Daily Archives: October 14, 2011

Tigers Stay Alive and NLCS Tied Up: Recap of MLB Playoffs and Notes

Friday October 14, 2011

 

 

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  The Rangers had a chance on Thursday to advance to the World Series.  The Cardinals were up 2-1 in the NLCS and looking to take a commanding lead.  How did they do?  Let’s recap Thursday’s MLB playoffs:

 

Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers: ALCS Game Five

 The battle of the aces.  C.J. Wilson and Justin Verlander.  This game turned into a high scoring affair rather than a pitching classic.  The Tigers pulled out a 7-5 victory to stay alive in the series.  Verlander took the win, with 7 1/3 IP, 4 runs allowed, 8 hits, 3 walks and 8 strikeouts.  The lone home run given up Verlander was in the 5th inning to none other than… Nelson Cruz.  The Rangers slugger hit his 5th home run of the series, a 2-run effort.  Phil Coke came in for the rare save, pitching 1 2/3 innings, allowing 1 run.  C.J. Wilson took the loss for the Rangers.  In 6.0 IP, Wilson allowed a staggering 6 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.  The long ball did Wilson in, as he allowed 3 of them to the Tigers in their home park.  Alex Avila hit a solo blast in the 3rd, while Delmon Young had a pair on the day (a solo home run in the 4th and 2-run blast in the 6th).  For good measure, Koji Uehara came on in the 7th to give up a solo home run to Ryan Raburn

The crooked number came for the Tigers in the 6th.  Miguel Cabrera hit a ground ball off the third base bag that could have led to a double play, but rather went for a double.  Detroit kept the momentum from there and scored four runs in the inning.  Detroit actually had a 7-2 lead going into the 8th, but the Rangers were able to chip away and stay within striking distance.  Texas now leads the series 3-2 going into game 6 on Saturday.  The game will be played at 8:05 PM ET, with Max Scherzer and Derek Holland set to faceoff.  The Rangers continue to be one game away from that magical trip back to the World Series. 

 

Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals:  NLCS Game Four

The Cardinals held a 2-1 lead in the series with game four to be played at home.  Kyle Lohse was on the hill for the home team, Randy Wolf for the Brewers.  Turns out that Wolf was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Brewers.  The starter pitched a solid 7.0 IP to take the win, giving up only 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk and 6 strikeouts.  The only runs allowed by Wolf were on solo home runs, to Matt Holliday in the 2nd and Allen Craig in the 3rd.  Francisco Rodriguez got the hold in the 8th and closer John Axford with the save in the 9th.  Kyle Lohse could not make it out of the 5th, pitching 4 1/3 IP for the loss.  Lohse gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, no walks and struck out 3.  Mitchell Boggs, Arthur RhodesOctavio Dotel and Fernando Salas also pitched in this one.  The Brewers recipe for success in this one was simple.  Great pitching and grinding out runs at the plate.  One could say that the Brewers beat Tony La Russa at his own game.  The Brewers did not hit a long ball in this one, but will certainly take out the well-earned victory.  With the series tied up 2-2, game five goes tonight at 8:05 PM ET in St. Louis.  A great matchup on the mound, as Jamie Garcia and Zack Greinke faceoff. 

 

MLB Notes:

  •  With the Theo Epstein soap opera about to conclude, the focus shifts to Baltimore and Boston for their vacant General Manager positions.  Boston is looking internally to fill the role, while Baltimore is considering everyone and anyone to lead their team.  This is a crucial stage for both teams’ development.  Boston needs to maintain its status as a top flight MLB organization, while Baltimore is on the verge of breaking through (with a great deal of talent in their farm system).
  • The sale of the Houston Astros to Crane will apparently be going through.  The sale will lead to the Astros moving to the American League, playing in the West division.  I will be writing about this subject very soon on the Reports.  But at this point I will say that the move is a win-win for the Astros and its fans.  The team needs stability and  renewed excitement.  A move to the AL West should provide just that and more.
  • Another day, another rumor.  With the Red Sox in apparent turmoil, Big Papi has come out and indicated that he may not return to Boston.  That is his decision and I respect that.  But will Boston be asking him back…and at what price?  If Papi does leave, look for the Jays, Rays and Yankees to all hold discussions with the big man.  The Angels may also be a consideration.  But my money is on a return to Beantown.
  • The expansion of the MLB playoffs will happen.  It is just a question of when.  The latest reports have Major League Baseball adding one more wild card team to each league and a sudden death, one game playoff, to be played by the wild card teams.  I do not know yet how I feel about having just a one gamer to decide the wild card winner.  But I am definitely in favour of expanding the amount of teams.  Personally, I like the idea of each top team getting a full bye into the championship series.  But this may be too revolutionary for baseball.  The expanded MLB playoffs is likely coming as early as the 2013 season.
  • The World Baseball Classic is coming in the spring of 2013.  The qualifying tournament will be played sometime in the fall of 2012.  I am a big fan of this tournament and see it as a big step for baseball expansion throughout the world.  More details will likely not be available until next year, but I will continue to update everyone as information becomes available.   

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports

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Interview with Christian Friedrich: Colorado Rockies Prospect

Friday October 14, 2011

 

 

Jeff P (Guest Writer – MLB reports):  Recently I had the honor of interviewing Christian Friedrich, top MLB pitching prospect.   Speaking to Friedrich, I had the sense that he has the same key goal as many other baseball players:  working hard to achieve his dream.  Friedrich is a great guy and it was a pleasure interviewing him. 

Firstly, I would like to relay some information on Chris, courtesy of Wikipedia:
 
“Christ Louis Friedrich (July 8, 1987 in Evanston, Illinois) is a left-handed starting pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization. He currently plays for the Class AA Tulsa Drillers. He was drafted in the first round (25th overall) in the 2008 Amateur Draft out of Eastern Kentucky University.”
 
Considering that he was a prestigious first round selection, Chris is one of the most interesting guys you will ever meet in baseball.  Chris has tremendous talent, to go along with his strong reputation in the game.  Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with Rockies Prospect, Chris Friedrich:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports, Chris.  I am starting you off with a tough question:  you have struggled throughout your time in double-A ball.  What do you feel has been the most difficult part of moving from A+ to AA?

Friedrich:  The hardest part about AA is being consistent.  At the lower levels you can still get by on some of your bad days. In AA you have to be in it every day.  The days you’re not pitching are just as important as the 5th day.  Your routine has to be perfect and the same, your mental and physical preparation can’t skip a beat.  All those things sum up in my mind to confidence.  If you forget a certain lift, change your running routine, mental prep, or even your warm up before the game, it leaves doubt in your mind that doesn’t need to be lingering with you when you toe the rubber.

 
MLB reports:  A few months ago, did you worry about the trade speculation around the clubhouse that you might be traded?

Friedrich:  When the trade deadline comes around every year, you can’t help to listen in on what some of the guys or reporters are saying.  For the most part though it’s something I can’t control and would deal with it if it happened.  In all honesty though I didn’t and don’t think there’s a whole lot of teams looking for a guy like me after the season I put up and no one is more disappointed with that than myself.  I had a good three months but couldn’t put it all together.  I understand what I have to do, and that’s why this offseason is so important.  There was a bit of a smile when that time passes because I love being a Rockie.

 

MLB reports:  Daily rituals and hobbies, outside of the clubhouse?
 
Friedrich:  For daily rituals as of now it’s a wonderful routine.  Wake up and breakfast might be my favorite part of the day.  Two eggs, two sausages, two toasts, and my beloved coffee from the Keurig.  I’ll get my workout done in the mornings and then go for a swim.  After that I usually go on the course or the range.  I’m really roughing it (ha ha).  It’s nice to be in one place for and extended period of time and develop the consistent routines.  In the evening my other favorite hobby as many around me know is video games.  I turned a closet into a video gamer’s paradise.  My favorite part about video games is playing competitive games online with friends.  It allows me to connect with buddies from back home, college teammates, guys I’ve played against, and even guys in our organization.  It’s a lot easier than just sitting talking on the phone.  I get to catch up with them and involve teamwork.  I’m really excited for Modern Warfare 3 to come out.

 

MLB reports:  What kind of music can one find on your iPod?

Friedrich:  I have all genres of music on my apple products.  My favorite would definitely be rock and roll.  Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, and a lot of Fall out Boy.  Home town band I really like.  No Beatles!

 

MLB reports:  You have suffered from injuries during your career.  What effects did your health have on your baseball activities?

Friedrich:  Injuries have plagued me through my career but I’m thankful they weren’t and major ones.  You learn to deal with them and do everything you can to prevent them.  When they first happen it’s hard to accept and deal with them. It’s a great way to train yourself mentally but that’s my only positive.  All you can do is work your behind off to get back out there and help out the club.  The past three years I’ve dealt with some tendonitis in my elbow.  It’s a nagging injury that doesn’t sit you down always but prohibits you from keep up your routine.  For example it doesn’t bother you much the day you pitch because you are usually amped up.  But on those important days in-between, it makes it harder to work on the things you normally do. Certain lifts bother it, and most of all, certain pitches.  I noticed this year my breaking pitches during that time weren’t as sharp and I was getting ahead, but not putting guys away.  This comes from not practicing with them as much through your five-day routine.  Now I have time to strengthen my body and smaller muscle groups to make sure I can prevent these (injuries) as much as possible.

 
MLB reports:  Do you think we will see you in the big leagues sometime next year?

Friedrich:  I’m hoping to shock some people come spring training and reach the expectations I’ve set for myself.  I’m doing everything I can to get there but that’s not under my control.  But I will try to make the decision very easy for them.

 
MLB reports:   What do you think is unique about the Rockies organization?

Friedrich:  The Rockies organization is unlike any other.  Our staff is made up of the best around with great knowledge and experience.  I feel like we’re taken in, like it’s a family.  This is a very classy organization the prides itself on homegrown talent.  I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at.  From my experience, players who have left our organization and players that come to it, say it’s the best they’ve been a part of. 

 
MLB reports:  What was the worst moment of your baseball career thus far?

Friedrich:  The worst moment of my career would probably be the collapse at the end of my season this year.  Last year our big league club lost a lot of starting pitching to injuries and Ubaldo Jimenez to the trade.  It would have been a prime opportunity for me to shine and I went in the opposite direction.  I’m looking to fix that.

 

MLB reports:  What are you planning to work on in the offseason to improve your pitching status?

Friedrich:  This offseason is again all about my routine and keeping good habits.  I took about a week off and got straight to work.  I’m using dry work everyday to solidify my mechanics so come February it’s an after thought.  I’m incorporating swimming into my workouts to strengthen my shoulders and lats.  I have dropped the bad weight and adding the good weight.  My eating routine is helping with my energy and muscle-building.  I am currently living in Florida by myself, so I don’t have distractions and have loved every minute of it.  I started just a month ago and can’t wait come February.

 

MLB reports:  You were drafted 25th, in the 2008 draft.  What was the after party and the phone call like?

Friedrich:  The draft day was a day I’ll never forget.  I was blessed to have friends and family there to celebrate with me.  It was hard to think while talking to reporters and answer questions, when I was still trying to wrap my head around it!

 

MLB reports:  Who do you look up to in the big leagues?

Friedrich:  I look up to a lot of our own players even at some of our levels. What I’m most impressed with, with majority of the big leaguers I have been around is their work ethic.  Guys like Tulo, Helton,  Blackmon, Belisle and EY all are workhorses in their own way. And there isn’t one way they all go about doing things.  They have all learned for themselves what works best for them.  They each have become machines of routine and excellence.  My favorite pitcher by far though, like many others is Cliff Lee.  He masters the strike zone and his command for all of his pitches is superb.  My favorite thing is to watch his sequences and see how he sets up all his opponents.  You watch highlights and can’t believe guys miss a pitch, but it’s how he has set them up.

 

MLB reports:  I’ll end off here, if you were not currently a baseball player, what do you think you would be doing right now?

Friedrich:  If I wasn’t in baseball?  Tough one.  If I never played in college, I would have like to go into dentistry or design.  Since I am in baseball, I can’t get out.  I love it.  I would stay in the game whether it would be coaching or scouting.

 

MLB reports:  Thank you very much for taking your time out of your busy schedule so we can have you with us.  Much appreciated!
 

Thank you again to Chris Friedrich 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 Chris.  As well, please follow Chris on Twitter (@CFRIED12)

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by Jeff P, Guest Writer to MLB reports.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Jeff on Twitter.***

 

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.

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