Happy Birthday John Olerud!!! John Olerud turns 44 years old today. And to be quite honest, I am shocked to learn that he is that young. You see, Olerud retired from baseball back in 2005 at the age of 36. … Continue reading →
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While Brooks was breaking down the prospects the Astros received in trades I was putting together these links from a busy week of baseball.
Sabermetric Research: Sabermetrics, scouting, and Joe Morgan
By Phil BirnBaum
Trade deadline and Minor League links after the jump
Trade Deadline Winners and Losers | FanGraphs Baseball
By Dave Cameron
Prospect spotlight: Astros CF Andrew Aplin gets to work - CBSSports.com
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Help Is On The Way – The Tri-City ValleyCats " The Futurists
By Jayne Hansen
Appy Astros: Greeneville Report -The HItters - July 2012
By Appy Astros
August 5, 1921 - KDKA Pittsburgh airs the first professional baseball game on radio, an 8-0 victory[...]
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Recently, many fans and writers have expressed concerns over this team, whether it's about their upcoming rough schedule, lack of a truly reliable starting staff, or a bullpen that has already seen its best days of 2012.
All valid concerns for any honest Yankees fan. But to me, the issues get really scary when you combined those things with this team's inability to hit in clutch situations. As you will soon see, the bigger the spot, the worse this team gets.
Going into play on Sunday here are the Yankees averages and rankings in various clutch stats:
From George King:
Alex Rodriguez went through conditioning drills, swung a bat with one hand and threw across the infield yesterday.
Rodriguez is on the disabled list with a fractured left hand and weeks away from being ready to come off the shelf.
?He is doing conditioning and throwing and doing everything he can to stay in shape,?? manager Joe Girardi said yesterday. ?When it comes time to swing a bat, it shouldn?t be long.??
Rodriguez could return in mid-September.
Though the Yankees miss Rodriguez? right-handed presence in the middle of the lineup, Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix were hitting a combined .385 (10-for-26) with three homers and seven RBIs as starters in the nine games Rodriguez has missed.
The last time the Rockies won a series at Coors Field was June 1-3 against the Dodgers, after dropping their second straight game to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night Colorado is now assured of losing their ninth straight home series since. This latest homestand against the Reds, Cardinals and Giants has seen the team win just one of eight games so far, while being outscored 68-39. The Giants have outscored Colorado 27-10 in the two games of the series, including Saturday's 11-6 win.
Offense wasn't the issue on Saturday, Josh Rutledge homered again for the Rockies, his fifth in the last six games and sixth overall, while Eric Young, Carlos Gonzalez, Ramon Hernandez, Matt McBride (making his MLB and Rockies debut after being part of last summer's Ubaldo Jimenez deal,) and Jonathan Herrera all had a pair of hits each.
38 - 67
Gwinnett Braves 2, Durham Bulls 3
Julio Teheran didn't have his best stuff tonight, but still posted a quality start despite being a bit too hittable. Teheran allowed 3 runs in 6 innings, despite giving up 9 hits. Teheran didn't walk a batter, but only struck out 2. Gwinnett lost their third game in a row to Durham, mustering only 2 runs on 6 hits. Jack Wilson had a perfect day at the plate, doubling and drawing 2 walks. Felix Pie was 1-4 but notched 2 outfield assists, throwing out 2 different Bulls at 2nd base.
Sean Gilmartin will look for his first Gwinnett win as the G-Braves look to avoid being swept by the Bulls tomorrow.
Mississippi Braves 8, Chattanooga Lookouts 7
David Hale had a fairly rough start, going 4.2 innings and allowing 3 earned runs (plus 2 unearned) on 8 hits. Hale threw 94 pitches (59 strikes) and struck out 6 while walking 3. Hale also coaxed 6 groundouts against only 1 flyout, so it wasn't a totally bad start for him. The big story out of Mississippi though was Joe Leonard, who drove in 5 runs thanks in part to two home runs. Evan Gattis also went 2-4 with a homer and a walk. The homer was Gattis' 6th with Mississippi, and Gattis has gone 9-24 with a double, two triples, and two homers since his return from the disabled list. Todd Cunningham continued his hot hitting, going 3-5 with a double. Cunningham has posted a .333/.386/.538 line over his last 10 games, including a pair of steals and a 4/5 BB/K ratio. If Cunningham can keep his OBP and SLG up, there's no reason to think he can't be a valuable major league piece, even if it is as a fourth outfielder.
J.R. Graham starts tomorrow, looking for his first win with Mississippi.
Lynchburg Hillcats 10, Carolina Mudcats 2
Lynchburg dominated the Mudcats tonight, scoring 10 runs on 16 hits. Edward Salcedo hit his 11th homer of the year and also contributed with a sacrifice fly. David Rohm was the DH tonight and reached base 4 times with 3 singles and a walk, scoring a pair of runs. Matt Weaver had a three hit day as well with a run and an RBI. Myke Jones continued his good work out of the leadoff spot, going 2-6 with a double and an RBI single. Cody Martin notched his 12th win on another impressive performance. Martin allowed only an unearned run over 6 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Martin threw 53 of his 82 pitches for strikes and coaxed 8 groundouts to only 2 flyballs.
Michael Lee starts tomorrow for the Hillcats.
Rome Braves 5, Kannapolis Intimidators 2
Rome defeated the Intimidators tonight behind big games from Heffley and Hefflinger. Ross Heffley reached base 3 times, going 2-3 with a double, single, and a walk. Heffley scored a run and stole his 8th base of the year. Robby Hefflinger went 2-4 with his 8th homer of the year. Hefflinger has been on fire his last 5 games, collecting 10 hits - 3 singles, 4 doubles, and 3 homers. He's driven in 10 runs over that span, while drawing 2 walks and only striking out 3 times. A.J. Holland had a solid 5 inning start, allowing a run on 5 hits.
David Starn pitches tomorrow for Rome.
Danville Braves 5, Elizabethton Twins 2
Luke Sims notched his first professional win tonight and it was a beauty. Sims hurled 5 innings of 1 hit ball, walking 1 and striking out 5 in the process. It was Sims best start of his young career so far, lowering his ERA to 2.92 in the process. Shae Simmons closed out the game for his first save with Danville. Simmons, the Braves' 22nd round pick this year out of Southeast Missouri State Universit, hasn't allowed a run since making his pro ball debut. In 14.1 innings in the GCL and 4 with Danville, Sims has allowed a mere 9 hits, while walking 10 and striking out 22. Levi Hyams provided most of the offense for Danville tonight, walking, doubling, and homering in 4 PAs. Hyams scored 2 of Danville's runs and drove in the other 3. Blake Brown didn't get a hit tonight, but did take a walk, scored twice, and stole two bases. Jose Pereza reached base once tonight and stole his 8th base with Danville. Pereza has stole 18 bases in 35 games stateside this year, and has only been caught 3 times.
Danville plays Elizabethton again tomorrow, probables TBA.
GCL Braves 3, GCL Yankees 0
The GCL Braves beat the GCL Yankees despite only notching 2 hits on the afternoon. Joey Meneses was the only Brave on base more than once with an RBI single and walk. Carlos Sanchez had the other Braves hit on the day, singling and scoring a run. Luis Merejo had a fantastic start, shutting out the Yanks over 4 innings of 2 hit ball. Merejo struck out 6 and didn't walk a man, but didn't pick up the win because he only went 4 innings. Luis Montenegro relieved Merejo and threw 3 innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4. On the afternoon, the GCL Braves' staff allowed only 4 hits while striking out 15 and walking none.
The GCL Braves are off tomorrow.
Hero of the Game: Jose Reyes (0.245 WPA)
Goat of the Game: Mike Dunn (-0.850 WPA)
Play of the Game: Danny Espinosa homers in the eighth inning off of Mike Dunn. Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore score. (-0.371 WPA)
There were a few talking points being built up in this game. The Miami Marlins took advantage of a number of Washington Nationals mishaps and a blown call or two to somehow put up six runs in seven innings on the Nats. Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle threw another questionable performance on the mound, going six innings but walking two batters with only two strikeouts to his name while allowing two homers to Adam LaRoche. The Nationals struggled to get Marlins batters out despite the Fish running out perhaps their worst lineup of the season.
Yet, at the end of the day, the only real storyline that will matter is Mike Dunn. Mike flippin' Dunn and another enormous bullpen meltdown that transitioned a 6-4 eight inning lead to a 10-6 deficit in just 10 minutes' time.Dunn Implosion
There is nothing to this game ultimately other than Dunn's epic eighth inning implosion. It all started fairly innocuously, as Dunn retired Mike Morse on a grounder and faced Adam LaRoche, the one of two Nationals' true lefties in their lineup. It looked like we were heading for an easy inning, as LaRoche, who had hit two homers earlier, rolled over a pitch and sent an easy grounder to first baseman Carlos Lee. Lee flipped the ball to Dunn on the cover, but Dunn inexplicably dropped the ball and allowed LaRoche on base.
According to the Hardball Times's WPA Inquirer, in a four run per game environment, the difference in win percentage between Dunn converting that out and dropping the ball is a difference of about 8.5 percent to the Nationals. With just one glove flub, the Marlins gave the Nationals an 8.5 percent infusion of life in this close ball game.
What followed was a nightmare of events.
Jayson Werth walked (-0.077 WPA for the Marlins). Kurt Suzuki struck out (+0.088) on a high fastball, but Fish Stripes regular Jigokusabre said some ominous words as Dunn worked the count against Suzuki.
That seems to bode ill.
It certainly did, as the next batter, Lombardozzi, singled into center field and brought home LaRoche (-0.123 WPA). There was a questionable call there that went against the Marlins, as LaRoche appeared on replay to have missed touching home plate on the scoring play. Catcher John Buck bumped LaRoche on the way home in an attempt to make the tag, but he only brushed him slightly off the plate, perhaps knocking his foot inches away from touching home. Nevertheless, the game had become a 6-5 affair.
Before the single, Marlins play-by-play commentator Rich Waltz wondered if Dunn would be pulled in favor of de-facto closer Steve Cishek were he to continue to struggle. Sure enough, manager Ozzie Guillen began warming Cishek up. Lombardozzi singled and it left the Marlins with that decision to make. The Nationals sent in Tyler Moore, a strictly right-handed batter, to pinch-hit for the pitcher. It is at this point, with Cishek ready to come in, that one might figure Guillen would go to his closer for an extra out. Dunn had walked a batter and allowed a single, but he also recorded a strikeout; the primary problem was that he was facing an opposite-handed hitter with the team's closer having the platoon advantage against the hitter.
Guillen opted to keep Dunn, and Moore made him pay with a line drive single that scored Jayson Werth (-0.340 WPA) and tied the game. At this point, color commentator Tommy Hutton said that the Marlins cannot bring Cishek into the game, presumably because the game is tied and he may be needed to close out a future lead.
That proved to be meaningless after Danny Espinosa broke the backs of Marlins fans everywhere with a no-doubter three-run homer over the visitors' bullpen in left field (-0.371 WPA). Dunn had given up the lead and allowed a lead to the Nationals, and that was only compounded by Bryce Harper, who followed with a solo shot of his own (-0.015 WPA).
At the start of the inning, the Marlins had an 86.1 percent chance of winning the game. It got as high as 89.9 percent. By the end of the inning, the Marlins had a 1.1 percent chance of winning, thanks in most part to Mike Dunn's botched error and subsequent out-of-control pitching.
Breaks and We Still Can't Win
The Marlins had to be heartbroken in this one, especially considering how much help they received to even take a lead in this game. The Marlins benefited from two Danny Espinosa errors on decently easy plays to first base; both plays directly led to runs. Steve Lombardozzi was charged with an error that also helped the Marlins score. Jose Reyes got away with changing a strikeout into a foul ball on a pitch in the dirt, and he later walked and scored.
This tells you something about the quality of the team's lineup. The Marlins did all that they could and got most of the game's breaks, yet the team still was defeated, this time by a horrific inning by Dunn.
I wanted to hear Guillen's reasoning for not putting in Cishek, the team's most trusted reliever at this point, with the game on the line in either a tied game or before that with the game 6-5. It turns out Guillen's reasoning was the old closer / save rule routine.
There was some strategic controversy too in the inning. Closer Steve Cishek was warming up, but Guillen opted to stick with a laboring Dunn to face Lombardozzi and Moore.
Guillen noted he preferred Dunn against those lefties rather than go with Cishek against a lefty pinch-hitter, likely Roger Bernadina in place of Moore.
"If I bring this kid [Cishek] with the game on the line, then I don't have anybody for a tie game in the ninth," Guillen added.
Lombardozzi is a switch-hitter, and Moore may have been pinch-hit for, sure. But at that point, Guillen basically said he trusted Dunn versus a righty more than Cishek versus a lefty, and that seems odd given that Cishek is presumably the better pitcher, as he is the closer. In addition, the reasoning that the team needed to manager for a future situation rather than finding the best solution to the current want also seems like hogwash.
The Marlins found a way to lose a game, this time on the back of an epic Dunn collapse. But as Guillen puts it, this has become routine for the team, and that is all too telling of the ails of the 2012 Miami Marlins.
"It's not tough," a distraught Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The way we've played all year long, it's a regular, normal game for us. We find a way to lose, no matter what. I guess you've got to get used to it, whether you're a coach or manager. Very, very, weird, funny the way we've been playing."
Source: FanGraphs Game MVP: Justin Maxwell, .543 Least Valuable Astro: Chris Snyder, -.135 Most Valuable Brave: Dan Uggla, .256 Least Valuable Brave: Juan Francisco, -.182 Big plays: 4th – (HOU) Maxwell two-run homer for a 2-0 Astros lead, .263 4th – (ATL) Uggla grounded into a double play with two on to end the inning, [...]
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw pitched three-hit ball over seven innings, Matt Kemp homered and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1 on Saturday night to keep Chris Volstad winless in his last 21 starts.
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