Tag:Jorge Posada
Posted on: May 17, 2011 5:40 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 6:02 pm
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On Deck: Oswalt faces Garcia in 'rehab start'



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Roy OswaltROY RETURNS: Roy Oswalt's start is being labeled a "rehab start" even though it's in the big leagues and he'll be limited to 60-65 pitches, but the Phillies have to be glad he's back, even in a limited engagement. That said, Roy could've gotten a better draw in his return, facing St. Louis' Jaime Garcia, who may be pitching better than anyone else in the National League. Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA. Oswalt left the team after April 26 after tornadoes hit his homes in Mississippi, but when he returned his lower back was still bothering him, so he went on the DL. Phillies at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)

WIN NEEDED: The Yankees have lost six games in a row and have created more off-the-field  headlines than on-field headlines of late. Jorge Posada, apparently, is sorry both on and off the field for his first month of the season. If you're the Yankees and you've lost six games in a row and are wrapping up a series against the division leaders, who else would you want on the mound other than Ivan Nova (3-3, 4.70 ERA)? Nova gave up eight runs and 10 hits against the Royals in his last start, so he should have no trouble against "Big Game" James Shields (4-1, 2.08) and the Rays, right? Well, Shields is 3-8 with a 4.91 ERA in his career against the Yankees, so there's that. Yankees at Rays, 6:40 p.m. ET (Watch live)

TwinsWIN NEEDED II: You think losing six games is bad? Try nine. That's where the Twins' are, losing their last nine games. Oh, and Felix Hernandez is on the mound with an extra day's rest. King Felix hasn't exactly been royal of late, but even at his worst, he's still an imposing figure on the mound. Meanwhile, Francisco Liriano left his last start after just three innings with flu-like symptoms which included trouble breathing and allowing four runs. But he's won his last three games against the Mariners, so there's that. Twins at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:59 pm
 

Jeter did not have whole Posada story

By Evan Brunell

Girardi, Posada, JeterTime for one last volley in the Jorge Posada fiasco he found himself embroiled in with manager Joe Girardi.

Derek Jeter inserted himself into the controversy by defending Posada and saying he thought the longtime backstop, in his first year as a full-time DH, did not need to apologize to the team and that Posada should be allowed to take a day to gather himself.

Except he didn't have the full story, so Jeter's comments only served to inflame Yankees brass, who held a conference call with Jeter recently to clear the air.

Jeter told his bosses, according to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, that Posada had only told Jeter that he asked for a break -- not that he had refused to play. There's a difference between asking for a break and refusing to play, and Posada crossed that line. After being apprised of the real situation, Jeter was then absolved of any wrongdoing by the brass.

Heyman added that the "underlying issue" is that Posada does not like nor trust Girardi, stemming from when they were teammates. Girardi played for the Yankees from 1996-99, and in that time period was constantly jockeying for playing time with Posada, who was an up-and-coming catcher that eventually received the majority of playing time before Girardi departed. It's easy to see how there could be friction between two former teammates competing for the same job, and there is likely many behind-the-scenes stories we will never hear.

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 4:51 pm
 

Yankees furious at Jeter's comments on Posada

By Evan Brunell

JeterDerek Jeter's comments about Jorge Posada have reportedly upset his bosses, as ESPN's Buster Olney reports.

This is difficult to fathom, as Jeter's comments were rather bland, as he told reporters Sunday that he felt Posada did not need to apologize to the team.

"From my understanding," Jeter said, "he talked to [Yankees manager Joe Girardi], told him he needed a day. If that's the case, then there's nothing wrong. It's not the first time someone has come out of the lineup, whether it's something physical or some other reasons."

"One thing I told him is if he needed a day to clear his mind, there's no need to apologize [to the team]," Jeter added. "Because I think everybody understands that. Everybody here understands that sometimes this game can be tough on you mentally. Everybody's struggled. And if that's the reason why he came out, then he doesn't need to apologize. If it's something else, then yeah, but not for that."

However, the Yankees seem to be furious with Posada, and Jeter may bear some of the fallout after already clashing with management during the free-agent process that finally saw Jeter return to New York. The Yankees had reportedly considered immediately releasing Posada, a rather large and irrational step, especially if all Posada asked for was a day off to get himself together. That's not uncommon in baseball. It does seem like there's more to the story that is being public, but this is all we have to go on for now.

The Yankees are reportedly upset that Jeter essentially exonerated Posada of any wrongdoing, especially as Jeter is team captain. Posada had already admitted he was wrong in his actions and apologized to Girardi.

UPDATE: Hank Steinbrenner has now said he has no problem with Jeter's comments, just that he's angry the Yankees have lost five games in a row. Also, the Yankees had a conference call Monday morning with Jeter, team president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner. After the call, Jeter said everyone is "on the same page."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 16, 2011 10:26 am
Edited on: May 16, 2011 10:08 pm
 

Pepper: Red Sox sweep Yanks; Varitek on Posada



By Evan Brunell


WALK A MILE IN THESE SHOES: Jason Varitek has been the Red Sox's answer to Jorge Posada for over a decade and has already undergone his own transition from starting catcher to backup. While Posada remains in the lineup as DH, Varitek wonders if his transition was easier to undertake.

“Jorge’s really had to go from focusing and doing the things that you have to do behind the plate -- the constant reminders, this and that, the maintenance, what’s going on -- and now you’re almost like, ‘Well what do I do with my time?’ ” Varitek said.

'Tek says the fact that he still starts games or has to stay mentally engaged in case he is needed in the middle of the game has allowed his transition to be easier and forces him not to worry about his slow bat. While Varitek's bat is waking up, he's still at a poor .164/.258/.218 in 63 plate appearances. Posada doesn't have that luxury, as his lousy line is as starting DH. But the Red Sox captian isn't ready to anoint Posada's career dead in the water.

"[Saturday] he had one of the few hits against Buchholz, and Buchholz had his top notch stuff,” he said. “You go through the Xs and Os and you don’t look at the batting average.” (New York Times)

RETURN OF THE TEHERAN:
Looks like Julio Teheran will get another spot start Wednesday. The Braves only need a fifth starter Wednesday and May 31, so can go with a four-man rotation for the time being. Obviously, Atlanta would have preferred Brandon Beachy not get hurt, but he kind of had decent timing. Beachy will take about a month to return, so Minor could still grab a few starts in June. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution via Twitter)

PRICE MOTIVATED AGAINST YANKS:
The first-place Rays have yet to do battle against the Yankees, but that changes Monday as both teams begin a two-game set in Tampa. David Price will draw the ball to start and admits he is always just a bit more motivated against the Bronx Bombers. "That just happens," Price said. "Whenever you're pitching against the pinstripes, you have a little more. That's how it is, that's just from their success forever in baseball." (St. Petersburg Times)

ACTA PART OF Indians SUCCESS:
Manny Acta, by all appearances, has been everything the Indians want in a manager. He's driven closer community-player relations, encouraging players to take part in Twitter. (Dusty Baker, take note.) But he's also made an impact on the field by setting expecations in spring training of contending and using all his tools at his disposal to make decisions. That's put him in the early bid for manager of the year. (New York Times)

LA RUSSA STILL WAYS AWAY:
Tony La Russa remains away from the Cardinals with a bout of shingles, missing six games to date. La Russa is unclear when he can return to the team and will hold a meeting with GM John Mozeliak Monday to try to answer that very question. (FoxSportsMidwest.com)

INCHING CLOSER:
Chase Utley played in his first full minor-league game on Sunday and is getting ever-closer to returning to the majors. GM Ruben Amaro indicated that Utley needs to get more at-bats, but would not rule out a return during the upcoming week-long homestand starting Wednesday. Sounds a bit optimistic, but it looks like Utley will give fantasy owners a jolt by returning before the calendar flips to June. (Philadelphia News)

WALKING ON 3-1:
A few eyes widened Sunday when Daniel Murphy of the Mets walked on what was thought to be a 3-1 count -- except umpire Angel Hernandez had called Houston's Aneury Rodriguez for a balk prior to what ended up being the fourth ball.  "I don't know. I wasn't paying attention," Murphy said. "I heard, 'Balk.' And then, '3-1.' I guess that's what Angel said -- ['ball']. It went from 2-1 to 3-1. It was a four-ball walk." (ESPN New York)

STAY WITH US:
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen wants fans to know that the team will turn things around. “Hopefully, we go home and play better for our fans,’’ Guillen said. “They deserve that. We owe them one after that last homestand. Hopefully, we continue to play the way we’re playing now.’’ The White Sox are 6-3 in their last nine games, but are still a discouraging nine games out of first place. (Chicago Tribune)

ALVAREZ STAYING:
There are no plans to demote third baseman Pedro Alvarez to the minors, Pirates GM Neal Huntington revealed on the radio. "He's a slow starter," Huntington said. "We're seeing signs he's getting to where he needs to be. He's squaring up some balls. He's not getting himself out or getting into pitcher's counts." Alvarez is hitting .210/.277/.286 in 130 plate appearances. Even rebuilding teams give up on prospects with that stat line at this point. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

AYBAR RAKING: Erick Aybar is less patient at the plate, which is allowing him to go after good pitches more and has a .351 batting average to show for it. Sure, he's playing a bit over his head, but he seems to turned a corner offensively at age 27 and is looking like 2009 is the norm, not exception. Aybar struggled to a .255 batting average last season, which he says was in part due to being too patient at the plate. (Los Angeles Times)

GREAT ESCAPE: Those who play SplinterCell for X-Box will notice a move taken right out of the game. An Astros fan ran on the field and evaded security guards by leaping over the center field wall and scaling a berm in a way that would make Sam Fisher proud, then vaulting yet another wall and escaping... until Houston's forces caught up with him outside the park. (Youtube)

PEACOCK ON FIRE: No, not the animal. Nationals' right-handed prospect Brad Peacock has taken his game to another level and currently has a 2.13 ERA in six starts for Double-A. Credited for his success is his curveball, which is being thrown near fastball velocity which is causing hitters to miss the adjustment needed to hit a breaking ball. (MLB.com)

ATTENDANCE ISSUES: Yeah, the weather hasn't been great and it's hard to get excited about a perennial loser no matter the state of the rich farm, but the Royals have noticed their poor attendance this year. The play on the field is surprisingly strong so far, plus the constant influx of young players over the next couple of years should fix the issue. For now, though, K.C. has to worry a little bit about lack of fan turnout. (Kansas City Star)

HEYWARD RETURNING: Jason Heyward is hoping his return to the lineup will happen Tuesday. Sidelined with a sore shoulder, Heyward has reported progress and will be available to pinch-hit in Monday's game. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

SCOUT PASSES: Dick Wiencek, one of baseball's most successful scouts, passed away due to complications from a heart attack. Wiencek signed a record 72 players, including Bert Blyleven, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Jim Kaat and Graig Nettles. Thoughts and condolences to friends and family. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: May 14, 2011 8:33 pm
Edited on: May 15, 2011 2:25 am
 

Posada 'threw a hissy fit' about batting ninth

By Evan Brunell

PosadaWhen Jorge Posada spoke to reporters after learning he would be batting ninth for Saturday's game, he was initially gracious, saying he deserved the demotion by batting .166/.272/.349 in 125 PA with an impressive six home runs but just 18 hits in all.

However, he yanked himself from the lineup later, telling manager Joe Girardi he was "insulted" about hitting ninth as Jack Curry of YES reported, with the source saying he "threw a hissy fit" about it.

The Yankees are considering docking Posada's pay for his refusal to play, and told the team he would address the media after the game. Is it possible Posada could retire rather than deal with the "insult" of batting ninth?

"No, no, no," Posada's father told Curry. "He will play all year. Sometimes, athletes have a bad decision," he added, saying he felt Posada should have played. "He feels bad. He's not hitting. The whole team isn't hitting."

A source told FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, however, that Posada's back stiffened up and that is why he asked out of the lineup. It sounds like a pretty convenient excuse, as GM Brian Cashman said there was no injury. Still, you cannot rule out.

It's not easy for a former star on the downslope of his career to accept that he's no longer effective anymore and hitting ninth is a damning statement. That said, he needs to take a page from his former, clear-headed self. There's no way of getting around the fact Posada simply hasn't been productive and deserves to bat ninth until, or if, he turns it around.

If Posada isn't going to play ball, he no longer has the stature to force the team to put up with it. He will be summarily dispatched, especially with top prospect Jesus Montero waiting in the wings. In fact, the Yankees appear to be taking a hard stance against Posada's decision, and reasonably so. Rosenthal noted that the team would be able to dock Posada two days' pay with a breach of contract should they so choose, and if he asks out again Sunday, could move to terminate his contract. Bottom line: Posada is signed to a contract and is beholden to play, whether he wants to or not. The only way he can shirk his duties is to retire -- or have his contract terminated. Either way, he doesn't play.

Andruw Jones went go on to replace Posada at DH, batting ninth against the Red Sox.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Montero 'bored,' but Yanks don't have room

By Matt Snyder

Top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero is only 21 and playing his second year in Triple-A. Much of the talk from scouts is that his upside is a middle-of-the-order elite power bat, but that he's lacking in defensive skills. None of that has really changed, but a tweet from Jon Heyman of SI.com caught my eye Friday afternoon -- saying that a scout told him that Montero is "awesomely talented but bored" in Triple-A.

One of the reasons it caught my eye is that Montero isn't exactly lighting Triple-A on fire. Sure, he's hitting .327, but his OPS is only .772 due to having only taken four walks and hit two home runs. In his 113 at-bats, he's struck out 24 times, too. Add everything up and he's doing well, but hardly putting up Ruthian numbers.

Another reason is that the Yankees' catchers at the big-league level -- who are far superior in terms of defense and working with the pitcher on the mound -- are actually faring quite well at the plate. Played mostly by Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli, Yankees catchers are collectively hitting .250 with a 346 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 27 RBI. The .837 OPS is outstanding for a group of catchers that doesn't include someone like Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez or Buster Posey. So promoting Montero would not only harm the defense, there's a decent chance you'd see an offensive regression.

So that leaves the designated hitter spot, which is more natural for Montero at this point anyway, and it's manned by Jorge Posada. And Posada is struggling.

The 39-year-old former catcher is hitting .172 with six home runs, 15 RBI and a .625 OPS. He's come through with a few big hits and has taken 15 walks, but overall he's not been productive enough to keep at the DH spot all season. It's just that I can't see the Yankees giving up on Posada right now to promote a 21-year-old free-swinger and then insert him into the pressure-packed AL East race. Not yet. Plus, Eric Chavez is reportedly going to be coming back within the next few weeks.

It all boils down to this: If Montero wants a call before September, he's going to have to start putting up a sick line in Triple-A while Posada, Chavez and anyone else the Yankees try in the DH spot fail. With everything the way it currently stands, he's just going to have to continue being bored in the minors.

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:26 am
 

Pepper: Rivalry weekend in MLB



By Matt Snyder


BASEBALL TODAY: Excited about rivals getting together? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer to look at some exciting matchups as the weekend approaches. Watch the video above.

FOUR INNINGS FOR WEBB: Brandon Webb made another start in extended spring training Thursday and pitched four innings. The big issue thus far in his rehab progress has been velocity, specifically a lack thereof. Thursday he reportedly averaged around 84 m.p.h. and topped out at 86. That's still pretty bad for someone who wants to be an effective major-league pitcher -- unless he plans on being a great knuckleballer -- but it is an improvement from what we've heard over the course of the past month, when he was sitting high-70s and low-80s. Considering he's still pain-free, maybe some progress is being made. (ESPN Dallas)

SQUEEZED: Based upon data from PitchFX, BaseballAnalytics.org checked out which pitchers have had the fewest percentage of called strikes within what is supposed to be the strike zone. It's pretty interesting, because one of the biggest problems with the strike zone is how many of the umpires seem to have their own interpretation. Topping the list of the people who have been the most squeezed is Nelson Figueroa. As the site pointed out, if we had robot umpires, maybe he'd still be pitching for Houston instead of Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Cardinals BULLPEN SORTED OUT: Since removing Ryan Franklin from the role, the Cardinals had not really named a closer, but it's a pretty foregone conclusion at this point that young Eduardo Sanchez is the closer, as he's saved four games in four chances. Hard-throwing right-hander Jason Motte is their put-out-the-fire guy. "Last year he was very successful doing that, coming in in the middle of an inning and pitching out of it," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "You have to kind of remember what he did there. Because there is a need for a guy like that." (MLB.com)

WHAT ABOUT THE Braves? After Craig Kimbrel went out and blew his third save of the young season Wednesday night, a Braves beat writer (AJC.com) brought up the subject of having Jonny Venters be the closer -- or at least be part of a committee with Kimbrel. He makes a good piont that Kimbrel is the long-term closer and has elite-closer stuff, but that Venters has been so dominant and the Braves are trying to win now. So it's a conundrum. It wasn't a save situation, but Kimbrel's outing Thursday night should stave off any temporary concerns for the time being. He struck out all three batters he faced in a tie game and ended up getting a win.

BUMPED: This is at least mildly humorous. The Mets were forced to stay an extra night in Colorado due to a rainout (I'm sure Carlos Beltran is now fine with the decision), but they had to relocate to a new hotel because they were bumped ... by the Padres, who face the Rockies in a weekend series starting Friday and arrived a day early. It really does seem like the weirdest stuff always happens to the Mets, whether it's due to self-sabotage or uncontrollable outside factors. (ESPN New York)

WALK-OFF WALKS: The boys over at Big League Stew have put together a compilation of everything you've ever wanted to know about walk-off walks. For example, did you know two pitchers issued four walk-off walks in their respective careers? Hall of Famer Goose Gossage did it three times. As for hitters, Jorge Posada is the active leader with three career walk-off walks. I better stop now, lest I reach my allotment of saying "walk-off walk" for the entire season in one paragraph.

GREAT SKIPPERS: ESPN.com's Sweetspot blog ranked the top 10 managers of all-time. The highest active manager (well, the only one) on the list was Tony La Russa, who checked in at sixth. Interestingly, Joe Torre was eighth while Bobby Cox was third, rankings sure to draw the ire of the people who put a good amount more stock on the postseason than the regular season.

WORST HAT EVER: Jim Caple of ESPN.com offers up his pick for the worst cap in major-league history -- the Seattle Pilots' 1969 monstrosity -- and he'll certainly get no argument from me. Man, that thing is awful.

CASHMAN'S CONTRACT: While everyone is concentrating on CC Sabathia's contract situation at the conclusion of this season, when it comes to the Yankees, there is another contract negotiation that will occur. General manager Brian Cashman's deal is going to expire after the season. Though both Sabathia and Cashman figure to stay put, the always-thoughtful River Blues Avenue opines that the Cashman negotiations will be "messier," most notably because ownership went over his head in the Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano signings.

ANOTHER SLOW START: Adam LaRoche has been pretty terrible for the Nationals thus far, but he's trying not to worry about it from an individual perspective. There's a good reason for that, as he's been there, done that. “I wouldn’t say I’m stressing over it, because I’ve been there so many times in my career,” LaRoche said (Washington Times). “But the frustrating part is not what the average is, it’s the fact that you look back and think, ‘Man if I’d have been doing a little more, we may have won two or three extra games.’” Not only does LaRoche have several awful starts under his belt, but he's one of the most drastically streaky hitters in baseball. He'll get hot. And then he'll go stone cold again. It's a cycle with LaRoche.

HUMBLED STAR: Andrew McCutchen was benched Thursday night for not running to first on a dropped third strike the previous night. It was a good move by manager Clint Hurdle to make sure it didn't become a recurring problem, and it doesn't appear it will. "I know that's not the type of person I am," McCutchen said on Thursday. "I let my emotions get the best of me. I took it out on my bat and myself when I shouldn't have been mad. I was just frustrated at the time and not focused on the game, not focused that the ball was in the dirt with two strikes and I needed to run to first." (MLB.com) I feel like it's important to note that McCutchen is generally a hustler and this shouldn't be discussed any further. He's a good guy and a good player who made a mistake. End of story.

NO RETIREMENT: Dodgers relief pitcher Hong Chih-Kuo is one of the better relievers in the game when he's mentally right. It's just that he seems to suffer from the yips on occasion. He's currently on the disabled list with anxiety disorder as the Dodgers have reported he's too scared to take the mound right now. Kuo's agent did say Thursday that there are no plans to retire, though, and he's going to battle his way back. It's one of Kuo's traits, actually, as he's had four surgeries, including Tommy John surgery twice. He always comes back, so this time won't be any different. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:02 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Kennedy outduels Lincecum

Kennedy

By Evan Brunell


Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks -- Kennedy turned in a sublime performance, matching Tim Lincecum with eight scoreless, whiffing eight and walking just three and allowing four hits. Kennedy has really taken a step forward this season and has a 3.23 ERA so far. It's the fourth time in seven starts that the right-hander has pitched into the eighth and he has only had one stinker this year. The 26-year-old has taken legitimate strides this year and looks to be settling in as a long-term No. 2 or 3 starter.

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- A-Gon was widely hailed as the consensus AL MVP prior to the season. A slow start dimmed that star a bit, but his 3-for-6 night with two walks and three RBI -- oh, and those two home runs -- have put him squarely back in the chase. He's now hitting .324/.375/.541 and looks right at home in Boston and has already flashed his defense. A-Gon now has six home runs which puts him in the franchise lead, just one ahead of Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles -- Hardy played in only six games (one as a pinch-hitter) before hitting the disabled list, so this was really his coming-out game for the Orioles. In his first game back, Hardy went 4-for-5 out of the nine-hole (wanna bet he's moved up Wednesday?) and tacked on a home run and a walk for good measure. Hardy's always had the potential to flash an above-average bat for a shortstop; he just hasn't done so in recent years. The Orioles are hoping he ends their revolving door at shortstop for a few seasons. He's got strong defense and will be a coveted free agent once he hits the market after the year. 



Jorge Posada, Yankees -- And the beat goes on for Posada, who is starting to approach a justifiable benching. Posada's start to the year was rife with home runs and while the power is still there, he's shown zero aptitude for getting a hit. After his 0-for-3 night dropped him to .147/.250/.343, the question must seriously be asked: is Posada done? OK, probably not, but he may be done for a while as a starter. The Yankees could promote Jesus Montero before too long, but it's still a tad early to be asking that question. Given we're in mid-May, though, Posada really only has a couple more weeks to turn it around before there are significant repercussions to his slump.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Yeah, so maybe that no-hitter wasn't quite the turnaround point for Liriano. The lefty was right back to being his old lousy self as he lasted just three innings with his control problems re-surfacing with three free passes against just one strikeout. All told, he gave up four runs on three hits (yep, walks will do that to you) to the Tigers. Liriano's no-no has bought him some time, but that leash only got so much longer after his pristine game. If he doesn't turn it around in the next couple of starts, Minnesota will not hesitate to replace Liriano. Oh, by the way, Detroit's Victor Martinez is on fire. A day after being one of the 3 Up hitters, he stuffed the stat sheet with a 3-for-4 performance, driving in four and adding two runs.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds -- Ew. Cincy was on its way toward a whitewashing of the Astros but had to settle for a 7-3 margin after Chapman relieved Homer Bailey (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K), faced four batters and retired absolutely zip. He didn't whiff anyone but walked three and hit another. After walking in a run, Nick Masset came in and drove the final nail into Chapman's night by giving up a two-run single. That's got the fireballing lefty's ERA all the way up to 4.26 and has given up six earned runs and eight walks in his last three appearances. Dude's certainly screaming out that he might be hurt, no?

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