Tag:Vernon Wells
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:48 am

3 up, 3 down: Jackson comes through; Wells to DL


By Evan Brunell

upEdwin Jackson, White Sox -- Jackson needed this game as Jake Peavy is returning Wednesday and the ChiSox are trying to figure out how to keep Phillip Humber in the rotation. There's been some talk of a six-man rotation -- at least until the team is confident that Peavy is back and will stay back. But a six-man rotation just isn't a good idea for a permanent solution. Jackson would have been the odd man out as he's been the worst starter so far. But on Monday, he delivered the potential that has caused so many teams to take a chance on him. He went seven strong against the Angels, allowing just one walk and whiffing five, while limiting L.A. to just five hits and zero runs. His ERA sank a full 0.69 points all the way down to 4.29. Ozzie Guillen's job just got a lot harder.

Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- As good as Jackson was, Beckett was just as good, posting an identical line save for giving up an extra hit. This marks the fifth excellent start by Beckett (including his rain delay-aborted 4 1/3 innings last time out) and drops his ERA to a pristine 1.99, which is good for fourth in the AL behind Trevor Cahill of Oakland and two Angels teammates in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Beckett's resurgence comes as welcome news to Boston who desperately needed a return to prominence from the right-hander for the team to be confident in success in the postseason. Imagine how much more compounded the struggles of Boston would have been if Beckett was delivering an ERA in the 6.00s instead of putting him in the early Cy Young Award chase.

Victor Martinez, Tigers -- Martinez only came off the DL last Wednesday but is on fire, as he has registered a hit in every single game upon his return. Given he had hits in his three previous games before his injury, that marks a nine-game hitting streak for V-Mart, who went 3-for-4 as the Tigers routed the Blue Jays for their sixth victory in seven games. Martinez scored two and drove in three, while all three of hits hits went for extra bases with two doubles and a home run. He's now hitting a cool .293/..344/.488 and has been everything Detroit hoped for when they surprised many with an aggressive offer that got V-Mart signed early in the offseason.  

downVernon Wells, Angels -- Wells hits the disabled list with a right groin strain, and the .183-hitting outfielder will get some time to ruminate on how best to turn around his slump. Wells has actually flashed some power by bashing three home runs in May but still has yet to start stringing hits together. His line on the season is .183/.224/.303, which easily "beats" Carl Crawford out for the worst line by a starting player in the game now that Crawford has gotten hot in May. It's awfully hard to contend that L.A. hasn't gotten better with this injury. The defensively-challenged outfielder will likely be replaced in the field by Bobby Abreu, who has his own defensive limitations but will allow the club to get both Alberto Callaspo and Macier Izturis in the lineup. It's not every day one says Callaspo is better than Wells, but here we are. (And let's quell the speculation; Mike Trout is not getting the call. Bank on Reggie Willits to serve as backup outfielder.)

Javier Vazquez, Marlins -- And the beat goes on, as Vazquez turns in yet another disappointing start in what is an early front-runner for worst free agent signing of the year. Sure, Vazquez is only on a one-year deal, but how many players earn $7 million a year for the Marlins? Anyways, Vazquez's downward spiral with a disappearing fastball and inability to spot his pitches continued by coughing up five earned runs (six total) to the Phillies, going just 4 1/3 with one walk and zero strikeouts and nine strikeouts. He didn't exactly set the tone for the game, giving up a leadoff homer to Jimmy Rollins. At this point, Florida needs to come up with a phantom injury to get Vazquez and his 6.88 ERA away from the team. It's clear he's not right and he needs to fix himself away from the club.

Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick just doesn't like being a Padre, doesn't he? OK, part of it has to do with Petco Park, but still, it's remarkable how far he's fallen since being dealt from St. Louis. You have to give the Cardinals a hand for seeing the writing on the wall, as Ludwick went 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts to drop his overall line to .189/.283/.344. Not including Monday's game, Ludwick's career line as a Padre: .205/.298/.339. Someone get him to Coors Field, stat.

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Posted on: May 7, 2011 2:42 am
Edited on: May 7, 2011 2:43 am

3 up, 3 down: Big day for Reyes


By Evan Brunell

3upJose Reyes, Mets -- Reyes sure likes his contract year, huh? The question has to be asked: how much of this is him being healthy and how much actually invested and trying -- motivated? A mixture of both, I think. He went 3 for 4, scoring two runs against the Dodgers and Hiroki Kuroda. Oh, and the three hits were a double and two triples. He's now hitting a cool .326/.377/.500. As much as I want him to stay with the Mets (long term, signing an extension), they simply have to trade him, don't they?

Athletics offense -- Oakland was able to net a 3-2 victory, but only mustered five hits and none with two. But the interesting thing is the zero strikeouts registered by anyone on the team. Yes, that's an anomaly, but it underscores how little the A's whiff; they're 22nd in baseball with 203 strikeouts. That's what Moneyball's really about; finding ways to get the best bang for your buck. The A's pioneered it with on-base percentage, kickstarted the defensive resurgence we've seen, and are now monopolizing a team who doesn't strike out. (And really, they only have one major offender with Josh Willingham's 35 punchouts. But they'll gladly pay him for his power.)

Tyler Clippard, Nationals -- Part of what I aim to do with this 3 up, 3 down series is highlight some more obscure players to give them their due. That's why Clippard beats out some honorable mentions who have already had separate articles written about. Clippard has evolved into a mixture of a long reliever while also being as good as any setup man in the game. That's an interesting -- and lethal -- combination. Now you don't need three pitchers to shut down the 7-8-9, you only need two. He went two innings Friday against Florida, striking out both sidse until Drew Storen can on in the ninth. And, scene. The outing gives Clippard a 1.29 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 21 innings pitched. That paces him for 106 innings, by the way. Last reliever to pitch that far? Steve Sparks for the Tigers in 2003. How's that for a name? Scott Proctor (102 1/3, 2006 -- thanks, Joe Torre) and Scot Shields (105 1/3, 2004) are other recent relievers to reach that mark. Proctor and Shields shined in the ERA department as well as Guillermo Mota, who tossed 105 the same year as Sparks. 

Honorable mention -- Cliff Lee's historic start with 16 Ks, Jaime Garcia's near-miss of a perfect game.

3downAndy Oliver, Tigers -- The Tigers' 2009 second-round pick had five fairly awful starts for the Tigers last season but is still a promising lefty at age 23. But down in Triple-A, he had his start Friday pushed back because of a sore hand induced on Thursday by playing with a... slingshot. Yeah, really. The early entrant for oddest injury of the year, Oliver will skip a start although Triple-A manager Phil Nevin (already?) said he could have started today if they needed him to; the soreness just gave them an excuse to do what they intend to do from time to time, which is to skip Oliver. Expect him to make a handful of starts for Detroit down the stretch, possibly quite a bit more if he keeps up his 3.64 ERA start in five starts with a 31/12 K/BB in 29 2/3 innings.

Matt Harrison, Rangers -- First, the line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Not awful, right? Limited his runs. But it was clearly another poor start from the lefty, who expended 119 pitches ans the Yankees beat Texas 4-1. He really should have given up a lot more, and he's got a seat that just grew a little warmer with Tommy Hunter's impending return.

Vernon Wells, Angels -- It looked like Wells was finally getting hot: he cranked a homer May 2nd and then started a four-game hit streak that included a two-hit night in six at-bats with another homer. But he couldn't keep the good times going even as the Angels edged the Indians 2-1 in 10 innings. He had an 0-for-4 night, striking out three times. He's showed enough power so far that he should be considered a factor, but his lousy plate discipline is severely hampering him.

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Posted on: May 4, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 5:47 pm

On Deck: Greinke's Brewer debut

Zack Greinke

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Greinke's debut -- As soon as the Brewers traded for Zack Greinke, they went from also-ran to NL Central favorite -- but Greinke's hoops dreams got in the way. Now Greinke's back and making his Brewer debut tonight against the Braves in the second game of the doubleheader. Greinke faces Braves ace Tim Hudson in his first start. With the Brewers entering the day within three games of the first-place Cardinals, he may just be motivated to try, which is good news for Milwaukee. Brewers at Braves, time TBA.

All's Wells that starts Beckett -- Vernon Wells' early-season struggles have been well chronicled -- he's hitting just .176/.227/.269 in his first year with the Angels (not exactly what you want for $86 million). But there's good news, in his 47 plate appearances against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, he has five home runs and is hitting .293/.383/.756. Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

Little help please -- St. Louis' Chris Carpenter is one of the game's best pitchers. So far this season he has 3.89 ERA with WHIP of 1.216 and 29 strikeouts in 37 innings. He has thrown five quality starts in his six outings this season, but has yet to win a game. It wasn't until his last start that the Cardinals actually won a game he started, although he left down a run in the seventh and Eduardo Sanchez picked up the win against the Braves. Javier Vazquez (2-2, 6.39 ERA) starts for Florida. Marlins at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:28 am

Pepper: Streaking Ethier, struggling arms

By Matt Snyder
Baseball Today: Can Andre Ethier extend his hitting streak to 28 games? Will Madison Bumgarner and Clay Buchholz get back on track tonight? Tom Boorstein of MLB.com joins Lauren Shehadi with the latest.

Padres PAYROLL TO RISE: The San Diego Padres have been one of the teams in the majors unable to re-up with stud veteran players in recent years (Adrian Gonzalez is the latest example, as he was traded with the writing on the wall in terms of an extension), but things may change slightly in the near future. With a new TV deal on the horizon, CEO Jeff Moorad said Sunday a new deal would have a "direct impact" on player salaries, increasing the payroll by as much as 20 percent. (Sign on San Diego )

ON OSWALT: Roy Oswalt is tending to his family in tornado-ravaged Mississippi and won't make it back for his previously scheduled start on Tuesday. Instead, he's likely to rejoin the team Thursday and start Saturday. (MLB.com ) In related matters, ESPN's Buster Olney noted Sunday night that he felt Oswalt -- among players with whom he's ever conversed -- is the most likely to leave baseball whenever he felt it necessary. I know a few years back Oswalt was a guy who had talked more than once about an early retirement. It's an interesting discussion in which there is no right answer, but he simply may be a guy who holds personal matters closer than his profession.

FICKLE FELIZ: Sunday, USA Today reported that Neftali Feliz said he wanted to close for the rest of his career -- and didn't want to deal with trying to stretch out as a starter. Later Sunday, however, he backtracked a bit, saying: "At the end of the year, we'll talk about it again." This shouldn't be a shock, as Feliz is young, emotional and has changed his mind on this specific issue before. (MLB.com )

SEND HIM A VALENTINE: Apparently Jose Reyes owes his ability to switch-hit with effectiveness to former manager Bobby Valentine. Reportedly, before Sunday night's game against the Phillies, Valentine told Mets manager Terry Collins, "in case anyone asks, I made him into a switch-hitter." It sounds a bit pompous on the surface, but it's evidently true, because Reyes backed him up. Sure, Reyes was already a switch-hitter, but he was awful from the left side until Valentine worked with him. “At that time it was still kind of new to me and I was struggling from the left side,” Reyes said. “I didn’t have any confidence, but Bobby helped me a lot. He really worked with me and it made a huge difference for me.” (New York Times )

A NEW CLUBHOUSE RECORD: Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello devoured 14 cheesesteaks during the weekend series in Philadelphia, setting a record for the visitors' clubhouse. Not shockingly, the previous record-holder was the robust Dmitri Young. (ESPN New York )

VERNON'S PICKLE: I didn't catch the go-ahead run in the Angels-Rays game Sunday (I watch as much as I can, but you can only toggle so much effectively -- stuff is bound to get missed), but I repeatedly saw on Twitter and in my Google Reader how Vernon Wells was the hero for his savvy baserunning display. It's interesting, all he really did was get caught in a rundown. (MLB.com ) I've defended Wells in the past against home fans booing him, but this is a bit hard to understand. It would have been lazy and, frankly, stupid if he didn't avoid the initial tag. It's probably just a case of a guy struggling and local writers/fans just wanting to praise him for anything positive. And I won't blame anyone for that.

The Pirates have been maligned for the better part of the last 20 years for not holding any quality players through free agency, coughing most up via trade. Andrew McCutchen has the potential to be a superstar and there is talk he might get a long-term contract. In fact, he said, "I'm willing to be here for my whole career." (Post-Gazette ) He won't be eligible for free agency until 2016, but this is a nice movement to see. I'm no Pirates fan, but it's not good for the game as a whole if any clubs are unable to keep any quality players.

DAY OR NIGHT? "The Decider" in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch poses the question, would you rather attend a baseball game during the day or at night? There are bound to be different answers for different circumstances -- for example, he points out that in St. Louis, humidity during the day in the middle of the summer is just brutal -- so the answers will most certainly vary. For me, being a Cubs fan, I will always choose day over night. There's just something about the sun shining over a 1:20 game that cannot be duplicated at night.

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Posted on: April 30, 2011 3:42 pm

Struggling Vernon Wells searching for answers

WellsBy Evan Brunell

What to do about Vernon Wells?

The new Angel has been absolutely disastrous thus far, with a .181/.223/.257 line that does nothing to dispel the thought that Los Angeles messed up terribly by assuming Wells' bloated contract.

"With Vernon, where he is, it's going to be matter of little things that are going to eventually build into him feeling comfortable," Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "Those little battles with Vernon are going to be important right now."

The 32-year-old met with manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher on Friday to talk through options.

"We talked about taking a breather and things like that," Scioscia said. "It's really just communicating, trying to get ideas and concepts going back and forth to see if we can do something to get a player where he's in a comfort zone."

Wells just hasn't looked himself at the plate, expanding his strike zone in an effort to snap himself out of the slump and get into a groove.

"He's trying to do too much. It's obvious with his swing," Scioscia said. "We've definitely talked about backing off one day and just coming out here and playing a game; strap it on and go without batting practice. Sometimes it just gives you a different perspective."

The Angels just don't have many options here, especially with Kendrys Morales still out indefinitely from rehabbing his broken foot suffered last season. When Morales returns, the Angels can be more aggressive with giving Wells days off and inserting Mark Trumbo into the outfield. But if Wells is still performing this poorly when Morales returns, which may not be until well into June, L.A. will have a whole different quandary on its hands.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 28, 2011 1:38 am

3 up, 3 down: Bedard's back

Erik Bedard
By C. Trent Rosecrans


Erik Bedard, Mariners -- The left-hander picked up his first win since June 2009, as Seattle beat Detroit and Justin Verlander 10-1 on Wednesday. Bedard gave up a run on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. 

Daniel Murphy, Mets -- As a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, Murphy tied the game with his second homer of the year and then in the ninth he added a two-run double to help extend the Mets' winning streak to six games with a 6-3 victory over the Nationals.

James McDonald, Pirates and Madison Bumgarner, Giants -- This afternoon I called it the worst pitching matchup of the day and it was anything but -- I just wanted to give credit where credit was due here. Both pitchers went six innings, with Bumgarner giving up just one run on five hits, while striking out seven. McDonald allowed just four hits in his six scoreless innings, earning the win.


Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Boston's center fielder let a ball drop in front of him for a double with two outs. Two outs later, Luke Scott, hit a three-run homer for a 3-0 Baltimore lead. The Red Sox went on to lose, 5-4.

Carlos Lee, Astros -- Back-to-back Cardinals singled in runs from second by hitting grounders past the third baseman into left field, where just about any other left fielder in the game (well, maybe not Johnny Damon) throws out the runners at the plate. Instead, with Lee, the two runners score easily and St. Louis adds to its lead, which was 6-0 going into the eighth. Houston scored three in the eighth and two in the ninth, falling 6-5. That's not to mention his offensive woes -- Lee was 0 for 4 on Thursday and is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

Vernon Wells, Angels -- Much of the preseason there was talk of the great outfield defense the Angles would have this season, but Wells hasn't been able to live up to the billing. He misplayed a ball in the 10th inning, giving Oakland's Cliff Pennington a triple with no outs. Conor Jackson then drove in Pennington with the winning run, And, like Lee, that's not even talking about his offensive offense -- Wells is hitting just .178/.224/.257 so far this season.

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Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:47 am

3 up, 3 down for 4/19: Shields goes distance

By Matt Snyder

There really wasn't enough room here tonight with lots of really good and really bad performances throughout the baseball world. Apologies to Brett Anderson, the Orioles, the Braves, Randy Wolf and a host of others who brought it.

As for those who were spared, it was a long list, too. Among them: Tigers' pitchers, Paul Maholm, Hideki Okajima and Mother Nature.

It's just that we only have three spots in this subjective endeavor.


James Shields, Rays. He said after the game it had "been a long time," which was true -- as Shields hadn't thrown a complete game since June of 2008. That's exactly what he did Tuesday against the White Sox, netting his first win of the year. He struck out nine while only allowing four hits and an earned run. He's actually been dominant at home so far, sporting a 1.54 ERA in three starts -- adding 20 strikeouts.

Ryan Roberts, Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old utility man is making it impossible for Kirk Gibson to leave him out of the lineup. After going 2-3 with two home runs, two runs and three RBI in a 5-4 win at Cincinnati, Roberts raised his season average to .382 with four home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs in just 39 plate apperances. His on-base percentage is .462.

Angels' offense. Mark Trumbo went 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and four RBI. Peter Bourjos went 4-5 with a double, home run, three runs and three RBI. The team as a whole battered the Rangers' pitching staff for 15 runs on 15 hits and drew six walks. Meanwhile, the Angels have now won 10 of 13 games and have tied the once red-hot Rangers for first in the AL West. Oh, and the cherry on top? Vernon Wells went 2-5 with a double. He's now hit safely in his past six games. He's also seven for his last 17 (.412) with two doubles and a triple.


Carl Pavano, Twins. I guess we aren't going to have any middle ground here. Pavano is either stellar (16 innings, one earned run in his two good starts) or awful (8 2/3 innings, 14 earned runs in his two bad starts). Tuesday it was the Orioles' offense inflating their stats against Pavano, knocking him around for eight hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 frames.

Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers. The Dodgers entered the top of the ninth with some hope of winning the game. It was only 2-1 Braves. Sure, flamethrower Craig Kimbrel was awaiting the lower part of the order for the bottom half, but you never know. It was only one run. Well, then Jansen and Troncoso happened. Here's how the top of the ninth read, play-by-play: walk, home run, walk, fly out, single, single, homer, double, single, single, single ... and, mercifully, double play to end it. All told, that's eight runs on eight hits and two walks. There was a wild pitch in there. And the hits weren't cheap. Everything was hit hard. Freddie Freeman's double was of the ground-rule variety. Frankly, I'm glad it ended when it did, because it was getting uncomfortable to watch.

Adam Dunn, White Sox. There's no way of knowing if there is a correlation between Dunn's struggles and coming back very quickly from an appendectomy. But after Shields made him look pretty dumb Tuesday night (0-4 with three strikeouts), Dunn is now 2-23 with 14 strikeouts since making his return.

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Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:49 pm

Morales runs on field, Wells benched for Angels

By Matt Snyder

More AL West
In an attempt to the clear the head of newly-acquired slugger Vernon Wells, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has decided to give him the day off Tuesday night against the Indians.

"It's a mental day off," Scioscia said of Wells. "Every hitter has rough spots. A lot of guys have some four-for-40s in their history, but when you're with a new team, there's a lot of attention on it. The reality is he's trying to find his timing, and it's creating some mis-hits. But he'll find it. I have no doubt about it." (The Fabulous Forum )

Wells, 32, is just 4-44 (.091) with a .263 OPS so far as an Angel. The 13-year veteran had only previously played for the Blue Jays in his entire major-league career.

On the positive front, the Angels did get some at least lukewarm news about Kendrys Morales. The injured first baseman is still working his way back from a broken leg he suffered last May. Tuesday, he was able to run on the the field for the first time since early in spring training. He didn't sprint, but the Angels contend he's going to work his way closer to full-speed the rest of the week.

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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