Tag:Jeremy Hellickson
Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:03 pm
 

AL Rookie of the Year race wide open



By Matt Snyder


During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Today: the AL Rookie of the Year.

View contenders for the: AL MVP | NL MVP | AL Cy Young | NL Cy Young

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who get to vote for the Rookie of the Year in either respective league are forced to narrow the field to three players. In looking at the American League rookies in 2011, that's not a simple task. It seems like the three best at the moment haven't been up for long. Others were stellar for a stretch but have also suffered through rough patches. It's a subjective award, so let's throw some names out there.

Here are seven players who have a realistic shot and three more who could have had one -- if they were recalled from the minors earlier (denoted by an asterisk).

*Dustin Ackley, Mariners. One of the future anchors to the Mariners lineup has only been up for 71 games, which likely isn't enough to garner tons of support here. He is hitting .300 with 13 doubles, seven triples and six home runs and an .845 OPS. He scores well in WAR (wins above replacement player), but he probably needed to be overly spectacular to win the award with what will be just over a half season.

J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Big power (21 home runs) at a tough defensive position is a plus. It would be awfully difficult to overcome the .221 batting average and .281 on-base percentage to win the award in a crowded field, though.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays. It feels like he'll have a good shot, depending on how the rest of the season goes. Hellickson is currently 12-10 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He also has two complete games and is averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. It's been a very solid rookie campaign, even if not spectacular.

Eric Hosmer, Royals. The 21-year-old first baseman has been very good since getting his call in May. He's hitting .285/.335/.458 with 16 home runs, 66 RBI, 55 runs and nine stolen bases. Like Hellickson, though, Hosmer's been more steady than spectacular. The next two guys have been spectacular, but only for a short time ...

*Desmond Jennings, Rays. He's only been up for 44 games, but he's hitting .302 with nine home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .936 OPS. He also passes the eye test, as he comes through in the clutch and has made a few highlight-reel defensive plays. The talent is immense, but the service time probably keeps him off most ballots.

*Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. In just 32 games, Lawrie is hitting .324 with eight homers, 21 RBI, 19 runs, six steals and a 1.076 OPS. He also has a few clutch home runs (see the picture to the right) and plays the game with a youthful enthusiasm (again, see right). Had he not broken his hand on a hit-by-pitch earlier this summer in the minors, a promotion was likely to come earlier and he'd probably have a real shot at the award, Instead, he's going to have enough service time to qualify as a rookie, yet probably not near enough to gather many, if any, votes.

Ivan Nova, Yankees. Do you like win-loss record in judging pitchers? If so, Nova's your guy here in a no-brainer. He entered Thursday 15-4 for the first-place Yankees. If you don't love win-loss record, he probably doesn't win the award. He has a 3.89 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with a low strikeout rate (again, these numbers are prior to Thursday's start).

Michael Pineda, Mariners. The gargantuan starting pitcher was the easy favorite to win the award at the All-Star break. He was 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 113 innings at the time. Since then, he's 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA. Still, did he do enough to hold on? His full season numbers: 9-9, 3.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 163 strikeouts in 159 innings. It will be interesting to see how the early stretch of dominance (6-2, 2.16 ERA through nine starts) plays in the minds of the voters.

Mark Trumbo, Angels. His power numbers look great -- 26 homers, 80 RBI, 28 doubles -- and he's playing in a pennant race. He's also had the job since opening day and has admirably filled in at first for injured Kendrys Morales. Trumbo also had some clutch moments of his own. Do the average (.256), on-base percentage (.295) and strikeout-to-walk (102 to 24) rates hurt him? We'll see.

Jordan Walden, Angels. The 23-year-old closer made the All-Star team, but he's faltered in several rough stretches. What looks good: 29 saves, 2.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings. What doesn't: Nine blown saves out of 38 chances. That's awfully high. So do the positives outweigh the negatives? There's sure to be some disagreement among voters.

So who is the best candidate? What would be your top three? Let us know below ...

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 1:05 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Gonzalez's power binge continues

Gonzalez

By Evan Brunell

3 UpAdrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: Including Wednesday night, Adrian Gonzalez homered on three consecutive pitches, with the latter two coming in the first two at-bats of Thursday's game, helping pace the Red Sox to a 6-0 victory. Gonzalez's second homer of the night was estimated at 448 feet, just one foot less than Jacoby Ellsbury's blast off of Felix Hernandez in July for the longest Sox homer of the season. A-Gon now has 23 homers on the year, five in the last three games. Before Tuesday, he hadn't homered since July 30. Gonzalez finished 2 for 4 with three RBI.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: Jeremy Hellickson twirled a beaut on Thursday, shutting down the Tigers 2-0 by going seven strong, giving up two earned runs, a walk and six hits. He struck out seven, but four of those came in the same inning. That was made possible by Austin Jackson opening the top of the third with a strikeout, reaching first on a wild pitch. Ramon Santiago, Delmon Young and Victor Martinez all then followed with whiffs, all four of them whiffing. The rookie's ERA was further shaved to 3.01, and it's difficult to imagine he doesn't walk away with the Rookie of the Year award.

Russell Martin, Yankees: Martin had a game to remember on Thursday, going 5 for 5 with two home runs. The backstop has been a zero on offense since the first several days of the season, but has heated up the past week, with another strong game coming last Friday. Between these two games, Martin's OPS has skyrocketed to .761 on the year, up from .689 on Aug. 16. That's a fast turnaround in OPS for someone who has played the entire season.



Phil Hughes, Yankees: The Yankees won 22-9, so there were plenty of lousy A's players who took the mound and blew up. In fact, all six Oakland pitchers in the game gave up at least one run, led by Bruce Billings' 1 1/3-inning relief effort, giving up seven earned runs. But we're profiling Hughes here, who took a major step back in his return from a mysterious drop in velocity that saw him knocked around in April. After four straight strong starts, Hughes gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings to the punchless A's, who rapped out seven hits despite grabbing no walks and whiffing five times. Hughes failed to capitalize after a poor A.J. Burnett start that might have seen New York trim its rotation back to five men and boot Burnett. But now, who knows?

Adam Lind, Blue Jays: It was a golden sombrero day for Lind, who whiffed four times in five hitless trips to the plate. Lind also went 0-for-4 on Thursday and is mired in a slump over his past several games and in the month overall, with his OPS dropping from .807 to start August down to .749 by game's end, unable to solve the Royals, who started Jeff Francis. Lind had come back strong from a dispiriting 2010, but thanks to the slump, his bounceback year looks far less impressive than it did earlier in the season.

Tyler Clippard, Nationals: Fangraphs has two statistics for relief pitchers, called shutdowns and meltdowns, that is essentially saves and blown saves for relievers as a whole, allowing for better comparison. Coming into Thursday's game, Clippard had 34 shutdowns and six meltdowns, which is an excellent ratio. Well, you can add a meltdown to that statistic, as Clippard gave up three earned runs in just 2/3s of an inning against Arizona, allowing the Diamondbacks to pad their 2-1 lead to 5-1 in a game they would eventually win 8-1.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kinsler, Uggla belt two HR

Kinsler

By Evan Brunell

3 UpIan Kinsler, Rangers: Ian Kinsler could do no wrong Saturday, although it wasn't enough to defeat the White Sox, by rapping out three hits in four trips to the plate, adding two runs and RBI apiece. But it only gets better -- two of Kinsler's hits went over the fence, giving him 20 homers on the season. The second baseman hasn't fulfilled high expectations set in the 2008-09 seasons, and is currently on pace to post the worst offensive season of his career. Don't tell that to John Danks, though, who coughed up both homers.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: The Rays have received fantastic starting pitching as of late, and Hellickson kept the ball rolling by blanking the Mariners in eight innings, giving up one free pass and six hits, punching out five. The outing lowered Hellickson's ERA to 3.04, which is fantastic for any pitcher, never mind one in his first full season. Hellickson is increasingly looking like the favorite to snag the Rookie of the Year award, and no one else is mounting a major challenge -- at least, not yet.

Dan Uggla, Braves: Uggla's hitting streak may be over, but he's still crushing pitchers, rocketing two home runs Saturday against Arizona. Uggla finished the night with a 2-for-3 effort, driving in three runs, scoring twice and tacking on a walk. Not including Saturday's outburst, since July 2, Uggla has hit .327/.393/.648. You can now tick these numbers up slightly more. It's been an incredible resurgence for Uggla, whose season numbers still pale in comparison to the past, but it's now no longer a lost season, as it was shaping up to be.



3 DownFrancisco Rodriguez, Brewers: In K-Rod's return to the Mets, he allowed New York to cap off what was a stunning comeback by giving up three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, including Angel Pagan's two-run home run to push the Mets ahead. Milwaukee actually ended up coming back to win the game in the top ninth thanks to Rodriguez's replacement in the Big Apple, Jason Isringhausen, blowing the lead. Before that, though, the Mets needed to push five runs across the plate in the seventh just to pull within one, and kept the good times going against Rodriguez, who was making his first appearance at Citi Field since being traded immediately after the All-Star Game ended. Since Rodriguez arrived in town, the Brewers bullpen has been fantastic, but they just didn't show up for work Saturday.

Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: And the saga continues. Wakefield made his fifth attempt at gaining 200 victories but fell short on Saturday when he was removed from the game in the middle of the sixth inning and the Royals threatening. Matt Albers relieved and offered up a walk and a single to plate Mike Moustakas with the tying run in a bang-bang play at the plate before the Royals poured on the runs against the bullpen. Wakefield walks away with four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits while striking out three and walking zero. The knuckleballer didn't exactly knock them dead Saturday, but has pitched rather well over the last five starts and deserves to have that win in hand by now.

A.J. Burnett, Yankees:  Burnett didn't exactly endear himself to Yankees brass with his start on Saturday. Already struggling through a lousy year, Burnett allowed seven runs to cross the plate in just 1 1/3 innings, walking three, whiffing one and spiking his ERA to 4.96. When skipper Joe Girardi came to yank Burnett from the game, the right-hander had some choice words for Girardi. He may want to have some choice words for himself, as he now checks in with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts over 49 innings.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: July 26, 2011 8:21 am
 

Monday's trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

As the non-waiver trade deadline looms on Sunday, the rumors are coming fast and furious -- with some make sense and others not so much. Much of what you hear at this time of year is a smokescreen, but baseball fans love gossip more than junior high school girls, with less regard to the truth. So, to help satisfy that desire, we're rounding up the day's rumors in one place.

• The Rays won't deal James Shields, our own CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler reports. Tampa Bay has told other teams that they won't discuss Shields, David Price or Jeremy Hellickson. That said, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis are available, as is B.J. Upton.

MLB Trade Deadline

• The Rays are also offering closer Kyle Farnsworth to anyone interested, Buster Olney of ESPN.com tweets.

• CBSSports.com's Scott Miller says he's also heard that the Phillies have "way cooled" on acquiring Carlos Beltran, backing up Knobler's report from Sunday.

• Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets the Rangers and Giants are ahead of the Phillies and Braves as of Monday.

• The chance of the Rockies dealing Ubaldo Jimenez is "around 50/50" FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi writes, citing a "major-league source close to the talks." He adds the Reds are still involved and the Tigers are interested as well. Morosi reports one team has exchanged names with the Rockies.

• The Reds are drawing interest on right-hander Edinson Volquez, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets.

• The Cardinals and Nationals have talked about sending Todd Coffey -- a former Red and Brewer -- to St. Louis. The team would like to keep Tyler Clippard, but if someone wows them, they're open, Morosi tweets.

• The Yankees won't move top prospects -- such as left-hander Manny Banuelos, right-hander Dellin Betances or catchers Jesus Montero or Austin Romine -- unless they get an ace-type pitcher in return, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

• The Phillies are "aggressive" on Heath Bell and Mike Adams of the Padres, but are surprised they aren't getting more interest fron the Yankees, Cardinals and Reds, Sherman tweets.

• Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is available, but with $40 million left on his contract, another general manager tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, "nobody's going to touch Wandy."

• Hiroki Kuroda would consider waiving his no-trade clause if he's sent to the Yankees or Red Sox, "a baseball official"  tells ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand. However, the teams "hottest" on Kuroda are reportedly the Indians, Tigers and Rangers, according to Rosenthal.

• It's not a trade, but a player acquisition -- the Brewers, Giants, Mariners and A's are interested in Wily Mo Pena, who was released by the Diamondbacks on Sunday, Heyman tweets. He makes the most sense in the American League where he doesn't need a glove. [Heyman]

• Aaron Harang had been mentioned in some trade talks, but there are reports that San Diego would like to keep him and re-sign him, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Harang, a San Diego native, would love to stay there -- and keep pitching in Petco Park.

• The Phillies are interested in Colorado's Jason Giambi, Rosenthal tweets. Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweets the Pirates are interested in Giambi as well. He's hitting .263/.360/.632 with 10 homers in 111 plate appearances. Giambi had talked about possibly moving to an American League team to DH, but he could still be a valuable left-handed bat off the bench for a National League team. [FoxSports.com and Denver Post]

• The Braves are still interested in the Astros' Hunter Pence, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets.

• Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com's Lyle Spencer the team probably wouldn't make a big move at the trade deadline, instead hoping the team can improve from within -- especially with the addition of Fernando Rodney from the disabled list.

• Texas manager Ron Washington called the bullpen a "priority" at the trading deadline, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

• One reliever who won't be available to the Rangers, or anyone, is Seattle closer Brandon League. Chuck Armstrong tells Morosi a trade involving League is not likely.

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

Posted on: July 14, 2011 11:09 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Cardinals may trade Rasmus; Rays interested?

Rasmus

By Evan Brunell

This is the third season for Colby Rasmus, and yet he's well into his second year of trade rumors.

Last season, Rasmus reportedly requested a trade multiple times after clashing with manager Tony La Russa, but to no one's surprise the Cardinals retained the center fielder, whose burgeoning career sparked a .276/.361/.498 line last season. That painted Rasmus as a valuable commodity because of his league-minimum salary and talent at such a young age as he doesn't turn 25 until next month.

Despite that, however, trade rumors have continued to persist, and despite denials to the contrary, it's clear that the Cardinals both seriously considered moving Rasmus this season and are now closer than they've ever been to dealing the 2005 first-round selection given his slide back this year. He's currently struggling with a .246/.329/.413 line.

Part of his failings can be pointed to making contact with pitches outside the strike zone at a higher rate than before despite swinging at a similar percentage of these pitches. That means that Rasmus is making poorer contact, as it will always be difficult to get a good swing on a pitch that would be called a ball. That would explain why his groundball numbers are higher, coupled with a major jump in infield pop-ups.

On one hand, that does suggest that Rasmus can improve. All it would take is an adjustment to laying off these out-of-zone pitches more, but there could be other factors at work that aren't easily discerned by statistics that point to Rasmus not quite reaching superstardom that he appeared ticketed for. Plus, by all accounts, Rasmus is not popular in the clubhouse -- and wasn't right from the start. In a chat, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rasmus "received a cold clubhouse reception when he arrived in 2009."

Strauss adds that "the club insists it's not shopping Rasmus but would listen to offers, as it would for any player not under a no-trade [clause]. Others familiar with the situation say that Raz is more 'live' than the club portrays, and that if he's not traded by Aug. 1 should be elsewhere before next season."
Later, on Twitter, he revealed that the Rays and Cardinals had extensive discussions about Rasmus last season. These talks could pick back up as Tampa Bay could be without a center fielder next season; B.J. Upton is expected to either be traded or leave as a free agent. Acquiring Rasmus would allow for a low-cost option to man center moving forward with quite a bit of upside. But just because Rasmus seems certain to leave doesn't mean St. Louis will give the left-hander away.

That's why they're "coveting" starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, who would be a fantastic young pitcher to pair with Jaime Garcia and could allow the club to let Chris Carpenter walk after the season. Of course, Tampa Bay subscribes to the same reasons St. Louis does in wanting Hellickson, so although a Rasmus-for-Hellickson swap makes sense, Tampa may not be keen on giving up on a budding pitcher who has already cut his teeth in the AL East; plus, the Rays would be down a starting pitcher.

Fortunately, a solution for Tampa could rest in Upton. The Rays could dangle Upton for a young pitcher in return, and there are several teams who would love a center fielder, including Washington and Atlanta, which have been pursuing one for some time. While the requirement of a good, young pitcher would likely knock out the Nationals as contenders, the Braves would be a fit if Atlanta deems the risk of not signing Upton acceptable toward giving up one of its young pitching commodities. The Giants could also be a fit if they offered Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is a bit wild but is a quality pitcher with a rising salary as he heads to his final year of arbitration next season.

Increasingly, it appears that Rasmus just isn't a ft in St. Louis, whether La Russa sticks beyond the season. Given Rasmus' talent and age, that could set up a significant trade that could impact St. Louis and another team for years.

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

Posted on: July 7, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Jeter chases No. 3,000 against Rays

Jeter

By Evan Brunell

Much to the relief of Yankees fans (and the Yankees themselves, although they won't admit that), Derek Jeter came through the Cleveland series still shy of hit No. 3,000 although he did narrow the gap to just three away.

Now, Jeter heads home to New York to begin a four-game series against the Rays. If Jeter wants to get No. 3,000 before the All-Star Game, it will have to come during those four games. So let's take a look at each opposing pitcher and how Jeter has fared.

NiemannThursday
Facing: Jeff Niemann (5.05 ERA, 4.26 xFIP, 29/12 K/BB in 46 1/3 IP)

Niemann hasn't exactly gotten 2011 off to a great start through nine starts and is the worst of the four starting pitchers that Jeter will face. If he doesn't get at least a hit off Niemann, he'll find the going rough the next few games. The good news is that Jeter rips Niemann, collecting five hits in 10 trips to the plate, adding on a walk and striking out just one. Those are encouraging numbers, and even better for Jeter, Niemann's average fastball velocity is the lowest it has been in the majors at 90.9 mph. A slow fastball is manna for aging hitters.

Friday
HellicksonFacing: Jeremy Hellickson (3.21 ERA, 4.47 xFIP, 68/39 K/BB in 103 2/3 IP)

Hellickson is a rookie, so Jeter has only faced him twice and collected one hit. In the running for Rookie of the Year, the righty has been very lucky so far even though he deserves to be considered one of the best up-and-coming pitchers. Still, with a below-average strikeout rate and average walk rate, he isn't fooling many batters. While he's benefited from an amazing defense behind him, all Jeter needs to worry about is putting the ball in play. Against Hellickson, he can do that.

PriceSaturday
Facing: David Price (3.56 ERA, 2.87 xFIP, 122/23 K/BB in 124 IP)

It will be hard for Jeter to muster anything against Price, who has been dominating this year. He's stingy with walks and strikes out an average of almost nine batters per game. Helping Cap'n Jetes is the fact that Price is a left-hander. Jeter has always hit lefties far better than righties and that's continued in 2011 as he's mustered just a .245./294/.303 mark against righties, but dominating lefties at .299/.405/.403. In 28 plate appearances against Price, Jeter has a .240 batting average with a double, home run and three walks, but has struck out five times.

ShieldsSunday
Facing: James Shields (2.47 ERA, 2.87 xFIP, 132/33 K/BB in 134 2/3 IP)

Shields, the early front-runner for AL Cy Young Award honors, was on a scorching streak in June, registering three straight complete games and a 1.06 ERA over five starts. His first and last start of the month wasn't fantastic, leaving his overall month at an even 3.00 ERA. Still, Shields is a dangerous pitcher, but Jeter has faced him the most of any Rays pitcher by far with 55 plate appearances and a .315/.327/.389 line. He may not walk much or hit for power, but that .317 average bodes well for Jeter's hopes if he enters Sunday still reaching for No. 3,000.

Overall, Jeter has a career .309/.372/.447 line against the Rays, but the vast majority of those at-bats came when the Rays were hapless and Jeter was an elite hitter. That didn't stop him from hitting .301 against Tampa in 86 plate appearances last season, although he did so with no walks or power. Both New York and Jeter have only seen the Rays twice this season thus far and he's collected one hit in nine trips to the plate.

While playing in New York is generally a positive thing for Jeter over his career, it hasn't been so far in 2011. He's slashing .285/.347/.400 on the road, compared to a paltry .234/.301/.262 at home.

Still, with four games on the docket, just three hits away and encouraging numbers against the Rays, Jeter will likely rifle hit No. 3,000 at some point in the series. The only question is which game.

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


Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:53 pm
 

Rays prospect throws no-hitter

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You know the Rays are already stacked with starting pitching -- the rotation of James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann has plenty of talent -- and the Rays' minor-league system is still deep in pitching talent.

The team's top pitching prospect, left-hander Matt Moore, threw a no-hitter on Thursday night for Double-A Montgomery against Mobile. Moore, the game's top left-handed pitching prospect, struck out 11 and walked just two on Thursday, throwing 106 pitches.

It's his second career no-hitter, throwing a seven-inning no-hitter in 2009.

On the season, he's 4-3 with a 2.43 ERA. In 14 starts, he's struck out 103 batters in 77 2/3 innings, while walking just 21. Moore will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Saturday.

Moore led the minors in strikeouts in each of the last two seasons and trails only Edwar Cabrera of the Rockies' low Class-A Asheville team this season. Cabrera has 110 in 86 innings.

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 1:33 am
Edited on: May 14, 2011 1:34 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Hellickson dazzles; Twins flounder

Hellickson

By Evan Brunell

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays -- The rookie needed 120 pitches to put together a dominating performance, a career high, but what a performance it was. He blanked the Orioles in a complete game, allowing a paltry four hits and one walk while whiffing three and set another personal best by going longer than seven innings, also a career first. Hellickson has a pristine 2.98 ERA on the year, but is doing just fine in replacing Matt Garza. While he's likely got some adjustment troubles ahead of him as teams and hitters get a book on him, he's for real.

Ricky Romero, Blue Jays -- Romero came pretty close to matching Hellickson, but fell one out short but still took out the Twins on four hits, three walks and eight punchouts. Romero's ERA dropped to 3.35, which hides the fact that two of his last four starts had been anything but strong. He got rocked against the Tigers last time out, giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings. Boston also forced him out of the game with one out in the fifth on April 18 with five runs, but ran his record to 3-4 with the outing. The 26-year-old has really developed into a nice pitcher.

Cameron Maybin, Padres -- Are we seeing a breakout? Maybin posted his second-straight four-hit effort, tacking on three runs and RBI apiece while also drilling two home runs; one in the fifth off Jorge De La Rosa and a two-run shot against Matt Belisle in the seventh. San Diego ended up losing the game 12-7 to the Rockies however, and dropped to 14-23. Maybin, who spent years tantalizing Florida with his potential, now has a .273/.348/.453 line on the year and is benefiting from a change of scenery (and consistent playing time). He struggles in Petco Park, but who doesn't?

Honorable mention -- Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the sixth, sparking dreams of matching Johnny Vander Meer as the only two pitchers to throw back-to-back hitters. Alas, Melky Cabrera had something to say about that.

Twins offense -- Romero is no slouch as a pitcher, but four hits? Really? Minnesota's pathetic effort dropped the team to 12-24, and the AL Central favorites are now all but dead and buried. The hits came from the Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 5 hitters and were all singles. It's tough to fathom, but the Twins have baseball's worst offense, easily behind the Mariners and Padres with 113 runs scored. San Diego is second to last with 127, so it's not particularly close. Yes, Joe Mauer is out and Justin Morneau isn't the same, but Minnesota really should have done a better job securing depth in all aspects of the roster.

Coco Crisp, Athletics -- A risk, and that's exactly what it was as it didn't work out. Crisp was caught stealing home in the eighth inning on a straight steal, and the White Sox eventualy edged the A's 4-3. "I sorta stutter-stepped instead of just going ahead and going through with it," Crisp told MLB.com after the game via Twitter. "That’s what made it close in his favor and not mine."  Overall, Crisp went 0-for-3 atop the lineup with a walk. It might be high time for skipper Bob Geren to hightail Crisp's .250/.273/.379 line out of the leadoff spot as the A's sink to 19-19, one game behind the Rangers and an additional half-game behind the Angels.

Dustin Moseley, Padres -- And that's why you don't believe in hot starts. Moseleay, who had a 1.63 ERA through six starts, has now turned in back-to-back duds. It's not fair to Moseley to consider him a bad pitcher, especially given he still has six strong starts, but he doesn't belong in the conversation with upper-echelon pitchers and his new 3.40 ERA -- while still a touch high -- is far more representative of his skills. He couldn't give Maybin and San Diego a win by drawing his fifth loss of the year (and that's why counting on win-loss records is ludicrous) by giving up six runs and nine hits over four innings, walking two and striking out three.

Dishonorable mention -- Brandon League blew his third straight save and now has an unenviable place in baseball history as his recent string of games have given him the worst streak a relief pitcher has put together in history.

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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