Tag:Joaquin Benoit
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:44 pm
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Spring primer: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 Detroit Tigers won the AL Central in a laugher, ending with a 15-game edge over the second-place Indians. The offseason was rather uneventful in Detroit for a while, but then the Tigers lost DH Victor Martinez to a torn ACL. And then they swooped in and landed slugger Prince Fielder with a 9-year, $214 deal. They'll enter 2012 as the heaviest divisional favorite in baseball and some will surely pick them to win it all.

Danny Knobler's Camp Report: Verlander's workload, expectations won't change | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: 1B Prince Fielder, RHP Octavio Dotel, C Gerald Laird
Major departures: RF Magglio Ordonez, 3B Wilson Betemit, IF Carlos Guillen, SP Brad Penny

Probable lineup
1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Brennan Boesch, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Andy Dirks, LF
9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
5. Jacob Turner

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Jose Valverde
Set-up: Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel

Important bench players
C Gerald Laird, IF Brandon Inge, IF Ramon Santiago, IF/OF Don Kelly

Prospect to watch
It would have been Turner here regardless, but there's extra emphasis on him now that the Tigers were unable to sign Roy Oswalt or trade for someone like Gio Gonzalez or Matt Garza. Thus, the path is clear for Turner to join the rotation out of spring at age 20, much like Porcello did before him. Entering 2011, Turner had never even pitched above High-A ball. But last season he appeared in Double-A, Triple-A and the majors. In 20 minor-league appearances, Turner was 4-5 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 110 strikeouts in 131 innings. He struggled mightily in his three major-league starts, but it's a new year.

Fantasy sleeper: Delmon Young
"Owners should look for improved power numbers from Young this year, and with him hitting behind Cabrera and Fielder, his RBI total should get a jolt as well." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Doug Fister
"Part of Fister's 2011 success was based upon holding batters to a .188 batting average on ground balls. The Tigers' infield defense overall should leave something to be desired, so Fister's WHIP will rise upward, even without a significant increase in walks. Owners may look to Fister as a No. 4 starter in mixed leagues, but in reality he may perform more like a low-end No. 5 SP or waiver wire option." - Al Melchior [Full Tigers team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Very simple: The Tigers win the World Series for the first time since 1984.

Pessimistic outlook
The infield defense is dreadful, which stunts the development of Porcello and Turner in addition to hampering Fister and Scherzer. With Jackson's strikeouts piling up, Boesch never really becoming what the Tigers desired and players like Avila and Peralta taking steps backward, the offense is basically a two-man show. With these issues, at least one AL Central team (Indians? Royals?) vaults past Detroit in a shocker.

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Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:56 pm
 

Al Alburquerque has elbow surgery



By Matt Snyder


Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque had surgery on his right elbow Thursday, the Tigers announced. The procedure was performed by famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, and the Tigers' press release said this is what was done: "Alburquerque underwent a surgical procedure to have a screw inserted into his olecranon to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture in his right elbow."

Alburquerque won't be able to throw at all for three months and will begin working toward a return late in the spring. The Tigers have placed his target return "by the All-Star break of 2012."

Alburquerque, 25, had a breakout season for Detroit in 2011. It was his rookie season, and he had a 1.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings.

The loss of Alburquerque is alleviated a bit by the addition of recently-signed free agent Octavio Dotel. Plus, the Tigers still have the deadly back-end combo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. They also acquired Collin Balester from the Nationals earlier this month.

Still, losing an arm like Alburquerque's for half the season will be felt.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 4:45 pm
 

Tigers vs. Rangers ALCS preview

By Evan Brunell

Detroit-Texas ALCS

The Tigers and Rangers share one thing in common -- both teams have AL pennants to their name in recent seasons, but fell short in the World Series. Jim Leyland took Detroit to the World Series in 2006, his first season with the club, winning 95 after the Tigers registered five straight seasons of at least 90 losses, including 119 in 2003. It's taken them some time to return to the postseason, but they're here after downing the Yankees in five games. Detroit will be leaning on the electric arm of Justin Verlander, who won Rookie of the Year in '05 but gave up 17 runs in 21 2/3 innings across the 2005 postseason. He'll get a chance at redemption against Texas, who appeared in the Fall Classic a mere season ago.

The revamped Rangers may have lost Cliff Lee, but their offense is as potent as its ever been in franchise history, adding Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli to its monstrous lineup. Seeking to become the first consecutive AL pennant champion since the 1998-2001 Yankees, Texas will be relying on C.J. Wilson and its formidable bullpen to keep the Tiger offense in check. However, Texas' own offense needs to play up to its billing, as the team scored just 16 runs in the LDS, least among any team. (Granted, Texas was the only advancing club to play a series in less than five games, bouncing Tampa Bay in four.)

TEAM INFORMATION

Detroit Tigers (host games 3, 4, 5*)
95-67, AL Central champions
ALDS
: Defeated Yankees in 5 games -- View coverage of ALDS Tigers-Yankees
Manager
: Jim Leyland
Regular-season batting statistics: .277 batting average (3rd in AL), .340 on-base percentage (3rd), .434 slugging percentage (4th)
Regular-season pitching statistics: 4.04 ERA (7th), 1.32 WHIP (8th), 2.27 K/BB (6th)
Star player: SP Justin Verlander -- 24-5, 2.41 ERA, 251 IP, 0.92 WHIP, 250 K

Texas Rangers (host games 1, 2, 6*, 7*)
96-66, AL West champions
ALDS
: Defeated Rays in 4 games -- View coverage of ALDS Rangers-Rays
Manager: Ron Washington
Regular-season batting statistics: .283 batting average (1st), .340 on-base percentage (5th), .460 slugging percentage (2nd)
Regular-season pitching statistics: 3.79 ERA (13th), 1.24 WHIP (5th), 2.56 K/BB (5th)
Star player: C Mike Napoli -- .320/.414/.631, 432 plate appearances, 30 HR, 75 RBI

*if necessary

WHO HAS THE EDGE? (Click player name for statistics)

Let's break each position down and see which team has the edge...

Catcher: Alex Avila vs. Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba


Being a quality catcher is difficult to do. You have to be able to call a game, develop a rapport with pitchers, block balls effectively, have a gun for an arm... and oh yeah, hit too. The latter category is what Avila and Napoli excel at, as both rank 1-2 in baseball in catcher offense. Napoli of course, blows away Avila in offense, but the Ranger also has 28 less games at the position, in large part due to another capable catcher also on the roster in Torrealba -- but the Tigers have Victor Martinez, too. Defensively, Avila holds the edge, and this is just too close to call.

First base: Miguel Cabrera vs. Mitch Moreland, Michael Young


Moreland could feasibly be at first base the entire series, as he's a favorite of the club and all of Detroit's starters are right-handed, but Young could steal a couple games if the team wants to get Torrealba or Craig Gentry into the lineup. Either way, both these players pale in comparison to Miguel Cabrera who, if it wasn't for Justin Verlander lucking into 24 wins (to be clear, he's a very good pitcher, but win-loss records have nothing to do with player quality), he could very well be the favorite for the MVP award. Cabrera led all of baseball in doubles, batting average, OBP and decided to swat 30 homers too. Moreland is still scrapping to be a full-time player and Young just can't field.

Second base: Ramon Santiago vs. Ian Kinsler


This isn't even close. The Tigers have cycled through six second basemen this season, with five of them receiving at least 17 starts. Santiago won the job basically by default, as Carlos Guillen can't stay healthy, Ryan Raburn split his time between left and second then lost his job for a complete inability to hit and Scott Sizemore was traded. Santiago is like Raburn in that he can't hit, but can flash a solid glove. Kinsler, meanwhile, was one of the most valuable second basemen in the game.

Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta vs. Elvis Andrus


Andrus can pick the ball, get on base and steal bases. Peralta can't steal any bases and can only play a passable short. But boy, can Peralta hit. Here's the thing, though -- people tend to overvalue offense because it's easily quantified, and you can see with your eyes the impact a bat can have. Stolen bases and defense, not so much. But they are important facets of the game as well, and when you factor everything in, this is a dead-even.

Third base: Wilson Betemit, Brandon Inge vs. Adrian Beltre


Adrian Beltre is an awesome player, there is no doubt about that. He posted the second-best season of his career and slugged three home runs to pace the narrative of Texas winning the ALDS. However, the gap between Beltre and the Tigers' crew isn't as large as one might think. Betemit rakes against righties, while Inge is capable against left-handers. But don't ask them to face the opposite-handed pitcher. Inge also has excellent defense at the hot corner and is a great late-inning replacement for Betemit. All told, the duo combines into a pretty good player. Good enough that the difference between Detroit and Texas at the spot is not significant.

Left field: Delmon Young vs. David Murphy, Craig Gentry


Young injured himself in Game 5 of the ALDS, but reports are that he should be fine for the ALCS. If not, Raburn will start in his place. Young has played his way into a 2012 role with the Tigers, but he's doing so on the backing of a hot streak that might not be sustainable long-term. He's a statue in left field and his value is tied up completely in swatting home runs. Murphy, meanwhile, parlayed a hot September into more playing time and has been sharing time with Gentry, with Murphy getting PT against right-handers and Gentry mostly playing against lefties. If Young wasn't performing well as of late, this would probably be a slight edge to the Rangers, but as long as Young's hot streak is carrying him, we'll call this even.

Center field
: Austin Jackson vs. Josh Hamilton


This isn't a difficult decision at all. Hamilton is one of the best hitters in the game and is the reigning AL MVP. Austin Jackson, meanwhile, rode a lot of luck to a .293 batting average last season that sank to .249 this year. He has strong defense, but is miscast as the leadoff hitter.

Right field: Magglio Ordonez vs. Nelson Cruz


At one point this season, Ordonez contemplated hanging his spikes up. Good thing he didn't, for he hit .365 from Aug. 21 to the end of the year and finished the ALDS with five hits in 11 at-bats, including a 3-for-3 effort in Game 2. When Ordonez is hot, he can still beat any pitcher, regardless of his advanced age. But his defense is questionable, and Nelson Cruz is a better hitter at this point. Although Cruz is slumping significantly, gathering just one hit in 15 trips to the plate during the ALDS against the Rays, he remains the better player.

Designated hitter: Victor Martinez vs. Young


A certain three-year-old, I'm sure, would pick Young here with an edge. But both Martinez and Young are remarkably similar in production at the DH spot, and the numbers are uncannily similar even though Young has played in 14 more games. Take a look:

Martinez: .330/.380/.470, 12 HR, 103 RBI
Young: .338/.380/.474, 11 HR, 106 RBI

How can you not call this even?

Starting pitching: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello vs. C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison


The order listed here is the order that both teams have announced will go in the ALCS, so let's judge it on these parameters. For one, the Tigers clearly lose by not being able to set up their rotation they way they wanted. Rick Porcello, obviously the lesser member of the quartet, will start twice while Max Scherzer only draws Game 4 after appearing in relief during Game 5 of the ALDS. Regardless, the Tigers still hold an overall edge here. You don't need me to throw more platitudes Verlander's way, and Fister has been a revelation since coming over from Seattle (although he's veering fast into overrated territory) and Scherzer is a quality pitcher whose potential breakout has been tantalizing pitchers for quite some time.

Over in Texas, C.J. Wilson is a great pitcher, but doesn't quite stack up to Verlander. Porcello matching up against Derek Holland pits a battle of proming young pitchers, especially Holland, who is showing signs of emerging into an ace but is lacks consistency and is prone to the wild inning if he lets the game get away from him. Lewis has an incredible postseason record, but his propensity to give up the long ball held him back in the regular season. Harrison impressed against the Rays by punching out nine but could only last five innings and the jury is still out on just how good a picher he is.

All told, yet another matchup where both teams look even -- but not quite, as Verlander is the man that tips the scales in the Tigers' favor.

Relief pitching: Jose Valverde and co. vs. Neftali Feliz and co.


Both Valverde and Feliz are good pitchers when on, but both can also be maddeningly inconsistent. The Tigers closer can point to his 49 of 49 record in saves, but he walks way too much to be reliable. Feliz, meanwhile, took a clear step back from last season when he closed 40 games as a rookie and lost his strong command. He's been much better since the All-Star break, though, and if I had to pick one closer, I'd take Feliz. Texas also has a vaunted setup corps, boasting Mike Adams (who is still one of the best relievers in the game despite a spike in home runs allowed), Koji Uehara, Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez and Darrell Oliver most notably.

Texas' 3.79 bullpen ERA during the regular season was fifth-best in the AL and would have been even better with full years of all relievers mentioned sans Feliz and Oliver, who have been with the club all year. By comparison, the Tigers' two best relievers are Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit, but Alburquerque only pitched 14 1/3 innings in the second half and did not look good in Games 1 and 4 of the ALDS. The Tigers pen has a chance to be a good one, but Texas is the better bet to come out on top in the war of bullpens.

Defense


Defensive statistics are getting a bum rap these days, and it's understandable. Quantifying defense is a very difficult thing to do and no defensive metric out there can be relied on. However, when you have a large sample to draw from, multiple numbers to look at and enough of a disparity in the numbers, it becomes obvious which defense holds up. And that's the Rangers, who score well in defensive metrics, largely on the strength of Andrus, Kinsler and Beltre, while the Tigers are affected by the tin gloves of Betemit, Cabrera, and Young the most.

DetroitPREDICTION

Both teams shape up to be remarkably even all across the board -- even though both teams are the last two standing in the AL and it makes sense that they would be equals, it's not often you see such a balanced division. It will come down to the postseason mantra of good pitching always beating good hitting, and given the presence of Verlander, I'll give the nod to Detroit vanquishing Texas in six games, while Daniel Knobler likes Detroit too, but in seven.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.



Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:18 am
Edited on: October 7, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Grading the Tigers-Yankees ALDS



By Matt Snyder


Jim Leyland's tinkering. Leyland was roundly mocked on Twitter for his choice in the two-hole of the batting order throughout the series. He used a different lineup five different times in five games while Yankees manager Joe Girardi kept the same lineup throughout the entire ALDS. And look at the Tigers' three wins. Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-3 with a run scored in Game 2. Ramon Santiago was 2-for-4 with two huge RBI in a Game 3 victory and Thursday night in Game 5, Don Kelly opened the scoring in the first inning with a solo home run. Give Leyland credit for pushing the right buttons, specifically with who he batted second, but generally throughout the entire series.

The Tigers' back-end duo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde wasn't perfect in the series. Valverde made Game 2 interesting with a bad ninth and Benoit walked in a run Thursday night, even if it was an inherited runner. Still, the Tigers blew zero leads with either pitcher on the mound and the duo was a major reason for the series victory. Benoit in particular had to work out of some pretty rough spots, both in Game 2 and in Game 5. His stuff is nasty and he came up with big strikeouts when he had to have them. Valverde was shaky in his first two outings, but was anything but that in Game 5, with a one-run lead and the season on the line.

Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters and was masterful at times in his lone real start of the series: Game 3. He also gave up six hits, three walks and four earned runs. He did gather the victory, as he outpitched Yankees ace CC Sabathia. And we have to point out the Yankees do have a pretty damn good offense, too. It's just that this was a "C" effort for Verlander considering his body of work. You don't expect him to go out and give up four runs in a must-win game. He wasn't at his best, he was just good enough. That's a C-effort in my book. Probably in his, too. I also fully expect an A-effort in Game 1 against the Rangers.

We're going with Mother Nature/Major League Baseball here. Game 1 was ruined by rain. We have absolutely no way of knowing how the series would have gone -- and, remember, I predicted the Tigers in five anyway, so this is no excuse for the Yankees' loss -- but we were deprived of the real series. If MLB moved the start time earlier or didn't start Game 1 at all last Friday, we'd have seen both Verlander and Yankees ace CC Sabathia make two full starts in the series. Instead, each was wasted in a rain-suspended Game 1 and could only turn around to make one more start. On the other hand, the weather reports aren't always predictable, so this was a tough call. Bottom line, we got screwed a bit, and there's nowhere else to place the blame than with whoever you believe controls the weather in New York City.

Yankees 4-5-6 hitters. Alex Rodriguez is a big scapegoat for many. He has been for years. In Game 5, he struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and then ended the series with a strikeout in the ninth. The boos showered down upon him several times at home. Nick Swisher also struck out with the bases loaded in Game 5, and his was to end the inning. Combined, A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Swisher went 9-for-55 (.164) with five RBI in the entire series. A-Rod was the worst, going 2-for-18 (.111), but all three of these guys were bad. If you want to know how bad, here's another illustration: The only two runs Robinson Cano scored all series were on his own home runs. He was left on base seven times.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 7:54 pm
 

Benoit's big outs propel Tigers



By Matt Snyder


Miguel Cabrera's home run. Cabrera's RBI single. Max Scherzer's solid outing. Jose Valverde's near-colossal meltdown in the ninth inning.

What do those things all have in common? They're likely to get more attention than Joaquin Benoit's outing, for one. If you only look at the box score, Benoit's line doesn't look very good, either, due to him allowing a Curtis Granderson home run to open the eighth inning. Make no mistake about it, though, Benoit was a major player Sunday, just as he has been for the overwhelming majority of the season.

In the offseason, the Tigers signed Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. That's a pretty big commitment to a guy who only throws one inning at a time, especially since he was 33 and coming off a season that appeared an outlier when compared to the rest of his career (his career ERA was 4.79 before 2010, for example). By the middle of May, the deal looked like it might be a mistake, too. After a disastrous May 16 outing, Benoit had three losses, a 7.98 ERA and 1.66 WHIP.

New York-Detroit, Game 2
Since then, however, Benoit has been a steadying force in the Tigers' bullpen, just as he was Sunday. From May 20 to the end of the regular season, Benoit had a 1.36 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings.

Sunday, Benoit was given quite the task. He entered the game in the seventh inning -- he usually only pitches in the eighth -- with runners on first and second with no outs. It was a 4-0 Tigers lead at the time, but one swing of the bat would have made it 4-3 (and we now know that the Tigers would only hold on to win 5-3) and given the Yankees all kinds of momentum. Benoit got a fly ball out off Russell Martin's bat and then struck out both Eric Chavez and Derek Jeter to end the inning with no damage done. Benoit then took the hill for the eighth, even though he hadn't thrown two full innings since Aug. 30. The Granderson homer to open the inning didn't phase Benoit, who went on to retire Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

Most headlines will look elsewhere, but the work done by Benoit Sunday was one of the biggest reasons the Tigers won the game. Just as he's been doing since the middle of May, he got the job done when it counted most -- even if it was in the seventh inning this time around.

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Yankees-Tigers series2011 playoffs

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Instant Reaction: Tigers 5, Yankees 3

By Matt Snyder

Detroit 5, New York 3

WP:
Max Scherzer

LP: Freddy Garcia

HR: Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher

Series: Tied 1-1

Hero: This was a great team effort by the Tigers (other than Jose Valverde, who tried to give the game away). Joaquin Benoit coming out of the bullpen and inducing a fly out and two strikeouts to escape a jam in the seventh was huge. Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer in the first set the tone and he was 3-for-4 with three RBI overall. But Scherzer was the big hero. Last time he faced the Yankees in New York he was shelled for six runs on seven hits (including four home runs), but Sunday he handcuffed the strong Yankees offense for six innings. He was unable to get an out in the seventh before being pulled, but it's pretty doubtful anyone on the Tigers is disappointed with him pitching six shutout innings and allowing only two hits. This was a huge outing that swung the momentum in favor of the Tigers, who now head home for two games.

Goat: We'll go with Derek Jeter here. He was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and five men left on base offensively. On the defensive end, Jeter made a throwing error to open the sixth inning -- which helped open the door for two Tigers' insurance runs. His postseason track record is amazing, but Sunday was a game to forget for the future Hall of Famer.

Next: 10/3 at Detroit, 8:37 p.m. ET. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40) vs. CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00)

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Yankees-Tigers series2011 playoffs

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Benoit out as setup man: Leave Rays at your peril

By Matt Snyder

The Detroit Tigers signed right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million contract this past offseason to serve as their eighth-inning bridge to closer Jose Valverde.

In return, Benoit's provided them with three losses, a 7.98 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 14 2/3 innings. He's been especially dreadful in his last six outings, having allowed 12 earned runs in five innings (that's a 21.60 ERA, in case you're wondering). In turn, the Tigers have made the decision to stop using him in setup situations, at least temporarily.

"He's an important piece of the puzzle," manager Jim Leyland said, "but we're going to have to look at it and figure something out. I'll have to figure out the strategic part." (MLB.com)

Anyway, the Benoit news got me thinking. The Rays lost of a good chunk of production from last season's 96-win AL East champions, and most of those guys seem to be struggling. It's not just the big names, either, it's almost everyone.

Check this out:

Carlos Pena -- Had a .457 OPS through May 2 with zero home runs and six RBI. He's been scorching hot since, but it's only gotten his line to right in line with where he was last season, which was by leaps and bounds his worst as a Ray.

Jason Bartlett -- .675 OPS last season, .617 this season.

Carl Crawford -- He's having a good May, but still has only gotten his OPS up to .524. Basically, he's on pace to have the worst year of his career by far.

Matt Garza -- He's actually pitched well, but weather, bad luck on balls in play, bad defense and poor run support have made sure that he's just 2-4 through nine starts.

Rafael Soriano -- The man who was probably the best closer in baseball last season is already hated by most Yankees fans due to his 5.40 ERA, several blown leads and indifferent attitude. And now he's got an elbow injury.

Lance Cormier -- In two years for the Rays, he had a 3.55 ERA. So far for the Dodgers? 8.71.

Benoit -- He had a 1.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings last year. See the intro for how this season is going.

Dan Wheeler -- 3.35 ERA and 46 strikeouts for the Rays in 48 1/3 innings last season. This year he's given the Red Sox 10 1/3 innings -- in which he's allowed 18 hits and 13 earned runs -- and a DL-stint.

Randy Chaote and Grant Balfour are the exceptions to the rule, evidently. Both are throwing well in new homes.

Still, that's a pretty big group of people to have left and gotten worse (or in Garza's case, had less fortune) in just one season.

Meanwhile, Casey Kotchman, Sam Fuld, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Juan Cruz and a handful of others have helped propel the Rays into first place. Again.

This is yet another reason the Rays' front office is the best in the business. Whether it's knowing when to give up on players, when to cash in via trade, when to bring guys in at the absolute optimal time, how to develop the players or how to brainwash them into only playing well for the Rays, it's working.

If only they could generate enough revenue to get the payroll into the $80 million range. It would be interesting.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:46 am
 

3 up, 3 down: McCann saves the day

Brian McCann

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Brian McCann, Braves -- Like Dante Hicks, McCann wasn't even supposed to be there today. Getting the customary off day in a night game after a day game, McCann came into the game as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, tying the game with a homer off Mark Melancon. Then with a man on in the 11th, McCann came up again and it was the same result, a homer off of reliever Jeff Fulchino, giving the Braves a 3-1 win over the Astros.

Francisco Liriano, Twins -- Liriano struck out nine and walked one, while giving up three hits and a run in seven innings against the Mariners to snap the Twins' nine-game losing streak. The Twins scored two in the first off Seattle starter Felix Hernandez, giving Liriano all the Twins would need for the victory.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- Rodriguez tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth and then gave the Yankees the lead in the sixth with another solo homer. It was a good day for struggling Yankees -- Rodriquez was hitting .171/.236/.232 in his last 21 games leading up to Tuesday's two-homer performance, while Jorge Posada went 2 for 3 in his return to the lineup. The win ended the team's six-game slide.


Cubs defense -- All seven of the Reds' runs in Tuesday's 7-5 victory were unearned, as the Cubs committed four errors in the loss. The first came in the fourth inning with bases loaded and two outs, when Carlos Pena couldn't field a ball hit by pitcher Edinson Volquez that drove in a run, but then pitcher Matt Garza picked up the ball and made a throwing error, allowing two more runs to score and tie the score. In the Reds' fourth-run eighth inning, Kerry Wood's throwing error allowed the Reds to tie the game and put the winning run on third. ANd then after Chris Heisey gave the Reds the lead with a sacrifice fly, the Reds added Cub-assisted run later in the inning when Kosuke Fukudome missed the cutoff man -- and Starlin Castro failed to back it up -- following Joey Votto's double, keeping the team from even getting a play at the plate on Paul Janish, who scored from first. Janish likely would have scored without the miscue, but with it, there was not even a play at the plate.

Angels pitchers -- Anaheim put up a Vin Mazzaro on Tuesday, allowing 14 runs to the A's in a 14-0 loss late Tuesday. Starter Tyler Chatwood gave up seven runs (five earned) and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings, Trevor Bell allowed a run on three hits in two innings, Kevin Jepsen allowed five runs on four hits in an inning of work, followed by Rich Thompson allowed a run on a hit and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Finally Hisanori Takahashi worked a scoreless inning to cap things off for the Angels.

High-price setup men -- The Yankees put Rafael Soriano on the disabled list Tuesday due to "stiffness" and "soreness" in his right elbow, a day after he criticized  the team's offense. Meanwhile, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Joaquin Benoit has lost his job as the team's primary setup man after his three-run eighth inning on Monday. He's allowed 12 earned runs in five innings in his last six appearances, with his ERA up to 7.98. The good news is he's only got two years and $11 million left on his contract after this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com