Posted on: June 22, 2010 12:16 am

What are the odds?

Any Baltimore fans harboring dreams of a miracle should give up now. Even if they had a million chances, the Orioles wouldn't make the playoffs this year.

That's the conclusion of a postseason odds report compiled by baseballprospectus.com, which ran a computer simulation of the remainder of the 2010 season a million times. The Orioles were the only team that came out with a zero percent occurrence of making the playoffs. The Royals, Indians, Mariners, Nationals, Astros, Pirates and Diamondbacks each were under 1 percent.

In the crowded American League East race, the Yankees won the division 49 percent of the time, the Red Sox 26 percent and the Rays 21 percent. The best bet to reach the postseason? The Rangers, who made it in 81 percent of the simulated seasons.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 3:59 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2010 1:18 am

Should Strasburg make All-Star team?

Stephen Strasburg Should Stephen Strasburg be an All-Star?

Sure, the odds are high he'll rip off a streak of All-Star appearances down the road, but the question has to do with this year.

The argument for including him is strong. Even though he's made just three starts, what starts they have been. Over 19 1/3 innings, he has an ERA of 1.86. He's walked five -- all coming in his second start where he struggled with Cleveland's mound -- and 32 punchouts. Every time he takes the hill, the baseball world is abuzz and his stuff is as electric as anyone's. Yes, even including Ubaldo Jimenez.

Yet, there is a good chance he won't make the team. He simply doesn't have the body of work to make a case. With three starts, he's light years behind  baseball's season high of 15 starts, which 11 pitchers.

By the time the All-Star break rolls around, he will likely have five additional starts to his name, giving him eight on the year, which will still be about half the amount a full-season starter will have. Is he really deserving of a spot ahead of one of those pitchers?

And yet, there's no denying the pizzazz Strasburg would bring to the team. The All-Star Game is for the fans, and with no disrespect to Jon Garland, who has 15 starts and a 2.87 ERA, fans want Strasburg. Watching him take on the likes of Justin Morneau, Evan Longoria and Ichiro Suzuki would be exciting theater.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo wouldn't shy away from a Strasburg selection, reports MLB.com.

"Whatever they would need him to do, we would make sure that he does it because it's an honor to play in it, it's an honor to be asked," Rizzo said. "If [Phillies manager] Charlie Manuel or MLB feels he is one of the best players in the league and he should be on the All-Star team, he would earn it and deserves it. I would embrace it."

And best of all, Strasburg's schedule, in which he pitches every five days -- not five games -- lines him up perfectly to pitch in the All-Star game.

He's slated to host the Royals June 23, visit Atlanta June 28, return home to face the Mets on July 3 and go into the break with a July 8 matchup with San Diego. The All-Star Game falls on July 13, exactly five days after his last projected start. Following the All-Star break, he will start receiving additional days off.

For the fans, Manuel and baseball should select Strasburg. Only time will tell.

UPDATE : Manager Jim Riggleman said Strasburg will pitch on one day's extra rest in his final start before the All-Star break, according to Ben Goessling of MASN. That slates him for July 9 against the Giants instead of the 8th against the Padres. It also means if he is selected to the All-Star Game and pitches, he would do so on four days rest.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 18, 2010 8:13 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2010 1:05 am

Strasburg sets obscure strikeout record

Stephen Strasburg So the latest installment in "they keep that record?" -- Stephen Strasburg has set the record for most starts in the first three starts of a career with 31, passing the previous record set by J.R. Richard. He picked up his eighth strikeout of the game (and 30th of his carer) in the fifth inning by getting Alexi Ramirez swinging. He finished the inning by striking out Gordon Beckham on a ball in the dirt. Eight of his nine strikeouts have been swinging strikeouts.

However, the Nationals are down 1-0 because Gavin Floyd has allowed just one hit through five innings.

Strasburg, on the other, has given up two hits, both in the first -- an infield single to Juan Pierre and a blooper by Omar Vizuel in the first. Since then, he's retired the next 15 batters.

As for those who note Strasburg's strikeout numbers have come against the likes of the Pirates and Indians, two last-place teams, the White Sox don't have a winning record, but did enter Friday's game with the fewest strikeouts in baseball.

UPDATE: Starsburg's done after seven innings, striking out 10, allowing one run on four hits with no walks. His ERA now stands at 1.86.

The Nationals scored a run on an Adam Dunn double in the seventh, so Strasburg will get a no-decision.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Posted on: June 16, 2010 1:42 am
Edited on: June 16, 2010 1:44 am

Could Ivan Rodriguez reach 3,000 hits?

Ivan Rodriguez At age 38, Ivan Rodriguez is still going strong.

Most catchers have washed out by this age due to the unrelenting pressure put on the knees of the diamond's captain, but not I-Rod. As a matter of fact, Pudge has his eyes set on 3,000 hits.

"That’s something I definitely think about," Rodriguez said to MLive.com. "I’m just going to take it one at-bat at a time, one game at a time ... and when that moment comes, it’s going to be unbelievable. To reach 3,000 hits in the major leagues is a great accomplishment."

Rodriguez currently has 2,759 hits through Tuesday's game with a .336 batting average (48 hits) over 143 at-bats. That projects out to 164 hits for the season over 490 at-bats. Assuming a regression in batting average -- his career mark is .299 and he has not been over .300 since hitting it on the nose in 2006 -- and playing time (Jesus Flores is due back shortly and will receive ample playing time), he should still finish in the neighborhood of 125 hits. That would place him at 2,836 by season's end.

That's just 164 hits away from 3,000. He'd have to turn in a season of batting .300 in full-time duty in 2011 to attain the record, but even playing part-time, should be on track to nab the milestone in 2012.

Rodriguez's contract runs through next season, so he may have to set the mark with another team. But he's so close, that he's a virtual lock to achieve 3,000 hits. Manager Jim Leyland, for one, thinks he can do it.

"He’s been able to last because he’s kept himself in great shape," Leyland said. "He goes to the gym on the road every day. And when you think of a catcher doing that, it is absolutely amazing."

Rodriguez is already the career hits leader for catchers, miles ahead runners up Ted Simmons, Carlton Fisk, Yogi Berra and Mike Piazza.

Pretty soon, he'll be able to call himself a member of the 3,000-hit club, too.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 13, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2010 3:15 pm

Strasmas II: Electric Boogaloo

Stephen Strasburg started Sunday where he left off in his last start, striking out the first batter he faced in his second big-league start. Cleveland's Trevor Crowe was the eight-consecutive batter Strasburg struck out. Shin-Soo Choo followed for Strasburg's ninth strikeout in as many batters faced.

Cleveland's own rookie, Carlos Santana, at least put wood to the ball, lining out to end the first inning.

Second inning: The Russian's cut! He's human. Travis Hafner homers off Strasburg to tie the game at 1. But he has two more strikeouts, so the legend isn't quite dead. Hafner's homer is the only hit so far.

Third inning: More mortality -- no strikeouts, just three boring ground balls. Through three, Strasburg has 38 pitches, 25 strikes. His opponent, David Huff has 39 pitches, 33 strikes, for what it's worth.

Fourth inning: Apparently Adam Dunn doesn't want Stephen Strasburg to ever lose a game. Dunn homers -- like he did in Strasburg's first start -- to give the lead back to the phenom. Strasburg gets Choo again on three pitches -- the second strike was a nasty backdoor pitch and then the big curve for his fifth strikeout of the game. What's special about Strasburg so far, to me, isn't the velocity, it's those other pitches -- and I'd have a feeling Choo would agree. And for those poo-poo'd his debut against Pittsburgh, Cleveland may not have the best offense, but Choo is a professional hitter. Santana goads Strasburg into his first career walk. How about that, a guy who throws 100 who has that kind of control. And as that's written, Strasburg walks Hafner. Things then return to normal, getting Austin Kearns for K No. 6.

Fifth inning: Sir Strasburg doesn't like the mound at Progressive Field. A little delay as they repair his landing spot. So with two outs and a man on first, Trevor Crowe is left trying to bunt for a hit, because it seems like a better chance than actually swinging the bat. Ryan Zimmerman lets him know that's not a sound strategy. 

Sixth inning: Ivan Rodrguez's two-run double gives Strasburg even more of a cushion, and then Ian Desmond made it 6-1 with a two-run triple. Santana gets a bloop single for just the second hit of the day for the Indians. And then, after a couple of balls to Hafner, Strasburg's looking at his landing area again and pitching coach Dan McCatty comes to the mound. And now Jim Rigglemman is out again to talk about the mound and the field crew is out there to work on it. And now Strasburg walks Kearns and that's it for him. Strasburg went 5.1 innings, two hits, five walks, eight strikeouts and a home run. He left the bases loaded, so his line is incomplete. He threw 95 pitches, 52 strikes. He as brilliant through five, but struggled int he sixth. Drew Storen replaced him. Storen got Russell Branyan to pop up for the second out of the inning and strikes out Jhonny Peralta to close the book on Strasburg. 5.1 innings, two hits, one run, five walks, eight strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 11, 2010 1:12 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm

Are interleague 'rivalries' still relevant?

Interleague play opens up again Friday and yet again I'm underwhelmed by the Reds-Royals, Mets-Orioles and Pirates-Tigers.

But it's not just those mashups of also-rans that have begun to bore -- anyone excited for Cubs-White Sox? A's-Giants? Dodgers-Angels? Aren't those the reasons we're still stuck with a bastardized schedule? OK, it's Mets-Yankees and nothing else.

Every time this argument comes up, we're pointed toward interleague attendance numbers, without noting that most of those dates are summer nights on the weekend -- nights when teams would draw regardless of the visiting Royals or Pirates.

So what's on tap this weekend for our interleague overlords?

White Sox at Cubs: Nurse that hangover from the Blackhawks parade at Wrigley. What does it say that the NHL in June will overshadow one of the prime interleague matchups? Everything, really.

Astros at Yankees: Loser has to claim Roger Clemens?

• Mets at Orioles: When the Wilpons and Peter Angelos get together, there are no winners. Really.

• Pirates at Tigers: Well, there will be two nice looking uniforms on display.

Nationals at Indians: Yes, they're going to play twice before Steven Strasburg pitches. But one relevant game out of three ain't bad.

• Royals at Reds: The first-place Reds 24th in home attendance. There's only one way to solve that -- a visit by the Royals.

Phillies at Red Sox: OK, I'll admit, this should be a good series. Boston plays in front of sold-out crowds every night, so it's not like this is going to help the gate.

Braves at Twins: Two of the best debuts of 2010 (non-Strasnurg division), Target Field and Jason Heyward meet.

Rangers at Brewers: Does any argument about interleague play hold up when it involves the Brewers?

Blue Jays at Rockies: I got nothing... Blue Jays. Rockies. That's enough.

Mariners at Padres:
Two great ballparks, two awesome cities, one good team.

Angels at Dodgers: If you live in Southern California and want to see the Angels, you've got 81 chances.

• A's at Giants: See above, substitute "Southern" for "Northern."

Oh, the excitement.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 10, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: June 10, 2010 4:21 pm

TBS switches up to show Strasburg

You wouldn't ordinarily expect a national network to bend over backward to replace a scheduled telecast of the Red Sox against the Phillies with a Nationals-Indians tilt. But the buzz around Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is just that powerful.

TBS has gotten special permission to switch its Sunday game so it can show Strasburg's second career start. Normally TBS is required to schedule its Sunday game 20 days in advance until the final weeks of the season. The game in Cleveland begins at 1 p.m. EDT.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: The MLB Network announced this afternoon that it's picking up the June 18 game between the Nationals and White Sox. Care to take a guess who's projected to start that game for the Nats?

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 9, 2010 9:55 pm

Nats, Dunn talking extension

Adam Dunn told MLB.com's Bill Lasdon that his agent Greg Genske talked with the Nationals about a contract extension last week when the team was in Houston.

Dunn is a free agent after this season, but has stated he'd like to stay in Washington.

"The Nationals know how I feel about this place. I hope that something can be worked out," Dunn told Lasdon. "Again, I'm not in any hurry. It's probably No. 10 on my list of things to worry about."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

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