Posted on: May 11, 2011 2:02 am
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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Posted on: May 5, 2011 5:48 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
With eight of the day's 12 games starting before a regular 7 p.m. start time, there's not the full compliment of on-deck choices, but luckily the night games feature three pretty good pitching matchups… and the Rangers and Mariners.
Stopper needed -- The Brewers have lost five in a row, including two yesterday in Atlanta, and are now four games under .500 at 13-17. Luckily for them, Shaun Marcum is on the mound. Marcum was the last Brewers pitcher to earn a victory, last Friday at Houston. Marcum is 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA and faced Brandon Beachy (1-1, 3.47 ERA). Brewers at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET
If it weren't for bad luck… -- Nationals starter John Lannan has a 3.93 ERA in his three losses, and actually has a better WHIP in his losses (1.364) than in his two wins (1.600). In his last game, he allowed just six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, but walked in a run in the seventh, losing the game 2-1 to the Giants. And tonight he faces Roy Halladay. Nationals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET
Daddy done good -- Since his wife gave birth, the Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy has allowed just three runs and nine hits in 16 2/3 innings, limiting batters to a .148 batting average and striking out 16. He's facing Colorado's Jason Hammel, who is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA. Rockies at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: April 30, 2011 9:29 pm
By Evan Brunell
BATTLE OF THE SAME ERA: Both Tim Stauffer and Hiroki Kuroda have a 3.21 ERA. How much do you want to bet that the two won't have that in common after tonight's affair? The flailing Padres will meet the Dodgers, who are one game over .500 in a game where Andre Ethier will seek his 26th consecutive game with a hit. It's way too early to conjure up visions of Ethier taking down Joe DiMaggio, but he is coming awfully close to Luis Castillo's 30 straight games which remains the longest streak in recent years. Kuroda has his own streak, but it's a bad one as he's lost two consecutive starts in Dodger Stadium. He's never lost three in a row, but Stauffer has dominated the Dodgers lately with San Diego winning its last four starts with Stauffer on the mound against L.A. Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET
DEBUT: Alex White makes his big-league debut for the Indians as he will host Rick Porcello and the Tigers. The surprising Indians continue to win, roaring out to a 17-8 record that includes 12 consecutive victories at home. White is Cleveland's top pitching prospect and replaces the injured Carlos Carrasco. The 22-year-old has torn Triple-A apart in the early going, logging a 1.90 ERA in four starts in what has been a meteoric rise through the farm system after being drafted with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2009 draft. He has a 28/5 K/BB ratio, an encouraging sign for his ability to hold his own in the majors. Still, making your first career start is no walk in the park, so it will be interesting to see how he performs. Tigers at Indians, 6:05 p.m. ET
CAN I GET A WIN, PLEASE? It's not Matt Garza's fault. The new Cubbie has 41 strikeouts on the season, which is tied for second in the NL. And it's not as if he's giving away victories elsewhere, as he's only coughed up nine walks and boasts a 4.11 ERA on the season. Yet, Garza is seeking his first win as a Cub after starting the year 0-3. He'll look to keep Chicago rolling after snapping a four-game losing streak Friday night against the Diamondbacks. Ian Kennedy will be a tough battle for Garza, and it's easy to see Garza dropping to 0-4 with Kennedy on the mound. Kennedy three-hit the Phillies Monday for his first career game, denying Cliff Lee a victory. He's been up and down over his career so far, but could be ready for a leap forward after allowing no walks and striking out 10 Phillies. That's hard to do against that offense. Cubs at Diamondbacks, 8:10 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 5:01 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 5:06 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Today we're starting another daily feature at Eye on Baseball, On Deck will bring you three of the things you need to know for each night's game, from streaks to showdowns to pennant battles and beyond, we'll highlight three games or players each night, letting you know what to watch for in the day's slate of games.
Best matchup -- Oakland's Gio Gonzalez vs. Anaheim's Jered Weaver. I'm not a big believer in the East Coast bias myth, but will say that if this were a Yankees-Red Sox matchup, you'd already be sick of hearing about these two. Gonzalez is coming off his first loss of the season, a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Red Sox, but is still 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA. Weaver may be the American League's best starter, at least in April, leading the league in ERA (1.23) and with five wins. The game doesn't start until 10:05 p.m. ET, but it's worth staying up late to watch -- and with these two on the hill, even those on the East Coast won't have to stay up too far after bedtime. A's at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET
Streaking -- Andre Ethier enters tonight's game against the Marlins as the owner of a 21-game hitting streak. It's the longest April hitting streak in Dodgers history, but still 10 games behind the team's best hitting streak. Willie Davis hit in 31 straight games in 1969, breaking the previous record of 29 held by Zack Wheat, set in 1916. Dodgers at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. ET
Closer watch -- The Phillies have a new closer in Ryan Madson after Jose Contreras went on the disabled list on Sunday. Contreras was already filling in for the injured Brad Lidge, but Madson has been the team's closer-in-waiting for more than a year now and will get yet another shot at showing Philadelphia he can do the job full-time. Tonight may not be his best shot, with Cliff Lee (2-1, 3.91) on the mound for the Phillies and Ian Kennedy (2-1, 5.64) starting for Arizona, there may not be much pressure -- nevermind a save situation -- in the ninth inning at Chase Field tonight. Phillies at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 15, 2011 11:49 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 11:57 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
We have our second announced opening day starter of Tuesday, and this one is a little more surprising, if only because it's tough to pick the Diamondbacks' starters out of a lineup.
The one manager Kirk Gibson picked was Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy, 26, was 9-10 with a 3.80 last season, his first in Arizona. He has a 7.88 ERA in three starts this spring.
Daniel Hudson, 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA this spring, will be the team's No. 2 starter, Gibson said.
Arizona opens the season April 1 at Colorado.
Posted on: October 9, 2010 8:39 pm
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:37 am
As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks were embarrassed by their last-place showing in 2009. They added, they tweaked, they hoped for a big rebound.
And somehow in 2010 they got even worse.
The Diamondbacks finished with 97 losses, the same record they posted as an expansion team 13 years earlier. Arizona featured one of the worst bullpens in history, an offense that set a major-league record for strikeouts, and a midseason turnover at manager for the second year in a row.
After 2010, there’s no illusion of tweaking. The Diamondbacks are rebuilding.
WHAT WENT WRONG
A lot went wrong, but nothing went worse than the bullpen. Arizona relievers lost 32 games, on the hook for about a third of their losses, and finished with a 5.74 ERA. That’s more than a run worse than the next-worst bullpen and almost three runs – three runs a game, think about that – worse than San Diego’s top-ranked ‘pen. The opening-day closer, Chad Qualls, was traded away with an 8.29 ERA.
Brandon Webb and Dan Haren were supposed to give Arizona a killer 1-2 punch. Yeah, not so much.
After Webb threw just four innings in 2009, the Diamondbacks picked up his $8.5 million option for 2010, assured he would be ready to go this spring. Instead his rehab went on … and on … and he never threw a pitch. Instead Arizona threw that $8.5 million right down the drain. And with the writing on the wall at midseason, Haren was shipped out.
The Diamondbacks weren’t terrible offensively, eighth in the NL in runs scored, but were painful to watch as they struck out a record 1,529 times. Mark Reynolds had the dubious distinction of becoming the first man ever to finish with more strikeouts (211) than batting average points (.198).
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Edwin Jackson threw a no-hitter on June 25 (or maybe it was a no-hitter and a half, since he threw 149 pitches), the single-game highlight of the season. The only thing that would be close was tying a major-league record with four consecutive homers August 11 in Milwaukee.
Chris Young bounced back from a lousy 2009 to raise his average 45 points and hit 27 homers and drive in 91 runs. Kelly Johnson proved a nice addition, bumping his average 60 points from the previous year in Atlanta.
On the mound, Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson provide hope for the future of the rotation.
HELP ON THE WAY
Arizona had some young players in deep reserve who might benefit from more exposure, such as Cole Gillespie, Rusty Ryal and Tony Abreu.
Another piece of potential help is first baseman Brandon Allen, who didn’t do well in his first season but put in a solid year at Triple-A and looked vastly improved ina September callup. If Adam LaRoche isn’t back, Allen is probably the guy.
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011
The Diamondbacks won’t have any luck convincing their fickle fan base that next year is going to be a run for the roses, though it’s unlikely for things to get worse and new manager Kirk Gibson has brought some legitimacy to the team.
SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011
Webb is a big question mark – do you bring him back at a discount and hope that if he does bounce back, you get something out of the money you poured in there the past two years? He seems to be getting some looks from multiple teams in instructional league, so I say walk away if the bidding gets serious.
New general manager Kevin Towers has said he wants to build the pitching staff from the closer down, so look for them to consider Rafael Soriano. Having a proven commodity in the key spot can only help the rest of the bullpen.
There are young starters in place, but there are not enough of them, and they could use an affordable veteran presence. Maybe somebody like Ted Lilly or Jake Westbrook?
This organization is in a pretty deep hole, and it’s not going to climb out overnight. Plus, the Padres, Giants and Rockies all have big upsides, and the NL West isn’t the cupcake it used to be. Tough to see the Diamondbacks getting out of the cellar, but in this situation you’re just looking for progress.
Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.
-- David Andriesen
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Posted on: September 29, 2010 1:56 am
New Arizona general manager Kevin Towers talked to reporters on Tuesday and had several interesting tidbits. Among them, he'll have more money to play with than he did with the Padres.
When asked about what kind of payroll the team could have in 2011, Towers wouldn't be specific, but did get a dig in at his old team and current divisional rival.
"I never want to let my competitors know what I've got to work with," Towers said (via MLB.com's Steve Gilbert on Twitter). "Certainly more than I had in San Diego, let's put it that way."
One of Towers' prime targets for next season is a veteran starter for his rotation.
"I think it's important to probably get another starter, another veteran starter, to log some innings," Towers said, according to the Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro. "Him and [Joe] Saunders would allow those kids to be at the back end of the rotation. It's tough when you take a kid and expect them to be a No. 2 or a No. 1. It's nice to let them slowly evolve into those guys and let the veteran guys show them the way."
The youngsters Towers referenced are Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Barry Enright, who along with Saunders should make up the 2011 rotation.
Towers also said he doesn't see much starting pitching in the free agent market after Cliff Lee, the team would also like to get more offense out of left field and he'd make an effort to upgrade the bullpen. He also said it "looks good" that interim GM Jerry Dipoto will stay with the Diamondbacks.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .