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Tag:Sean Rodriguez
Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Los Angeles Angels



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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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 entire schedule and past posts, click here.

While we slog through all the rumors and real-life moves provided by the Winter Meetings, we're here with your daily break from reality. This time around, it's the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Lineup

1. Erick Aybar, SS
2. Casey Kotchman, 1B
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Mike Napoli, C
5. Mark Trumbo, DH
6. Mike Trout, RF
7. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Peter Bourjos, CF

Note: Kendrys Morales is here, too, though he's been down with a broken leg for almost two seasons. If healthy, he figures in the DH/1B mix prominently, likely pushing Trumbo to the bench -- but I'd hear arguments for Kotchman to sit instead.

Starting Rotation

1. Jered Weaver
2. Ervin Santana
3. John Lackey
4. Tyler Chatwood
5. Joe Saunders

Bullpen

Closer - Francisco Rodriguez
Set up - Jordan Walden, Bobby Jenks, Darren O'Day, Sean O'Sullivan, Trevor Bell, Kevin Jepsen, Jose Arredondo
Long - Ramon Ortiz

Notable Bench Players

Hank Conger, Jeff Mathis, Alexi Casilla and that's about it.

What's Good?

The front of the starting rotation with Weaver and Santana is very good. The bottom of the lineup is pretty strong, relatively speaking, as those guys could be two-hole hitters on many teams.

What's Not?

There just isn't much exciting about this group. The middle of the lineup is thin, until Trout becomes a star. There is no depth and the rotation is a bit lackluster with Lackey and Saunders, at this point.

Comparison to real 2011

The real-life Angels finished 86-76 and 10 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. They hung around in the wild-card race until the last week of the season, too. While this team certainly isn't terrible, I feel like it's worse than 86 wins. Maybe they could approach .500, but there's just not enough here to be a playoff contender in this fictitious exercise.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 2:57 pm
 

2011 ALDS matchup: Rays vs. Rangers

By Evan Brunell

The Rays and Rangers will meet for the second year in a row. Last season, Texas came away with a victory, needing the maximum five games to do so. They would go on to advance to the World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants. Both teams are in dramatically different places this time around, with the Rays team undergoing turnover while the Rangers' offense is one of the most fearsome in recent memory. Let's break down each team's position and determine who has the advantage....

TEAM INFORMATION

Tampa Bay Rays (host games 3, 4)
91-71, AL wild card champions
Manager: Joe Maddon
Team batting statistics: .244 batting average (25th in AL), .322 on-base percentage (13th), .402 slugging percentage (13th)
Team pitching statistics: 3.58 ERA (8th), 1.22 WHIP (2nd), 2.27 K/BB (2nd)
Star player: SP James Shields -- 16-12, 249 1/3 IP, 2.82 ERA, 3.25 xFIP, 65 BB, 225 K

Texas Rangers (host games 1, 2, 5)
96-66, AL West champions
Manager: Ron Washington
Team batting statistics: .283 batting average (1st), .340 on-base percentage (5th), .460 slugging percentage (2nd)
Team 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

SCHEDULE (Click here to view the entire postseason schedule)

Full Playoff Coverage

Game 1: TB @ TEX, Sept. 30, 5:07 p.m. -- Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94)**
Game 2: TB @ TEX, Oct. 1, 7:07 p.m. -- James Shields (16-12, 2.82) vs. Derek Holland (16-5, 3.95)
Game 3: TEX @ TB, Oct. 3, 5:07 p.m. -- Matt Harrison (14-9, 3.39) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.95)
Game 4*: TB @ TEX, Oct. 4 -- Colby Lewis (14-10, 4.40) vs. David Price (12-13, 3.49)
Game 5*: TB @ TEX, Oct. 6 -- James Shields (16-12, 2.82) vs. C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94)

* If necessary | ** all pitching matchups projected

TEAM BREAKDOWN (Click player name for statistics)

Catcher
Texas: Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba
Tampa Bay: John Jaso, Kelly Shoppach

The Rays' catcher situation is like that of shortstop: Choosing between bad or worse. Jaso and Shoppach have both combined for extremely disappointing seasons while Napoli was one of the best offensive players in the game, robbed of his due because his counting statistics aren't up to snuff due to playing in just 113 games, but Napoli can do serious damage. Torrealba isn't a zero either, but most of his value comes on defense.

Advantage: Rangers

First base
Texas: Mitch Moreland, Napoli
Tampa Bay: Casey Kotchman

Kotchman came out of nowhere to give Tampa fantastic value out of first base, hitting at a .306 clip and providing his usual stellar defense at first place. While no one expects Kotchman to keep this up next season, what matters is right now. And right now, Kotchman is head and shoulders better than Moreland, although if Texas goes with Torrealba behind the plate and Napoli at first base, this conversation changes.

Advantage: Rays

Second base
Texas: Ian Kinsler
Tampa Bay: Ben Zobrist

Both Kinsler and Zobrist had excellent seasons -- both at the plate and in the field. Picking one or the other amounts to nitpicking as both players have 30 stolen bases. Zobrist holds a small edge in batting average and Kinsler holds a small one in slugging percentage. Even fielding numbers aren't any help. This is as even as it gets.

Advantage: Tie

Shortstop
Texas: Elvis Andrus
Tampa Bay: Sean Rodriguez, Reid Brignac

As mentioned before, Tampa's shortstop spot is horrible. Between Rodriguez, Reid Brignac and Eliot Johnson, Rays shortstops combined to hit .193/.256/.282. League average was .266/.321/.386. That's simply awful, awful production. The Rangers clearly win out here, with Andrus' solid bat and strong glove.

Advantage: Rangers

Third base
Texas: Adrian Beltre
Tampa Bay: Evan Longoria

Evan Longoria has been one of the best third basemen in the game for a long time. Up until this year, you could have argued that he was the best AL third-baseman for years running. Alas, Beltre's second straight excellent season has supplanted Longoria, coming off a down year. Beltre's 32 homers rank fifth in the AL, and he missed a month and a half! Add in his all-world defense, and he runs away from Longoria even though Longo is still a threat and hit .289/.454/.589 in September.

Advantage: Rangers

Left field
Texas: David Murphy
Tampa Bay: Desmond Jennings

Murphy looked like he would have a lost season, but turned it on down the stretch and forced the Rangers to move Josh Hamilton to center for the playoffs in order to get Murphy's bat in the lineup. It's easy to remember that Jennings debuted with fantastic numbers in August, but September told a very different story. All in all, both players have things working both for and against them and nothing quite standing out.

Advantage: Tie

Center field
Texas: Josh Hamilton
Tampa Bay: B.J. Upton

This is pretty easily Hamilton's domain here after Upton hit just .243. Hamilton remains one of the best players in the game despite being injury-prone. When he's on the field, he produces. Upton can't say the same, although he turned on the jets at the right time for Tampa and had a productive September.

Advantage: Rangers

Right field
Texas: Nelson Cruz
Tampa Bay: Matt Joyce

Here's an interesting matchup. Cruz missed time with injury but when he was right, enjoyed yet another productive season, missing 30 homers by just one blast. Cruz's calling card is power, while Joyce counters with a better overall game, flashing a strong glove. With both players' offensive games basically evening out, the balance tips to defense, and Joyce wins there.

Advantage: Rays

Designated Hitter
Texas: Michael Young, Napoli
Tampa Bay: Johnny Damon

Yet another win for the Rangers on offense. We all know what Napoli can do, but Young figures to get most of the at-bats at DH. Despite Young having to adjust to the DH spot on a full-time basis for the first time in his career, Young coolly racked up 106 RBI and should get some MVP attention. Damon, by comparison, falls far short.

Advantage: Rangers

Starting pitching
Texas: C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis
Tampa Bay: Jeff Niemann, James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson

The Rays win here, although Rangers fans will probably beg to differ. Yes, Wilson had a fantastic season -- you can't take that away from him. But Shields, Price and Hellickson all had excellent years as well. No one's shorting Holland and Harrison here, but at best, these two pitchers are no better than fifth best overall with three of the first four spots belonging to Tampa. The Rays are in the postseason for their pitching, not their offense.

Advantage: Rays

Relief pitching
Texas closer: Neftali Feliz
Tampa Bay closer: Kyle Farnsworth

Feliz's future as a closer was in doubt even as late as early August, but he clamped down the rest of the way and will pair with Mike Adams for a formidable 1-2 punch. There isn't a soft underbelly of middle relief either, and this bullpen has the potential to pick up the slack left over from the starting rotation to beat Tampa. But the Rays have taken a completely remade bullpen and turned it into an elite corps, too. Tampa's relief ERA of 3.73 is 10 spots higher than Texas' 4.11, but Texas' bullpen is different after importing Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez. Let's call it even.

Advantage: Tie

Total advantage: Rangers (5), Rays (2), Tie (3)

PREDICTION (click here to see full postseason predictions)

CBS Experts
Evan Brunell: Rays in 4
Gregg Doyel: Rays in 4
Danny Knobler: Rangers in 5
Scott Miller: Rangers in 4
Trent Rosecrans: Rangers in 4
Matt Snyder: Rays in 5

Evan's take: The Rangers are a fearsome club, there's no doubt about that. The offense is awe-inspiring and the pitching has the ability to hang tough with Tampa Bay. The Rangers basically cruised to the division title in September, so it's easy to overlook the club because of lack of press, but those who overlook the club are making a mistake. I selected the Rays in four because in the postseason, I believe far more in pitching than offense. I also give credence to how teams played down the stretch. Tampa went 17-10 in September (of course, Texas went 19-8, so there's that) and was in playoff mode for two weeks, constantly playing must-win games then seeing it all pay off when Evan Longoria's second homer of the night went over the fence to give T.B. the wild card. The combination of pitching and the hot hand tilt me toward predicting the Rays to advance.

More Rangers-Rays ALDS coverage

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Posted on: August 26, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 9:56 am
 

Pepper: Penny the language enforcer



By Matt Snyder


In Thursday's Pepper, we passed along the story of Tigers pitcher Brad Penny yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez while he ran hard after an infield popup. Rays manager Joe Maddon -- the most popular manager there is -- was furious after the game, believing Penny took issue with Rodriguez's hustle. I thought it was pretty ridiculous myself.

But Penny wanted to clarify things, obviously having heard the story spread a bit. He actually says he took issue with Rodriguez "screaming and cussing" in anger after having popped up.

"To me, that's a sign of disrespect if you're screaming that loud," Penny said (TampaBay.com). "All these kids can hear you, it's not too loud in here. So to me, that's not really professional."

Penny also noted he was disappointed anyone thought he didn't like hustle, saying he loves hustle and would be mad if players did not hustle.

It's hard to take issue with Penny trying to keep the ears of youngsters in Tampa Bay clean, but it's a bit odd to start yelling at an opposing player for it. As far as I could find via Google, this has never happened with Penny before. He's faced 7,819 batters in his career, so it's hard to believe an opposing batter has never cussed in frustration before. What about teammates of Penny over the years? Also, Penny currently plays for Jim Leyland -- have you ever read his lips when he's getting tossed from a game?

Again, I don't find fault with Penny wanting to prevent kids from hearing what is, frankly, going on in every single baseball game of the season. It just seems a bit odd that "watch your mouth" would ever be part of a major-league baseball game. As a parent, I'd like to express that it's my job to teach my children about inappropriate language and be their role model, not Penny's.

Berkman wants to come back: Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman is enjoying a resurgent season for the Cardinals and he told reporters this week he wants to remain in St. Louis, if they'll have him. He said staying was his "first choice." (MLB.com)

#4TRUTH: That hashtag is what jailed ex-MLB player Lenny Dykstra uses on Twitter after most of his tweets. It's seemingly to help promote that he's innocent in the multiple crimes for which he's been charged. Add another to the list, because he's now being charged with indecent exposure (Associated Press). He would allegedly place ads online for housekeepers or personal assistants and would expose himself to responders.

So long, Jim Hendry Way: It's been a rough six weeks for Jim Hendry. Not only did he lose his job and have to act like he still had it for nearly a month, but now he's losing his street in Park Ridge -- where he lives. A portion of Northwest Highway was renamed Honorary Jim Hendry Way back in 2009, but now it's being changed back. Apparently, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich forced the name and the town never wanted it in the first place. Now that Blago is headed for the slammer, the sign is coming down. To rub salt in the wound, check out this quote: "Of course, if he had brought us a World Series, I would have built a monument to him at the intersection. But, alas, all he brought us was Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano," mayor Dave Schmidt joked in an email (ChicagoTribune.com). Zing!

Crafty lefties: In honor of the recently-deceased Mike Flanagan, Joe Posnanski came up with a Crafty Lefty Hall of Fame. Pretty cool stuff, as usual, from Joe.

25 things you didn't know: Yahoo's Jeff Passan compiled a really interesting list of 25 things we didn't know about baseball. For example, Michael Young and Howie Kendrick haven't popped out all season, Jonny Venters gets the highest percentage of grounders in a decade and Brett Gardner is the best defensive player in baseball.

Add another name to the list: Thursday, I presented several rumored names on the Cubs' wish list to be the next general manager. We can add Dan Evans to the list, as the Chicago Sun-Times makes a good case for him. Evans is a Chicago native who grew up near Wrigley Field. He was an assistant general manager for the White Sox and then the Dodgers GM before the McCourt family took over and got rid of him. Evans was at the helm when Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton were drafted.

Futility: Twins catcher Drew Butera has a chance to do something pretty remarkably bad. He's hitting .160 with 200 plate appearances. Since 1975, no player in the majors has hit .160 or worse with at least 250 plate appearances. (Hardball Talk)

88's the goal: Blue Jays manager John Farrell wants to reach 88 wins this season. The significance is that it would tie the 1998 mark for the most wins since the Jays won the World Series in 1993 (MLB.com). That won't get them anywhere near the playoffs, but would an 88-74 record be enough for the haters to stop saying Jose Bautista plays for a "loser?" (See comments)

Happy Day-versary: 10,000 days ago, Jack Morris threw a no-hitter and Dwight Gooden made his major-league debut. (Hardball Times)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: August 25, 2011 10:06 am
 

Pepper: MVP arguments heat up



By Matt Snyder


It's that time of the baseball season. You know, we're nearing September, so in addition to watching the pennant races, it's the time when people start to pretty heavily argue about the MVP of each league. In addition to arguing which players have the best numbers, two fundamental criteria spark discussion as well.

1. Are pitchers eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be (see Evan Brunell's post on this).

2. Are players on teams not in contention eligible? They are. But many believe they shouldn't be.

On No. 2, enter Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.

He leads the majors in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He's walked 21 more times than he's struck out. He has a cannon in right field, but can also play third if his team needs it. He's so scary to opposing ballclubs that he leads the AL with 18 intentional walks. And if you like this sort of thing, Bautista is dominating WAR (wins above replacement player), WPA (win probability added) and all other advanced value stats.

Basically, he's the most valuable player in baseball unless you discount him based upon his team.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous believes it shouldn't even be close.

“On and off the field you can’t find anybody more complete than him,” Anthopolous said (Slam Sports). “His work ethic, community work, character in the clubhouse, helping out teammates, they’re all first-rate. And his performance on the field has been as good as it gets ... defensively, offensively, changing positions in the middle of the season. I mean, check off all the boxes.”

It's going to be interesting to see how the votes fall, assuming things remain similar through the next five weeks of play. One thing that always makes me cringe is when people say something like "he plays for a losing team" or "how valuable can he be? They could finish fourth without him."

Look at the standings. The Blue Jays are three games over .500 and simply stuck in the wrong division. They'd only be four games out in the AL Central -- actually closer, though, because the schedule in the AL Central is worlds easier than the AL East. The Jays are most certainly not a "losing team."

And if you took Bautista off the Jays, they'd be far worse. It would be a much bigger hit to the team than if, say, the Red Sox lost Jacoby Ellsbury.

Hustle is bush league now? Evidently the Tigers were yelling at Rays' infielder Sean Rodriguez for ... hustling? Tuesday, Tigers starter -- and reportedly "possibly some others" -- took exception with Rodriguez for running hard on an infield pop out. Rays manager Joe Maddon took exception to that. "For anybody to bark at another player for … hustling is absolutely insane, ludicrous,'' Maddon said (TampaBay.com).

Canseco's life: I'd rather forget about Jose Canseco, but many aren't of that mindset -- witness his 400,000-plus Twitter followers. So if you want to read a lengthly feature on Canseco's "surreal" life, click on through to TheStar.com. It's well written and covers tons of material.

LoMo still in the dark: It was a bit odd when Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago. His batting average is a bit low, but his OPS is above average (115 OPS-plus) and he has 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Many believed he was being punished for being such an outspoken person Twitter and in other circles, though it hasn't been explicitly said. But he's back now and not worried about why. "I haven't talked to anybody. I don't really care. I'm just looking to move forward," he said (Sun-Sentinel.com).

'Cry-babies:' The Mets don't win more games because they are "cry-babies," according to former big-leaguer and current Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. "Tell them Sarge said it - the Mets are crybabies," Matthews said (NYDailyNews.com). "That's why they lose."

Bell has more on mind than possible trades: Padres closer Heath Bell has heard his name in trade talk for quite a while now, but that's not the foremost thing on his mind. Specifically, his Dad has been battled cancer for a few years and just underwent open-heart surgery Wednesday. “It’s kinda helped me get through all the trade and waiver stuff,” said Bell (signonSanDiego.com). “Everybody’s talking about that and I’m thinking, “Man, I’m just glad my dad’s doing well.’ ”

No relief yet: White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy has been pretty good in short doses this season, but he doesn't believe that means he's in need of a switch to the bullpen, as he's still technically recovering from a rare surgical procedure. "I've had people tell me, 'Oh, you look good in short stints, Have you thought about going to the bullpen?'" Peavy said (ChicagoTribune.com). "To me, that's not a thought process of mind, simply because I haven't got to where the doctors told me you're as good as you're going to get. They told me from a year to 18 months, you are where you are."

It's opposite day: Did you ever think you'd hear a player talking about feeling less pressure playing for the Yankees than the A's? Yeah, me neither. But Eric Chavez has extenuating circumstances. He went from being one of the best third basemen in baseball to never being able to stay healthy on a consistent basis, thereby creating pressure for himself when he did get on the field. He was also being paid a pretty penny. Now, as a Yankee, he's feeling fine.

“All of that [pressure] is completely gone,” he said (NJ.com). “It was so refreshing going into spring training. I don’t want to say I had to change myself as a ballplayer, but I am, I’m different now. And I’m okay with that because I don’t have that big contract on my shoulders. There’s tons of hitters in here that will produce and you just have to be part of the team.”

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 2:08 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Rays walk-off on fielder's choice

Sean Rodriguez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sean Rodriguez, Rays: Rodriguez didn't get the big hit -- or any hit for that matter -- but after walking as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning, his sprint to second on a grounder gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory over Detroit. In a perfect example of how hustle helps a team, Rodriguez was on first with bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning when Elliot Johnson hit a grounder to Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge went to second to try to end the inning, but second baseman Ramon Santiago couldn't get to the bag before Rodriguez, who was safe, allowing Ben Zobrist to score the winning run on a fielder's choice. 

Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp went 4 for 4 with two homers -- one from each side of the plate -- in the A's 6-4 victory over the Yankees in 10 innings. His three-run homer in the top of the 10th off of Rafael Soriano was good for the game-winner. Crisp finished with five RBI. Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher also hit two homers (both from the left side) in the losing effort.

Tim Lincecum, Giants: Forget his usual dominating performance on the mound -- eight innings and four hits with five strikeouts is pretty much par for the course for the Giants' ace. No, it was his bat that made Wednesday night different. While the struggling Giants have been looking for offensive help, Lincecum answered the call with an RBI single in the fifth inning on a high chopper over Padres first baseman Jesus Guzman, scoring Brandon Belt from third. It was Lincecum's first RBI of the season and proved to be the game-winner in the 2-1 San Francisco victory.


Aneury Rodriguez, Astros: With bases loaded in the 10th inning, Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Troy Tulowitzki to score the winning run for a 7-6 Colorado win. Rodriguez walked Tulowitzki with one out in the inning and after allowing a single to Jonathan Herrera, a wild pitch allowed Herera to move to second, taking away the double play possibility. With first base open, the Astros chose to intentionally walk Kevin Kouzmanoff to get to Eliezer Alfonzo. With a 1-1 count, Rodriguez bounced a ball well wide of the plate, allowing Tulowitzki to score easily.

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals: After walking the first two batters he faced in the third inning, Garcia allowed six consecutive hits, good for six Dodger runs. The left-hander went on to take the loss as Los Angeles added another run off of him in the fifth inning and two more off of Kyle McClellan in the sixth inning for a 9-4 victory as the Dodgers finished off their first sweep in St. Louis since 1993. Garcia hasn't won in his last six starts and lasted just five innings in four of his last five. Since going 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first 10 starts of the season, Garcia's gone 5-6 with 5-6 ERA in his last 16 starts.

Texas Rangers: The Rangers have now lost three of their last four games and have been outscored 34-7 in those three losses, including a 13-2 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday. Starter Matt Harrison gave up seven runs on 11 hits to earn the loss for the Rangers, while the offense wasn't too hot either -- the Rangers trailed 6-0 before they picked up their first hit, a solo homer by Mike Napoli in the fourth inning. With the loss and the Angels' victory, Los Angeles moved to just 2 1/2 games behind Texas in the American League West with their sixth consecutive victory.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 2:23 pm
 

Maddon going 'unconventional' against Marcum

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Rays manager Joe Maddon is known to buck the old managerial book, but today's is a little different.

Against Brewers right-hander Shaun Marcum, Maddon is loading up on right-handed hitters. He announced the move on Twitter:


Joe Maddon 

That means the team is keeping Matt Joyce, Johnny Damon, John Jaso and Reid Brignac on the bench. That means Ben Zobrist in right for Joyce, Sean Rodriguez at second, Elliot Johnson at shortstop and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate. Johnson and Zobrist are the switch hitters.

Maddon's one of baseball's best managers, and if I had the No. 1 pick in a managerial draft, he'd be my choice. That said, I'm not sure about this one. The rationale is likely that right-handers will have a better chance against Marcum's excellent changeup.

The numbers, however, don't exactly reflect that.

So far this season, right-handed batters are hitting .160/.225/.251 against Marcum and lefties are hitting .274/.312/.415 against him. Of the eight homers Marcum has allowed this season, five have been to left-handed batters in 20 fewer plate appearances. His career numbers are a lot closer, as right-handers hit .239/.297/.417 against him and lefties hit .241/.304/.401.

As for the two Rays switch hitters, Zobrist's numbers are pretty similar as a right-handed batter and a left-handed batter; Johnson is much better from the right side (.273/.400/.303) than the left (.167/.180/.354). 

Of course, Marcum is in his first year with the Brewers and these Rays are familiar with the former Blue Jay. As noted in Jonah Keri's The Extra 2%Maddon used a similar strategy against Marcum last season and the right-hander was 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against the Rays. The Rays won three of those games. In the first, Marcum allowed 10 hits and five runs (four earned), but threw eight innings of one-run ball before giving up three hits and four runs in the ninth. The Rays pounded him in their next matchup, with 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. The second two matchups were less successful for Maddon's team, with Marcum going six innings each time, allowing five hits and one run in one start and six hits and three runs in the other.

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

Posted on: May 31, 2011 12:39 am
Edited on: May 31, 2011 7:59 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Local boy does good

Kyle Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Kyle Phillips, Padres -- Coming into Monday's game, the San Diego native was hitting just .138/.242/.172. So he was hardly Bud Black's first choice off the bench as a pinch-hitter, but Phillips hit the first homer of his big league career to lead off the 10th inning, leading the Padres to a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- Johnson finished a single short of the cycle, hitting two homers. He accounted for 13 total bases -- four more than teammate Justin Upton, who went 5 for 5. Johnson hit for the cycle last season.

Tony Campana, Cubs -- On his 25th birthday, the Cubs rookie stole four bases. Coming into Monday, the Cubs as a team had stolen 10 bases all season. Starlin Castro led the team with four stolen bases before the day started.


Sean Rodriguez, Rays -- The Rays hadn't committed more than one error in a game all season -- until Monday when Rodriguez took care of that all by himself, making three errors in the game. The shortstop tied the Rays record for errors in a game, joining five others. The Rays' 52 games to start the season without more than one error is a major league record.

Jake Arrieta, Orioles -- The Baltimore right-hander gave up two runs in the first to the Mariners, but it was the fourth inning that did him in. Arrieta gave up back-to-back walks with the bases loaded in the third inning of the team's 4-3 loss to Seattle. Arrieta has now given up 16 walks in his last 24 innings. He was pulled after the two walks -- including a 12-pitch at-bat by Adam Kennedy and then another full-count walk to Miguel Olivo.

Jon Lester, Red Sox -- Going for his big-league best eighth victory, Lester was roughed up for seven runs on eight hits in just 5 2/3 innings. Still, he needed 127 pitches to get to that point, the second-most he's thrown in his career after the 130 he threw in his no-hitter in 2008. In two starts against Chicago's two teams, Lester has given up 20 hits and 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

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

Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:17 pm
 

Rays down another shortstop

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Elliot JohnsonWith Reid Brignac on the bereavement list, the last thing the Rays needed was an injury at shortstop. I bring this up, of course, because shortstop Elliot Johnson left Monday's game with left knee soreness.

The Rays moved Sean Rodriguez from second to short, moved Ben Zobrist from right field to second and Matt Joyce went into the game in right.

Johnson left the game in the sixth inning. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times wrote Johnson was hobbling since being thrown out trying to steal third in the fifth inning.

The team called up Felipe Lopez yesterday to take Brignac's place. Lopez was an All-Star shortstop in 2005. He started 19 games at shortstop last season for the Cardinals.

Brignac is expected back by Wednesday after the death of his grandfather.

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