Tag:Jake Peavy
Posted on: July 31, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:26 pm
 

3 to Watch: The rich don't get richer edition

The Yankees always get what they want, right?

The Yankees and Red Sox get everything. The rich get richer.

Except when they don't.

In a week where the Nationals briefly acted as buyers (sending minor leaguers to the Reds for bench player Jonny Gomes), and where the Indians and the Pirates were both buyers, the Yankees were . . . silent?

And the Red Sox were . . . not silent, but they didn't really get what they wanted.

That's not to say that the Yankees are in trouble, or that the Red Sox are. That's not to say that the Yankees have suddenly become cheap, or that the Red Sox have, either.

Just don't say they always get what they want, or even what they need.

The Red Sox came closer, with their deadline-beating three-team deal for Erik Bedard. Bedard was awful in his Friday night showcase, but he was very good earlier in the season.

But with Monday's news about Clay Buchholz -- CSN New England reported that he has a stress fracture in his back, and could be out for the year -- the Sox were more determined to add a starter than the Yankees were. In fact, CSNNE's Sean McAdam wrote, the Sox actually wanted to add two starters, and settled for one possibly healthy one (Bedard).

The Yankees were much more content to stick with what they have. But should they have been.

The Red Sox are at least solid atop their rotation, with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

And . . .

That's it, really. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.

They don't have a true No. 2. They have Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as amazing surprises. They have A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes as amazing enigmas. They have Ivan Nova and perhaps Manuel Banuelos as talented but really untested kids.

But who starts Game 2?

Now you understand why Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies last December was so potentially devastating to the Yankees.

They were left taking a chance that a top starter would be available on the July market. They were left trying to decide if Ubaldo Jimenez or Hiroki Kuroda (who, in the end, refused to consider any trade) would fit.

"If those are the two guys, I would live with what I have," one rival scout said in the middle of last week. "And then hope that A.J. pitches better, which he probably won't."

Did the Yankees go wrong at the deadline? Only if they don't win.

Check back at the end of September, or sometime in October.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. Sabathia pitched like a true ace in July (with a 0.92 ERA in five starts). Now that they passed up on trading for help, they sure as heck need him to pitch like an ace the rest of the way, starting in Yankees at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have every bit as big a need for Jake Peavy to pitch well, and more than that for him to stay healthy. The White Sox traded away Edwin Jackson, which gave them bullpen help (in Jason Frasor) and some payroll relief, but it left them with little rotation protection, in case the fragile Peavy gets hurt again.

2. The Tigers' acquisition of Doug Fister understandably got far less attention than the Indians' trade for Jimenez. But Fister serves almost as important a role for the Tigers as Jimenez does for the Indians. The Tigers are 4-16 when they've used a fifth starter, which means that even if Fister is decent, starting in Rangers at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park, he'll be a huge improvement. The Rangers explored adding a starter, too, but settled for making significant bullpen upgrades with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.

3. The Indians announced Monday that Jimenez won't make his Cleveland debut until Friday in Texas. But Bedard will make his Boston debut a night earlier, in Indians at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. That series, between one of the American League's true powers and a team that wants to be thought of the same way, sure became a lot more interesting with what the Indians did Saturday night. By Thursday, the Red Sox should know for sure about Buchholz, and maybe Thursday's game will give them some idea whether Bedard will really help.




Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:51 pm
 

Peavy hoping for quick return

NEW YORK -- When the White Sox's season was falling apart last August, Jake Peavy was hurt, unable to help.

Now the White Sox are off 8-14, hurting again. For now, Peavy is still unable to help.

For now.

Friday, Peavy will make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Charlotte, throwing 85 pitches, and he said Monday that he believes he'll need just one more minor-league start after that before he joins the White Sox rotation. That means Peavy could be pitching for the Sox as soon as May 9 in Anaheim.

Peavy insists that he learned his lesson in spring training, when he pushed too hard and then suffered a setback.

"I've got to err on the side of caution," Peavy said.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:29 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 10:16 pm
 

The White Sox in crisis -- as usual

NEW YORK -- Every year, we go through this with the White Sox.

Every year, we go through this with Ozzie Guillen.

"Every year at some point, somehow, I'm getting fired," Guillen said Monday.

Yes, crisis time is here again for the White Sox, although Monday night's 2-0 win over the Yankees will help a little. Now the White Sox are 2-10 over their last 12 games, matching those other Sox, who went 2-10 over their first 12 games.

But even if there was panic all over New England until the Red Sox began winning, it's safe to say that no one does crisis quite like the White Sox. The only surprise is that Ozzie hasn't said anything -- yet -- that would have people asking if this time, he really is going to get fired.

The assumption from people who know White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has always been that only something Guillen says -- something really, really bad -- could get him fired. But some of those same people are wondering this week whether this team could play poorly enough that Guillen's job would become an issue.

"Is Ozzie's voice getting old?" one of those people asked Monday.

The word in the White Sox clubhouse is that it's not, that Ozzie is the same as ever and that this is just a bad stretch of games like other bad stretches the White Sox have endured.

"He's the same guy he's been since my first year here," said Matt Thornton, now in his sixth year as a White Sox reliever. "He just has a little more gray hair, most of it my fault."

Other White Sox players and coaches say the same thing, and Guillen's pregame media session Monday was like any number of others he has held when White Sox times have been bad.

He expressed confidence in his team ("We need to go out and let the talent take over"), defended hitting coach Greg Walker ("Some [players] out there are making $12-15 million. Greg Walker's only making $100,000. We're not struggling because of Greg Walker"), and joked about his lack of a true closer ("Somebody's going to be out there, and we have to pray, because we need a win").

And, asked whether general manager Ken Williams would want to talk to him about changing coaches, Guillen said, "If they're going to blame anybody, I take the blame. If somebody's got to be fired here, it's Ozzie."

Williams arrived in New York after a flight delay ("Two and half hours with angry Sox fans," he said), and also expressed confidence that the White Sox are much better than their record.

"We have the ability, we have the talent," Williams said. "Call me crazy, but I happen to think we've got a pretty good team out there. They're what we think they are."

We've heard it all before, and we've seen this all before. Just last year, the White Sox started 8-13, the same record they had before Sunday's loss in Detroit.

The difference this year is that the Sox now have the highest payroll in the division (a club-record $127.8 million), and also that they pushed their players harder in spring training in hopes of getting off to a fast start.

"We got off to a slow start last year, and it ended up costing us the division," said starter Jake Peavy, who believes he needs just two more rehab starts before making his 2011 debut.

They have been here before, but has it been this bad?

Scouts who watched the White Sox over the last week described them as "uninspired" and said there was "no energy."

"They're going to snap out of it . . . I think," said one scout who has followed the White Sox for years.

You have to figure they will, because you have to figure that some of their big hitters will start hitting. While the bullpen was the problem early in the season (and while the White Sox still have just one save in seven opportunities), the biggest recent problem has been a severe lack of offense.

And while it's true that the White Sox have faced great pitching during this 2-10 slide (David Price, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Justin Verlander, and then A.J. Burnett Monday night), it's also true that they've scored just 27 runs in that span.

New designated hitter Adam Dunn had a ground ball that brought in a run Monday, but he's still hitting just .158 with 24 strikeouts in 57 at-bats. Alex Rios had a hit Monday, but that broke an 0-for-22 skid. Gordon Beckham has just one hit in his last 29 at-bats.

"Hitting is so mental," Walker said. "Right now, our team doesn't feel that good about themselves. But deep down, they know they're good."

They should be good. They should be much better than this.

But weren't we saying the exact same thing a couple of weeks back about a different group of Sox?

The Red Sox lost 10 of their first 12. The White Sox has lost 10 of their last 12.

Is it that different?

"I saw them a lot in spring training, and I thought they'd have a heck of a year," one scout said Monday.

Just to be clear, he was talking about the White Sox.


Posted on: August 30, 2010 10:52 pm
 

Eight runs later, Cahill's candidacy takes a hit

NEW YORK -- The year Chris Carpenter won the Cy Young Award with the Cardinals, he gave up eight runs in one game. And nine runs in another game.

Randy Johnson gave up nine runs in a game in 2001, and won the Cy Young.

So why is Trevor Cahill basically out of the Cy Young discussion after giving up eight runs to the Yankees on Monday night?

Simply because it was so hard for Cahill to get into the Cy Young discussion in the first place.

Cahill had plenty going against him, even when he was second in the American League in ERA, as he was before Monday's pounding. He's not a favorite of the stat guys, because he doesn't get many strikeouts (he ranked 44th in the AL going into Monday) and because they believe his .215 batting average on balls in play (into Monday) indicates that he's been "lucky."

I think it doesn't matter if you're lucky or unlucky, because the Cy Young is based on pitching success, not on predicting future success. It's about winning games and preventing runs, and Cahill, 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA before Monday, was doing a good job at both.

Since May 5, when he got his injury-delayed first win of the season, Cahill was tied with CC Sabathia for the most wins in the majors, with 14. He had a 1.63 ERA since the All-Star break and a 0.92 ERA in August, and he was averaging eight innings a start this month.

He was starting to look like a Cy Young candidate. And now he doesn't.

After one bad start?

Yes, even though Cliff Lee also had a recent start where he allowed eight runs (to Baltimore). Yes, even though Felix Hernandez has twice allowed seven earned runs this year.

Cahill couldn't afford this bad start, because despite making the All-Star team this year, he's a relative unknown ("He's young, and he plays for Oakland," teammate Mark Ellis explained).

He couldn't afford this bad start, because it helps feed the idea that Cahill's great stats have been helped by pitching in the hitting-poor AL West (although he doesn't get to pitch against the awful A's lineup).

Think of it this way: If you had a Cy Young vote and had to decide between Cahill and Hernandez, would it matter to you that in two starts against the Yankees, Cahill allowed 14 runs in 10 innings, while in three starts against New York, Hernandez allowed one run in 26 innings?

Maybe it wouldn't. Maybe Cahill won't allow another run the rest of the season, will go on to win the AL ERA crown and will convince us he deserves the Cy Young.

"He's been as good as anyone in the league," Ellis said.

He's had an outstanding season. Before Monday night, it was an outstanding season that brought him into the Cy Young debate.

Then he had his worst start of the year, one that led him to say, "I was just embarrassed to get hit around like that."

Someone then asked Cahill about the first-inning ball that ripped a hole in Ellis' glove at second base.

"Any time the other team is hitting balls breaking guys' gloves, that's not a good sign," Cahill said.

He's a good pitcher, and he seems like a good kid.

He's still having an outstanding season. Just not an outstanding Cy Young season.
Posted on: August 19, 2010 11:39 pm
 

Ozzie: AL Central 'going all the way to the wire'

MINNEAPOLIS -- It'll be interesting to see where the American League Central race is a week from now.

Today, it still feels like the Twins are in control, even after Thursday's 11-0 White Sox win in the teams' last head-to-head meeting until Sept. 14 -- and their final scheduled game at Target Field this year.

But if the White Sox really did get going by scoring 23 runs in three games this week, as manager Ozzie Guillen suggested, then they should do well this weekend in Kansas City and next week at home against the Orioles.

The Twins host the Angels this weekend, then play four games in Texas. It's possible, though perhaps not likely, that this race could get close again before it's over.

"If we score runs, we'll be fine," Guillen said. "I predict this thing is going to be all the way to the wire. We will fight. I don't know how far we'll go, but we'll fight like a champion.

"This team has come a long way. I told the guys when we took the field, 'Let's enjoy this moment.' I like the way they're playing."

Guillen talked about the hitting, but if the White Sox are going to make a run like the one they made after falling 9 1/2 games back in early June, they'll probably need to do it the same way they did it the last time -- with strong starting pitching.

From June 9 to the All-Star break, when the Sox went 24-5 and went from 9 1/2 back to half a game in front, the rotation had a combined 2.43 ERA. One big difference between then and now is that Jake Peavy was still active for most of that stretch, before he was lost for the season on July 6.

A White Sox team with an ace like Peavy would be a lot more dangerous now, not to mention a lot more dangerous if they did make the postseason.

At least the Sox still have Mark Buehrle, their de facto ace before the Peavy trade. After John Danks and Gavin Floyd gave the Twins a combined six first-inning runs Tuesday and Wednesday, Buehrle set a different tone Thursday by setting the first eight Twins down in order, and carrying the shutout through seven innings.

Buehrle admitted that this was a game the White Sox basically had to win.

"We can't give up," he said. "We've got [41] games left. But if you're down six games, the chances are slim."

They're not down six games. They're down four games.

They're not totally done. They're just trending the wrong way.

Let's see where this is in another week.
Posted on: June 11, 2010 10:29 am
Edited on: June 11, 2010 12:10 pm
 

3 to watch: The 2 days till Strasburg II edition

Until further notice, every Stephen Strasburg start is going to be worth watching. Thus, until further notice, every Stephen Strasburg start will be part of 3 to watch.

Strasburg II will be Sunday, and while there may have been a more-anticipated debut-plus-one, we can't remember one.

So who made the best second start ever?

A few candidates, with the help of baseball-reference.com's play finder :

-- Clay Buchholz, Sept. 1, 2007, for the Red Sox, against the Orioles. He threw a no-hitter. We really don't need any more candidates, do we?

-- Wilson Alvarez, Aug. 11, 1991, for the White Sox, against the Orioles. He threw a no-hitter, too. So there can be a debate, after all. Or maybe this just means we need to make plans for Strasburg's first start against the Orioles.
 
-- Burt Hooton, Sept. 15, 1971, for the Cubs, against the Mets. He was knocked out of the game by the Cardinals in the fourth inning of his debut, but Hooton rebounded with a complete game three-hitter, with 15 strikeouts.

-- Dick Selma, Sept. 12, 1965, for the Mets, against the Braves. A four-hit, 10-inning shutout for a 1-0 win, with 13 strikeouts. But only 13,500 turned up at Shea Stadium to see it, so it must not have been the most-anticipated Game 2 (and only 5,981 turned up at Wrigley Field for his next start, so the 10-inning shutout must not have been big news nationwide).

-- Tim Fortugno, July 25, 1992, for the Angels, against the Tigers. I must have been at this game, and yet I have no memory of it. A three-hit shutout, with 12 strikeouts.

-- Randy Johnson, Sept. 20, 1988, for the Expos, against the Cubs. The first of his 212 double-digit strikeout games, a 9-1 complete-game win.

-- Jack Morris, July 31, 1977, for the Tigers, against the Rangers. Morris, who belongs in the Hall of Fame, pitched nine innings and allowed two runs. Bert Blyleven, who many believe belongs in the Hall of Fame, pitched nine innings and allowed two runs. Maybe if one or the other had gotten the win, it would be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame.

On to 3 to watch:

1. Remember when Jake Peavy was supposed to be a Cub? Remember when the White Sox were supposed to be good? The White Sox aren't good, but at least Peavy gets a trip to the North Side, for White Sox at Cubs, Friday afternoon (2:20 EDT) at Wrigley Field .

2. Remember when Daisuke Matsuzaka last faced the Phillies? (Hint: It was only three weeks ago.) He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. The Phillies believed they were terribly unlucky that day, because they hit so many balls hard. We'll see, because they get another chance at Dice-K, in Phillies at Red Sox, Saturday afternoon (4:10 EDT) at Fenway Park .

3. Remember when nobody would have cared about a Nationals-Indians game? Now, it's big enough that TBS changed the schedule to show Nationals at Indians, Sunday afternoon (1:07 EDT) at Progressive Field . Any idea why? Must have something to do with the guy starting for the Nationals. Strasburg is one reason to watch this game. Catcher Carlos Santana, the Indians super-prospect who was called up Friday, is another.

Posted on: May 2, 2010 10:30 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2010 2:11 pm
 

3 to watch: The 'We need you' edition

J.A. Happ remains on the disabled list, maybe for a few more weeks. Cole Hamels is tied for the National League lead in home runs allowed. Kyle Kendrick has a 7.61 ERA, and after waiting a couple of days to decide whether he'd make his next start, the Phillies basically said, "Yes he will, but only because we have nobody else."

So yes, the Phillies need Joe Blanton right now, as much as they've needed him at any time since that home run off Edwin Jackson in the 2008 World Series.

It's true that Blanton gave up five runs in five innings in his last minor league rehabilitation start, against Stephen Strasburg's Harrisburg Senators. But it's also true that in three career starts against the Cardinals -- the St. Louis Cardinals -- Blanton is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA.

So with Blanton returning from the disabled list to face the Cardinals, is there any doubt which game should lead off this week's 3 to watch?

1. It's not just that Blanton is making his 2010 debut, after missing the first month of the season with a strained left oblique. It's also that right now these are the two best teams in the league, and they open a four-game series with Cardinals at Phillies, Monday night (7:10 EDT) at Citizens Bank Park . Somehow, the Cards and Phillies met only five times all last season (with the Phillies winning four of the games, and Blanton providing two of those wins). Somehow, the Cardinals lost three straight to the Dodgers last October, which kept them from meeting the Phillies in the playoffs. At least we get four games this week, although since Chris Carpenter pitched Sunday, we won't get a Carpenter-Roy Halladay matchup this week.

2. Jake Peavy had one winless month in his last 5 1/2 years with the Padres. He was winless with a 7.85 ERA in his first April with the White Sox. He thinks he discovered what's wrong, while watching video of a 2007 start against the Rays, and he thinks he's well on the way to solving the problem. Maybe that's true, although White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told reporters Sunday, "You can talk about a whole lot of stuff -- mechanics, this and that, and the other things. But it's time to get people out." Peavy tries to do that in Royals at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 EDT) at U.S. Cellular Field . Also worth watching: With Juan Pierre off to a horrible start (.202 batting average, .272 on-base percentage) as the White Sox leadoff man, how loudly will the fans cheer Scott Podsednik, the leadoff man who the Sox allowed to leave (and who has a .390 on-base percentage for the Royals)?

3. It's not fair to say that Joel Pineiro took John Lackey's place in the Angels rotation, but it is fair to say that the one change the Angels made over the winter was to let Lackey sign as a free agent and to sign Pineiro to fill the vacant spot. Sure enough, Pineiro will be the Angels' starter in Lackey's first start against his former team, in Angels at Red Sox, Wednesday night (7:10 EDT) at Fenway Park . The last time the Angels were at Fenway, Lackey was among those celebrating Vladimir Guerrero's game-winning hit off Jonathan Papelbon (which scored Chone Figgins) to finish the Angels' first-round sweep. Guerrero and Figgins are gone, and Papelbon has saved Lackey's two wins.

Posted on: April 25, 2010 10:03 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2010 10:13 pm
 

3 to watch: The almost Cy vs. Cy edition

This is the week you really wish you could tweak a couple of pitching rotations.

This is the week the Mariners play the Royals -- but 2009 Cy Young rivals Felix Hernandez (pitching Monday) and Zack Greinke (pitching Tuesday) miss each other by a day.

This is the week the Phillies play the Giants -- but possible 2010 Cy Young rivals Roy Halladay (pitching Monday) and Tim Lincecum (pitching Wednesday) miss each other by two days.

That's fine, because this is also the week the Tigers and Twins get together for the first time this season. So, with no power to change rotations, we'll stick with the American League Central rivals to lead off this week's 3 to watch:

1. The Twins never led the division by more than one game last year -- and they didn't even hold that lead until two days after the regular season was scheduled to end. The Twins already lead by three games this year, and one scout who saw them recently declared, "If they had a legitimate closer, they'd be one of the top three teams in baseball." We're not sure about that, but we are sure that the Twins and Tigers played the best single game we saw all last season. Their first meeting since comes this week, in Twins at Tigers, Tuesday night (7:05 EDT) at Comerica Park . Justin Verlander, who finished third in last year's Cy Young voting, faces Francisco Liriano, who is off to the kind of start that could get him into this year's Cy race.

2. Not everyone predicted that the Twins would be this good. Believe it or not, someone (that would be me) picked the White Sox to win the AL Central. Hey, it still could happen, especially if the White Sox keep up this weekend's one game-winning homer a day pace -- or if Jake Peavy (7.66) and Gavin Floyd (8.38) recover to have two of the best ERAs in the AL, instead of two of the worst. Peavy, Floyd and the Sox get another chance this week, with Peavy starting in White Sox at Rangers, Wednesday night (8:05 EDT) at Rangers Ballpark .

3. It's not Halladay vs. Lincecum, as we hoped for. But it is Lincecum against the two-time NL champs, and we'll take that. Over the last two years, Lincecum's ERA against the Phillies: 1.24. The Phillies' run total in the other 338 (regular-season) games they played: 5.07. Lincecum starts against Cole Hamels, in Phillies at Giants, Wednesday afternoon (3:45 EDT) at AT&T Park .


 
 
 
 
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