Tag:Twins
Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:15 am
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3 Up, 3 Down: Kottaras cycles, Santos implodes

Kottaras

By Evan Brunell

3 UpGeorge Kottaras, Brewers: Kottaras delivered MLB's first cycle of the year, going 4 for 5 with two runs and RBI apiece. In order, Kottaras flied out to start the game, homered, tripled, rapped a RBI single and then a ground-rule double in the top of the ninth. STATS, LLC also found that two of the last three catchers to cycle were Brewers, with Chad Moeller accomplishing the feat in 2004. The Brewers took down Houston, 8-2.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics:
Brandon McCarthy has been dazzling as of late, and contributed a complete-game shutout on Saturday, pumping 10 strikeouts by the Mariners while allowing just three hits. It was a tour de force for the righty, who threw 114 pitches for 78 strikes. "As much time as I've spent hurt, and you've got everyone out there and behind you when things are going well, it kind of makes you feel like you're on top of the world," McCarthy said, whose promising career was wrecked for years with Texas. "I had to remember to focus and not get caught up in it."

Billy Hamilton, Dayton Dragons (Reds Class A): We don't usually cover minor leaguers in this space, but Hamilton accomplished a cool feat Saturday. He stole three bases to reach 100 on the year, the first minor leaguer to do so since Chris Harris with 111 back in 2001. Hamilton also contributed a 2-for-3 effort in the outing to push his overall line to .278/.339/.360 for the year. The 20-year-old can flat out steal -- obviously -- and if his post-All-Star line of .318/.380/.388 line can be believed, could be in line for quite a few 3 Ups down the line. The last time a major leaguer stole 100 in a season was Vince Coleman's 109 in 1987.



3 DownSergio Santos, White Sox: Santos didn't quite take to his role as anointed 2012 closer too well Saturday. Santos gave up three runs in the ninth, getting just two outs, as the Tigers walked off on a Miguel Cabrera homer (with a two-run shot by Ryan Raburn earlier in the inning). It was Santos' fifth blown save of the year, and while this outing won't affect his status for next year (well, the team is managed by Ozzie Guillen...), it sure can't feel good. "I think every loss hurts when you play this game or when you compete," Guillen said. "But this one is very painful. This game was huge for us. It was a very important game."

Brian Duensing, Twins:
Not only did Duensing give up five earned runs in 1 1/3 of an inning (drawing the loss in a 10-6 game), he came out of the game hurt. He had to leave the game with a right oblique strain, and could miss the rest of the year the way oblique strains have acted these days. Or he could only need to miss a start. Either way, it was a lousy outing for the lefty, whose ERA is now 5.24.

Tyler Colvin, Cubs: A year after impressing people, Colvin has delivered an extraordinarily poor year. He struck out three times en route to an 0-for-5 night on Saturday, dropping his line to .145/.200/.306 in 186 at-bats. The Cubs may have some openings in the outfield next season, but Colvin is giving no indication he will be part of the mix with an OPS over 300 points lower than 2010's .816 on the backing of 20 homers.

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Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:13 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:15 pm
 

Hunter may retire after 2012; blasts Twins' Smith

Hunter

By Evan Brunell


Torii Hunter, right fielder for the Angels, is considering retiring after the 2012 season, he tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Hunter would prefer to retire an Angel but would also consider Minnesota.

''I am going to retire an Angel," Hunter said. ''Next year is my last year, and I'm going to retire an Angel. I'm going to evaluate it this offseason. That's when I'll know. It's 60-40, to the positive, that I'll keep playing."

Earlier this season, Hunter was mired in a bad slump after injuring his quad. That contributed to his .250/.321/.396 in the first half. Since the break, Hunter is slashing .281/.353/.474, which has caused him to reconsider the stance, although the possibility remains very much in play.

''I feel good now, but I was hurt the first two months, and I was just evaluating everything, like, man, I can't move," he said. ''And then it just went away, and now I feel good, so now I'm on the positive side again. 'You don't want to see your skills diminish. You don't want to linger.

"'So if I sign an extension, they'll get first dibs. I want to retire an Angel. If I can't, then why not Minnesota?"

Hunter went on to address his contract situation with Minnesota, saying he feels like it is in a similar position currently with Michael Cuddyer. Hunter, who signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the Angels, said he would have accepted a four- or five-year deal, while Smith would only offer three. Smith has offered Cuddyer a contract extension for two years, which he could double in free agency.

And then Hunter's guns came out, delivering harsh words for GM Bill Smith:

Hunter said the Twins made an offer to him ''just to show people that I turned it down, to make me look bad. Same thing here. Cuddyer is going to make less, as a free agent? I told him before, 'They'll make an offer and people will say, 'You turned down the money, you could have stayed, you're money-hungry.' "

Hunter described Smith as cold.

''He had no heart, no compassion, no nothing," Hunter said. ''Because he wasn't the one who brought me in. [Former GM] Terry Ryan brought me in. Terry Ryan was my dad, my guy. When Bill Smith took over and we had a conversation, I wasn't feeling it. There was no chemistry, nothing between us. It was like I had never played with the Twins."

Noting that the Angels traded for Mark Teixeira during a pennant race in 2008, Hunter said: ''Sometimes I think they have that small mind over there, in that organization. I just feel they never went and got that big piece. Shannon Stewart worked out just fine for us [in 2003], he helped us out a lot, but getting Teixeira, that's big."

Well, if Hunter thought Minnesota was an option if he didn't stay in Los Angeles, I don't think it's one anymore.

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Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:16 am
 

On Deck: Lincecum/Kennedy battle highlights day

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

DiamondbacksGiantsNL West battle continues: The Giants stopped Arizona from winning its 10th straight game and also pulled to within five of the division lead. San Francisco needs to do much more than that to have any hope of winning the division, though, and will turn to ace Tim Lincecum and his 2.58 ERA to try to hold 'Zona back. But Ian Kennedy is a tall order to face, as he holds a slim 3.03 ERA and is also angling to become the NL's first 18-game winner. He's only coughed up one run in his last two starts, punching out 15. It's shaping up to be quite a pitcher's duel. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET

WeaverWeaver takes mound: The Angels slipped to 4 1/2 back in the AL West after Friday's games, but can try to make up some ground on Saturday if Jered Weaver can silence the Twins, which shouldn't be too tall of a task.The Rangers have to fall to Boston for a full game to be made up, but L.A. will take winning their own game. Weaver, winner of six straight, will oppose Brian Duensing a night after the Twins pasted the Angels 13-5 to win their second straight. The Twins haven't won three games or more in a row since July 5, and that's a mark that might stand as they stare at Weaver's 2.28 ERA and wonder what they're supposed to do. Twins vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

MiloneDebut: The Nationals are shuffling their rotation for September to get a look at their minor-league players. One of these pitchers draws the ball Saturday, as Tom Milone makes his big-league debut against the Mets. Milone had a 3.22 ERA for Triple-A this year, punching out 155 and walking 16 in 148 1/3 innings, strong numbers despite not being considered a heralded prospect. He'll have to face a streaking David Wright, who is hitting .500 over his last 26 at-bats and has hit the Nats well as of late. Wright will be manning the hot corner at third behind Dillon Gee. The Mets have won seven of eight. Mets vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:40 am
 

Pepper: Royals could resemble Brewers soon

Hosmer
By Evan Brunell

Promising turnaround: The Royals figure to lose at least 90 games, but the chatter in baseball remains overwhelmingly positive for Kansas City, who is drawing comparisons to Milwaukee.

Boasting the best farm team in the bigs, K.C. has already begun integrating its young players into the team, especially on offense where the Royals have a brand-new infield. Shortstop Alcides Escobar kicked off the year with the Royals after coming over from Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke trade, while Eric Hosmer received the first minor-league promotion at first base. Mike Moustakas followed soon to play the hot corner, while Johnny Giavotella just came up to man second.

Greinke, a former Royal, faced Hosmer in a rehab start in April and remarked that it was like facing a 10-year veteran.

“You probably know this,” Greinke told Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. “But Eric Hosmer is really good. I mean, really good.”

Greinke is now with the Brewers, a team Mellinger says could be how the Royals look like in a few years if and when their young pitching prospects start bearing fruit.

The offense seems to have it all -- two defensive linchpins in Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez, home-run threats in Hosmer and Moustakas, and a capable bat in Giavotella. And we haven't even talked about the resurgent Alex Gordon in left field, or the fine season that Melky Cabrera has turned in. Yep, baseball in K.C. is looking sharp.

Going yard: The 1,000th career hit for Jeff Francouer was a home run. "He told us he was going to get it in his first at-bat and he did, he didn't mess around with it," manager Ned Yost told MLB.com.

Baby giraffe: Brandon Belt has gained a nickname -- that of "Baby Giraffe." Well, he met the real thing when Six Flags Discovery Kingdom named its newborn giraffe after Belt, of which you can see pictures on Belt's blog. (A Veteran and a Rook)

MVP pitcher? Cole Hamels disagrees with my assessment that a pitcher should be eligible for -- and potentially win -- the MVP, calling the Cy Young Award the pitcher's version.

"We only play once every five days and I don’t know how much we can affect a team by winning all 33 or 34 starts because you still have to win 90 something games to make the postseason," Hamels told the Dan Patrick Show, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. You need an everyday player to really go out there and play 140 to 150 games to really be a sorta MVP candidate.”

My comeback? Don't look at games played. Look at at-bats. A hitter will generally receive roughly 600 plate appearances a year, while a pitcher will face a few hundred more hitters over the course of a season. Position players may play in significantly more games, but pitchers impact the games they pitch in far more than a hitter. It all balances out.

Bryce running: Bryce Harper, on the disabled list for Double-A, ran for the first time since straining his hamstringo on Thursday. The team is hopeful he can participate in the minor-league postseason. (Washington Post)

Baseball in the Netherlands: The Dutch look to be in prime position to host a baseball game in 2014, with the Netherlands preparing to submit a bid for a game to be played in Hoofddorp, a small city outside of Amsterdam. You don't hear much about baseball and the Netherlands, but interestingly enough, it's considered "the baseball powerhouse of Europe," Alex Remington writes. (Fangraphs)

Walk angry: Adrian Gonzalez struck out on a called strike to end the Yankees-Red Sox game on Thursday, with New York coming away with a victory after Mariano Rivera loaded the bases in the ninth inning. "That pitch was down, I should still be hitting. That's all I have to say," he told the Boston Globe. Maybe, but Gonzalez shouldn't have swung at two painfully obvious balls. For someone with his plate discipline, he sure looked antsy up at the plate.

Banged-up Sox: J.D. Drew's return to Boston figures to be delayed at least a week, but Kevin Youkilis could return as early as Friday. Another injured Sox player, Clay Buchholz, made 35 throws from 60 feet and reported no progress with his back. Buchholz's return may not happen until the playoffs, but if he can come back, it's a major shot in the arm. (Boston Globe)

Hobbled Yanks: Mark Teixeira had to leave Thursday's game with a bruised right knee after being hit by a pitch, and he looks as if he will miss a few games, the New York Post writes. Alex Rodriguez, meanwhile, is hopeful he can rejoin the starting lineup on Friday but admitted he just isn't sure to the Post.

Big step: Adam Wainwright will throw his first bullpen session shortly after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The season is lost for the Cards right-hander, but he can get himself ready to go for the 2012 season. It's possible that if a St. Louis minor-league affiliate goes deep into the playoffs that he could make a rehab start before baseball shuts down. (MLB.com)

Under the knife: Twins top prospect Kyle Gibson will wrap up a disappointing year by undergoing Tommy John surgery. Gibson was expected to win a rotation spot at some point during the year, but now Minnesota will have to cast its eye to 2013 for any significant production out of the first-rounder. (Minnesota Star Tribune)

Backpacking: A new trend is emerging in baseball as part of an old one. The junior member of a bullpen has always been expected to haul a bag full of snacks, drinks and pain medications to the bullpen. Lately, however, the bag has morphed into gear designed to embarrass the player -- a Hello Kitty backpack -- for example. The New York Times looks at the increasing trend.
 
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Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Plenty of good seats available

Dodger Stadium

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke went to Wednesday afternoon's Dodgers-Padres game and talked to all six fans in section 314. Six. The announced crowd was 27,767 -- but there were actually fewer than 8,000, Plaschke estimated and may have been the smallest crowd in Dodger Stadium history. 

Every time I've been to Dodger Stadium it's been full and rocking -- this tells you as much as you need to know about how LA fans feel about Frank McCourt.

On the market: But the McCourts did sell one of their two homes near the Playboy Mansion, so there's that. It was the smaller of the two houses in Holmby Hills going for "just" $6.14 million. [Los Angeles Times]

Click here: Really nice work by the Detroit News illustrating just how quickly a Justin Verlander fastball gets on a batter. Check it out.

No sympathy: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of his closest friends in the game, but he's not exactly feeling sorry for him -- "No, because I've seen him celebrating a lot with a lot of champagne over his body when I've watch him [over the years]," he told reporters (MLB.com). "Get them next year, Gardy."

Jays scouting Darvish: Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Japan on Wednesday scouting right-hander Yu Darvish. The Rangers and Yankees have also scouted him in person, while the Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays also have reportedly been interested in Darvish. [Toronto Sun]

Theo happy in Boston: Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein made his first remarks about his name being thrown around in talks about the open Cubs job -- he said he's "really happy to be with the Red Sox." He didn't elaborate much or deny any interest in the Cubs job, but why should he? Leverage is a good thing and there's no reason for Epstein to give that up. [WEEI.com]

Beane leading Cubs' wish list: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was in San Francisco on Wednesday, while A's general manager Billy Beane was at home in the Bay Area and his team was in Cleveland -- coincidence? [Chicago Sun-Times

Rooftops expected: For the first time in a decade, all the Wrigley rooftops around the Cubs' home park have been inspected by city health officials. [Chicago Tribune]

Measuring power: An interesting article on FanGraphs.com asking the best way to measure power -- because what exactly are we talking about when we talk about power? It's more than just homers, but shouldn't homers count more? Anyway, the result is a stat called wXB -- or weighted extra bases. However, the problem with this is that are triples really a measure of power? You're not going to find anyone who says Dexter Fowler has more power than David Ortiz, but you wouldn't be surprised to learn Fowler has more triples than Ortiz.

Strasmas returns: Not that it's any surprise, but ticket prices have gone through the roof for the Stephen Strasburg's "Strasurrection" start on Sept. 6. [Washington Post]

Cards want to extend Berkman: The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice told a St. Louis radio station that the Cardinals approached Lance Berkman about a contract extension in July and the 35-year-old "very much wants to stay" in St. Louis. However, the fact he didn't sign an extension implies Berkman will at least test the free agent waters. [NBC Sports]

Phillies doomed: The Phillies are a favorite for the World Series this season, but enjoy it now, Phillies fans. Grantland.com's Rany Jazayerli writes that the team isn't built for the long haul, as the team is saddled with bloated contracts and aging players. A really interesting read.

Moose is loose: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has found his groove. After starting his career hitting .182, he's raised his average to .232 with a 14-game hitting streak. [MLB.com]

Movie time for A's: Several A's say they're curious to see Moneyball when it premiers later this month. [Baseball Prospectus]

Bay to center? Could the Mets move Jason Bay to center field in 2012? That's one of the things the team is considering, even though it seems like it would certainly weaken the team's outfield defense. But hey, the guy is owed a ton of money, so he'd have to be put somewhere. The move would also allow Daniel Murphy's bat to get in the lineup in left, with Lucas Duda in right. Of course, Murphy wasn't able to play left in 2009, so I'm not exactly sure why he would be able to now. [New York Daily News]

Pujols teases fan: A good friend of mine can't stand Albert Pujols -- when 60 Minutes did the feature about all his charitable work, my friend wasn't impressed. He once had a to do a story on Pujols, who blew him off. He went back the next day, and Pujols was a jerk to him again. So I'm guessing he'll like this story about Pujols taunting a Brewer fan. [Big League Stew]

Quentin's return uncertain: White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he said he's unsure if he'll be ready to play by then. He went on the disabled list for a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder Saturday, but hadn't played since Aug. 20. [Chicago Tribune]

Uehara's option vests: When Rangers reliever Koji Uehara appeared in his 55th game of the season on Wednesday, his $4 million option for 2012 vested. [MLBTradeRumors.com]

More Garfoose: Not to overload you with Dirk Hayhurst stuff, but some might find this interesting -- the recently released pitcher is auctioning off some of his game-used gear for charity. [DirkHayhurst.com]

40th anniversary: On Sept. 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team in Major League history to field an all-minority lineup, with Dock Ellis taking the mound. [The Hardball Times]

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:00 am
 

Pepper: Concussion continues to haunt Morneau

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Morneau said the concussion symptoms that will keep him out until at least Friday are "nothing like" what he went through last year, and I'm sure that's true.

But the fact that Morenau began experiencing those symptoms (a headache and fogginess) on Monday and still had the remnants of the symptoms on Tuesday are scary. There's so little we know about concussions, there's little understanding of how our brains react to being move inside its casing and how long it can affect a human.

Morneau has had plenty of other problems this season, but until this week concussions hadn't been part of his problem -- or at least that we know. That's the thing with concussions, there's so much we don't know and we may never know. Science is a wonderful thing, but it takes time. 

What is impressive is how the Twins have handled this -- they didn't rush Morneau back last season when they could have used him and they're taking all precautions this season. I hope this doesn't last the rest of Morneau's career, but I think it'd hardly be a surprise if it did.

There was a lot of attention to concussions last year in the NFL season, but this isn't just a football problem or even just a sports problem, it's a medical problem that we should all take a lot of interest in and make sure we understand as much as possible. Those who say it's just "ringing a bell" and players need to be "tougher" are just ignorant and it's a mindset that must be changed. [Star Tribune]

Game-changer: Technology isn't just great for fans -- the players are using technology in many ways to improve their games. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark takes an in-depth look at the way baseball is using technology, from iPads to using stats to predict pitching patterns. It's well worth the read.

Elite company: Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez became the 30th pitch in major-league history to record 2,500 strikeouts in Tuesday's game victory over the Mets. [Miami Herald]

Rehab updates: Grady Sizemore will start his rehab assignment on Wednesday [MLB.com], while Boston's Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew started their rehab assignments on Tuesday -- Drew went 3 for 3 and Youkilis went 1 for 4 with a walk and reached on an error. [Dan Hoard]

Price of success: Remember Pirate Fever earlier this summer? Well, Pittsburgh fans are going to pay for it as the team is raising its prices for 2012. That said, the increase is modest from an average of $15.30 to $16.11 per ticket. The Pirates had the lowest average ticket price in baseball (in one of the best settings) for 2011 and will still be close, if not at, the bottom next season. The Pirates hadn't raised prices in a decade. The Pirates said most tickets would stay the same, decrease or increase by $3 or less. The dugout box seats will be raised by $5 -- but only $2 more than they were in 2002. [Pittsburgh Tribube-Review]

Favorite things: The Tigers wives put together auction gift baskets filled with players' favorite things every year, and you can learn a lot about some of baseball's best -- like Justin Verlander likes crappy food and crappy movies, Ryan Raburn loves killin' stuff, why Daniel Schlereth smells funny and that Phil Coke uses "liquid titanium massage lotion." [H/T MLive.com]

R and RBI: Curtis Granderson is leading the big leagues in both runs and RBI -- a feat that has been done just 19 times before, six times by Babe Ruth. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Wakefield pushed back: Tim Wakefield's seemingly never-ending search for his 200th win will be delayed a bit, as Red Sox manager Terry Francona told the knuckleballer that he's skipping his turn in the rotation for a turn. Andrew Miller will start Friday against Texas instead of Wakefield. Wakefield is 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA in seven starts since his winning No. 199. [Boston Globe]

Call ups: The clubhouse at Great American Ball Park could get pretty crowded. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said "quite a few" players will get called up when the rosters expand. The most heralded is catcher Devin Mesoraco, who Evan wrote about Tuesday. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

In-flight entertainment: You may be able to watch baseball games live on your phone on a flight. [Los Angeles Times]

Father-son show: Former Met Howard Johnson, 50, will play alongside his son, Glen, for the independent Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League on Sunday and Monday. [New York Daily News]

Cool card: Check out these awesome baseball cards fans got when they went to a My Morning Jacket concert in Philadelphia last week. Very, very cool. [UniWatch Blog]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 5:43 pm
 

On Deck: Another round of Yankees-Red Sox

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

CC SabathiaJohn LackeyHere we go again: Yep, it's that time of year (again) -- Red Sox and Yankees. Boston starts the night  1.5 games ahead of their AL East rivals and 10-2 against them so far this season. Yankees starter CC Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Red Sox this season, including a debacle on Aug. 6 that saw him surrender seven runs in six innings. John Lackey is 2-0 against the Yankees, but has benefitted from great run support in his two starts against New York. In those two games, he's allowed 13 hits and nine runs in 11 innings -- good for a 7.36 ERA. Lackey gave up six runs in five innings on April 8, but was better than Phil Hughes, who gave up that many runs in two innings. He allowed just three runs in six innings in this month's earlier matchup with Sabathia to earn the victory. Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m.

Pulling away: A month or so ago this looked like it would be a big series, but instead the Brewers have a chance to spit on the Cardinals' grave with this three-game series in Milwaukee. The Brewers lead the Cardinals -- their nearest competition in the NL Central -- by 10 1/2 games. Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum is coming off his first loss in 10 starts and hasn't been great against the Cardinals this season, going 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA in three starts. Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in six starts for the Cardinals. He's been good except for one start -- Aug. 3 at Milwaukee, where the Brewers scored 10 runs (eight earned) off of him in seven innings. He bounced back facing the Brewers in his next start and gave up just three runs (two earned) in six innings in a no-decision. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m.

White Sox streaking: Chicago has been one of the game's most disappointing teams, but here we are on the next-to-last day of August and they've still got a chance at the American League Central flag. Chicago's won four in a row and are now in second place in the division, five games behind the Tigers and readying for a weekend series in Detroit. If the White Sox can take care of business in Minnesota, this weekend could be huge. Tuesday's starter for the White Sox, rookie right-hander Zach Stewart, has just one win so far for Chicago, but it was against the Twins. He allowed just one run on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings on Aug. 6 at Target Field. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 29, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:55 pm
 

On Deck: Two big NL East returns

OD

By Matt Snyder

The Mets and Marlins kicked things off with an afternoon game, as it was the front end of a doubleheader. That still leaves us with 12 night games, a healthy slate for a Monday night. Follow all the action live on our CBSSports.com scoreboard.

Hamels on the hill/Over Yonder: Phillies starter Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will return from a quick stint on the disabled list Monday night. He was sidelined with inflammation to his left shoulder. Now the task will be making sure he's strong for the postseason, as there's little doubt the Phillies are headed to the best record in the NL. Monday's opponent is the Reds and Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will be on the mound. An interesting note here from the Reds' side of things is that Yonder Alonso is starting at third base. The 24-year-old slugger is a defensively liability pretty much everywhere except first -- and there's even some debate to that. Considering the Reds have a decent player already at first, they're trying to find a new spot for Alonso. He's hitting .467 with three home runs and a 1.422 OPS in 36 plate appearances since being recalled, so that's why the Reds are experimenting. The issue: He's never played third, not even in the minors. Should be interesting, to say the least. Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Jose, Jose Jose Jose! He didn't get back in time to start the first game of the double-dip, but Jose Reyes will return to the Mets' lineup for the nightcap. As I wrote Sunday, Reyes' return to the lineup is compelling due to his impending free agency. He's hitting .336/.377/.507 with 34 steals and 80 runs in 98 games and is still leading the majors with 16 triples, but health questions might mitigate how much money Reyes commands on the open market. Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 4.30) is the Marlins' starter while Dillon Gee (11-5, 4.37) gets the nod for the Mets. Marlins at Mets, 7:40 p.m. ET (if not later, as it's the second game of the doubleheader).

Hurly Buehrle: The White Sox have won three straight and trail the Tigers by six in the AL Central. They can't wait much longer to get on a serious run, or else they'll be too far back come mid-September, so the time is now to build a huge winning streak. Monday, Mark Buehrle (10-6, 3.19) will be the White Sox's starter against the Twins. If recent history is any indication, a win should be coming. Buehrle has a 0.39 ERA and 0.61 WHIP in three starts against the Twins this season. On the flip-side, the White Sox have owned Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.84) over the course of his career, as Slowey has a 6.39 ERA in 38 innings against the White Sox. Still, games aren't won on paper or past history. Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com