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Archive for April, 2011

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/29

 

Zobrist had a day for the ages!

Best of Yesterday April 28

The Giants beat the Pirates 5-2 and Ryan Vogelsong won his first game since 2005 for the Giants. Vogelsong earned his first career win with the Giants, who drafted him in 1997 and then traded him to the Pirates.

The Mariners broke out the brooms in Detroit as they beat the Tigers 7-2 in the finale of their 3-game series. Rookie Michael Pineda won his 4th game as he struck out 9 in 6 innings. With 24 runs in 3 games against the Tigers, maybe the M’s offense isn’t THAT bad after all?

The Rays swept a day-night doubleheader against the Twins on Thursday, 15-3 and 6-1. Ben Zobrist was enormous as he knocked in a Rays record 8 runs in the opener and then drove in 2 more in the nightcap. Zobrist was 7 for 10 with 2 homers, 3 doubles, 5 runs, and 10 RBI. AL Player of the Week, anyone? He also did something that hasn’t been done in the AL since Reggie Jackson in 1969.

The Blue Jays took 3 out of 4 against the defending AL champs by beating the Rangers 5-2 on Thursday afternoon. The Jays received a scare when Jose Bautista was hit by a pitch on his hands in the 7th inning, but he never left the game. Brandon Morrow pitched fairly well in his second start and Adam Lind hit his 4th homer for the Jays.

Jon Lester and the Red Sox salvaged the third game of the series with the Orioles by winning 6-2. Lester won his third game with 8 solid innings, giving up 2 runs and Adrian Gonzalez got his 10th multi-hit game of the season for the Sox. Vladimir Guerrero hit his 4th homer for the O’s.  

Fausto Carmona won his 2nd game and Grady Sizemore continued his impressive comeback by hitting his 4th homer in under two weeks as the Indians completed the 3-game sweep of the Royals 8-2 on Thursday night. Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Santana, and Shelley Duncan all homered as well for the Tribe.

CC Sabathia easily won his 2nd game of the season as the Yankees beat the White Sox 12-3 on Thursday night. The struggling Nick Swisher broke out with his first homer and went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.

Livan Hernandez helped the Nationals snap the Mets winning streak by throwing 8 strong innings with only 2 earned runs allowed in the Nats 4-3 win. New father Ian Desmond came off the Paternity Leave list to go 2 for 4 with a triple, homer, and 2 runs scored for the Nats.

Welcome home, Lance! Well, Lance Berkman might not have been welcome, but he made himself at home as he slugged two homers in the Cardinals win over the Astros 11-7. Berkman went 4 for 5 with 3 runs scored and 5 RBI to go with the homers. He’s now alone in second place in the NL with 8 homers. Kyle McClellan did struggle, but he still won his 4th game of the season.

The Diamondbacks knocked out Cubs starter Ryan Dempster with a 7-run first inning on their way to an 11-2 win. Stephen Drew went 2 for 5 with a grand slam and 5 RBI and Miguel Montero continued his campaign for an all star selection with a 2 for 5 night, including a homer and double with 3 RBI.

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Twins gave up 21 runs in their doubleheader loss to the Rays on Thursday and 29 runs in the 3-game sweep. The Twins now have the worst ERA in the AL at 4.95 on the season. The Twins are 4-0 when Brian Duensing starts and 5-15 when he doesn’t. But that’s not the only problem. They are 13th in the AL with a .236 team batting average and their slugging is an AL worst .323, thanks in large part to a MLB low 10 homers. Joe Mauer is still not ready to return and Delmon Young just joined him on the DL. The Twins are now 7 games behind the first place Indians and are in jeopardy of falling out the AL Central race before Memorial Day.

Ryan Dempster of the Cubs gave up 7 runs and didn’t escape the 1st inning against the Diamondbacks on Thursday night. He’s given up at least 4 runs in ALL 6 of his starts this season and his ERA is now 9.58 on the season. Dempster has given up 9 homers, walked 16, and 33 earned runs in only 31 innings for the Cubs. Dempster had pitched well over the past 3 seasons as a starter for the Cubs, but the time has probably come to move him back into the bullpen. The problem for the Cubs is that Dempster is making $13.5M this season and holds a PLAYER option for 2012 at $14M. Gee, I wonder if Dempster will exercise that. He’s as sure to receive that from the Cubs as Carlos Silva is to receive over $7M this season and another $2M next year.  

 

AL News/Notes

The Twins finally acknowledged that Joe Mauer wasn’t ready to start the season. He’s still a week or two away from returning as well.

Peter Bourjos is coming into his own as a hitter for the Angels. The second year player is batting .318 on the season, but despite possessing great speed, is still at the bottom of the order. Manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t have any plans to change that either.

The Indians top pitching prospect, Alex White, is being called up to make his big league debut on Saturday against the Tigers. White is filling in for the injured Carlos Carrasco, who was placed on the DL on Thursday with a right elbow problem.

The RaysSean Rodriguez dislocated his pinkie finger in the second game of the doubleheader on Thursday.

 

NL News/Notes

The Mets are thinking about starting Dillon Gee instead of Mike Pelfrey on Friday due to Pelfrey’s illness.

Pirates 2010 first round pick, Jameson Taillon, struggled in his pro debut on Wednesday. Bad weather and nerves played a role in his struggles.

The Phillies problems are beginning to mount now. Joining Brad Lidge, Chase Utley, and Jose Contreras on the DL is 5th starter Joe Blanton. Blanton is suffering from an elbow impingement. The Phils called up Vance Worley to take Blanton’s start on Friday. Roy Oswalt left the team on Tuesday due to the bad weather going through his home state of Mississippi.

The Cardinals offense has been very good this season, but they’ve hit into an inexplicable 34 double plays so far this season. That’s 11 more than any other team in the majors.

Ty Wigginton could land on the DL because of a sore oblique and that would require the Rockies to make a move. It looks like Alfredo Amezaga could get called up due to his versatility.

Former Padres GM and current Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers comes clean about the deceiving radar gun at Petco Park in San Diego. It turns out that the RedsAroldis Chapman might not have been having velocity problems after all last week.

Carlos Lee has been struggling so far this season, but Astros manager Brad Mills has no plans to move him in the batting order.

Ryan Zimmerman is throwing now, but is still at least a week away from rejoining the Nationals. He’s currently on the DL with an abdominal strain.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 17 games

 

Top Friday Matchups

7:05 EDT Blue Jays (Romero 1-3, 3.00) at Yankees (Garcia 1-0, 0.69)

7:35 EDT Cardinals (Carpenter 0-2, 3.90) at Braves (Hudson 3-2, 3.57)

8:05 EDT Brewers (Marcum 2-1, 2.73) at Astros (Myers 1-0, 3.31)

8:40 EDT Pirates (Correia 3-2, 3.48) at Rockies (Chacin 3-1, 2.67)

10:05 EDT Rangers (Wilson 3-0, 3.51) at Athletics (Cahill 3-0, 2.30)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 1

  • CC Sabathia of the Yankees against the White Sox

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/28

April 28, 2011 1 comment

Uh-oh. If Colon's weight continues to exceed his ERA, the AL is in trouble this year.

Best of Yesterday April 27

The Dodgers’ Andre Ethier extended his April best hitting streak to 24 games on Wednesday afternoon and then homered in the 10th inning in the Dodgers 5-4 win over the Marlins. Vicente Padilla got his first save since 2000 and left people wondering about Jonathan Broxton‘s status as closer.

The RedsDrew Stubbs also hit a 10th inning homer to give the Reds a 7-6 win over the Brewers. Joey Votto hit his 5th homer in the 1st inning off of Yovani Gallardo. The reigning NL MVP had 4 RBI on the day and Aroldis Chapman got his 2nd win.

Tommy Hanson was dominating as he struck out 10 and gave up no runs in 7 innings as the Braves beat the Padres 7-0 on Wednesday afternoon. The score might have been closer had the Padres’ Brad Hawpe not committed a key error in the 2nd inning. That error led to five unearned runs for Mat Latos.

Chris Young homered twice for the Diamondbacks but they lost the series finale to the Phillies 8-4. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Jimmy Rollins all homered for the Phils. Cole Hamels had a solid outing as well, winning his 3rd game as he struck out 8 and gave up 3 runs in 7 innings. The Phillies are back in first place with the Marlins loss.

A third inning error by Howard Kendrick led to the Athletics only run before extra innings and a misplay in the outfield led to their second and winning run in the 10th inning as the A’s beat the Angels 2-1. The game went to extra innings after Kevin Kouzmanoff‘s error in the bottom of the 9th let the tying run reach base. Starters Dan Haren and Tyson Ross each went 7 innings and didn’t give up an earned run.

Vladimir Guerrero came through with a RBI single in the 8th inning after Jason Varitek had allowed a passed ball to give the Orioles the lead and eventual win over the Red Sox 5-4 on Wednesday night. Josh Beckett had his worst start of the season, giving up 4 runs in 6 innings, including homers to Adam Jones and Luke Scott.

Josh Tomlin won his fourth game as the Indians beat the Royals 7-2. Tomlin’s ERA is now 2.45 on the season. Alex Gordon‘s hit streak ended at 19 games for the Royals.

Justin Smoak went 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer and 5 RBI on the night for the Mariners in their 10-1 win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers. Eric Bedard went a solid 7 innings, giving up 1 run to earn his 1st win of the season.

Hello, Bartolo Colon. The 2005 AL Cy Young winner went 8 innings and only gave up 1 run as the Yankees beat the White Sox 3-1. Robinson Cano provided the offense with a 3-run homer in the first inning.

The Mets, led by David Murphy, came back with a run in the 8th inning and then four in the 9th to beat the Nationals 6-3. Murphy went 2 for 2 in his late game at bats with a homer and double to drive home 3 runs. Francisco Rodriguez got his 6th save of the season and the Mets have now won 6 straight games.

Mitch Moreland hit the deciding home run in the bottom of the 7th to give the Rangers a 7-6 win over the Blue Jays. The Jays starter, Jo Jo Reyes, was victimized by Edwin Encarnacion‘s 3rd inning error that led to all six unearned runs allowed. Despite the bad luck, don’t be surprised if Reyes is designated sometime in the next few days or weeks.

The Cardinals tried to blow Kyle Lohse‘s very good start in which he shutout the Astros for 7 innings. The Cards bullpen ended up holding on to win 6-5 and preserving Lohse’s 4th win. The Cardinals lead the majors in GIDP and hit into another five in this game.

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Yovani Gallardo got lit up again on Wednesday afternoon by Joey Votto and the Reds. This was the fourth consecutive start that Gallardo gave up at least 4 runs and his ERA now stands at 5.70. It could just be an early season funk, or Gallardo might have something wrong that he’s not disclosing. Either way, the Brewers need to find out what’s wrong and either get him straightened out or get him healthy. Nobody is running away with the NL Central race yet.

The Rays and Twins played their game with snow flurries in the air and temperatures in the 30’s. While the Twins have played more on the road this season, many other cold weather teams have played more home games. The Yankees (14 to 7), Mets (13 to 11) and Cubs (14 to 9) have all played more home games and the Cubs seem to play in miserable weather conditions daily. In fact, Wednesday’s Cubs game was postponed due to bad weather. The Rockies have played more road games, but they’ve played road games in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York. Why aren’t they making a tour of their NL West rivals during April? That’s four moderate to warm cities and no rain/snow postponements. This needs to change next season.

In the Arctic conditions of the Twin Cities, the TwinsFrancisco Liriano got lit up again. Liriano gave up 7 runs in only 3 innings and he’s now given up 24 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings on the season. That’s a 9.13 ERA, not K’s per 9 innings. 18 walks and 4 homers allowed appear to be a major part of the problem. He’s only put together one solid start all season and you have to wonder how much longer the Twins can afford to give up once every five days?

 

AL News/Notes

If you’re a Sam Fuld fan, and who isn’t? Then you can vote for the Rays surprising outfielder for the all star game this year. Evidently, Manny Ramirez retired in time to be stricken from the ballot and replaced by Fuld.

Angels‘ rookie Mike Trumbo is going through his first big league slump right now. He’s trying to adjust to the pitchers, but he could find himself back in AAA if Alexi Amarista hits enough to move Howard Kendrick to first base.

Despite being eligible to come off the DL on Thursday, the TwinsJoe Mauer doesn’t look like he’s even close to returning. Also for the Twins, Delmon Young was placed on the DL because of a strained oblique. The move is retroactive to April 19.

 

NL News/Notes

The Dodgers are without Casey Blake, who is probably heading to the DL with a swollen left elbow. Aaron Miles has been playing third base with Blake and Juan Uribe out of the lineup.

The Marlins have a hole at third base as top prospect Matt Dominguez is recovering from a elbow injury just before opening day. With the Fish in first place, they could be looking to upgrade their current situation with the GiantsMark DeRosa.

Carlos Gonzalez wasn’t in the lineup for the Rockies on Tuesday, instead he spent a lot of time in the batting cage trying to work his way out of his 0 for 22 slump. It’s got to be scary for the rest of the NL that the Rockies have the best record in baseball and CarGo is off to such a slow start.

The Nationals have to be concerned about Livan Hernandezconnection with a drug kingpin in Puerto Rico. This might be the only way that Hernandez ends his 13 year streak of 180+ innings pitched.

Former big league pitcher and current Braves pitching coach, Roger McDowell, directed a few derogatory epithets towards the fans in San Francisco last weekend. The comments were over the line and need to be addressed through a suspension of a least a week.

Diamondbacks rookie pitcher Josh Collmenter developed his unique pitching style in an interesting way. With that story, he’s destined to become a Brave someday.

Pirates‘ manager Clint Hurdle benched shortstop Ronny Cedeno for the second night in a row in favor of Brandon Wood. Hurdle called it a “manager’s decision.”

Clint Barmes played in his 3rd rehab game on Wednesday and is expected to be called up to the Astros for Friday. With Angel Sanchez hitting over .300, Barmes will probably see some time at third base to keep Sanchez in the lineup while he remains productive.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to a MLB record for April 24 games
  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 16 games

 

Top Thursday Matchups

1:05 EDT Mariners (Pineda 3-1, 1.78) at Tigers (Penny 1-2, 6.35)

2:05 EDT Blue Jays (Morrow 0-1, 5.06) at Rangers (Ogando 3-0, 2.13)

7:05 EDT White Sox (Jackson 2-2, 4.88) at Yankees (Sabathia 1-1, 2.73)

8:10 EDT Rays (Hellickson 1-2, 4.32) at Twins (Baker 1-2, 3.24)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 2

  • Ryan Webb of the Marlins against the Dodgers
  • Chris Resop of the Pirates against the Giants

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/27

Masterson goes to 5-0 for the Tribe

Zach Britton won his 4th game for the Orioles as they beat the Red Sox 4-1 on Tuesday night. The game’s loser, Clay Buchholz, continued to struggle as he dropped to 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA.

Justin Masterson won his 5th game and Jack Hannahan hit two homers for the Indians in their 9-4 win over the Royals. Grady Sizemore continued his blistering start that began late due to his recovery from knee surgery. In 8 games, Sizemore has 3 homers, 6 doubles and is hitting .406. Unfortunately, less than 10,000 fans saw the Indians go to 8-2 at home on the season.

Gavin Floyd pitched really well for the White Sox and Rafael Soriano struggled again in the 8th inning for the Yankees in the Sox 3-2 win. Floyd is now 3-1 and Sergio Santos picked up his second save in as many nights.

The Mets won their 5th straight game 6-4 over the Nationals on Tuesday night. Ike Davis had 3 hits and Francisco Rodriguez saved his fifth game. Wilson Ramos hit two homers in the loss for the Nats.

The DodgersAndre Ethier extended his MLB record hitting streak for April to 23 games with a double in the first inning against the Marlins on Tuesday night. But Clayton Kershaw struggled and the Marlins won 4-2.

The Blue Jays stopped Michael Young‘s hitting streak at 15 games and beat the Rangers 10-3 on Tuesday night. Adam Lind blasted two homers, scored three times, and drove in five the Jays. Jesse Litsch got the win after being recalled from AAA for the start.

Todd Helton hit two homers for the Rockies in their 4-3 win over the Cubs. Jorge De La Rosa won his fourth game and lowered his ERA to 2.61. Alfonso Soriano hit his 7th homer of the season in the 9th innning for the Cubs.

Bill Hall drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 9th for the Astros in their 6-5 win over the Cardinals. Cards closer Mitchell Boggs blew his first save opportunity of the season. Lance Berkman went 2 for 5 with a RBI in his return to Houston.

Rickie Weeks‘ go-ahead solo homer in the 8th inning provided the margin of victory in the Brewers 3-2 win over the Reds. Ryan Braun hit his MLB leading 9th homer earlier.

The Diamondbacks beat the Phillies again, this time 7-5 on Tuesday night. Roy Oswalt struggled for the Phils as he only lasted 3 innings and gave up 5 runs. It was Oswalt’s first start without a strikeout since getting injured against the Nationals on July 11, 2008 while with the Astros. There was speculation after the game about his back.

The Angels 6-7-8-9 hitters (Howard Kendrick, Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, and Alexi Amarista) went 9 for 15 with 6 runs and 6 RBI as they beat the Athletics 8-3. If those young hitters at the bottom of the order continue to hit, the Angels might have the best team in the AL.

Thanks to the 13 inning game on Monday night, the Braves used David Ross instead of Brian McCann at catcher on Tuesday night. All Ross did was hit two homers and drove in four runs in the 8-2 win over the Padres. Jair Jurrjens went the distance to win his 2nd game and lowered his ERA to 1.23.

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Out of the 8 players who started in the field for the Padres, only Nick Hundley ended the night with a batting average over .250.

The Pirates drew 9,832 to their game against the world champion Giants on Tuesday night. The first place Indians drew 9,650 to their game against the second place Royals. Four digit attendance figures are disappointing, even in April’s bad weather.

 

AL News/Notes

The Twins aren’t sure when Joe Mauer will be able to return. Mauer’s eligible to return on Thursday, but he still is working on his legs and might need a minor league rehab assignment.

Evan Longoria is on track to start a minor league rehab assignment on Thursday and return to the Rays next Tuesday. The Rays have done a pretty remarkable job of staying close in the AL East standings without their best everyday player for most of the season.

The AthleticsJosh Willingham missed Tuesday’s game with back stiffness. Also, catcher Kurt Suzuki is going on paternity leave on Wednesday and should only miss that game.

Phil Hughes underwent his tests on Tuesday and is still waiting on the results. The Yankees righty underwent tests on his elbow, shoulder, and also a circuit of vascular tests.

The Angels expect to activate starting pitcher Joel Pineiro by the weekend. Early speculation is that Pineiro would replace Matt Palmer from the rotation.

 

NL News/Notes

Despite last year’s Chris Coghlan postgame celebration that ended with Coghlan’s season over, Logan Morrison joined in with his teammates after the Marlins Monday night’s walk off win. Morrison had just gotten his cast off of his foot earlier in the day and manager Edwin Rodriguez wasn’t happy.

Xavier Paul has been claimed by the Pirates off waivers from the Dodgers. Paul is another former prospect that the Pirates have claimed this week. A few days ago, the Pirates claimed Brandon Wood from the Angels.

Lance Berkman, now a member of the Cardinals, returned to Houston on Tuesday night where he was met by criticism by the Astros‘ radio announcer. Berkman had injury problems in his final few seasons with the Astors and there were questions about his commitment to conditioning.

Jose Contreras is out for up to a month with his elbow problem for the Phillies. Good news for the Phils is that Dominic Brown will begin a minor league rehab stint in Clearwater on Wednesday.

Dodgers’ embattled owner Frank McCourt will be in New York on Wednesday to meet with MLB officials about his proposed TV deal with Fox.

The Mets GM Sandy Alderson is a former Marine who thinks that war clichés are overused in sports. Oorah.

The Padres have been using Cory Luebke out of the bullpen and he’s beginning to learn how to pitch out of the pen. Having a manager who experienced a similar role when he broke in has to help.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to a MLB record for April 22 games
  • Royals Alex Gordon extended his career long hitting streak to 19 games
  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 15 games

 

Top Wednesday Matchups

12:10 EDT Dodgers (Billingsley 2-1, 4.13) at Marlins (Sanchez 1-1, 3.55)

3:35 EDT Braves (Hanson 2-3, 3.21) at Padres (Latos 0-3, 5.94)

7:05 EDT Red Sox (Beckett 2-1, 1.93) at Orioles (Guthrie 1-3, 3.12)

7:05 EDT Royals (Francis 0-2, 4.06) at Indians (Tomlin 3-0, 2.33)

7:05 EDT White Sox (Buehrle 1-2, 5.40) at Yankees (Colon 1-1, 3.50)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 0

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/26

Weaver was awesome again as he won his 6th and lowered his ERA to under 1.00

Best of Yesterday April 25

Phil Humber took a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the Yankees on Monday night and with the help of the bullpen, the White Sox held on to win 2-0. Humber only allowed one hit and two walks in his 7 innings. Sergio Santos got the call from Ozzie Guillen to close the game and he recorded his first save of the season. Santos is probably the favorite to get the next opportunity as well.

Newly acquired Brandon Wood paid dividends in his first start for the Pirates in their 4-2 win over the Nationals. Wood hit a two-run double in the 4th inning to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

The Marlins scored once in the 8th and then twice in the 9th inning to comeback and beat the Dodgers on Monday night 5-4. Chris Coghlan went 3 for 4 with 2 homers and 3 runs scored. Hanley Ramirez came off the bench to get a pinch hit in the 9th and scored the game winning run on Omar Infante‘s single off Jonathan Broxton. That was Broxton’s first blown save of 2011.

Jose Bautista hit his AL leading 8th homer and the Blue Jays hit two more homers in their 6-run 5th inning to beat the Rangers 6-4 on Monday night.

Kosuke Fukodome went 5 for 5 for the Cubs, but they lost to the Rockies 5-3 in a rain soaked game on Monday at Wrigley. The Cubs hurt themselves with 4 errors; including 3 by shortstop Starlin Castro and only one of the Rockies runs were earned. Anybody who saw this game has to wonder how MLB continues to play through games in conditions like these.

Ryan Braun hit his NL leading 8th homer in the 9th inning of the Brewers 9-5 loss to the Reds on Monday night. Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs each had 3 hits and 2 runs scored for the Reds. The Reds changed up their lineup and actually had Phillips hitting cleanup. The Brewers’ Casey McGehee was injured on the final out of the game and appeared to be holding his left thumb.

Ian Kennedy completely shut down the Phillies on Monday night. Kennedy struck out 10 and only gave up 3 hits for the Diamondbacks. Chris Young hit a huge homer in the 3rd off Cliff Lee and the D’backs never trailed. Lee had 12 strikeouts, but gave up 4 runs in 7 innings.

Jered Weaver became the majors’ first six-game winner as the Angels beat the Athletics 5-0 on Monday night. Weaver got the complete game shutout and lowered his ERA to 0.99 to go with his 6-0 record on the season. Coco Crisp had 3 of the 7 A’s hits on the night.

Ryan Ludwick‘s second homer of the night won the game for the Padres over the Braves in the 13th inning. The Padres relied on great relief pitching as their bullpen threw 7 scoreless innings, striking out 8 and giving up only 4 hits with no walks. For the Braves, Jason Heyward hit his 6th homer of the season in the 5-3 loss.  

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Shortstops in the nine games played on Monday combined to commit 7 errors, including three in one inning by the CubsStarlin Castro. Along with Castro’s errors, Ian Desmond of the Nationals, Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers, Paul Janish of the Reds, and Cliff Pennington of the A’s all committed an error each. Carroll’s error led to the Dodgers loss in Florida.  

Three more teams suffered shutouts on Monday night including the Yankees, Phillies, and Athletics. The A’s were shutout for the third time in 5 games.

 

AL News/Notes

The YankeesPhil Hughes has suffered a setback and will go for tests on Tuesday. According to Mark Feinsand, it’s not just his arm that’s going to be looked at.

The Angels are learning quickly that Vernon Wells swings early and often in his at-bats. If they looked at his numbers before trading for him, they would have seen his .329 career OBP. The Angels called up the PCL’s leading hitter, Alexi Amarista, who was hitting .455 at Salt Lake City. The middle infielder was a career .320 hitter in four minor league seasons before this year.

The Mariners lead the majors in games where they’ve scored 3 or fewer runs and are only 3-12 in those games. The good news, so far, has been that their pitching has been pretty solid.

 

NL News/Notes

Going into Monday night’s game, the BravesNate McLouth had settled into the 8 hole nicely. McLouth was hitting over .300 in the past week hitting 8th.

The MarlinsLogan Morrison had his cast removed on Monday and has been cleared to work on the exercise bike. The good news is that the Marlins haven’t missed him much due to their winning play since he went down.

The Pirates first pick in last year’s draft, Jameson Taillon, is scheduled to make his professional debut on Wednesday against the player picked ahead of him, Bryce Harper of the Nationals.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to a MLB record for April 22 games
  • Rangers Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 15 games

  

Top Tuesday Matchups

7:05 EDT Red Sox (Buchholz 1-2, 5.31) at Orioles (Britton 3-1, 3.16)

7:05 EDT Giants (Cain 2-1, 3.42) at Pirates (Morton 2-1, 3.33)

7:05 EDT Mariners (Hernandez 2-2, 3.38) at Tigers (Coke 1-3, 2.75)

8:05 EDT Blue Jays (Litsch 1-1, 3.63) at Rangers (Harrison 3-1, 1.88)

10:05 EDT Braves (Jurrjens 1-0, 0.69) at Padres (Harang 4-0, 1.88)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 2

  • Chris Narveson of the Brewers against the Reds
  • Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks against the Phillies

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/25

Ethier continues to hit as his streak reached 21 games on Sunday

Best of Yesterday April 24

Max Scherzer pitched a gem to win his 4th game of the season for the Tigers. Scherzer went 8 innings and didn’t give up a run while striking out 7. He lowered his ERA to 3.19 as the Tigers swept the White Sox in their weekend series.

The Rays James Shields completed his second consecutive start as he shut out the Blue Jays 2-0 on Sunday to run his record to 2-1. Shields lowered his ERA to 2.35 on the season and he’s allowed more than two runs in only one of his five starts this season. Ben Zobrist‘s two-run homer in the first was the difference in the game.

David Wright blasted two homers and stole a base to lead the Mets to a sweep over the Diamondbacks 8-4 on Sunday. The Mets are winning since Jason Bay returned to the lineup. Will anybody in Queens care?

The best starter matchup of the day was decided by Mike Stanton‘s crushing three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning to give the Marlins a 6-3 win over the Rockies. Ubaldo Jimenez struggled a bit for the Rockies but Josh Johnson pitched well and was left with the lead before the bullpen let in the tying runs. Don’t look now, but the Marlins have the third best record in the NL so far.

Mariano Rivera blew his second save of the week at Camden Yards, but the Yankees plated 3 in the 11th to beat the Orioles 6-3. It had to be frustrating for the O’s as the Yankees hit three infield hits and benefitted from a throwing error in the deciding inning. The Grandy Man, Curtis Granderson, continues his hot string as he homered in the 1st to extend his hitting streak to 8 games. He has five homers, a triple and 3 doubles and has raised his batting average from .156 to .292 during the streak. Also, prematurely written off Derek Jeter went 4 for 6.

Randy Wolf continued to pitch really well for the Brewers in their 4-1 win over the Astros on Sunday. In his past 3 starts, Wolf has surrendered only one run in 20 2/3 innings on a homer to JR Towles in the 8th inning on Sunday. Wolf is now 3-2 on the season.

Andre Ethier went 2 for 5 and scored twice to lead the Dodgers over the Cubs 7-3. Ethier’s hitting streak is now at 21 games.

Mike Aviles went 3 for 5 with two homers and 4 RBI, Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 18 games, and Jeff Francouer homered to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Unfortunately, the Royals lost to the Rangers 8-7 on Sunday. CJ Wilson struck out 10 and gave up 4 runs in 7 innings to win his third game and Michael Young extended his hit streak to 14 games for the Rangers.

Carl Crawford was spotted running around the bases after hitting a 6th inning homer for the Red Sox on Sunday. It was his first of the season. But more important is that John Lackey put together his second consecutive good start as he shutout his ex-teammates for 8 innings helping the Sox to a 7-0 win and four game sweep of the Angels. The Red Sox have now won 13 of 14 from the Angels since the 2009 postseason.

Speaking of four game sweeps, the Phillies rode another masterful Roy Halladay performance to beat the Padres 3-1 and complete their first four-game sweep in San Diego since 1979. Halladay struck out 14 in 8 2/3 innings and Shane Victorino hit an inside-the-park homer for the Phils. One item to keep an eye on is that Halladay threw 130 pitches and has gone over 110 in his last 4 starts.

Want another sweep? How about the Braves three-game sweep of the Giants this weekend? The Braves got a big three-run homer from Jason Heyward in the 7th innning and Dan Uggla hit a homer in the 8th to tie the game. But the biggest blow to the Giants came in the 10th when the Braves tagged Brian Wilson for 3 runs to hand the bearded closer his first loss of the season. That almost qualifies as payback for last year’s LDS loss to the Giants.

Mitchell Boggs converted his third straight save opportunity in the Cardinals 3-0 series winning win over the Reds on Sunday night. Fleet footed Albert Pujols stole a base, but left the game due to mild tightness in his right hamstring.

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Four teams were shut out yesterday. The Angels, Reds, Blue Jays, and White Sox all failed to score yesterday. That was the first game, win or lose, that the Reds and Blue Jays had been involved with a shutout. But what’s amazing is that both the Angels and White Sox were blanked twice each over their weekend series. Only the Angels, of those four teams, enter Monday with a winning record.

The Nationals might have the worst fielding infield in the NL, especially with former gold glove winner Ryan Zimmerman out. Ian Desmond leads all shortstops in errors with 5, second baseman Danny Espinosa just got his second yesterday, and Zimmerman’s fill-in, Jerry Hairston, committed two yesterday. Despite all of that, the Nats won to even their record at 10-10.

 

AL News/Notes

Despite the slow start at the plate, the Indians continue to write Carlos Santana‘s name in the lineup seemingly every day.

Evan Longoria had a pain free hitting session on Sunday morning before the Rays game in Toronto. Longoria is scheduled to play in a few AA games before returning next week. Johnny Damon continues to pass legendary players on his way up the all-time hit chart. Damon just passed Reggie Jackson to move into 78th overall.

The Yankees Rafael Soriano is suffering from a bad back after waking up Saturday with soreness in his lower back. Dave Robertson pitched the 8th inning in Soriano’s place on Sunday. The Yankees are hopeful that he’ll be ready to go on Monday against the White Sox.

The Blue Jays placed 2B Aaron Hill on the DL on Sunday retroactive to April 20th with a sore right hamstring. The Jays needed the roster spot in order to recall Jesse Litsch from AAA to start on Tuesday.

 

NL News/Notes

The Astros sat Brett Wallace on Sunday after he was hit by a pitch and fouled a ball off his knee in Saturday’s game.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said before Sunday’s game that he has no plans to sit struggling Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez proceeded to go hitless in Sunday’s win over the Rockies. Ramirez spoke after the game about his struggles.

It’s a new season, but the Nationals Ian Desmond is still leading the NL in errors at shortstop.

Chipper Jones was experiencing pain in his “other” knee, but sucked it up and played on his birthday. Jones had two hits, scored a run, and drove in two runs for the Braves in their sweep clinching win in San Francisco.

The Giants starter on Sunday, Jonathan Sanchez, was treated with an IV before the game and gutted out five innings.

There’s more bad news for the Phillies as they have placed another closer on the DL. Jose Contreras, who has been 5 for 5 in save opportunities in 2011, has a problem with a tendon in his pitching elbow. Ryan Madson is expected to close in his absence and the Phils have called up Mike Stutes from AAA to work in the bullpen.

Cameron Maybin is settling into the lineup for the Padres after coming over in the offseason from Florida. Maybin was a top 10 prospect who came to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade to the Tigers a few years ago. The Marlins soured on Maybin and sent him to the Padres.

The Cubs Geovany Soto is leading the majors with 8 caught stealing assists. Unfortunately for the Cubs, his hitting hasn’t been as good as he’s only hitting .250 with 1 home run. Soto hit 17 homers last year.

The Reds placed Scott Rolen on the DL on Sunday due to a strained left shoulder. The Reds called up infielder Chris Valaika from AAA to replace Rolen.

 

Streaks of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 21 games
  • Royals Alex Gordon extended his career long hitting streak to 18 games
  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 14 games
  • Rangers Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 14 games
  • Yankees Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 13 games

 

Top Monday Matchups

7:10 EDT Dodgers (Garland 1-1, 4.15) at Marlins (Nolasco 2-0, 3.00)

8:10 EDT Reds (Arroyo 2-2, 4.24) at Brewers (Narveson 1-0, 2.19)

10:05 EDT Athletics (Gonzalez 2-1, 1.80) at Angels (Weaver 5-0, 1.23)

 

Yesterday’s Balks: 1

  • Enerio Del Rosario of the Astros against the Brewers

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/24

CC finally won on Saturday

Best of Yesterday April 23

Ike Davis hit a homer for the third consecutive game and Dillon Gee has now made two pretty good starts for the Mets since filling in for the injured Chris Young. After Saturday’s 6 innings with 2 earned runs (2 unearned) which helped the Mets to a 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks, Gee’s ERA is at 2.31 and he’s 2-0.

Starlin Castro went 4 for 5 and raised his average to .393 in the Cubs 10-8 win over the Dodgers on Saturday afternoon. Castro has now scored 16 runs in 20 games this season.

Johnny Damon fought through his broken finger to hit a 2-run homer and drive in another run in the Rays 6-4 win over the Blue Jays. Damon might end up hitting cleanup for this team if his power production continues. He’s got 4 homers and 17 RBI in 17 games this season. Last year’s AL home run champion, Jose Bautista, hit two for the Jays in the loss.

Brian Duensing is turning into the Twins early season ace as they beat the Indians 10-3 behind his 7 inning effort in which he only gave up one run. Duensing’s record is 2-0 and he’s got a 3.00 ERA, but the Twins are now 4-0 when he pitches, and 4-12 when Duensing doesn’t pitch.

Brad Penny led the Tigers pitchers in shutting out the White Sox for 7 innings and only gave up one fairly controversial hit as the Tigers won 9-0 on Saturday afternoon. Once again, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t have any need for a closer.

The Braves got solid pitching from Tim Hudson and their hitters beat up on Tim Lincecum in their 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon. Hudson won his third game and Craig Kimbrel his second consecutive game in as many days against the Giants.

CC Sabathia earned his first win of the season as the Yankees blasted the Orioles 15-3 on Saturday night. Russell Martin hit two homers for the second time this season as he is at 6 overall. Every starter except for Nick Swisher got a hit for the Yankees.

Fifteen of the 16 everyday players in the Astros and Brewers game got a hit on Saturday night. Newly annointed $100 million man Ryan Braun hit his 7th homer, but the Astros won 9-6 in 10 innings.

Alexi Ogando continues to pitch well in his first month as a starting pitcher for the Rangers. He lowered his ERA to 2.13 and got his third win, beating the Royals 3-1. The only area of concern was the 114 pitches in only 6 innings. Too much like Nolan Ryan.

Padres manager Bud Black decided to walk Jimmy Rollins to get to Ryan Howard in the 11th. Well, the Phillies ended up winning 4-2 in 11 innings after Howard slugged a 2-run double off Cory Luebke.

Dice-K pitched another great game as he struck out 9 in 8 scoreless innings to win his 2nd game of the season on Saturday night for the Red Sox over the Angels 5-0.

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Cliff Pennington each homered and Trevor Cahill gave up 1 run in 6 innings to win as the Athletics beat the Mariners 9-1 on Saturday night. The M’s had shutout the A’s in the first two games of the series, but weren’t as good this time.

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

The Cardinals David Freese threw the ball away on a groundout by the Reds Drew Stubbs in the 8th inning on Saturday. What followed was a strikeout for what should have been the third out of the inning. Instead, the inning continued and the Reds plated 3 unearned runs to win the game 5-3.

Brad Bergeson headlined a group of Orioles pitchers who gave up at least 3 runs each to the Yankees on Saturday night. Bergeson gave up 6 earned in 6 innings. They gave up 14 hits, 5 walks, and 5 homers to the Bronx Bombers.

Ervin Santana of the Angels suggested in spring training that the Angels starting pitching would be as good or better than the Phillies this season. After the Red Sox put five on the board against him on Saturday night, Santana’s ERA is now 5.51 and he’s 0-3. Maybe he was just comparing himself to Joe Blanton?

AL News/Notes

The Orioles are facing some pitching issues right now and manager Buck Showalter‘s alternative choices are dubious at best. If the O’s can stay close in the AL East standings through June, GM Andy MacPhail should be able to find another starter or two in a trade. But the O’s have to be close enough to justify a move like that.

Take a seat, Felipe Lopez. At least that’s what Rays manager Joe Maddon told the utility man as he held Lopez out for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. Lopez was cited for a lack of hustle and we all know that Maddon doesn’t go for that.

Despite the early cold and rainy weather, Indians manager Manny Acta doesn’t want to hear excuses for hitters starting slowly. It looks like Acta isn’t going to let the young Tribe players get comfortable in first place.

Andrew Bailey had a good throwing session before the Athletics game on Saturday. Also, the A’s starting pitchers are using Twitter to give fans some insight into their clubhouse-style banter.

There’s bad news for the Rangers as they had to put closer Neftali Feliz on the DL because of rotator cuff inflammation. Reliever Cody Eppley was called up from AAA to take his spot. Eppley pitched  a pair of scoreless innings and Darren Oliver picked up the save on Saturday night in place of Feliz.

NL News/Notes

Last year’s NL batting champion, Rockies Carlos Gonzalez, is battling a slump and an early season case of the flu. The Rockies also acquired former Mets Rule 5 draft pick Brad Emaus from the Blue Jays for a minor league pitcher. Emaus struggled at bat and in the field in New York, but will get a chance to develop more in AAA with the Rockies.

 The Braves sat #3 hitter Chipper Jones on Saturday and called on rookie Freddie Freeman to hit third. Freeman has hit well over the past two weeks and has only struck out once in 10 games.

The Phillies are hoping that Chase Utley is able to return to the team by June. Although Jimmy Rollins is struggling hitting in Utley’s third spot, manager Charlie Manuel has no plans to move him out of there.

Giants injured players Andres Torres and Santiago Casilla are going to Arizona to continue rehabbing instead of coming off the DL this week. That means both are unlikely to join the team for their upcoming 10 game road trip.

Streaks of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 20 games
  • Royals Alex Gordon extended his career long hitting streak to 17 games
  • Rangers Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 13 games
  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 13 games
  • Yankees Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 12 games

 

Top Sunday Matchups

1:05 EDT White Sox (Danks 0-2, 3.00) at Tigers (Scherzer 3-0, 4.30)

1:07 EDT Rays (Shields 1-1, 3.07) at Blue Jays (Romero 1-2, 3.12)

1:10 EDT Rockies (Jimenez 0-1, 7.36) at Marlins (Johnson 3-0, 1.00)

2:20 EDT Dodgers (Kuroda 2-2, 3.33) at Cubs (Zambrano 2-0, 4.21)

3:05 EDT Royals (Chen 3-0, 2.42) at Rangers (Wilson 2-0, 3.08)

Last night’s balks: 1

  • David Hernandez of the Diamondbacks against the Mets
    • Resulted in a run scored by Jose Reyes on following hit

MLB Daily Balk Morning Rundown 4/23

Sanchez almost got carried off for another no-hitter on Friday

Best of Yesterday April 22

Justin Verlander registered his 1,000th career strikeout as the Tigers beat the White Sox 9-3 on Friday night. Ryan Raburn was the offensive hero for the Tigers with a homer and four RBI.

John McDonald hit a walk off homer for the Blue Jays in the 11th inning to win the game 6-4 over the Rays. McDonald replaced Jayson Nix who injured his knee turning a double play earlier in the game. Jose Bautista finished the game 3 for 3 only a single short away from the cycle. During the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon pulled Felipe Lopez for lack of hustle. CF BJ Upton has incurred the wrath of Maddon in the past for the same transgression.

John Pelfrey finally pitched well for the Mets as he went 7 innings and only gave up a run. Ike Davis hit a home run for the second night in the row as the Mets won 4-1 over the Diamondbacks.

Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Rockies on Friday night as the Marlins won the game 4-1. Sanchez gave up an unearned run in the 1st and dominated the rest of the way with 9 strikeouts and only 3 walks. Sanchez even knocked in a run at the plate as he won his first game of the season.

Five different Rangers hitters knocked in 2 runs apiece as they beat the Royals 11-6 on Friday night. In total, the Rangers hit 15 for 35 with 5 homers on the night. Oh, and Josh Hamilton isn’t close to returning. Scary.

Ryan Braun wasted no time in justifying the Brewers faith in his ability as he went 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI in the win over the Astros 14-7 on Friday night. Brewers starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo even hit a homer as he won his 2nd game of the season.

A long rain delay led to the Cardinals bringing in “starting pitcher” Kyle McClellan in after one batter to save him from getting cold during the delay. McClellan was solid as he won his 3rd game of the season as the Cards beat the Reds 4-2 on Friday night. Mitchell Boggs looks like the new closer as he saved his second game with 1 1/3 innings giving up only a hit.

Jon Lester threw 6 scoreless innings, striking out 8 to lead the Red Sox over the Angels 4-3 on Friday night. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless 9th for his 5th save. The Angels Dan Haren dropped his first decision to go to 4-1 on the season.

Ryan Howard drove in two runs with a 3rd inning triple and Cole Hamels shut out the Padres for 8 innings as the Phillies won 2-0 on Friday night. Hamels has gone 2-0 with only 2 runs allowed in 22 innings since the Phils fans booed him off the mound at Citizens Bank Park during his first start against the Mets. Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee all have long-term contracts; the 27 year old Hamels needs to be next.

The Mariners have shut out the Athletics in both games to begin their four game weekend series in Seattle. This time it was rookie Michael Pineda who went 6 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.78 and running his record to 3-1 for the M’s as they won 4-0 on Friday night. You want a reason why the Mariners aren’t going to trade Felix Hernandez? King Felix and Pineda might become the best 1-2 combo in baseball by next summer. That’s a winning combo at any track.

Tommy Hanson was very good as he only gave up one run in 7 innings in the Braves 4-1 win over the Giants on Friday night. Hanson registered his 2nd win and Craig Kimbrel bounced back from a blown save in LA on Thursday to get his 5th save of the season.

 

What Happened (!!)Yesterday?

Cubs pitchers walked 10 hitters and needed 230 pitches to complete Friday afternoon’s game against the Dodgers. There’s nothing else that can really be added to this.

Seventeen of the 24 teams that played on Friday night scored 4 or less runs. It can’t be the weather, because the Dodgers scored 12 in miserable conditions at Wrigley and the Tigers got 9 at frigid Comerica. Yes, there were some very good pitching performances but the lack of offense early in this season is incredible.

 

AL News/Notes

Some interesting stats and information on the Royals surprising start. One notable item, closer Joakim Soria, at 26, is the oldest member of the Royals bullpen.

There’s been a Big Foot sighting in the Athletics clubhouse. Wonder how many cows it takes to cover David Purcey‘s feet?

DL’d all star Evan Longoria made the Rays trip to Toronto an adventure on Thursday night as he left his passport at home. That’s the lighter news in Tampa as the worse news is that Johnny Damon is going to try and play through a broken finger tip. How effective he can be is enormous to the Rays offense, especially with Longoria still out.

Good news for the Twins as Delmon Young and Justin Morneau are getting healthy and could be in the lineup on Saturday.

The Rangers appear to want to keep Alexi Ogando in the rotation after his very impressive start to the season. Manager Ron Washington said he doesn’t even see any limitations on Ogando’s pitch count either. Maybe Washington shouldn’t get that carried away. The Rangers are going to need Ogando in October.

  

NL News/Notes

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle says that NL steals leader Jose Tabata reminds him of…. Jim Brown? Yes, Hurdle likens Tabata’s sneaky speed to the great NFL running back; interesting comparison. The Pirates also strike out more than any team in MLB.

The Braves have called up Cory Gearrin to bolster their worn out bullpen. With Peter Moylan on the DL and Jonny Venters suffering from muscle soreness, the Braves need another arm for their series in San Francisco this weekend.

The Giants CF Andres Torres is working hard to be ready to come off the DL next week when he’s eligible, but manager Bruce Bochy isn’t too optimistic about his return yet. The good news for the Giants is that Aaron Rowand has performed well during Torres’ absence.

Former Dodgers icon Steve Garvey is involved with a group of investors that would like to purchase the Dodgers from embattled owner Frank McCourt. Garvey’s main investor, Ron Burkle, helped Mario Lemieux buy the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999 and has tried to buy other franchises since.

 

Streak of the Day

  • Dodgers Andre Ethier extending his hitting streak to 19 games
  • Royals Alex Gordon extended his career long hitting streak to 16 games
  • Royals Wilson Betemit extended his career long hitting streak to 13 games
  • Royals Jeff Francouer extended his hitting streak to 12 games
  • Rangers Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games

 

Top Saturday Matchups

1:07 EDT Rays (Price 2-2, 2.83) at Blue Jays (Morrow 10-7, 3.99-2010 stats)

4:10 EDT Braves (Hudson 2-2, 4.05) at Giants (Lincecum 2-1, 1.67)

7:05 EDT Yankees (Sabathia 0-1, 2.52) at Orioles (Bergeson 0-2, 3.38)

7:10 EDT Astros (Myers 1-0, 2.39) at Brewers (Marcum 2-1, 1.90)

 

Last night’s balks: 0