Tag:Shaun Marcum
Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:12 pm

Marcum will miss first spring start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Brewers said Monday that they're shutting down Shaun Marcum for 2-3 days, because of right shoulder soreness. They said he'll miss his first scheduled spring training start, but they also said they're not overly concerned.

Should they be?

Perhaps not, because when Marcum dealt with the same issue last spring, he was still ready to start the season on time. He still made 33 starts, still topped 200 innings.

And, manager Ron Roenicke said, "We don't think it's as bad as last year."

Roenicke said that the way it's mapped out, if Marcum comes through the next few days without trouble, he could actually be ahead of the schedule he had last spring.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:28 am

Brewers hope to extend Greinke, Marcum

MILWAUKEE -- For now, the Brewers are focused on shortstops, and on a certain big-money first baseman.

But don't be surprised if the biggest money they hand out this winter goes to one or more pitchers already on the roster.

According to sources familiar with the team's plans, the Brewers intend to pursue contract extensions with starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, both of whom would be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. The Brewers also plan to pursue long-term deals with some younger core players, including closer John Axford.

Greinke and Marcum were Milwaukee's two big acquisitions last winter, and the two contributed greatly to a 96-win season that gave the Brewers the National League Central crown.

It's very unlikely at this point that the Brewers will make any similarly high-profile acquisitions this winter, and even more unlikely that they'll re-sign free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder.

While the Brewers continue to talk to Fielder, they seem to have accepted the idea that he won't be back. And while they have talked to the agents for shortstops Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, Brewers people say that they don't expect to be a serious contender for either one.

It's very possible, in fact, that the Brewers could end up bringing back Yuniesky Betancourt, their 2011 shortstop. And while they have discussed signing someone to replace Fielder at first base (Carlos Pena, for example), general manager Doug Melvin has talked more about giving Mat Gamel a chance at the job.

Owner Mark Attanasio is highly competitive, and never shy about spending money.

But Attanasio said Wednesday that just because the Brewers have the money to make an offer to Fielder, it doesn't follow that they would spend that money elsewhere if (when?) Fielder leaves.

"How you manage your payroll has to be opportunity-driven," Attanasio said. "We're not going to just fill the payroll for the sake of filling the payroll."

Attanasio and Melvin both made the point that the Brewers expect to contend in 2012, even without Fielder. They point to a solid core that includes Ryan Braun (who signed a long-term deal early last season), and a rotation that will return intact.

"Doug and I never felt we were 'all-in' for last year," Attanasio said.

They'd rather not be all-in for 2012, either, but extending their window of opportunity past next year would be a lot easier if they can keep together the rotation led by Greinke, Marcum and Yovani Gallardo.

Signing Greinke and Marcum this winter would make perfect sense, if it's possible.

The Brewers intend to find out if it is.

Posted on: September 23, 2011 11:40 pm

The hit that won the division -- and maybe more

It was the hit that clinched the Central.

And maybe the MVP, too?

It sure felt that way, as Ryan Braun stood there with his bat held high in the air. It felt that way, as Braun's blast hit the center-field scoreboard, and as the Brewers celebrated their first division title in 29 years.

It felt as if Braun had done something special, and he had -- even if his three-run home run simply clinched a division crown.

The MVP race will go on for a few more days. Matt Kemp could still win a Triple Crown, and that would make him hard to ignore.

The National League Central race is over, over because Braun's three-run eighth-inning home run gave the Brewers a 4-1 win over the Marlins, while Alfonso Soriano's three-run homer gave the Cubs a 5-1 win over the second-place Cardinals.

It's over, and you can bet that title means a lot more to Braun than even an MVP would. He's been a Brewer since he was drafted in 2005, he went through the wild-card season in 2008 and he signed a contract that runs through 2020.

He knows how the fans have responded, knows how owner Mark Attanasio has responded. He knows that the Brewers could have traded free-agent-to-be Prince Fielder last winter, and that instead of doing that, they traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum.

General manager Doug Melvin went all-in, trading prospects, just as he had to get CC Sabathia in that wild-card season.

That year, the Brewers won just one playoff game, losing to the Phillies in the first round. And no one complained.

This time, they're no doubt aiming higher, and no doubt believe they can get past the Phillies and everyone else in the National League.

They'll note the similarities in the way they clinched, with a Braun home run giving the Brewers a win, and then with everyone staying around to watch the scoreboard before the celebration could begin.

But that team wasn't as good as this one. All the Brewers who were there will tell you that.

Braun was good then (in his first full big-league season), but not as good as he is now, when he's leading the league in hitting and near the top in home runs and RBI.

He may be the MVP. He may have clinched it with the dramatic home run Friday night.

We don’t know that yet. We do know he clinched the division crown.

And that's not bad.
Posted on: August 7, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 7:45 pm

3 to Watch: The new rivalry edition

You're tired of Yankees-Red Sox.

You tell us that all the time. There are other teams. There are other rivalries.

There's Cardinals-Cubs. No, wait. Not this year.

There's Cardinals-Reds. No, wait. Not this month.

There's Cardinals-Brewers.

Let's go with that one, especially this week. Let's see if Ron Roenicke complains about the lights at Busch Stadium (as Tony La Russa did last week in Milwaukee). Let's see if anybody throws up and in to Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun (as happened last week), or even perhaps to Yuniesky Betancourt.

Let's see if any of the Cardinals fight -- with the Brewers, or with each other (as also happened last week).

And let's see if the Brewers can take control of the National League Central, or if the Cardinals can keep the race close.

Cardinals-Brewers may not have the history of Yankees-Red Sox, but right now it has a lot more emotion. And a lot more at stake, because unlike the Yanks and Sox, neither of these teams is close to being guaranteed a playoff spot.

Besides, Cardinals-Brewers has La Russa, just as those every one of those other National League Central rivalries did.

"The Cardinals seem to be the common thread is all these things," Lance Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week.

He's right, and there are at least two reasons for that.

First, the Cardinals have had a winning record 11 of the last 12 years, so they're almost always in the race to the end. Second, they have La Russa, the manager who gets a lot of credit for all that winning but also for all that anger.

The Cardinals had some history with the Brewers, even before last week's eventful series at Miller Park.

The Cardinals see the Brewers as kids who don't take the game seriously and don't know how to win. The Brewers see the Cardinals as bullies who don't like to have fun.

It's a rivalry, and for now, it's the best we're going to get.

The Yankees and Red Sox don't play again for another three weeks.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Giants have lost eight of 10. The Pirates have lost 10 in a row. The Giants can barely score a run. The Pirates have allowed as many runs in the last 10 games as any team has in any 10-game span this year. The Giants have a very real chance to be in the playoffs. The Pirates have a very real chance to finish the year with a losing record -- again. And if the Pirates don't win a game in the series that begins with Pirates at Giants, Monday night (10:15 ET) at AT&T Park, they'll equal their longest losing streak in 56 years.

2. The Brewers traded for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum last winter. The Cardinals traded for Edwin Jackson this summer. Marcum and Jackson meet up in Brewers at Cardinals, Tuesday night (8:15 ET) at Busch Stadium. Last week in Milwaukee, Jackson allowed 10 runs in seven innings on a day when the Cardinals had a tired bullpen. A day earlier, Marcum allowed six runs in six innings, leaving with a 7-6 lead that the Brewer bullpen couldn't hold.

3. Detroit and Cleveland are close enough geographically to be rivals (2 1/2 hours by car, ballpark to ballpark). The problem is that they've basically never been good at the same time. When the Tigers were winning in the '80s, the Indians were losing 100 games. When the Indians won 99 games in 1996, the Tigers lost 109. The Indians were good in the mid-1950s, and the Tigers were good in the late 1960s. They finished 1-2 in the American League Central in 2007, but that race was never really close in September. Maybe this one will be, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez makes a difference. Jimenez, who makes his Indians home debut in Tigers at Indians, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, already owns a win over Detroit this year. He gave up three runs in five innings in a June start for the Rockies in Colorado, winning 5-4. The Indians need Jimenez to pitch like an ace. The Tigers already have an ace, Justin Verlander, who starts against the Indians on Thursday

Posted on: June 26, 2011 6:30 pm

3 to Watch: The (maybe it's a) WS preview edition

This isn't a prediction. This is just a statement of fact.

The Phillies are the most impressive team in the National League. The Red Sox are the most impressive team in the American League.

And when they meet for three games this week in Philadelphia, some people are going to see it as a World Series preview.

Not a prediction. Just a statement of fact.

And yes, I've looked at the standings. I know that the Red Sox are half a game behind the Yankees in the AL East. I'm not saying that the Red Sox are guaranteed anything at this point, or even, for that matter, that the Phillies are guaranteed anything.

But from the time that the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford, and from the time the Phillies signed Cliff Lee, there's been a sense that one team was the best in the American League, and that the other was the best in the National League.

Seven months later, there's still that sense.

Seven months later, it feels like it's worth noting that only five times in the first 14 years of interleague play, two teams that met in the regular season went on to meet in the World Series (and that four of those five times, the team that won the regular-season series ended up losing the World Series).

Just remember, that's not a prediction.

It's just a statement of fact.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Angels announced that they're going to bring the Nationals presidents race to Anaheim this week. The Nationals announced that they're going to bring Davey Johnson, who last managed in the big leagues when Bill Clinton was president. It figures to be quite a week, beginning with Nationals at Angels, Monday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium.

2. After watching Justin Verlander pitch in person on Saturday night, I'm more convinced than ever that Verlander is the best pitcher in the majors. But if my mind is going to be changed, perhaps it happens in Red Sox at Phillies, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Citizens Bank Park. Josh Beckett, who starts for Boston, leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA. Cliff Lee, who starts for Philadelphia, has thrown two straight shutouts and has allowed just one run in the last 33 innings.

3. The Yankees have invited Dick Groch, the scout who signed Derek Jeter, to come to town to see Jeter get his 3,000th hit. Groch now works for the Brewers, so it sure would have been nice if Jeter had a chance to get it when Milwaukee comes to town this week. He's eligible to come off the disabled list for Brewers at Yankees, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium, but it's basically a given now that he won't be ready that soon. Jeter told the Associated Press on Sunday in Tampa that he won't even begin a running program until Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday's game should be interesting, anyway, as Brewers starter Shaun Marcum tries to prove his hip injury really is nothing serious. Marcum has pitched just four innings in his last two starts, but the Brewers insist it was just predetermined caution when they removed him after three innings the last time.

Posted on: December 20, 2010 5:22 pm

Brewers could win (and this time I mean it)

Don't ask me if the Zack Greinke trade makes the Brewers the favorite to win the National League Central.

I'm the idiot that picked the Brewers to win the Central last year.

So yeah, if you take the flawed team that I thought could win, then add Greinke and Shaun Marcum, I'm ready to pick the Brewers again.

This time, I won't be alone. This time, I might even be right.

"I think Cincinnati's much better than St. Louis," one veteran National League executive said today. "And I think Milwaukee's better than Cincinnati."

That opinion isn't near unanimous among baseball people. A quick survey of scouts and executives had quite a few favoring the Reds to repeat, and some even suggesting that the Cubs could win, if their young players develop.

But not surprisingly, every scout I talked to thought that the twin trades for pitching make the Brewers into a team that could win.

"I think they're a legitimate contender," one American League scout said. "I really think Marcum will solidify their rotation. He'll go out and give them seven innings basically every time out. He's a lot like Bronson Arroyo, coming over from the American League."

Arroyo came to the Reds in 2006, coming off a season where he went 14-10 with a 4.51 ERA for the Red Sox. He's 70-60 in five years with the Reds, with a combined ERA of 3.97.

This past year, when the Reds won the Central, Arroyo went 17-10.

Marcum, who was the Blue Jays' opening day starter in 2010, went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA. Getting out of the AL East could help; he was 1-6 with a 5.64 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees, and 12-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 21 starts against everyone else.

Coming to the Brewers should also help Greinke, even though Miller Park is much less favorable to pitchers than Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium. Greinke sometimes seemed disinterested in pitching for the sad-sack Royals in 2010, and in an interview today with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , he admitted that he waived his no-trade clause to accept the deal with the Brewers because he was convinced that Milwaukee is now trying to win.

"Greinke can win in any park, if he wants to," one scout said. "He's a No. 1, if he wants to be. On good days, right-handed hitters don't have a chance against him, and lefties don't have much of a chance, either."

With Greinke and Marcum, the Brewers now have a real chance.

Take it from me . . . and from a few guys who were smart enough not to pick them to win in 2010.
Posted on: May 30, 2010 5:48 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2010 8:57 am

3 to watch: The Are you serious? edition

After 52 games a year ago, the Blue Jays were 29-23, and just 1 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East. Their early schedule had been favorable, the upcoming schedule looked tougher, and by year's end the Jays had a 75-87 record that helped get general manager J.P. Ricciardi fired and helped get Roy Halladay traded to Philadelphia.

So if you want to get excited about the Jays' current 30-22 record, go right ahead. We'll look at a favorable early schedule, and an upcoming schedule that looks much tougher, and we'll say that until proven otherwise, the Jays of 2010 aren't noticeably better than the Jays of 2009.

The Jays are 2-7 against the Big 3 in the American League East, and that's bad news in two ways. One, it says they're probably not nearly as good as their overall record. Two, it means that 45 of their remaining 110 games (41 percent) are against the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox.

In fact, of Toronto's remaining 37 games before the All-Star break, only four will be against a team currently under .500. They start that stretch this week, with three against the Rays, then their first three of the season with the Yankees.

And that's why the Blue Jays have a spot in this week's 3 to watch:

1. The Braves were basically in first place for 15 straight years, from 1991-2005 (yes, we know they were in second when the strike hit in 1994). The Braves basically haven't been in first place since 2005 (yes, we know that they were in first as late as May 15 in 2007). The Braves were in last place, 6 1/2 games out of first, just two weeks ago. Now they could take over first, in a series that includes Phillies at Braves, Tuesday night (7:10 EDT) at Turner Field . The Braves (15-4 since May 10) could actually take over first place on Monday, but Tuesday's pitching matchup is Tim Hudson (4-0, 1.59 this month) against Cole Hamels (3-1, 2.45 this month).

2. The Blue Jays have scored more runs than any American League team but the Yankees. That didn't help them the first time they faced David Price; he threw a four-hitter for his first career shutout. The Jays get another chance at Price, in Rays at Blue Jays, Wednesday night (7:07 EDT) at Rogers Centre . Price's opponent: Shaun Marcum, who hasn't faced the Rays since 2008 but is 2-0 against them in his career, with an 0.75 ERA.

3. Could the Braves pass the Phillies? Could the Blue Jays threaten the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox? Here's one more: Are the Reds a serious threat to the Cardinals in the National League Central. Cincinnati leads the division by one game heading into this week's series, which concludes with Reds at Cardinals, Wednesday night (8:15 EDT) at Busch Stadium . The Cardinals have three rookies in their rotation, but Chris Carpenter is their Wednesday starter. The Reds have two rookies in their rotation, and one of them is Wednesday starter Sam LeCure, who took Homer Bailey's spot when Bailey went on the disabled list.

And one more to watch: No, we didn't overlook Monday's Rockies-Giants game, which features a matchup of the guy who won the last two National League Cy Young Awards (Tim Lincecum) and the guy who has made himself a front-runner for the 2010 Cy Young (Ubaldo Jimenez). We left it out, only because first pitch is 4:05 EDT on Memorial Day Monday, and we worried that by the time you read this, you may already have missed it.

Posted on: April 5, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2010 3:53 pm

'He's a good pitcher'

As Scott Miller pointed out earlier , Toronto's Shaun Marcum could be a contender for comeback player of the year, starting on opening day for the Blue Jays after missing all of 2009 after elbow surgery.

And to be clear, Scott wrote that before Marcum carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning today in Texas.

(And also before Marcum lost not only the no-hitter, but also the lead, giving up first a Vladimir Guerrero single and then a three-run Nelson Cruz home run tied the game at 3-3).

Marcum's success isn't a surprise to scouts who watched him pitch for the Blue Jays this spring. In fact, even as scouts in the Tampa Bay area were predicting a terrible year for the Toronto team overall, they were predicting good things for Marcum.

"I've always thought he was good," one scout who saw Marcum this spring said today. "He's back to being who he is, a four-pitch guy who knows how to pitch. He's just 87-89, but he adds and subtracts. He just pitches. He's a good pitcher."

And through the first six innings today, he didn't allow a hit.

Category: MLB
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