Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
By Matt Snyder
The Washington Nationals have never had a winning record. They finished 81-81 in 2005 but came in last. Then they dipped all the way down to consecutive 59-win seasons before winning 69 in 2010 and going 80-81 last season. So is 2012 the time for the first Nationals winning season -- and possibly more? Unfortunately for the Nats, they play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. Fortunately for the Nats, they are improved from last season's third-place team.
Danny Knobler's camp report: Harper decision might make all the difference | Likes, dislikes
Major additions: LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Brad Lidge
Major departures: OF Layne Nix, RHP Livan Hernandez, RHP Todd Coffey
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Jayson Werth, RF
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Michael Morse, LF
5. Adam LaRoche, 1B
6. Danny Espinosa, 2B
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Roger Bernadina, CF
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Gio Gonzalez
3. Jordan Zimmerman
4. Edwin Jackson
5. Chien-Ming Wang
John Lannan is also a possibility as the fifth starter, and remember Strasburg is on a 160-inning limit this season.
Closer: Drew Storen
Set-up: Tyler Clippard, Brad Lidge
Important bench players
C Jesus Flores, IF/OF Mark DeRosa, OF Rick Ankiel
Prospect to watch
C'mon. You know who. We've all been watching Bryce Harper since he was about 15, and from everything said in camp it sounds like 2012 is the year we see him in the majors. Will he break camp with the club? Only if they're ready to play him everyday, which means Werth is shoved to center. I believe the Nationals would have to be 100 percent convinced Harper was ready to star right now, otherwise there's no reason to do so -- especially since the defense would suffer as a result. More likely, an injury or underperformance opens the door sometime in May or June. Regardless, scouts collectively believe Harper is an elite-level superstar when he does stick in the majors. Anthony Rendon bears watching as well, but not to the extent of Harper.
Fantasy breakout: Jordan Zimmermann
"One could argue that in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery Zimmermann had already broken out. Last year the 25-year-old posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.15 WHIP and only an innings limit kept him from being a top 40 starting pitcher. This season, Zimmermann won't be curtailed in terms of his workload, and better yet, there is room for him to perform better even on a per-inning basis. He averaged slightly less than seven strikeouts per nine innings in 2011, not meeting the standard he set prior to his surgery but he started to miss a lot more bats over his final 10 starts. Over that span, Zimmermann got to strike three 53 times in 58 2/3 innings. With more innings and a higher K-rate likely this season, look for Zimmermann to emerge as a No. 3 starting pitcher in mixed leagues." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]
Fantasy bust Jayson Werth
"Leaving a homer-friendly ballpark in Philadelphia behind, many expected Werth to have a down year in 2011, but the worst may be yet to come. Park factors may have worked against Werth with his move to Washington but even before he signed with the Nationals he was facing a steady decline in his home run per flyball ratio. While Werth's home run power seems to be evaporating the 46 doubles he hit in 2010 was merely an outlier as he has never hit more than 26 in a season barring that one year." - Al Melchior [Full Nationals fantasy team preview]
Every player plays like he's capable and the Nationals don't have a major weakness. The offense has the potential to be strong top-to-bottom, with great starting pitching -- Edwin Jackson proving to be the best No. 4 in the league -- and a lock-down back-end of the bullpen. If everything comes together like it can, the Nationals would make the playoffs. They may not be able to win the toughest division in the National League, but with a possibility of two wild cards on the table -- seriously, Bud, how long until this is decided?!? -- there's certainly no reason to count out the Nats.
While there are good hitters in the lineup, the lack of an elite slugger in addition to a hole in center field holds the offense back. Werth's struggles bleed into 2012, Zimmerman again can't stay healthy and the pitching staff is plagued by Gonzalez's control issues and Jackson's inconsistency -- not to mention Strasburg's inning limit. Playing in the mighty NL East, the Nationals come in fourth or even last, with the Mets surprising and jumping over them.
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Tags: Adam LaRoche, Brad Lidge, Chien-Ming Wang, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen, Edwin Jackson, Gio Gonzalez, Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth, Jesus Flores, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Mark DeRosa, Matt Snyder, Michael Morse, Nationals, NL East, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Tyler Clippard, Wilson Ramos
Posted on: February 16, 2012 3:47 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Want a feel-good story? How about Juan Nicasio?
The Rockies' right-hander suffered a broken neck last August when he was hit by an Ian Desmond liner. Not only is Nicasio in camp with the Rockies, he's in line for a spot in the team's rotation.
"I am one of those people that didn't think we would be talking about him on Feb. 16 on how he has a very, very good chance to be a member of our rotation. But that's where we are at," Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. "He's coming into camp with the mindset that he's making the team."
Tracy said Nicasio will have no limitations this spring and will even participate in the team's "ragball drills" where pitchers are graded on their ability to field comebackers.
As a rookie in 2012, Nicasio was 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 13 starts, dominating at Coors Field where he was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in seven starts (and 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA in six starts away from Coors).
The Rockies are set at the top of their rotation with Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin, but after that, the final three rotation spots are up for grabs. As Matt Snyder pointed out last week, there's plenty of candidates, with few answers. Among those gunning for a spot in the rotation in addition to Nicasio are Alex White, Drew Pomeranz, Guillermo Moscoso, Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Jamie Moyer.
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Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:56 am
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
We continue the series today with the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos. Yeah, remember them -- the best team in baseball in 1994 before the strike ended the season without a World Series? If you don't, you'll need to be reminded of a certain Bartolo Colon trade, which ended up being awful for the Expos, who got 17 starts from Colon after coughing up three future All-Stars for him. What we see is a team that looks pretty good, but has loads of young talent either already developing in the bigs or soon to be arriving.
1. Grady Sizemore, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, RF
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 1B
7. Ian Desmond, SS
8. Brian Schneider, C
1. Cliff Lee
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Jordan Zimmermann
4. Javier Vazquez
5. John Lannan
Closer - Drew Storen
Set up - Bill Bray, Craig Stammen, Collin Balester, Miguel Batista
Long - Armando Galarraga, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone, Ross Detwiler
Notable Bench Players
Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Wilson Valdez, Anthony Rendon, Jamey Carroll, Orlando Cabrera, Geoff Blum and Roger Bernadina.
The starting rotation is really good, especially if you start to think about the future. Much like the real Nats, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler all have the potential to break through and really make this a strong top-to-bottom rotation. Here, you have a perennial Cy Young candidate sitting at the top, too. The batting order definitely has the potential to be good, but there are a lot of question marks, so we can't really be overly excited about it. But, much like with the rotation, there is some serious potential on the way in Harper and Rendon. Finally, the bench is really good. This team has depth.
And in case you're curious, the three All-Stars the Expos gave up for Colon were Sizemore, Phillips and Lee. None of the three had made their major-league debut at the time of the trade.
If we were really going to stick Vlad in right field, we'd have to pray no one hit the ball out there. Should I have gotten more creative and put Vlad at first, moving Espinosa out to right? Maybe. We could move Vlad to 1B and throw Harper into the fire, play Bernadina in the outfield and move Vlad to first or just bench Guerrero. I'm open to any idea, but the idea I used was to maximize the offense. Hey, it worked when the Cardinals put Lance Berkman in right this past real season, right? Also, Schneider is a pretty bad catching option at this point, but there were zero other options on current 40-man rosters or in free agency in the MLB (which is what we used to build these rosters). Finally, the bullpen is very thin in front of Storen in the late innings.
Comparison to real 2011
The real-life Nats are just on the cusp of breaking through, though it'll be tough in the stacked NL East. These Nats would be a bit better with the legitimate ace Lee and a great bench. Maybe mid-80s in wins, but with tons of help on the way. Much like with the real Nats, it's kind of a "watch out next year" type deal -- with the likes of Harper, Rendon, Peacock and Milone waiting in the wings while Strasburg, Zimmermann, Storen, Espinosa et al continue to get better.
Next: Boston Red Sox
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Tags: Anthony Rendon, Armando Galarraga, Bill Bray, Brad Peacock, Brandon Phillips, Brian Schneider, Bryce Harper, Chris Marrero, Cliff Lee, Collin Balester, Craig Stammen, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen, Expos, Geoff Blum, Grady Sizemore, Homegrown, Ian Desmond, Jamey Carroll, Jason Bay, Javier Vazquez, John Lannan, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Snyder, Miguel Batista, Nationals, NL East, Orlando Cabrera, Roger Bernadina, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Tom Milone, Vladimir Guerrero, Wilson Valdez
Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:35 pm
By Evan Brunell
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...Team name: Washington Nationals
Record: 80-81, third place, 21.5 GB
Manager: Jim Riggleman/Davey Johnson
Best hitter: Mike Morse -- .303/.360/.550, 31 HR, 95 RBI
Best pitcher: Jordan Zimmermann -- 8-11, 161 1/3 IP, 3.18 ERA, 31 BB, 124 K
2011 SEASON RECAP
The Nats were exactly 13-13 at the end of April, and it was a trend that continued all the way through the first half, with the club jumping out to a 46-46 record in the first half. It was an unexpected surge for Washington, who was expected to continue along its growth, but at a slower clip. It was quite the impressive display, especially since the club didn't have Stephen Strasburg and big-ticket signing Jayson Werth struggling to a .215/.319/.362 first half, along with Ian Desmond (.223/.264/.308).
The second half saw the return of Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang along with rebounds from Werth and Desmond. But those improvements didn't show up on the field, with a 34-35 record. In essence the team was exactly the same. Players who fell off in the second-half include Danny Espinosa, Laynce Nix, Livan Hernandez and Zimmermann, who was shut down at the end of August.
The Nationals are in a pretty good position for 2012. Stephen Strasburg is back from Tommy John surgery and looking as electric as ever. Paired with Jordan Zimmermann, Washington has a strong one-two punch in the rotation. Offensively, the team is coming along and with a rebound year from Jayson Werth could be sneaky-good. This is a team on the rise, and the Nats smell blood in the NL East.
FREE AGENTSRick Ankiel, CF
Todd Coffey, RP
Alex Cora, IF
Jonny Gomes, OF
Livan Hernandez, SP
Laynce Nix, OF
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Chien-Ming Wang, SP
Posted on: October 4, 2011 7:19 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 11:09 pm
By Evan Brunell
Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...
Team name: Tampa Bay Rays
Record: 91-71, 2nd place AL East, 6 games back. Wild card champions, lost to Rangers 3 games to 1 in ALDS
Manager: Joe Maddon
Best hitter: Ben Zobrist -- .269/.353/.469, 20 HR, 99 RBI
Best pitcher: James Shields -- 16-12, 249 1/3 IP, 11 CG, 4 SHO, 2.82 ERA, 65 BB, 225 K
The Rays have now reached the postseason two years in a row, but dropped its second straight ALDS to the Rangers, making it to four games before the season ended. It was a remarkable run for a team that had to remake its bullpen and replace Carl Crawford in left field.
2011 SEASON RECAP
Tampa began the season as an afterthought in the eyes of many. After all, how were the Rays supposed to contend with New York and the revamped Red Sox? That didn't stop the team from producing, though, posting a record over .500 each of the first three months. The team got quite a bit of attention in April when Manny Ramirez retired instead of serving his 100-game suspension for failing a drug test for the second time. They weathered it though, despite losing someone that was supposed to be integral to the lineup. Sam Fuld dazzled the team for a while, but the Rays limped through the season offensively until Desmond Jennings was promoted in late July.
July wasn't kind to Tampa, finishing with a 11-15 record but they turned on the jets after that, going 35-20 and winning the wild card on the last swing of the regular season, with Evan Longoria's homer disappearing over the fence minutes after the Red Sox completed their collapse.
The Rays have a decent amount of overturn coming, set to lose two starters from their lineup in Casey Kotchman and Johnny Damon. Backstop Kelly Shoppach and reliever Juan Cruz also played integral roles, but the important thing to notice here is that none of Tampa's important players are free agents. That's huge, and while the Rays will doubtless be making some moves -- and if you see below, I have them making two significant trades -- they should enter 2012 with a team fairly recognizable from this year. This is a team poised to contend, and the riches in the minors will keep on boosting the team. Their postseason may have been cut short, but they'll be back plenty of times in the coming seasons.
FREE AGENTSRP Juan Cruz
DH Johnny Damon
RP Kyle Farnsworth ($3.3 million club option)
1B Casey Kotchman
C Kelly Shoppach ($3.2 million club option)
Posted on: July 28, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:36 am
By Evan Brunell
A possible trade between the Twins and Nationals has surfaced on the rumor mill in recent hours, with CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reporting that Washington is zeroing in on Denard Span to be its center fielder of the future, while the Twins target closer Drew Storen in a possible multi-player trade.
It's possible that shortstop Ian Desmond and catcher Wilson Ramos could be part of a deal, as they did not play on Wednesday, fueling speculation that the two could be part of a trade for Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton, who also rode the pine Wednesday.
Of course, the Twins have Joe Mauer at catcher, so it's doubtful they're looking to re-acquire Ramos even if they're regretting the deal that sent him to the Nats for Matt Capps last season, who recently lost his closer's job. But Desmond? The Twins do need infield help, but Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka crowd the middle infield spots, while Danny Valencia is still starting regularly at third, even if he should hit the bench against right-handers. All this is probably more smoke than it is fire.
What clearly is something, though, is the Span-Storen deals. The Twins need to stabilize their bullpen, both for 2011 and in the future, and adding a young reliever like Storen would go a long way toward locking the ninth inning down for years. We'll find out by Sunday if there's any truth to these rumors.
Here are some other trade rumors to whet your appetite:
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Tags: Aaron Harang, AL Central, AL East, AL East, AL West, Astros, B.J. Upton, Brewers, Denard Span, Dodgers, Drew Storen, Evan Brunell, Giants, Heath Bell, Hiroki Kuroda, Hunter Pence, Ian Desmond, Indians, Jamey Carroll, Jared Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, MLB Rumors, Nationals, NL Central, NL East, NL East, NL West, Padres, Phillies, Rafael Furcal, Ramon Hernandez, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Robbie Erlin, Rockies, Ryan Ludwick, Tigers, trade deadline, Twins, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wilson Ramos, Yankees
Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 5:07 pm
By Eye on Baseball team
Leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the National League East has an actual race -- as well as a team with a bloated payroll and no hope -- which leads to a great chance of some pretty interesting trades to and from the division. Here's a look at the five teams in the NL Eeast:
Needs: Bullpen, RH bat
Notes: Manager Charlie Manuel said he'd love a right-handed bat (Philadelphia Daily News), probably in the outfield, but this is the Phillies and expect the team to focus on pitching -- at least that's what history tells us. And because their rotation is pretty good (you may have heard about some of these guys), they focus on relievers, likely ending a streak of five years of adding a starter midseason. The team is likely one of the many suitors for Padres closer Heath Bell, although some suggest the Phillies prefer Mike Adams. Padres owner Jeff Moorad has reportedly told Adams he won't be traded. However, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres, the Phillies are willing to give up Class A first baseman/left fielder Jonathan Singleton in return for Adams.
As for the right-handed bats, the Phillies are in on the same folks everyone's chasing -- Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence and maybe Jeff Francouer. The biggest hurdle of all for the Phillies is money, as in they've already spent it and they're worried about the luxury tax. The team has just between $2 and $3 million to spend and avoid the luxury tax.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, the Phillies and Royals have already exchanged names in a possible Melky Cabrera trade. Cabrera is a cheaper, younger switch hitter for those who fall short in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.
Status: Bargain shoppers
Needs: Right-handed bat
Notes: The Braves need a right-handed bat like Roy Halladay needs air conditioning. Atlanta looks like the front-runner for the National League wild card, but don't have much money to spend. The biggest issue right now for Atlanta is its inability to hit left-handed pitchers. Braves hitters are hitting just .211/.285/.337 against lefties, with Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer all below the Mendoza line against southpaws. That's why Jon Paul Morosi's report of the Reds' Jonny Gomes drawing the interest of the Braves makes sense, Gomes kills lefties to the tune of a .340/.446/.547 slash line this season and .281/..377/.510 in his career. There's also the regular names such as Ludwick and Beltran.
To make room for more payroll, the team could trade right-hander Derek Lowe, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien wrote. The Tigers could be interested in Lowe, but would have to take up the rest of the $20 million he's owed through 2012.
New York Mets
Status: One-stop shopping
Needs: Young talent under team control; pitching
Notes: Outfielder Carlos Beltran is the top position player on the market, but his future is clouded by the number of teams that could use an upgrade in the outfield and the fact that he's not for sale, he's for rent. Whatever team gets him won't even get compensation picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.
The Mets would reportedly rather pay Beltran's salary and get a good young player or top prospect in return. They could unload him to a team willing to pay the roughly $8 million left on his contract, but then they wouldn't get much in return. The Mets would prefer big-league ready pitching talent. New York seems confident it can re-sign Jose Reyes, meaning they're not ready to throw in the towel and go full-on rebuilding anytime soon.
Beltran, however, does have a no-trade clause. According to Tim Brown of Yahoo!, Sandy Alderson gave Beltran a short list of teams interested -- the Phillies, Red Sox, Braves, Giants, Brewers and maybe the Yankees -- and Beltran hasn't ruled any of them out.
Status: Listening to all offers
Needs: Leadoff man/center fielder of the future
Notes: The Nationals have pieces to deal -- from catcher Ivan Rodriguez to relievers Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Todd Coffey and Sean Burnett, plus starters Jason Marquis, Livan Hernandez and Tom Gorzelanny. In short, they're open for business, with GM Mike Rizzo saying no player is "untouchable" -- but then following that up with "we're not going to touch our core." That means, "after a while, they don't ask for [Danny] Espinosa," Rizzo told the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore. Ryan Zimmerman is also likely untouchable, as well as catcher Wilson Ramos.
One name to watch is shortstop Ian Desmond, but that would take quite the return for the team to move the 25-year-old.
More likely to go are some of the team's relievers. The Nats are deep in the bullpen and it's a position that's always in demand. The top tier would be Clippard or even Storen, but that would require Washington receiving a leadoff-hitting center fielder in return, someone like B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Colby Rasmus or Denard Span, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal writes.
Needs: Third baseman, starting pitchers
Notes: The Marlins have starting pitchers that would interest many teams, but they may not part with them. Next year they rename themselves the Miami Marlins when they move into a new stadium and ownership would like a competitive team on the field when that happens.
Ricky Nolasco is the top starter to be had, but Knobler says they'd have to get a younger, cheaper starter in return for the 28-year-old right-hander.
The one the team may part with is Javier Vazquez, but it's not really their decision. Vazquez has a full no-trade clause and isn't in any hurry to leave South Florida. There are few places he'd accept a trade.
Sure to be gone is closer Leo Nunez. The Phillies are interested in Nunez. The other teams desperate for bullpen help -- like the Cardinals and Rangers -- are likely to at least inquire what it may take to get him.
Randy Choate has been verbal this week about his problems with current manager Jack McKeon and could get shipped off for not being a good soldier.@cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: B.J. Upton, Braves, Brewers, Carlos Beltran, Colby Rasmus, Danny Espinosa, Denard Span, Derek Lowe, Derek Lowe, Drew Storen, Giants, Greg Dobbs, Heath Bell, Hutner Pence, Ian Desmond, Jason Heyward, Jason Marquis, Jason Marquis, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Francouer, Jim Johnson, Jonathan Singleton, Jonny Gomes, Jordan Schafer, Jose Reyes, Koji Uehara, Leo Nunez, Livan Hernandez, Livan Hernandez, Marlins, Melky Cabrera, Michael Bourn, Mike Adams, MLB rumors, Nate McLouth, Nationals, NL East, Omar Infante, Phillies, Randy Choate, Red Sox, Ricky Nolasco, Ryan Ludwick, Ryan Zimmerman, Sean Burnett, Todd Coffey, Tom Gorzelanny, Tom Gorzelanny, trade deadline, Tyler Clippard, Vance Worley, Wilson Ramos, Yankees
Posted on: July 16, 2011 1:30 am
Edited on: July 16, 2011 9:38 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Brandon Phillips, Reds:Phillips didn't exactly enhance his standing in St. Louis. Already the most hated man in eastern Missouri, Phillips hit a two-out, walk-off homer to give the Reds a 6-5 victory over St. Louis. Phillips had an error that gave St. Louis its first lead off starter Johnny Cueto.
Jeff Karstens, Pirates: The Pirates right-hander allowed just five hits and needed only 83 pitches in a shutout victory in Houston, which when coupled with losses by the Cardinals and Brewers catapulted the Pirates into a tie for first place. Seriously, a tie for first place. Karstens became the first Pirate to win five-straight decisions since 2006 and lowered his ERA to 2.34, third-best in the National League, leapfrogging Roy Halladay.
Eric Hosmer, Royals: With two outs in the ninth, Hosmer took Twins closer Matt Capps deep over the wall in center at Target Field, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead. Closer Joakim Soria made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, but the Royals held on for the victory. Hosmer now has nine home runs on the season.
Nationals defense: Washington had five errors in Friday's 11-1 loss to the Braves. First baseman Michael Morse had two errors on one play in the first inning and added another later in the game. Morse had just one error in his first six seasons in the big leagues. Shortstop Ian Desmond had another error in the Braves' four-run first. Ryan Zimmerman added the team's fifth miscue later when a ball went between his legs in the sixth.
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: Usually a player's 1,000th career hit would be a time of celebration. Not for Ramirez, who was slow out of the box on a ball to the gap in the ninth inning. Cubs center-fielder Marlon Byrd made a strong throw to second to nab Ramirez. The Marlins scored their only run of the game one batter later on Logan Morrison's RBI single that should have tied the game at 2. Instead, the Cubs lifted a struggling Carlos Marmol, and Sean Marshall picked up a one-out save for Chicago, ending Florida's six-game winning streak.
Matt Tolbert, Twins: When you come in a pinch-runner, you're supposed to be smart on the basebaths. That's all the Twins ask of Tolbert -- well, that and running faster than Jim Thome -- but he didn't do his job. With one out in the ninth and the Twins trailing 2-1, Tolbert stood on third with Luke Hughes at the plate. Hughes hit a tapper back to the mound, but instead of holding at third, Tolbert was easily thrown out at the plate. One batter later Tsuyoshi Nishioka grounded out to end the game.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.