Tag:Indians
Posted on: September 14, 2011 11:26 pm
 

Indians unsure where Santana will play in 2012

SantanaBy Evan Brunell

Catcher or first base?

That's the question confronting the Indians as to where Carlos Santana will play next season.

"He can do both," Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. "It all depends on what we do with our first-base situation."

Santana followed up a fantastic rookie campaign (.260/.401/.467 in 192 plate appearances, cut short by inury) with a bit of a step back, but still productive at .236/.348/.446, enjoying a better second half. He's appeared in 90 games as catcher, and according to Defensive Runs Saved has been a below-average catcher. At first, though, he's also noted as a below-average in 56 games at first, but defensive numbers -- or any baseball stat, really, -- in this small a sample size can't be relied on.

The Indians' first-base situation has been thrown into flux because of Matt LaPorta stalling out in his development. LaPorta has received ample time the past two seasons to hit and this year was a put-up or shut-up situation. He's shut up, but the Indians could still give the 26-year-old another shot next year. They could also trade or sign for a catcher (the Rockies' Chris Iannetta is available) or first baseman. Either way, Santana's ability to play two positions -- especially one as valuable as catcher -- give the Indians a good amount of flexibility moving forward.

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:13 pm
 

If Cy Young was decided like Manager of the Year

By Matt Snyder

As my esteemed colleague C. Trent Rosecrans pointed out Monday, the Manager of the Year award is unavailable for certain managers in any given season. For example, the Phillies and Red Sox were heavily predicted to make the World Series in 2011. The Yankees are the Yankees, and the Giants and Rangers went to the World Series last season. So right there, Charlie Manuel, Terry Francona, Joe Girardi, Bruce Bochy and Ron Washington are virtually eliminated from the chance at winning the Manager of the Year award in their respective leagues.

It's not necessarily wrong, but it's still fun to imagine if the other awards were decided in the same fashion. Tuesday, I took a look at the MVP with this twist. Now, we'll go with the Cy Young Award in each respective league. Remember, expectations disqualify people in Manager of the Year voting, so we're doing that here, just for fun. Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and several others aren't in contention because they are already established studs.

Here are three candidates for the Cy Young Award of each league, if voters reacted as they did in the Manager of the Year voting -- along with who I think would win and why.

American League

Doug Fister, Tigers
2010 numbers: 6-14, 4.11 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 93 K, 171 IP
2011 numbers: 8-13, 3.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 130 K, 197 1/3 IP, 3 CG
Fister was already improved in 2010, but he's been lights out since joining the contending Tigers (2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP in eight starts) and helped them build up some incredible momentum in their race to win a division title for the first time since 1987. His deadline deal to the Tigers garnered modest fanfare, but it has ended up being a huge splash and he gives them a bona fide No. 2 behind Verlander in the playoffs.

Justin Masterson, Indians
2010 numbers: 6-13, 4.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 140 K, 180 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
2011 numbers: 11-10, 3.20 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 151 K, 205 1/3 IP, 1 CG
A question mark heading into the season, Masterson developed into the Indians' ace -- at least before the Ubaldo Jimenez trade -- as they stormed out of the gates and were in first place for a long time. He's faltered lately (5.85 ERA in his last five starts), but he's only 26 and has a big workload. Also give him major points for drastically lowering home run and walk rates.

James Shields, Rays
2010 numbers: 13-15, 5.18 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 187 K, 203 1/3 IP
2011 numbers: 15-10, 2.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 210 K, 226 1/3 IP, 11 CG, 4 SHO
So Shields nearly chopped his ERA in half while going from leading the majors in hits and earned runs allowed -- and the AL in home runs allowed -- to leading the AL in shutouts and the majors in complete games. He entered the season with just five complete games and two shutouts in his entire career (which was 151 starts). Just look at those numbers differences. It's utterly staggering.

And the winner is ... James Shields. Fister would likely get some late support and Masterson's growth has been great to watch, but Shields blows the rest of the field away here. He'd be the Kirk Gibson of this award.

National League

Johnny Cueto, Reds
2010 numbers: 12-7, 3.64 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 138 K, 185 2/3 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
2011 numbers: 9-5, 2.36 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 102 K, 152 1/3 IP, 3 CG, 1 SHO
Wow, look how he's trimmed that ERA. Cueto has been huge for the Reds this season as they struggled to get anywhere what they thought they would from some other starting pitchers, but he could only do so much on his own.

Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks
2010 numbers: 9-10, 3.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 168 K, 194 IP
2011 numbers: 19-4, 2.99 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 182 K, 208 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
Sure, the D-Backs being a vastly improved team this year helps the win-loss record, but Kennedy is one of the biggest reasons for the surprise season. He's grown into an ace far quicker than most predicted. In fact, most scouting outlets only had him pegged as a middle-of-the-rotation guy.

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
2010 numbers: 3-8, 4.81 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 110 K, 95 1/3 innings ... oh, and these were spread across Double-A and Triple-A.
2011 numbers: 10-7, 2.66 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 124 K, 162 1/3 IP, 1 CG, 1 SHO
From 2000-06, Vogelsong had a 5.26 ERA and 1.59 WHIP for the Giants and Pirates. He then played three years in Japan before returning for an uninspiring season in the minors last year (as you can see above). He the joined the Giants as a 33 year old and was thrown into the rotation due to injury issues in late April. By the All-Star break he was 6-1 with a 2.17 ERA and headed to Phoenix as an actual All-Star. He's one of the better stories in baseball this year.

And the winner is ... Ryan Vogelsong. You could make a great argument for any of the three, but I'm going with Vogelsong because he came from completely out of nowhere. Cueto and Kennedy at least had hope for big seasons, especially as they should be progressing with more age and experience. Vogelsong was barely even an afterthought entering the year, and no one expected him to ever be a meaningful major-league player.

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:05 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rivera saves No. 600, Guerra bombs

RiveraBy Evan Brunell

Mariano Rivera, Yankees: Rivera became the second closer with 600 saves when he set the Mariners down (but giving up Ichiro Suzuki's 170th hit of the season) to close out a 3-2 victory. Trevor Hoffman is the lone other closer to reach the mark, finishing with 601, so Rivera is also close to setting history in a record that will not be broken for a very long time. It was also his 41st save of the year, two behind Jose Valverde of the Tigers to lead the league in yet another impeccable season for the ageless wonder.

Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Both Pedroia and Ellsbury rapped out a 4-for-5 night, with the Laser Show recording his first multi-homer game of the season with two blasts. Overall, he notched five RBI during a night where Pedroia joined the 20/20 club, scoring four times as well. Ellsbury added another four runs scored in the 18-6 trouncing, blasting his 27th homer of the season and driving in three. Ellsbury is now at .321/.380/.542 with the year, and Pedroia snaps a little slump with the night and is now slashing .300/.384/.471. Tim Wakefield grabbed his 200th win in the game.

Bruce Chen, Royals:  It's not often you see someone like Bruce Chen on 3 Up, but he blanked Minnesota over eight innings, whiffing eight and allowing just three baserunners. It was a dominating night for the journeyman who has settled into a nice career with the Royals over the last two years. His ERA is now at 4.04 and should receive some interest on the free-agent market with his second straight strong year. He returned to the Royals when no other team was willing to bite on Chen's resurgent year, but things will change now for the 34-year-old.



Javy Guerra, Dodgers: Javy Guerra spectacularly imploded night, handing the Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory in a positively awful top of the 10th. Here's how it went: Guerra gave up a leadoff single to Gerardo Parra, who earlier had drawn the ire of L.A. by getting into an argument with Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, staring at pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo after a brushback, then pimping a home run. He missed a pitchout, which allowed Aaren Hill to bunt. If he hadn't been bunting, the pitch would have gone to the backstop. Then he whiffed Justin Upton before intentionally walking Miguel Montero. All inning, he's been jittery, and he combusted by allowing a walk to Paul Goldschmidt on four straight balls. It's more of the same to Chris Young, with two significantly high fastballs followed by a ball low and outside, then another high fastball to walk in the winning run.

Cole Hamels, Phillies:
It wasn't a good night to be a Phillies ace, as Cole Hamels drew his eighth loss by lasting just five innings, allowing five runs (one unearned) en route to losing to baseball's worst team, the Astros. Hamels struck out six and walked one, so fared rather well there but couldn't buy an out in the field, giving up nine hits, a season-high. He's had such a good year overall, though, that the outing only set his ERA back to 2.71.

Justin Masterson, Indians:  Masterson got crushed in his continuing regression to the mean, coughing up six earned runs over five innings. He allowed eight hits and three walks, punching out just two as his ERA rose to 3.20 after ending July with a 2.56 mark and August at 2.83. He also gave up three homers in the losing effort. Masterson has taken a major step forward this year and make have evolved into an ace, but it will take until the end of 2012 to find out.

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Posted on: September 12, 2011 12:49 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Fister continues to impress



By Matt Snyder


Doug Fister, Tigers. When you hear people talking about teams not wanting to face the Tigers in the first round of the playoffs because you don't wanna see Justin Verlander twice in a short series, do not forget the Tigers now have a very formidable No. 2. Fister was brilliant again Sunday in a 2-1 Tigers win over the Twins, allowing just three hits in seven shutout innings. Since coming over in a trade from the Mariners in July, Fister is 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, the Tigers now have a better record than the Rangers and are five games behind the Yankees for the top seed in the AL.

Drew Pomeranz, Rockies. I wonder how long before the Indians want a mulligan on that Ubaldo Jimenez trade deadline deal? Pomeranz was one of the pieces the Rockies got back and the 21-year-old lefty dazzled in his major-league debut Sunday. He needed just 63 pitches to get through five shutout innings against the Reds, picking up the victory. He gave up just two hits and two walks.

Luis Valbuena, Indians. In the past two seasons, before Sunday, Valbuena was hitting .188 with two home runs in 345 plate appearances. So it was quite shocking to see the light-hitting middle infielder knock the ball around the yard Sunday. He went 3-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored in a 7-3 win over the White Sox.



Jon Lester, Red Sox. The Red Sox's starting rotation is in shambles, but Lester should have been the one cog -- with Josh Beckett injured -- that could be counted upon. Instead, he could only get through four innings, due to a massive pitch count, allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks. The Red Sox lost 9-1, and saw their lead in the Wild Card race shrink to 3 1/2.

Tim Hudson, Braves. Like the Red Sox, the Braves are reeling and needed a big start. With Hudson taking the hill, it seemed like a good time -- considering the Braves had won six of Hudson's past seven starts. Instead, Hudson was battered for six runs and eight hits in six innings and the Braves were swept by the Cardinals. Even worse, a once-commanding Wild Card lead has shrunk to 4 1/2 games.

Major League Baseball. I usually never complain about the rigidity of professional sports leagues when it comes to rules on uniforms because of the slippery slope principle, but not allowing the Mets to wear the NYPD, FDNY and PAPD hats for Sunday night's game was a farce. You can make one exception without being worried about the precedent set.

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Posted on: September 10, 2011 1:17 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Someone gets to Kimbrel



By Matt Snyder


Cardinals' late offense. I utterly refuse to put Craig Kimbrel in the "down" section for having his 37 2/3-inning scoreless streak broken, but it needs to be mentioned, so we're going to the Cardinals here for being the team to break it up. The Braves' rookie closer had not been scored upon since June 11 until Friday night. He had converted 25 straight saves in that time period. Friday, though, the Cardinals showed he was human. Skip Schumaker singled to open the ninth, following by a fielder's choice and strikeout. So it seemed like just another Kimbrel save. But then Rafael Furcal drew a walk. And then Ryan Theriot did the same. All of a sudden, the bases were loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-1 Braves lead. Who walks to the plate? Why, Albert Pujols, of course. It's the type of matchup that makes baseball great. Power vs. power. One swing can end it for either side, or Kimbrel could sit Pujols down himself. Pujols ended up going down the first-base line for a base hit. It scored two to tie the game before Jason Heyward gunned the ball to second base. He would have had Pujols dead to rights -- as he tried for a double -- but then Theriot attempted to get home and the Braves nailed him instead to end the inning. Still, a Nick Punto sacrifice fly would win the game for the Cardinals next inning against Scott Linebrink. But the mighty Kimbrel had been exposed as a human being and that was the big news of the game. Let us all tip our caps to him for the very impressive scoreless innings streak.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians. Big night for the young third baseman, as he hit a two-run home run off Mark Buehrle ... twice. The Indians won 8-4. While the Tigers have run away with the AL Central, the Indians have seen enough from several young players, like Chisenhall, to consider this season a success to this point. It will be very intriguing to see the strides made in 2012.

Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles. Maybe the intervention helped? He said he'd start listening to Metallica, after all, so maybe Guthrie did and was fired up for the start Friday night. He shut out a good Blue Jays' offense for seven innings, allowing just three hits in a 2-0 Orioles victory. In the process, he lowered his season ERA to 4.29.



John Lackey, Red Sox. There might be a Wild Card race after all, as the Rays worked the Red Sox over, 7-2, Friday night. The biggest problem was Lackey. Again. This would be the perfect time for Lackey to step up and earn his gargantuan contract, considering the injuries in the Red Sox's starting rotation. Instead, Lackey went out and allowed five hits, three walks and five earned runs in just three innings. His ERA is now 6.30.

Joe Girardi, Yankees. Rough ninth for the skipper. He pinch ran for A-Rod with Eduardo Nunez, only to send Nunez on the exact pitch the Angels called for a pitchout. The result was Nunez being nailed at second with ease. Then Girardi went with Aaron Laffey and Luis Ayala on the hill in the ninth. The result was a 2-1 loss. On the bright side, the Yankees don't seem in any danger of missing the playoffs. Also, they were playing in their third city in three days. So, in and of itself, this wasn't a huge deal.

Jimmy Paredes, Astros. In the 11th inning, Paredes gave the Nationals a walk-off throwing error. With one out and runners on first and second, Paredes fielded a bouncing ball at third base and looked to at least get a force out at second -- if not an inning-ending double play. But he threw the ball into right field, which allowed Ryan Zimmerman to come around and score. The Astros have now lost 96 games. In the history of the franchise, they've never lost more than 97 in a season.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Juan Pierre joins 2,000 hit club

Juan PierreBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Juan Pierre's third-inning single against the Indians' David Huff on Thursday gave him 2,000 for his career. He's the 268th player in Major League history to reach 2,000 career hits and the eight player to reach the milestone this season. Pierre's the second White Sox to reach the career mark this season, joining Paul Konerko who notched his 2,000th career hit on Aug. 23.

It was only fitting that Pierre reached 2,000 with a single -- it was the 1,667 single of his career.

Also reaching 2,000 hits this season were Carlos Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Michael Young, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre and Konerko. He figures to be the last to get to 2,000 this season -- but 10 players are in striking distance to reach the mark next season -- Placido Polanco (1,947), Jason Giambi (1,945), Derrek Lee (1,940), Carlos Beltran (1,895), Andruw Jones (1,880), Jimmy Rollins (1,846), Torii Hunter (1,803), Lance Berkman (1,795) and Raul Ibanez (1,774).

Pierre, 34, is the 23rd active player with 2,000 hits, led by Derek Jeter with 3,069.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 10:38 am
 

Pepper: Marlins' new home could bring makeover



By Matt Snyder


While it certainly doesn't necessarily mean on-field success, the Florida Marlins are about to finally have their own home. After sharing a park with the NFL's Miami Dolphins since first taking the field in 1993, the Marlins will begin 2012 with a baseball-only facility in Miami. Wednesday, local media were given a tour of the facility and the Marlins took the opportunity to sing their own praises.

"This will be the first ballpark to come in on budget and on time in a long, long time," team President David Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com). "There will not be overruns in this building. This building will come in at the $515 million mark, not one dollar over budget, [and] not one thing taken out of the building. As a matter of fact, we have been able to add things because the workers have been so efficient and it has been built so well."

Samson also noted that he's personally sat in every single seat and went with the proverbial "there's not a bad seat in the house" sentiment.

So the Marlins' fans will finally have a place that seems like a real home instead of some rental where a baseball game seems foreign and unwelcome. Attendance will surely increase (the Marlins average less than 19,000 fans per game this year -- and that's paid, not how many actually show up), but what about the problem that has plagued the Marlins for years: Payroll?

"I know it will be at levels previously unseen," Samson said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

Interesting.

The time might be now to start ramping up the baseball excitement, south Florida.

Real life 'Wild Thing:' If you like baseball and don't love Charlie Sheen's character -- Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn -- in "Major League," well, you might have as many screws loose as Sheen. In the movie, Vaughn earned the nickname after loading the bases with walks on 12 straight pitches and then later set a record for wild pitches in an inning. Embattled Yankees starting pitcher A.J. Burnett didn't do it in an inning, but he has now joined rare company with his wild pitches. With three Wednesday, he became the first pitcher since 1919 to have eight games with at least three wild pitches (Baseball-Reference blog).

A better Johan? Mets ace Johan Santana has been sidelined all season after having a surgical procedure in 2010. But he's getting closer and closer to possibly seeing some relief work this September, just to get him back on the mound for an inning or two. And get this: Mets' pitching coach Dan Warthen said Santana's stuff is better right now than it was last season (when he had a 2.98 ERA in 199 innings). "Better velocity," Warthen said (NYDailyNews.com). "The arm was in the same slot each and every time. He wasn't searching for a place that didn't hurt."

Emotional season: Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos came to America in 2004 to chase his dream of playing Major League Baseball. But through the long visa process, his family had never been able to get here to see him play in person ... until this season. His parents recently secured a 10-year visa and finally got to see their son play a big-league game in person this homestand (Washington Times).

Rock and a hard place: "Moneyball" is coming to theaters soon, as I'm sure most of us have seen the previews during commercial breaks on TV by now. For those uninformed, it's a film adaptation of the book about A's general manager Billy Beane trying to build a team without the resources of a large-market club (or even a middle-market one). Beane hasn't really said anything about it, and Wednesday he explained why: "The hard thing for me has been figuring out how to walk this fine line," Beane said (Mercurynews.com). "If I embrace all this movie stuff, it looks like I'm really digging it. But if I put my hand up and say, 'No,' I look like I'm distancing myself from it. There's no playbook for this."

Old Style at Wrigley: Pabst brewing company nearly nixed a deal with Wrigley Field, where Cubs fans have been consuming Old Style beer since 1950, but tradition won out -- as the contract was extended through 2013. As a Cubs fan I can tell you that it's tradition to buy one and suck it down each time you attend a game -- even if it tastes like crap (it kind of does). (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Milwaukee loves 'Tony Plush:" Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan has become an unlikely popular player this season, and the T-shirt depicting his alter-ego -- "Tony Plush" -- outsells all other Brewers' T-shirts three-fold (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). I wonder if Chris Carpenter wants one (click here if you don't get it)? I kid, but it would at the very least be a funny prank for a teammate to get him one.

Wild beats Man: A squirrel broke into the Indians' bullpen Wednesday night and closer Chris Perez attempted to capture it with his jacket. He lost, as the squirrel ran up the bullpen wall and jumped into the center-field bushes (Detroit Free-Press).

Happy Anniversary: On this day 25 years ago, Rafael Palmeiro made his major-league debut (Hardball Times). He'd go on to accumulate 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, nearly 2,000 RBI, a Gold Glove in a season when he only played 28 games in the field and one embarrassing display in front of Congress that has now been immortalized by Larry David.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Rockies' Pomeranz to debut on Sunday

Drew PomeranzBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Just more than three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy, Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz will make his big-league debut on Sunday against the Reds.

The centerpiece of the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, Pomeranz has just thrown 10 innings in Double-A since July 25. In two starts in the Rockies' system, Pomeranz has thrown 10 scoreless innings, including three perfect innings on Monday night, striking out three batters for Double-A Tulsa. In his organizational debut on Aug. 17, Pomeranz threw seven scoreless innings for Tulsa, allowing just two hits and striking out four. Overall this season, he's 4-3 with a 1.78 ERA in 20 starts, striking out 119 batters in 101 innings. Batters are hitting just .189 against him this season.

Pomeranz threw 47 pitches on Monday and will be on a  pitch count on Sunday against Cincinnati. 

"Obviously you're anxious to see that, just like you were anxious to see Alex White," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post. "He's left-handed, you've gotten rave reviews about what people in the organization have seen up to this point. … But Sunday he gets to face major league hitters and you get to find out that there's a little bit of difference between facing hitters in the Texas League and facing hitters in the major leagues."

Pomeranz was the fifth pick overall in the 2010 draft by the Indians and came over to the Rockies in the trade that also sent the right-handed White to Colorado along with first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride and right-hander Joseph Gardner.

White, the Indians first-rounder in 2009, has made three starts for the Rockies, going 1-1 with a 7.41 ERA. He had a no-decision in his Rockies debut on Aug. 23 and picked up his first win in the National League on Saturday, allowing five hits and four runs in five innings in a 5-4 Colorado win at San Diego. He also had three starts for the Indinas, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA with the Indians.

Since going to Cleveland, Jimenez has gone 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in seven starts.

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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