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Tag:Sergio Romo
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:55 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 12:17 am
 

Homegrown Team: San Francisco Giants



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

On the strength of an incredible -- and mostly homegrown -- pitching staff, the San Francisco Giants won their first World Series in 2010 (yes, the Giants had won the World Series before, but that was as the New York Giants). So when you picture how the Giants would fare in this just-for-fun series, you might think these Giants will be pretty good. If so, you'd be wrong. You'll find a similarity to the real Giants in terms of pitching and offense, but the bad is much, much worse. In fact, it's awful. Don't say we didn't warn you ...

Lineup

1. Brandon Belt, RF
2. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
3. Buster Posey, 1B
4. Nate Schierholtz, CF
5. Yorvit Torrealba, C
6. Brett Pill, LF
7. Matt Downs, 2B
8. Brandon Crawford, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Tim Lincecum
2. Matt Cain
3. Madison Bumgarner
4. Ryan Vogelsong
5. Francisco Liriano

Bullpen

Closer - Brian Wilson
Set up - Joe Nathan, David Aardsma, Sergio Romo, Scott Linebrink, Jason Grilli
Long - Jonathan Sanchez, Kevin Correia

Notable Bench Players

Hector Sanchez, Emmanuel Burriss and Conor Gillaspie.

What's Good?

The pitching staff could be even better than the real-life lock-down staff because you add the upside of Liriano, along with Nathan and Aardsma as setup men for Wilson. Of course, Nathan had a down year while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Liriano was pretty bad and Aardsma missed the entire season with his own injury. But since we're living in a dream world anyway, just picture this staff with everyone at his best. It's amazing, top to bottom.

What's Not?

Pretty much everything else. There is no bench depth at all, which is bad because Torrealba, Pill, Downs and Crawford don't have any business being everyday big-league starters. The Belt-Sandoval-Posey start to the lineup isn't bad, but after that the lineup is brutal. Schierholtz is fine for a six or seven hitter, but definitely not cleanup on a team that wants to be in playoff contention. The presence of Sandoval and Posey probably prevents this from being the worst Homegrown offense, but it's really, really bad. The team speed is lacking, too, so the offense can't exactly hope to put pressure on the defense that way. Oh yeah, the defense. Due to having one true outfielder (I still count Belt as a true first baseman) on the entire roster in addition to that guy being a corner outfielder having to play center, and we have four guys playing out of position. The outfield's range in particular would be crippling to the elite pitching staff in that spacious outfield.

Comparison to real 2011

It's similar in that the pitching is great and the offense is a big problem, but this offense is far worse than the real-life Giants' was -- and that wasn't good enough to make the playoffs. The actual 2011 Giants went 86-76 and were quite fortunate to get there with such a bad offense. This group couldn't possibly get to .500, even with the one of the best pitching staffs in this exercise -- and, again, the defense would make the pitchers look worse. I think it looks like a 75-win team, based purely on the pitching staff, Sandoval and Posey.

Up next: Oakland Athletics

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 5:11 pm
 

On Deck: Tigers, Indians face off

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


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

Big series: The Indians enter this weekend's three-game set in Detroit a game-and-a-half behind the American League Central-leading Tigers. As if that wasn't enough, Cleveland dodges Justin Verlander during the series, which is always a good thing if you're not the Tigers. The Indians took two of three in Cleveland earlier this month and the Tigers have lost six of their last 10, while the Indians have one four of their last five to tighten the race in the Central. However, the Tigers are 17-3 in their last 20 games against Cleveland at Comerica Park and won two of three against the Indians there in June. Indians at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET

Derek LoweLowe struggling: Braves right-hander Derek Lowe is 4-7 with a 6.30 ERA in his last 12 starts and 7-11 with a 4.89 ERA on the season. He's been even worse at home, going 2-3 with a 5.34 ERA in 10 starts at Turner Field this season. Arizona right-hander Daniel Hudson followed a disastrous start on Aug. 8 in Houston with an eight-inning outing against the Mets last Saturday, improving his record to 12-8 with a 3.76 ERA. Diamondbacks at Braves, 7:35 p.m.

Just what the doctor ordered: San Francisco may be struggling, but the Giants get a nice shot of the lowly Houston Astros, facing the game's worst team for the first time this season tonight. Houston could be the gift that keeps on giving, as the Giants will face the AStros in seven of their next 10 games. The Giants have won just six of their last 20 games while putting Carlos Beltran, Andres Torres, Sergio Romo, Eli Whiteside and Barry Zito on the disabled list, while dealing with injuries to Brian Wilson and Jeff Keppinger. The Giants, though, hit the easy part of their schedule before starting a series with the first-place Diamondbacks on Sept 2. In addition to the Astros, the defending champs also face the Cubs and Padres before their three-game series against Arizona at AT&T Park. Giants at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Giants put right-hander Romo on DL

Sergio RomoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Bad news for the defending champs, who enter the day two-and-a-half games behind the Diamondbacks in the National League West, as they've placed reliever Sergio Romo on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

While Romo doesn't rack up the saves or have any national commercials, he does have a mighty nice beard and may be the Giants' best reliever. The 28-year-old right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and a save, but more impressive is his big-league best 13.25 strikeouts for every walk. The Giants' main setup man has struck out 53 batters and walked four in 37 2/3 innings this year. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 18 appearances and opponents are hitting just .154/.179/.246 against him.

Romo's absence will mean the Giants will lean more heavily on Santiago Casilla, who has been pretty darn good himself. Casilla, 31, is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA for the Giants with opponents hitting .191/.310/.264 against him this season.

San Francisco called up lefty Dan Runzler from the disabled list to take Romo's place on the roster. 

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Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: July 27, 2011 1:02 pm
 

Pepper: Is it Rasmus or La Russa in St. Louis?

Colby Rasmus

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Soap operas are being taken off network TV, but at least we still have baseball.

By the way he's portrayed, you'd expect St. Louis center fielder Colby Rasmus to be the guy with the badly dyed goatee and have ominous music every time he appears on screen. That's at least the way Cardinals manager Tony La Russa (speaking of bad dye jobs) keeps playing it.

The latest barb? Speaking to KSDK-TV in St. Louis, La Russa said Rasmus doesn't listen to the team's coaches.

"No, he doesn't listen to the Cardinal coaches much now, and that's why he gets in these funks, in my opinion," La Russa said, according to MLB.com. "If he would just stay with [basically] what they teach, he would have … but I actually feel concern for him, because he hears it from so many places, he's got to be confused."

That, of course, is a swipe at Rasmus' dad, who has been critical of La Russa publically. 

The Cardinals are actively shopping Rasmus, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler tweeted yesterday, and if they do deal him, it's got to be a sign that the 66-year-old La Russa will stick around a couple of more years in St. Louis. Dealing Rasmus doesn't make much sense (unless there's a huge return) in a baseball-sense, but it does placate La Russa. La Russa is signed to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2012. It may come down to a decision for general manager John Mozeliak whether he wants to tie his future to a talented 24-year-old or a manager who has managed more than 5,000 games. What happens before Sunday could tell us quite a bit about the future of the Cardinals.

No platoon: Sticking with the Cardinals and La Russa, Daniel Descalso has started at shortstop in five of the 11 games since the All-Star break, but La Russa denies there's a platoon with Descalso and Ryan Theriot. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Contentious in Chicago: Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd got into a shouting match with a fan before Tuesday's game in Milwaukee. The fan yelled "you guys suck," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Byrd responded, "We may suck, but you're pathetic." 

Chipper out again: Braves third baseman Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup from a knee injury on Monday, but then miss Tuesday's game and will miss the next few with a right quad injury. The 39-year-old has played in 78 games this season. [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Conspiracy theory: Phillies fans got on Giants manager Bruce Bochy for how he used Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the All-Star Game. Several fans at the team's hotel heckled Bochy saying he tried to overuse both Philadelphia pitchers -- though Bochy notes he used both for fewer than 25 pitches. [San Jose Mercury News]

Throwing Trout back: The Angels are expected to send heralded prospect Mike Trout back to the minor leagues soon. [Orange County Register]

'Cool cat': That's how Giants reliever Sergio Romo described President Barak Obama after the Giants' visit to the White House. I'm sure plenty of people said that about Chester A. Arthur, too. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Reds return: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com takes a closer look at the two minor league players the Reds received in return for Jonny Gomes.

Perfect in minors: Former Padre Justin Germano threw a perfect game for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers on Tuesday. It was just the fifth perfect game in the history of the International League. The Clippers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Indians. [Columbus Dispatch]

Barton hurt: There's nothing we here at Eye On Baseball like more than making fun of our fellow team member's bad calls -- like my call of Manny Ramirez as the AL Comeback Player of the Year -- so it never fails that any mention of Daric Barton gets Evan Brunell some good-nature ribbing. Brunell said he'd take Barton over Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard -- so yeah. (Of course, I had some questionable picks, too -- Rasmus No. 1 in center?) But the point other than making fun of Evan? Well, it's that Barton, now in Triple-A, has a tear in his labrum and will see a doctor today. [San Francisco Chronicle]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:06 pm
 

Introducing your 2011 NL West All-Star team

By Evan Brunell

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central
For a number of years, the NL West has been fairly balanced. Every team except the Rockies has a division title in the past five years, and the Rockies advanced to the World Series as a wild-card team back in 2007. That balance is clearly seen in the representatives of the NL West All-Star team, which you can see below.

MonteroC Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks: Poor Buster Posey. He had this on lockdown until... well, no need to rehash it, but he's out for the year. Montero's a great consolation prize. He has ripped 10 home runs and has a .275/.346/.468 mark. Montero was actually in a close race with Chris Iannetta of Colorado for this gig, but Montero outstrips Iannetta in caught stealing, nabbing 12 of 37 baserunners.

Helton1B Todd Helton, Rockies: It's quite the renaissance year for the aging first baseman who was once known for his ability to hit for average and power while drawing walks. Now, it's just average and home-run power, but it's plenty enough to outpace any other first baseman in the division -- although, with all due respect to Helton, that says much more about first basemen in the division than it does Helton. Anyway, he's cranking to the tune of a .315/.394/.481 mark, with much of his power coming from an affinity for doubles.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Chase Headley SD 3B
2 Justin Upton ARI RF
3 Troy Tulowitzki COL SS
4 Matt Kemp LAD DH
5 Chris Young ARI CF
6 Carlos Gonzalez COL LF
7 Miguel Montero ARI C
8 Todd Helton COL 1B
9 Kelly Johnson ARI 2B
Johnson2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: What, you'd prefer Aaron Miles? In a case of having to take the best option, Johnson edges Miles despite the latter hitting .320 and Johnson a meager .217. So why does Johnson get the edge? Because he's a better fielder and boasts more power, and he has also swiped eight bases to Miles' three. That's how someone hitting .217/.298/.431 can post a higher Wins Above Replacement mark (1.5) than Miles at .320/.339/.377, who has a 1.0 WAR. (It should be noted that Johnson has about 100 more plate appearances, but even adding those 100 PA would probably not be enough to bump Johnson.)

Headley3B Chase Headley, Padres: Not usually a name you see at the top of leaderboards, but Headley is enjoying a career year -- and is taking advantage of injuries to notable third basemen in the game to put his name in the conversation. Due to playing in cavernous Petco Park, his slugging percentage this season is a meager .404, but it's an impressive .465 on the road. His value comes from taking a walk, which is why he leads off this All-Star team despite just eight stolen bases. He boasts a .302 batting average along with a .392 OBP. If Pablo Sandoval hadn't missed so much time due to injury, he probably would have claimed this spot.

TulowitzkiSS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: What is there left to say about Tulo, who right now can lay claim to being the best shortstop in the game? While he hasn't performed up to snuff compared to his last two seasons, he's still plenty valuable and easily the best shortstop in the division, hitting to the tune of a .271/.339/.495 line and 37 extra bases. Oh, and he can pick it on defense.

GonzalezLF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies: CarGo hasn't hit as well as his awe-inspiring 2010, but he can be forgiven for that as he set impossibly high standards. Colorado will take a .296/.363/.497 line, and so will we to honor him with the left-field starting job on the NL West All-Star team. He still has a remarkable home/away split, but no other left fielder truly threatened for this spot.

YoungCF Chris Young, Diamondbacks: Let's get this out of the way first. For those wondering where Matt Kemp is, hold your horses. We'll get to him in a minute. Young snags the center field job thanks to his strong defense and a power display that we haven't seen from him since 2007, when he slammed 32 home runs. He has exactly half that total (16) in 88 games so far, so he stands a shot of cracking the 30 HR barrier. He's currently hitting .255/.324/.478.

UptonRF Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Anyone else think Kevin Towers is relieved he didn't trade the 23-year-old in the offseason? Upton's walk rate is less than last season but not out of whack with the league, and he is striking out much less. That increased contact has lifted his batting average to .295 (.377 OBP, .502 slugging percentage), the second-highest of his career. (He hit .300 in 2009.) He's hammered 14 homers on the year, just three off his 2010 total.

KempDH Matt Kemp, Dodgers: And here Kemp is, occupying the DH spot. Yes, the DH doesn't exist in the NL West, but regardless of what team, league or stadium holds the All-Star Game, the DH is used. So there. Kemp earns this spot with a season that's already given him a 20 HR, 20 SB season -- and with three more home runs, he'll reach 25/25. So yeah, he'll definitely hit 30/30 this year, and 40/40 is not out of the question if he hits a hot streak. He DH's with a .324/.408/.603 line because the dude simply cannot field and needs to be moved to left soon.

KershawSP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in the entire game, never mind one of the best lefties or youngsters. One of the best, period. The 23-year-old has already tossed 122 2/3 innings on the season and posted a 3.23 ERA. That ERA would actually be the highest of his full seasons in the majors. But his third year actually boasts stronger peripherals, leading to a 2.66 xFIP that is currently a career best. He has punched out 138 and walked just 33.

RomoRP Sergio Romo, Giants: Romo or Mike Adams was a very, very difficult choice to make. So why did Romo get the spot over Adams? Simple: K/BB numbers. Romo has punched out 12.87 batters per nine innings and walked 1.26, good enough for a 2.20 ERA and 1.65 xFIP in 28 2/3 innings. Adams actually beats the ERA (1.35) and innings-pitched (40), but his K.9 is 9.23 and BB/9 at 1.13, with an xFIP of 2.59.

BellCL Health Bell, Padres: Bell won't be a Padre for much longer, I'm guessing, so better get him on here while we still can. He has had quite an impressive career so far as a closer, and this year is no exception. He has 26 saves, but his strikeout numbers are way down and would actually be a career-worst. Who knows why, but he's not having trouble getting by as his 2.55 ERA and 3.78 xFIP indicate.

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

Posted on: July 1, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Naming the middle reliever All-Stars

Romo

By Evan Brunell

The All-Star rosters will be announced Sunday and while there will be no shortage of superstars, there will be plenty of shortages of one of the most valuable commodities in the game: middle relievers.

Middle relievers get shafted, both in dollars and fame, from acknowledgment. All the glory rests with the closer in an ill-conceived role whereupon a three-run lead in the ninth is deemed more important than a one-run lead in the eighth. It's hard to blame anything for the middle reliever's small stature in the game, however -- the two prized pitching positions one can play is as a starting pitcher or closer. If you can't hack it in the rotation, your only shot is to make a career of it in the bullpen. So already, relief pitchers are known as failed starters, even as specialization increases to the point where some top prospects are exclusively relievers when drafted. Middle relievers have it worse -- they're not good enough to close, either, so are marginalized to the middle innings.

So yeah, it makes sense for middle relievers to be leftover scraps.

But middle relievers are important in the game, with virtually every manager speaking to how crucial it is for a middle reliever to be able to carry the baton from the starter to closer. Oftentimes these days, it's not enough to simply get the starter to give way to the setupman who then steps aside for the closer. You need that guy for the sixth or seventh inning.

So let's take a minute and acknowledge some of the best middle relievers in the game. To qualify, a middle reliever must have no more than five saves on the season, nor be considered a setupman. A setupman is considered to be the first reliever listed after the closer in the CBSSports.com MLB depth charts. Injuries will be factored in provided the injured reliever has not been out an extended period of time. David Robertson is considered a setupman because Rafael Soriano has only pitched 15 innings. We want to focus on those sixth or seventh inning guys that have gotten the job done.

Here are your AL and NL All-Stars, with six representatives per league.

American League All-Star middle relievers

AlburquerqueAl Alburquerque, Tigers -- Alberquerque was placed on the disabled list Friday, but that only serves to underscore how valuable he was to the team. Manager Jim Leyland said the right-hander has been a "godsend" and Detroit would be six or seven games worse without the rookie. Alburquerque was inked to a split contract that paid him a certain amount of money if he was in the majors or minors. Many were surprised, as Alburquerque wasn't thought to be much entering the year. That's changed, as his strikeout rate per nine innings (14.59) trails only one other reliever, who happens to be on this list. Alburquerque also boasts a 2.79 ERA in 29 innings.

JohnsonJim Johnson, Orioles
-- Johnson has been huge for Baltimore after seeing his luster dim somewhat over the last couple years. Johnson has shaken off injury to post a 2.28 ERA, coughing up just eight walks in 47 1/3 innings and punching out 33. It's extremely rare for a non-closer to post a Wins Above Replacement 1.0 or higher, with only two middle relievers quaifying, both whom are on this list. But a hair under 1.0 is Johnson at 0.9, along with Alburquerque.

PauleyDavid Pauley, Mariners -- Pauley has been around, being sent from the Padres to Red Sox in a minor deal and making a few spot starts for the Red Sox over 2006 and 2008. He got razed, but boasted a promising curveball and solid control numbers. An excursion in Baltimore later, Pauley ended up with Seattle and made 15 starts last season plus four bullpen appearances, registering a 4.07 ERA. He earned a job in the bullpen to start 2011 and hasn't looked back, throwing up 43 2/3 innings of 1.40-ERA ball. He still doesn't throw gas, but limits his walks and -- it must be said -- has received very good luck on batted balls dropping in for hits. He has the fifth-most innings pitched of any reliever in baseball.

PauleyGlen Perkins, Twins -- Perkins has been the object of ridicule for quite some time in Minnesota, but rubs shoulders with Alburquerque and Johnson with 0.9 WAR. The lefty has posted up a 1.98 ERA on the year and has yet to allow a home run. While his walks per nine innings is up to 3.5 from a career mark of 2.4, not many will complain about his 9.3 K/9, way over his career mark of 5.1. He's doing his job against left-handed batters too, limiting them to nine hits in 41 at-bats (.200 batting average).

PestanoVinnie Pestano, Indians
-- Behind Alburquerque and Robertson, Pestano has the highest rate of strikeouts per nine inning. Unlike the two relievers that precede him, Pestano does so with a modicum of control, walking 11 in 29 2/3 innings. There's a healthy dose of luck involved, as he's allowed 22 percent of balls to drop in for hits compared to a league average of 30 percent, plus has stranded an eye-popping 90.9 percent of baserunners. Even Mariano Rivera can't sustain such a high figure. But isn't that what you want from a reliever? To strand baserunners and strike out batters? Well, can't do much better than Pestano there.

ZieglerBrad Ziegler, Athletics -- The submariner grabbed people's attention back in 2008 thanks to his unorthodox delivery, 11 saves and 1.06 ERA. Since then, he's been a solid middle reliever. This season, though, he's something else entirely: an elite reliever. He's doing it without the benefit of luck, too. While Ziegler is struggling against left-handers much as he has throughout his career thanks to his arm angle and has been limited to just six innings worth (most submariners and low 3/4 throwers have difficulties against opposite-handed batters) -- but he's baffled righties completely and will be the perfect complement to Perkins on the squad. Overall, Ziegler has a 1.93 ERA in 28 innings.



National League All-Star middle relievers

BastardoAntonio Bastardo, Phillies -- Bastardo is currently the Phillies' closer, but we'll cut him some slack since he only just stepped into the role with Ryan Madson's injury. At the start of the season, Bastardo worked as a middle reliever and remained there for much of the year despite turning in a great performance one after the other. Bastardo racked up 33 strikeouts in 29 innings prior to Friday's games and has taken over the vital left-handed role that J.C. Romero filled for years. The way Bastardo has been going, he'll have no trouble hanging onto a setupman role once Madson returns along with Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras.

BrayBill Bray, Reds
-- Before 2011, Bray's claim to fame was being part of the contested deal that sent Austin Kearns to Washington in 2006 and separating him from close friend Adam Dunn. Dunn would later become Kearns' teammate in Washington in 2009. Gary Majewski was part of that deal headed back to Cincinnati but injuries derailed his Reds career before it even started, and a complaint was later filed by MLB that Nats GM Jim Bowden had hid Majewski's injury. But back to Bray: the lefty has quietly been a solid middle reliever the last two years but broke through this year with a 1.65 ERA. Again, as much of these relievers are, Bray is lucky that some things beyond his control have gone his way, such as batted balls in play. But there's no denying that the lefty is on his way up after struggling with injuries and looking like he was going to wash out of the game.

BrayTyler Clippard, Nationals
-- Clippard is so dominating, only one other person ranks higher in Win Probability Added. WPA measures how a player affects win expectancy during parts of the game they are directly responsible for. Clippard has had the fortune of pitching in high-leverage situations, but he's also come through at an extraordinary rate to register a 3.03 WPA, second only to Joel Hanrahan's 3.18, and Hanrahan is a closer. Put middle relievers aside for a moment. As far as WPA is concerned, Clippard is the second best reliever in the game. He's earned that distinction with a 2.00 ERA and a crazy 99.3 percent of baserunners stranded. This doesn't count inherited runs, which Clippard does tend to allow in, but still, if a player gets on base via Clippard, he's not scoring.

LuebkeCory Luebke, Padres
-- Luebke recently earned a promotion to the rotation off the strength of his bullpen work, making four starts. Coming up as a starter, Luebke was tossed in the bullpen as a left-hander and is now the third NL lefty on this All-Star team. He became a long reliever of sorts, posting a 3.23 ERA in 39 innings. Unlike most pitchers, Luebke's luck actually worked against him, as he let in baserunners over and beyond what is normally expected, and his 2.83 xFIP reflects far better what he contributed out of the bullpen.

ReynoldsMatt Reynolds, Rockies
-- Like many names on this list, Reynolds is yet another 20-something who has excelled out of the bullpen. He now makes four lefties in the bullpen, but his year can't be denied. His 3.46 ERA is the highest of any middle reliever All-Star, but much like Luebke, he's been unlucky. Serving as Colorado's primary left-handed specialist, he'll serve the same role in this bullpen after punching out 20 lefties in just 14 2/3 innings.  Reynolds can hold his own against righties but is really best avoided against them. With his ability to completely shut down the best lefty hitter in the game, both Colorado and this All-Star team don't mind that he's less than optimal against right-handers. (If Sean Marshall hadn't counted as a setupman, he would have been here in place of Reynolds.)

RomoSergio Romo, Giants
(pictured) -- Romo boasts the best xFIP of any reliever in the game -- closer, setupman or middle reliever. That xFIP is at 1.61, which is also the only xFIP under 2.00 for any reliever. (Think of xFIP as ERA minus all the aspects of ERA a pitcher is not responsible for.) Romo blends strikeout ability (38 in 25 2/3 innings) and control (four walks). It may be hard to believe, but Romo is actually outperforming his numbers from last season, in which he finished with a 2.18 ERA. (In 2011, Romo is currently at 2.45.) With a fastball that doesn't even average out to 90 mph, you wouldn't necessarily think Romo would be so dominant. But he doesn't rely on his fastball; he instead dares batters to hit his slider. And they can't. Maybe it's the beard?

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 1:39 am
 

Bochy to use Giant bias for All-Star nods

Sergio Romo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When filling out the roster for the All-Star team, National League manager Bruce Bochy said he'll have at least one easy tie-breaker -- if the player is a Giant, he will get the nod.

"I'll try to be fair, but I'll be biased, to be honest," Bochy told reporters, including Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. "If I can get guys from my club on there, I'll do it. That's the prerogative you get as manager."

That attitude is far from unusual, even if it's not really fair. But as long as the current system is in place, it'll continue to happen. And while I don't necessarily like it, I do understand it. As a manager, your No. 1 priority is your own team and its well-being. If you can boost the confidence or reward one of your own players and get them in your corner, you're going to do it. Bochy will do it, Ron Washington will do it and I would do it if I were in their shoes. It's just the way it is. Last season Joe Girardi named eight Yankees to the All-Star team and according to Baggarly, since 1996 pennant winners have averaged 4.7 representatives in the game.

However, Bochy is looking at doing one thing differently in picking his All-Star squad -- loading up on middle relievers. Bochy said he is looking hard at adding the likes of his set-up men, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez to the team. He also said he's giving serious consideration to Atlanta's Jonny Venters and Washington's Tyler Clippard. All four are certainly worthy, especially over a pitcher earning cheap saves for a bad team.

Really, who is more deserving of an All-Star spot -- Leo Nunez and Huston Street, or Venters and Romo?

Nunez and Street each have 19 saves -- one fewer than league-leader Brian Wilson (a Giant who will likely get an All-Star nod) -- but Nunez has a 3.77 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, while Street has a 3.69 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Meanwhile, Romo has a 2.29 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP (in fewer innings, to be sure) and Venters (who has more innings than either Nunez or Street) has a 0.44 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP. Venters may be baseball's best reliever right now, if he's not an All-Star this season, nobody is.

The All-Star manager picking more middle relievers is another move away from a reliance on the save stat -- and with expanded rosters and homefield advantage on the line, middle relievers are more likely to be used in situational moves and in the type of situations they are used to, in the middle of an inning with runners on. Closers usually come in with a clean slate in the ninth, needing just three outs to pick up the save, while a guy like Venters or Romo is used to coming in with men on and the game on the line.

And when it comes down to that situation, Bochy -- or any manager -- will want to put the game on the line with someone he knows well, and that could be Santos or Lopez, and that's OK with me.

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