Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:14 pm
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- The Cardinals are on a World Series record-grabbing binge.
One night after the Albert Pujols Show, starting pitcher Edwin Jackson threw a few balls for the ages. And a few more. And a few more. ...
Jackson walked seven Texas Rangers, tying Wild Bill Hallahan (Game 2, 1931) for the most walks ever by a Cardinals starter in a World Series game. The main problem: Two of those walks came directly in front of Mike Napoli in the sixth inning, Jackson's parting gifts to reliever Mitchell Boggs.
How did that go? Napoli drilled the very first pitch from Boggs deep over the left-field fence for a three-run jack, the final touch on Texas' 4-0 two-step evening this series at 2-2 heading into a pivotal Game 5 featuring the two clubs' aces, Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals vs. Texas' C.J. Wilson.
Derek Holland gave Texas what it needed nearly as much as rain over the summer: A starter who went deep into a game and gave the bullpen a chance to kick up its cleats and relax.
Holland just missed firing World Series' first complete-game shutout since Josh Beckett clinched the title for the Marlins over the New York Yankees in Game 6 in 2003. Manager Ron Washington hooked him with one out in the ninth after he walked Rafael Furcal, in favor of closer Neftali Feliz.
As it was, Holland became the first World Series pitcher to last at least 8 1/3 innings and surrender no more than two hits since Greg Maddux in Game 1 in 1995.
It could not have come at a better time. There are growing questions regarding whether Alexi Ogando, Darren Oliver and Co. are threadbare given how much Washington had to rely on them during an ALCS in which Rangers starters didn't earn a win. Holland's eight innings were a godsend.
Also a godsend: Holland holding Pujols to two ground balls and a harmless foul to first base.
That's where things get especially interesting as this series steams into it's final two or three games: For all we heard about Pujols and his record 14 total bases in Game 3, his other three games have been exceptionally ... silent.
Fact is, despite his outburst Saturday, Pujols is hitless in three of four games during this World Series. He was hit by a pitch and intentionally walked in Game 1, but that's it.
Just as Texas needed a starting pitcher -- and now needs a couple beyond Holland -- to move into position to win the state's first-ever World Series, the Cardinals cannot go it with Pujols alone. Matt Holliday, in particular, has been quiet behind Pujols: He's hitting .143 (2 for 14) with three walks and three strikeouts.
Posted on: April 23, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 12:00 am
Guess life isn't going to be a tire swing all summer for the Texas Rangers, after all.
Not that the Rangers themselves ever expected to run away with the AL West, but when they were 9-1 and owned a four-game AL West lead on April 11, you sure heard some chatter in other quarters about the possibility.
Now, Hamilton is out for up to two months with a broken bone in his arm, and Saturday the Rangers disabled their closer with soreness in his shoulder before Saturday's game with Kansas City. Maybe Texas doesn't miss a beat, but if ever there was a time for an AL West rival to make an early-season move, this is it.
Question is, is anybody in a position to do so?
The Angels actually left Texas in first place on Wednesday night after taking two of three from the Rangers. But Boston devours Los Angeles like kids gobble Easter candy and, in winning the first three of a four-game weekend series -- the latest a 5-0 cakewalk on Saturday -- helped dump the Angels back into second place. The Red Sox have won 12 of their past 13 against the Angels, including nine of 10 in 2010.
Oakland ranks 13th in the AL in runs scored. Only Minnesota (57) had scored fewer than the Athletics (66), and Bob Geren's team needs to hit .500 (they were 9-11 before Saturday's game with Seattle) before worrying about passing the Angels and Texas.
The Angels had stabilized some after losing three of their first four, though Vernon Wells was still hitting just .183 with one homer and four RBI into Saturday night's game and the club's bullpen had walked an AL-high 41 batters -- five more than next-most Kansas City.
This isn't exactly how Wells would prefer to introduce himself to Southern California fans, though the nine-year veteran isn't panicking.
"It's not my first time," Wells says of a slow start. "I've hit .180 for the month of April before."
Not quite, but close: .191 in April, 2005.
Meantime, the Angels still are not sure when slugger Kendrys Morales, out since surgery to repair a fractured leg last May, will return.
"Early, it was really hurting us, especially with Rodney, Kohn and Jepsen," Scioscia says. "Obviously, they've got to work on command issues to get where they need to be. It's not a good trend.
Angels pitchers have walked 17 batters in the first two of the four games against Boston, 10 by the bullpen.
"We have some power arms down there [in the bullpen], but power arms that should be able to command counts better than we've seen," Scioscia says. "It will work its way out as the season goes on."
The Rangers, no doubt, figure the same thing about their current spate of injuries. And the run-challenged Athletics, about crossing the plate. And Seattle ... well, let's not get carried away here.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 5:54 pm
It might all hinge on Game 3, a game manager Ron Washington called "must-win" as the Rangers worked out Friday afternoon preparing for it.
"You certainly don't want to go down 3-0," Washington said.
Asked Friday whether he's thought of using Lee on three days' rest, Washington responded, "The only thing I'm thinking about is Colby tomorrow. I can't answer that."
That open-ended answer will send hordes of people into a raging debate, of course.
But don't expect Lee to go in Game 4.
If he does, it will rank as the biggest shocker of this series.
The Rangers had a chance to use Lee on short rest in the Division Series against Tampa Bay in Game 4. But leading the series two games to one at that point, Washington opted against the idea. The Rangers lost, then went back to Florida to beat Tampa Bay in Game 5.
Last October, the Phillies didn't ask Lee to go on short rest in the World Series, either. Lee has never pitched on short rest.
The key here is this: Whether or not the Rangers would consider moving Lee up to start Game 4, they still need to win Game 5.
Meantime, Washington answered another pitching question that completely has taken on a life of its own in the aftermath of Texas' horrendous bullpen Game 2 meltdown:
Why did closer Neftali Feliz remain sitting on the bench as the meltdown progressed in the eighth inning? Especially with a fresh arm, as he has yet to pitch in the World Series?
Washington reiterated a day later that he did not even consider the option.
"No, I didn't, because if I would have went to Feliz right there, he would have had to do something he's never done before," Washington said. "And I wasn't going to challenge him like that.
"Nope, we had other guys down there that I have a lot of confidence in getting us out of that inning. It just didn’t happen."
Posted on: August 5, 2009 4:54 pm
However things work out on the field with their new pitcher, one thing is clear: The Chicago White Sox-Jake Peavy partnership probably will be long-term.
To clarify Peavy's situation with the Sox: Even though he was traded in the middle of a multi-year contract, Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, does not believe he has the right to demand that the White Sox trade him after one year in Chicago.
Players with five or more years in the majors and working under a multi-year contract formerly had that right under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. If a player was dealt in that situation, after one year with his new club, he could demand to be traded.
That right went away when the latest CBA was negotiated on Oct. 23, 2006. Players playing under multi-year contracts at the time were grandfathered in -- that is, they retained the old rights through the expiration of their existing deals.
Though Peavy's old contract running through 2009 was signed before that 2006 date, the three-year, $52 million extension absorbed by the White Sox (running from 2010 through 2013) was agreed to in November, 2007. Thus, because it came under the new CBA, Axelrod said Wednesday he's "95 percent" certain that Peavy is not eligible to demand a trade, anyway.
And regarding the 5 percent chance the legalese in the CBA provides a loophole?
"That would be a longshot," Axelrod said. "That would be walking away from $52 million. That's not probable."
Not in this economy, anyway.
Likes: Yusmeiro Petit? He almost throws a no-hitter? You never know. ... Cooperstown, N.Y. The Hall of Fame inductions two weekends ago were terrific. That is one assignment that never gets old. If you ever have the chance to go to Cooperstown, go. You will not be disappointed. ... How about Texas' Neftali Feliz going two innings in relief against Oakland on Monday night and striking out the side in the sixth? ... Love the new graphics on the MLB Extra Innings television package. Especially when they show four games at once on a channel that isn't currently showing a game. ... Lake Michigan. ... Bob Dylan's new disc Together Through Life. ... Finally caught up with Public Enemies in the theater the other day (hurray, the trade deadline is over!). Enjoyed it quite a bit, but it wasn't great. I went in wanting it to be great, and it was pretty good. ... Sure would like to catch the touring trio Dylan, Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp at a minor-league park near me while they're on the road. ... Don Middlebrook's new disc Beach Bar Serenade. Always fun seeing Don on the deck of The Butler restaurant in Saugatuck, Mich. Fun new songs.
Dislikes: Hey Prince Fielder, what were you thinking in Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night? Lot of hitters hate Guillermo Mota, but don't try getting into the other clubhouse to settle it. That's insane. ... Little hope -- again -- in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, San Diego. ... Mark Prior's career fades away, probably for good.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"She's so beautiful now
-- The Cars, Let's Go