Tag:Jake Westbrook
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 1:59 pm

Uehara out as Rangers adjust WS roster

ST. LOUIS -- Remember when the Rangers traded for Koji Uehara?

He cost them two players (Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter) in a deal with the Orioles, and he was supposed to be a big July addition to their bullpen.

Three months later, he's off the World Series roster. The Rangers announced two roster moves Wednesday morning, adding reliever Mark Lowe and third catcher Matt Treanor, and removing Uehara and fellow Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama. The moves were expected, but still interesting.

Uehara appeared three times in the first two rounds of the playoffs, allowing almost as many home runs (three) as he got outs (four). The Rangers replaced him with Lowe, who has been out since Sept. 20 with a strained left hamstring.

Treanor was on the roster for the Division Series, but not for the American League Championship Series. The reasoning then was that the Tigers were starting all right-handers, making it less likely that manager Ron Washington would use backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba as a designated hitter (and thus lessening the need for a third catcher). As it turned out, Torrealba was the Rangers' DH for one of the games in Detroit.

The Cardinals have one left-handed starter, Jaime Garcia, but as of now he's scheduled to start Game 2, which will be played at Busch Stadium, without a DH.

The Cardinals also announced two expected roster moves Wednesday, adding Skip Schumaker, who missed the National League Championship Series with an oblique injury, and Jake Westbrook, who gives them some cover as a long reliever. Adron Chambers and Kyle McClellan were dropped from the roster.

With Uehara and Tateyama off the roster, this will be the second straight World Series with no Japanese players. In fact, if there's a Japanese player who makes news this week, it's more likely to be Yu Darvish, who could be one of the top pitchers available this winter (and who the Rangers may end up pursuing through the posting system).
Posted on: August 1, 2010 9:23 pm

3 to watch: The Instant rewards? edition

Cliff Lee lost his first start for the Rangers. Dan Haren not only lost his Angels debut, but he was knocked out of the box by a line drive.

Roy Oswalt lost his first Phillies start.

Yeah, it's great to trade for a starting pitcher, isn't it?

You make the deal with hopes that it will go the way it did for Lee last year, when he won his first five starts for the Phillies, then took them all the way to the World Series. You remember that CC Sabathia went 11-2 down the stretch with the 2008 Brewers, and changed the story of a franchise by taking them to the playoffs.

You remember Doyle Alexander (9-0) with the 1987 Tigers. You don't remember Jarrod Washburn (1-3) with the 2009 Tigers.

A starting pitcher traded at midseason doesn't get that many chances to affect the pennant race. Lee made just 12 regular-season starts for the Phillies last year; even Sabathia, who was dealt before the All-Star break and famously pitched on three days' rest down the stretch in September, started only 17 regular-season games for the Brewers.

The best deals make a difference, but with so few starts, each one is precious.

Oswalt makes his second Phils start this Wednesday in Florida. Haren makes his third Angels start Wednesday in Baltimore. Lee, who lost to the Angels in Anaheim on Sunday, will face the A's this weekend in Oakland.

Meanwhile, three other teams show off new starters this week, as you'll see in 3 to watch:

1. The Cardinals no doubt would have rather had Oswalt, but the guy they got was Jake Westbrook, who has come back well from Tommy John surgery. Westbrook's first start will come in Astros at Cardinals, Monday night (8:15 ET) at Busch Stadium . Westbrook is a career American Leaguer. He was 6-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 27 interleague games against National League teams. His opponent Monday is Brett Myers, the guy a lot of teams would have liked to have traded for; the Astros instead signed him to a contract extension.

2. The Dodgers were seven games out of first place at the deadline, and 4 1/2 games behind in the wild-card race. But the Dodgers obviously still believe they can win, as they picked up four players in the last week, including starter Ted Lilly, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Lilly gets a tough assignment in his debut with his new team, facing Mat Latos in Padres at Dodgers, Tuesday night (10:10 ET) at Dodger Stadium .

3. Edwin Jackson keeps moving from team to team, impressing everyone with his stuff and his makeup, but never making enough of an impact that anyone decides he's indispensible. Will that change with the White Sox, his fifth team in an eight-year career? We'll find out, beginning with White Sox at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park . One interesting note: Jackson lost his final two starts for the Tigers, both against the White Sox last September. One reason he did, according to a source, is that he was tipping his pitches then and the White Sox had picked it up. Jackson is an interesting deadline pickup, anyway, because his career ERA after the All-Star break is 5.09, more than half a run worse than his pre-break ERA of 4.47.
Posted on: July 31, 2010 4:39 pm

Westbrook 'can do same as he always did'

Jake Westbrook was never a 20-game winner. He was an All-Star, but only once, five years ago.

When the story of this deadline month is written, we'll remember that Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt were the big-name pitchers traded.

We won't remember Jake Westbrook unless . . . well, unless he proves to be exactly what the Cardinals need him to be, and helps carry them past the Reds and into the postseason.

"He can still do the same things he always did," said one scout who has followed Westbrook's career closely. "If he faces an undisciplined team that chases the sinker, he'll have success. He's throwing 89-92 [mph], and he can carve you up real quick."

At one time, Westbrook was a dependable starter for the Indians, winning 14 games in 2004 and 15 games each of the following two years. He hurt his elbow in 2008, needed Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2009 season.

He's been somewhat inconsistent this year, with a 6-7 record and 4.65 ERA in 21 starts. But as with most pitchers coming back from surgery, he should get sharper as the year goes on. The only question is whether he will fatigue by the end of the year, since he's three years removed from pitching a full season.
Posted on: July 25, 2010 10:39 pm

3 to watch: The Draw of power edition

Scott Boras says people are drawn to power, as in power pitching or power hitting. He says it's why everyone seems to want to see power pitcher Stephen Strasburg (a client of his), and he argues that it will also be true with top draft pick and power hitter Bryce Harper (another client).

Fair enough, but if people really are drawn to power, they should be drawn to the Alex Rodriguez (also a client) push for 600 home runs.

So far, the feeling is that they haven't been, at least not nationally and only to a small extent locally. But it was hard to tell last week, because the Yankees were playing at home and they always draw near-capacity crowds, chase or no chase.

There were some signs that fans in New York cared, based on the noise and flashbulbs that accompanied each A-Rod at-bat after he reached 599 on Thursday night, and by the disappointment when an A-Rod at-bat after that ended without a home run.

But no newspapers from outside the area staffed the try for 600. No national television crews showed up.

So here's the question: With A-Rod taking the chase to Cleveland, will Indians fans show in anything like the numbers they did to see Strasburg pitch at Progressive Field last month?

The Strasburg game, on a Sunday afternoon, drew 32,876, which is still the only Indians crowd of more than 26,000 since opening day. The Indians are last in baseball in attendance (yes, behind even the Marlins).

Strasburg's first nine starts have averaged 36,351, and more of the games have been on some form of national television.

On to 3 to watch:

1. So what are the chances that A-Rod gets to 600 in Yankees at Indians, Monday night (7:05 EDT) at Progressive Field ? Well, he's a .375 career hitter against Tribe starter Jake Westbrook, but that includes just one home run in 24 at-bats. And what are the chances that the A-Rod chase for 600 goes on beyond this three-game series in Cleveland? Well, A-Rod went homerless in 15 at-bats in a four-game series in Cleveland last year, and he went homerless in 13 at-bats in a four-game series in Cleveland the year before. In all, he's homerless in his last 32 at-bats at Progressive Field. Either that means he's due, or it means the chase will head for Tampa Bay this weekend. At least we know that A-Rod will play this week, or at least that he plans to. After he was hit on the hand by a pitch Sunday, Rodriguez said there was "no question" he would be in the lineup Monday.

2. When the Angels traded for Dan Haren on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia told reporters that there's a chance Haren's first Angel start will come right away, in Red Sox at Angels, Monday night (10:05 EDT) at Angel Stadium . If Haren starts instead on Tuesday, he would face ex-Angel John Lackey in Lackey's first Anaheim start as a visitor. Either way, Haren's second Angels start could be just as interesting, because there's a chance that it would be next Sunday night, against Rangers acquisition Cliff Lee.

3. Strasburg's first nine starts have been against nine different opponents. That streak ends with Strasburg's next start, in Braves at Nationals, Tuesday night (7:05 EDT) at Nationals Park . But this will be Strasburg's first meeting with fellow hyped rookie Jason Heyward, because Heyward went on the disabled list on June 28, the same night Strasburg lost 5-0 to the Braves in Atlanta. Remember, that was the game when Ian Desmond couldn't turn a double play that might have allowed Strasburg to hold the Braves scoreless through seven innings.

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