am
 

Upton hits a broken-bat homer



Alex PresleyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Look at that photo above, and then look at the one to the right.

There is absolutely no reason for the two to be taken of the same play. But they were.

Really. Watch it here.

Yep, Justin Upton's 31st home run of the season was literally unbelievable. Pirates pitcher Jeff Carstens thought he made a great pitch on a 3-0 count. Carstens watched his 87-mph sinker shatter Upton's bat. By all logic, it should have been an easy out for left fielder Alex Presley. Instead, it landed in the left field stands.

The barrel ended up just beyond third base, while the ball went much further.

"When I saw the bat go flying, I thought it would hang up and I'd catch it like normal," Presely told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Biertempfel. "I got back there in time and thought I was going to be able to make a play, but it didn't work out." 

After the game, Karstens told the Pittsburgh Trubune-Review: "All you can do is tip your cap to him. The bat snapped in half and the ball still went out. NO reason to be mad over it."

But really, Karsten's face right after the homer said even more:

Jeff Karstens 

It was the only run the Diamondbacks would score, but the only one they needed as Arizona's Ian Kennedy allowed just two hits in eight inning, while closer J.J. Putz picked up the save. 

Pittsburgh has scored just one run over its last 25 innings and is now tied with Chicago for fourth place in the National League Central.

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 1:47 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kennedy makes Cy Young case



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: For anyone not including Arizona's right-hander in their Cy Young discussion, Kennedy gave them something to think about on Monday. Not only did he become baseball's second 20-game winner this season, he did it in fantastic fashion, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to one hit over eight innings, while striking out a career-high 12. The only hit Kennedy gave up was to Pirates starter Jeff Karstens -- the rest of the Pirates were unable to do anything against Kennedy, who lowered his ERA to 2.88.

Mike Carp, Mariners: Five RBI in a game signals a heck of a day at the plate, but the Mariners' designated hitter drove in five in one inning on Monday. Carp doubled home the first run of the team's nine-run third inning and then hit a grand slam later after Indians reliever Chad Durbin took over for starter David Huff, as Seattle won 12-6 in seven innings as the rainout make-up game was called for rain.

Kyle Lohse, Cardinals: Opposite Roy Halladay, the Cardinals' right-hander allowed just an unearned run on seven hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings of the Cardinals' big 4-3 win. Coupled with the Braves' loss, the Cardinals are now just 2.5 games back in the wild-card race. In his three starts this month, Lohse has gone 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA, with 14 strikeouts and five walks. On the season, he's now 14-8 with a 3.47 ERA.


Howie Kendrick, Angels: Kendrick is one of the game's best defensive players, but even the best make mistakes. And Monday's mistake was one of the biggest of the season, as the Angels fell further behind and nearly out of the playoff chase with a 10-inning loss in Toronto. With no outs in the 10th inning and runners on first and second, Scott Downs got the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista to hit a grounder to third, where Macier Izturis cleanly fielded the ball and threw to Kendrick to try to apparently start the double play. But when Kendrick tried to turn two, he just dropped the ball. It was ruled that Kendrick dropped the ball on the transfer, so there was one out, but not two. It was a chance for the Angels to get two -- instead they only got one, and ended up losing the game and perhaps any hope of the playoffs.

Chipper Jones, Braves: Jones wasn't charged with an error in the ninth inning, but it was a play he probably should have made -- as he lost a Emilio Bonifacio chopper in the lights of Sun Life Stadium. If Jones fields the ball cleanly, the Braves shake hands and feel better about their 3 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals in the wild-card race. Instead, rookie closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a walk-off homer to Omar Infante. Coincidently, it was Infante's seventh-inning error that allowed the Braves to take the lead.

Brian Matusz, Orioles: If Baltimore's left-hander doesn't pitch again this season, his 10.68 ERA could be the highest in major league history for any pitcher with at least 10 starts. Matusz, 1-8, can take solace in who hold the record he is about to break -- Halladay had a 10.64 ERA in 13 starts in 2000.

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Posted on: September 19, 2011 3:57 pm
 

On Deck: Kennedy's bid for 20

OD

By Matt Snyder

As always, follow all the game action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, the Playoff Race standings page will be updating at the conclusion of every game.

Snakes' ace: Along with his team as a whole, Diamondbacks' starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (19-4, 2.99) is one of the better stories in baseball this season. He's setting out to make it even better Monday, as he takes the hill against the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates. A win would make him the first Arizona pitcher since Brandon Webb (2008) to win 20 games. It would also shrink the D-Backs' magic number to four in the NL West, as the Giants are idle Monday. Jeff Karstens (9-8, 3.45) gets the ball for the Pirates, who were battered Sunday 15-1 by the Dodgers. Karstens has a 6.20 ERA in his past four starts. Pirates at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET.

Home Sweet Road: The Braves are reeling in September, to the point that a once-huge lead in the NL wild card has shrunk and two teams are within striking distance. So maybe a trip down to Sun Life Stadium will help solve the issue? After all, the Braves have beaten the Marlins six straight times in Florida. Another good sign for the Braves is Mike Minor (5-2, 4.11) is the starting pitcher. The 23-year-old lefty has thrown pretty well since a few rough starts in the first half. He has a 3.33 ERA in his last eight starts and the Braves have won nine of his last 10 starts. Ricky Nolasco (10-11, 4.42) is the starter for the Marlins. Braves at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Big effort needed from Big John: It's time for John Lackey (12-12, 6.19) to earn his hefty eight-figure salary. The Red Sox lost 6-5 Monday afternoon, meaning they only have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Rays in the AL wild-card race and only a one-game advantage in the loss column. Lackey comes in as a major disappointment for the Red Sox this season, but a win here could go a long way in making amends with the fan base. If the Red Sox do lose, that means they'd have the same amount of losses this season as the Rays. What started off a few weeks ago as a remote possibility would then become awfully real. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the struggling Brian Matusz (1-7, 9.84) takes the hill for Baltimore. Orioles at Red Sox, about 7:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:13 pm
 

If Cy Young was decided like Manager of the Year

By Matt Snyder

As my esteemed colleague C. Trent Rosecrans pointed out Monday, the Manager of the Year award is unavailable for certain managers in any given season. For example, the Phillies and Red Sox were heavily predicted to make the World Series in 2011. The Yankees are the Yankees, and the Giants and Rangers went to the World Series last season. So right there, Charlie Manuel, Terry Francona, Joe Girardi, Bruce Bochy and Ron Washington are virtually eliminated from the chance at winning the Manager of the Year award in their respective leagues.

It's not necessarily wrong, but it's still fun to imagine if the other awards were decided in the same fashion. Tuesday, I took a look at the MVP with this twist. Now, we'll go with the Cy Young Award in each respective league. Remember, expectations disqualify people in Manager of the Year voting, so we're doing that here, just for fun. Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and several others aren't in contention because they are already established studs.

Here are three candidates for the Cy Young Award of each league, if voters reacted as they did in the Manager of the Year voting -- along with who I think would win and why.

American League

Doug Fister, Tigers
2010 numbers: 6-14, 4.11 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 93 K, 171 IP
2011 numbers: 8-13, 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 130 K, 197 1/3 IP, 3 CG
Fister was already improved in 2010, but he's been lights out since joining the contending Tigers (2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP in eight starts) and helped them build up some incredible momentum in their race to win a division title for the first time since 1987. His deadline deal to the Tigers garnered modest fanfare, but it has ended up being a huge splash and he gives them a bona fide No. 2 behind Verlander in the playoffs.

Justin Masterson, Indians
2010 numbers: 6-13, 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 140 K, 180 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
2011 numbers: 11-10, 3.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 151 K, 205 1/3 IP, 1 CG
A question mark heading into the season, Masterson developed into the Indians' ace -- at least before the Ubaldo Jimenez trade -- as they stormed out of the gates and were in first place for a long time. He's faltered lately (5.85 ERA in his last five starts), but he's only 26 and has a big workload. Also give him major points for drastically lowering home run and walk rates.

James Shields, Rays
2010 numbers: 13-15, 5.18 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 187 K, 203 1/3 IP
2011 numbers: 15-10, 2.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 210 K, 226 1/3 IP, 11 CG, 4 SHO
So Shields nearly chopped his ERA in half while going from leading the majors in hits and earned runs allowed -- and the AL in home runs allowed -- to leading the AL in shutouts and the majors in complete games. He entered the season with just five complete games and two shutouts in his entire career (which was 151 starts). Just look at those numbers differences. It's utterly staggering.

And the winner is ... James Shields. Fister would likely get some late support and Masterson's growth has been great to watch, but Shields blows the rest of the field away here. He'd be the Kirk Gibson of this award.

National League

Johnny Cueto, Reds
2010 numbers: 12-7, 3.64 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 138 K, 185 2/3 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
2011 numbers: 9-5, 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 102 K, 152 1/3 IP, 3 CG, 1 SHO
Wow, look how he's trimmed that ERA. Cueto has been huge for the Reds this season as they struggled to get anywhere what they thought they would from some other starting pitchers, but he could only do so much on his own.

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks
2010 numbers: 9-10, 3.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 168 K, 194 IP
2011 numbers: 19-4, 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 182 K, 208 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
Sure, the D-Backs being a vastly improved team this year helps the win-loss record, but Kennedy is one of the biggest reasons for the surprise season. He's grown into an ace far quicker than most predicted. In fact, most scouting outlets only had him pegged as a middle-of-the-rotation guy.

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
2010 numbers: 3-8, 4.81 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 110 K, 95 1/3 innings ... oh, and these were spread across Double-A and Triple-A.
2011 numbers: 10-7, 2.66 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 124 K, 162 1/3 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
From 2000-06, Vogelsong had a 5.26 ERA and 1.59 WHIP for the Giants and Pirates. He then played three years in Japan before returning for an uninspiring season in the minors last year (as you can see above). He the joined the Giants as a 33 year old and was thrown into the rotation due to injury issues in late April. By the All-Star break he was 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA and headed to Phoenix as an actual All-Star. He's one of the better stories in baseball this year.

And the winner is ... Ryan Vogelsong. You could make a great argument for any of the three, but I'm going with Vogelsong because he came from completely out of nowhere. Cueto and Kennedy at least had hope for big seasons, especially as they should be progressing with more age and experience. Vogelsong was barely even an afterthought entering the year, and no one expected him to ever be a meaningful major-league player.

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Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 2:45 pm
 

On Deck: Rays in the spotlight

OD

By Matt Snyder

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

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

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

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

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 1:30 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kennedy notches 19th win

Ian Kennedy

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: Kennedy picked up his 19th victory of the season as the Diamondbacks beat the Padres 4-1 on Thursday. It was the 13th consecutive victory at Chase Field for Arizona, which is now 83-61 on the season and gaining on Milwaukee (85-60) for the second seed in the NL playoffs. Kennedy allowed just one run on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out 11 Padres. Kennedy has won each of his last four starts and 11 of his last 12. While most expect Roy Halladay or Clayton Kershaw to win the National League's Cy Young Award, Kennedy will have to be in the discussion.

Ricky Romero, Blue Jays: Toronto's left-hander entered Thursday's game against Boston with a 2-6 ERA in 11 career starts -- more than double his career ERA of 3.76. In two starts against the Red Sox before Thursday, Romero had given up 11 runs on 17 hits and eight walks in 8 2/3 innings. WIth that in mind, Thursday had to be a relief, as Romero silenced the Red Sox through 6 2/3 inning before giving up an RBI double to Jacoby Ellsbury to break up the shutout and ending his night. Reliever Casey Hansen gave up a two-run single with both runs charged to Romero. In all, Romero allowed three runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking three -- but most importantly for him, picked up the 7-4 victory against the Red Sox.

Robert Andino, Orioles: Baltimore's second baseman tied Thursday's game against the Yankees in the eighth inning with an RBI single and then won it with a single down the third-base line to score Nolan Reimold with the winning run in a 5-4 Orioles victory. Baltimore beat New York in extras on Wednesday as well, even though that game was in New York, not Baltimore.


Drew Storen, Nationals: The second game of the Dodgers-Nationals game was rained out, but Storen probably wishes the first game was called, too. The Washington closer had only pitched in two of the Nationals last 14 games and looked rusty when called into the tie game in the ninth inning. Storen gave up three hits, hit a batter and walked another in 2/3 of an inning before being lifted for Collin Balester who got Matt Kemp to fly out to end the inning, but not before the damage was done in an eventual 7-4 Nationals' loss.

Corey Luebke, Padres: Luebke didn't pitch poorly, allowing just two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings -- but against Kennedy, two runs were enough. Both runs came on solo homers -- by Paul Goldscmidt in the fourth and Justin Upton in the sixth.  Luebke has given up 11 homers this season and seven of them are to the Diamondbacks -- three by Upton. Xavier Nady, Collin Cowgill and Aaron Hill have also taken Luebke deep this season.

Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: Pedroia was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and left five men on base in Boston's loss to Toronto. But it wasn't just Thursday's game that gets Pedroia here. THe Red Sox second baseman and former MVP had just 1 hit in 20 at-bats in the series against the Blue Jays, ending with a strikeout with two men on to end the game. It was only the second time Pedroia has struck out three times in a game this season and the third time since the All-Star break that he struck out more than once in a game.

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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