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Tag:CC Sabathia
Posted on: July 10, 2011 12:56 pm
 

On Deck: D-Train pulls back into majors


By Evan Brunell


ShieldsSabathiaBEST MATCHUP: A great matchup is on tap at Yankee Stadium to cap off the first half, with Cy Young Award contenders CC Sabathia and James Shields squaring off in a battle. A victory would push the Rays to within three for second place over the Yanks, and there's no better pitcher this year for the Rays than Shields to get it done. Owner of a consecutive three-complete game streak in the past month, Shields boasts a 2.47 ERA, much to Sabathia's chagrin, who has a 2.90 mark. Not many pitchers can beat that, but Shields can. Sabathia, with 12 wins, can become the first AL pitcher in six years to have 13 prior to the break if he can pull off a win. Rays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

WillisWELCOME BACK, D-TRAIN: It's been a long road back for Willis who is now 29 years old, with his Rookie of the Year award back in 2003 at age 21 a distant memory after posting a 3.30 ERA in 27 starts and helping the Marlins to a World Series title. Just two years later, he won the Cy Young Award with a 22-10 record and pristine 2.63 ERA in 34 starts, registering seven complete games and five shutouts. Those are numbers that would make Roy Halladay jealous. And yet, starting in 2007 at age 25, Willis ran a streak of pitching for the Marlins, Tigers, Diamondbacks and Giants (only the minors for S.F.), pitching to the tune of a 5.81 ERA in 328 2/3 innings. Career over? Not quite. The lefty makes his 2011 debut for the Reds today after staging a comeback not many thought would happen in Triple-A. Whether you're a Reds fan or not, everyone needs more D-Train in their life, and he's finally back. He's opposing Randy Wolf of the Brewers. Reds vs. Brewers, 2:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)

MarinersAngelsDIVISION CHASE: The Mariners are slip-sliding their way out of the postseason chase thanks to an anemic offense (what else is new?) but still have an outside shot, just 6 1/2 games behind Texas and 5 1/2 behind Los Angeles. Seattle certainly will go into Sunday's game against the Angels expecting to win with 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez on the mound (3.22 ERA, 134/42 K/BB, 137 IP). Slight problem, though: The Angels have their own big dog going today in Dan Haren (2.65 ERA, 107/18 K/BB, 125 2/3 IP). It's another pitching duel in a day set up for quite a few low-scoring games. Mariners at Angels, 3:35 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 10:59 am
 

Halladay, Weaver should start All-Star Game



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Perhaps the list of who won't be starting the All-Star Game is as impressive as who may start the game on July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Because of the rule that pitchers who start on the Sunday before the game are ineligible to pitch in the All-Star Game, Justin Verlander, James Shields, Matt Cain, Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, CC Sabathia and Jon Lester won't be getting the nod to start the game. However, it should be noted that neither Sabathia nor Lester were selected to the team, perhaps with an eye toward the fact they wouldn't be able to pitch in the game.

With those pitchers eliminated from the competition, it's easier to pick the starters for next Tuesday's game. We'll continue the process of elimination to determine the starters for the All-Star Game.

National League

Without Hamels and Cain, there are six pitchers left to pick from. It's unlikely that Tim Lincecum or Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants would be headed to Phoenix if San Francisco manger Bruce Bochy wasn't making the picks, so cross them off the list. That leaves Roy Halladay, Jair Jurrjens, Clayton Kershaw and Cliff Lee.

I'd be surprised if Kershaw didn't start an All-Star Game in his career, but it's not this year. He's got the potential to be as good as anyone in the game, but he's allowed six earned runs in three of his last six starts, so he's out.

Cliff Lee had an unbelievable June, but take that away and he's 4-6 with a 4.23 ERA. He's out.

So it comes down to the two 11-game winners, Halladay and Jurrjens. Jurrjens leads in ERA at 1.89, while Halladay has a 2.44 ERA. Halladay has more strikeouts, 131 to 63 and also leads in WHIP (1.027 to 1.061). Either one would be a good pick, but expect Bochy to go with the veteran Halladay, and it's tough to argue picking Halladay for about anything. His track record gives him the edge.

American League

If Verlander and Shields were in this discussion, it would be a lot more difficult. So in the also-rans, we'll start with C.J. Wilson. Wilson is 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA, good numbers to be sure, but not elite. Like Bochy picking two of his starters (and 60 percent of his starting rotation), Rangers manager Ron Washington was looking out for one of his own players by picking him over Sabathia or Lester, so he's out of the discussion.

David Price is 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA with 116 strikeouts, a good half-season to be sure, but not an All-Star starting pitcher.

Gio Gonzalez is that under-the-radar starter who has been lights-out this season, going 8-5 with a 2.31 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 109 innings. Gonzalez is fourth in the American League in ERA but his WHIP is an improved 1.235, which is decent but not in the Top 10 in the league.

Jered Weaver and Josh Beckett are both in the top three in both ERA and WHIP, with Weaver first in ERA (1.92) and third in WHIP (0.921) to Verlander (0.862). Beckett trails Weaver in ERA (2.12) and jumped ahead of him in WHIP (0.906) with Sunday's performance. If you're one of those people who puts value in pitcher's wins as a stat, Weaver leads all American Leaguers eligible to pitch in the game with 10 wins, while Beckett's pedestrian record of 6-3 belies what he's been able to do on the mound this season.

Weaver had a case to start last season season's game in Anaheim, but wasn't eligible because he'd started the Sunday before the game. He's scheduled to start on Thursday, putting him on track to start again on July 12, and he should get that chance.

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

American League pitchers and reserves

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The biggest notable name that's not on the list is Yankees' starter CC Sabathia, who is scheduled to start next Sunday, so he wouldn't be eligible to pitch in the game anyway. He also said he was happy not to go, instead using his time off to take a mini-vacation.

American League

Pitchers

Chris Perez, Indians (players' pick)

Jose Valverde, Tigers (manager's pick)

Aaron Crow, Royals (manager's pick)

Josh Beckett, Red Sox (players' pick)

Mariano Rivera, Yankees (players' pick)

Gio Gonzalez, Athletics (manager's pick)

Felix Hernandez, Mariners (players' pick)

Justin Verlander, Tigers (players' pick)

Brandon League, Mariners (player's pick)

David Price, Rays (managers' pick)

James Shields, Rays (players' pick)

Jered Weaver, Angels (players' pick)

C.J. Wilson, Rangers (managers' pick)

Reserves

C Matt Wieters, Orioles (manager's pick)

OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (players' pick)

OF Carlos Quentin, White Sox (players' pick)

SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (players' pick)

1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (players' pick)

2B Howie Kendrick, Angels (players' pick)

OF Michael Cuddyer, Twins (manager's pick)

C Russell Martin, Yankees (players' pick)

OF Matt Joyce, Rays (players' pick)

3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers (players' pick)

IF Michael Young, Rangers (players' pick)

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 6:35 pm
 

Yankees considering 6-man rotation?

Phil Hughes

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Since when have the Yankees looked to the White Sox and Royals for inspiration?

While Chicago and Kansas City have toyed with a six-man pitching rotation, the Yankees are considering the same when Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon return.

"We haven't figured that completely out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger.

Hey Joe, count it out.

Ivan Nova is pitching well, but at 24, a quick trip to the Scranton branch of the Yankees wouldn't hurt him. He'll be back soon, because Colon and Garcia aren't going to last. Remember spring training when you weren't sure how you were going to fill out five spots of the rotation? You're not that far away from that.

The most important reason, though, is CC Sabathia. Why have your best pitcher, a workhorse who has shown no signs of tiring at the end of a season, pitch every six days instead of every fifth day? That robs you of several Sabathia starts. I'd understand it if he had an injury history or any other kind of history that might suggest he'd be better prepared for the playoffs with rest. But this is Sabathia, one of the biggest, baddest pitchers on the block. You want more CC, not less.

A six-man rotation may be a good idea when you have six mediocre pitchers with very little separating them or a bunch of fragile arms you want to save. You don't do it when you have a stud No. 1 starter. So while it's fine for the Royals or White Sox, you are the Yankees. You're different. Check out where those two teams are in the standings and look where you are. The only one to benefit from this move would be your opponents.

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Posted on: June 14, 2011 4:29 pm
Edited on: June 14, 2011 10:13 pm
 

On Deck: Battle for first

OD

By Matt Snyder


We've got our usual full slate Tuesday night, chock full of intriguing matchups across the map. In two of them, however, first place is on the line, so let's focus there for the first two items of On Deck.

Battle for NL West: The Diamondbacks are probably the last team in the NL West the defending champion Giants thought they'd have to mess with come June, but that's why they play the games. The Giants own a 5-1 record against the Snakes this season, but that came before Arizona woke up. The Diamondbacks are 22-8 since May 14. They were swept by the Giants in the series previous to starting their run. The Giants still hold a 1/2 game lead, however, so this three-game series could be a chance for separation. Matt Cain (5-4, 3.36) takes the hill for the Giants while surprising rookie Josh Collmenter (4-1, 1.12) gets the nod for the D-Backs. San Francisco at Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring.

Battle for AL Central: The Indians still hold a percentage-points lead in the AL Central, but a loss Tuesday night to the Tigers would mean the first time since April 6 the Tribe was not in first place in the division. They got a 1-0 win Monday night against the Yankees to avoid falling from the top but are still scuffling overall -- having gone 5-13 since May 23. The Indians have lost nine of their last 11. The Tigers have made up seven games in the standings since May 23, setting the table for this big three-game set in Detroit. The Indians have taken the only three games in this matchup so far this season, but things are much different now. The Tigers have been hitting the ball much better than the Indians of late and the pitching matchup -- Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.18) vs. Justin Verlander (7-3, 2.89) -- favors the home team as well. Cleveland at Detroit, 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring.

Established Ace vs. Accidental Ace: CC Sabathia (7-4, 3.15) has been the Yankees' horse since signing as a free agent after the 2008 season, and will probably continue to be the ace for the next several years. It's no surprise he's the staff ace, and the Yankees need him to continue carrying the torch with the injuries, inconsistency and ineffectiveness that has plagued the rest of the staff. Meanwhile, Alexi Ogando (7-0, 2.10) wasn't even supposed to be in the Rangers' rotation. He was slated for a setup job to closer Neftali Feliz until injuries forced him into the rotation. Now it appears he'll be in the mix to start the All-Star Game. Interesting note here, Ogando has 10 quality starts in 12 outings this year, and one of them came in Yankee Stadium. He went 6 1/3 innings April 17 in the Bronx, giving up six hits and five earned runs. Texas at New York (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring.

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Posted on: June 10, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 2:30 pm
 

Ortiz blames media for being plunked

By Matt Snyder

Blanket blaming "the media" when things don't happen exactly as one would like seems the cool thing to do nowadays for those not in the media. Count David Ortiz as one jumping on the bandwagon.

Ortiz was hit by a pitch in the Red Sox win over the Yankees Thursday night, and Ortiz figures that some of the media ordered CC Sabathia to plunk him.

"I just want to thank [the media]. Not all of you, but some of you, for the stat today about be not being hit," he said (Boston Globe). "I finally got hit. I hope you [expletive] are happy."

Starting pitcher Josh Beckett -- who set the table by hitting both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez earlier in the game -- also got in on the action, though he was a bit more specific.

"I'm still trying to figure out if David got hit for something I did or if it was something ESPN stirred up," Beckett said.

I'll confess that I don't watch ESPN much -- I only watch games and MLB Network -- so I don't know what Beckett's talking about. I have an idea there was much discussion the past few days about the hit-by-pitch differences when it came to Ortiz and Jeter/A-Rod.

Prior to the game, Ortiz had gone 696 plate appearances against the Yankees without having ever been hit by a pitch. When Jeter was hit by Beckett Thursday, it was the 24th time in the regular season (in over 1,100 PAs) that Jeter was hit. When A-Rod was hit, it was the 20th time in 950 PAs.

Now, this doesn't mean the Yankees should come out and hit Ortiz just to hit him. It's just that when Jeter and A-Rod were hit again, a little retaliation was in order. Sabathia took care of it, there was no brawl (in fact, Ortiz smiled as you can see in the picture above) and both teams moved on. I don't believe Beckett hit Jeter or Rodriguez intentionally, but that doesn't matter in the old "unwritten rules" of baseball. Basically, everything happened the way it's supposed to happen.

I'm only surprised Ortiz went where he did after the game. You can't convince me CC Sabathia was sitting there watching ESPN all week and getting worked up. This was simply a case of doing what is expected in baseball -- even in the post-game interviews when Sabathia said the pitch just "got away" from him.

Regardless of all that, Ortiz had the last laugh. He started the big seventh-inning rally and then shut the door later in the inning with a two-RBI double to make the score 7-2 Red Sox.

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Posted on: June 9, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: June 9, 2011 8:12 pm
 

On Deck: Streaking time

OD

By Matt Snyder


It's a pretty heavy night of action for a Thursday, with only four teams having the night off. We'll highlight three matchups that include multiple streaks.

Bronx Battle: The Red Sox take a five-game winning streak into Thursday night's game against the Yankees and are now in sole possession of the AL East. Meanwhile, the Yankees hold only a 1 1/2 game lead over third place Tampa Bay and a 2 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays. Even the Orioles are only 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees. It's a tight division, so every game is big. Thursday evening, it's a pitching battle of the Titans. Josh Beckett (4-2, 2.01) takes the hill for the Red Sox while CC Sabathia (7-3, 2.80) is going for the Yankees. Beckett has won three straight starts against the Yankees and has been dominant against them this season (2-0, 19 K, 6 H, 3 BB, 0 ER in 14 innings). Boston at New York (AL), 7:05 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING).

Cahill, Melvin and the A's: A's manager Bob Geren was fired Thursday afternoon, and the team will be led Thursday night against the White Sox by new manager Bob Melvin. The A's will be looking to break an MLB-high nine-game losing streak. Starting pitcher Trevor Cahill (6-3, 2.65) is seeking his first win since May 9. In that time span, he's made five starts and pitched 32 2/3 innings. He has given up 33 hits, 15 walks and 15 earned runs (4.13). In his first eight starts, Cahill was 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA. In three career starts at U.S. Cellular Field, he's been awful (6.08 ERA, 1.58 WHIP). Mark Buehrle (5-4, 3.95) gets the start for the White Sox. Oakland at Chicago (AL), 8:10 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING)

Floundering Florida: The longest losing streak in the National League is seven games -- by the Marlins. They've fallen to 5 games out of first place, the largest margin of the season. Thursday night, they'll send Chris Volstad (2-5, 5.67) to the mound against the Braves, and he has been winless since April. Beginning with a May 2 start against the Cardinals, Volstad is 0-4 with a 5.87 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. For the Braves, Jair Jurrjens (7-2, 1.75) takes the hill with a streak of 10 straight quality starts. That's each and every start for the 2011 season. Atlanta at Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE SCORING).

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Posted on: May 29, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: May 29, 2011 1:46 pm
 

On Deck: Let's play two



By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Andrew OliverLet's play two -- Nearly gone are the days of the scheduled doubleheader (the A's have one next month), but Mother Nature can still provide us with the occasional twin bill. The Tigers are calling up hard-throwing left-hander Andy Oliver (left) to face Clay Buchholz in what looks like the pitching matchup undercard, as Justin Verlander faces Josh Beckett in the nightcap. The two aces faced each other 10 days ago, with neither starter factoring in the decision of the 4-3 Boston victory. Saturday's rainout was the fourth in the last nine home games for the Tigers. The forecast for today has a 40 percent chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms later this afternoon, so both teams will be keeping their fingers crossed that it stays dry. Red Sox at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. ET (Watch live) and 7:05 p.m. ET

Search for first -- The Mariners, owners of the worst record in the American League last season, enter Sunday's game against the Yankees just a half-game out of first place in the American League West. To reach first today, the Mariners need the Royals to beat the Rangers and overcome Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who is 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 17 career starts against Seattle. Sabathia's coming off his first complete game of the season, while Mariners lefty Justin Vargas is coming off a rough outing in Minnesota where he didn't make it into the fifth inning. Yankees at Mariners, 4:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

We're going sweeping? -- For all of the Pirates' problems in the last, say 18 years, beating the Cubs hasn't been an issue in the last year or so. Since Sept. 30, 2009, Pittsburgh is 16-6 against Chicago and 11-5 at Wrigley Field. The tally is 4-1 for both entries into the ledge this season. Right-hander Jeff Karstens is 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA in six starts (and two relief appearances) against the Cubs in his career -- and 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts (and one relief appearance) at Wrigley Field. He faces off against Ryan Dempster, who lost to the Pirates on opening day. Pirates at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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