Tag:On Deck
Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:55 pm
 

On Deck: Two big NL East returns

OD

By Matt Snyder

The Mets and Marlins kicked things off with an afternoon game, as it was the front end of a doubleheader. That still leaves us with 12 night games, a healthy slate for a Monday night. Follow all the action live on our CBSSports.com scoreboard.

Hamels on the hill/Over Yonder: Phillies starter Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will return from a quick stint on the disabled list Monday night. He was sidelined with inflammation to his left shoulder. Now the task will be making sure he's strong for the postseason, as there's little doubt the Phillies are headed to the best record in the NL. Monday's opponent is the Reds and Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will be on the mound. An interesting note here from the Reds' side of things is that Yonder Alonso is starting at third base. The 24-year-old slugger is a defensively liability pretty much everywhere except first -- and there's even some debate to that. Considering the Reds have a decent player already at first, they're trying to find a new spot for Alonso. He's hitting .467 with three home runs and a 1.422 OPS in 36 plate appearances since being recalled, so that's why the Reds are experimenting. The issue: He's never played third, not even in the minors. Should be interesting, to say the least. Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Jose, Jose Jose Jose! He didn't get back in time to start the first game of the double-dip, but Jose Reyes will return to the Mets' lineup for the nightcap. As I wrote Sunday, Reyes' return to the lineup is compelling due to his impending free agency. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples, but health questions might mitigate how much money Reyes commands on the open market. Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.30) is the Marlins' starter while Dillon Gee (11-5, 4.37) gets the nod for the Mets. Marlins at Mets, 7:40 p.m. ET (if not later, as it's the second game of the doubleheader).

Hurly Buehrle: The White Sox have won three straight and trail the Tigers by six in the AL Central. They can't wait much longer to get on a serious run, or else they'll be too far back come mid-September, so the time is now to build a huge winning streak. Monday, Mark Buehrle (10-6, 3.19) will be the White Sox's starter against the Twins. If recent history is any indication, a win should be coming. Buehrle has a 0.39 ERA and 0.61 WHIP in three starts against the Twins this season. On the flip-side, the White Sox have owned Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.84) over the course of his career, as Slowey has a 6.39 ERA in 38 innings against the White Sox. Still, games aren't won on paper or past history. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: August 28, 2011 10:56 am
 

On Deck: Weaver goes after Rangers

OD

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 27, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 11:55 am
 

On Deck: Verlander going for 20

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Justin VerlanderGoing for 20: Of all the things Justin Verlander has done in his career, he's never won 20 games in a season. He can reach that mark today with a victory over the Twins at Target Field. Since the 28-year-old's first full season in 2006, he's won at least 17 games in five of his six seasons, including 19 in 2009. In his lone season without 17 wins, he had 17 losses in 2008. In addition to a big-league leading 19 wins this season, he's also leading the majors in starts (28), innings pitched (209 2/3), strikeouts (212), WHIP (0.878) and hits per 9 innings (6) -- in short, he's pretty good. Tigers at Twins, 4:10 p.m. ET

Boom or bust: Remember last week when the Diamondbacks had lost six straight games? Since breaking that streak on Tuesday, Arizona hasn't lost, winning their next four games. The two streaks haven't really changed their place in the standings. After beating the Phillies on Aug. 16 (the last of a seven-game winning streak), the Diamondbacks led the NL West by 3 1/2 games. They then lost six in a row and now after winning four in a row, Arizona is still 3 games up on the Giants. Arizona starter Joe Saunders has lost his last three decisions and has a 7.00 ERA in his last three starts, but is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Padres this season. Aaron Harang starts for the Padres, going for his 13th win of the season. While conventional wisdom has been that Harang has benefitted from his new spacious home at Petco Park, he's 6-0 on the road (although, his ERA is more than a run higher away from Petco, where he's 6-3). Padres at Diamondbacks, 8:10 p.m.

Giants rookie takes the hill: Astros starter Brett Myers will be make the 244th start of his career today against the Giants, while San Francisco's Eric Surkamp will be making his first. The left-handed Surkamp, 24, is 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels. The North Carolina State product doesn't overpower anyone, but has a big, breaking curveball that is used as a strikeout pitch. In his last start, Surkamp allowed just two hits and struck out four in eight shutout innings. With Zack Wheeler traded to New York for Carlos Beltran, Surkamp is the team's top prospect and San Francisco hopes he can stabilize the fifth spot in the rotation, filling in for the injured Jonathan Sanchez, the ineffective Dan Runzler and the injured and ineffective Barry Zito. Astros at Giants, 9:05 p.m.


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Posted on: August 26, 2011 4:47 pm
 

On Deck: Rangers, Angels start big series

OD

By Matt Snyder

As long as the weather cooperates -- and it won't Saturday or Sunday -- we'll be blessed with a full 15-game slate Friday night. Keep track of every game by following along live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard.

Head-to-Head: The closest division race (where a team is actually in danger of missing the playoffs) is the AL West, now that the Rangers have lost three in a row and the Angels are red-hot with six consecutive victories (Check out Scott Miller's column on the Angels' recent ride). The Rangers lead has dwindled down to two and the Angels will visit Texas for a three-game series this weekend. Last time the two clubs squared off, the Rangers went into Anaheim, took three of four and left with a seven-game lead. This series represents a chance at redemption for the Angels. Dan Haren (13-6, 2.98) will start for the Angels, and he was torched last time he saw the Rangers, as he gave up nine hits and seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings back on July 20. Interestingly, Derek Holland (11-5, 4.42) -- the Rangers starter Friday night -- also pitched that game and was equally torched (9 H, 7 ER). The Angels actually won 9-8. Holland has seen the Angels since, though, and fared very well. He went 8 2/3 innings while allowing three runs and striking out seven in the Rangers' 7-3 win on August 13. Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

Shields returns to Toronto: Rays starting pitcher James Shields entered the 2011 season with zero All-Star appearances, five career complete games and two shutouts. He led the majors in hits and earned runs allowed in 2010, while also leading the AL in home runs given up. Back on April 24 of this season, he went into Toronto and shut the Jays out. It was his second straight complete game and his first shutout since 2008. That outing seemed to set the tone for a career year for Shields, as he's now been to an All-Star Game and leads the majors with nine complete games. He also has four shutouts, tying him for the AL lead. Friday night, Shields returns to the Rogers Centre to face those Blue Jays again. Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.32) is tasked with topping Shields for the Jays. Rays at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. ET.

Watch the Rox: Will history repeat itself? Remember 2007? The Rockies were six out in the middle of September but closed winning 14 of their last 15 to win the NL Wild Card. They actually got really hot for an extended stretch to make the 2009 playoffs as well. So even though you see the Rockies pretty far back -- nine games out with just over a month left -- it's hard to definitively say they're out of the race. Also consider the Giants and D-Backs have endured several rough patches each. Oh, and the Rockies have won five in a row. Friday night, they attempt to stay hot as they visit the Dodgers -- who have a three-game winning streak themselves. Esmil Rogers (6-2, 6.00) tries to keep the Rockies going while Ted Lilly (7-13, 4.58) looks to keep his club on track. Rockies at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 3:59 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 4:06 pm
 

On Deck: Watching the Wests

OD

By Matt Snyder

With four day games and only five night games, the pickings are slim for On Deck. Fortunately, we have three pretty important evening games, thanks to some of the teams out West. Follow all the action live on CBSSports.com's scoreboard and keep up with the standings that update at the conclusion of every game.

Texas heat: The Angels are idle Thursday, but breathing down the neck of the Rangers again, as they've won six in a row while the Rangers have dropped two straight. The Texas lead is 2 1/2 games, while the Angels visit for a pivotal three-game series beginning Friday. Should the Rangers lose Thursday night against the Red Sox, they'd be in danger of losing the division lead during the Angels' series. All-Star Alexi Ogando (12-5, 3.30) will start for the Rangers and square off against Andrew Miller (5-1, 4.99) of the Red Sox. Ogando has faltered a bit of late, with a 5.19 ERA in his last six starts, though he was good last time out. Still, the Red Sox offense in a hitter's park is a tall order. The Rangers bats better be ready to answer the call. The Red Sox have work to do themselves, as they entered Thursday with a one-game lead in the AL East. Red Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET.

Snakes in D.C.: The surprising Diamondbacks are sitting atop the NL West with a two-game lead -- despite a recent six-game losing streak -- but have the defending champs hot on their heels, so every game at this point is big for Kirk Gibson's crew. Thursday night won't be easy against the Nationals, who, by the way, are in third place in the NL East. John Lannan (8-9, 3.61) takes the hill for Washington, and he's 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in his career against Arizona. The D-Backs, meanwhile, send Wade Miley (0-1, 11.25) to the mound. He only has one career start, a four-inning, five-runs-allowed loss this past Saturday against the Braves. Diamondbacks at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET.

Giant opportunity: If the D-Backs do lose to the Nats, the Giants should move to within one game. They're taking on the Astros, who have lost four in a row and have the worst record in the majors. Further on the side of the Giants, All-Star Ryan Vogelsong (10-3, 2.47) takes the hill, and he's had great success at home (1.82 ERA in 74 1/3 innings). Meanwhile, the Astros hand the ball to Henry Sosa (0-2, 6.35). He's going on three-days' rest, as the Astros are going to activate J.A. Happ from the disabled list Friday. Astros at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Giants hope for home cooking

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Home, sweet home: San Francisco returns to AT&T Park after a 4-6 road trip, but find themselves treading water against a struggling Arizona squad that has lost six games in a row. After losing their last four series, the Giants open a 12-game home stand with San Diego for two games before Houston and Chicago come to town, setting up a big three-game set with division-leading Arizona. The Giants play 21 of their final 34 games at home, where they have the fourth-best winning percentage (.583) among National League teams. San Diego is 11 games under .500, but has won 12 of its last 18 games. The two-game series against San Diego is the start of a run of interdivisional games for the Giants, who play NL West teams 27 times in their final 34 and are done with non-NL West teams after this homestand. Padres at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

Hanging on: Two second place teams, the White Sox and Angels, start a quick two-game series at Angel Stadium. The series won't make or break either team, but both hope to keep pace in their divisional races. The White Sox are tied for second with Indians, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central, while the Angels are 4 1/2 game behind the Rangers in the AL West. Both pitchers -- Chicago's Mark Buehrle and Los Angeles' Ervin Santana -- had winning streaks snapped in their last outting. Buehrle hadn't lost since June 16 and had a snap of 18 starts of allowing three runs or fewer by giving up four runs in a loss to Cleveland. Santana allowed four runs (three earned) in a loss to the Rangers last Wednesday, pitching into the eighth inning. Still, Santana has gone 6-3 with a 1.87 ERA over his last 12 starts, while Buehrle is 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA over his last 12 starts. White Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

Youth movement: In his last start, Braves left-hander Mike Minor didn't give up a run in six innings of work, striking out nine batters and walking one (intentionally), allowing just four hits. Since entering the rotation in the place of Tommy Hanson, Minor's gone 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts, showing why the Braves think so highly of the 23-year-old former first-round pick. Cubs right-hander Casey Coleman has been less successful in replacing Carlos Zambrano in the Chicago rotation. In his first start in place of Zambrano, Coleman allowed 10 hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Houston. He's 2-5 overall with a 7.43 ERA, but his ERA is lowered a bit to 7.05 as a starter. Braves at Cubs, 8:05 p.m ET

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Posted on: August 22, 2011 5:26 pm
 

On Deck: Playoff preview in Texas

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Playoff preview: If the playoffs started now, the Red Sox and Rangers would play each other in the first round of the playoffs. Boston, a half-game behind the Yankees in the AL East, could move into a tie for first with the idle Yankees with a victory -- the loser of the division will likely face the Rangers in October. Left-hander Erik Bedard hasn't won as a member of the Red Sox yet, but has pitched well in his three starts, allowing no more than three earned runs in any of the three and allowing just one earned run in six innings in a loss to the Rays last week. Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson is 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 appearances (four starts) against the Red Sox in his career. Red Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET

Justin VerlanderC.J. WilsonPremier matchup: The Tigers' Justin Verlander has a chance to exceed his 2010 win total before September as he goes for No. 19 on Monday. Last year he won 18 games and he matched that with a victory over the Twins on Tuesday. Verlander has won six consecutive starts sincee his last defeat, July 15 against the White Sox. Detroit enters the game with its largest lead of the season in the AL Central at 4 1/2 games over the Indians. While Verlander hasn't lost since last month, Rays starter Jeff Niemann hasn't lost since May 4, going 7-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his last 10 starts and 4-0  with a 1.81 ERA in six starts since the All-Star Break. Tigers at Rays, 7:10 p.m. ET

Snakes slide: The Diamondbacks have lost five games in a row, but still lead the NL West by one-and-a-half games over the San Francisco Giants. Arizona's slide comes while the Giants are struggling as well, going 4-6 in their last 10 and 7-13 in their last 20 and have serious injury concerns. Arizona is six games into a 10-game road trip, winning just one. Left-hander Joe Saunders beat Washington on June 4, throwing seven shutout innings with five strikeouts and is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in three career starts against the Nations. Washington's Ross Detwiller has only faced the Diamondbacks once, allowing seven runs (four earned) and nine hits in just four-plus innings last August. Diamondbacks at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 11:24 am
 

On Deck: Miley debuts, Wakefield tries for 200

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


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

MileyTime to debut: Fortunately for Arizona, the Giants have dropped two in a row, so the three-game losing streak the Diamondbacks are on hasn't hurt too much. Still, it's not helping, and rookie Wade Miley will be assigned with a tall task in his debut: defeat Atlanta and Brandon Beachy. The 24-year-old Miley was snagged in the compensation section of the first round back in 2009 and is making his career debut after splitting the season with Double- and Triple-A. Cumulatively, Miley posted a 4.30 ERA in 22 starts, punching out 102 and walking 44. Diamondbacks vs. Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

WakefieldPaulinoStill chasing 200: For those counting, this will be the fifth start for Tim Wakefield in his pursuit of his 200th victory. Wakefield has actually pitched rather strongly over these outings, but nothing's broken his way. While 200 will be on many a person's mind on Saturday, Wakefield has more important things to worry about, such as winning the game. Boston is an half-game behind the Yankees for the division and with New York beating up on Minnesota, the Red Sox need to do the same to the Royals, who will offer up Felipe Paulino. Paulino left Houston an erratic starter for Colorado where he was converted to relief with poor results. The Royals picked him up off the scrap heap, and he's delivered with a 3.76 ERA in 13 starts and one relief apearance. Red Sox vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m. ET

TexasWhite SoxPulling away: The Rangers, fresh off taking 3 of 4 from the Angels, beat Chicago in the series opener on Friday. Chicago is suddenly five games behind first place, losers of three straight, after threatening to move into second place and give Detroit a run for their money mere days ago. Texas, meanwhile, would love to continue driving a stake through the heart of the Angels by keeping up their winning ways while Los Angeles battles the Orioles. John Danks will go up against Alexi Ogando in an intriguing matchup. Rangers vs. White Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET

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