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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 7, 2013

Photos: Andrew Wooley - Getty Images - USA Today - J. Meric/Getty Images North America - AP Photo/Toronto Blue Jays via The Canadian Press, Fred Thornhill

Photos: Andrew Wooley - Getty Images – USA Today – J. Meric/Getty Images North America – AP Photo/Toronto Blue Jays via The Canadian Press, Fred Thornhill

Today on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I review the finalists for the off season awards and give a good long look at the results of Who Owns Baseball (WOB.)

WOB was my great experiment to try and track players value based upon how they became the big performer of individual days, taking in account stats and the significance of the game.

Four of the final names very well might line up with the real awards.

But why are Matt Moore and R. A. Dickey there? Is that a flaw in WOB? Or is it a flaw in US?

The final tally for Who Owns Baseball can be found here.

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To subscribe on SoundCloud, click HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 7, 2013

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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.24th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: J. Meric - Getty Images

Photo: J. Meric – Getty Images

Evan Longoria smacked a go ahead RBI single in the 6th and added a home run in the 8th, leading the Rays in a come from behind victory over the Yankees, 4-2.

Jon Lester dominated the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine, pitching shutout ball into the 8th. Eventually he gave way to the bullpen but finished with an impressive 7 1/3, 1 run, 3 hit performance and got the decision in the Red Sox 4-2 win.

Carlos Beltran helped slug the Cardinals back into a first place tie by collecting three hits including a tie breaking home run in the third and an RBI single in the 8th. St. Louis would beat Atlanta, 6-2

Trevor Cahill gave the Diamondbacks 4 innings of shutout ball out of the bullpen on a night where he was supposed to have the night off. Instead he entered a game critical for Arizona’s thin playoff hopes in the 15th inning and proceeded to keep the Phillies off of the board, despite having the winning run at the plate for every batter he faced in the 15th, 16th and 17th innings. Eventually Philadelphia ran out of pitchers. But Cahill was triumphant as Arizona outlasted the Phils, 12-7 in 18 innings.  

They all owned baseball on August 24, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.20th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Robinson Cano was remarkable in the Yankees double header sweep of Toronto. He collected 4 hits including a three run game turning homer in the 8-4 opening win. Then in the 2-1 finale, he collected two more hits including an RBI single, getting six hits all together.

John Danks pitched 8 shutout innings, scattering 7 hits and walking just one, as the White Sox topped the fading Royals, 2-0.

Neil Walker went 2-4 with a home run, helping the Pirates clobber the Padres, 8-1 and build their lead in the NL Central.

Patrick Corbin threw a complete game victory, letting up only 2 runs, striking out 10 and walking none. The Diamondbacks stopped the Reds in Cincinnati, 5-2.

They all owned baseball on August 20, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.18th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: Michael Dwyer - AP

Photo: Michael Dwyer – AP

Alex Rodriguez homered, reached base 4 times, scored twice, drove in a pair and seemed to effect every single aspect of the game, sparking the Yankees past the Red Sox in Fenway, 9-6.

Max Scherzer improved to 18-1 by throwing 8 solid innings against division rival Kansas City. He surrenders only 5 hits, 2 runs and no walks as the Tigers prevailed 6-3.

Adam Eaton went 4-7 and broke the tie in the 16th inning with a 2 run double, setting up the Diamondbacks’ 4-2 win it Pittsburgh.

Homer Bailey mystified the Brewers over 8 innings, letting up just 1 run, 3 hits and 1 walk. He got the decision in Cincinnati’s 9-1 thrashing of Milwaukee.

They all owned baseball on August 17, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.17th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Duane Burleson

AP Photo/Duane Burleson

Miguel Cabrera hit a walk off homer in a critical divisional showdown for the Tigers against the Royals. He also had an RBI double in Deroit’s 6-5 victory.

John Lackey  quieted the Yankees bats while pitching into the 7th inning. He let up a single run and got the 6-1 win for the Red Sox.

Martin Prado helped the Diamondbacks keep pace in the playoff hunt by collecting 4 hits including a 3 run homer and beating Pittsburgh 15-5.

Clayton Kershaw beat the Phillies in just about ever way possible. He dominated on the mound with 8 shutout 3 hit innings, striking out 8 and walking just one. With the bat, he smacked an RBI double, extending the Dodgers winning streak to 10 games, 5-0 over the Phillies.

They all owned baseball on August 17, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.14th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Matt York

AP Photo/Matt York

Aaron Hill singled home the tying run in the 9th and the winning run in the 14th inning, completing the the Diamondbacks’ sweep of the Orioles, 5-4.

Francisco Liriano snapped the Pirates losing streak in a big way, defeating the Cardinals 5-1 with a complete game effort, with just 4 hits and one run. 

Alfonso Soriano for the second straight night hit a pair of homers. He drove in 7 runs and doubled and walked, driving the Yankees to an 11-3 thrashing of the Angels. 

Jarred Cosart pitched 6 shutout innings in Oakland, setting the Astros up for a 2-1 extra inning victory.

They all owned baseball on August 14, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.7th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo: Bob Levey - Getty Images

Photo: Bob Levey – Getty Images

Stephen Drew went 2-4 with a walk and a come from behind 3 run homer in the 9th inning to lead the Red Sox to a 7-5 win in Houston.

Martin Prado reached base 5 times, was a triple shy of the cycle and delivered the game winning, come from behind two run single that sealed the wild Diamondbacks 9-8 victory over the Rays .

Jeremy Bonderman returned to his old club, the Tigers, and gave a clutch relief performance. He entered the 11th inning in a critical game against the division rival Indians and each pitch he threw could have won the game for Cleveland. Instead he threw 3 shutout innings and got the win as the Tigers rallied in the 14th and took the game, 6-5. 

Matt Harvey  threw a complete game 4 hit shutout, walking none, as the Mets beat the Rockies 5-0 .


They all owned baseball on August 7, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.6th) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Andrew Albers had a remarkable big league debut. The Twins left hander pitched shutout ball into the 9th inning. He finished with 8 1/3 innings, no runs, 4 hits and only one walk, topping the Kansas City Royals, 7-0.

Adam Jones went 4-4 with a homer and a stolen base. He drove in runs in the first and fourth and scored in the 8th as the Orioles beat the Padres, 4-1 at PetcoPark.

Matt Latos kept the Oakland A’s off the board during his 7 1/3 shutout innings, letting up only 4 hits. He got the win for the Reds, 3-1. 

Eric Chavez hit a game tying RBI double and then added another run scoring double to extend the lead as Arizona topped Tampa Bay, 6-1.


They all owned baseball on August 6, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (August.2nd) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Gail Oskin - Getty Images

Gail Oskin – Getty Images

Cody Ross went 4-5 against the Red Sox, his former team, including a go ahead home run as the Diamondbacks held on to win in Fenway, 7-6.

Jose Fernandez snapped the Indians 8 game winning streak by throwing 8 shutout innings, striking out 14 and driving in a run himself, earning the 10-0 win for the Marlins.

A. J. Pierzynski drove in a run in the third and two more in the seventh as the Rangers won and picked up a game head to head against Oakland, 8-3. 

Doug Fister threw only 88 pitches in 8 innings to make quick work of the White Sox and win the game, 2-1.


They all owned baseball on July 31th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July.31st) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Torii Hunter went 4-5 with 3 RBI and finished a triple shy of the cycle. (He was actually thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple!) The Tigers embarrassed the Washington Nationals , 11-1 .

Paul Goldschmidt got on base four times, homered and scored three times, leading the Diamondbacks to a 7-0 win over the Rays and picked up a game on the Dodgers.

Brett Oberholtzer threw seven shutout innings in his first ever big league start to get the win,  pair of homers, driving in 4 runs, as Atlanta beat Colorado , 11-3.

Clayton Kershaw was masterful over 8 shutout innings against the Yankees. He walked none and scattered five hits. He was pulled from the game, however, and New York took advantage of the Dodger bullpen for a 3-0 victory.


They all owned baseball on July 31th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

The Kings of Pop: Who Are The Five Best Home Run Hitters In Each League?

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Wednesday July 24th, 2013 

Crush Davis

The Home Run might be the most exciting aspect of baseball, and this year we have some players who are definitely spoiling us with the shows they have been putting on so far. One of these players is Chris Davis. Davis lead the American League in Home Runs at the All-Star break but he is not the only player who has enjoyed going yard numerous times this season. Who are the best Home Run hitters in the league right now? Here’s my thoughts:

By Dan Wanser (MLB Reports Writer) 

Whether you’re a casual fan who just enjoys watching whatever games on or you’re a diehard who eats, sleeps, and breathes the game we can all agree that everyone loves the longball.

This season, numerous players are entertaining us by showing off their power whenever they can with some mid-game fireworks.

From the big names like Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera to the rising stars in Yoenis Cespedes and we definitely have some powerhouse hitters who are fun to watch.

So who are the best Home Run hitters in the game today? Lets rank them:

Chris Davis 2013 Home Runs:

Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July16th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It is an ALL STAR GAME edition of Who Owned Baseball!

MVP Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect inning and had the entire stage to himself, giving the All Star Game its lasting memory for the night.

Prince Fielder legged out a triple in the 9th inning that delighted the crowd and probably gave his manager a heart attack.

Matt Harvey started the game and let the first two runners on. Then he bore down and retired the next 6 All Stars he faced.

And Paul Goldschmidt hit the National League’s lone extra base hit that gave the senior circuit some life in the 9th inning.

They all owned the All Star Game last night.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July 13th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi - AP

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi – AP

Tim Lincecum threw the second no hitter of the year, striking out 13 Padres along the way. He even walked and scored in his masterpiece as the Giants won 9-0.

A.J. Griffin shut down the first place Boston Red Sox with 8 shutout innings. The A’s were triumphant 3-0 in a possible playoff preview.

The Diamondbacks came back from a 4-1 hole to Milwaukee with an attack led by Didi Gregorius. He smacked a solo homer in the 6th to start the come back. He then drove in the tying tun with a single in the 7th. Arizona would go on to win, 5-4.

Lonnie Chisenhall‘s grand slam was the difference as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Kansas City Royals, 5-3, and moved to within 1 1/2 games of first place.

They all owned baseball on July 13th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (July 4th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

 (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Dan Straily returned from the minors to throw 7 innings of 1 hit shutout baseball, winning a 1-0 thriller for the A’s over the Cubs.

Adrian Beltre clocked a pair of homers. The second homer began the Rangers 7th inning come from behind rally against the Mariners, resulting in a 5-4 Texas win.

Cole Hamels pitched 7 innings, letting up only one earned run and struck out 8 Pirates while walking none, giving the Phillies a much needed 6-4 win.

And Wil Nieves went 4-7 with a pair of RBI and got a 2 out single that helped the Diamondbacks set up the game winning rally in the 15th inning, 5-4 against the Mets.

They all owned baseball on July 4th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 28, 2013

 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Today on the Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I take a good hard long look at the Arizona Diamondbacks and wonder why we always underestimate those sneaky snakes from the desert.

By the way, I recorded this podcast in a car wash. No really, I did.

Derek Holland, Patrick Corbin, Mike Trout and Marlon Byrd all owned baseball on June 27, 2013.
To see the up to date tally of “Who Owns Baseball?,” click HERE.

Subscribe on iTunes HERE.

Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – June 28, 2013
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Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (June 27th) – Updated Yearly “WOB” Standings

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Derek Holland pitched a complete game 2 hit shutout in the Bronx as the Rangers snuck past the Yankees, 2-0.

Mike Trout collected 4 hits, including one in the game winning 10th inning rally, as the Angels came from behind to beat the Tigers 3-1.

Marlon Byrd hit a 2 run homer in the 8th inning that turned a 2-1 hole into a 3-2 Mets win over the Rockies. Byrd threw out Michael Cuddyer trying to stretch out a single in the 9th inning.

And Patrick Corbin did not get the decision, but he was strong over 7 innings, letting up only 2 runs, helping the Diamondbacks set up a 3-2 victory over the Nationals in Washington.

They all owned baseball on June 27th, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – today click here Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball – Yesterday (May 9th) + Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 1.46.43 AM

Evan Longoria went 3-5, driving in the first run of the game. Then with the Rays and Blue Jays tied, 2 outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 10th, Longoria doubled and later scored the winning run.

Scott Kazmir struck out 10 and walked none while beating the A’s. Cleveland swept all four teams against Oakland

Brian McCann hit a go ahead homer in the second and collected an RBI in the winning rally as the Braves beat the defending champion Giants, 6-3.

Patrick Corbin threw yet another solid game as the Diamondbacks won against the Phillies. He threw into the 7th with only 4 hits and 1 run to improve to 5-0 and a 1.75 ERA.

They all owned baseball on May 09, 2013

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

To View The List of just the nightly winners (WOB dedicated Page) starting from Mar.31/2013 – click here Read the rest of this entry

2012 AL and NL Rookie of the Year Predictions

Sunday November 11th, 2012

Sam Evans: Even though it may seem as if all of baseball is already focused on 2013, some of the major awards for the 2012 MLB Regular Season have yet to be announced. The AL and NL Rookie of the Year awards will be announced on Monday. Bryce Harper, Wade Miley and Todd Frazier are the finalists for the National League. Mike Trout, Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish are the last three in the American League. I predict that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout will be the two players rewarded for their outstanding rookie seasons by taking home the hardware. Read the rest of this entry

Philadelphia Phillies: Brotherly Love and the Upton Brothers

Saturday November 3rd, 2012

 

Can Phillies Phans fathom having these big-league-brothers manning the outfield at Citizen’s Bank Park?

Alex Mednick (Baseball Analyst and Writer):  Both B.J. Upton and his younger brother Justin will be available this offseason.  Bossman Junior (B.J.) will be a top centerfield free agent option, and Justin signed a lucrative 6-year deal just two years ago, is widely known to be on the trading block from Arizona.  The Upton brothers are the two highest drafted brothers in sports history.  B.J. was a second overall pick in 2002 and Justin, the first overall pick of the 2005 draft.  They have both had ups and downs in their young careers, but both have performed extremely well and shown glimpses of brilliance.  Justin has already cashed in on his first big major league contract, and B.J. is looking to so this offseason.  Where B.J. will sign, we will find out over the next months.  But one thing that is clear…he makes since for just about any team out there.

The Philadelphia Phillies are one of those teams that could envision B.J. Upton gracefully patrolling centerfield for 162 games.  As a premier center fielder facing free agency, B.J. as become far too expensive a commodity for the Rays to retain going forward.  He plays top-notch defense in centerfield and has a cannon for an arm.  All he did in 2012 as 27-year-old (in his 8th year in the MLB) was hit 29 doubles, 28 home runs and steal 31 bags.  Yes, with this amazing tool set that combines defense with speed and power comes a lifetime .255 batting average and about 150 strikeouts a year.  There are weaknesses in every player’s game, but B.J. Upton’s strengths make him a very attractive target for any team that doesn’t have Joe DiMaggio manning centerfield.

There is no doubt that B.J.’s speed and power will fit very nicely into the Phillies lineup along with Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard.  We have to also consider what it is going to take to get B.J. signed to a contract.  Right now, we know that the Tampa Bay Rays have offered B.J. a qualifying offer.  While the chances of B.J. agreeing to this are virtually ‘zero’, it does mean that whoever signs B.J. is going to have to sacrifice their first round draft pick next year to Tampa.  For a team like Philadelphia that can afford to sign top free agents, giving up a top prospect is an acceptable part of doing business. Read the rest of this entry

Baseball’s Best Bullpen: Arizona Diamondbacks

Friday November 2nd, 2012

The Diamondbacks are looking at having an incredibly strong bullpen in 2013.

Alex Mednick (Baseball Writer and Analyst):

In 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks made a really nice push in the AL West and finished with 94 wins, 8 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants.  They performed well above expectations, and they did so with a relatively unglamorous starting rotation, that consisted mainly of Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders, Josh Collmenter, Daniel Hudson and a revolving 5th starter.  What really carried the team in 2011 and made the Arizona Diamondbacks a competitive in 2011, happened to be their weakest link in their miserable 2010 season: the bullpen.

The Diamondbacks won 29 more games in 2011 than they did in 2010.  The most drastic changes made by the organization were in the bullpen where the D-Back’s added closer J.J. Putz and setup man David Hernandez.  The 2011 bullpen allowed 100 fewer runs than their predecessors in 2010 and dropped their group ERA from 5.74 in 2010 to just 3.71 in 2011.  It goes without saying that their newly revamped bullpen allowed Arizona to stay close in a lot more games and gave them a better chance to be winners.

Following their great 2011 season, the D-Back’s found themselves reverting back to their former ways in 2012.  Finishing 13 games behind the first place Giants, and just barely hanging on to a .500 record, the Diamondback’s finished 81-81.  You want to know something interesting?  It was their bullpen, once again, that failed. Read the rest of this entry

Stephen Drew: Another Great Move by Billy Beane

Thursday August 23rd, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Before the trading deadline, it was thought that the Oakland A’s were going to make a move. With the extra wild card in play this year, the team seemed to be a contender. Their weakest position though was at shortstop. There were a few options out there, some reasonable and some not, among those were Hanley Ramirez and Stephen Drew. Ramirez was very unlikely to be acquired by the A’s due to the nature of his contract, but he would’ve provided the most boost for the team. The story goes that the A’s almost had Ramirez all but acquired, with the Dodgers eating at least of his contract. But the A’s hesitated, and the Dodgers swooped in and agreed to take on all of the remaining dollars on his deal. With Ramirez ending up on the Dodgers, Stephen Drew seemed to be the most viable option left. Drew missed a large portion of the 2011 season with a broken ankle sustained on a slide into home, and made his 2012 debut around the time of the All-Star Break. In his short time with the Diamondbacks this season, Drew hit just .193 and was pretty disappointing. With the teams hierarchy going public with their displeasure, the writing was on the wall for Drew. It looked like Arizona would be able to get at least the same amount of production from a replacement, so a trade seemed imminent. For some reason the trade never got done, but the A’s kept at it.

Oakland was the perfect candidate to acquire Stephen Drew. So it was no surprise that Billy Beane finally got his man this week. Without a producing shortstop, the A’s had a very little chance at the playoffs. Sure, Drew only hit .193 this year, but he carries a career .266 average over his seven-year career. Plus he walks a ton. A stereotypical A’s hitter characteristic. In 2008, Drew hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBIs. If the A’s could get anything close to this production, they would be in very good shape. Drew will most likely keep hitting in the two-hole of the lineup, behind Coco Crisp. Once Drew gets settled and regains form, the A’s should get some good production from the top of their lineup, setting the table for the monster bats of Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes, and Chris Carter. Even if Drew were to continue hitting .193, he would still be an improvement from the overall batting average of A’s shortstops at .190. As long as he can walk and hit with some power. Drew will most likely be taking time away from Cliff Pennington and Adam Rosales. Given their combined numbers, that is a very good thing. The A’s also just sent the struggling Jemile Weeks down to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Drew.

Read the rest of this entry

Will the Arizona Diamondbacks Win the NL West?

Monday August 6th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Diamondbacks fans spoke out about our last piece on the Dodgers and Giants, so here’s one devoted just to the Dbacks. After last year’s run when they dethroned the world champion Giants, Arizona was poised for something similar this season. In the offseason, they acquired Trevor Cahill from the A’s. He provided some extra depth in the already-strong pitching staff that included Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, and Joe Saunders. With Cahill, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Aaron Hill, and offseason signing Jason Kubel, the Diamondbacks were ready to defend their NL West title.

Arizona however, started off a bit slow. Daniel Hudson needed Tommy John Surgery and Stephen Drew wasn’t quite ready to come off the DL. Catcher Miguel Montero went into a slump and Chris Young—after a hot start—was headed to the DL. While all of this was happening, the Dodgers were absolutely on fire. Matt Kemp was already on the fast track to winning MVP, and the team was in first place by a nice margin. The Giants were doing well too. With no competition from the Padres, the D-Backs were in third place. As the season went along, Matt Kemp was sidelined by a hamstring injury and the Dodgers faltered. The Giants kept pace and ended up passing the Dodgers to take first place. Meanwhile, the D-Backs rebounded and stayed in contention. At the All Star Break, the Dodgers led the West by half a game over the Giants and by four games over Arizona. The standings haven’t changed drastically over time, as now the Giants lead by half a game over the Dodgers and by three over the Diamondbacks.

Read the rest of this entry

2012 Trade Deadline Update #6 7/29: Lirano to the White Sox, Johnson to D-Backs, and More

Sunday July 29th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Here are some of the latest key baseball trades that have taken place over the last 24 hours:

Francisco Liriano to the White Sox

After losing out on Greinke, the White Sox needed to make a move. Their pitching needed an extra boost. Chris Sale hasn’t been himself his last two starts, giving up five earned runs in each, and Jake Peavy has been on and off lately, going 1-2 in his past three starts. Although Liriano has for the most part had a terrible year, holding a 3-10 record with an atrocious 5.31 ERA, he hasn’t been all that bad in his last few starts (excluding his last start against Chicago—2.2 innings, seven earned runs),striking out 10 and 15 in the two starts before facing Chicago. The White Sox are hoping that Liriano will continue his turnaround and help them reach the playoffs. This could be tough for the White Sox though; the Tigers seem to have the makings of a playoff team to not make the playoffs, and the AL West looks like it could produce three playoff teams as of now. But, with all this, Chicago does look promising after the acquisition of Kevin Youkilis earlier in the year. Adam Dunn has returned to form, hitting more home runs and striking out just as much. It looks like the White Sox will have a good shot to play in October. Read the rest of this entry

2012 Trade Deadline Update #3 07/25: HanleyWood: Hanley to the Dodgers, Wandy, and More

Wednesday July 25th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: Some more trades came down, including one exciting blockbuster to report. One of the biggest names though that was supposed to be traded will now be staying put. Cole Hamels, the Phillies great young left-handed starter is expected to re-sign for 6-years and $144 million. But even  with Hamels off the market, the trade winds are in full swing.  Hold on to your hats…this is HUGE:

Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers

Another blockbuster deal. Announced late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, Hanley Ramirez is headed to the Dodgers with reliever Randy Choate for pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. There were rumblings about a possible trade of Hanley, and it ended up happening. Hanley will start fresh on the west coast as the Dodgers are battling with the Giants for the NL West crown. The Dodgers started off hot with Matt Kemp leading the charge. Kemp went down with a hamstring injury and was re-injured in his first game back. After another DL stint, Kemp came back right after the All Star Break. Andre Either also had some time on the DL with an oblique injury, but he has since come back. Now, both are healthy and poised to help the Dodgers on a run down the stretch. With Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley heading the pitching staff, one of the Dodgers’ weakest positions was third base. Juan Uribe, the main third baseman for the Dodgers this year, is hitting a weak .190 with just two homers and 17 RBI. Dee Gordon, the primary shortstop and currently on the DL, is hitting .229. Needless to say, the Dodgers needed some help on the left side of the infield. Read the rest of this entry

Should the Diamondbacks be Buyers or Sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline?

Thursday July 19th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): The Diamondbacks could be in a worse situation. Just four games under .500 and sitting third within the NL West, they’re in the middle of the road statistically for both hitting and pitching despite injuries on both sides of the ball. Both Justin Upton and Miguel Montero have gone through slumps but are still batting around .270 with potential to contribute offensively, and second baseman Aaron Hill is having a great season so far, hitting .301 with the projection of 73 RBIs if he continues on this pace. Outfielder Jason Kubel is having a great year at the plate and defensively, as he leads the MLB in outfield assists. Rookie pitcher Wade Miley has been a wonderful surprise this year, leading all rookie starters with a 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 10 wins. Keep in mind this is the team that won the NL West last year and didn’t radically change over the offseason.

That being said, they’re far from in the driver’s seat. 7 games out of the wild card, as well as 7 games from the NL West lead, they have some issues to attend to. While top prospect and 2011 draft pick Trevor Bauer has the potential to be an MLB starter, at 21 he’s a bit underdeveloped. In four starts, Bauer had a 6.06 ERA with a 1-2 record, rough enough to buy him a bus ticket back to Triple-A Reno. With ace Daniel Hudson out for the season because of Tommy John surgery, the D-Backs currently only have four starting pitchers. With the deadline fast approaching, Arizona has a tough choice: trade away prospects and make a run for the playoffs, or sell off their big names in return for a chance in 2013 (and beyond). Read the rest of this entry

The Montreal Expos Draft And Signing Record Was Outstanding: Part 1-Hitters

Friday June.22/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  I am attempting to bring the history for each of the 30 MLB Franchises into a 5 part series that will focus on 1. The teams history. 2. The hitters 3. The pitchers. 4.  The Team’s Payroll going into in 2013 and 5. (The stadium articles will all be done next summer when I go to all of the parks in under a month again.)  To follow all of the updates, be sure to check my author page with a list of all archived articles here.

Andre Dawson and Tim Raines were perennial ALL-Stars and always had the Montreal Expos in contention every year they played for the Canadian Club.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-I recently saw a bunch of old Montreal Expos had a celebration dinner to honor the late Gary Carter at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.  This brought me back to when I was a little kid watching the Expos on the French Channel in Canada.  I followed this team before any other in MLB.  I was a catcher in little league because of Gary Carter.  My friends and I all would ask for Montreal Expos hats and jerseys for Christmas.  I would later move on to like the Yankees when Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson joined the club, but I always liked the Expos in the National League as my team.  They were a consistent club from 1979-1995.  They drafted extremely well and were above .500 for pretty much the entire time.  At the end of this article today be sure to watch the documentary from youtube on the Expos Franchise that the Reports has linked for you.

It was unfortunate they had the 2 billion dollar monstrosity of what was Olympic Stadium as their home venue.  It was a mistake from the beginning  to build a baseball park so far away from the downtown core.  The 1994 strike killed the franchises hopes to make their 1st World Series appearance.  The team was leading the NL East with a 74-40 record and featured the outfield of Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou.  They had traded away their ALL-Star second basemen Delino DeShields prior to that year for some pitcher named Pedro Martinez.  The economics of baseball were starting to catch up on the baseball club.  When the lockout was lifted in 1995, gone were Walker, Grissom and great pitchers Ken Hill and John Wetteland.  It began a constant cycle of Montreal grooming awesome talent, only to trade the players away before they had to pay them big money.  The one constant of the team was an incredible draft record from 1985-2004.  Today is part 1 of a 3 part article series in which we will look at the history of the Montreal Expos.  I have listed 30 hitters drafted by the Expos Scouting Staff that went onto nice baseball careers.  Next week I will look at the pitchers and the third week I will cover the dissection of the proud franchise before the move to Washington. Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Robby Rowland: Discussing the Trade from the Diamondbacks to the Pirates

Tuesday April 3rd, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  We welcome back to MLB reports one of our most famous almuni, Robby Rowland.  Robby interviewed with us on December 1, 2011 and also appeared as a Guest MLB Blogger on February 6, 2012 and December 31, 2011 in his blog that we call “Robby’s World”.  RobbyRow is back on MLB reports…and he has some major news to discuss. As you are aware, RobbyRow was traded this past weekend to the Diamondbacks in exchange for pitcher Brett Lorin.  Originally taken by the Dbacks in the Rule 5 Draft, the team was able to keep Lorin’s rights by completing this trade. RobbyRow was a 3rd round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2010. Now, after 2 seasons in the Dbacks organization, he is off to a new team and a fresh start in Pittsburgh.

Trades are a way of life in baseball. It’s the reality of a sport that is first and foremost a business. While difficult to be leaving the only team that he has ever known, Robby Rowland has taken the trade in stride. While he is grateful to Arizona for everything that they have done for his career, he is exciting to be joining the Pirates and competing for a rotation spot one day. It takes a very mature player to recognize the nature of a trade and the opportunities that can arise as a result, especially at such a young age. The Pirates are very lucky to have obtained this pitching prospect, as he will quickly become a fan favorite!

I caught up with RobbyRow as soon as the trade was announced. He was digesting news of the trade and preparing to join the Pirates. But being the gentleman that he is…RobbyRow still fit us into his hectic schedule. We discussed the trade, from the moment that he got to news to his future plans. Robby was extremely generous with his time in discussing the move and his thoughts. So let’s jump right into it!

Today exclusively on MLB reports, we are proud to present the newest member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and addition to their pitching prospect arsenal, Robby Rowland:

Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Robby Rowland: Arizona Diamondbacks Pitching Prospect

Thursday December 1, 2011

 


Jonathan Hacohen:  We are proud to welcome to MLB reports:  Robby Rowland, pitching prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks.   Robby was a 3rd round pick for the Dbacks in the 2010 draft.  He recently completed his second season of Rookie Ball, playing for the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League.  Standing an imposing 6’6″, the soon to be 20-year old Rowland has a bright future ahead with the Dbacks.  I have enjoyed getting to know Robby over the past few days, as we talked our favorite subject…baseball.  I got the sense speaking to Robby that he truly loves the game.  His passion and commitment will carry him very far in my estimation, as he works towards joining the Dbacks one day in Arizona.  There is definitely no attitude in the world of Robby Rowland.  He understands where he came from and what he needs to do in order to one day become a successful major league pitcher.  With spring training less than three months away, I had a chance to catch up with Robby Rowland and learn about his career.  It was a fun interview to conduct and we are looking forward to having Robby return back soon on the Reports!

Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with Robby Rowland - Diamondbacks Pitching Prospect:

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MLB reports:  Thank you for taking the time to join us today Robby.  How has your offseason gone so far?

Robby Rowland:  Thank you for having me!  The offseason has been good.  Just working out a lot and got a little part-time job. But I already want it to be over.  I am just missing baseball too much right now!

 

MLB reports:  You just completed your 2nd season in Rookie Ball.  Plus you are still 19-years of age!  How have you found the process of getting adjusted to playing professional baseball?

Robby Rowland:  It’s definitely a tough process. I used to think that pitching was very simple; that you just throw the ball and get outs. But I have found out that a lot goes into it. Coming from high school, the adjustment was a lot harder. It’s not just throwing the ball as hard as you can anymore. It’s about pitching to your strengths and trying to locate the ball down in the zone. The hitters in pro-ball will make you pay if you make a pitch up in the zone. I am no longer able to take any pitches off; I have to be zoned in the whole game. Aside from the pitching aspect of the game, I just love professional baseball! I get to live and breathe baseball without any interferences. 

 

MLB reports:  You were drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft.  Did you expect to be drafted by Arizona and what round was supposed to be “your round”?

Robby Rowland:  They were one of the teams that showed a lot of interest in me. It was tough to determine, just because I always had a lot of scouts at my high school games. But when it came down to it, I believe Arizona was in the top-4. Everyone told me the highest I would go was 2nd round and the lowest would be in the 4th round.

 

MLB reports:  How did you first find out you were drafted: what was that like?

Robby Rowland:  Well I had a couple family members over and we hooked up the computer to the TV in our living room so we were able to watch it on a big screen. My agent would call me and let me know that I might be selected here or there so it was kind of a roller coaster day. The names on the screen seemed to be going so slow. After the second round was completed I grew very anxious. I started thinking about the worst possible scenarios. My agent called me and told me the Diamondbacks were 50/50 in taking me. Right after I hung up with him- my area scout, Dee Brown, called me and told me they selected me. I saw my name on the screen and some highlights. Definitely a surreal moment.

 

MLB reports:  Ever have to pinch yourself: does it feel like a dream playing professional baseball?

Robby Rowland:  Haha I had to pinch myself a couple of times during those first few playing days. It’s something that I was born to do. I grew up around this game. My dad played for 10 years, so I was always around the game of baseball. My mom has a couple pictures of me when I was real young holding a couple of my dad’s bats and playing with baseballs around the house. I am just blessed that I am able to be playing the game I love for a living.

 

MLB reports:  What other sports did you playing growing up? Given your height, did you ever consider pursuing basketball instead?

Robby Rowland:  I played football when I was real young but it cut into my Fall Ball for baseball, so I only played one year. Yes actually I was always a basketball player. There were a couple of colleges that wanted me for a dual sport scholarship. It came down to my senior year until I decided to just focus on baseball. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life. Still to this day, I miss basketball.

 

MLB reports:  What are your most dominant pitches?  Any new ones you are working on?

Robby Rowland:  I like to say that all of my pitches are dominant.  But if I had to throw my best pitch in a certain situation, I would go with my sinking fastball down at the knees. I am a firm believer in a fastball down in the zone with movement is the toughest pitch to hit. I am not necessarily working on new pitches, but when I was instructional league down in Arizona, the pitching coordinator got with me and really helped me to define my mechanics. Before I wasn’t using my lower half and my arm slot was too high, therefore my head was tilting to the left when I would throw. What he did was straighten my body out and helped me figure out how to use my lower half. I also dropped my arm slot a little bit getting some more sink on my ball. The key now is to try and figure out how to control all my pitches with this new delivery and arm slot. 

 

MLB reports:  How would you describe “your game”?  What “type” of pitcher are you?

Robby Rowland:  I like to say I am a strike thrower. I guess you could say that I am a little old school in the fact that I am going to go right after hitters with my best stuff. Almost a “here you go hit it” type of guy. In high school, I was always a strikeout type of overpowering pitcher. But when I got to pro ball, I realized that I needed to start pitching to contact. Keeping the ball down and getting lots of ground balls. It’s like the Bull Durham quote, “Strikeouts are boring, besides that they’re fascist. Throw a ground ball- it’s more democratic.” 

 

MLB reports:  Looking into a crystal ball, when do you expect to make it to the Show?

Robby Rowland:  I couldn’t tell you that. Of course that’s the goal.  But right now it’s about figuring out how to pitch, keep getting better, and when all that comes into play- then hopefully I will make it. 

 

MLB reports:  Long term:  do you expect to stay a starter or will you consider a move to the pen?

Robby Rowland:  I would like to stay a starter my whole life. My dad has always told me that starters have the life!  Pitch every fifth day… who wouldn’t want that?  But whatever my team needs me to do I am willing.

 

MLB reports:  What are your goals for 2012?

Robby Rowland:  I have a lot of goals for 2012. I feel like I have a lot to prove after a shaky 2011 season. My main goal is to get my mechanics dialed in and keep learning how to pitch. Of course I want to be on a full season roster and log a lot of innings.  But I realize I am still young and it’s all about figuring out the concept of pitching. I am always just finding ways to get better.

 

MLB reports:  If you weren’t playing baseball, you would be __________________

Robby Rowland:  Oh man… I would have to say I would be playing basketball in college somewhere… 

 

MLB reports:  Favorite pre-game meal?

Robby Rowland:  Gotta go with a Quiznos sandwich here. The Black Angus steak with extra sauce.  Really gets me going.

 

MLB reports:  What music are you currently listening to?

Robby Rowland:  I have a wide variety.. I’ve always loved the classic rock.. Tom Petty, Boston, Lynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad- all those bands.  I will also listen to a little bit of rap and hip hop. I currently just got into a little bit of country but I don’t really know any of the singers.

 

MLB reports:  Funniest prank you ever saw in a clubhouse? 

Robby Rowland:  Ohhhh… there’s been a lot of good ones. I would have to say the time when some guys took a player’s stuff out of his locker and saran wrapped it to one of the benches in the locker room.

 

MLB reports:  Final question:  What would you most want to be remembered for in baseball when you hang up your spikes?

Robby Rowland:  I want to be remembered as someone who played the game the right way. Someone who every time he put a jersey on, he played the game with respect. I also want to be a game changer. The guy that you can throw out there in a must-win game and know that there is a great chance that the ball club is going to get a win. Oh and not to mention maybe one of the best hitting pitchers to ever play the game… just saying…

 

MLB reports:  Thank you for your time today Robby.  It has been a blast speaking to you.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.  We look forward to having you back on soon!

Robby Rowland:  Thanks for everything man. Let me know if there is anything else I could do for you. Sure was a fun interview!

 

Thank you again to Robby Rowland for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Robby.  As well, please follow Robby on Twitter (@RobbyRow_12)

 

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Brewers and Cardinals Advance to 2011 NLCS, Plus Recap of Carpenter vs. Halladay

Saturday October 8, 2011

 

 

Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist - MLB reports):  In what had been shaping up to be very tight league division series, MLB fans were treated to not one or two, but rather three game fives this year.  With the Tigers advancing last night to face the Rangers, it was time for the National League to decide its championship series competitors.  The Diamondbacks were in Milwaukee to face the Brewers, while the Phillies were at home to host the Cardinals.  Both games ended in on run leads, with the Cardinals and Brewers pulling out the wins.  Let’s recap the MLB action from Friday night:

 

St.Louis Cardinals at Philadelphia Phillies: NLDS Game Five

The best way that I can sum up this game is as follows.  Chris Carpenter was taking the mound, facing off against ex-Blue Jays teammate Roy Halladay.  This was a game that had a great deal of hype and buzz and excitement surrounding it.  Games of this nature usually end up disappointing.  I have seen all too often two great pitchers matchup, with one of the starters leaving early or getting hit hard.  This one was one of those games though that ended up exceeding expectations.  Carpenter won it, pitching a complete game shutout, three hitter, no walks and three strikeouts.  About as good of a performance as you will see in baseball, let a lone the playoffs.  Halladay on the other hand was just as strong, finishing with 8 IP, 6 hits allowed, 1 ER, 1 BB and 7 strikeouts.  Ryan Madson came in for a clean 9th inning, striking out a pair.  The only blemish for Halladay came in the first, when he gave up a leadoff triple to Rafael Furcal, who proceeded to score on a Skip Schumaker double.  An Albert Pujols intentional walk- otherwise, an almost perfect day as well for Halladay.  The Cardinals stranded more runners on base (7), while the Phillies only left 4 on base.  Carpenter did hit Chase Utley, but managed to complete the game unscathed.  Carpenter was very efficient in this outing, requiring only 110 pitches for the complete game.  Halladay on the other hand needed 126 pitches to get through six.  It is rare to get only one run in the 1st inning and to make the lead stick.  But Chris Carpenter did just that.  Now the Cardinals advance and continue their Cinderella run (blame the rally squirrel).  Given the importance of the game and intensity, you would be hard-pressed to find a better pitched baseball game.  Hats off to both starters, as each had an incredible outing last night.  But Carpenter was the better arm on this day and as a result, the Cardinals break through while the Phillies stun the baseball world by exiting the playoffs in the first round.   

Howard to have MRI:   After the game, the baseball world was buzzing about Ryan Howard.  Requiring help to get off the field, Howard was on crutches.  Reports indicate that he may have tore his Achilles tendon.  Howard will have an MRI today to confirm the severity of his injury.  This type of injury can typically take 6-9 months approximately of recovery time.  With the Phillies possibly losing their top star for a good portion of next season, things just back to worse for the one time heavy favorite to win the 2011 World Series.  Roy OswaltJimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson may all not be back, and Cole Hamels also has an impending free agent status that will need to be dealt with.  For a team that was expected to do so much, greater uncertainly lies ahead as the team attempts to recover and figure out what went wrong.

 

Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers: NLDS Game Five

 The second battle of the aces of the day featured Yovani Gallardo opposing Ian Kennedy.  Both pitchers did their jobs in this one, going six inning apiece.   Kennedy giving up 2 runs on 5 hits, Gallardo 1 run on 6 hits.  Both walked 2 and struck out 5.  Gallardo’s only blemish on the day was a solo home run to Justin Upon in the 3rd.  The Brewers led this one from the 6th on, until the 9th.  Saito and Rodriguez each earned holds with a clean inning of work each.  With closer John Axford on to pitch the 9th, he gave up the tying run to send this one to the 10th.  Axford ended up pitching 2 innings for the win.  After setup man David Hernandez pitched 2 clean innings, it was up to closer J.J. Putz to hold the Brewers in check in the 10th.  The unlikely hero was Nyjer Morgan, who got the game-winning hit to score Carlos Gomez to send the Brewers to a 3-2 win and a meeting with the Cardinals in the NLCS.  While the Diamondbacks were the feel-good team of this year’s playoffs, the clock struck midnight on them.  The Brewers, stocked to make a run this year, fulfill a part of their destiny by advancing.  The Diamondbacks go home feeling good about themselves.  A team that was expected to continued rebuilding grouped together, and made a run that few if any in the baseball world could have expected.  Kirk Gibson and his boys should proud when reflecting their on season.

The Cardinals are Flying in:  The Brewers get to stay home for game one of their NLCS matchup with the Cardinals.  Zack Greinke is set to go for the Brewers, with the Cardinals starter still TBD.  The Brewers are the favored squad, with their balance of sluggers, top starting pitching and lockdown bullpen.  The Cardinals now take on the role of the Diamondbacks, the underdogs that everyone is rooting for.  With the Rally Squirrel being the talk of the town (don’t ask…), do the Cardinals have the firepower to match up with the powerful Brewers?  This series will come down to managing.  Tony LaRussa vs. Ron Roenicke.  While Roenicke has an extensive coaching resume, he is still a fairly raw manager.  LaRussa is as crafty as they come and my money is on St. Louis making a return trip to the World Series.  The Cardinals have a strong offense, led by Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman.  The team has received good to great starting pitching and their bullpen gets the job done.  The Brewers are the favorites on paper.  I see this one going the full seven games, with the Cardinals moving on to face the Rangers in the World Series.  The road to the World Series begins tonight in Arlington, as Detroit and Justin Verlander take on C.J. Wilson and the Rangers.  A great postseason so far, that only promises to get better.

 

 

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Tigers advance to ALCS, Yankees Go Home and Ventura Named White Sox Manager

Friday October 7, 2011

Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist - MLB reports):  Thursday was an exciting day in the world of Major League Baseball.  The Detroit Tigers were set to face-off against the Yankees in New York.  Game five of their ALDS series, all tied up 2-2.  Winner moves on to face the Texas Rangers, loser goes home.  The Yankees has their AL ROY candidate Ivan Nova on the mound, with the Tigers relying on Doug Fister.  In the wake of the only game on Thursday’s schedule, Kenny Williams and the Chicago White Sox shocked the baseball world by naming Robin Ventura their new manager.   A wild and crazy day indeed.

 

Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees: ALDS Game Five

 The highly anticipating pitching matchup never took place in this one.  Fister did his part for the Tigers, tossing 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 1 ER, 2 walks while striking out 5.  Max Scherzer and Joaquin Benoit earned holds while Jose Valverde earned the save with a lockdown 1-2-3 9th inning.  Ivan Nova lasted only 2 innings, giving up 2 runs (back to back solo home runs in the first to Don Kelly and Delmon Young), while allowing 3 hits and striking out 3.  Not taking any chances, Joe Girardi was active with his bullpen all night, sending out Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, C.C. Sabathia, Rafael Soriano, Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera.  This game boiled down to execution and squeaking out runs.

The Tigers, underdogs going into the series, were able to pull out a 3-2 win.  Fister got the win while Nova took the loss.  Sabathia, ironically enough, ended up giving up allowing the game winning run in the 7th.  Despite getting more hits than the Tigers (10-8), the Yankees left a whopping 20 men on base last night, while the Tigers left 13.   The Tigers did lose Delmon Young during the game to injury (apparent oblique strain), making his status for the immediate future uncertain.  Young, along with Fister, were the difference makers in this game.  Both mid-season acquisitions by GM Dave Dombrowski, helped the Tigers win the Central and advance to the ALCS.  Brian Cashman and the Yankees stood pat at the trade deadline, and were left standing in the wings once again in the playoffs. 

The game marked the likely end of Jorge Posada‘s Yankee (and possibly major league) career.  The future hall-of-famer endured his toughest year ever in the majors.  But for all his troubles in the regular season, Posada ended up shining in this year’s playoffs- finishing with a .429 average.  The game also possibly marked the last game of C.C. Sabathia’s tenure in New York.  With his opt-out clause looming this off-season, there is a chance that Sabathia may jump ship to another team.  Highly unlikely, given his apparent love for New York and the Yankees dire need for his arm.  But as Alex Rodriguez proved yet again this year (.111 AVG in the playoffs, with 3 strikeout on the night, including the game ending at-bat), big contracts do not necessarily guarantee victories.  With 6 years and approximately $143 million left on the books (excluding incentives), the Yankees will likely be eating A-Rod pie for some time to come.

With this game in the books, questions now centre on the immediate future of each team.  The Tigers move on to the ALCS, to face the Texas Rangers.  This will be an exciting series and a big challenge for the Tigers.  With the Texas-sized offense in place, the Tigers’ pitching staff (led by AL pitching triple crown winner and likely Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander and Fister) will need to be stellar.  Both teams have strong bullpens that will be relied upon heavily in the series.  This series will boil down to whether the Tigers offense can muster enough runs to compete with Texas, and on the same token, how well the Texas rotation can contain Detroit.  The Tigers have enjoyed a great run to-date, but my crystal ball is showing a Texas return trip to the World Series.  One year wiser and more experienced, Ron Washington’s team should be able to win this out in six games.  But keep one thing in mind:  whenever Jim Leyland is involved, anything can happen.  The Tigers made it this far for a reason and in a short series…. you never know. 

 

Robin Ventura Named Chicago White Sox Manager

The talk of the day yesterday was the White Sox big announcement.  GM Kenny Williams announced that the team had hired former third baseman, Robin Ventura as the White Sox new manager.  Ventura, 44, spent 10 years with the White Sox as a player.  Most recently he was retained by the team as a “Special Advisor”.  Now, Ventura with no managerial experience to his resume, takes over control of the team on the field.  Many names were thrown around as possible candidates, including former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona, former players and currently employed coaches Sandy Alomar Jr. and Dave Martinez, as well as hall of famer and current minor league manager Ryne Sandberg.  Personally, I expected the White Sox to hire Martinez or Sandberg.  Given the success of the Rays, Martinez as bench coach to manager Joe Maddon is highly considered in the game.  Sandberg, on the other hand, has a proven track record managing in the minors and has strong ties to Chicago (obviously).  Why then the choice of the inexperienced Ventura?

A couple of reasons come to mind.  Firstly, the White Sox endured a very difficult 2011 season in missing the playoffs, despite heavy preseason expectations.  Nothing distracts a fan base better than brining in a well known and loved name.  Ventura was one of the most popular White Sox players in his day, and his hire at some level will help appease the fans.  As well, a shocking signing of this nature has an effective way of masking the results of the season gone by, as well as steering the press to focus on 2012 and how Ventura will perform as a manager, rather than analyze the season that had just been completed.  A stroke of genius in my book.  Another reason to consider, which is a guess on my part, is that Williams is not interested in hiring a big and powerful name that will overshadow him.  After enduring years of arguments and power struggles with former manager Ozzie Guillen, Williams was looking for a manager that would first and foremost listen to him and know his role in the organization.  While Ryne Sandberg is my book is a far more qualified individual for the job, his stature in the game (as well as Chicago) would have relegated Williams to the back seat, had Ryno been named the new White Sox manager. 

The ironic part is that while hiring Ventura clearly solidifies Kenny William’s place in the White Sox food chain, it may have the strongest effect of sweeping him out of town soon.  The lustre of the White Sox 2005 World Series championship has long faded.  With a large payroll and unsuccessful ballclub, it is “put up or shut up” time for Williams and the White Sox.  If the team gets off to a slow start, and/or has another failed campaign, I fully expect Kenny Williams to be reassigned or dismissed from his post.  If results on the field are the most important factor for Williams to keep his job, then he should have looked for the best candidate to guide his team.  The Ventura signing may make White Sox fans feel all soft and cuddly at the onset.  But losing games will change that in a hurry.  With Frank Thomas being discussed as a possible candidate for a role on the squad, the 2012 White Sox coaching staff may look like a reunion from years gone by.  I enjoyed watching Ventura as a player and had he been groomed as a coach for this position, perhaps he would have been prepared to succeed.  But coming in raw, the new manager will have to learn quickly on the job.  A move made by Williams’ ego, but not his sensibility in my estimation. 

 

 

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