Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 9:32 pm
By Matt Snyder
Only the Dodgers and Astros are stuck playing one another in an intraleague matchup Friday night, as the other 28 teams are engaged with an opponent from the other league. The Yankees visited Wrigley Field for the first time since 2003 this afternoon, we've got a Bay Area showdown, the Marlins and Rays squaring off and a Baltimore-D.C. tilt. There are some odd-ball games series like the Blue Jays-Reds and a great bout between first place teams in the Brewers-Red Sox series. But that's not all ...
Trading Places: Edwin Jackson (4-5, 4.39) had a brief stint in Arizona -- one that included his only career no-hitter -- before he was traded to the White Sox. Part of the package that went to Arizona included Daniel Hudson (7-5, 3.82). Coincidentally, the two will take the mound against each other Friday night in Arizona. The White Sox continue to search for consistency from any aspect of the team, but now it's the offense as they only scored one run in two losses at Minnesota. They are 5-1/2 games out in the AL Central, kind of that middle range where you're definitely in striking distance but don't want to fall much farther back. The Diamondbacks avoided a sweep at the hands of the Giants with a win Thursday night and trail the defending champs by just 1-1/2 games. Chicago (AL) at Arizona, 9:40 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring
Different directions: Don't look now, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have won 11 of 16 games and are only three games out in the NL Central. We're past the halfway point of June, so we can't cling to "it's early" any longer. The Pirates haven't had a winning record since 1992, so being two games over 68 into the season is a big deal. Meanwhile, the feel-good story of the early season was the Indians hot start. But they're 6-16 since May 23 and have completely blown a seven game lead in that time. In fact, they now trail the Tigers by a game in the AL Central. Still, if we forget everything we've seen so far and look at the standings, the Indians are a game out and Pirates are three out. In looking at the interleague schedule, there's no way anyone would have predicted back in mid-March this series would be so meaningful come mid-June. Kevin Correia (8-5, 3.73) takes the hill for the Pirates while Josh Tomlin (7-4, 4.14) goes for the Tribe. Do note the Indians' offense receives a boost as Travis Hafner has been activated from the disabled list. Pittsburgh at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring
He's Back: Joe Mauer has been activated off the disabled list and will start for the first time since April 12. He'll hit third and catch as the Twins host the Padres. Clayton Richard (2-8, 4.06) gets the start for the Padres. Mauer is 2-5 against Richard in his career. Brian Duensing (3-6, 4.98) takes the hill for the Twins, who are showing signs of life after being abysmal for much of the first two months. They've now won 11 of 13 and have climbed to within nine games in the AL Central. San Diego at Minnesota, 8:10 p.m. ET. Watch Live Scoring
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Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm
Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.
By Evan Brunell
NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.
One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.
"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."
The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."
Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
WASHING JOCKS: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)
MAKE A WISH: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)
SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)
FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)
GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)
SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)
PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)
GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)
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Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Alex Rodriguez, Angels, Billy Butler, Cardinals, Cubs, Daniel Hudson, Derek Jeter, Diamondbacks, Edwin Jackson, Eric Hosmer, Jeremy Guthrie, Joe Mauer, Marlins, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Orioles, Pirates, Royals, Tony LaRussa, Vernon Wells, White Sox, White Sox, Willie Bloomquist, Yankees
Posted on: June 2, 2011 1:14 am
By Evan Brunell
The White Sox's six-man rotation will come to an end shortly, but no one knows who will be removed from the rotation.
“I don’t know one starter who would say he’d be happy,’’ starting pitcher Edwin Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times. “But it’s one of those things where you do what you have to do.’’
Mark Buerhle, Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd are going nowhere. John Danks may be 0-8, but that speaks more to the fallacy of relying on a win-loss record as Danks has been a fine pitcher and has a strong history of performance. That leaves either Jackson, free agent to be, or Phil Humber, who is the latest benefit of pitching coach Don Cooper's magic elixir.
Jackson is making $8.35 million on the year and has a history of success in the rotation while everyone is waiting for Humber's wheels to fall off. Not an easy call, but Jackson for his part says he'll accept a shift to the bullpen if needed, although it won't be his preference.
Jackson currently has a 4.63 ERA in 11 starts, posting a 3.3 BB/9 ratio along with a 7.8 K/BB ratio, better than his career numbers. His 3.36 xFIP shows that he has pitched better than his ERA indicates. Humber, meanwhile, has a 3.06 ERA and 4.08 xFIP. The advanced metrics certainly bolsters Jackson's case, but much of the game still focuses on ERA as a barometer of success. If it is indeed Jackson that heads to the bullpen, he'll at least have a modicum of experience to draw from, as he relieved in 22 games for the Rays back in 2006 before his first full season as starter. He also has relief experience from the two years prior in Los Angeles.
“It’s a game of adjustments,’’ Jackson said. “I mean, what can you do if you have to go to the pen? There’s nobody who wants to go to the pen. I’ve done both. I’ve been in the pen. I like starting and see myself as a starter, but a lot of starters have had both roles.
“At the end of the day, it wouldn’t necessarily be about me. It would be about the team. I would like to stay starting — I’m comfortable starting — but if I have to go to the pen, I’d just go down and deal with it.’’
Jackson certainly has the right idea here -- as a free agent next year, he can dictate his next destination and can ensure he lands somewhere as a starter. In the meantime, he can bolster his image in the game by accepting a move without complaint.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:48 am
By Evan Brunell
Edwin Jackson, White Sox -- Jackson needed this game as Jake Peavy is returning Wednesday and the ChiSox are trying to figure out how to keep Phillip Humber in the rotation. There's been some talk of a six-man rotation -- at least until the team is confident that Peavy is back and will stay back. But a six-man rotation just isn't a good idea for a permanent solution. Jackson would have been the odd man out as he's been the worst starter so far. But on Monday, he delivered the potential that has caused so many teams to take a chance on him. He went seven strong against the Angels, allowing just one walk and whiffing five, while limiting L.A. to just five hits and zero runs. His ERA sank a full 0.69 points all the way down to 4.29. Ozzie Guillen's job just got a lot harder.
Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- As good as Jackson was, Beckett was just as good, posting an identical line save for giving up an extra hit. This marks the fifth excellent start by Beckett (including his rain delay-aborted 4 1/3 innings last time out) and drops his ERA to a pristine 1.99, which is good for fourth in the AL behind Trevor Cahill of Oakland and two Angels teammates in Jered Weaver and Dan Haren. Beckett's resurgence comes as welcome news to Boston who desperately needed a return to prominence from the right-hander for the team to be confident in success in the postseason. Imagine how much more compounded the struggles of Boston would have been if Beckett was delivering an ERA in the 6.00s instead of putting him in the early Cy Young Award chase.
Victor Martinez, Tigers -- Martinez only came off the DL last Wednesday but is on fire, as he has registered a hit in every single game upon his return. Given he had hits in his three previous games before his injury, that marks a nine-game hitting streak for V-Mart, who went 3-for-4 as the Tigers routed the Blue Jays for their sixth victory in seven games. Martinez scored two and drove in three, while all three of hits hits went for extra bases with two doubles and a home run. He's now hitting a cool .293/..344/.488 and has been everything Detroit hoped for when they surprised many with an aggressive offer that got V-Mart signed early in the offseason.
Vernon Wells, Angels -- Wells hits the disabled list with a right groin strain, and the .183-hitting outfielder will get some time to ruminate on how best to turn around his slump. Wells has actually flashed some power by bashing three home runs in May but still has yet to start stringing hits together. His line on the season is .183/.224/.303, which easily "beats" Carl Crawford out for the worst line by a starting player in the game now that Crawford has gotten hot in May. It's awfully hard to contend that L.A. hasn't gotten better with this injury. The defensively-challenged outfielder will likely be replaced in the field by Bobby Abreu, who has his own defensive limitations but will allow the club to get both Alberto Callaspo and Macier Izturis in the lineup. It's not every day one says Callaspo is better than Wells, but here we are. (And let's quell the speculation; Mike Trout is not getting the call. Bank on Reggie Willits to serve as backup outfielder.)
Javier Vazquez, Marlins -- And the beat goes on, as Vazquez turns in yet another disappointing start in what is an early front-runner for worst free agent signing of the year. Sure, Vazquez is only on a one-year deal, but how many players earn $7 million a year for the Marlins? Anyways, Vazquez's downward spiral with a disappearing fastball and inability to spot his pitches continued by coughing up five earned runs (six total) to the Phillies, going just 4 1/3 with one walk and zero strikeouts and nine strikeouts. He didn't exactly set the tone for the game, giving up a leadoff homer to Jimmy Rollins. At this point, Florida needs to come up with a phantom injury to get Vazquez and his 6.88 ERA away from the team. It's clear he's not right and he needs to fix himself away from the club.
Ryan Ludwick, Padres -- Ryan Ludwick just doesn't like being a Padre, doesn't he? OK, part of it has to do with Petco Park, but still, it's remarkable how far he's fallen since being dealt from St. Louis. You have to give the Cardinals a hand for seeing the writing on the wall, as Ludwick went 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts to drop his overall line to .189/.283/.344. Not including Monday's game, Ludwick's career line as a Padre: .205/.298/.339. Someone get him to Coors Field, stat.
Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:22 am
By Evan Brunell
At this point in Jake Peavy's career, any type of progress on rehab assignments is notable.
Peavy tossed 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox's Triple-A affiliate Friday, giving up three runs and seven hits. He flashed his control by walking none and whiffed eight, which is a great barometer for his readiness.
"I gave up a few runs, a two-run homer late, but I made a lot of good pitches," Peavy told MLB.com. "I couldn't feel any better stuff-wise. I thought I was much better than I've been in the past. I feel better than I have in quite some time."
Peavy, who has been out with rotator cuff tendinitis, will pitch Wednesday for Double-A as the Triple-A club has an off day. The aim will be to throw 100 pitches in that outing, then evaluate his readiness for the majors. Barring any unexpected surprises (and with Peavy, nothing's unexpected), he should be able to rejoin Chicago's rotation.
That will represent an interesting issue for the 10-17 White Sox, who are scrapping to stay out of the cellar. Peavy's replacement in the rotation, Phil Humber, has pitched well, with 3.20 ERA in 35 innings. He's represented yet another success story for pitching guru Don Cooper, although it's too early to anoint Humber a legitimate pitcher. Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson has been the worst of the five pitchers with a 5.86 ERA.@cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 28, 2011 5:34 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Fading -- The Royals enter tonight's game 12-12, losers of their last five and eight of their last 10. Kansas City's 10-4 start proved a nice little "oh, look who's in first?" story that we seem to get every April, but the team is beginning to resemble the 100-loss team that most expected heading into the season. Enjoy your .500 Royals while you still can. Royals at Indians, 7:05 p.m ET
Hot in the cold -- It may have snowed last night during the Twins-Rays game, but Ben Zobrist isn't struggling with the cold. Zobrist had eight RBI on two doubles and a homer as part of his 4-for-6 performance in Game 1 of the doubleheader. The record for most RBI in a doubleheader is 13, held by St. Louis' Mark Whiten (who had 12 in one of the games) in 1993 and San Diego's Nate Colbert in 1972. The AL record is 11, held by Cleveland Earl Averill (1930), Boston's Jim Tabor (1939) and Baltimore's Boog Powell (1966). Rays at Twins, Game 2. 8:05 p.m. ETFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:15 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:36 am
By Matt Snyder
Trevor Cahill, A's. Oakland started 1-4 and was quickly digging itself a nice little hole behind the surging Rangers, so a win was rather important here -- not paramount being game No. 6 and all, but you hate to fall too far behind early, y'know? The ace of the talented staff came through by cruising against the strong Blue Jays' offense -- albeit one missing Jose Bautista. Cahill was efficient enough to get through eight innings on 105 pitches, striking out seven and walking zero. He only let three guys on base and one runner to cross the plate. Fortunately for him, it wasn't wasted as the A's pieced together two runs in the eighth and held on for a 2-1 victory.
Edwin Jackson, White Sox. Granted he was facing the most anemic offense of the early-going, but Jackson still struck out 13 hitters and found a way to last eight innings in doing so. That's a feat in how effective he was in helping the White Sox move to 4-2. He's now 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA after two starts.
Esmil Rogers, Rockies. It was supposed to be Ubaldo Jimenez's turn in the rotation, so Rogers figured he'd just do his best imitation. He worked 7 1/3 innings, giving up just four hits, one earned run and one walk against seven strikeouts. Most impressive was that from the second inning until the last batter he faced -- Ronny Cedeno, who singled with one out in the eighth -- Rogers allowed just one baserunner. That's right, he retired 19 of 20 batters during that span. That is straight dealing .
Darnell McDonald, Red Sox. C'mon, really? You get inserted as a pinch-runner and make a baserunning gaffe to end the game? Not only that, it was completely unforgivable. A ball off J.D. Drew's bat caromed off pitcher Chris Perez and squirted toward third base. For some reason, McDonald seemed to think he could make it to third after Adam Everett picked up the ball. McDonald then threw on the brakes and tried to get back to second but was nailed to end the game. There were two outs, so a runner with McDonald's speed would easily score on a single from second and has no business taking a risk to get to third. If there was one out and he wanted a sacrifice fly in play it would be at least somewhat understandable. With two outs, though, that was an unnecessary risk. One you could argue only happened because the team hasn't won yet (meaning a feeling of desperation caused the mental meltdown).
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates. He was 0-4 with two strikeouts and an error. That's now 10 strikeouts in 30 at-bats with no walks. His OBP is down to .200. What should be Alvarez's biggest redeeming quality isn't yet showing through, either, as he has zero home runs and only one extra-base hit. He's only 24, though, and it's only seven games. Just a rough start.
Jonathon Niese, Mets. I love the seven strikeouts in four innings. The eight hits and six runs against a Phillies' lineup missing Chase Utley? Not so much. This was coming off a disastrous outing by Mike Pelfrey, too, meaning the bullpen had to throw 10 innings in the past two games. A long outing by R.A. Dickey Friday against the Nats would help ease the burden there.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:19 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 3:49 pm
CBSSports.com will be revealing its Top 10 Stories of the 2010 season next week, but here at MLB Facts and Rumors we're going to reveal our own Top 10 list, sans the storylines that will be appearing on the overall list.
Here's the top storylines from the 2010 season that didn't make the cut:
10. Felix Hernandez wins AL Cy Young
The Mariners ace ran away with the Cy Young Award after posting a 2.27 ERA (3.26 xFIP), whiffing 232 in 249 2/3 innings and walking just 70 batters and posting a 13-12 record.
Yup -- a starting pitcher won the Cy Young with a 13-12 record. Now, there have been past winners who had shoddy records, but in light of Zack Greinke's victory in 2009 with "just" a 16-8 record, it's clear that wins are being marginalized -- and that's a good thing.
The majority of GMs and front-office executives understand the fallacy of judging a pitcher's performance on wins. After all, for a pitcher to get a win, the offense and defense play important parts -- and one could argue the offense plays a more important role. Hernandez was clearly the best pitcher in the league (although CC Sabathia did get short shrift) and deserves the award, but could you have seen this coming just five years ago?
Nope. We're in the middle of a seismic shift where advanced statistics are starting to take hold in mainstream media -- for the better. While the statistics used in the sabermetric community (such as xFIP, which is quoted often in this blog) will always be ahead of mainstream media, the mere fact one can find national writers quoting ERA+ is a positive.
9. End of an era for legendary managers
Four managers with impressive pedigrees saw their managerial careers come to an end (well -- for now).
In Toronto, Cito Gaston ended his return to the managerial ranks by guiding the team to a 85-77 record. Of course, Gaston will be remembered more for his original stint as a Blue Jay where he won back-to-back World Series titles.
Lou Piniella was another to exit stage left, stepping down near the end of yet another disappointing season as Cubs skipper. Piniella takes with him a 116-win season (2001 Mariners) and World Series ring (1990 Reds) along with 1,835 victories.
Joe Torre joins Piniella as another ex-Yankees manager who retired. After Torre bounced around from the Mets to Braves to Cardinals, he landed with the Yankees with almost 15 years experience and then turned into a star. He won four titles in five seasons and remained in New York for 12 years. He just finished up a three-year stint with the Dodgers that saw him win an additional two division titles and retire with 2,326 victories.
Last, but definitely not least, is Bobby Cox (pictured). Cox managed the Braves for 25 years from 1978-81 and then again from 1990-2010. In between, he managed the Blue Jays and served as Atlanta's general manager. Cox had just three losing seasons as Braves manager, going 40-57 in 1990, 79-83 in 2006 and 72-90 in 2008. He oversaw the vaunted trio of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and won 100-plus games five times, capturing his World Series ring in 1995. All told, he won 2,504 games and lost 2,001.
8. Chase for Triple Crown
At one point during the season, a Triple Crown was a distinct possibility in both the AL and NL. Josh Hamilton and Miguel Cabrera had a showdown in the AL, but Hamilton's missing most of September cut short any possibility of winning the Triple Crown. Hamilton beat Cabrera in batting average, .359 to .328, but Miggy bested Hamilton with 38 homers to the Ranger's 32. (Jose Bautista pulled away from the field with 54 home runs, but this was a lot closer in July and August than it ended up being.) Cabrera overcame Bautista to win the RBI title with 126 ribbies, and Hamilton was 12th with 100 RBI on the nose.
The NL was a lot more closer with the combatants as Joey Votto and Albert Pujols (pictured). Pujols ended up with 118 RBI, Votto 113 -- but the reigning NL MVP beat Pujols in batting average with a .324 mark as compared to Phat Albert's .312. (Carlos Gonzalez won the title with a .336 mark.) Ah, but Pujols walked away the home-run king with 42 bombs, Votto cranking 37.
7. Rookies of the Year
In the AL, two rookies grabbed everyone's attention with center fielder Austin Jackson flourishing in Detroit and Neftali Feliz notching 40 saves. A slow start derailed Brian Matusz's hype in Baltimore, but by the end of the year it was looking like he could be the ace many had predicted him to be.
The real story was in the NL, where there was a plethora of candidates in Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Mike Leake, Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, Madison Bumgarner, Ian Desmond, David Freese, Mike Stanton, Travis Wood, Pedro Alvarez, Aroldis Chapman, Starlin Castro, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Jose Tabata, Jon Niese...
Yep, there was a bona fide youth movement in the NL this year, and it should be one fun league to watch over the next few seasons. In any other given year, at least five, if not more, could have won Rookie of the Year awards. But they didn't.
So, who actually got the Rookie of the Year Awards?
The AL honor went to Feliz for his 40 saves in 69 1/3 innings, punching out 71 and walking 18. He has the potential to be a stud closer for years... or could be moved back to the rotation. Your move, Texas.
In the NL, Buster Posey (pictured) whisked the award away from Jason Heyward with a .305/.357/.505 line in 443 plate appearances, bashing 18 home runs and leading the Giants to the World Series. Nah, he didn't set any expectations for himself.
6. Dodger Divorce
This storyline isn't quite over, but 2010 saw the sordid trial and subsequent decision by the judge that both Frank and Jamie McCourt own the Dodgers. Whether or not this pushes the team to sell isn't known yet, but this was a divorce that captured the hearts of tabloids and overshadowed the constant Hollywood marital troubles that plague movie celebrities.
At the crux of the issue were two separate agreements that detailed either Frank (pictured below left) possessing sole ownership of the club, or both. Frank's lawyer admitted he made changed to the marital agreement without notifying Jamie or her representatives that gave Frank sole ownership.
With the agreement nullified, Frank is pursuing other avenues to be declared the sole owner while Jamie and representatives say that the Dodgers must be treated like community property. While there's still more battles to be had, the war is over: both McCourts own the team and it's difficult to fathom both co-existing, which will lead to the team's sale.
5. Year of the Pitcher
Six no-hitters were thrown in 2010, a remarkable achievement. Only two other times were six no-hitters thrown, and that's not including the Perfect Game That Wasn't in Armando Galarraga's perfecto.
Ubaldo Jimenez tossed the first no-hitter in Rockies franchise history against the Braves on April 17 to get the no-nos started. Matt Garza also tossed a franchise-first no-hitter, doing so for the Rays vs. the Tigers on July 26, the final no-hitter of the regular season.
Dallas Braden then followed that up with a perfect game against the Rays on May 9th, adding a nice little wrinkle to the earlier flap with Alex Rodriguez, when he yelled at the third baseman to "get off my mound." Rodriguez responded in Pedro Martinez form , asking just who the heck Braden was. Cue perfect game. Now people know who Braden is.
New Phillie Roy Halladay (pictured) followed in Braden's footsteps 20 days later, pitching perfect against the Marlins May 29.
Edwin Jackson joined in on the fun June 25th, throwing an incredible 149 pitches to notch a no-no for the Diamondbacks.
Lastly, Halladay did perhaps the most impressive feat of all, blanking the Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on October 6. It's the second no-hitter to be thrown in the postseason, behind Don Larsen's perfecto in 1956. He was one walk in the 5th away from a second perfect game.
That wasn't all that made the year all about pitchers, however. Fifteen hurlers tied the all-time record for most pitchers with at least 200 strikeouts, paced by Jered Weaver's 233 whiffs.
4. George Steinbrenner passes
Steinbrenner was someone who loomed over baseball from Day One upon his acquisition of the Yankees in 1973. Brash and loud, Steinbrenner wouldn't accept any form of losing and while New York won two World Series in 1976-77 and appeared in two others in 1976 and 1981, New York quickly fell into obscurity as Steinbrenner's demands weren't the way a club should be run.
His overturn of management personnel was rough as well, as 20 managers served under his watch over his first 23 seasons, Billy Martin the poster boy for this overturn. Steinbrenner was also suspended for 15 months after the 1974 season for illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon. It wouldn't be his last suspension.
Despite this, however, the Yankees reinvigorated a brand that had been dormant for a decade. Then, the best thing that could have happened to New York did with King George's second suspension, handed out for paying a gambler for trying to dig up information on star Dave Winfield, whom Steinbrenner had made the highest-paid player in baseball history at the time before clashing with the Hall of Famer.
This allowed Gene Michael, the GM, to take over day-to-day Yankees business and upon Steinbrenner's reinstatement in 1993, he was more willing to be hands off -- as hands off as he could be, anyways.
This shift led the Yankees to their glory years behind Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and so on. The Yankees captured four World Series in a five-year span, three straight from 1998-2000. They would continue to be the face of baseball throughout the beginning of the 21st century and captured another World Series in 2009, the last postseason Steinbrenner would see.
The Boss passed on the morning of the 2010 All-Star Game, July 13. With that, the Yankees lost perhaps their most influential and important owner in franchise history (although one could make a case for Jacob Ruppert ).
3. Cliff Lee Watch
On MLB Facts and Rumors, Cliff Lee has been written more than any other player -- and team. The Cliff Lee tag beats out the Diamondbacks, Pirates, Orioles, Rockies, Padres, Blue Jays, Tigers, Brewers, Royals, Angels, Athletics, Astros and Indians. That's a lot.
That's not all, however. There's also a Cliff Lee Watch tag, detailing his adventures through trades and free agency. What does that top? Well, Derek Jeter for one. Only Adam Dunn, Stephen Strasburg and Lee himself are the only players that top that tag. Yep, that means Derek Jeter, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton... they've all been written about less than Lee's nomadic career.
Lee is truly a journalist's dream, with the specter of free agency and constant trades keeping Lee at the forefront of the news. First Lee was dealt to the Phillies, and their push to the World Series provided plenty of fodder. Then you had Lee being traded to the Mariners and the head-scratching element of Philly turning around and acquiring Roy Halladay.
Then the Mariners flailed, and Lee was in a tug of war between the Rangers and Yankees. With Texas, he advanced to the World Series yet again, but hit free agency and we all know how that turned out.
Lee has been a big part of baseball coverage the last two years, and especially this year as he went from the Phillies to Mariners to Rangers and back to Philadelphia. I've never quite seen a player sustain coverage this long in so many different ways.
Cliff Lee may have dominated the off-the-field storylines, but Stephen Strasburg was a phenom on the field. He rocketed through the minors, with each of his farm starts must-see status.
Then: his debut.
Seven innings, two earned runs, no walks, 14 strikeouts -- and a whole lot of Nationals fans grinning ear to ear. He reached 100 mph on two pitches, and 34 of 94 pitches broke the 98-mph barrier.
It didn't stop there, as Strasmas blew through city after city, leaving shell-shocked players in its wake as Strasburg racked up 92 strikeouts in 68 innings over 12 starts. He posted a 2.91 ERA while walking just 17 and was an instant ace. Even a disabled-list stint in July for shoulder inflammation wasn't enough to curb the hype.
Until August 21.
Then, Tommy John surgery showed up in Strasburg's stocking as a big lump of coal.
Strasburg was one of the most hyped pitchers of all time (David Clyde 's got nothing on this guy) and delivered with TJ surgery providing the rock bottom. And all the while, tons of ink was devoted to Strasburg. In fact, Strasburg was the most-written about player on MLB Facts and Rumors until Lee got sent to Texas.
1. Jim Joyce blows Armando Galarraga's perfect game
What more can one say about this?
It was a brutal reminder to all that baseball simply needs instant replay. In this day and age, an "aw shucks, I messed up" isn't enough. Fans want to know that what they see on the field is legitimate. How many times do you hear about the 1985 World Series-winning Royals without the name Jorge Orta added?
How about the 1996 Yankees, who have to tote around Jeffrey Maier as part of its legacy?
Imagine what would have happened in the 2004 ALCS had the original call of Mark Bellhorn's double had been upheld, as well as Alex Rodriguez's purse-slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove?
Give Joyce credit for owning up to blowing the call and being genuinely bothered by the fact Armando Galarraga lost his shot at history on a blown call.
Give credit too, for Galarraga and the Tigers for being incredibly gracious. The actions of the two involved defused what could have been a powder-keg situation. (Just look at the picture -- talk about reconciliation.)
That doesn't change what happened, though. And what happened was this: Armando Galarraga lost a perfecto on the final out of the game in which there is irrefutable proof that the batter was out.
In the Year of the Pitcher with Lee and Strasburg as the most-talked about players and amidst the slow advent (and inevitable arrival) of expanded instant replay, it's perhaps fitting that this storyline heads the list of top storylines of the baseball season that did not make the all-inclusive Top 10 sports list, due to run on CBSSports.com next week.
-- Evan Brunell
Tags: Albert Pujols, Armando Galarraga, Bobby Cox, Buster Posey, Cito Gaston, Cliff Lee, Dallas Braden, Dodgers, Edwin Jackson, Felix Hernandez, Frank McCourt, George Steinbrenner, Jim Joyce, Joe Torre, Joey Votto, Josh Hamilton, Lou Piniella, Matt Garza, Miguel Cabrera, Neftali Feliz, Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yankees