|07.05.11 at 7:56 pm ET|
David Ortiz is in a unique position. He is the captain of the American League’s Home Run Derby squad, in charge of selecting the AL representatives who will join him in Phoenix during the All-Star festivities next week. He is also a former teammate of Diamondbacks slugger Wily Mo Pena, a unique power-hitting menace who is capable of hitting the ball farther than just about anyone in the sport.
Apprised of the grassroots campaign to get the NL to add Pena to the Home Run Derby (which, for the first time this year, is not limited to All-Star participants), Ortiz made his feelings clear.
“That’s not good,” Ortiz said of the idea of having Pena among the NL’s lineup of batting practice bashers. “We would lose right away.”
The decision was not Ortiz’ to make. Instead, it belonged to Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, who won the 2009 Home Run Derby in St. Louis. Fielder passed on Pena, instead selecting Brewers teammate Rickie Weeks, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday.
So, the grassroots #wilymo4derby campaign on twitter did not achieve its goal. Still, the Sox are in unique position to assess the possible theater that Pena could have brought to the Derby setting. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.05.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
According to Bob Klapisch of Fox Sports, the Mets are open to dealing closer Francisco Rodriguez, even if it means shipping him to their crosstown rival. Rodriguez’ contract has a no-trade clause, but he said he would wave it for a trade to “good teams” like the Yankees and Rays. The Yankees could use another reliever, but their set up role could be filled when Rafael Soriano makes his return from the disabled list after the All-Star break.
Rodriguez has expressed a desire to stay with the Mets. He leads the team with 21 saves and has a 3.32 ERA.
|07.05.11 at 1:10 pm ET|
Red Sox fans may not have the best memories of Wily Mo Pena. The outfielder spent parts of two seasons in Boston from 2006-07 and was best known for a vicious swing that sometimes led to moonshot home runs but more often was the direct cause of nothing more than a violent strikeout.
Now, Pena has made his return to the majors for the first time since 2008, this time with the Diamondbacks, and is returning to his homer-mashing days of yore. After just 13 games in Arizona, he has smashed five home runs over 39 at-bats, giving him 7.8 at-bats per home run which would lead both leagues if he had accrued enough ABs to be eligible.
Those numbers have Yahoo! MLB columnist Jeff Passan starting a Twitter campaign with the hashtag “#wilymo4derby” in which he suggests that NL Home Run Derby captain Prince Fielder select Pena for his squad in next Monday’s competition, which will take place in Pena’s current home of Chase Field.
|07.05.11 at 12:52 pm ET|
The Yankees bullpen was hurting when Joba Chamberlain (Tommy John surgery) and Rafael Soriano (elbow injury) both were sent to the disabled list long-term. Although the injury isn’t considered serious, Mariano Rivera also gave the team a scare when he became unavailable to pitch Monday night with sore triceps.
Without any other big-name reliever outside of perhaps David Robertson, those kinds of maladies have the Yankees scrambling for potential stopgaps in their pen, and they seem to be looking to San Diego’s wealth of weapons in the bullpen as a potential solution, according to FOXSports.com.
Closer Heath Bell (2.50 ERA, NL-best 25 saves) seems to be one of the hot names on the trade market, but the report also throws Padres right-handed reliever Mike Adams (1.17 ERA, 0.65 WHIP) into the discussion of potential New York targets because of his ability to get lefties out (.468 OPS against). New York only has Boone Logan as a lefty in its bullpen right now.
However, Ken Rosenthal notes that San Diego would only part with Adams if they receive “an extraordinary offer.”
|07.05.11 at 11:02 am ET|
Not that it comes as a big surprise to anyone, but Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com report that the Astros, the league’s worst team with a 29-57 record as of Tuesday, will be aggressive sellers come the end of the month.
The only untouchables on the roster are expected to be franchise player and recently named All-Star Hunter Pence as well as right-handed starters Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles. Carlos Lee, who is owed $18.5 million next season and the balance of that figure this season, will most likely not be moved due to his excessive contract and lack of production.
Everyone else appears to be fair game, including southpaw Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 2.97 ERA). Rosenthal has mentioned the Yankees as potential suitors for Rodriguez, who is owed $23 million combined over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The pair also mentions Michael Bourn, the Astros speedy leadoff hitter who leads MLB in stolen bases with 35 and is considered a solid centerfielder. They list the Braves, Giants and Nationals as possible destinations for Bourn.
Rosenthal and Morosi note that a switch in ownership could be the cause for a potential firesale, given potential owner Jim Crane‘s willingness to start from scratch. However, the $680 million sale may not become official until after the July 31 trade deadline, although it is stated that the team could still trade several players regardless.
|07.05.11 at 10:53 am ET|
Another interleague “season” is in the books. Coming up is a statistical look at “Interleague 2011″. But first, a quick nugget from yesterday’s loss:
* – In the 9th inning, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez struck out in succession (while each represented the tying run), snapping a streak of 156 straight innings where both had batted in the same inning without both striking out since May 19. It had only happened once in the last 264 innings in which they both batted (since April 16).
Note this: Monday was the 120th time since the last time that the Red Sox came to bat in the 9th inning at Fenway trailing by one or two runs and all three outs came via strikeout. That time, April 11, 1997, it was Troy O’Leary, Bill Haselman, and Nomar Garciaparra whiffing against Seattle’s Norm Charlton with the Red Sox trailing 5-3.
* – While the Red Sox were going 10-8 in interleague play, the Yankees and Angels were putting up major league best 13-5 records. The Astros, at 4-11, had the worst interleague record in the majors this year. The best records ever for one interleague season belong to the 2006 Red Sox, 2006 Twins, and 2002 A’s (16-2). The worst ever was 2-13, by the 2010 Pirates.
* – Boston won at least 50 percent of their interleague games for the 9th straight season, trailing only the Yankees, who did it for the 14th season in a row. It was the 7th consecutive year that the Astros have not won more than 50 percent of their interleague games.
* – The Red Sox hit a major league leading .300 in interleague play this year. They also led the majors by scoring 100 runs in their 18 games (5.6 average), seven more than the Yankees. The Phillies wound up at .220, the lowest mark in the league, barely worse than the Marlins (.221).
* – The Blue Jays and Rangers each hit 26 home runs in their 18 interleague games to lead the league, while the Padres hit just four in 15 games, tying the 1997 Yankees for the fewest in an interleague year.
—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »
|07.05.11 at 10:11 am ET|
While the shortstop is in the midst of his best season as a big leaguer, a New York Post report stated that the Mets are considering a “substantial” offer to retain the services of the free-agent-to-be after the 2011 campaign is up. That means that the team will look to keep Reyes for the duration of the season rather than try to shop him around leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
Reyes leads the majors with a .354 average and 124 hits but has not played since Saturday when he pulled up lame with a hamstring strain on an infield single. Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who the Post’s Joel Sherman called a “Reyes convert,” downplayed the injury in terms of how the team is approaching Reyes’s upcoming contract negotiations, telling the Post ‘Before we jump to any long-term conclusions, let’s see about this injury. I will say this, most players miss a few days at some point of the season, and so in that context this is not unusual.’
Reyes had reportedly told the team that he was unwilling to negotiate a deal during the season, citing the chance for such negotiations to cause an off-the-field distraction that could affect his on-the-field performance.
|07.05.11 at 9:39 am ET|
After the All-Star roster announcements came and went without Jon Lester‘s name being said, the Boston lefty told reporters that he was disappointed he wouldn’t be playing in his second Midsummer Classic. He’ll get his first chance since being snubbed to prove why he should’ve been chosen when he takes on the Blue Jays for the fourth time this season Tuesday night while Toronto counters with its own lefty starter in Brett Cecil.
Lester (10-4, 3.43 ERA) ranks second in the American League behind fellow All-Star snub CC Sabathia (11-4) in wins and seventh in strikeouts with 105, although his ERA pits him at the non-All-Star spot of 19th in the league heading into Tuesday night’s matchup. After allowing four runs or more three times in the month of May, Lester rebounded to toss quality starts in each of his five June outings, including a seven-inning, two-hit, no-runs-allowed performance against the Phillies in his last start. Interestingly enough, Lester has received a decision in each of his last nine starts (6-3 over that span) and has a reached a no-decision in only three of his 17 appearances in 2011, compared to six ND’s in 16 starts for Josh Beckett.
Lester is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA in those four previous starts against Toronto. However, that last stat is skewed a bit by a horrendous outing in which he allowed five earned runs over 5 1/3 innings on May 10. In his other two starts, he has allowed just two combined runs over 14 innings. He has absolutely owned Jose Bautista (.192 average, 6 strikeouts) and Aaron Hill (.083, 9 strikeouts) while John McDonald (.975 OPS) and Corey Patterson (1.222 OPS) have more success against Lester.
Cecil (1-3, 7.24 ERA) on the other hand was never a consideration for the All-Star squad this season and for good reason. The Toronto lefty has allowed five earned runs or more in three of his five starts this season and has pitched into the seventh inning just once. That being said, his only win came against the Sox back on April 15 (6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER in a 7-6 win) before being demoted to Triple-A at the end of the month.
Although his struggles against lefties this season have been well-documented, don’t be surprised to see Darnell McDonald get the start because of his 5-for-7 performance against Cecil with two doubles and a walk in eight career plate appearances. J.D. Drew, who has two home runs off Cecil, could be a candidate to take the other outfield spot in right. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.04.11 at 7:19 pm ET|
When Clay Buchholz landed on the disabled list on June 19 due to soreness in his lower back, it seemed like the type of common precaution that a team takes during the middle of the year. Give a pitcher a two-week vacation to rest an ache, with the bonus of allowing his arm to rest and regenerate, and then get a pitcher back at the height of his abilities down the stretch.
It hasn’t quite worked according to plan. Buchholz had pitched through his cranky back in a number of starts, and pitched well, forging a 6-3 record and 3.48 ERA in 14 starts, including a 5-0 run with a 2.59 ERA in his last nine turns of the rotation.
And so, the expectation was that he would need little more than 15 days to get healthy before returning to the rotation, a stretch during which the Sox might be able to give Andrew Miller a trial in the rotation. Initially, Buchholz showed signs of progress with the injury, but more recently, he has seen little improvement. Soreness persists.
“I’ve been sitting out for two and a half weeks and getting a little miserable with it. There’s nothing I want to do besides go out there and throw and pitch and try to help this team win. But I feel like I’ve got to be healthy to do that,” Buchholz said prior to Monday’s game. “It felt like it was getting better for a while. Started doing some treatments on it. It’s not going down, but it’s sort of staying the same. That’s what we’re looking at.
“We’ve already said it’s probably going to be after the All-Star break sometime, so hopefully those couple days off at the break will kind of give it a rest by not doing anything, just sort of laying around.” Read the rest of this entry »
|07.04.11 at 6:51 pm ET|
The Red Sox were hopeful that John Lackey‘s start last week in Philadelphia would represent a turning point. He shut down a very good opposing lineup in a ballpark that typically does not permit such outcomes.
But then, he took the mound on Monday against the Blue Jays and had barely stepped on the rubber when he had given up a double to leadoff man Rajai Davis. That was the first of nine hits and seven runs that Lackey would allow on the afternoon, as his record dropped to 5-8, his ERA blowing up to an unsightly 7.47 mark that ranks as the worst in the majors.
It was one of the worst outings of the pitcher’s 10-year career. Only twice had he turned in shorter starts: Once after being ejected after hitting the first batter of the game, another as part of a planned two-inning tuneup for the playoffs at the end of the regular season in 2009.
The Sox put seven runs on the board, typically more than enough to ensure a victory. Instead, Lackey’s horrible line permitted no shot at a victory, and the Sox fell, 9-7, to the Blue Jays.
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