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Tag:Javy Guerra
Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:38 am
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Spring position battles: National League West



By Matt Snyder


We are finally just a few short weeks away from spring training beginning, so let's continue looking at some positional battles that will unfold through February and March. Monday, we looked at the AL West and now it's time to look at the NL West.

Arizona Diamondbacks
None: None yet.

I understand this probably comes off as a bit lame, but look at the D-Backs depth chart and tell me where there are any legitimate battles. From the starting lineup to the rotation to the bullpen, it would appear the defending NL West champs have very few question marks heading into the 2012 season. I would keep an eye on last year's first-round pick, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (maybe pushing Josh Collmenter to the long relief role at some point in June or July?), but it's very doubtful he fits in the rotation out of spring. He got knocked around (7.56 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) in four Double-A starts last season. So I've got nothing here. They are already set.

San Francisco Giants
First Base: Aubrey Huff vs. Brandon Belt

Is it time to pass the torch yet? The Giants had no patience with Belt last season, as the 23-year-old prospect was shipped back to the minors in April after just 60 plate appearances. He came back to stay in the middle of July, hitting .231/.296/.469 the rest of the way, but that was only in 142 plate appearances. And he did show good power, hitting eight homers in that stretch. In 111 career Triple-A games, Belt has a .441 on-base percentage and 20 home runs. Meanwhile, Huff is 35 and coming off a season where he hit .246/.306/.370 with just 12 homers in 579 plate appearances. With the additions of Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, it's unlikely the Giants shove Belt back in the outfield initially, so they must make a decision here. Do they leave Belt in Triple-A again, where he's proven he's a stud, have him ride pine in the bigs, or just move on past Huff and let Belt have the job?

Shorstop: Ryan Theriot vs. Brandon Crawford vs. Mike Fontenot

The 25-year-old Crawford is easily the best defender of this group, but at some point the Giants will need some offense. Crawford is a career .234/.291/.327 hitter in Triple-A. In 220 big-league plate appearances, Crawford hit .204/.288/.296 last season, so he's a complete offensive liability. Ryan Theriot hit .271 with a .321 OBP last year, and he also has no power. He does, however, have a career .282 average and .344 OBP. Fontenot hit only .227/.304/.377 last season, but he certainly has the most power of the trio here. Basically, there isn't really a good choice, but there's still one to be made. Of note: Fontenot and Crawford hit left handed, so maybe Theriot ends up platooning with one of them.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Left Field: Jerry Sands vs. Tony Gwynn Jr. vs. Juan Rivera

Did Sands' month of September give the Dodgers confidence he's ready to take over in left right away? It's possible. After hitting pretty poorly in his stint earlier in the season, Sands hit .342/.415/.493 with two homers, nine RBI and five doubles in 83 plate appearances in the last month. He's only 24, but he's also hit for great power in Triple-A (29 home runs in 418 plate appearances in Albuquerque last year). This one is all about him, with Gwynn being the backup option and Rivera being the desperation option.

Closer: Javy Guerra vs. Kenley Jansen

Guerra is the incumbent and successfully converted 21 of 23 save chances last season. He's only 26 and posted a 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in his 46 2/3 innings last season, too. So he's the obvious closer, right? I'm not so sure. The 6-foot-5 Jansen is only 24 and has elite closer written all over him. He had a rough start, but from June on, Jansen posted a 0.55 ERA, 0.67 WHIP with four saves, seven holds and zero blown saves. His stuff is nasty, as he struck out 96 hitters in 53 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like the sky is the limit, so would the Dodgers really leave him in the eighth inning due to Guerra's 2011 performance?

Colorado Rockies
No. 3-5 starting pitchers: Alex White vs. Drew Pomeranz vs. Juan Nicasio vs. Guillermo Moscoso vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Josh Outman vs. Jamie Moyer

After stockpiling pitchers the entire offseason, it wasn't too surprising to see the Rockies trade away both Kevin Slowey and Jason Hammel. Of course, they got back Jeremy Guthrie and still have an absurd logjam behind Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin. And Jorge De La Rosa will be back at some point later in the season (he had Tommy John surgery last June). White and Pomeranz are both young and inexperienced enough to justify more time in Triple-A, but they probably have the best stuff of anyone on the list. Chatwood got plenty of MLB experience last season, but he's still only 22 and his numbers weren't good. It's hard not to root for Nicasio, as he's coming back from a broken neck. He made some good starts for Colorado last summer, too. Outman's never really shown more than mediocrity and Moyer is 49. I very much like Moscoso's chances,  for one, as he's 28 and had a 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP last season for Oakland. The ballpark difference in home games will be bad, but the NL West has fewer fearful hitters than the AL West and some spacious parks. So I'll officially predict Moscoso gets in, but beyond him, it's a complete toss up.

San Diego Padres
Catcher: Nick Hundley vs. John Baker vs. Yasmani Grandal

Hundley has had parts of four seasons to prove himself. Last season, he did hit well, with a .288/.347/.477 line, but injuries limited him to just 82 games. His career high, due to many different circumstances, is 85. The 31-year-old Baker has had the past couple seasons ruined due to an arm injury (Tommy John surgery and rehab took out nearly all of last season), but back in 2008-09 he hit .281/.364/.423 for the Marlins. The two could actually platoon, because Baker hits lefty while Hundley hits righty. Grandal, though, has loads of talent. He was the Reds' first rounder in 2010, is a switch hitter and has a career minor-league line of .303/.401/.488. He's only played four games in Triple-A, though, so he'd probably have to go nuts with his bat in the spring to get a shot out of the gate. The smart money is on the Padres going with Hundley as the primary starter, Baker as a backup who sees a good amount of playing time and Grandal spending most of the season in Triple-A. Maybe even a platoon with Hundley and Baker. Still, there's enough here for a potentially good three-way battle this spring. And you never know on Grandal. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A in 2011 and his experience before that was just eight Rookie League games in 2010. Maybe he's one of those guys that doesn't need much minor-league seasoning.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: February 3, 2012 4:57 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Dodgers add Todd Coffey to bullpen

Todd CoffeyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Dodgers have agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Todd Coffey, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Coffey will earn $1.3 million in 2012 with $350,000 worth of possible incentives.

Coffey, 31, was 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 69 games for the Nationals last season, striking out 46 batters in 59 2/3 innings. He had a WHIP of 1.257. In parts of seven seasons with the Reds and Brewers, Coffey is 24-18 with a 4.08 ERA and 11 saves.

Right-hander Javy Guerra finished the season as the Dodgers' closer and looks to be the favorite going into 2012, with Kenley Jansen there if he falters. Coffey can help in a setup role, along with right-hander Matt Guerrier and lefty Scott Elbert.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



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.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Closer look at all 30 closing situations



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 and Matt Snyder

It appears the first domino in closer market has fallen (at least, we're pretty sure this time), but that leaves Heath Bell and Ryan Madson as the top relievers still available. But who needs a closer? Here's a look at the closing situation for all 30 teams.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg is still under contract -- much to the chagrin of new general manager Dan Duquette's chagrin. Gregg will make $5.8 million in 2012, not exactly ideal for a guy with a WHIP of 1.642 last season and an ERA of 4.37 while picking up 22 saves. Jim Johnson recorded nine saves and threw just 91 innings, but doesn't exactly miss a ton of bats. The Orioles could move Johnson to the rotation.
Possibilities: Gregg, Johnson, Bell, Francisco Cordero, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Broxton.

Red Sox: Well, obviously Papelbon is gone. Papelbon was the Red Sox closer for the last six years, recording the final out of the 2007 World Series among other memories. Still, As untouchable as he was in his first four years as the closer (1.74 ERA and 0.917 WHIP from 2006-2009), he had a 3.43 ERA and 1.104 WHIP over the last two seasons. Daniel Bard is unhittable at times, but struggled in the last two months of the season (which certainly wasn't uncommon among Red Sox), posting a 6.95 ERA in 21 games in August and September.
Possibilities: Bard, Madson, Bell.

New York Yankees: Mariano Rivera. Enough said.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays let the Yankees overpay for Rafael Soriano and then picked up Kyle Farnsworth off the discard pile, signing him to a two-year, $6 million deal. In retrospect, it was genius -- Farnsworth had 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA in 2011 and the Rays will keep him another year and let someone else overpay him for 2013.

Toronto Blue Jays: Frank Francisco was the team's closer for much of 2011, but he's a free agent and the team could be looking to spend some money on a  closer.
Possibilities: Madson, Bell, Cordero, Rodriguez, Casey Janssen.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox: Right-hander Sergio Santos converted 30 of 36 save opportunities, liming batters to just a .181/.282/.314 slash line and he should be in line to keep his job in 2012. If he falters, Addison Reed has a chance to take over.

Cleveland Indians: Chris Perez is on solid ground as the team's closer, picking up 35 saves in 2011.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers picked up the $9 million option on Jose Valverde.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals picked up the $6 million option on Joakim Soria and have options for 2013 and 2014.

Minnesota Twins: The Twins declined their $12.5 million option on incumbent Joe Nathan, but have expressed interest in bringing him back. Although his overall numbers -- 4.84 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 14 saves -- weren't too impressive, he did convert all 11 of his saves in the second half of the season. Left-hander Glen Perkins had two saves in 2011 and struck out 65 batters in 61 2/3 innings. If the team doesn't sign a free agent -- or trade for someone -- Perkins would have the best shot.
Possibilities: Nathan, Perkins, Jon Rauch, Broxton.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels: Jordan Walden recorded 32 saves as a rookie and made the All-Star team. He did blow 10 saves last season, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the team looked for an upgrade, but it's not expected, especially with tight purse strings this winter. The team could bring in a veteran for cheap that could close if Walden falters.
Possibilities: Walden, Scott Downs, Broxton, Rauch.

Oakland Athletics: Andrew Bailey is the team's closer, but a trade is always possible with Oakland.

Seattle Mariners: Brandon League had 37 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 2011.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers could be a wild card in the free agent closer market if they decided to move Neftali Feliz to the rotation. The Rangers tried that last spring but decided to keep Feliz in the bullpen. If they bring in a big-name, that would mean they believe Feliz can make the move. If not, there's still a chance of Mike Adams taking over for Feliz. Or they could bring in a low-cost veteran to have in reserve in case Feliz does work in the rotation.
Possibilities: Mike Adams, Madson, Cordero, Rauch, Broxton.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: Craig Kimbrel. Period. 

Miami Marlins: While the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez gets his name issue sorted out, the Marlins have a gaping hole at closer. The current members of their bullpen combined for four saves last season. Do the Marlins try to go with an internal option like Edward Mujica or make a splash on the free agent market (as they've been connected to several huge names already)? 
Possibilities: Nunez, Mujica, Madson, Cordero, Rodriguez, Bell.

New York Mets: If they stay internally, which is entirely possible, it looks like Bobby Parnell. But he wasn't awesome by any stretch when given save chances last season. The Mets have spent big on a free agent closer before (K-Rod), so would they be gunshy in doing so again? It's possible. But it's also possible they try to land someone like Ryan Madson. 
Possibilities: Parnell, Madson, Bell.

Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon. 

Washington Nationals: Drew Storen closed 43 of 48 games in 2011, his first full season in the majors. One would think that would be enough to earn him at least another year on the job, but Storen's name keeps popping up in trade rumors and the Nationals have been reportedly interested in Madson. The Nats have plenty of money, so if they wanted to ink a big-name closer and deal Storen as part of a package for a center fielder (Denard Span, perhaps?), they would be able to do so. 
Possibilities: Storen, Madson, Bell, Cordero.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs: It's probably going to be Carlos Marmol again, but he better get himself in gear. Not only did he blow 10 saves, but his once-astronomical strikeout rate lowered a bit in 2011 and control continues to be a serious problem. With new brass at the helm, 2011 will likely be his last chance to get things fixed. 

Cincinnati Reds: Cordero had a great four-year run with the Reds, amassing 150 saves with a 2.96 ERA, but he's a free agent now. Fireballer Aroldis Chapman is ticketed for the starting rotation and Nick Masset seems to be awfully inconsistent. The Reds don't have the money to spend in free agency, so would they make a trade for, say, Huston Street or Andrew Bailey? Seems unlikely. Either Chapman doesn't make it as a starter and sticks as closer or someone internally (23-year-old Brad Boxberger?) gets a shot. This one is totally up in the air. 
Possibilities: Cordero, Chapman, Boxberger, Bailey, Street, Broxton.

Houston Astros: Mark Melancon saved 20 games with a 2.78 ERA last season. There are far bigger problems with this team to believe they'll try hard to make a change here.

Milwaukee Brewers: John Axford and his award-winning 'stache.  

Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Star Joel Hanrahan nailed down the job last season. 

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte was never officially named closer by the stubborn Tony La Russa, but he did more than enough down the stretch and in the playoffs to earn the job for 2012, closing nine of 10 saves during the Cardinals' late run and five more in the postseason. 

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: It will again be J.J. Putz with David Hernandez filling in if (when?) Putz falls injured.

Colorado Rockies: Street is reportedly on the trading block. If he's is dealt, look for Rafael Betancourt to take over. He collected eight saves with a 2.89 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in 2011. 

Los Angeles Dodgers: Rookie Javy Guerra came on to save 21 games in 23 chances with a 2.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings in 2011. That's enough to have nailed down the job for the 2011 season, one would think. 

San Diego Padres: Bell is a free agent, but the Padres may just offer him arbitration, and he actually might accept it. If he does stay, the choice is obvious. If Bell leaves, there's a decent internal option in Chad Qualls. Qualls, 33, has 51 career saves. As far as free agency, if the Padres want to pay for a closer, they'll be paying for Bell. 
Possibilities: Bell, Qualls.

San Francisco: The Beard. 

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Posted on: October 9, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 3:53 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers

By Matt Snyder

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: Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79, third place in NL West, 11.5 games back
Manager: Don Mattingly
Best hitter: Matt Kemp -- .324/.399/.586, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 115 R, 40 SB
Best pitcher: Clayton Kershaw -- 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 248 K, 233 1/3 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Dodgers were mediocre at best and pretty bad at times for most of the 2011 season, but all of a sudden, something seemed to click. After an August 21 loss, the Dodgers sat 57-69. The rest of the way, they went 25-10. Simply: For the last five weeks of the season, the Dodgers were one of the best teams in baseball. It's just that it was too late and not many noticed -- including Joe Buck, who said "a bad Dodgers team" during the ALCS telecast Saturday night.

On the field, this Dodgers season will be remembered for two reasons. More specifically, two players. Matt Kemp would have the NL MVP in the bag had his teammates played better all season. He may lose out to Ryan Braun, though, due to many voters believing the winner of the individual award has to come from a team that was in contention. Clayton Kershaw won the pitching triple crown (led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts -- note: He tied Ian Kennedy in wins, but that still counts). He's the likely Cy Young Award winner in the NL.

Off the field, this Dodgers season has been completely and utterly marred by owner Frank McCourt. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, he's still the owner. At least as of this writing.

2012 AUDIT

R.I.P. series
Despite the strong close, the Dodgers are still in a state of limbo. There are several holes and the ownership mess makes it unknown as to how they can proceed. Fortunately, the nucleus is young and rather strong. Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra make a strong back-end duo in the bullpen. Kershaw is an elite ace. Kemp is one of the best all-around players in baseball. Chad Billingsley is fickle, but he's still only 27. The youth movement showed promise for the future, too, with Dee Gordon, Jerry Sands and Rubby De La Rosa (who had Tommy John surgery in August) showing they can be part of the solution in L.A. On the other hand, decisions need to be made with James Loney, Andre Ethier, catcher, second base and third base.

The franchise is not set up to be a slam-dunk contender, nor is it set up for futility in the near future. If the ownership situation would get settled very soon and the Dodgers could be a major player in free agency, they'd have a great shot at winning the NL West in 2012. It's just that we don't know how long the ownership situation will linger. Even if McCourt lost the team today, however, the approval process wouldn't be complete until it was too late to make several major plays at the likes of Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes and C.J. Wilson.

FREE AGENTS

Rod Barajas, C
Jamey Carroll, 2B
Aaron Miles, 2B
Casey Blake, 3B (option declined)
Juan Rivera, OF
Jon Garland, SP (option declined)
Hiroki Kuroda, SP
Jonathan Broxton, RP
Mike MacDougal, RP
Vicente Padilla, RP

OFFSEASON FOCUS

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they can't act like a large-market team as long as the McCourt financial stuff continues. And that won't be resolved this offseason. Still, there is significant payroll coming off the books. The general direction of the franchise should be to try and compete with the younger players while letting the aging veterans walk, but a few exceptions can be made -- because it's very realistic that the Dodgers can compete in the NL West in 2012.
  • They can probably make a run at Jose Reyes. His zealous personality would fit perfectly in Hollywood, just as his bat would atop the order. Gordon could be moved to second base and hit second. So the lineup would start: Reyes, Gordon, Kemp, Ethier (well, maybe, we'll get to that ... ).
  • Play Juan Uribe full time at third base. He's not too old to bounce back from an injury-plagued campaign.
  • Dangle Ethier as a trade candidate. Even when he's at his best, he's not an elite player -- yet many seem to view him as one. He's a free agent at the end of 2012 and has had several episodes of complaining about the team and then backing off the comments. I wouldn't necessarily come out and say he's gone, but instead quietly shop him. If he can be dealt for prospects, Sands and Tony Gwynn Jr. are enough to fill out the outfield for the time being, while L.A. just treads water waiting for the ownership situation to be sorted out.
  • Give Loney one last chance. The 27 year old was one of the best hitters in the league in the last five weeks. If it was a fluke, the Dodgers can address first base next season. If the McCourt situation was different, a run at Fielder or Albert Pujols while selling high Loney would make a lot of sense, but I just don't think they could pull that off financially at this point.
  • Bring Kuroda back for one more year. He wants to stay in L.A. anyway, and with De La Rosa on the shelf recovering from surgery, there's a need for a stop-gap in the rotation. 
  • If there's any possible way to do so financially, Kemp needs a huge contract extension. He's only 27 and can anchor the franchise for a long time. He's also wildly popular, so this would at least send a message to the fans that the Dodgers are still very relevant.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:05 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rivera saves No. 600, Guerra bombs

RiveraBy Evan Brunell

Mariano Rivera, Yankees: Rivera became the second closer with 600 saves when he set the Mariners down (but giving up Ichiro Suzuki's 170th hit of the season) to close out a 3-2 victory. Trevor Hoffman is the lone other closer to reach the mark, finishing with 601, so Rivera is also close to setting history in a record that will not be broken for a very long time. It was also his 41st save of the year, two behind Jose Valverde of the Tigers to lead the league in yet another impeccable season for the ageless wonder.

Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: Both Pedroia and Ellsbury rapped out a 4-for-5 night, with the Laser Show recording his first multi-homer game of the season with two blasts. Overall, he notched five RBI during a night where Pedroia joined the 20/20 club, scoring four times as well. Ellsbury added another four runs scored in the 18-6 trouncing, blasting his 27th homer of the season and driving in three. Ellsbury is now at .321/.380/.542 with the year, and Pedroia snaps a little slump with the night and is now slashing .300/.384/.471. Tim Wakefield grabbed his 200th win in the game.

Bruce Chen, Royals:  It's not often you see someone like Bruce Chen on 3 Up, but he blanked Minnesota over eight innings, whiffing eight and allowing just three baserunners. It was a dominating night for the journeyman who has settled into a nice career with the Royals over the last two years. His ERA is now at 4.04 and should receive some interest on the free-agent market with his second straight strong year. He returned to the Royals when no other team was willing to bite on Chen's resurgent year, but things will change now for the 34-year-old.



Javy Guerra, Dodgers: Javy Guerra spectacularly imploded night, handing the Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory in a positively awful top of the 10th. Here's how it went: Guerra gave up a leadoff single to Gerardo Parra, who earlier had drawn the ire of L.A. by getting into an argument with Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, staring at pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo after a brushback, then pimping a home run. He missed a pitchout, which allowed Aaren Hill to bunt. If he hadn't been bunting, the pitch would have gone to the backstop. Then he whiffed Justin Upton before intentionally walking Miguel Montero. All inning, he's been jittery, and he combusted by allowing a walk to Paul Goldschmidt on four straight balls. It's more of the same to Chris Young, with two significantly high fastballs followed by a ball low and outside, then another high fastball to walk in the winning run.

Cole Hamels, Phillies:
It wasn't a good night to be a Phillies ace, as Cole Hamels drew his eighth loss by lasting just five innings, allowing five runs (one unearned) en route to losing to baseball's worst team, the Astros. Hamels struck out six and walked one, so fared rather well there but couldn't buy an out in the field, giving up nine hits, a season-high. He's had such a good year overall, though, that the outing only set his ERA back to 2.71.

Justin Masterson, Indians:  Masterson got crushed in his continuing regression to the mean, coughing up six earned runs over five innings. He allowed eight hits and three walks, punching out just two as his ERA rose to 3.20 after ending July with a 2.56 mark and August at 2.83. He also gave up three homers in the losing effort. Masterson has taken a major step forward this year and make have evolved into an ace, but it will take until the end of 2012 to find out.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 10:53 am
 

Pepper: Danks discovers cut-fastball


Justin Verlander nearly pitched another no-hitter on Tuesday. NESN.com's Tony Lee joins Scott Braun on Baseball Today.

By Evan Brunell


NEW CUTTER: John Danks is finally on a roll, turning around his 0-7 start by winning his last two games. Danks pitched far better than his record indicated, but couldn't seem to figure things out and cited his cut fastball as one pitch he was struggling with.

"I play with grips a lot," Danks said. "My last game, I finally had a good one and was encouraged. Whenever I'm throwing a good one, I'm throwing it out front. That makes sense. I tend to not get on top of it and get around it, and it doesn't do anything for me. My focus is throwing it out front."

Danks is using a grip taught by batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey and has also experimented with other grips, including Mark Buehrle's.

"I will continue to work on other grips in case I lose it in a game so I have something to fall back on," Danks said. (Chicago Tribune)

ALL JETER, ALL THE TIME: Nick Swisher, for one, is tired of the Derek Jeter hoopla. Here's his response to a question about Jeter after taking out the Rangers:

"We just played a great game and you ask me that? I don't even know exactly what happened. A strain? Well, obviously, everyone knows what he's going up for, and he's the captain, we're going to miss him a lot, but then again we're trying to pick up where he left off. Gardy did a great job leading off for us tonight. I know he's excited about the opportunity to lead off for a little bit. But definitely when he's ready, we'll be ready for him to come back. He's a great player, definitely an elite, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The show goes on.''  (ESPN New York)

BEST PLAYER IN THE GAME: How did Jose Bautista come about to be one of the -- if not the -- best players in the game? This fantastic feature explains it all, and no, steroids aren't part of it. (Yahoo! Sports)

BLANK THE GOAT: Cubs players created a stir Monday when they revealed new team shirts that read "F--k the Goat!!!" Predictably, questions arose as to whether the Cubs players are tempting fate.

"I have news for you. When you take the field, nobody is thinking about the goat, whether they're wearing the T-shirt or not," manager Mike Quade said. (Chicago Tribune)

YOUNG MILESTONE: Michael Young is now the Rangers' all-time leader in games played after Monday, passing Rafael Palmiero with 1,574 games. (New York Times)

FASTEST MAN ALIVE: Tony Campana believes he's the fastest man in the league, and manager Mike Quade concurs. Wonder if Michael Bourn might take exception to that. (Chicago Tribune)

HATED: This may come as a surprise, but the Yankees are one of the most hated teams in the game. But has anyone ever wondered who the 10 most hateable Yankees are in Rangers history? Probably not, but now you know. (Dallas News)

CLOSER IN L.A.: It appears as if Javy Guerra is quickly grasping the Dodgers' closer role. The rookie has been getting more and more late-inning, high-leverage outings lately and appears to be de facto closer, even as manager Don Mattingly refused to put a label on Guerra. (MLB.com)

BARNEY HURT
: Darwin Barney strained his right knee and will hit the disabled list for it. The second baseman leads all NL rookies in batting average with a .294 mark. (ESPN Chicago)

KAZMIR NEARING END? Scott Kazmir got raked once again in a minor-league rehab start, leaving him with a 17.02 ERA in 15 2/3 innings over five starts. It's likely that L.A. will now release Kazmir, who has a career 5.31 ERA with the Angels in 35 starts, one of the bigger busts in recent memory. (Los Angeles Times)

SECOND OPINION: Freddy Sanchez will receive a second opinion on his dislocated shoulder in the hopes of avoiding season-ending surgery. Sanchez is hoping to heal the shoulder on his own. (MLB.com)

SANDOVAL BACK: Pablo Sandoval was thrilled after his first game back from injury, saying he feels great and the surgery to repair his right wrist went well. The team, too, seems to be relieved that Sandoval has returned. (San Jose Mercury News)

GRANTED: Cole Hamels is one of the best pitchers on the field, but off the field he runs a charity that grants various amounts of money to Philadelphia schools to help them educate children in the face of budget cuts. (MLB.com)

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 11:20 pm
 

Who is the Dodgers' closer?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was asked what appeared to be a pretty simple question before his team's game against the Rockies on Monday: Who is the Dodgers' closer?

"How do I know?" Mattingly answered, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Vicente Padilla and Kenley Jansen are all on the disabled list.

Matt Guerrier and Mike MacDougal both have saves this season, but Mattingly said he'd rather keep those two pitching in the middle innings -- and as a safety net if one of his younger relievers gets in trouble and have to leave in the middle of an inning.

That leaves him with Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert and Rubby De La Rosa as the choice to close. All three have recently been called up from the minors.Combined, the three have pitched 39 1/3 innings in the big leagues -- and 30 1/3 of those belong to the lefty Elbert, who appeared in 19 games for the Dodgers in 2009.

The three have pitched well enough in their limited appearances so far.

Elbert, 25, had given up just one hit and a walk, while striking out five in four scoreless innings before Monday, when he allowed a hit and a walk, but no runs or outs in his six-pitch outing. He was rescued by Guerrier, just as Mattingly said he wanted to do.

Guerra, 25, came into Monday's game having allowed four hits and two walks in six innings, allowing two runs, while walking two and striking out four. He earned a save last week against the Astros.

De La Rosa, 22, picked up the win in his last outing, Friday against the Marlins when he allowed a run on two hits in two innings of work. It was just the second outing of his career, having made his big-league debut three days earlier with a scoreless inning against the Astros. The hard-throwing right hander was 7-2 with a 2.37 ERA and six saves last season at Class A and Double-A.

Mattingly didn't need to tip his hand Monday, as the Dodgers led 7-1 going into the ninth, a non-save situation. However, Guerra finished out the game for Los Angeles, allowing two hits, but no runs, in his inning of work.

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