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Tag:Dodgers
Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:45 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 11:49 pm
 

3 to Watch: The glimmer of a chance edition

Last Friday morning, the host of a morning talk show on the Angels' flagship radio station asked me if Mark Trumbo's dramatic home run the night before had given the Angels "a glimmer of a chance" in the American League West.

Good thing I said yes.

It would have been easy to say no. I was tempted to say no.

The Angels had just lost three of four to the Rangers. They still trailed the Rangers by six games in the American League West.

There was no way they were coming back. But maybe because I wanted to be nice, or maybe because I almost believed it, I said yes.

Good thing I did.

The Angels are in Texas this weekend, and if they win all three games they leave town Sunday night in first place. If they win two of three, they leave town one game out.

Even if they lose two of three, they're three games out, with a month to play.

They have at least "a glimmer of a chance."

Good thing, too, because baseball needs a pennant race in the American League West.

The Tigers have gone ahead by 6 1/2 games in the American League Central. The Brewers are so far ahead in the National League Central (10 games, as of Thursday morning) that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked if it's time for the Cardinals to start selling off players.

The Yankees and the Red Sox have known for weeks that they'll be in the American League playoffs. Same goes for the Phillies and Braves in the National League.

If the Rangers had pulled away, we could have been stuck with just the NL West, with the surprising Diamondbacks, the champion Giants . . . and the Rockies?

With five straight wins, the Rockies had pulled to within 8 1/2 games of the lead, before the Diamondbacks won Thursday to make it nine games.

"It's a longshot," Troy Tulowitzki told reporters. "But if anyone can do it, it's us."

The Rockies are 63-68, hardly contender-like. But it's only four games worse than they were after 131 games in 2007.

That year, they ended up with 90 wins. This year, 90 wins might win the NL West.

I'm not sure it's even a glimmer of a chance yet. But Tulowitzki is right.

If anyone can do it, it's them.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. You'd be surprised how many players talk about going back to finish their career where they started it. Jim Thome got the chance, when the Twins traded him to the Indians Thursday night. Thome, who last played for Cleveland in 2002, returns for Royals at Indians, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Progressive Field, which was known as Jacobs Field the last time he played for the Indians. Ubaldo Jimenez, last month's big Indians acquisition, will be on the mound.

2. The best thing the Angels have going for them is the top of their rotation, with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. And manager Mike Scioscia seems ready to use all three of those aces this weekend, even though it would mean using Santana and Weaver on three days' rest for the first time in either's big-league career. Santana would face Rangers ace C.J. Wilson in Angels at Rangers, Saturday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. Weaver would pitch Sunday night against Colby Lewis. Haren opens the series on regular rest, Friday against Derek Holland.

3. The Rockies' longshot run last year basically ended on a Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, when they took a 6-1 lead and ended up losing 7-6. And it fell apart completely a few nights later in Arizona. Their longer-shot run heads to Los Angeles and Arizona this week, including Rockies at Dodgers, Sunday afternoon (4:10 ET) at Dodger Stadium.



Posted on: July 31, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 5:01 pm
 

Red Sox get Bedard in 3-team deal

A day after their trade for Rich Harden fell through over reported concerns about his health, the Red Sox traded for another oft-injured pitcher, acquiring left-hander Erik Bedard from the Mariners in a three-team trade that also included the Dodgers, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.

The deal was completed just before the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.

The Red Sox traded Double-A catcher Tim Federowicz and pitchers Steven Fife and Juan Rodriguez to the Dodgers, who then sent outfielder Trayvon Robinson to the Mariners. Bedard and minor-league reliever Josh Fields go to the Red Sox, who will also send Chih-Hsien Chiang to Seattle.

Bedard didn't make it out of the second inning in a horrible showcase start Friday night, when he came off the disabled list to pitch against the Rays. But the Red Sox obviously came out of that game convinced that Bedard was healthy, and with Hiroki Kuroda and Ubaldo Jimenez unavailable, and with Harden deal having collapsed, the Red Sox took a chance.

The Red Sox had been looking for rotation depth, especially with Clay Buchholz in California to see a back specialist early this week. All five pitchers who began the year in the Red Sox rotation have missed at least one start with a health issue, and Daisuke Matsuzaka is out for the year after Tommy John surgery.

Scouts who saw Bedard before he went on the DL said he was pitching like he did in his prime, when he was a 15-game winner with the Orioles in 2006. The Mariners acquired him from Baltimore in February 2008, in a deal that cost Seattle a package that included center fielder Adam Jones.


Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:05 pm
 

Kuroda off the market, won't waive no-trade

The Yankees can cross Hiroki Kuroda off their list.

The Red Sox, too. And the Rangers? Yeah, you too.

According to sources, Kuroda told Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on Saturday that he would prefer to just stay put, and will not agree to waive his full no-trade clause to accept any deal. Thus, Kuroda will remain a Dodger for the rest of the season.

Posted on: July 30, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 7:13 pm
 

Kuroda off the market, won't waive no-trade

The Yankees can cross Hiroki Kuroda off their list.

The Red Sox, too. And the Rangers? Yeah, you too.

According to sources, Kuroda told Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on Saturday that he would prefer to just stay put, and will not agree to waive his full no-trade clause to accept any deal. Thus, Kuroda will remain a Dodger for the rest of the season.

On a weak market for starting pitching, Kuroda had become one of the most sought-after trade targets. But there was always doubt that he would accept a deal. Kuroda has a house in Los Angeles, and said after his last start that he couldn't imagine wearing a different uniform.

Even so, many teams showed interest, and sources said that the Dodgers narrowed that list to the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers within the last two days. But Kuroda eventually said no to any deal.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:43 pm
 

In weak pitching market, Kuroda is a star


The fact that Hiroki Kuroda has emerged as one of the biggest names on the starting pitching market tells you all you need to know about that market.

Kuroda is 37 years old. He's a free agent at the end of the year, with very little chance of re-signing with any team he is traded to. He has won just six of his 21 starts this year (and none of his last four). The Dodgers won't just give him away; in fact, they're targeting top prospects for him.

Oh, and he has a full no-trade clause, and there's much doubt (and some debate) about where he'd be willing to go -- if anywhere.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," Kuroda told reporters after his start Wednesday night.

Sounds like a perfect guy to go get.

But in a marketplace where the Rockies are holding out for a huge return on Ubaldo Jimenez, where the Rays insist to teams that they won't trade James Shields, where the Mariners won't discuss Felix Hernandez and probably won't even trade Doug Fister ("Zero chance they move him," said one official from an interested team), Kuroda has started to look good.

The Tigers seem to have him at the top of their shrinking wish list, which began with dozens of names and now may be down to Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang.

The Yankees, not thrilled about the price on Jimenez, remain involved on Kuroda.

Same goes for the Red Sox, who are telling teams they are focused on getting a right-handed hitting outfielder, but remain active with both Jimenez and Kuroda.

According to sources, the Dodgers continue to believe that Kuroda will eventually agree to go somewhere, with New York and Boston thought to be his top two picks.

"You'd think he'd be glad to go somewhere where they might score him a run," said one interested scout, noting that the Dodgers have scored just 15 runs in his last nine losses.

The Dodgers remain interested enough in the Tigers that they sent a scout to Grand Rapids, Mich., to see 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos. Castellanos is one of the Tigers' top prospects, and many in the organization doubt that they would move him for Kuroda.

The Tigers don't seem terribly interested in Erik Bedard, the Mariners pitcher who will come off the disabled list to start against the Rays Friday night. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have some interest in Bedard, although obviously that depends on how healthy he looks Friday.


Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 3:54 pm
 

Dodgers think Kuroda would OK deal

Hiroki Kuroda has generated lots of interest on the trade market, but also lots of intrigue.

The reason for the interest is obvious. Plenty of teams would like to add a starting pitcher, Kuroda is a decent starting pitcher (3.52 career ERA, 3.19 this year) on a one-year contract, and his Dodgers team is obviously out of the race in the National League West. The Tigers have been very interested in Kuroda, and the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Brewers are all believed to have shown interest, as well.

The reason for the intrigue: Kuroda has a full no-trade clause, and some people in the game believe that he would invoke it to block a trade.

But the Dodgers continue to explore possible trades, and according to sources they believe that Kuroda could be persuaded to go to a contending team for the final two months of the season. The same sources said that if Kuroda decides to pitch in the major leagues again next year, he would likely only agree to pitch for the Dodgers.

Despite their financial troubles, the Dodgers don't appear to have any interest in dealing their more established stars. The only other Dodgers player whose name regularly comes up in trade talks is Jamey Carroll, who has drawn interest from Brewers.


Posted on: July 15, 2011 9:11 pm
 

More McCourt madness

The word from Major League Baseball people at this week's All-Star Game was that they have some hope that Frank McCourt can be convinced/forced to sell the Dodgers by the end of the year. That would be great news for baseball and great news for the Dodgers.

But it would give us less reason to post (and laugh at) stories like this one:

As reported today in the Los Angeles Times, McCourt has gone back to court (of course), this time asking that his financial support payments to ex-wife Jamie be cut. Incredibly, Frank says he has paid Jamie $7.76 million over the last year, in part to cover expenses on the couple's seven homes.

"I simply cannot afford to support [her] lifestyle any longer," McCourt wrote in a filing with the Los Angeles Superior Court, according to the Times.
Like so much with McCourt, you really couldn't make this stuff up.

The bigger issue for baseball is what it will take to get him to sell the Dodgers. Basically, that seems to depend on how often McCourt loses in court, or how many times he has to be told "no" before he believes it.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:08 pm
 

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

The bar is set high, but then it would be anyway.

Roy Halladay returns to Toronto this weekend, to pitch at the Rogers Centre for the first time since the big trade that sent him to the Phillies 19 months ago. Cliff Lee follows Halladay on Sunday, with a chance to become the first pitcher since Orel Hershiser (1988) with four consecutive shutouts.

And they'll do it on the same field where Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays eight weeks ago.

So maybe by the time this weekend is over, we'll have a better way of answering the question that has been bugging me for weeks.

Who is the best pitcher in baseball right now?

"To be honest, I think it's between me and Halladay," Verlander said when I asked him that question last week. "But if you asked anyone, they'd probably say that about themselves."

Not anyone. I know that, because I asked Lee, the guy with three straight shutouts, the guy who had a ridiculous 0.21 ERA in June (compared to 0.92 for Verlander and 2.00 for Halladay).

"In my opinion, it's not even debatable," Lee said. "Nobody else is in Halladay's ballpark. It's not even close."

I can't say I tried to argue with him, but I did point out the three straight shutouts.

"It takes longevity," Lee said.

Halladay has the longevity, and he has the great history in Toronto. So when you look at this weekend's schedule, it's hard to leave his big return to the Rogers Centre out of 3 to Watch.

But I'm going to do just that, because I always stick to one game per series and I can't pass up Lee's attempt at a fourth straight shutout.

For this weekend, though, think of this as 4 to Watch, and pretend I included them both:

1. If you check the ERA leaders, you might notice that neither Lee nor Halladay leads the National League. Instead, it's Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, at 2.07, and it's probably worth pointing out that he gets his next start in Orioles at Braves, Friday night (7:35 ET) at Turner Field. Jurrjens faces Jeremy Guthrie, who was throwing 96-97 mph in his last start.

2. If you check the ERA leaders again, you might notice that Verlander doesn't lead the American League. Instead, it's Jered Weaver of the Angels, at 1.97, and it's probably worth pointing out he makes his next start in Dodgers at Angels, Saturday night (9:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. His mound opponent, Clayton Kershaw, isn't bad, either.

3. I'll assume you already watched Halladay against the Jays on Saturday (1:07 ET). But I'm sticking with Lee, in Phillies at Blue Jays, Sunday afternoon (1:07 ET) at Rogers Centre. According to research through Baseball-reference.com, only eight pitchers in the last 90 years have thrown four straight shutouts. The last before Hershiser was Luis Tiant, in 1972.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com