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aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays recap posted by aj wilbur

On a cool April day with snow in the air the Tigers again railed in late innings to beat the Rays and improve to 4-0 on the season. Rick Porcello gave a strong quality start of 7 innings with 2 earned runs, 7 hits, and a walk. The sinker was working well for Porcello when he saw the rays lineup for the second and third time. The only mishap in Porcello's day was a bases loaded walk in the 3rd inning but was able to limit any more damage when he got Matt Joyce to ground out. Matt Moore went 6 2/3 innings with 2 earned runs, 4 hits, and 5 walks. Moore pitched strong with a solid fastball but was a little erratic.

The Tigers big 2 of Cabrera and Fielder once again came through in the clutch. Cabrera led off the 8th inning with a long double of the right field wall and Fielder did what he is paid to do and hit a sharp line drive single up the center to drive in Cabrera standing up for what would be the game winning run. Austin Jackson again looked strong going 1 for 2 with two walks, two runs scored and a clutch home run in the 7th inning.

The Tigers play the Rays again tomorrow at 1.05 with Justin Verlander facing James Shields

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays recap"

aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays Preview posted by aj wilbur

The Tigers will take on the Rays today at 1:05 in Comerica park

Tampa bay comes in with an undefeated record after sweeping the Yankees.

The Rays phenom Matt Moore will take on Rick Porcello. Matt Moore looked dominating at the end of last year when he was called up. Moore features a lot of different pitches but mosty relies on a mid 90's fastball with some movement. Porcello is facing a little more pressure then we thought he would on opening day with Fister now on the DL. Porcello must stick to what has gotten him mild success, which is forcing ground balls. When Porcello is on the sinker is down in the zone and hopefully the defence is on there toes and can turn a couple double plays.

Keys to the game:

Make Moore works to get his outs. The Tigers need to be patient and make Moore throw a lot of pitches. The Rays bullpen is not as strong as the Tigers and if we can knock him out in the 5th or the 6th we should be in good shape.

My prediction:

Matt Moore looks good today and goes 6 six solid innings only giving up 2 runs but has to work hard to get through 6. I think Porcello will pitch well and keep the game close, final line 6 1/3 pitched with 3 earned runs.

I see the tigers pulling away with a big hit in the 8th or 9th in a lower scoring game winning 4-3

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays Preview"


Joe Halstead

The Detroit TIgers Must Approach This April Like the Playoffs posted by Joe Halstead

It is said- and correctly so- that while a pennant may not be won in April, a pennant may be lost in April.

On this note, the Detroit Tigers have immediate cause for concern. Their early schedule- in the month of April alone- includes two more games against Boston, a three-game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays (April 10-12), a four-game home series against the American League Champion Texas Rangers (April 19-22) and, just to pour a bucket of salt water over the wounds incurred, a three-game series in the Bronx Apr. 27-29.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland is known for using his entire roster liberally. OFers Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, and 2Bmen Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and, eventually, Brandon Inge, might see significant playing time.

But, should they?

The Tigers made substitutions in the 2011 post-season out of necessity. They were beat up, and running out of players. Luckily, some of those substitutes stepped up in a big way, such as UT Don Kelly and Santiago.

However, the Tigers are at nearly 100% health, and they need their front line to do battle with the American League's best. 

So, here's hoping that Leyland doesn't tinker with his team too much. Obviously, he wants OF Delmon Young to continue what he's been doing for the Tigers since last August, which is to drive in runs. Surely, Leyland would also like to see one of his second basemen grab the brass ring. So far, all we have are multiple second basemen who play competently enough to hit .250 and turn the double play when necessary.

Ah, maybe, that is, until now. 2B/OF Ryan Raburn had the Spring Training of his life, batting over .400 for a stretch, eventually cooling a bit to a .268 average. However, he still slugged .661, having hit 6 HRs, 2 2Bs and a 3B. That accounts for nine of his 15 hits in the spring.

Continue reading "The Detroit TIgers Must Approach ..."


David

A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day posted by David

If you’re looking for a baseball book that will keep you entertained until Opening Day, check out Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran.  The book details Hayhurst’s 2007 season at three different levels of the minors.  He describes long bus rides, living with host families, Kangaroo Court, and battling the urge to give up on a dream.  It’s an honest story about the arduous journey it takes so many ballplayers to reach their ultimate goal, knowing they may never achieve it.

Hayhurst has since made it to the majors, pitching in 25 games, making three starts, and compiling a 0-2 record and a 5.72 ERA for the Padres and Blue Jays.  The Kent State University graduate’s book received rave reviews from Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Tim Kurkjian, and made The New York Times Bestseller list.

Hayhurst also played for my hometown’s college summer league team, the Bethesda Big Train, back in 2001.  After missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he signed a minor league contract with the Rays and will hope to spend this season in Tampa Bay.  Dirk Hayhurst, best of luck.

A big step in my career

After spending last season working for the Toledo Mud Hens, I’ll start a new job next month in the Research Department at MLB Network.  I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with baseball people who love the game as much as I do.  The researchers support the on-air personalities by providing statistical and analytical information for each broadcast.  In addition to Bob Costas and Peter Gammons, MLB Network on-air personalities include retired ballplayers Sean Casey, Bill Ripken, Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Harold Reynolds, and John Smoltz.  Since I’ll be living so close to New York City, hopefully I’ll make it to Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium this year for the first time.

Continue reading "A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day"


David

A new champion is crowned posted by David

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who are World Champions for the first time since moving to the west coast more than 50 years ago.  Their last title in New York came in 1954, when Willie Mays made “the catch” that will be played on highlight reels forever.  The Giants came unbelievably close to not even making the playoffs this year, but the fans who claimed that watching their team was “torture” are now the happiest fans in baseball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Matt Cain?  The San Francisco hurler was nearly untouchable throughout the playoffs, outshining staff ace Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.  In three postseason starts, Cain allowed only an unearned run over 21.1 innings of work, going at least 6.2 innings in each outing and providing a huge boost to his team’s hunt for glory.  He might be the best #2 starter in the majors, but Matt Cain looked like the second coming of Cy Young when it mattered most for the Giants.

How about Brian Wilson?  The flamethrower’s postseason numbers included six saves (in seven chances) and a win in 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just an unearned run.  Additionally, Wilson allowed no more than one hit per appearance while anchoring the San Francisco bullpen.  Wilson gave Bruce Bochy the confidence this postseason usually reserved for Mariano Rivera’s manager when handing his closer the ball in October (or November).

How about the fantastic class of rookies in the postseason?  Stephen Strasburg wasn’t among them, but Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Danny Valencia (Twins), Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland (both Rangers) would make an incredible young team if they all played together.  In fact, even top prospect Domonic Brown, who compiled just 62 regular-season at-bats, was on the Phillies’ playoff roster.  Expectations will be high for this talented group, and here’s hoping none of them experiences too much of a sophomore slump.

Continue reading "A new champion is crowned"


David

Will Chipper hang 'em up? posted by David

Chipper Jones is out for the year with a torn ACL, but let’s hope this isn’t it for the man who has played his entire major league career for manager Bobby Cox.  Chipper has made it known since last season that retirement could be around the corner, but like Baseball Tonight’s Eduardo Perez, I don’t see Chipper calling it quits now that his season has ended unexpectedly.  He wants to go out on his own terms, and these aren’t them.  At 38, his career is nearing the end, but I find it hard to believe that he will be able to say good-bye after watching from the bench as his team battles for the National League crown.

If he’s truly done, Chipper’s numbers speak for themselves: a .306 career batting average and .405 On-Base Percentage, 436 home runs, 147 stolen bases, 2,490 hits, two Silver Sluggers and an MVP award.  The six-time All-Star won a batting title at the age of 36, hitting a staggering .364 to edge Albert Pujols, who hit .357.  He is also tied for the most home runs in a season by a switch-hitter (45 in 1999; Lance Berkman accomplished the feat in 2006).  A little known fact about Chipper is that he and Paul Waner hold the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (14).  Chipper will join Waner in Cooperstown as soon as he is eligible.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jered Weaver?  The 27-year-old righty leads the majors with 182 strikeouts and is having his best season (11-7, 2.87 Earned Run Average) since his rookie year (2006), when he went 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA.  Since the All-Star break, Weaver has been even better, posting a 1.93 ERA, limiting opponents to a .204 batting average, and averaging seven innings per outing over six starts.  With the Rangers playing so well in the AL West, the Angels are unlikely to win the division for the fourth straight year and may even finish under .500 for the first time since 2003, but they have to be pleased with how their ace has pitched this season.

Continue reading "Will Chipper hang 'em up?"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Beltre's bombs were by themselves enough to win the final game of this set. The one he literally hit from one knee was easily in the top 5 most impressive home runs I've seen from a Sox player, ever. It was like he was down on one knee, proposing to Sox Nation, hoping we'll finally accept him as a worthy replacement for our beloved Mike Lowell. Beltre, on behalf of Red Sox Nation, I can happily say, "Yes!"

 Ortiz's homerun was great simply because the Remdawg called it. "They don't want to pitch him up and in..." next pitch, up and in, and then up and out of the park. Forget drinking the kool-aid. I'm all about the new peach-mango salsa.

 Lackey... well, you didn't look like Slackey, so that's a good sign. 2 runs over 6 and 1/3 innings is good, but it still wasn't the dominant performance folks are waiting for. You got the win, that was a nice change of pace. I'll leave your performance at that for now.

 Pedroia, you're still the heart of this team. That head's up baserunning on the Ortiz groundout was indescribably excellent. As my father commented last night, your uniform is dirty every game. Aside from winning, there's not much else we fans could ask of a player.

 So the Sox swept the Rays, and my only complaint is that we didn't have 4 games this series. I don't think the Rays have an answer for the Sox right now, and I'd love to pay them back for their 4 game sweep of us back in April. Ah well. We might not be able to catch the Rays or the Yankees just yet, but at least we've finally clawed past the Blue Jays by half a game...

Continue reading "Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Real men don't need Brooms posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Give the Magic credit, they didn't lay down, roll over, or get swept out of Boston.

 J.J. Redick redeemed himself in game 4. Without his three pointers the Magic never would have had a second chance in OT. Jameer Nelson also found his three-point stroke. Howard played to his strengths. He scores more points by being in position for offensive rebounds, and it seemed as though he was there to dunk with authority immediately after every missed shot. Just once I'd like to see Perkins gather a rebound and throw down with that type of authority.

 Now folks are going to be all over Pierce for losing his dribble in the final seconds of the game. Sadly, this is the problem with the Celtics team. If Pierce had been in the same position at the end of regulation I would have trusted him more to get to the basket or to draw a foul. In OT, I think Pierce's age and past injuries catch up with him, and he simply does not have the stamina to take on a team by himself. Ray Allen should have taken the final shot. Ah well.

 So now the series moves back to Orlando, and I'm willing to bet that Rondo is going to have a bounce-back game, and he will carry the team to the Finals. That is, assuming the SI cover curse doesn't smite him. Damn you SI!!!

 Red Sox! The Red Sox took two out of three from the Phillies (made Doc look like he was a Blue Jay again) and then Buckholz dominated the Rays last night at the Trop. It's a damn shame that the Rays are in 1st place in the most competitive division in the major leagues, and there are still more Sox fans at the field than Rays. For Shame Tampa Bay! For Shame for St. Pete!

Continue reading "Real men don't need Brooms"


Ed West

Sox Begin 2010 posted by Ed West

I have folded up the Tom Brady jersey and put it away.  I have set aside the Kevin Garnett jersey until i take it out for the Celtics playoff push.  It is time now to don the jersey of your favorite Red Sox players and get ready for another exciting Major League Baseball season.  Spring is finally here.  I have to hand it to Major League Baseball.  I think that this year they got it right.  They didn't ship the World Series winners overseas to play in Japan or China or somewhere and they didn't open the season with Royals vs Tigers or some other match-up without much appeal.  This year the season began on Easter Sunday with a match-up between the defending World Series champion New York Yankees and their arch rival the Boston Red Sox.  This is, hands down, the best rivalry in sports.  The series didn't go the way I wanted it to, but we did get our first win against the Yankees under our belt and the games were well played for the most part.  Hey, when you think about it last year the Sox won the first 8 games against the Yankees only to lose 9 out of the next 10 so maybe losing 2 out of the first 3 ain't bad.

All I can say is that I watched 3 very entertaining games to start this year and I am looking to watch 159 more throughout the regular season.  And I have a feeling that there will be meaningful baseball played in Fenway Park well into October.  The Red Sox have an exciting mix of young players and veterans both in the field and on the mound.  You have to like your team when your 3rd starter is John Lackey and your 4th or 5th starter has thrown a no-hitter.  It's also nice when your back-up catcher is Jason Varitek and the first bat off your bench is in the very capable hands of Mike Lowell.  I know that the "experts" picked the Red Sox to finish 3rd in the East behind both the Yankees and the Rays, but I think those experts are underestimating the heart this Sox team has.  We have seen 3 great games against the Yankees and get to look forward to 15 more.  We also have 18 games against the Rays and that equals one great season.

Continue reading "Sox Begin 2010"


Jeff Lewis

The Chicago cubs 2010 posted by Jeff Lewis

    After two consecutive years of winning the National League Central Division, the Chicago Cubs watched their hated rivals the St. Louis Cardinals win it. In order for this not happen again, the Cubs have some concerns they have to address in order to get back to their winning ways.

    First, they have to get rid of Milton Bradley. This guy was a cancer on and off the field. He was quoted saying that he does not like the Cubs fans. I am here to tell you that the feeling is mutual. The Cubs general manager, Jim Hendry, needs to get this guy off this team no matter how. If that involves eating majority of his contract in a trade, then that's the way it needs to be done. There have been a few teams mentioned in trade talks for Bradley. The Tampa Bay Rays, the San Diego Padres, and the team that keeps getting mentioned the most the Texas Rangers. It doesn't matter what team the Cubs get the deal done with, as long as this guy is off the team come next year.

    Second, the Cubs need a lead-off hitter and center-fielder. These two go together, because the Cubs can fill both of these holes with one player. Coco Crisp. Crisp is a great player. He has speed, he is a descent outfielder, and he can hit. He did have a down year last year, but he played for the Kansas City Royals. Put a good team behind Coco he will shine! Look what he did in Boston an few years ago. There have been rumors that the Cubs are in the Curtis Garnderson sweepstakes. Grandy would be a good fit with the Cubs, and probably benefit from the National League style of play. The one downside to getting Garndy is that he can't hit left-handed pitchers. So the Cubs would have to find someone to platoon with Grandy in center when they are facing a lefty. With the Cubs payroll, I don't see that happening. Crisp should be Hendry's guy, but we will see what happens.

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Tampa Bay Rays News

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Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday's Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

(Adds late games) July 22 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's Major League baseball games. - - - Rays 7, Cardinals 2 The Tampa Bay Rays knocked out St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright after just 4 2/3 innings, as the Rays extended their season-high winning streak to six games. In his first start since the All-Star break and looking for his Major League-best 13th win, Wainwright (12-5) gave up six hits and six runs. He walked four, including three in the fifth, struck out four and hit a man in his second-shortest outing of the year. ... [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The Stew's midseason look at MLB award candidates: Cy Young (Big League Stew)

Note: The All-Star break is upon us and The Stew is using the downtime to size up contenders for the year-end awards. We've already looked at Rookie of the Year and MVP candidates . Now let's turn our attention to AL and NL MVP hopefuls. The top Cy Young candidates usually post great numbers while pitching full seasons for contending teams. Those criteria hurt pitchers in respective ways like Clayton Kershaw (back injury), Henderson Alvarez (plays for Marlins) and Stephen Strasburg (3.48 ERA, albeit with good peripheral stats). In that sense, the Cy also requires some luck to win it. Everything must come together, and that usually happens for only a select few. NATIONAL LEAGUE The Frontrunner : Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals He started the All-Star game for the National League after posting a 1.83 ERA and a 5.5 wins above replacement (via Baseball Reference) in 138 innings. His performance against the American League at Target Field doesn't matter, but don't be surprised if the words Waino used to describe how he pitched to Derek Jeter affects his status among some of the wrong-headed Cy voters. Still, he's in great shape to land his first career Cy Young nod, after finishing second twice (in 2010 and 2013) and third (2009) once. In the conversation : Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds He's second in the league with 141 strikeouts, and is second among qualifiers with a 2.13 ERA — doubly impressive for someone who pitches home games at Great American Ball Park. Leads league with 143 2/3 innings, nearly 50 percent more than Clayton Kershaw. The Question Mark : Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers As we wrote earlier in the season , Kershaw missing several starts at the start of the season because of a back injury probably is going to cost him votes. He's on track for 26 or 27 starts, which will diminish the impact of his numbers no matter how well he pitches. So far, he's posted a 1.78 ERA and a 126-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 starts covering 96 1/3 innings. He's also managed to compile a 4.4 bWAR, second-most to Waino in the NL. The Dark Horse : Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers Hurt by having Kershaw as a teammate and vote siphoner, but could lead the league in ERA before the season ends. Posted a 2.73 ERA with 127-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio so far. * * * AMERICAN LEAGUE The Frontrunner : Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners The starter for the AL in the All-Star game, it just looks like King Felix's time to get crowned Cy Young for the second time in his career. Second to David Price with 154 strikeouts and Chris Sale with a 2.12 ERA, he also has the Mariners' improved record going for him (or not working against him). Even if they slip out of the race, Hernandez will be right there with the top vote-getters — as long as he keeps pitching like a king. Regardless, he's the guy you want on the mound. In the conversation : Mark Buehrle, Toronto Blue Jays Off to the best start of his career, posting a 2.64 ERA and 4.3 WAR through 19 starts. His 4.30 expected fielding independent pitching indicates that his awesome numbers won't last, but Buehrle always has outperformed expectations. If the Blue Jays stay in the race, there's a good chance he'll stay in the Cy race. Also in the conversation : David Price, Tampa Bay Rays. Only 18th in ERA, but could get on a role and be right among the top contenders (unless he's traded to an NL team and it gets complicated). The Question Mark : Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees Might have been the frontrunner by going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA until he was sidelined by an elbow injury. Tanaka might end up having Tommy John surgery, which would knock him out of contention for sure, but even if he doesn't, his chances are significantly diminished already. Regardless, the majors have added another dominant right-handed talent from Japan like that of Yu Darvish. Hopefully, he regains his health quickly. Also a question mark: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox. The second-best pitcher in the league, but only a remote contender for the same reason as Kershaw — a lack of innings because of an injury. The Dark Horse: Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics Finally putting it all together — talent, health, luck — Kazmir has been the best pitcher on the best team in the league, posting a 2.38 ERA and a .577 on-base plus slugging against. If he keeps it up and the A's win, he'll get a lot of support. And if Felix slips... Even Darker Horse: Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels. More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports:   - - - - - - - David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter! Follow @AnswerDave [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Price wins fourth straight as Rays blank Jays (The SportsXchange)

David Price tipped his cap as he walked into the Rays' dugout at Tropicana Field during the ninth inning Sunday. Price and the Tampa Bay Rays shut out the Toronto Blue Jays in a 3-0 win, heading to the All-Star break on a positive note after a mostly disappointing first half. It was another step in the right direction for the Rays as well, keeping them alive in the American League East race. For Price, it was yet another display of masterful pitching, an outing in which he dominated the opposition even though he lacked his usually top-notch fastball. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Game roundup: Royals, Shields shut down Rays (The SportsXchange)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- James Shields was dominant in his return to Tropicana Field on Monday, shutting out the Tampa Bay Rays for seven innings as the Kansas City Royals won 6-0 to open a three-game series. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Royals-Rays Preview (The Associated Press)

James Shields last pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays two years ago, but he still holds many of their individual records. Shields makes his return to St. Petersburg on Monday night as his Kansas City Royals open this three-game series by trying to defeat Jake Odorizzi, one of the players dealt for the right-hander in the winter of 2012. Shields (8-4, 3.93 ERA) spent his first seven seasons with the Rays, helping lead them to the 2008 AL pennant. Despite being sent to Kansas City in a seven-player trade in December 2012, Shields still stands as Tampa Bay's all-time leader in wins (87), strikeouts (1,250), complete games (19) and shutouts (eight). [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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