Sunday, November 29, 2009

Should the Yankees pursue Halladay?

Blue Jays (until traded) ace Roy Halladay has stated that he would waive his no-trade clause for the Yankees.

In addition to the Yankees, Halladay's preferred destinations include Boston, Los Angeles (Angels) and Philadelphia, per ESPN's Buster Olney (via MLB Trade Rumors).

As Anthony McCarron and Bill Madden of the NY Daily News point out, the Jays would likely want catching prospect Jesus Montero, either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain and another prospect such as centerfielder Austin Jackson in exchange for Halladay.

Halladay, who will be 33 years old in May, has one year remaining on his contract and would want and get a high-priced extension with whatever team acquires him in a trade.

In the past two seasons combined, Halladay has a combined 37-21 record, 18 complete games and an ERA of 2.79.

As dominant of a 1-2 punch as the Yankees would have at the top of their rotation, should the Yankees give up top prospects for Halladay?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From Mr. April to Mr. October?

Of course, that's a little bit of an exaggeration.

But Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who has previously been dubbed "Mr. April," is continuing his hot streak this post-season.

In five post-season games (all wins), A-Rod is hitting .368 (7 hits in 19 at bats) with three home runs and eight runs batted in.

He only had one hit last night, but it was an 11th-inning home run.

Before the 2009 post-season, Rodriguez was hitting .279 with 10 home runs (in 166 ABs) and 25 RBIs in 44 career post-season games.

For Yankee fans to fully embrace him, A-Rod needs to continue his hot streak, or at least play well, for the remainder of the post-season. For many Yankees' fans, the season will only be deemed a success if it ends with a World Series ring.

But it really only takes one strong post-season to remove the non-clutch tags. Just ask Peyton Manning. Manning had that tag for what seemed like forever until he and the Colts beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. Now it's never mentioned.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joba's status for 2010 cloudier per Post's Sherman

Could Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain spend part of the 2010 season in the Minor Leagues?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that is a possibility. In addition to the starter-versus-reliever debate, some in the Yankees' organization wanted to send Chamberlain to the minors in August, per Sherman's sources.

It's unlikely that Chamberlain, who's pitched well in relief in the ALDS thus far, will start if/when the Yankees advance to the ALCS. Instead, it's more likely that the Yankees will use Chad Gaudin as their fourth starter.

"He had a different look about him," pitching coach Dave Eiland said of Chamberlain (via the NY Daily News). "His demeanor was different, the look in his eye, his tempo. He was in straight attack mode."

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports compares Chamberlain's career numbers as a starter and reliever, as follows:
  • Starter Joba: 4.18 ERA, 342 baserunners in 221 2/3 IP, 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
  • Reliever Joba: 1.50 ERA, 60 baserunners in 60 IP, 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
While C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are locks at the top of the Yankees' 2010 rotation, several pitchers will be in the mix for the other rotation spots including Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Al Aceves.

As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues points out, the potential uncertainty at the #3, 4 and 5 rotation spots is disconcerting as a Yankees fan heading into the 2010 season.

Then again, this season isn't over.

For a team that missed the playoffs in 2008 and hasn't won a World Series since 2000, the Yankees look to take care of a more pressing issue -- closing out the Twins tonight in Minnesota and moving one step closer to the ultimate goal.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Twins-Tigers in Tie-breaker on Tuesday

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins were tied heading into their regular-season finales against the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, respectively.

And after both teams won today, they will face off in a tie-breaker on Tuesday. Detroit beat Chicago 5-3 and Minnesota beat Kansas City 13-4 today.

The tie-breaker will be played at the Metrodome and the Tigers will start 20-year-old Rick Porcello.

"He’s not going to be scared, I know that – and that’s a good thing," [Tigers manager Jim] Leyland said, per MLive.com. "This will be a tremendous experience for him because he’s going to pitch in the toughest place he’s ever pitched in his life with the most at stake."

Scott Baker, who finished the season 15-9 and pitched five shutout innings in Detroit on Thursday, will pitch for the Twins.

The Twins are 15-4 in their final 19 games.

The winner of Tuesday's game will face the Yankees in the American League Divisional Series on Wednesday. The other A.L. series will feature the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indians fire Eric Wedge

On the day that Browns coach Eric Mangini named Derek Anderson starting quarterback, the Cleveland Indians announced that manager Eric Wedge will soon be (just) Eric Wedge.

However, Wedge will manage the remaining games this season.

"I still wanted to finish what we started this year," said Wedge. "I felt it was the right thing to do. It's been a long run here as managers go. It will be a tough day."

Only four managers -- Bobby Cox (Braves), Tony La Russa (Cardinals), Mike Scioscia (Angels) and Ron Gardenhire (Twins) -- have managed their club as long as Wedge has managed the Tribe.

"It's been a long run, as managers go,'' Wedge said. "I have a great deal of respect for the Dolans, Mark Shapiro, the city of Cleveland and Tribe fans all over the place. I'm a big believer in being accountable for what you do. I take responsibility for this.''

The Indians are 64-92 on the season and 5-20 in their past 25 games.

In his seven seasons, Wedge will finish with a winning percentage just shy of .500. His best season was in 2007 when the Indians won 96 games and lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cubs suspend Milton Bradley for rest of year

The Chicago Cubs have suspended Milton Bradley for conduct detrimental to the team (or, as I call it: the Terrell Owens rule).

Bradley said, "you understand why they haven't won in 100 years here." Those comments were made after he was scratched from Saturday's lineup. Now he is scratched from the rest of the season.

"Recently, it's become intolerable to hear Milton talk about our great fans the way he has," general manger Jim Hendry said. "We pride ourselves on having the greatest fans in baseball, so at this time we felt it was best to send him home for the rest of the season."

Bradley, who has two years remaining on his three-year contract, was only hitting .257 with 12 home runs and 40 RBI.

Now the question is: Did Bradley play his last game for the Cubs this year or forever?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mariano Rivera could return Sunday


The New York Yankees could have their closer back as soon as today, according to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

Mariano Rivera, who hasn't pitched since September 1st, felt fine after a 16-pitch bullpen session.

"I wasn't expecting to feel anything," Rivera said. "That's how minor it was. We just had to make sure that it's ready. I wasn't looking for something or expecting something."

Since Rivera's last appearance, Phil Hughes has closed out two of two save opportunities. In the process, Hughes struck out six of the eight batters he faced while not allowing a hit.

"We've gone away from that the last three or four weeks because we didn't want to wear him down," Girardi said. "I'm going to ask him every day how his groin is. We've been careful how we've used him all year."

With the effectiveness of Hughes, who hasn't allowed an earned run since August 4th, Girardi has the flexibility to not overuse Rivera, who has converted 38 of 39 save opportunities.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Hot Corner, 9/5 edition

The Braves have moved Kenshin Kawakami, who's 7-10 with an ERA of 3.97, to the bullpen.

The Tigers have called up utility man Dan Kelly from Toledo, per Steve Kornacki of the MLive.com.

White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd retired the first 17 Red Sox hitters he faced Saturday.

And Gordon Beckham left today's game due to a stiff back.

Phil Hughes got his third save of the year for the Yankees today.

The D'Backs have activated Eric Byrnes from the disabled list today.

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee hit two homers in their 5-3 win over the Mets today.

FYI: If you have a fantasy football draft this weekend, you might want to check out the Top 150 Cheat Sheet we created at our football site. It's a consensus/average ranking of five different sources.

Here's another shameless plug -- Check out my fantasy profile of Andre Iguodala at SixersCourt.com.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter @EDSBaseball and/or on Facebook's Networked Blogs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Johan Santana - done for the year?

Braves-Mets

The Mets are 16.5 games out of first in the N.L. East and 14 games behind in the N.L. wildcard race.

Mets ace Johan Santana, who's being scratched from his Tuesday start, has elbow soreness.

Just as two plus two adds up to four, those two factors add up to making it time to shut down Santana for the year as Tim Smith of the NY Daily News argues.

"I'm terribly concerned, no question about it," [Mets manager] Jerry Manuel said Monday. "He's been pitching probably since the break (with soreness), but not to the level of discomfort he has now."

In Santana's place, the Mets will start Nelson Figueroa Tuesday.

"I know that he's a gamer and he wants to be out there with his teammates and fight through all the adversity that this team has had to go through," said [Mets reliever] Billy Wagner (who just returned from Tommy John surgery). "But I think if he tries to push it, and possibly injures himself worse, he's talking about his career. He's not talking about just one season."

On the season, Santana is 13-9 with an ERA of 3.13 and 146 strikeouts.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sox claim Billy Wagner off waivers

The Red Sox have claimed Billy Wagner off waivers. Now the Sox have until 1 p.m. on Tuesday to work out a deal with the Mets, per John Tomase of the Boston Herald.

If the Mets and Red Sox don't work out a trade, the Mets could do a salary dump and let the Red Sox have Wagner. If that happens, the Red Sox would owe Wagner $2.6 million for this year and have an $8 million option for next year with a $1 million buyout.

If the Mets pull Wagner off waivers, they won't be able to trade him this year.

As Tomase points out, Wagner would likely be a Type A free agent, which means the Mets would be compensated with two first-round draft picks. That makes it unlikely that the Mets let the Red Sox have him without getting something in return.

According to Peter Botte of the NY Daily News, Wagner said Friday about the possibility of pitching for Boston: "That's news to me, buddy. You know what, I haven't heard anything, so I can't speculate anything."

And he's available to pitch tonight (game's currently in 8th inning) according to manager Jerry Manuel: “As far as I know, I haven’t gotten anything to say to not pitch him and today is his scheduled day for work, so if that opportunity presents itself, unless I get something different, I will definitely put him in the game.”

Wagner, who had Tommy John surgery last September, pitched a perfect, two-strikeout eighth inning against the Braves on Thursday. And he hit 96 mph on the radar gun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hot Corner, 8/19

The Cardinals have signed John Smoltz, who was released by the Red Sox.

Of starting pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, the Brewers' starters have three of the top 15 pitchers in highest slugging percentage allowed as pointed out by Brew Crew Ball.

Babes Loves Baseball has compiled a list (in honor of Brett Favre, who unretired yesterday) of ten baseball players who should never un-retire.

Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee threw a two-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Reds have called up Drew Stubbs, the former number one pick in 2006.

The Mets have placed Billy Wagner on waivers, according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.

The Indians have recalled Matt LaPorta and he will mostly play first base.

Jered Weaver pitched a seven-hit shutout as the Angels beat the Indians 3-0.

Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti doesn't expect Matt Cain, whose fastball to David Wright's head landing Wright on the DL, to pitch with fear on Thursday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Nats sign Strasburg to four-year deal

The Washington Nationals have signed Stephen Strasburg, the top overall pick in this year's amateur draft, to a four-year deal worth $15.1 million, according to Ben Goessling of The Washington Times.

The record-setting deal was signed with only a minute to spare before the Monday midnight deadline.

"We are proud to have him in the organization, and we're very happy to add him to a growing list of young, upsided right-handed starters," acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. "It's a big day for the Washington Nationals. It's a big day for the fans of Washington, D.C. And it's a big day for the city of Washington."

The previous record deal was given to Mark Prior when the Cubs signed him to a $10.5 million deal in 2001.

Rizzo wouldn't discuss a possible September call up for Strasburg saying, "We're not going to go into that right now." But if he is called up, it'll be the first time the top overall pick plays in the majors in the same year in which they were drafted since 1989.

Strasburg was nearly unhittable at San Diego State where he struck out 195 batters in 109 innings last year. He went 10-1 with an ERA of 1.32.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

David Wright heading to 15-day DL, may be done for year

After getting hit in the head by a 93-mph fastball from Giants pitcher Matt Cain in yesterday's game, Mets third baseman David Wright, who spent the night in the hospital, had a CT scan, which was negative, according to Roger Rubin of the NY Daily News.

Wright, who suffered a concussion, has since been released from the hospital.

The Mets have placed Wright on the 15-day disabled list and it's possible that he could miss the remainder of the season. "It's going to depend on the tests," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "If there's any question, it's a possibility."

David wanted to take a chance to go out and play, but we decided to take it away from him and DL him based on the recommendation of our doctors who consulted with a specialist,” [general manager Omar] Minaya said, per the Associated Press.With Wright being placed on the DL, the Mets have called up Andy Green from Triple-A Buffalo.

On the season, Wright was hitting .324 with eight home runs and 55 runs batted in. He also had 24 stolen bases.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Big Fraud and Manny? Busted...

Boston Red Sox v Yomiuri Giants - Preseason Friendly

What do David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez share in common with Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa?

They appear on the list of roughly 100 players that tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to Michael S. Schmidt of The New York Times.

Ramirez and Ortiz were two key components of Boston's World Series teams (2004 and 2007). Ramirez was named MVP of the 2004 World Series.

In 2003, Major League Baseball performed survey testing, which was supposed to be confidential and not subject to penalties. However, names have been leaked roughly every month or two.

While it would make more sense to release all the names and put this behind us, I can't see the MLB Players Association going for that.

Back in 2003, David "Big Fraud" Ortiz set career highs in home runs (31) and runs batted in (101) and continued to improve on those numbers for four straight years as noted by Schmidt.

Big Fraud's comments earlier in the year make this report that much funnier -- especially as a Yankees fan that's annoyed by the holier-than-thou attitude of Red Sox fans.

"I think you clean up the game by the testing," Ortiz said in February at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Fla. "I test you, you test positive, you're going to be out. Period.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cards acquire Matt Holliday from A's

Phillies vs. Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired Matt Holliday from Oakland Athletics.

In return, the A's receive prospects Brett Wallace, Shane Peterson and Clayton Mortensen from the Cardinals.

Wallace, who was considered the Cardinals' top prospect, was drafted in the first round in 2008.

Before the trade, Holliday was hitting .286 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in Oakland. However, he was starting the hit the ball really well. In his last 10 games in Oakland, Holliday had five multi-hit games collecting 16 hits during that span.

Now he goes to a lineup where he will bat behind Albert Pujols, the world's greatest hitter.

In his first game with the Cardinals, Holliday had four hits in five at bats in the Cards' 8-1 win over the Phillies.

Holliday provides protection for Pujols and helps boost the Cardinals lineup. The Cardinals are 17th in the majors in runs scored (428 runs) and 23rd in batting average (.254).

However, their pitching has been strong as they are fifth in ERA (3.75). Both Chris Carpenter (8-3, 2.26 ERA) and Adam Wainwright (11-6, 2.95 ERA) have sub-3.00 ERAs.

While only 2 1/2 games separate the top four teams in the N.L. Central, this move means the Cardinals should separate themselves from the pack.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Perfect game for Mark Buehrle

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox

Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle became the 18th pitcher in Major League history to pitch a perfect game beating the Rays 5-0 at U.S. Cellular Field.

For the first out of the ninth inning, White Sox outfielder Dewayne Wise made a spectacular grab to rob a home run from Gabe Kapler.

It becomes the second perfect game in franchise history. The other was thrown by Charlie Robertson in 1922.

Back in 2007, Buehrle pitched a no-hitter and walked only one batter (Sammy Sosa). In fact, Sosa was picked off two pitches later and Buehrle faced the minimum 27 batters in that game as well.

Buehrle improves his record to 11-3 with an ERA of 3.28 and the White Sox are now tied with the Tigers for first in the A.L. Central. The Tigers lost to the Mariners today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wakefield to DL, Buchholz to start Wednesday

MLB Florida Marlins vs Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have placed All-Star Tim Wakefield on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

To replace Wakefield on the roster and in the rotation, the Red Sox have recalled Clay Buchholz from Pawtucket

Any day in the big leagues is a better day than in the minor leagues,’’ Buchholz said. “I’m happy to be here. I’ll go after them and see what happens.’’

"He pitched good the other day,’’ Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “As an organization, I think we’re pretty fortunate that something like this can happen and we can have a guy like Clay ready to pitch.’’

Buchholz, who went 2-9 with an ERA of 6.75 last year, will get the ball tomorrow night against the Texas Rangers and Vicente Padilla.

Wakefield will be eligible to come off the DL on August 2nd, which means Buchholz will get at least two starts.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tigers place Joel Zumaya on DL

Chicago Cubs at Detroit Tigers.

The Detroit Tigers have placed reliever Joel Zumaya on the 15-day disabled list, per Steve Kornacki of MLive.com.

Zumaya, who gave up the game-winning home run to Mark Teixeira last night, felt pain in his shoulder and is scheduled for an MRI later today.

The Tigers have recalled Ryan Perry, who was their first-round pick in 2008, from Triple-A Toledo to take Zumaya's roster spot.

Perry, who has a 4.28 ERA in 27 1/3 innings, was sent down to improve his control, which he has done. In 13 2/3 innings in Toledo, Perry was 1-0 with an ERA of 2.63, 12 strikeouts and only four walks.

Zumaya, on the other hand, has now blown four save opportunities in his past nine appearances.

The Hot Corner, 7/18 edition

The Braves shut out the Mets 11-0 for the Mets' fourth shutout loss in their past nine games.

Per Adam Rubin of the NY Daily News, Mets pitcher Tim Redding may be released as soon as today.

The Mets deny that Jose Reyes suffered a setback in his rehab.

Luke Grienke, Zack's brother, hopes to make a return in 2010 from the surgery he had last year to repair a torn labrum.

The Yankees will start Sergio Mitre on Tuesday against Baltimore.

Matt Gagne of the NY Daily News wonders about a possible future return to the starting rotation for Phil Hughes.

The Yankees ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Tigers 5-3 yesterday.

Giants pitcher Matt Cain will keep his scheduled start on Sunday.

Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is working on reducing errors.

The Blue Jays are moving Brian Tallet to the bullpen.

Albert Pujols hit a pair of home runs last night as the Cards beat the D'Backs 6-1.

Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello said of stepping onto the field at Yankee Stadium: "It was pretty cool. It was pretty special. It was one of those moments."

Detroit's Carlos Guillen is sore, but he continues to rehab.

Despite three RBI from Josh Hamilton, the Rangers lost 5-3 to the Twins.

Despite a shaky performance by closer Brad Lidge, the Phillies won in 12 innings last night.

Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla had the night off against the Phillies.

Red Sox GM Theo Esptein says of talks with Jason Bay, "... we’re going to table discussions again, which once again is a mutual decision, and pick them up most likely after the season.’’

The Red Sox have cut Julio Lugo.

Baltimore's Adam Jones said of the All-Star game, "Words can't even describe it. My eyes are still in amazement from the things that I've seen."

Houston's Roy Oswalt threw a four-hit complete game against the Dodgers.

No issues with the ring finger that scratched his All-Star game appearance as Evan Longoria homered against the Royals last night.

White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen says in reference to Roy Halladay that he doesn't "think we'll give up half the organization for one guy."

Both Alfonso Soriano and Ted Lilly were scratches last night for the Cubs.

Marlins' ace Josh Johnson is on pace to pitch 229 innings.

The A's might consider using a six-man rotation if Justin Duscherer returns to the active roster this year.

Edwin Encarnacion is hitting .323 in 11 games since coming off the DL. He went 4-for-4 last night and he's 7-for-7 in the series against the Brewers as Bronson Arroyo got his 10th win of the season last night.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Hot Corner, 7/16 edition

A drunk Matt Kemp was an "absolute train wreck" at the ESPY's last night.

The Cubs have signed reliever B.J. Ryan, who had been released by the Blue Jays, to a minor-league contract.

The Dodgers have placed reliever Cory Wade on the DL.

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has hit his 200th home run and has done it faster (in 658 games) than any other player in baseball history.

Here's a list of top offensive players in the first half of the 2009 season.

And here's a list of players who might have a better second half than they did in the first half.

The Red Sox will have a tough time trading Julio Lugo even if the eat his salary.

Yankee Damaso Marte threw 12 pitches in a rehab game.

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland will get the start on Sunday against the Twins.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Hot Corner, 7/13 edition

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria may miss the All-Star game with an infection on his right ring finger.

Jason Bulger, teammate of Brian Fuentes, says of playing catch with Fuentes: "I get a nice extra stretch when I'm playing catch with him, little agility workouts from time to time. He has such movement with the delivery he has. . . . I'm just happy I have all of my teeth."

Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay would welcome a trade to the Yankees.

Ichiro praises manager Don Wakamatsu by saying he's "the number-one field commander, our manager. He has been huge. He's very calm, cool headed, and he prevents the players from panicking. He also has the ability to evaluate things, in an outside-looking-in way. That has been huge for us as well."

Cincinnati's Jay Bruce will miss two months with a broken wrist.

K-Rod feels the game isn't as much as it used to be due to the business aspect of it. "The day you don't get the job done, the day you get hurt, the day you, basically, [don't] do what they ask you to do, they're going to throw you away and they're going to get somebody else to do your job. That's how it is."

The Nationals have fired Manny Acta, who compiled a 158-252 record, and replaced him with bench coach Jim Riggleman.

Some other of my posts today on my other sites - Urban Meyer's comments about his (permanent) future at Florida and Derrick Mason calling it quits.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mid-season Awards: A.L. MVP

In what was intended to be a weekend worth of mid-season picks for major MLB awards, my laziness has stretched to three weeks.

That being said, I'm ready to post my selection for the A.L. MVP as the Cubs and Cardinals play us into this year's All-Star break.

For N.L. MVP, there was no uncertainty. Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols was the obvious choice. The A.L. MVP isn't nearly as obvious.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays

A.L. MVP: Joe Mauer, Twins - Ernie Lombardi (1942) was the last catcher to win a battle before Joe Mauer. Since Lombardi, Mauer has won two batting titles. Despite having his worst game of the season (0-for-5 with four strikeouts) today, Mauer is hitting .373 heading into the All-Star break and leading the A.L. in batting average.

What's different in 2009 for the career .324 hitter is his increase in power. Mauer has hit 15 home runs at the midway point even though he missed the first month of the season. And before this year, his career high was 13 home runs.

Mauer leads the A.L. in OBS (1.090). He and Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist are the only two A.L. players with an OBS of 1.000 or greater heading into Sunday's games.

His 49 runs scored and 49 RBIs put him on pace to surpass 100 of each.

MLB: MAY 10 Mariners at Twins

Runner-up: Justin Morneau, Twins - Morneau has put up strong numbers across the board and you could easily make the case that Mauer and Morneau should swap positions.

At the break, Morneau is batting .311 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI. He's second in the A.L. in RBI and tied for fourth place in home runs.

Mauer and Morneau have a nearly identical AB:HR ratio. Mauer has hit one home run per 16.07 at bats while Morneau has hit one home run per 15.9 at bats.

Honorable Mention: Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle), Jason Bay (Boston), Mark Teixeira (NY Yankees), Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay), Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay), Torii Hunter (LA Angels)

See Cy Young picks: American League and National League.

Carlos Pena to replace Dustin Pedroia on All-Star team

MLB: MAY 20 Athletics at Rays

Boston Red Sox second baseman is going to miss this year's All-Star game. A.L. manager Joe Madden named Carlos Pena as his replacement, per Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times.

"I have to believe who ever leads the league in home runs normally belongs in an All-Star game," Maddon said. "And the fact he hadn't been on the team yet bothered me just a little bit, so for whatever reason, it all worked out well."

Pena leads the A.L. in home runs (24) and was one of the five finalists for the final A.L. All-Star spot. Despite the Rays' "Vote 'Los" campaign, Detroit's Brandon Inge won that honor.

Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler finished second to Inge in voting for the final spot. Pena finished fourth.

In addition to leading the A.L. in home runs, Pena is tenth in RBI (58) and is hitting .230.

Pena is one of the eight Home Run Derby contestants. He'll be competing against Nelson Cruz (Texas), Brandon Inge (Detroit), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego), Prince Fielder (Milwaukee) and Ryan Howard (Philadelphia).

Other Rays' All-Stars include Evan Longoria, who will start at third base, and reserves Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford. See the full All-Star roster here.

The Hot Corner, 7/12 edition

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, who said "I didn't make the adjustments I needed to make," didn't make it out of a seven-run fifth inning for the Angels.

Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs (career #569 and #570) to pass Rafael Palmeiro, who says he's "not on that list," for 10th all-time on the career home run list.

A-Rod, who's not an All-Star for the first time since 1999, will have the opportunity to rest up. But he is tearing it up lately hitting .407 with eight homers and 22 RBI in his last 16 games.

Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run single in his first at bat as a Met.

The Mets have signed 29 of their 39 picks in last month's MLB First-Year Player Draft. The deadline to sign players in August 17th.

Ted Lilly got his 100th career victory as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-2. But the guys in the clubhouse tell Lilly, "You have 200 to go.''

Without Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup, the Nats are being creative. In the process, they beat the Houston Astros 13-2 last night.

The A's traded Jack Hannahan to Seattle for Double-A pitcher Justin Souza.

As Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star writes, "The Blue Jays are becoming the authorities in the AL East on walk-off losses." Last night, the Jays suffered their third such loss in the past 10 games.

Melvin Mora had the game-winning hit in the 12th inning against the Jays last night.

The Mets will likely start Oliver Perez to begin the second half.

Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado spent yesterday with a dozen Puerto Rican high school seniors.

Mets demoted Nick Evans to Triple-A Buffalo.

Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes about change coming to the Orioles.

Juan Uribe on the error that made Jonathan Sanchez's perfect game a no-hitter: "I didn't feel good that I didn't make the play. I wanted to do something, I wanted to make the play, but maybe if I go back (on the ball), maybe it's a base hit. An error is better than a base hit."

Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said of the no-no: "I waited for a while, let everybody else clear out and had a little cry. It was wonderful."

Tigers rookie pitcher Rick Porcello won't start again until June 22nd.

John Smoltz got his first win as a Red Sox starter.

The 'Stros will start Wandy Rodriguez in their first game after the All-Star break.

Nelson Cruz, the Rangers right fielder, said of the Home Run Derby: "You always dream about being in the Home Run Derby. I think I have a chance. I think I’m going to do well."

The Rangers fell out of first place in the A.L. West after losing to Seattle last night.

I’ll never moan and groan if they want to put me at short,” said Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis.

Justin Upton had a career-high four hits in last night's win over the Marlins.

Jake Fox might catch some as the Cubs second catcher with Geovany Soto on the DL.

Brad Radke is now a member of the Twins Hall of Fame.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the White Sox might be willing to make a trade, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Growing up, White Sox rookie Gordon Beckham's favorite sport was football. ''As a child, he never dreamed of playing baseball in the major leagues,'' his mother told Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times. ''It was actually shocking that he chose [to pursue baseball in college].''

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times believes that the Dodgers shouldn't let Roy Halladay get away.

After shutting out the Marlins last night, Dan Haren's N.L.-leading ERA dropped from 2.16 to 2.01.

Rays catcher Dioner Navarro was hospitalized for tests after a foul tip off of the catcher's mask.

Marc Lancaster of The Tampa Tribune writes, "barring a significant injury to a player the Rays can't adequately replace internally, status quo seems the likely outcome."

The Pirates will stick with their rotation (Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf and Virgil Vasquez) after the All-Star break, which gives all pitchers 10 days off.

Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds is on the verge of becoming arbitration-eligible based on his performance, which could be costly to the D'Backs in 2010.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jonathan Sanchez throws first Giants' no-hitter in 33 years

MLB: JUN 11 Giants at Diamondbacks

It hadn't been done in 33 years.

John Montefusco was the last Giants' pitcher to throw a no-hitter (1976 in Atlanta).

Even though no Giants' pitcher has thrown a no-no during his lifetime, reigning N.L. Cy Young Tim Lincecum had a feeling that the Giants might be due to end the drought.

Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lincecum said yesterday, "Someone might throw a no-hitter and it might not be the ace of the squad. It might be an unsung hero kind of guy. Anybody can do anything."

Jonathan Sanchez, who started in place of the injured Randy Johnson, allowed no runs, no hits and no walks. However, teammate Juan Uribe's error in the eighth inning means Sanchez will have to settle for a no-hitter.

"I think if you looked at the staff, he wouldn't be the one you picked," Bochy said. "He came out throwing 94-96 [mph]. He just had incredible stuff."

Sanchez, who only threw 110 pitches, struck out a career-high 11 batters.

Last night was the first start for Sanchez since June 22nd and his first win since May 25th.

On the season, the Giants have 13 shutouts, which lead the majors.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ryan Braun "ticked off" GM Melvin

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star Ryan Braun was/is frustrated by his team's pitching. In turn, he has frustrated general manager Doug Melvin.

Speaking after the conclusion of the Brewers-Cubs series on Sunday, Braun said that the Cubs pitchers "threw the ball a lot better than our starters did."

Braun also said, "We're at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody."

Melvin didn't take too kindly to Braun's comments regardless of whether he's right or wrong.

"It was inappropriate for him to say what he said, and I'm not happy about it," Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday.

"To make the statements he made and also get on his teammates like that, it was irresponsible on his part. It just ticked me off."

I couldn't agree with Melvin more. If you have a problem with someone, anyone, everyone on your team, tell them - not the media.

The Brewers are currently one game behind division-leading St. Louis and one game ahead of the Cubs.

Currently, the Brewers are ranked 24th on majors in team ERA (4.47).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Hot Corner, 7/4 (PM) edition

The Braves have promoted two top prospects (Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman) to Double-A affiliate Mississippi.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was back in the lineup and hit the game-winning single in the 12th inning.

The Braves are concerned about center fielder Jordan Schaffer's wrist.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella will move Alfonso Soriano to sixth and Kosuke Fukudome to the leadoff spot.

Cards slugger Albert Pujols says Reds pitcher Homer Bailey has "electric stuff."

Dodger Manny Ramirez hit his first post-suspension home run.

Reds pitcher Micah Owings only allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings while homering in the second inning to help his cause in the Reds' 5-2 win over the Cards.

Despite allowing the 300th career home run for Adam Dunn, Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson pitched well today allowing only three hits in seven innings.

Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer made his 600th career start.

Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is likely to land on the DL as an MRI shows he has a right shoulder strain and bursitis.

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum extended his scoreless innings streak to 23 innings.

Last, but certainly not least, R.I.P Steve McNair, who was shot and killed today. He was one of the toughest and classiest players ever.

Adam Dunn hits # 300

Washington Nationals slugger Adam Dunn has hit his 300th career home run today.

He hit the home run off rookie phenom Tommy Hanson, who had a scoreless innings streak of 26 before Dunn's homer.

Dunn becomes the fifth fastest player to reach that milestone (4,145 at bats). The only four to reach that milestone quicker are Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Ralph Kiner and Harmon Killebrew.

On May 26th, Dunn recorded his 1,000th hit against the Mets.

Mid-season Awards: A.L. Cy Young

There is a lot of baseball left to be played this year - roughly, half the season.

That being said, I made my pick a couple of weeks ago for N.L. Cy Young based on all the games played (pitched) up to that point. While I may or may not change my choice (see who here), I'm back at it to pick his A.L. counterpart.

Later this weekend, I will pick my Mid-Season A.L. MVP as well. (Click here to see my N.L. MVP.)

Drum roll please ...



A.L. Cy Young: Zack Grienke, Royals - Grienke got the season off to a perfect start with 38 scoreless innings to begin the season. Although Grienke has hit a bit of a rough patch (losing three of last five decisions), he still leads the majors in ERA (2.00) and is one of only five 10-game winners in baseball.

He has five complete games, which also leads the majors. He is second in the American League in strikeouts (120).

The Royals recent slide has knocked them 11 games out of first in the A.L. Central and has put them 13 games under .500. In the games Grienke (10-4) doesn't get the decision, the Royals are 23-42.



Runner-up: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays - It doesn't get much better than Halladay. He began the season with 13 straight starts of 7 innings or more. In addition, Halladay has thrown three complete games trailing only Grienke.

He's one of only five pitchers to win 10 games on the season. He's third in the A.L. in ERA (2.56) and has given up the fewest walks (14) of pitchers who have thrown 100+ innings. Grienke is the only other player with fewer than 20 walks (19)and 100 innings pitched.

Honorable Mention: Edwin Jackson, Felix Hernandez, Mark Buehrle, Justin Verlander, Matt Garza, Nick Blackburn (MIN), Jered Weaver, Kevin Millwood, Josh Beckett

Check back later this weekend for my A.L. Mid-Season MVP

Rafael Palmeiro: "I'm not on that list"

In March 2005, Rafael Palmeiro famously testified at the congressional hearing on steroids: "I have never used steroids. Period."



In August 2005, when he was suspended for ten games by MLB for using the banned substance stanozolol, he modified his statement. He said, "... I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. ... "

Palmeiro, who ranks tenth all-time on the career home run list (569), still says (during an interview with ESPN) that he only took a B-12 (not steroids).

And that he goes on to say that he's "never taken anything" and he hopes that the infamous list of 104 players, which contains A-Rod, Sammy Sosa and 102 others, is released since, as he says, "I'm not on that list."




Since Palmeiro says so, it must be true (roll eyes). Period.

Son of Jim Leyritz: "Mommy, don't come out of your room"

Former Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz is a mess.

Leyritz, who maintains his innocence, faces a September trial for the drunk-driving accident that tragically took the life of Fredia Ann Veitch at the end of 2007.

In May, he checked himself into a psychiatric ward after threatening to kill himself.

Leyritz said, "I'm not crazy, and I'm not suicidal. I've never had a problem with alcohol. Until you've been in my shoes, don't judge."

However, Leyritz isn't helping his defense.

Thursday morning, he was arrested for allegedly hitting his ex-wife, who wrote a check out of his account (against his wishes). She claims it was for back child support.

He claims that she was drunk and hurt herself in order to frame him.

"I got knocked around and I ran out the door," Karrie Leyritz, 41, told the Daily News. "I don't remember every detail."

And, according to an article in this morning's Daily News, Austin Leyritz, their 14-year-old son, called to warn his mother.

"Mommy, don't come out of your room," Austin warned Karrie Leyritz in a phone call as he and his father returned to the house. "Dad is crazy mad."

What are the chances that Jim Leyritz stays out of the news from now until his September trial?

The Hot Corner, 7/4 edition

Fielding and (lack of) hitting - not pitching - led to Rays pitcher Scott Kazmir's first-ever loss in his home state of Texas against the Rangers.

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ended an 0-for-16 streak with a double and rolled his ankle. However, he should be o.k.

Shin Soo-Choo hit two home runs and drove in seven runs in a 15-3 win over the A's last night.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum will face Houston's Russ Ortiz today. It was Ortiz (or, more specifically, his ailing elbow) that paved the way for Lincecum to be called up.

Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm says, "I'm perfectly fine to pitch. I just need to make better pitches."

Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez was a scratch last night with tightness in his lower back.

In addition to Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers got Claudio Vargas back. Manny was welcomed back, but he went 0-for-3.

Nolan Ryan doesn't expect the Rangers to be sold until after the season.

The return of Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is delayed by at least one day.

A's to give Brett Anderson two days extra rest (again).

Yesterday's 5-0 loss to the White Sox was the Royals sixth time being shut out this season and their fourth consecutive game of scoring two runs or less.

Joe Posnanski sums up Friday's Royals game with one word: "Depressing."

The Tigers won in 16 innings against the Twins. Placido Polanco delivered the game-winning hit.

Adam Dunn's next home run will be his 300th. He hit his 299th last night.

Philadelphia's Raul Ibanez was eligible to come off the DL yesterday. But "he still feels something in there," according to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., per Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Alfonso Soriano will return to the Cubs' lineup after two days of rest, but it won't be in the leadoff spot.

Will Kurt Suzuki be an All-Star? A's broadcaster Ray Fosse thinks he's "deserving" of a spot.

And Josh Beckett thinks teammate Tim Wakefield deserves to be an All-Star.

White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin will play three innings tonight for Triple-A Charlotte.

Phillies pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, who was pitching his first game since 2007, got the win for the Phils.

Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom began throwing yesterday and is upbeat.

Angels pitcher Ervin Santana struggled in his return from the DL.

Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsusaka is heading to Fort Myers (FL) on Monday to strengthen shoulder.

Will Baltimore call up Chris Tillman, who threw 7 2/3 shutout innings Friday, soon?

Business as usual for Albert Pujols, who hit a grand slam in the eighth inning last night.

Blue Jays starter Brian Tallet had a fifth inning he'd like to forget.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says using Phil Hughes and Phil Coke in the eighth inning was to allow Brian Bruney to rest. He insists Bruney is still the set-up guy.

The Mets might start Oliver Perez on Wednesday.

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada missed a second straight game.

Is Mark Teixeira the Yankees' best defensive player since Don Mattingly?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Hot Corner, 6/30 edition

Could the season (and career) for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who is in Colorado to get a second opinion on his knee from the doctor that invented microfracture knee surgery, be in jeopardy? The Mets are optimistic that Beltran won't need anything as drastic as microfracture surgery.

Buffalo Bills QB Trent Edwards got a second chance to throw out a first pitch at the Dodgers-Rockies game last night.

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier hit his fourth walk-off home run of the season last night.

A pair of Phillies, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez, are the leading All-Star vote-getters for their respective positions while Ryan Howard trails Albert Pujols at first.

Of all Red Sox players, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun would "steal" Jason Bay for the Orioles, if he had his choice.

Maybe he should steal Jon Lester, who improved to 8-0 all-time against the Orioles last night.

Orioles manager Dave Tremblay expects Cesar Izturis back in late-July, but Izturis hopes to be back sooner.

One night after Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 500th save, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon tied Mike Stanley for the Sox' all-time saves record (132).

Who's better: Goose Gossage or Mariano Rivera? Goose says Mo is.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum pitched a two-hitter against the Cardinals and has thrown three complete games in his past four starts.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy says of Ryan Sadowski, who got a win in his major-league debut on Sunday: "Right now, he's in the rotation."

In his return from the DL, Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was welcomed back by getting only two hits and one run in support from the offense.

The Astros have sent down Wesley Wright to make room for Mike Hampton.

Brandon Backe was waived by the Astros.

Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello had his shortest outing of the year against the A's, who ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Tigers.

Tigers pitcher Fu-Te Ni struck out three in 1 2/3 innings in his debut Monday.

In seven relief appearances, Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes has an ERA of 1.50 and opposing batters are hitting .122 against him in that span.

The Reds, who are .500 (37-37), are only three games back.

Mike Lowell's return? Friday or the DL?

The Rangers called up outfielder Julio Borbon, who went 0-for-3 last night.

Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar pitched another nice game last night.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't want to get "so optimistic, so excited and pumped up" by the White Sox recent success - 10 wins in last 14 games - and end up with a broken heart.

Cubs pitcher Rich Harden got his first win last night since May 12th.

The Cubs might get Aramis Ramirez back for a four-game series against the Cardinals next week.

Going from third to sixth in the batting order, Cubs outfielder Milton Bradley might get a couple days of rest as well.

Carol Slekak of the Chicago Sun-Times asks if this is the "last stand for Lou" Piniella.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Are you smarter than a Cubs' fan?

You are if you're a White Sox fan. At least, that's according to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella noted the surge in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field when the cross-town rivals played each other this weekend compared to the 22,000 that showed for the Dodgers-White Sox series.

Why?

Of course, the never-shy Guillen had the answer:
"Because our fans are not stupid like Cubs fans," Guillen said. "They know we're [expletive]."

Guillen said Cubs fans will watch any game at Wrigley Field because "Wrigley Field is just a bar."
I'm not a Cubs fan. Or a White Sox fan. But how can you not love Ozzie?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Milton Bradley back in lineup

A day after being sent home by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, Milton Bradley was back in the Cubs' lineup in the three hole.

But Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune asks the question: Do the Cubs regret signing Bradley?

As Rogers points out, the Cubs bypassed other free-agent outfielders, such as Bobby Abreu, Raul Ibanez and Adam Dunn, in favor of the hot-tempered Bradley. Last year, Bradley hit .321 with 22 home runs in Texas and led the A.L. in on-base percentage (.436).

Bradley signed a two-year contract worth $20 million. Once Bradley plays in 75 games this season, the deal becomes a three-year contract worth $30 million.

According to the Associated Press, Piniella and Bradley have made up.

"I apologized for the last comment I made, told him he knows in the context I meant it," Piniella said. "But I also told him that just can't continue, to have shenanigans that we've put up with. I told him he's going to hurt somebody, he's going to hurt himself."

"No, man, I don't have a problem with Lou at all," said Bradley. "Initially I was just a little shocked at how everything happened suddenly. But it's something I have to deal with."

So far this season, Bradley is struggling as are the Cubs (35-35) in general. Bradley is hitting only .237 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

If the struggles continue, this probably won't be the last confrontation. Then again, if the struggles don't continue, this probably won't be the last confrontation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

C.C. to start Friday

The Yankees will give the ball to C.C. Sabathia tomorrow night against the Mets, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

Sabathia had a 30-pitch bullpen session in Atlanta that went well.

"I was able to get loose, I was able to get extended and everything felt good," Sabathia said. "I cut it loose at the end and didn't feel anything. I feel like I'll be fine."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not quite mid-season awards: N.L. MVP

Over the weekend, I began the process of selecting my Cy Youngs and MVPs in both leagues by making my N.L. Cy Young pick based on production thus far.

Obviously, a lot can change between now and October, but today I will pick my National League MVP through June 22nd.

After his 6-for-12 performance this weekend with three home runs and ten RBI, the NL MVP race is the most clear-cut of the four award races.

The award goes to Albert Pujols, who becomes only the third player to begin a career with nine consecutive 25-home run seasons. Despite my personal bias (Pujols is my favorite player), it's hard to argue with this pick.





Pujols leads the N.L. in runs scored (56), home runs (26), runs batted in (68), OBP (.448) and OPS (1.169). He is also hitting .329 on the season. He nearly has as many home runs (26) as he has strikeouts (27).

As an added bonus, he's on pace to steal 21 bases. In fact, his nine steals lead the majors for first baseman. And the Cardinals currently lead the N.L. Central.

So, the real battle is for runner-up.

Runner-up: Raul Ibanez, Phillies - For me, it came down to Prince Fielder and Ibanez, who is on the 15-day DL. Ibanez, who is off to a torrid start excluding being placed on the DL, is in the top three in the N.L. in runs (51), home runs (22), runs batted in (59) and OPS (1.027).

In addition, Ibanez is hitting .312 for the Phillies, who currently lead the N.L. East.

Honorable Mention (not necessarily in order): Prince Fielder (Brewers), Matt Kemp (Dodgers), David Wright (Mets), Adrian Gonzalez (Padres) and Ryan Braun (Brewers).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Hot Corner, 6/21 edition

The Mets are still unsure when SS Jose Reyes will make his return, but he felt fine for the first time after hitting on Friday. The problem is running.

Pitchers Jeff (Dodgers) and Jered (Angels) Weaver became the 21st pair of brothers to pitch against each other. And Jeff got the better of Jered.

Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsusaka will skip his next start.

Both John Maine and Oliver Perez will begin rehab assignments Monday.

Tigers 20-year-old pitcher Rick Porcello is poised beyond his years.

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Figaro wins in his major-league debut.

Phillies closer Ryan Madson blows another save and the Phillies have lost five straight.

Despite allowing only one run in eight innings, Matt Cain didn't get his tenth win of the season in the Giants 2-1 extra-inning win.

Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson tells the Boston Herald: "I feel that in my young career I’ve done a little bit of everything. I’ve already done some starting, but this year I feel good about all the roles I’ve been in. Except for an inning or two, almost no runs have been scored and that’s very encouraging for me."

Pirates top pick Tony Sanchez drove in the game-winning run in his first minor league game.

The Angels signed Randal Grichuk, their top pick.

Albert Pujols has lots of opinions, but he says his "job is to shut up and play."

Nolan Ryan is worried about the Rangers' offense and Josh Hamilton took 20-30 swings in a batting cage yesterday.

Rays OF Pat Burrell said he "loved" being booed at CitiField on Friday night.

James Shields got his first road win since April 12th.

Will Ben Zobrist be on the A.L. All-Star roster?

GM Brian Cashman said the decision to rest/bench A-Rod for two days was "a medical decision."

Carlos Beltran, who is going to get an MRI on his knee, says, "When I am running, pounding the knee, I feel a pinch," Beltran said. "It's annoying."

Not quite mid-season awards: N.L. Cy Young

Over the next day or two, I'm going to select my winner (i.e., current leader) and runner-up for the Cy Young and MVP (not to be confused with MP3) in both leagues.

It goes without saying, although I'll say it anyways, this is highly subjective and is merely my (well-thought-out, compelling, coherent) opinion.

That being said, I encourage that you provide feedback (and your selection, if you disagree) in the comments' section.

So, let's begin with the N.L. Cy Young Award.



The N.L. Cy Young Award goes to ... (drum roll, please) ... Matt Cain, San Francisco. With a 9-1 record, Cain is one of three nine-game winners in the N.L. Chad Billingsley (Dodgers) and Jason Marquis (Rockies) are the other two. He's also third in ERA (2.39) behind Johnny Cueto (Reds) and Dan Haren (D'Backs).

In his past five starts, Cain is 5-0 with three complete games. His three complete games lead the N.L. In his past five starts, he has 34 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings pitched. During that span, Cain has an ERA of 2.02.

With the exception of a five-inning performance in a 4-1 win over the Nationals, Cain has pitched six (or more) innings in every start.



Runner-up: Dan Haren, Diamondbacks - Haren leads the NL in innings pitched (101), strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.38), WHIP (0.82), BAA (.193) and is second in ERA (2.23). He is tied for third in strikeouts (96) with Chad Billingsley. He's pitched six (or more) innings in every start and he has only allowed more than three runs in one start (May 23rd).

While he has a mediocre win-loss record of 6-4, it's not his fault. He allowed only seven runs in 26 innings, which is an ERA of 2.42, in his four losses. His team gave him two runs (total) in those four losses as support. If only he and the D'Backs (29-39) had a better record...

Honorable Mention (not necessarily in order): Tim Lincecum (Giants), Johnny Cueto (Reds), Johan Santana (Mets), Chad Billingsley (Dodgers), Yovani Gallardo (Brewers), Josh Johnson (Marlins), Javier Vazquez (Braves)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Two days off for A-Rod



Citing "fatigue," Yankee skipper Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman decided to give third baseman Alex Rodriguez two days of rest, per Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.

A-Rod sat Friday and will sit Saturday as well.

"We just feel that he's fatigued and that he could use a little blow," Girardi said. "We talked about giving him one day off and we were thinking about doing it tomorrow, but after we slept on it, talked about it and discussed it, we're going to give him two days off."

Not surprisingly, A-Rod called it "a great disappointment." Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami, has never played a regular-season game in Miami.

Rodriguez, who was going to leave around 100 tickets, told his mother to stay home and "save on gas money."

He has gone hitless in his last 15 at bats and has only two hits in his last 21 at bats.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Santana says he's "fine"

Mets ace Johan Santana had the worst performance of his major league career yesterday. In three short innings, he allowed nine hits, two walks and nine earned runs.

In his previous three losses on the season, Santana allowed a total of only three earned runs.

Per Burt Hubbuch of the New York Post, Santana admitted that he had some physical ailments - blisters on the middle finger of his left hand and on his toe as well as a sore back. Yet he claims those ailments have nothing to do with yesterday's outing and his 6.50 ERA over his past six starts.

"What happened is, I made a few mistakes locating my pitches," Santana said.

Pitching coach Dan Warthen says, "He's fought through [blister] almost a month, but now that it's healed, the ball plane has changed." Manager Jerry Manuel agreed, saying "physically, he's in good shape. It's a delivery issue."

Santana took exception to a reporter asking about a "dead arm," according to Hubbuch.

"Who calls that? You? How you know that?" Santana barked at a reporter who asked him about dead arm. "No, that's not even close. I'm fine. There's not much I can say. I'm fine."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Hot Corner, 6/14 edition

D'Backs manager A.J. Hinch says Dan Haren, who has a 2.20 ERA, deserves to be an All-Star despite his 5-4 record.

Michael Cuddyer will have his finger drained and could be back in the Twins' line-up on Tuesday.

Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley got his N.L.-leading ninth victory over the Rangers today.

Mets ace Johan Santana never looked as bad as he did today against the Yankees.

The Rangers put closer Frank Francisco on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 4th.

Jered Weaver pitched a five-hit shutout and is now 5-0 at Angel Stadium this season with an ERA of 1.01.

Chipper Jones is now 0-for-21 in his last five games.

Unfazed by trade rumors, Jeff Francoeur says, “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”

The Royals placed Coco Crisp on the 15-day DL, retroactive to Saturday.

Reds manager Dusty Baker says of Brandon Phillips ignoring a take sign, “It’s like the military: You follow orders.”

Dontrelle Willis walked eight and allowed six runs today. Are his days in the rotation numbered?

Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz, who has made five rehab starts, says he's ready.

Ozzie Guillen on Wrigley Field: “Oh, I don’t care if they hate me, the don’t feed my kids,’’ Guillen said of the Cubbie faithful. “They hate me, that’s cool. People, no matter how famous you are, they hate you or they love you. I see the other day they asked [Joe] Crede about the rats [in Wrigley], at least I have something that people can read and write and listen to, but I never put the Cubs fans down, I’ve always admired the Cubs office, I always made my feelings known about Cubs players, about the manager, about Lou [Piniella] now, [general manager] Jim Hendry and the way I respect them, a lot, a lot, but Wrigley Field? I puke every time I go there. I’m just being honest."

Miguel Tejada got his 2,000th hit and Lance Berkman got his 300th HR of their careers.

Cliff Lee throws three-hit shutout

Although he improved to only 4-6 with tonight's 3-0 win over the Cardinals, Cliff Lee, the A.L.'s reigning Cy Young, has pitched very well this season.

Especially, if you ignore his first two starts when he allowed a whopping 11 runs in only 10 innings.

Despite his shaky start to the season, Lee has now lowered his ERA to 2.88 after tonight's three-hit shutout. And he got it done in only 93 pitches.

Excluding his first two starts, Lee's ERA is 2.20.

Except for the run support and blip early in the season, it's as though Lee has picked up from where he left off in 2008.

Bruney, K-Rod escalates during pre-game drills

Yesterday, Yankees reliever Brian Bruney commented about the blown save by Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez on Friday night and his showmanship.

Specifically, Bruney told the Hunterdon County Democrat, "Couldn't have happened to a better guy on the mound, either. He's got a tired act. He gets what he deserves, man. I just don't like watching the guy pitch. I think it's embarrassing."

So, during today's pre-game drills, K-Rod sought out Bruney (or anyone who might be Bruney).

"I saw [K-Rod] walking with attitude and asking guys, 'Is it him?' " [Mets pitcher Mike] Pelfrey said. "The next thing I know, he was in [Bruney's] face."

According to the "nobody," I mean, Bruney, the air has been cleared.

"I probably shouldn't have said what I said [Saturday], but I made that mistake and learned from it. The guy has had a great career. I don't have anything at this point to hang my hat on. I don't have a World Series title like he does. I don't have the save record like he does. For me it was nothing personal against Frankie. I've heard he is a good dude."

Do you believe him?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Halladay's next start pushed back

Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay left last night's game in the fourth inning with a strained groin.

Now, the Blue Jays will push back his next start from Thursday to (at least) Saturday, per the Associated Press.

"He wants to pitch but he's also smart, too," [Jays manager Cito] Gaston said. "Some guys might have tried to stay out there, but he didn't. He knew there was something going on. It's better that you're that way than trying to play through it sometimes."

Halladay is 10-1 with a 2.53 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched this season.

Jake Peavy to miss a month

The San Diego Padres are going to be without Jake Peavy for at least a month due to his injured ankle, according to the Associated Press.

Peavy initially injured the ankle while running the bases in his start after rejecting a trade that would have sent him to the White Sox.

Although he pitched with it taped since then, the extent of the injury is worse than originally thought.

"I was getting treatment and we were getting by," said Peavy. "Up until yesterday, I thought it was manageable. It could have gotten ugly if we didn't take the action that we did."

The Padres will start Josh Greer in Peavy's place tonight.

Peavy will wear a walking boot for the next four weeks.

With approximately a month and a half to go until the MLB trade deadline, this likely will end any chance of Peavy, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, getting traded this season.