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Tag:Justin Upton
Posted on: August 28, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Video: Padres fan interferes with, taunts Upton

By Matt Snyder

During the ninth inning of an eventual 3-1 Arizona victory Saturday, D-Backs right fielder Justin Upton had a shot at catching a foul ball up against the stands. Being at home, Upton might have thought he wouldn't have to contend with fan interference. He was wrong. A fan snatched the ball right before Upton had a chance at the grab. As Upton looked up in disbelief, the fan pointed to his Padres' hat, as if to say "yeah, I'm the enemy." The fan did seem to be taking verbal shots from D-Backs fans in the area, but not a lot. The ball also appeared to be in play, so the umpires could have ruled it fan interference and didn't. It's of no matter now, since the D-Backs won.

Pretty funny stuff, check out the video below, courtesy of MLB.com.



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Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: August 27, 2011 2:27 pm
 

Rays' Upton claimed, unlikely to move

B.J. UptonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Let the overreaction begin!

Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was claimed on waivers this week, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports. The Rays have until Monday to work out a deal for Upton by whichever team claimed him.

However, Topkin notes its "unlikely" a deal will be made.

While the Nationals have been the team most interested in Upton, he would have to make it through all the teams in the American League for the Nationals to win a claim on him. Most players go through waivers at this point of the season, so just the point that he's been put on waivers -- and claimed -- means little.

That said, Upton thinks where there's smoke, there's fire. Even if he's not traded before this season is done, he told the Tampa Tribune's Roger Mooney that he doesn't expect to be a Ray next season.

"I hope not, but I don't see why I wouldn't be (traded) with all the talks at the deadline, and with this (waiver claim), I don't see why there wouldn't be that possibility," he said. "I don't want to go anywhere, but if that's what they want to do it's out of my hands."

Upton makes $4.825 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible this offseason before becoming a free agent after the 2012 season.

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Posted on: August 12, 2011 3:12 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Beat Down: Nick Piecoro on the Diamondbacks



By C. Trent Rosecrans

If newspapers still existed and you opened one up this morning, you'd open up the sports section and see that the Arizona Diamondbacks were in first place in the National League West. It's one of those things that nobody really expected to see on Aug. 12, but there it is. I sure didn't expect it, and wasn't sure I knew exactly how it happened. So, I figured I could research the whole thing and write something about it, or I could go to someone who has been there the entire season, so I e-mailed my buddy Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

Piecoro is in his fifth season covering the Diamondbacks. I first met him in the press box at Chase Field in 2007 when he was surfing my iTunes library from his computer and sought me out to talk music. Since then, we've had numerous pizzas and beers together, talking baseball and, more often, music. So when I thought about the Diamondbacks, I quickly thought of Nick. And then I thought this might be a good weekly feature looking at some of the teams around MLB from the people who see them the most and know them the best. So, for the first installment of the Beat Down, here's Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic:

Eye On Baseball:  So, really, first-place Diamondbacks? Really? Give me the short version of how this happened...

Nick Piecoro: I know, right? Well, there are a bunch of reasons. I’ll start with the emergence of Justin Upton, who has turned into a force in the middle of the lineup, a threat to do damage every time he’s up. They lead the league in home runs, so there’s a real element of a quick-strike offense. And if you look at their Baseball-Reference page, pretty much everyone in the lineup is at least close to a 100 OPS+, meaning there are no black holes in the lineup.

Then there’s the pitching staff. Ian Kennedy has pitched like a No. 1, and Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter (he of tomahawk-throwing fame) have slotted in well behind him. In the bullpen, they no longer cough up leads every night, and that’s thanks mainly to Kevin Towers acquisitions David Hernandez and J.J. Putz.

EOB: Did you see this coming? I sure didn't. I will say, our senior writers -- Scott Miller and Danny Knobler -- did say the D-Backs would be interesting this year, but I don't think any of us expected this.

NP: No way, not me. In spring training, they were a disaster. Part of the reason they’ve been able to turn it around is because they were quick to act to make changes with guys who weren’t getting the job done, and the list is long: Armando Galarraga, Barry Enright, Russell Branyan, Melvin Mora, Aaron Heilman, Juan Miranda, Zach Duke. Some got more rope than others, but the point is, anyone making predictions before the season was looking at a completely different roster than what they have now. Heck, Ryan Roberts, who has 15 home runs, wouldn’t have made the team in spring training if not for Geoff Blum’s injury.

EOB: How much of this is Kirk Gibson? Is the attitude he brought real? Has it actually changed things?

NP: You have to give him credit, certainly. You hear people talk about a manager’s personality rubbing off on his team, it’s hard not to see some of that with this group of guys, particularly when it comes to their penchant for comebacks and the whole never-say-die stuff. They’re a hard-nosed bunch and that’s exactly the kind of player Gibson was and manager he is. Personally, I’ve always been skeptical of a manager’s impact; I mean, all the stuff above explains their status as contenders well enough in my mind. (That and the fact the NL West and the NL as a whole is mostly devoid of good teams.) A friend likes to say that players win games, managers lose them and umpires ruin them. Well, if that’s the case, Gibson is doing an excellent job of not losing them.

EOB: Is Justin Upton your MVP?

NP:  Maybe not yet. But he could be.

EOB: I'm guessing he's not on the trade market this winter...

NP: Uh, no. I’m not sure I understand why he was out there last winter.

EOB: Are they set up for the long haul?

NP:  You would think so, yeah. They have literally no bad contracts -- not a one -- and they have a bunch of guys coming in the system, namely a few potential frontline-type starting pitchers in Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer. They’ll have a few decisions to make in the next couple offseasons with core guys like Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew and Miguel Montero set to become free agents, but they’re in great position to retain who they want to retain and even should have money to spend to plug whatever holes might exist.

EOB: Finally, you're perhaps the hippest beat writer in the loop, what are you listening to right now?

NP: Heh. Is that like saying someone’s the MVP of the Pacific Coast League? I’ve been fairly obsessed with the new Handsome Furs album (link to "Serve the People" with a note that the album art has a nekkid lady). And -- how’s this for timing? -- I’m actually going tonight to see Cut Copy, an awesome band from Australia that have this catchy 80s-dance-pop thing going on (link here to "Far Away"). I’ve also been really into the new ones from Cults, Destroyer, Foster the People and others I can’t think of right now.

Thanks to Nick and you can check out his blog here and on Twitter @NickPiecoro.

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Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Wakefield aiming for 200

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Tim WakefieldGoing for 200:
Boston's Tim Wakefield will take his third chance at winning his 200th game of his career. The 45-year-old knuckleballer has pitched well in his last two starts, but wasn't able to pick up the win. He gave up three runs to both the White Sox on July 29 and to the Indians on Aug. 3, going a combined 13 2/3 innings and 11 strikeouts with just four walks. Baker's looking to bounce back from a three-inning outing against the Angels on Aug. 3. He gave up five hits and four runs (three earned), throwing 77 pitches in the outing. Red Sox at Twins, 7:10 p.m. ET


Perfect timing:
If you're a team just a half-game out of first place, there are few things that can make you happier than seeing a four-game series against the Astros coming up on the schedule. Arizona is 5-5 over its last 10 games but is still just a half-game out in the National League West thanks to San Francisco's recent struggles. The Astros are 40 games under .500. Daniel Hudson starts for the Diamondbacks opposite Houston's best pitcher, Wandy Rodriguez, in the series opener tonight. Watch for Arizona's Justin Upton who is putting up MVP numbers. Upton is hitting .366/.418/..831 with seven homers and 22 RBI over his last 18 games and has a homer in his five plate appearances against Rodriguez. Astros at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

Ryan VogelsongThis one goes to 11?: Pittsburgh has an uphill climb in San Francisco if it wants to stop its 10-game losing streak. While the Pirates will miss Tim Lincecum in the three-game series, they have to face former Pirate Ryan Vogelsong, who is 9-1 with a 2.19 ERA. While Vogelsong's ERA is slightly higher at AT&T Park, batters aren't hitting him as well at home, putting up a .228/.290/.312 line. He's allowed just three homers in his 11 home starts. Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton got the Pirates' losing streak started in Philadelphia by allowing eight runs in four innings. He threw seven shutout innings in his last start, but the Pirates lost a 1-0 game to the Cubs. Pirates at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

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Posted on: July 24, 2011 11:35 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Monster day for Upton

Upton

By Evan Brunell

UptonJustin Upton, Diamondbacks
: Justin Upton was a one-man wrecking crew on Sunday, going 4 for 4 with three RBI, two runs, a walk and stolen base as Arizona blanked the Rockies 7-0. Oh, and this came on the backing of a double, triple and two singles. This is coming off a six-RBI game on Saturday, so the 23-year-old is scorching hot and has lifted his overall line to .301/.378/.526 on the season. He's clearly the linchpin of the Diamondbacks' offense, and any chance of Upton being traded has gone up in smoke. (Check out that picture above, where you can see what looks like wood dust coming off the bat. That's power.)

Madison Bumgarner, Giants: Division rival Chad Billingsley actually had the more impressive pitching line on the night, but Bumgarner's 7 2/3 innings pitched with eight hits allowed, one earned run, zero walks and eight strikeouts is plenty enough to carry the day. This is part of a larger trend, as the lefty has whiffed 64 batters in his past 62 innings, ranging all the way back to June 1. He's only walked five batters in this time span with three home runs, so it's little surprise that his ERA has plummeted to 3.56 from 4.06 six starts ago.

David Wright, Mets: The Marlins edged New York 5-4, but Wright was a star in the game, going 3 for 4 with two runs and RBI apiece. He added a double to his two-run home run in the seventh inning to send the Mets up 4-3. He's had two excellent games in the three games he's been back and has gone a combined 6-for-14, with four extra-base hits and six RBI. Not a bad return for the 28-year-old.



DownGio Gonzalez, Athletics: Gonzalez just didn't have it Sunday against the Yankees, getting knocked around for six runs in 4 2/3 innings. The lefty was touched up for seven hits and issued three free passes against just five strikeouts. Two starts ago, Gonzalez also gave up seven runs to the Rangers in just four innings, but only three were earned.  Before Sunday, his worst start was all the way back on April 25, when he allowed four earned runs in five innings to the Angels.The 25-year-old has tossed 120 innings on the year, pacing for 199 2/3. This after throwing 200 innings last season in his first full turn in the rotation. At some point you have to take the gloves off, but is Gonzalez tiring?

Francisco Liriano, Twins: Liriano being his old inconsistent self? Never woulda guessed. In blowups that are all too prone with the talented lefty, Liriano allowed four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and four walks while only striking out three. Yuck. The outing sent his ERA to 4.86. How inconsistent is Liriano? Consider his last six games, and I assure your, the pattern repeats itself: 2 1/3 IP 4 ER, 6 IP 1 ER, 7 IP 1 ER, 4 1/3 IP 5 ER, 7 IP 2 ER, 3 2/3 IP 5 ER.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies: In a game in which 20-plus scouts were in attendance, Ubaldo Jimenez gifted five earned runs in five innings -- his worst start since May 27. "It doesn't affect me," Jimenez told the Associated Press of the trade talk. "I know it's time for the rumors and there are going to be rumors. I will just try to go to the stadium and do my thing. Every time I try to get hitters out and what's going to happen is going to happen. You never know, but I am ready for whatever."

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 3:07 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Justin Upton on hometown fans booing and more



By Evan Brunell

At the All-Star FanFest helping Pepsi Max get the word out about a promotion that could bring baseball legends to your hometown to play a game, Justin Upton spoke to CBSSports.com about the Home Run Derby, as well as Arizona's surprising contention.

Upton was glowing in his review of the fans as he's been able to connect with the fans in a way that caused them to shower him with their love and support throughout the All-Star festitivites. However, that showed up in a negative fashion Monday night during the Home-Run Derby when NL Derby captain Prince Fielder was showered with boos for selecting teammate Rickie Weeks to participate in the Derby ahead of Upton. Upton called Weeks treatment "unfair," as he had to contend with "Just-in Up-ton" chants en route to mustering just three home runs and being knocked out in the first round.

As for 'Zona staying in the postseason chase, Upton attributes that to simply playing hard for all 27 outs. To continue staying in the thick of the race, though, Upton says that the team needs more pitching -- but what team doesn't?

He also spoke about the possibility of Rays center fielder B.J. Upton joining the Diamondbacks in a trade, saying he'd welcome the opportunity to play with his brother.

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 12:32 pm
 

D-Backs fans boo Brewers during Derby



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince FielderPHOENIX -- Prince Fielder's son was ready to throw down -- he wanted a fight.

"I had to tell them to calm down, it was nothing personal" Fielder joked afterwards. The boos didn't get to him -- but they did get to his son. And his teammate, Rickie Weeks.

As soon as Weeks was introduced, the boos started for the Brewer who was picked by Fielder to represent the National League. Instead, the crowd at Arizona's Chase Field made it perfectly clear who they had hoped to see in Monday's Home Run Derby.

"We want Upton," half the crowd chanted.

The other half of the crowd chanted, "Jus-tin, Up-ton," making it perfectly clear the hometown fans wanted to see their All-Star representative, Justin Upton, in the Home Run Derby.

Weeks responded with just two home runs and was eliminated after the first round. But he noted he knew why the fans booed him, but couldn't understand them actually doing it.

"I could care less, but of course you don't want anyone booing you at the All-Star Game," Weeks said. 

Upton, for the record, supported Weeks, tweeting during the derby:

Justin Upton 

The crowd reserved the loudest boos for Fielder, who was the team captain and selected Weeks, along with the Cardinals' Matt Holliday and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp. Fielder's three selections went into the game with a combined 53 home runs, but managed just 10 combined in the first round (not counting Holliday's two in a swing-off loss to Fielder and David Ortiz).

Fielder won some of the fans over when he hit five homers in five swings during the swing-off round, but then managed just four in the second round to finish the day for the National League.

Despite the loss, Fielder said he wouldn't have done anything different in picking his squad: "No, it was cool. I picked the guys I wanted to pick," Fielder said. "If they have a problem, tell them another person should have been captain."

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Introducing your 2011 NL West All-Star team

By Evan Brunell

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central
For a number of years, the NL West has been fairly balanced. Every team except the Rockies has a division title in the past five years, and the Rockies advanced to the World Series as a wild-card team back in 2007. That balance is clearly seen in the representatives of the NL West All-Star team, which you can see below.

MonteroC Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks: Poor Buster Posey. He had this on lockdown until... well, no need to rehash it, but he's out for the year. Montero's a great consolation prize. He has ripped 10 home runs and has a .275/.346/.468 mark. Montero was actually in a close race with Chris Iannetta of Colorado for this gig, but Montero outstrips Iannetta in caught stealing, nabbing 12 of 37 baserunners.

Helton1B Todd Helton, Rockies: It's quite the renaissance year for the aging first baseman who was once known for his ability to hit for average and power while drawing walks. Now, it's just average and home-run power, but it's plenty enough to outpace any other first baseman in the division -- although, with all due respect to Helton, that says much more about first basemen in the division than it does Helton. Anyway, he's cranking to the tune of a .315/.394/.481 mark, with much of his power coming from an affinity for doubles.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Chase Headley SD 3B
2 Justin Upton ARI RF
3 Troy Tulowitzki COL SS
4 Matt Kemp LAD DH
5 Chris Young ARI CF
6 Carlos Gonzalez COL LF
7 Miguel Montero ARI C
8 Todd Helton COL 1B
9 Kelly Johnson ARI 2B
Johnson2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: What, you'd prefer Aaron Miles? In a case of having to take the best option, Johnson edges Miles despite the latter hitting .320 and Johnson a meager .217. So why does Johnson get the edge? Because he's a better fielder and boasts more power, and he has also swiped eight bases to Miles' three. That's how someone hitting .217/.298/.431 can post a higher Wins Above Replacement mark (1.5) than Miles at .320/.339/.377, who has a 1.0 WAR. (It should be noted that Johnson has about 100 more plate appearances, but even adding those 100 PA would probably not be enough to bump Johnson.)

Headley3B Chase Headley, Padres: Not usually a name you see at the top of leaderboards, but Headley is enjoying a career year -- and is taking advantage of injuries to notable third basemen in the game to put his name in the conversation. Due to playing in cavernous Petco Park, his slugging percentage this season is a meager .404, but it's an impressive .465 on the road. His value comes from taking a walk, which is why he leads off this All-Star team despite just eight stolen bases. He boasts a .302 batting average along with a .392 OBP. If Pablo Sandoval hadn't missed so much time due to injury, he probably would have claimed this spot.

TulowitzkiSS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: What is there left to say about Tulo, who right now can lay claim to being the best shortstop in the game? While he hasn't performed up to snuff compared to his last two seasons, he's still plenty valuable and easily the best shortstop in the division, hitting to the tune of a .271/.339/.495 line and 37 extra bases. Oh, and he can pick it on defense.

GonzalezLF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: CarGo hasn't hit as well as his awe-inspiring 2010, but he can be forgiven for that as he set impossibly high standards. Colorado will take a .296/.363/.497 line, and so will we to honor him with the left-field starting job on the NL West All-Star team. He still has a remarkable home/away split, but no other left fielder truly threatened for this spot.

YoungCF Chris Young, Diamondbacks: Let's get this out of the way first. For those wondering where Matt Kemp is, hold your horses. We'll get to him in a minute. Young snags the center field job thanks to his strong defense and a power display that we haven't seen from him since 2007, when he slammed 32 home runs. He has exactly half that total (16) in 88 games so far, so he stands a shot of cracking the 30 HR barrier. He's currently hitting .255/.324/.478.

UptonRF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Anyone else think Kevin Towers is relieved he didn't trade the 23-year-old in the offseason? Upton's walk rate is less than last season but not out of whack with the league, and he is striking out much less. That increased contact has lifted his batting average to .295 (.377 OBP, .502 slugging percentage), the second-highest of his career. (He hit .300 in 2009.) He's hammered 14 homers on the year, just three off his 2010 total.

KempDH Matt Kemp, Dodgers: And here Kemp is, occupying the DH spot. Yes, the DH doesn't exist in the NL West, but regardless of what team, league or stadium holds the All-Star Game, the DH is used. So there. Kemp earns this spot with a season that's already given him a 20 HR, 20 SB season -- and with three more home runs, he'll reach 25/25. So yeah, he'll definitely hit 30/30 this year, and 40/40 is not out of the question if he hits a hot streak. He DH's with a .324/.408/.603 line because the dude simply cannot field and needs to be moved to left soon.

KershawSP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the entire game, never mind one of the best lefties or youngsters. One of the best, period. The 23-year-old has already tossed 122 2/3 innings on the season and posted a 3.23 ERA. That ERA would actually be the highest of his full seasons in the majors. But his third year actually boasts stronger peripherals, leading to a 2.66 xFIP that is currently a career best. He has punched out 138 and walked just 33.

RomoRP Sergio Romo, Giants: Romo or Mike Adams was a very, very difficult choice to make. So why did Romo get the spot over Adams? Simple: K/BB numbers. Romo has punched out 12.87 batters per nine innings and walked 1.26, good enough for a 2.20 ERA and 1.65 xFIP in 28 2/3 innings. Adams actually beats the ERA (1.35) and innings-pitched (40), but his K.9 is 9.23 and BB/9 at 1.13, with an xFIP of 2.59.

BellCL Health Bell, Padres: Bell won't be a Padre for much longer, I'm guessing, so better get him on here while we still can. He has had quite an impressive career so far as a closer, and this year is no exception. He has 26 saves, but his strikeout numbers are way down and would actually be a career-worst. Who knows why, but he's not having trouble getting by as his 2.55 ERA and 3.78 xFIP indicate.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com