Tag:Mariners
Posted on: September 12, 2011 5:40 pm
 

On Deck: Rivera looks for 600th save

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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Mariano RiveraOne Mo for 600: Remember when Derek Jeter's last 20 hits were breathlessly followed? It seemed like his every step was chronicled and he was fawned upon for becoming the latest member of the admittedly elite 3,000 hit club. And much of the backlash was about how it was reported that way just because it was a Yankee player. You know, it may have more to do with Jeter's popularity than the uniform. On Sunday, Mariano Rivera recorded his 599th career save and he's now just one save from becoming only the second player to ever get to 600 saves. He's two from tying the career save mark and he's three from holding it outright, unseating Trevor Hoffman. I get that a lot of the difference is about the save stat and its worthiness and its relative youth as an official statistic, but it still seems interesting that more isn't being made of one of the all-time greats getting so close to setting a record like that. Or maybe everyone just assumed he already held the record. Yankees at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET

Roy OswaltHunter PenceFamiliar faces: Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt and Hunter Pence will be on familiar ground tonight as both make their first appearances at Minute Maid Park in a non-Astros uniform. Oswalt was traded to Philadelphia last season and Pence this season. Both have stepped up their game in Philadelphia, as Oswalt is 14-9 with a 2.88 ERA in his 19 starts with the Astros, while he was 6-11 with a 3.37 ERA in his last 19 starts with the Astros. Pence was liked in Houston, but in his short time in Philadelphia he's become beloved. In 38 games with the Phillies, he's hitting .320/.393/.551 with eight home runs and 24 RBI . He had 11 homers in 100 games for the Astros, while hitting .308/.356/.471. Houston can only hope neither of those two have the success that another form Astro has had in Houston -- Lance Berkman has hit .480/.519/1.160 with five homers in six games at Minute Maid Park this season and .429/.484/1.036 in eight games total against Houston. It's only fitting that former Phillie Brett Myers is on the hill for Houston. Phillies at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

Home sweet home: The Braves are coming off a 2-6 road trip that saw the team lose four games in the Wild Card standings to the Cardinals. The Braves are 44-28 at Turner Field this season, the third-best home record in the National League. Atlanta has nine of its final 15 games at home, while St. Louis plays 10 of its 16 remaining games on the road. The Braves will need another good start from rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy against Florida on Monday. Beachy allowed just two hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia on Sept. 7, but picked up a no-decision when Atlanta's usually dominant bullpen gave up runs in the eighth and ninth innings of a 3-2 loss. Beachy's 1-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Marlins this season, striking out 24 in 19 1/3 innings, but also walking 10. Marlins at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:03 pm
 

AL Rookie of the Year race wide open



By Matt Snyder


During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Today: the AL Rookie of the Year.

View contenders for the: AL MVP | NL MVP | AL Cy Young | NL Cy Young

Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who get to vote for the Rookie of the Year in either respective league are forced to narrow the field to three players. In looking at the American League rookies in 2011, that's not a simple task. It seems like the three best at the moment haven't been up for long. Others were stellar for a stretch but have also suffered through rough patches. It's a subjective award, so let's throw some names out there.

Here are seven players who have a realistic shot and three more who could have had one -- if they were recalled from the minors earlier (denoted by an asterisk).

*Dustin Ackley, Mariners. One of the future anchors to the Mariners lineup has only been up for 71 games, which likely isn't enough to garner tons of support here. He is hitting .300 with 13 doubles, seven triples and six home runs and an .845 OPS. He scores well in WAR (wins above replacement player), but he probably needed to be overly spectacular to win the award with what will be just over a half season.

J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays. Big power (21 home runs) at a tough defensive position is a plus. It would be awfully difficult to overcome the .221 batting average and .281 on-base percentage to win the award in a crowded field, though.

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays. It feels like he'll have a good shot, depending on how the rest of the season goes. Hellickson is currently 12-10 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He also has two complete games and is averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. It's been a very solid rookie campaign, even if not spectacular.

Eric Hosmer, Royals. The 21-year-old first baseman has been very good since getting his call in May. He's hitting .285/.335/.458 with 16 home runs, 66 RBI, 55 runs and nine stolen bases. Like Hellickson, though, Hosmer's been more steady than spectacular. The next two guys have been spectacular, but only for a short time ...

*Desmond Jennings, Rays. He's only been up for 44 games, but he's hitting .302 with nine home runs, 15 stolen bases and a .936 OPS. He also passes the eye test, as he comes through in the clutch and has made a few highlight-reel defensive plays. The talent is immense, but the service time probably keeps him off most ballots.

*Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays. In just 32 games, Lawrie is hitting .324 with eight homers, 21 RBI, 19 runs, six steals and a 1.076 OPS. He also has a few clutch home runs (see the picture to the right) and plays the game with a youthful enthusiasm (again, see right). Had he not broken his hand on a hit-by-pitch earlier this summer in the minors, a promotion was likely to come earlier and he'd probably have a real shot at the award, Instead, he's going to have enough service time to qualify as a rookie, yet probably not near enough to gather many, if any, votes.

Ivan Nova, Yankees. Do you like win-loss record in judging pitchers? If so, Nova's your guy here in a no-brainer. He entered Thursday 15-4 for the first-place Yankees. If you don't love win-loss record, he probably doesn't win the award. He has a 3.89 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with a low strikeout rate (again, these numbers are prior to Thursday's start).

Michael Pineda, Mariners. The gargantuan starting pitcher was the easy favorite to win the award at the All-Star break. He was 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 113 strikeouts in 113 innings at the time. Since then, he's 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA. Still, did he do enough to hold on? His full season numbers: 9-9, 3.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 163 strikeouts in 159 innings. It will be interesting to see how the early stretch of dominance (6-2, 2.16 ERA through nine starts) plays in the minds of the voters.

Mark Trumbo, Angels. His power numbers look great -- 26 homers, 80 RBI, 28 doubles -- and he's playing in a pennant race. He's also had the job since opening day and has admirably filled in at first for injured Kendrys Morales. Trumbo also had some clutch moments of his own. Do the average (.256), on-base percentage (.295) and strikeout-to-walk (102 to 24) rates hurt him? We'll see.

Jordan Walden, Angels. The 23-year-old closer made the All-Star team, but he's faltered in several rough stretches. What looks good: 29 saves, 2.55 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 53 innings. What doesn't: Nine blown saves out of 38 chances. That's awfully high. So do the positives outweigh the negatives? There's sure to be some disagreement among voters.

So who is the best candidate? What would be your top three? Let us know below ...

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 2:23 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Williams' gem leads Angels

Jerome Williams

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jerome Williams, Angels: Williams was one of three pitchers to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning along with Oakland's Guillermo Moscoso and Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt, but neither of those pitchers was pitching for such high stakes. With the Rangers losing earlier in the day to the Rays, the Angels took the field Wednesday night knowing they could make up ground on their rivals in the only real playoff race left. Williams retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced before Seattle's Trayvon Robinson homered to lead off the sixth inning and put Los Angeles in a 1-0 hole. It looked as if Robinson's stellar start would go for naught until the Angels rallied for three runs in the eighth inning to give Robinson and the Angels the 3-1 victory and to pull to 2.5 games behind the Rangers. Robinson's homer was the only hit the Mariners would record, as Williams struck out five and walked one.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles: Reynolds struck out four times (fun stat for the guy who's always sitting next to me at baseball games, strikeouts are worth one out, just like any other way a player makes an out), but with two outs in the 11th inning, Reynolds came through against Hector Noesi with an RBI single to give Baltimore a 5-4 victory in the Bronx.

Carlos Pena, Cubs: Pena was hitting just .135 off of left-handed pitchers and Reds lefty Bill Bray had limited left-handed hitters to just a .188 batting average this season -- so Dusty Baker's decision to replace Logan Ondrusek with Bray was sound. It just didn't work. With the game tied at 3 and one on and one out in the eighth inning, Pena caught up to Bray's first-pitch slider that didn't slide and put it on Sheffield Avenue for a 6-3 Cubs victory. Pena has five home runs and 16 RBI against the Reds this season.


A.J. Burnett, Yankees: As far as Burnett starts go, the Yankee whipping boy wasn't too bad on Wednesday, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking four. No, those aren't great numbers, but it's certainly good for Burnett this season. However, he did make history -- and not the kind he'd like -- on Wednesday with three wild pitches. It was the eighth time he's recorded at least three wild pitches in his career, the most in the modern history. Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro and Tommy John all had seven games with three wild pitches, which is pretty decent company. Burnett has 23 wild pitches this season, the most in baseball.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox: Thanks to Bard, Tim Wakefield failed in his eighth attempt at his 200th career victory. With Boston leading 8-6 in the eighth inning, Bard hit the first batter he faced and after loading the bases and recording two outs, he gave up the lead by walking Eric Thames and Jose Bautista to tie the game. Matt Albers then came in to relieve Bard and gave up a three-run double to Edwin Encarnacion, who drove in five in the game to give the Jays the lead for good. Wakefield wasn't great, allowing five runs (four earned) and three hits in five innings. He walked three and hit two more, but was in line to record the W.

Orlando Cabrera, Giants: Many around the Bay Area are wondering why Giants manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with Cabrera over rookie Brandon Crawford at shortstop everyday. It didn't get any better in the team's 3-1 loss to the Padres on Wednesday. In the eighth inning, Cabrera dropped an easy popup behind the infield by Wil Venable, who later scored on a Cameron Maybin triple to give San Diego a two-run cushion going into the ninth with closer Heath Bell on the mound. It was Cabrera's fifth error in 30 games with the Giants. He's also struggling at the plate, going 3 for 28 in the team's last 10 games, including an 0-for-3 night on Wednesday.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 4:48 pm
 

On Deck: Strasburg returns, Worley chases history



By Evan Brunell


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StrasburgViva Strasburg: Stephen Strasburg is set to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday, but it could be washed away by rain. Right now, the game is being threatened and likely to be called or at the very least, delayed. Skipper Davey Johnson told the Washington Post that a delay or even a threat of one would scrub Strasburg's start, so you can expect him to pitch tomorrow instead. Assuming Strasburg pitches he'll do so up against the Dodgers and Ted Lilly. Lilly has been on a roll as of late, lowering his ERA to 4.13 and will look to win his third straight game against Washington. Dodgers vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

SantanaHernandezBest matchup
: The Angels are hoping to keep their rebound going by sending Ervin Santana to the mound against Seattle. Santana has had a career season to date, the likes of which he hasn't seen since 2008. Santana isn't as good as his 3.27 ERA shows, but he's still plenty good and will have a stiff test against Felix Hernandez. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has an identical 3.27 ERA, but has a 2.63 ERA in his last seven starts, the Associated Press says. Santana can do better than that, as he's run up a 2.13 ERA in his last 12 starts. It lines up what should be a very intriguing matchup, as Hernandez has killed the Angels this season, but L.A. is riding a hot streak. Mariners vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

WorleyClosing in on Carlton: That's Steve Carlton, not Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Vance Worley is taking the mound for the 14th time this season since his one and only loss this season back on May 29. In those 13 games since, Philadelphia has won every game, and Worley is now closing in on the franchise record for that distinction, which is held by Steve Carlton. The Phillies won 15 straight games in 1972, the Associated Press says. The longest winning streak the team has with a rookie pitcher is 14 by Wayne Simpson in 1970, so Worley can make some franchise history Tuesday night. He'll run up against Tim Hudson, looking for his 15th victory. Braves vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Playoff race: AL West may be the only one left

Mark Trumbo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's a breakdown of the AL West race, with all data through games of Sept. 3

Texas Rangers
Record: 79-61
22 games remaining: 9 home, 13 away
Winning percentage of remaining opponents: .512
Baseball Prospectus expectancy of division title: 92 percent

Los Angeles Angels
Record: 75-64, 3.5 GB
23 games remaining: 10 home, 13 away
Winning percentage of remaining opponents: .481
Baseball Prospectus expectancy of division title: 8 percent

The two teams have one series remaining head-to-head -- three games in Anaheim on the last three days of the season, Sept. 26-28. Texas leads the season series 9-7.

Playoff race

The Angels headed into Texas on a six-game winning streak at the end of August, but then dropped two of three at Rangers Ballpark and split a series against the woeful Mariners. The Angles split their first two games against the Twins, who like the Mariners enter Sunday with a 58-80 record, before returning home with another shot against the Mariners. The Rangers, on the other hand, finish their series against the Red Sox on Sunday before heading to Tampa Bay to face the Rays for three.

While the Angles and Rangers are at the top of the division, the other two teams in the division could decide their playoff representative -- Los Angeles has three more games against the Mariners and six more against the A's, while the Rangers play the A's and Mariners six times each the remainder of the season.

Since taking two of three from the Angels, the Rangers are 3-2 against the Rays and Red Sox, with another series against the Rays starting on Monday at Tampa Bay. Texas hasn't exactly struggled to score runs this year -- ranking third in the majors in runs scored -- but the return of Adrian Beltre isn't going to hurt. After missing more than a month with a strained left hamstring, Beltre is 3 for 11 with 4 RBI in three games since his return. The Rangers don't expect outfielder Nelson Cruz back until at least the middle of this month, so Beltre's return is a welcome sight.

The Angels made up for a rare bad start by ace Jered Weaver with rookie Mark Trumbo's grand slam and Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos added solo homers in the team's 10-6 victory on Saturday. Another rookie, 20-year-old Mike Trout, could be the Angels' x-factor. Widely considered one of the game's elite prospects, Trout's played like it in his second stint in the big leagues, hitting .406/.500/.844 with four homers since being called up on Aug. 19. 

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:00 pm
 

Braves acquire Jack Wilson

By Matt Snyder

Reports earlier Wednesday indicated that Braves general manager Frank Wren wanted to bolster his middle infield depth, and it came to fruition Wednesday night, as the Braves have acquired Jack Wilson from the Mariners for a player to be named later. The deal was announced via a press release.

Wilson, 33, is currently on the disabled list with a bruised left heel. He's eligible to return to action this Friday and will be eligible to be on the Braves' postseason roster, assuming they hold on to that NL Wild Card -- and it looks very probable at this point.

Wilson's not much of a hitter anymore, as evidenced by his .249/.283/.295 triple slash line, but he can flash the leather at either second or short and he's even appeared in one game at third this season for the Mariners. He'll simply be a backup for the Braves, but the move gets him into a pennant race in September for the first time in his career.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 7:29 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 9:42 pm
 

Mariners extend Zduriencik's contract

By Matt Snyder

The Seattle Mariners have given general manager Jack Zduriencik a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday.

From the Mariners' press release:

“Jack arrived in Seattle with a clear plan, and he has not deviated from that plan,” president and COO Chuck Armstrong said. “Jack wanted to increase the talent base in our organization through scouting and player development. That is exactly what he has done.”

“Through trades, waiver claims and free agent signings, as well as the draft, Jack has accumulated talent throughout the Mariners organization,” Armstrong continued. “Our drafts the past three seasons have been very good, as exemplified by recent picks already arriving in the Major Leagues. Our player development group, revamped by Jack when he arrived, has done a very good job of preparing players to be successful in the big leagues. Eric Wedge and his coaching staff, hired by Jack, have done a terrific job of balancing our desire to win every game we play with the challenge of developing young players to be a part of championship teams in the future.”

More on Extension
“We are headed in the right direction for long-term success,” Armstrong said. “Now, as quality young players drafted by the Mariners and developed in our system begin to arrive in Seattle, our fans can look forward to an exciting future thanks to Jack’s efforts.”

Zduriencik, 60, was hired by the Mariners following the 2008 season. He previously was in the Brewers front office from 1999-2008, where he drafted free-agent-to-be Prince Fielder, among others. Might he make a run at Fielder this coming offseason? The Mariners could certainly use some power.

The biggest moves at the major-league level Zduriencik has made would be dumping the Carlos Silva contract he was saddled with -- though it also brought problem child Milton Bradley to Seattle -- trading for Cliff Lee, trading Cliff Lee and signing Chone Figgins. Zduriencik did get Felix Hernandez locked up long term as well. Much of the progress mentioned by Armstrong, however, was in building the farm system, which is widely considered a strong one at present. Dustin Ackley was Zduriencik's first first-round draft pick, for example.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 5:19 pm
 

On Deck: Ubaldo digs his new digs

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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Ubaldo JimenezHome sweet home:
This season Ubaldo Jimenez was 3-5 with a 5.55 ERA at Coors Field, but he likes his new digs much better. In two starts at Progressive Field, he's allowed just 12 hits and struck out 16 batters with a 0.60 ERA. On the road, he's struggled with his new team, allowing 25 hits and 11.77 ERA in three starts. But hey, tonight the Indians and Jimenez are in Cleveland, so the A's should watch out. Rich Harden (4-2, 4.55 ERA) goes for the A's, who have lost four straight and five of their last six. Athletics at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET

Nine on the line: The Diamondbacks can extend their season-long winning streak to nine with a victory against the Rockies tonight. Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his last four starts, giving up just five earned run during that run. Arizona starters have a 0.83 ERA during the eight-game winning streak. Not only has Arizona won eight straight overall, it's won its last 11 at Chase Field, tying a team record set in 2000 and matched in 2003. The Diamondbacks have also won 13 of their last 17 against the Rockies at Chase Field and 10 of 14 in all games against Colorado this season. Rockies at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. ET

Felix HernandezDan HarenMarquee matchup: You want pitching? Look west as Felix Hernandez and the Mariners face Dan Haren and the Angels. Hernandez, last year's Cy Young Award winner, has struggled in his career against Los Angeles, going 4-9 with 4.01 ERA against the Angels, but is 0-1 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts in Anaheim this season. Haren, on the other hand, loves pitching at Safeco Field, where he is 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA in eight career starts. He's 9-4 overall against the Mariners with a 2.52 ERA. Angels at Mariners, 10:10 p.m ET

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