Tag:Ian Kennedy
Posted on: September 8, 2011 3:24 pm

On Deck: Potential NLCS preview


By Matt Snyder

It's a light night of action in Major League Baseball, but there's still enough to keep us entertained. Keep your eyes on CBSSports.com's live scoreboard for all the action.

NL showdown: The best two teams in the National League -- at least in terms of record -- begin a four-game series Thursday night in Milwaukee. The Brewers have an 8 1/2 game lead in the NL Central while the Phillies are up 10 1/2 in the East. With the season ending in less than three weeks, suffice it to say that playoff seeding is starting to come into play. The Brewers hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the Diamondbacks for the No. 2 seed and certainly don't want to have to deal with the Phillies' starting pitching in a five-game series (since the Braves are the likely Wild Card and can't face a team from their own division, the three seed will get the Phillies in the NLDS). Thus, this series takes on huge importance for the Brewers. They are at home, where they're an MLB-best 50-19, so that helps. Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.63) gets the start for the Phillies while Chris Narveson (10-6, 4.26) looks to end the Brewers' two-game losing streak. Phillies at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET.

Kennedy goes for 19: The Diamondbacks have opened up a seven-game lead in the NL West and look primed for a playoff berth. When in the playoff race, teams are bound to have players in the conversation for individual awards. One of the D-Backs' chances lies in the NL Cy Young race with ace Ian Kennedy (18-4, 2.96). It will be tough for Kennedy to win the award over the much more recognizable Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee or Clayton Kershaw, so he needs to continue piling up those wins and hoping the old-school voters take note. Thursday night he has a great shot at No. 19, as the Diamondbacks host the offensively-challenged Padres. Cory Luebke (5-8, 3.29) gets the nod for the Padres. Padres at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET.

Miller looks to bounce back: With Josh Beckett's injury, the Red Sox desperately need someone to step up and provide some kind of depth in the starting rotation behind Jon Lester. They've fallen to 2 1/2 games back in the AL East and if they lose any further ground they'll have to start worrying about holding onto the Wild Card (not yet, though). Andrew Miller (6-2, 5.27) will start for the Red Sox Thursday night. He had made two good starts in a row before being crushed by the Rangers last time out (6 ER in 1 1/3 innings). His counterpart Thursday is no slouch, either, as All-Star Ricky Romero (13-10, 2.97) takes the hill for the Jays. On the flip-side, Romero has been awful (11.42 ERA) in two starts against the Red Sox this season. Anything is possible. Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: September 7, 2011 10:37 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 9:45 am

Phillies crowd NL Cy Young chase

By C. Trent Rosecrans

During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Today: the AL Cy Young Award winner.

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

Over in the American League, the engraver can already get the Cy Young Award ready, but in the National League it's a different story -- at this point it's not even an easy discussion when asking who is the Phillies' best pitcher. And just as surprising is that the answer to that question may not be the winner of the National League's Cy Young. Here's five of the leading contenders to be named the National League's best pitcher.

Roy Halladay, Phillies: Last year's winner could certainly repeat. Halladay's been… well, Roy Halladay. He's 16-5 with a 2.49 ERA and pitched seven complete games (although no shutouts). Halladay's so good and so consistent, he's just kind of boring. Sure, he leads baseball with 7.5 strikeouts for every walk and he will strike out 200 for the fourth year in a row, it's just… lacking the sizzle. He may be the best, but there's at least a question.

Cole Hamels, Phillies: While he's often an afterthought in the Phillies' rotation, the 27-year-old lefty is easily the best third starter in baseball. He's 13-7 with a 2.63 ERA and leads the National League with a .968 WHIP. Hamels did miss a couple of starts when he went on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation last month, hurting his counting stats, which probably knocks him out of contention for the big award. But voters have to vote for five pitchers, so he'll get some votes.

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks: The National League's leader in wins (18), Kennedy is the newcomer to this race and also gets bonus points for helping his team to the playoffs (while not as big of a factor as it is in the MVP vote, it can't hurt). The 26-year-old right-hander also leads in winning percentage (.818), but his ERA (2.96) isn't in the same neighborhood as the others in this list. He'll get votes, but won't win the award.

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Now here's your hard charger in the race, putting up an 8-1 record with a 1.44 ERA in the second half of the season. Overall he's 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA and a league-leading 222 strikeouts. Wins for a pitcher don't mean what they once did, but the fact that he's won 17 games (and could end up leading the league) with a bad Dodgers team may make his stats even more impressive. His ERA is second-best in the league behind Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto (2.36).

Cliff Lee, Phillies: And finally there's Lee, who has lived up to the offseason pursuit of his services. Lee is 16-7 with a 2.47 ERA and six shutouts -- only Pittsburgh and St. Louis have as many as three complete-game shutouts by starters this season. He's had two historic months -- going 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA and three shutouts in June and then going 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA and one shutout in August. He allowed just one run in June and two in August. He followed up his hot August with another shutout in his first start of September. He's also second to Kershaw in strikeouts (204) and second in strikeout-to-walk ration (5.1).

Who is the best candidate to win the NL Cy Young Award? We'll answer that later in the year, but have your say in the comments. 

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

Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:16 am

On Deck: Lincecum/Kennedy battle highlights day

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

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

DiamondbacksGiantsNL West battle continues: The Giants stopped Arizona from winning its 10th straight game and also pulled to within five of the division lead. San Francisco needs to do much more than that to have any hope of winning the division, though, and will turn to ace Tim Lincecum and his 2.58 ERA to try to hold 'Zona back. But Ian Kennedy is a tall order to face, as he holds a slim 3.03 ERA and is also angling to become the NL's first 18-game winner. He's only coughed up one run in his last two starts, punching out 15. It's shaping up to be quite a pitcher's duel. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET

WeaverWeaver takes mound: The Angels slipped to 4 1/2 back in the AL West after Friday's games, but can try to make up some ground on Saturday if Jered Weaver can silence the Twins, which shouldn't be too tall of a task.The Rangers have to fall to Boston for a full game to be made up, but L.A. will take winning their own game. Weaver, winner of six straight, will oppose Brian Duensing a night after the Twins pasted the Angels 13-5 to win their second straight. The Twins haven't won three games or more in a row since July 5, and that's a mark that might stand as they stare at Weaver's 2.28 ERA and wonder what they're supposed to do. Twins vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

MiloneDebut: The Nationals are shuffling their rotation for September to get a look at their minor-league players. One of these pitchers draws the ball Saturday, as Tom Milone makes his big-league debut against the Mets. Milone had a 3.22 ERA for Triple-A this year, punching out 155 and walking 16 in 148 1/3 innings, strong numbers despite not being considered a heralded prospect. He'll have to face a streaking David Wright, who is hitting .500 over his last 26 at-bats and has hit the Nats well as of late. Wright will be manning the hot corner at third behind Dillon Gee. The Mets have won seven of eight. Mets vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 1, 2011 2:53 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:36 pm

Players of the Month: Avila, Lee

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Every year August is the month when some teams pull away in the playoff race and others fade -- it's one of the biggest months of the season, even if it doesn't have the drama of September or the stakes of October. By the time August is done, there are few surprises -- what you see is what you get.

August's Best
Expert Batter Pitcher
Knobler Ortiz Lee
Miller Granderson Lee
Brunell Avila Kershaw
Rosecrans Votto Lee
Snyder Avila Lee
Fantasy Avila Lee

While one surprise team (Pittsburgh) fizzled, another (Arizona) sizzled. The Diamondbacks started August two games back in the NL West and now lead the defending champion Giants by six games. The D-Backs finished August on a nine-game winning streak -- they also had a seven-game winning streak earlier in the month. Kirk Gibson's club did have a six-game losing streak in the past 31 days, but the Giants have struggled all month, allowing some breathing distance for the D-Backs. 

This August has seen Atlanta's Dan Uggla go from a disappointment to, well, Dan Uggla. His hitting streak ended at 33 games, but his average increased from .206 at the end of July to .232 at the end of August. In all, he hit in 22 of 26 August games and went .340/.405/.670 with 10 homers as the Braves solidified their hold on the NL wild-card spot. 

Uggla was one of three players with 10 homers in the month, along with the Yankees' Curtis Granderson and the Rays' Evan Lognoria.

But it's Detroit's Alex Avila who gains the nod as our Batter of the Month.

His value to the Tigers lineup sealed the deal. Avila hit .360 with seven homers, 19 runs, 18 RBI and a 1.169 OPS in the August. Getting that kind of production from anywhere is incredible, but from a catcher it's just gravy. Even better, Avila bounced back from an awful July in which he hit .197 with a .584 OPS. Some may have thought his breakthrough season was coming to an end, but August was his biggest month of the season.

Meanwhile nine different pitchers picked up five wins. Some of the names (Cliff Lee, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander) aren't surprising, while some (Ivan Nova, Ian Kennedy, Ricky Romero) were young guns making their mark. Another was a pitcher (Hiroki Kuroda) finally getting run support and the last (Bruce Chen) was a total surprise.

But Lee was The Man. He started five games. He won five games. He only allowed two earned runs, which both came in the same game. He averaged nearly eight innings per start, saving the Phillies bullpen some extra work. He struck out nearly a batter per inning while allowing less than one baserunner per inning, meaning he kept the pressure off his defense. Basically, Lee did it all for the Phillies in August, and that's why he snags this Pitcher award for a second consecutive month.

Past players of the month: April | May | June | July

Batter of the Month
Danny Knobler Scott Miller
David Ortiz David Ortiz, Red Sox
Picking a player of the month wasn't easy, but David Ortiz's big two-run home run on Aug. 31 against the Yankees clinched it. Not exactly, but it helped. Even before that, Ortiz had a 1.308 August OPS that was the best by any major-league regular. In a month where no one player really stood out, he was definitely in the mix. And then he homered against the Yankees. So it's him.
Curtis Granderson Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Granderson's August catapulted him squarely into the AL MVP running. I love the symmetry, too: 29 RBI in August, and 29 runs scored. The runs led the majors and ribbies ranked second. Texas' Mike Napoli had a higher OPS (1.094-1.016) and deserves consideration, but if I picked one player to start a team with right now, it's Curtis G.
Evan Brunell C. Trent Rosecrans
Alex Avila Alex Avila, Tigers
Avila has really come into his own in 2011. In August, he hit .372/.481/.721 with seven homers in 25 games. Did I mention he's a catcher? Avila's grip on the starting spot is so strong, he caught 18 consecutive games at one point during August. "He's been absolutely unbelievable," manager Jim Leyland told  MLive.com. "He's been tremendous. There's no question about it. Pretty impressive. Pretty darn impressive." Indeed.
Joey VottoJoey Votto, Reds 
Votto's August was much like Votto himself -- quiet and excellent. The Reds first baseman hit .347/.483/.716 with nine homers and 19 RBI in August. The Reds aren't in the postseason race, so it's unlikely Votto will get much consideration for MVP, but he may have had a better season than he did a year ago when he won the award.
Matt Snyder Fantasy -- Al Melchior
Alex Avila Alex Avila, Tigers
Have you seen his average and slugging percentage in the month? That's just sick, especially for a catcher tasked with scouting opposing hitters and working with his pitching staff day in and day out. The young backstop just keeps getting better for the Tigers, who meanwhile keep winning games and appear headed for the postseason.
Alex Avila Alex Avila, Tigers
Avila wasn't the most productive hitter in Fantasy formats, but he was probably the most productive relative to his position. He lapped the field of catchers, hitting .360 with seven homers and 18 RBI. He also helped owners in formats that reward walks by drawing 19 free passes in his 109 plate appearances. While he didn't have the overall production of Granderson or Carlos Gonzalez, Avila helped his Fantasy owners immensely by providing elite-level production at a thin position.
Pitcher of the Month
Knobler Miller
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee, Phillies
In June, Cliff Lee went 5-0 and allowed just one run. In August, he went 5-0 and allowed two. That means he was slightly better in June than in August. It also means he's had two incredible months, and that he's my pitcher of the month -- again.
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee, Phillies
This is why Philadelphia re-signed this guy. No, not to pitch in August. But to pitch in October LIKE he's pitched in August. Yeah, the 5-0 record in five starts grabs your attention, but that's just the beginning of the dominance. The 0.45 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the 39 strikeouts against just eight walks, the 0.78 WHIP ... until Wednesday night, the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw was my guy, but Lee's WHIP and strikeouts/walks ratio even tops Kershaw's (0.95, 39/10).
Brunell Rosecrans
Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Kershaw has been bandied about as one of the next great pitchers, but he's great right now, with a 5-1 August catapulting him into the Cy Young Award chase. Don't look now, but Kershaw has a better record (17-5 to 16-5) than Halladay, thrown more innings (198 2/3; 196 2/3) and has a lower ERA, with a 2.45 mark compared to 2.47 on the year. That's thanks to a month in which the lefty hurled 46 1/3 innings, checking in with a 1.55 ERA.
Cliff LeeCliff Lee, Phillies
Only three times in baseball history has a pitcher had two months in one season with five wins, no losses and an ERA under 1.00 -- Walter Johnson in 1913, Bob Gibson in 1968 and Lee in 2011. Lee threw 551 pitches in the month and just one resulted in runs -- a two-run homer by Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt on Aug. 17 in 9-2 Philadelphia victory.

Snyder Fantasy -- Scott White
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee, Phillies
August was the second month this season where Lee's just been lights-out. This time around, he went 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in his five starts. His worst outing in the month came when Lee gave up three hits and two earned runs in a win against the first-place D-Backs.
Cliff Lee Cliff Lee, Phillies 
Lee made five starts in August and allowed zero runs in four of them, accomplishing the feat for the second time in three months. He won each of those five starts, averaging eight innings. He'll have his bouts with inconsistency, as was the case during an uneven July, but when he's on, he's arguably the best pitcher in Fantasy Baseball. He showed it again in August.

Danny Knobler and Scott Miller are Senior MLB Writers; Evan Brunell, C. Trent Rosecrans and Matt Snyder are Eye on Baseball Bloggers; Al Melchior is a Fantasy Data Analyst; and Scott White is a Fantasy Writer.

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Posted on: August 28, 2011 10:56 am

On Deck: Weaver goes after Rangers


By Matt Snyder

Follow all the live action on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. Also, keep up with the standings, which update at the conclusion of each game.

Halos in the heat: An Angels victory in Texas Sunday would trim the Rangers' AL West lead to one game -- and knot the two at 60 in the loss column. The Angels want this series bad enough that Jered Weaver, like Ervin Santana did Saturday night, is going to work on three days' rest for the first time this season. Assuming he's feeling strong, Weaver should prove a tough opponent for the Rangers. In four starts against Texas this season, Weaver has a 1.86 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 25 strikeouts. The Rangers have hit Weaver well at home in the past, so the offense will look to turn back the clock Sunday in the triple-digit heat. Colby Lewis (11-9, 4.07) gets the ball for the home team. Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

Snakes on a run: It appears those waiting on the upstart Diamonbacks to come back to Earth are going to be waiting for quite a while. The D-Backs have now won five in a row and hold a three-game lead in the NL West over the defending champion Giants. Sunday looks like one the D-Backs should get, too, on paper. Potential NL Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy (16-4, 3.09) will face off against one of the league's more anemic offenses in the Padres. Cory Luebke (5-6, 2.91) will go for the Padres and he's having a sneaky-good season, so this could be a low-scoring affair. Padres at Diamondbacks, 4:05 p.m. ET.

Swan song: Jordan Zimmermann is overshadowed in terms of hype because he's pitching in the same organization as Stephan Strasburg -- who was light's out Saturday night in a rehab start -- but Zimmermann deserves plenty of attention himself. In his first season back since having Tommy John surgery, like Strasburg, Zimmermann has a 3.10 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 157 innings. He's on an innings limit, as the Nats look to protect his arm, so Sunday will mark his final outing of the season. Strasburg will take his rotation spot eventually, so we'll have to wait until 2012 to see them in the rotation together. They're likely a very formidable 1-2 punch in the future. Sunday, Zimmermann (8-11, 3.10) will look to break a five-game losing streak for the Nats. They'll face Johnny Cueto (9-5, 2.43) and the Reds. Reds at Nationals, 1:10 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:50 pm

On Deck: Angels need Weaver to play stopper

On Deck

By Evan Brunell

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

WeaverCy Watch
: Jered Weaver allowed eight earned runs his last time out against the Blue Jays in his worst start on the year by far. That shot his ERA up to 2.13 from 1.78 and is quickly losing ground to Justin Verlander in the AL Cy Young Award race. Not only for that race does Weaver need to show up, but the Angels desperately need some help. Los Angeles is taking a five-game losing streak up against six straight for Texas, with Thursday night wrapping up a four-game series that has seen L.A. slip to seven games back. If the Angels want any hope of staying in the AL West race, a win tonight would be a good place to start. Colby Lewis goes for Texas. Rangers vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

ArizonaPhilliesTop dogs: The Phillies are 8 1/2 up against the Braves, with a 79-42 record good enough for first place in the division and in baseball. It's not as if the Braves are any slouches with 72 wins and the NL Wild Card race in hand, but Arizona is also in first place out in the NL West... with 69 victories. 'Zona goes up against Philadelphia looking to take the rubber game of the series and an outright win in the season series. Ian Kennedy has won seven consecutive starts and is after his 16th victory, which would lead the game. Vance Worley, meanwhile, is hoping to match Kennedy's run as he's won six straight -- but gave up six runs in four innings last time out. Diamondbacks vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

MastersonBattling out in the AL Central: This has already become a common refrain and figures to continue being one down the stretch, but there's a good battle set up between AL Central opponents. The Indians, two games behind the Tigers for the division lead, are attempting to fend off the White Sox, who are 3 1/2 behind Detroit. Cleveland has ace Justin Masterson lined up for battle against Phil Humber, who recently became a permanent member of the Sox's five-man rotation after the six-man rotation finally ended when Zach Stewart was moved to the bullpen. This is the rubber game of the three-game series, with eight games to come in September. "I know that every game means a lot because we're playing the White Sox and we're going to play Detroit, but there are so many games left that if we go day-by-day paying attention to that I'm going to get a heart attack," manager Manny Acta told the Associated Press. Indians vs. White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET

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

Posted on: July 4, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 4:01 pm

Hurdle upset with McCutchen's snub

Clint Hurdle

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't happy about Andrew McCutchen's All-Star snub and made sure everyone knew about before Monday's game against the Astros.

John Grupp of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passes along Hurdle's tirade:

"I know the challenges that come from [picking an All-Star team]," said Hurdle, who managed the NL All-Star team in 2008. "I sat in that chair. Well, I'm going to take this opportunity and be one of those managers and be disappointed in the entire process. The MLB whiffed. That he's not one of the guys getting in this little vote thing, getting into play in that. They whiffed on that. That's an absolute whiff."

"Look at the numbers he has," Hurdle said. "You can look at metrics. You can look at straight batting average, OPS, stolen bases. Whatever you want to look at, he's an All-Star.

"The players, they whiffed. Everybody whiffed on this one for me, in Andrew's case. Being his manager, I'm going to take my 42 seconds of soap box and remind everybody what a whiff-job they did with him not being on the All-Star team."

McCutchen entered Monday with a slash line of .294/.393/.498 with 12 home runs and 15 stolen bases. He's absolutely one of the best players in the National League, and not just outfielders.

The fans voted for the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, Brewers' Ryan Braun and Cardinals' Lance Berkman, while the players added St. Louis' Matt Holliday, Cincinnati's Jay Bruce and Houston's Hunter Pence. National League manager Bruce Bochy added Carlos Beltran of the Mets and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. Upton was the Diamondbacks' lone representative. 

The five players on the Final Vote ballot are the Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy, Nationals first baseman Mike Morse and Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.

McCutchen is second in WAR (3.7) among NL outfielders according to Baseball-Reference.com and sixth among NL outfielders in OPS (.892) and fifth in OPS+ (150).

In the end, Hurdle knows exactly the reason McCutchen was overlooked and pointed that out as well -- "The name on the front of the jersey has some challenges with it," Hurdle said. "We're out to knock them down. That has been our goal since the start of the season. This is another one we've faced and we'll knock this one down as well."

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:10 pm

34th man candidates revealed

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Not only is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen left off the National League roster, he's not even on the ballot for the 34th roster spot with online voting at MLB.com. Here are the five candidates from each league for the last spot on their respective All-Star squads.

American League

Alex Gordon, Royals

Adam Jones, Orioles

Paul Konerko, White Sox

Victor Martinez, Tigers

Ben Zobrist, Rays

National League

Michael Morse, Nationals

Shane Victorino, Phillies

Andre Ethier, Dodgers

Todd Helton, Rockies

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks 

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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