Tag:Jon Lester
Posted on: June 22, 2011 4:41 pm
 

10th win proves elusive

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Max ScherzerSometimes you just keep seeing the same phrase over and over and don't notice until you realize it's not just deja vu. The phrase I heard a couple of times in the last week was "attempting to become the majors' first 10-game winner."

Detroit's Max Scherzer was the last pitcher to attempt to win his 10th game of the season -- and like the three other guys to try, he failed. So far, a total of four pitchers -- Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Jon Lester and Scherzer -- have had a chance at picking up their 10th win of the season. Halladay hasn't lost in his two tries, but he doesn't have a decision in either start.

As a whole, pitchers going for their 10th win of the season are 0-3 with a 4.59 ERA -- that ERA is skewed a bit by Scherzer's stinker last night against the Dodgers in which he gave up six runs on nine hits in six innings in Los Angeles.

The next pitcher "attempting to become the majors' first 10-game winner' is Lester, who goes to the hill for the Red Sox against Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm on Friday.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 7:54 pm
 

On Deck: Jeter's big homestand

OD

By Matt Snyder


Jeter Watch: Derek Jeter has entered the home stretch in his quest to reach 3,000 hits, and he now has a 10-game homestand where he could possibly make it. But he'll have to pick up the pace. He needs 14 hits to reach the plateau. He's averaging 1.09 hits per game so far this season, so that would give him about 11 hits during the homestand. Tuesday night, there's much more going on for the Yankees than Jeter, as the Red Sox come to town. The battle is as it always should be in the minds of many fans from the northeast: For first place in the AL East. The Yankees lead the Red Sox by one game. Taking the hill for the Red Sox is Jon Lester (7-2, 3.94). Freddy Garcia (4-4, 3.34) will go for the Yankees. As for the Jeter watch, he's faced Lester 41 times in his career, gathering 12 hits in 38 at-bats (.316) while striking out nine times. Boston at New York (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET. WATCH LIVE SCORING

Homecoming: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla and manager Fredi Gonzalez are returning to Sun Life Stadium for the first time in an opposing uniform. Uggla's return is the much bigger deal, as he manned second base for the past five seasons for the Marlins. He racked up 154 home runs, 465 RBI, 499 runs, 170 doubles and two All-Star appearances during that time and was one of the premier power-hitting second basemen in baseball. This season for the Braves, well, things haven't quite gone as planned. Uggla is hitting .172 with a .552 OPS. Coming off the best season of his career, he's compiling his worst stats, and it's not even close. The homecomings coincide with a series that is important for both the Braves and Marlins. Each are trailing the Phillies by four games in the NL East. The Marlins have lost five straight, and the Braves have dropped four of six. Tommy Hanson (6-4, 2.82) takes the mound for the Braves, and the Marlins send 21-year-old Brad Hand for his major-league debut. He was 7-1 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in Double-A. Atlanta at Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET. WATCH LIVE SCORING

Moving CarGo: For the second straight game -- and only the second time all season -- the Rockies will send Carlos Gonzalez out to center field and also bat him leadoff. The move to center comes because of Dexter Fowler's injury, but Ryan Spilborghs could have been an option, too. Moving CarGo to leadoff seems designed to do whatever it takes to jumpstart him and the Rockies' offense. There's obviously no correlation between playing a different position and better production at the plate, but Jim Tracy is trying any kind of mix to get Gonzalez on track. After an MVP-caliber season, Gonzalez is hitting .249 with a .728 OPS. Last season, those figures ended at .336 and .974. The experiment didn't work Monday night. Gonzalez went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Tuesday, he'll give it another go in San Diego. The Padres send Tim Stauffer (1-4, 3.99) to the mound to face off against Ubaldo Jimenez (1-5, 4.98). Of note there: Jimenez had been terrible until a shutout last time out. Colorado at San Diego, 10:05 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
 

Looking back at second-round picks

Joey Votto

By C. Trent Rosecrans


While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done. 

The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.

Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.

Astros: Perhaps the team's best player right now, outfielder Hunter Pence, was the 64th overall pick in 2004. 

MLB Draft

Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.

Blue Jays: Right-hander Dave Bush in 2002 is probably the team's best second-round pick since taking Derek Bell in 1987.

Brian McCannBraves: Current first baseman Freddie Freeman was selected with the 78th overall pick in 2007, but the best pick was easily 2002's No. 64 overall pick, a local high school catcher named Brian McCann.

Brewers: The Brewers took Yovani Gallardo with the fifth pick of the second round in 2004.

Cardinals: In 2001, the team took Dan Haren with the 72nd overall pick. More recently, Jon Jay was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft.

Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).

Diamondbacks: A's starter Brett Anderson was Arizona's second-rounder in 2006. He was part of the big trade that send Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks.

Dodgers: The Dodgers got future closer Jonathan Broxton with the 60th overall pick in 2002.

Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.

Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.

Mariners: Recently-demoted Orioles starter Chris Tillman was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 second-rounder Rich Poythress, who had 31 homers in Class A last season.

Mike StantonMarlins: It wasn't until the 12th pick of the second round -- and 76th overall -- for someone to pick up Mike Stanton in 2007. 

Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)

Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.

Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.

Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.

Phillies: Jimmy Rollins was the team's second-rounder in 1996, going 46th overall.

Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.

Rangers: The only player taken by the Rangers in the second round of the last decade to make the majors is Jason Bourgeois.

Rays: The Rays famously took Josh Hamilton No. 1 overall in 1999, but their second-round pick that year was pretty good too -- Carl Crawford.

Red Sox: How about Justin Masterson (2006), Dustin Pedroia (2004) and Jon Lester (2002)?

Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.

Rockies: For recent vintage, Seth Smith (2004) is the pick, but you can go back a few years and pick Aaron Cook (1997).

George BrettRoyals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.

Tigers: The Tigers took Brandon Inge with the 14th pick of the 1998 draft as a catcher out of Virginia Commonwealth. In 1976, Alan Trammell was the second pick of the round.

Twins: A nice run of arms earlier in the decade with Kevin Slowey (2005), Anthony Swarzak (2004), Scott Baker (2003) and Jesse Crain (2002). Frank Viola was the team's second-rounder in 1981.

White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.

Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:39 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 7:59 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Local boy does good

Kyle Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Kyle Phillips, Padres -- Coming into Monday's game, the San Diego native was hitting just .138/.242/.172. So he was hardly Bud Black's first choice off the bench as a pinch-hitter, but Phillips hit the first homer of his big league career to lead off the 10th inning, leading the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- Johnson finished a single short of the cycle, hitting two homers. He accounted for 13 total bases -- four more than teammate Justin Upton, who went 5 for 5. Johnson hit for the cycle last season.

Tony Campana, Cubs -- On his 25th birthday, the Cubs rookie stole four bases. Coming into Monday, the Cubs as a team had stolen 10 bases all season. Starlin Castro led the team with four stolen bases before the day started.


Sean Rodriguez, Rays -- The Rays hadn't committed more than one error in a game all season -- until Monday when Rodriguez took care of that all by himself, making three errors in the game. The shortstop tied the Rays record for errors in a game, joining five others. The Rays' 52 games to start the season without more than one error is a major league record.

Jake Arrieta, Orioles -- The Baltimore right-hander gave up two runs in the first to the Mariners, but it was the fourth inning that did him in. Arrieta gave up back-to-back walks with the bases loaded in the third inning of the team's 4-3 loss to Seattle. Arrieta has now given up 16 walks in his last 24 innings. He was pulled after the two walks -- including a 12-pitch at-bat by Adam Kennedy and then another full-count walk to Miguel Olivo.

Jon Lester, Red Sox -- Going for his big-league best eighth victory, Lester was roughed up for seven runs on eight hits in just 5 2/3 innings. Still, he needed 127 pitches to get to that point, the second-most he's thrown in his career after the 130 he threw in his no-hitter in 2008. In two starts against Chicago's two teams, Lester has given up 20 hits and 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 3:06 pm
 

On Deck: Lester goes for MLB-leading eighth win

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


PiratesMetsBEST MATCHUP: Did you ever think that Charlie Morton and Dillon Gee would be worthy of the best pitching matchup of the day? Yeah, me neither. Morton is an impressive 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA for the Pirates despite an underwhelming K/BB ratio. Given that Morton has held up so far and really has his groundball tendencies working, it's possible he's for real. Meanwhile, Gee has seen the Mets win each of his six starts in a year where he's bounced between the rotation and the bullpen. He has a pristine 4-0 record with a 3.83 ERA but gave up four runs in six innings to the Cubs last time out. Both the Mets and Pirates have 24 wins apiece, while the Pirates have one less loss at 27. Pittsburgh's still hanging around the chase for .500. Somehow. Pirates vs. Mets, 7:10 p.m. ET

HarangGOT HIS NUMBER
: Who will the Braves start behind the plate on Monday against the Padres' Aaron Harang? Does it matter? Brian McCann is 8 for 17 lifetime against Harang with two home runs, while backup catcher David Ross is 4 for 9 with three home runs. That's a nice problem to have, especially as Harang will be pitching away from the friendly confines of Petco Park against Tim Hudson. Other Braves who hit Harang well include Dan Uggla, who has a .429 batting average and two home runs in 25 plate appearances against him. Chipper Jones is 6 for 15, so there could be some fireworks during the game. Padres vs. Braves, 1:05 p.m. ET

LesterCHASE FOR EIGHT: There are five seven-game winners in the NL but only one over in the junior circuit, and that's Boston's Jon Lester. He'll have a chance to become baseball's first eight-game winner when he takes on Jake Peavy and the White Sox. Lester has benefited from run support this year, as he's received 59 runs on the backs of the Red Sox offense over his last 11 starts, including 24 over his past two. While Lester's been a bit lucky in this regard as he's appeared hittable this season in spurts, he still has a quality 3.36 ERA. After Toronto knocked them around, the ChiSox are hoping to avoid their fourth straight loss. The good news is that Gordon Beckham is expected to be back at second base after sitting out two games thanks to being smacked in the eye with a baseball. White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 .p.m. ET

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: May 10, 2011 6:15 pm
 

On Deck: Aces Halladay, Johnson battle

Halladay, Johnson
On Deck

By Evan Brunell

BEST MATCHUP: Get excited. Tuesday night's best matchup pits Roy Halladay against Josh Johnson. In the earlier going, JJ has been the better pitcher with a 1.68 ERA, while Halladay will look to push his ERA under 2 from 2.19. Johnson is coming off a 7 1/3 inning, 5-run effort against the Cardinals in which he drew his first loss of the year while Halladay coughed up two in seven innings to beat the Nationals. Last season, Halladay's perfect game came against Johnson on May 29, and this is the first time Halladay will toe the mound in Miami since. There's a bit of a mentor-mentee relationship as Johnson has spoken at length about how much he looks up to Halladay and was able to watch one of Halladay's bullpen sessions last season. Phillies at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

GONE STREAKING: Jacoby Ellsbury will look to push his hitting streak to 19 as the Red Sox hit the road with a trip to Toronto before the first Red Sox-Yankees series of the year will dominate the media. Meanwhile, Jon Lester looks to win his fifth straight start which will propel Boston to .500 for the first time all season. It will have been the latest in a season the Red Sox reach .500 since 1996, when it took until Aug. 22. Lester will be opposed by rookie Kyle Drabek. Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET (Watch live)

BIG Z DOMINATION: Chris Carpenter has been one of the best pitchers in the game over the past decade, but he can't seem to solve Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs. The Cubs are 5-2 in Carpenter-Zambrano tilts and haven't lost a game since July 22, 2005, as the Chicago Tribune reports. Weird, right? That trend may very well continue Tuesday night as Big Z is 4-1 on the year with a 4.23 ERA while Carpenter is searching for his first win amid two losses and a 4.19 ERA. Oh, and Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot returns to his old stomping grounds after saying he was finally "on the right side of the rivalry" and being threatened with a knockdown pitch. Cardinals at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 9:56 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:52 pm
 

Pepper: Talking Thursday's pitchers

By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Kyle McClellan remain perfect on the season? Can Ryan Dempster get back on track? Will Jon Lester get the Red Sox a much needed win? I joined Lauren Shehadi to discuss some of Thursday's more intriguing starting pitchers.

DISABLED DELMON: Twins outfielder Delmon Young hadn't played since April 18, but was hoping to avoid a DL stint. Instead, he's been unable to to get loose during batting practice and the Twins finally saved and placed him on the DL, retroactive to April 19. That's quite a while the Twins played short-handed, and they've been doing so pretty much all season anyway. At some point, expect their fortunes to turn. It all has to even out, right? (MLB.com )

SLOGGING SOX:
The White Sox have gotten the bad end of basestealing this season offensively and defensively. They've allowed opposing runners to swipe 19 bags in 21 chances while only converting 14 of 30 attempts of their own. That's a vast discrepancy. The latter part of the equation is especially tough to understand with Juan Pierre in the lineup, considering he stole 68 of 86 last season. He's only five of 11 thus far in 2011. Of course, manager Ozzie Guillen had his usually colorful explanation on the matter: "We don't have that many people on base, so maybe we forgot how to run the bases." (Chicago Sun-Times )

THERIOT BACK SOON: The Cardinals don't expect Ryan Theriot to need a trip to the disabled list with his current ribcage injury. He may even take the field Thursday against the Astros. (StLtoday.com )

BELT BACK IN OUTFIELD? One of the reasons the Giants were said to have initially brought Brandon Belt to the majors on the opening day roster was that he was a superior first baseman. Of course, it also pushed Aubrey Huff into right field, where he's a butcher. So when Belt returns, it will reportedly be as an outfielder. He'd likely fit on either corner. The move only sounds like it would be for early in Belt's career, as general manager Brian Sabean said: "We know he can play first base." (SFgate.com )

LOGAN'S CAST: Logan Morrison of the Marlins recently got a cast off his injured foot. He's now selling the cast on eBay with proceeds going to the American Lung Association. That's not all, as he had the cast signed by every member of the Marlins -- except Hanley Ramirez.

CUDDYER ON MINORS: Twins slugger Michael Cuddyer writes a column for FOX Sports North, and in his latest installment he discusses the minor leagues, specifically how much it makes him appreciate the majors. He goes through the differences of each level, specifically how travel, food and lodging all get better with each promotion. I especially enjoyed this part about Class A: "I was only 19 and excited to start my professional career, so I really didn’t mind the six-hour bus ride to Clinton, Iowa. I didn’t mind the Econo Lodge that had a hole in the floor where I could see the room below me. I didn’t even mind the $12 per diem we received for all three meals. I didn’t know any better — I just thought it was great that I got to play baseball every day." (fsnorth.com )

AARDSMA STILL NOT READY: Mariners closer David Aardsma is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma. It was his fourth outing, but he still wasn't right -- as he gave up a walk and triple to begin the inning. According to manager Eric Wedge, the Mariners are going to "give him the time that he needs to just get more comfortable being on the mound." (Seattle Times )

CEDENO OUT, WOOD IN: Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno was benched Wednesday night for the second straight game and it was said to be a "manager's decision" by skipper Clint Hurdle. Tuesday night, Cedeno entered as a pinch-runner and was caught stealing. Later in the game, he received an at-bat and grounded out to third. He must have thought the ball was foul, because he didn't run it out. Interestingly, the once-touted-now-maligned Brandon Wood got the start at short in each of the past two games. It's early and a small sample, but Wood is showing some good signs. He's hitting .250 with a double, two runs and two RBI. The best news, however, is that he's walked twice and only struck out once, giving him a .400 on-base percentage. (Bucco Blog )

BELTRE SUSPENDED BY Rangers: Yeah, if it was Adrian he'd get his own story. We're talking about 21-year-old Rangers prospect Engel Beltre. What happened was Double-A Frisco of the Texas League had a would-be go-ahead home run overturned and ruled a double in the ninth inning of a recent game. Both the manager and pitching coach were ejected in the aftermath. Then water bottles began to be thrown on the field by fans and a plastic trash can was hurled into the stands by Beltre. “It is definitely not something we condone,’’ Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “It is a black eye for all involved.’’ (ESPN Dallas )

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 9:43 pm
 

Jon Lester's April struggles continue

By Evan Brunell

LesterJon Lester must really hate April.

Lester coughed up five earned runs over 5 1/3 innings Friday afternoon as the Red Sox fell to the Rangers by a 9-5 score. He gave up three home runs for the first time in his career and didn't register a strikeout for just the second time ever. Odd coming from someone with back-to-back 225-whiff seasons.

While Lester didn't draw the loss -- Daniel Bard did after coughing up four runs in the eighth -- he still walks away with an 8.44 ERA after the outing and continues a disturbing trend.

Over Lester's career, he has a 4.76 ERA in 17 April starts, which is easily his worst mark and is only approached by August in terms of futility with a 4.60 mark. Every other month does not top 3.42 and two -- June and September -- have marks under 3.00.

And yet that doesn't tell the whole story, because the primary culprit for Lester's poor August numbers come from 2006, his first full season in the majors. Lester made four starts in June for a 2.95 ERA, six in July with a 3.82 mark and then the wheels fell off in August with five starts and a 7.66 ERA. Lester would then be diagnosed with cancer, so these August starts in 2006 should be taken with a heavy dose of salt as he has not exhibited struggles in August since.

That leaves April. And given that the highest ERA month outside of April and August is May at 3.42, that tells you Lester still struggles into May.

"Every year I tell myself it's not going to happen, and it still does," Lester told the Boston Globe before coughing up seven runs to the Rays April 18 of last season. "If I had an answer, I would try and fix it."

Lately, Lester has come to believe that repetition and getting into a rhythm are key to avoiding his April struggles.

"Once you're able to repeat everything and get a base for it, that's when you get on that roll in the middle of the season," the lefty told the Providence Journal in February. "People always wonder why pitchers don't do well at the beginning of the season. Well, you're still building. You can only do so much with what your body allows you to do. You're playing games that mean something for the first time. You've got to continue to build. It takes CC [Sabathia] until June, and he's unbeatable from then on. Everybody is different. Everybody has different bodies and they work differently. You just have to do what the game gives you."

Lester cited Sabathia as another example of someone who needs time to get going, except his overall numbers don't bear that out as much. Sabathia's highest ERA does come in April with a 4.35 ERA in 44 starts, but May's .46 is the lowest outside of August and September, while July nears April at 4.33. Sabathia did struggle greatly in May last season, which could color Lester's perspective. 

Lester wasn't too concerned after his start, choosing to brush it off and move on, but as a trendy pick to win the Cy Young, he can't afford the April struggles to last as long as they have in the past if he wants a real chance at the hardware.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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