Monday, December 28, 2009

Diamondbacks Not Sold On Whitesell

On December 13, Josh Whitesell was non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks. What does this mean? It means Whitesell's contract was not renewed and he is now a free agent. It also means that I'll be rooting for him to catch on somewhere else and stick it to the Diamondbacks' organization.

Whitesell will turn 28 in April, so he's still in his prime. The problem lies in is his versatility; he can only play 1st base and DH. And at 1st base, he is just average defensively. I'm thinking the Oakland A's could be a good fit. Jack Cust will likely sign with a new team. Whitesell's main competition would be Daric Barton and Jake Fox, both of whom are unproven players. And we all know that Billy Beane likes guys who can get on base. Whitesell is one of those guys.

Whitesell reminds me a little of Micah Franklin, a JML from the last decade who put up great numbers in the Minors and was only given a taste of MLB in 1997 with the Cardinals. Hopefully, Whitesell's fate will not be the same as Franklin's.

EDIT: Whitesell has signed a Minor League deal with the Washington Nationals, the team that drafted him in 2003 (then the Montreal Expos).

Staying in the NL hurts Whitesell's chances of getting significant playing time, as there is no DH. Still, he would be a defensive upgrade over Adam Dunn at 1st base. As I said before, Dunn is a liability wherever you put him.

If the Nationals moved him back to the outfield and used Whitesell at 1st base, defensively their corner outfielders would take a hit with Dunn and Josh Willingham while their corner infielders would improve with Ryan Zimmerman and Whitesell. And I still believe Whitesell can be a major contributor at the plate if given a fair shake.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sadowski To Play For A Different Giants Team

Earlier this month, unbeknownst to me Ryan Sadowski signed with the Houston Astros. The Astros have since let Sadowski out of his contract, presumably so that Sadowski could sign with the Lotte Giants, a Korean pro baseball club. Sadowski signed a 1-year deal worth $200,000 with an additional $100,000 signing bonus.

Sadowski, 27, had played 6 seasons in the Minors and was called up for the first time in 2009. In 6 starts, he was 2-4 with a 4.45 ERA. Most notably, his first 16 2/3 innings were scoreless.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

HBP

To Harry Potter fans, HBP stands for Half-Blood Prince. To baseball fans, HBP stands for hit by pitch. I happen to be a fan of Harry Potter and baseball, but only one of them is applicable to this post.

1. Kevin Youkilis - 16 HBP (Boston Red Sox, 2009)
2. Kevin Youkilis - 15 HBP (Boston Red Sox, 2007)
3. Brad Ausmus - 14 HBP (Detroit Tigers, 1999)
3. Mike Lieberthal - 14 HBP (Philadelphia Phillies, 2002)
4. Mike Epstein - 13 HBP (Washington Senators, 1968)
4. Ryan Braun - 13 HBP (Milwaukee Brewers, 2009)
5. Mike Epstein - 12 HBP (Washington Senators/Oakland Athletics, 1971)
5. Mike Lieberthal - 12 HBP (Philadelphia Phillies, 2003)
5. Kevin Youkilis - 12 HBP (Boston Red Sox, 2008)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Marquis Signs With Nationals

Pending a physical, Jason Marquis has agreed to a 2-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $15 million.

So, let's break this down. Were the Mets the better option? Statistically speaking, no question about it. Citi Field is a pitcher's dream. Look what it did to David Wright's power. However, don't sell Nationals Park short.

According to MLB Park Factors, it's right in the middle of the pack. And there were actually less home runs hit this year at Nationals Park than at Citi Field, if you can believe it. The Mets and Nats were both terrible defensive teams in 2009, but part of that has to be due to the perfect storm of injuries the Mets had to endure this season.

Defensively, the Nats will be better than they were last year, which is important for someone like Marquis who pitches to contact. Marquis' groundball rate in 2009 was 56%, a career-high. On the Rockies, Marquis had a strong middle infield behind him in Troy Tulowitski and Clint Barmes. He also had solid corner infielders in Todd Helton and Ian Stewart/Garrett Atkins. Brad Hawpe and Dexter Fowler weren't terrific in the outfield, but Seth Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ryan Spilborghs were all very good.

One significant upgrade Marquis will have defensively is at catcher. I wouldn't call Yorvit Torrealba and Chris Iannetta slouches, but between them they only threw out 20% of baserunners who ran on them in 2009; that's well under league average.

On the Nats, Marquis will be working with one of the greatest defensive catchers of all time: Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge may be past his prime and off the juice, but in 2009 he threw out 35% of baserunners who ran on him in 115 games. For his career, he's thrown out 46% of baserunners. Marquis will also be pitching to up-and-comer Jesus Flores, whose scouting report describes him as a good receiver who has a "great arm that can singlehandedly curb the running game."

In addition, Marquis will benefit from Ryan Zimmerman's play at the hot corner. Zimmerman won a Gold Glove for his efforts at third base this year, but don't be fooled by Gold Gloves generally only being awarded to offensive players. Zimmerman is an outstanding third baseman.

In the outfield, Marquis will have Nyjer Morgan patrolling center field. Morgan can go get 'em with the best of them. Morgan is definitely an upgrade over what Marquis had last season. I assume Justin Maxwell will also log some innings in the outfield in 2010. If so, he projects to be a good outfielder.

Now comes the bad. I love Adam Dunn, but he is an awful defensive baseball player. Doesn't matter where you put him. He is a liability at first base and in the outfield. With Nick Johnson out of the picture, Dunn will primarily play first base. Josh Willingham and Elijah Dukes also don't bring much to the table defensively, although Dukes could still develop.

Marquis' middle infield will, in all likelihood, be a downgrade from what he had with the Rockies. Rookie Ian Desmond projects to start at shortstop while veteran Cristian Guzman will be moved to second base. The Nationals are said to be interested in second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson is a bona fide Gold Glover and is a groundball pitcher's best friend.

To summarize: Pudge, Flores, Zimmerman, and Morgan are all defensive upgrades over what Marquis had last year. One corner outfield position could be stabilized with Maxwell while the other will almost certainly suffer. First base with Dunn is always an adventure, and the middle infield is still a question mark. Marquis will also have a lot less run support than he had with the Rockies.

One cool thing about this move is Marquis will be the elder statesman on the Nats' rotation. This means he could very well become Stephen Strasburg's mentor. Strasburg's off-the-charts ability is well-documented. I believe Jordan Zimmerman will also emerge as a quality starter. John Lannan is a proven young southpaw whose career ERA+ is 108. Add Marquis into the mix, and you've got a decent rotation 1-4, assuming Strasburg sees time in The Show next season.

I'm not going to lie. New York would have been neat. Obviously, it's a much bigger market, and Marquis grew up there. With the Nats, Marquis' remarkable postseason streak of 10 years is now in serious jeopardy, as is his 6-year run of 11 or more wins per season.

Coming into 2009, many thought Marquis would struggle pitching at Coors Field. That proved not to be the case, as his 3.92 ERA there demonstrates. I wouldn't count on the Nats vying for a playoff spot, but consider the turnaround the Seattle Mariners had last year. In 2008, they won 61 games. Last year, they won 85 games. Maybe, just maybe, the Nationals can also turn it around. And maybe Marquis can help them do it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavy is the Head that Wears the Triple Crown

Sandy Koufax won 3 (count 'em, 3) Triple Crowns as a pitcher. In 1963, 1965, and 1966 he led all of baseball in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. To say nothing of other statistical categories. Only Grover Alexander and Walter Johnson have equaled the feat.

But as impressive as winning the Triple Crown is, doing it as a hitter and doing it as a pitcher aren't analogous. In the last 40 years, 7 different pitchers have won the Triple Crown. Roger Clemens did it twice, making it 8 pitchers altogether. In the last 40 years, no hitter to date has won the Triple Crown (count 'em, 0).

In fact, the last man to do it was Carl Yastrzemski. That was way back in 1967. Yaz is in good company. Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and Frank Robinson are all previous winners. Incidentally, Hank Greenberg led the AL in home runs and RBIs on 3 separate occasions (1935, 1940, 1946). He finished 7th in batting average in 1935 and 5th in 1940.

Al Rosen, if you can believe it, was 1 hit shy from joining this legendary list in 1953. And it's a hit that he may have actually gotten, but didn't get credit for.

Everyone knows Rosen won MVP in 1953. He led the AL in home runs (43) and RBIs (145) and finished 2nd in the batting title to Washington's Mickey Vernon. Rosen's robust .336 average missed the mark by a mere percentage point.

What everyone doesn't know is the controversy surrounding Rosen's last AB of the season and Vernon's would-be last AB. It's a good story, one you can find by following this link.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scheyer On Fire

Duke senior guard Jon Scheyer had the game of his life against Gardner-Webb. Scheyer narrowly missed a triple-double; he had 36 points, 9 assists (both career-bests), and 8 rebounds. He was 11-13 from the field, 7-7 from the stripe (91.8% on the season), and 7-9 from behind the arc. His seven 3-pointers were also a career-best.

Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi scored a season-high 20 points against the San Antonio Spurs last week. Casspi's 3-point field goal percentage (49%) ranks 2nd in the NBA.

In his last 9 games, Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar is shooting 52.5% from the field and 43% from behind the arc.

Montreal Canadiens left wing Michael Cammalleri has 8 points in his last 6 games. On the season, he has 18 goals and 12 assists. Cammalleri ranks 6th in goals and 10th in shots on goal (114). He leads the NHL in even strength goals (15), which is kind of funny because last year he was 2nd in power play goals (19).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going The Distance

1. Sandy Koufax - 137 complete games - 40 shutouts
2. Ken Holtzman - 127 complete games - 31 shutouts
3. Dave Roberts - 77 complete games - 20 shutouts
4. Joe Horlen - 59 complete games - 18 shutouts
5. Saul Rogovin - 43 complete games - 9 shutouts
5. Steve Stone - 43 complete games - 7 shutouts
6. Barry Latman - 28 complete games - 10 shutouts
7. Harry Eisenstat - 11 complete games - 1 shutout
8. Ross Baumgarten - 10 complete games - 6 shutouts
9. Jason Marquis - 6 complete games - 3 shutouts
10. Jose Bautista - 4 complete games - 0 shutouts

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009-10 Hot Stove Report

Right now the frontrunners for acquiring Jason Marquis appear to be the Mets and Nats. The Phillies, Mariners, and Yankees have also shown interest. Technically, the Rockies are in the hunt as well, but I don't think they're serious bidders. Marquis is looking for a multi-year deal and will likely get one, although it will be nothing like what the Cubs gave him.

Brad Ausmus is getting up there in years and can only be considered a backup catcher at this point in his career, but by the looks of things his list of suitors hasn't been deterred by this. Teams reportedly interested in Ausmus include the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres. So pretty much the entire NL West. The Nationals are also said to be looking at him.

The Padres are an intriguing possibility, as Ausmus and Aaron Poreda would form a Jewish battery. And if the Nationals wind up with Marquis, Ausmus and Marquis would form a Jewish battery should they also sign Ausmus. Just another wrinkle that makes this offseason interesting.

To my knowledge, 36-year old journeyman Scott Schoeneweis isn't in high demand. But over the course of his career, he's held lefties to a .606 OPS. Schoeneweis is the epitome of a lefty specialist, and every bullpen needs one of those.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cammalleri, Casspi, and Farmar

On the night of the Montreal Canadiens' 100 Year Anniversary, Michael Cammalleri scored 3 goals against the Boston Bruins. It was Cammalleri's 2nd hat trick of the season (Here is his 1st) and the 4th of his career. Through 29 games, he has 15 goals and 10 assists. He currently ranks in the top 10 in the NHL in goals, even strength goals (12), and shots on goal (102).

Omri Casspi, a product of Maccabi Tel Aviv, is having a very good rookie season with the Sacramento Kings. Through 18 games, he is averaging 10.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in 23:36 minutes while shooting 51.5% from the field and an incredible 51.2% from behind the arc. Unfortunately, he's also shooting 50% from the free throw line. Casspi has scored in double figures 10 out of the 18 games he's played. His high for the season is 18 points, which also happens to be his jersey number. Here's a cool buzzer beater from Casspi.

Jordan Farmar has picked up his production off the bench of late for the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring in double figures 4 out of the last 5 games, including a season-high 15 points against the New Jersey Nets. During that 5-game stretch, Farmar has shot much better from the field (56.7%, including 9 for 19 from behind the arc). Through 19 games, he's averaging 6.8 points, 2.3 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game in 17:41 minutes. And he's doing it in style. Here he is dunking with authority on a breakaway against the Suns.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Obscure But Impressive Stat of the Month

Ron Blomberg will forever be known as baseball's first designated hitter, but did you know his numbers were actually much better when he played in the field?

As a DH, his career line was .259/.319/.431 for an OPS of .749 in 655 PAs.

As a 1B, his career line was .311/.394/.512 for an OPS of .905 in 495 PAs.

As a RF, his career line was .339/.390/.504 for an OPS of .894 in 265 PAs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Minor Leaguers in 2009

(A special thanks to the Jewish Sports Review for compiling this list.)
Triple-A

Scot Drucker (RH SP - 27) Tigers - In Triple-A, he was 8-3 with a 4.78 ERA and a 1.363 WHIP in 113 innings, 9.2 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, 6.1 K/9, 2.03 K/BB. Was dominant at the University of Tennessee in 2004. He pitched in Triple-A and had a winning record. That has to count for something, right?

Sam Fuld (OF - 28) Cubs - In Triple-A, he put up a line of .284/.358/.415 for an OPS of .772 in 370 PAs, 23 SBs. A patient hitter and an outstanding outfielder who has solidified himself a spot on the Cubs' Opening Day roster in 2010. Had a good career at Stanford. He led the Pac-10 Conference in hits and total bases in 2002 and triples in 2003.

Jason Hirsh (RH SP - 27) Yankees - The 6' 8" righthander wasn't sharp in the Rockies' farm system the last few years, but seems to have found himself again in the Yankees' farm system. In 6 starts (26 2/3 innings), he was 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.125 WHIP in Triple-A. If this turnaround is legit, Hirsh could see a few spot starts next year. Can't be any worse than Sergio Mitre.

Brian Horwitz (OF - 27) Giants - In Triple-A, he put up a line of .290/.367/.414 for an OPS of .781 in 237 PAs. The Giants' outfield was abysmal last year. The FO should be looking for players with more plate discipline and more power. Horwitz doesn't possess a whole lot of the latter, but he boasts a career .387 OBP in the Minors. At the very least, he deserves a chance to be a backup outfielder.

Aaron Poreda (LH SP - 23) Padres - Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, he was 5-7 with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.477 WHIP in 107 innings, 7.0 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 6.3 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 1.44 K/BB. What happened to his command? In 2008, his BB/9 was 2.2 in 161 innings. He had a superb career at the University of San Francisco. The 6' 6" southpaw led the West Coast Conference in ERA in 2006. Baseball America has him ranked as the 10th best prospect (4th best pitching prospect) in the Padres' farm system.

Ryan Sadowski (RH SP - 27) Giants - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Triple-A, he was 7-3 with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.395 WHIP in 95 1/3 innings, 8.4 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9, 1.84 K/BB. Pretty underwhelming. It's amazing he got 6 starts with the Giants this year. Still, he wasn't too bad when called upon. Maybe he can build off his experience in the Majors.

Adam Stern (OF - 29) Brewers - Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, he put up a line of .285/.349/.377 for an OPS of .726 in 546 PAs, 31 SBs. It seems like Stern has been around forever. He's clearly still a threat on the basepaths.

Danny Valencia (3B - 24) Twins - Splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A, he put up a line of .285/.337/.466 for an OPS of .803 in 534 PAs. He hit 14 HRs, 38 doubles, and 4 triples. He drove in 70 runs and scored 79 runs. He was teammates with Ryan Braun at Miami.

Jake Wald (SS - 28) Giants - In Triple-A, he put up a line of .234/.322/.349 for an OPS of .671 in 293 PAs. His .832 OPS in 2005 looks like an aberration now. Must be a good shortstop to have hung around for so long.

Josh Whitesell (1B - 27) Diamondbacks - In Triple-A, he put up a line of .293/.398/.471 for an OPS of .869 in 274 PAs. Success in the Minors hasn't translated to the Majors yet, but then again it's a small sample size to draw from.

Double-A/Class A-Advanced

Eric Berger (LH SP - 23) Indians - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he was 10-9 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.292 WHIP in 144 innings, 7.8 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 2.18 K/BB. His scouting report says he could develop into a crafty middle of the rotation starter. Given the sad state of the Indians' rotation now that Sabathia and Lee have flown the coop, Berger's ETA to MLB could be accelerated.

Jeremy Bleich (LH SP - 22) Yankees - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he was 9-10 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.517 WHIP in 144 1/3 innings, 10.2 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 2.07 K/BB. Pitched well in Class A-Advanced. Not so much in Double-A. Has a better arm and arsenal than these numbers show. Baseball America has him ranked as the 9th best prospect (4th best pitching prospect) in the Yankees' farm system.

Ike Davis (1B - 22) Mets - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he put up a line of .298/.381/.524 for an OPS of .906 in 488 PAs, 20 HRs, 31 doubles. Mets fans need something to be excited about. Davis could be that something. Hit 20 or more doubles each year at Arizona State. His father, Ron Davis, was a decent relief pitcher back in the day. Baseball America has him ranked as the 4th best prospect in the Mets' farm system. Davis is also rated the organization's best power hitter.

Jonathan Fixler (C - 23) Astros - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced, Double-A, and Triple-A, he put up a line of .203/.275/.429 for an OPS of .704 in 207 PAs, 10 HRs. Not much to write home about, but 10 HRs in 182 ABs speaks to some power. However, I'd say Jason Castro has the catching job locked up in Houston. If all goes well, Fixler could be his backup.

Ryan Kalish (OF - 21) Red Sox - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he put up a line of .279/.364/.457 for an OPS of .820 in 580 PAs. He hit 18 HRs, 24 doubles, and 6 triples. He drove in 77 runs, scored 84 runs, and stole 21 bases (only caught 6 times).

David Kopp (RH SP - 24) Cardinals - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he was 6-4 with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.472 WHIP in 90 1/3 innings, 9.6 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.7 BB/9, 6.4 K/9, 1.73 K/BB. The Clemson product pitched well in Class-A Advanced and poorly in Double-A. As long as Dave Duncan is the Cardinals' pitching coach, there's hope for anyone who is on that staff. All Kopp has to do is get there.

Jim Rapoport (CF - 24) Cardinals - In Double-A, he put up a line of .255/.358/.343 for an OPS of .700 in 543 PAs, 6 triples. He appears to possess some speed and athleticism, but it's usually not a good thing when your SLG is lower than your OBP. Was teammates with Bleich at Stanford.

B.J. Rosenberg (RH RP - 24) Phillies - Splitting time between Single-A and Double-A, he was 7-3 with 22 saves, a 1.18 ERA, and a 1.000 WHIP in 61 innings, 6.9 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9, 10.8 K/9, 5.21 K/BB. These numbers are outstanding across the board. No home runs allowed in 61 innings jumps out at you.

Michael Schwimer (RH RP - 23) Phillies - Splitting time between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, he was 4-2 with 20 saves, a 3.20 ERA, and a 1.113 WHIP in 64 2/3 innings, 7.1 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 12.4 K/9, 4.24 K/BB. You've got to like the 12.4 K/9. Had a sensational career at the University of Virginia. The 6' 8" righthander led the Atlantic Coast Conference in saves and H/9 in 2008.

Single-A

Daniel Berlind (RH SP - 22) Twins - In Single-A, he was 5-13 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.453 WHIP in 128 2/3 innings, 9.2 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.9 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 1.73 K/BB. Hmm, not too good. But his record probably should have been a little better. And his 6' 7" frame should allow him to throw downhill.

Richard Bleier (LH SP - 22) Rangers - Splitting time between Single-A and Class A-Advanced, he was 9-12 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.243 WHIP in 167 1/3 innings, 9.9 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 1.3 BB/9, 6.7 K/9, 5.21 K/BB. I'm digging the 1.3 BB/9. And apparently so are the Rangers; he's one of their top prospects. He led the Atlantic Sun Conference in wins, WHIP, and complete games in 2008. Bleier is a fan of Mark Buehrle (which makes me a fan of Bleier) and believes his style is similar.

Charlie Cutler (C - 23) Cardinals - Splitting time between Single-A and Class A-Advanced, he put up a line of .322/.408/.430 for an OPS of .839 in 459 PAs. And he's a catcher. Baseball America recently rated him with the best strike zone discipline in the Cardinals' farm system. Only problem is Yadier Molina stands in his way. Or rather crouches in his way.

Ben Guez (OF - 22) Tigers - In Single-A, he put up a line of .275/.320/.483 for an OPS of .802 in 438 PAs, 12 HRs, 7 triples, 34 doubles, 11 SBs. Looks like Guez has some speed and athleticism but is still a little raw.

Jeff Kaplan (RH SP - 24) Mets - Splitting time between Single-A and Class A-Advanced, he was 7-7 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.254 WHIP in 114 innings, 8.4 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 2.61 K/BB. Seems like he's a fairly polished pitcher. He was a workhorse at Cal State Fullerton. The Mets currently have one reliable starter in Johan Santana. Kaplan has pitched well at every level so far. If that trend continues next season, I could see him in The Show as early as 2011.

Jason Knapp (RH SP - 19) Indians - In Single-A, he was 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.237 WHIP in 97 innings, 6.8 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 4.4 BB/9, 11.4 K/9, 2.62 K/BB. I've read that he throws hard and has a very high ceiling. It must be true, as he was the centerpiece in the Cliff Lee trade. A power pitcher who is still developing. What applies to Berger also applies to Knapp; his ETA to MLB could be accelerated. Baseball America has him ranked as the 4th best prospect (2nd best pitching prospect) in the Indians' farm system.

Tyler Kolodny (3B - 21) Orioles - In Single-A, he put up a line of .226/.332/.372 for an OPS of .704 in 429 PAs. According to his scouting report, he has power, patience, a little speed, and terrific work ethic. Hasn't put it all together yet.

Ryan Lavarnway (C - 22) Red Sox - In Single-A, he put up a line of .285/.367/.540 for an OPS of .907 in 466 PAs, 21 HRs, 36 doubles, 87 RBIs. Outstanding production for a catcher. This Yale grad is one of the top prospects for the Red Sox. Big time power. Went to the same high school as Kolodny. He led the Ivy League in BA in 2007 and OPS in 2007 and 2008.

Brett Lorin (RH SP - 22) Pirates - In Single-A, he was 8-5 with a 2.20 ERA and a 1.049 WHIP in 123 innings, 6.9 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.6 BB/9, 8.5 K/9, 3.31 K/BB. His 6' 7" frame is imposing. He's drawn comparisons to the Padres' Chris Young. Was teammates with Berger at the University of Arizona. Another season like this one, and I think we're looking at Lorin's debut as a Buc in 2011. But I wouldn't rule out next September, either.

Ari Ronick (LH SP - 23) Giants - In Single-A, he was 7-6 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.066 WHIP in 136 innings, 7.6 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 7.5 K/9, 3.35 K/BB. If Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are any indication, the Giants' organization is pretty good at developing pitchers. Ronick and Poreda competed against each other in the same conference in college. It looks like they might also compete against each other in the same division in the Majors.

Josh Satin (2B - 24) Mets - Splitting time between Single-A and Class A-Advanced, he put up a line of .288/.389/.426 for an OPS of .815 in 548 PAs, 40 doubles. Was teammates with Cutler for 3 years at the University of California. Could Satin wind up being Luis Castillo's replacement at 2nd base?

Rookie League/Short-Season A

Mike Brownstein (INF - 22) Brewers - Splitting time between Rookie League, Single-A, and Double-A, he put up a line of .299/.410/.382 for an OPS of .792 in 297 PAs, 22 SBs. If he can get on base and keep swiping bags, he may have a bright future. He led the Mountain Valley Conference in hits, runs, doubles, and triples in 2009.

Nate Freiman (1B - 23) Padres - In Short-Season A, he put up a line of .294/.364/.484 for an OPS of .849 in 324 PAs, 11 HRs, 22 doubles, 68 RBIs. Listed at 6' 7" 240 lbs, he is a big man with big power. Hit 20 HRs as a senior at Duke. If Adrian Gonzalez is dealt and Kyle Blanks doesn't pan out, he could be next in line.

Casey Haerther (3B - 22) Angels - In Rookie League, he put up a line of .350/.386/.456 for an OPS of .842 in 225 PAs, 18 doubles. His brother, Cody, is in the Blue Jays organization. Casey's alma mater, UCLA, has produced some good third basemen (Troy Glaus and Garrett Atkins) in the last decade.

Jason Kipnis (2B - 22) Indians - In Short-Season A, he put up a line of .306/.388/.459 for an OPS of .847 in 129 PAs. Kipnis manned center field at Arizona State, where he was teammates with Ike Davis. However, Kipnis' days in the outfield could be over, as the Indians are intent on making him a second baseman. And he projects to be a good one. He led the Pac-10 Conference in triples in 2008 and hits, runs, doubles, total bases, walks, and stolen bases in 2009. Baseball America has him ranked as the 10th best prospect in the Indians' farm system.

Justin Milo (OF - 22) Yankees - Splitting time between Rookie League and Short-Season A, he put up a line of .256/.432/.389 for an OPS of .821 in 119 PAs, 6 SBs. Must have pretty good plate discipline. Went to Cornell before transferring to the University of Vermont. Led America East Conference in triples in 2008. Also played hockey in college.

Daniel Rosenbaum (LH SP - 22) Nationals - In Rookie League, he was 4-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 1.027 WHIP in 37 innings, 7.1 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, 4.22 K/BB. If there is any team that needs starting pitching, it's the Nationals. Was teammates with Fixler at Indiana University in 2007 before transferring to Xavier.

Josh Zeid (RH SP - 22) Phillies - In Short-Season A, he was 8-5 with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP in 79 2/3 innings, 7.2 H/9, 0.1 HR/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, 3.60 K/BB. Didn't do much at Vanderbilt. Came into his own at Tulane.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MVP Voting 2009

In the AL, Kevin Youkilis finished 6th in MVP voting, and Ian Kinsler finished 26th in MVP voting.

In the NL, Ryan Braun finished 11th in MVP voting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grabow Re-Signs With Cubs

According to team sources, John Grabow has agreed in principle to a 2-year deal with the Cubs worth $7.5 million.

The good folks at FanGraphs aren't too high on the deal, given Grabow's high walk total. They believe his low ERA the last 2 years is largely due to an 82% rate of stranding runners. That's undeniably true.

What's not so true is their claim that this rate is unsustainable. Grabow has given up 7.1 and 7.7 hits per 9 innings the last 2 seasons. If he continues to keep the bats in check and the ball in the ballpark, he will continue to have success.

Grabow's value isn't just measured by him being a so-called LOOGY because he is almost equally effective against righties. Lefties posted a .617 OPS and a .614 OPS against him in '08 and '09. Righties posted a .663 OPS and a .698 OPS against him in '08 and '09.

Recall my earlier prediction:

"The Cubs will sign John Grabow to a 3-year deal or a 2-year deal with a club option. Most Cub fans will think Jim Hendry overpaid for him, but Grabow will have earned his paycheck when it's all said and done."

I stand by that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Radinsky Gets Promotion

After spending the last 3 seasons as Cleveland's Triple-A pitching coach, Scott Radinsky was just promoted. Newly appointed manager, Manny Acta, has named Radinsky the Indians' bullpen coach.

Other than Tony Sipp, Chris Perez, and Kerry Wood (if he stays), Radinsky won't have much to work with. He'll certainly have his work cut out for him.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obscure But Impressive Stat of the Month

On 2 days of rest, Sandy Koufax had a lifetime record of 14-4 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.066 WHIP in 187 2/3 innings. That's just silly good.

On top of that, 13 of his 25 starts on 2 days of rest were complete games. No wonder he had so much arm pain.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Braun Awarded Silver Sluggers

Ryan Braun has just won his 2nd Silver Sluggers in the outfield. Congratulations!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Branching Out

Yes, baseball is over, but fear not! All is not lost. Later this month, awards will be announced. Kevin Youkilis, Ian Kinsler, and Ryan Braun will all probably receive some MVP votes. Scott Feldman may even receive a few Cy Young votes. Braun will likely win his 2nd Silver Sluggers. And if the offseason's Hot Stove isn't enough to satisfy your fanhood, there are other sports and other athletes you can turn to.

If you like the NHL, you have left wing Michael Cammalleri on the Montreal Canadiens. He has 2 seasons under his belt with 80 or more points and just got his 3rd career hat trick the other day. This year, he has 7 goals and 7 assists in 17 games. You also have 2-time All-Star defenseman Mathieu Schneider (735 career points) on the Vancouver Canucks, center Jeff Halpern on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and right wing Mike Brown on the Anaheim Ducks.

If you like the NBA, you have point guard Jordan Farmar on the Los Angeles Lakers and Israeli native Omri Casspi on the Sacramento Kings. In his first 6 games, Casspi has scored in double figures 3 times. He just came off his 1st career double-double against the Golden State Warriors; Casspi had 12 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. He is 8 for 16 from behind the arc this year.

If you like the NFL, Ron Kaplan from Kaplan's Korner gives weekly updates on all of the players.

If you like college basketball, The Great Rabbino has provided us with an excellent overview of the top Jewish players, including guard Jon Scheyer on Duke and guard Brett Harvey on Loyola (who led the nation in free throw percentage at 91%).

If you like college football, The Great Rabbino has the goods on all of the players, including free safety Taylor Mays on USC, who has drawn comparisons to Adrian Wilson and Sean Taylor.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Q & A With Sam Fuld

Baseball Prospectus recently conducted an interview with Sam Fuld in which Fuld expounds on advanced statistics, the DH rule, defensive metrics, steroid use, the World Series, and the Cubs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Splits for Lovers of Manischewitz













On more than one occasion, I've written about some revealing player splits. You may recall earlier in the season when I examined how Jason Marquis pitched at night versus the day or how Scott Feldman pitched on the road versus as home. (Stay tuned for pitching splits in the near future)

At this point, I've probably harped on Gabe Kapler's splits against lefties. But Kapler isn't the only player with a disparity in his splits. Let's look at a few other prominent JMLs, past and present. We'll start with Kapler, as he is the player who inspired this post.

Gabe Kapler's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .260/.322/.392 for an OPS of .714
VS. LHP: .291/.350/.494 for an OPS of .844
HOME: .283/.346/.467 for an OPS of .813
AWAY: .257/.316/.383 for an OPS of .699

Analysis: Against lefties, Kapler is about as good as Shawn Green. Against righties, he's about as good as Joey Cora. The home/away splits are a little alarming, but perhaps not all that surprising, as Kapler has played in a lot of hitter-friendly parks (Ballpark in Arlington, Coors, Fenway, Miller). The disparity between Kapler's splits in the 1st half and 2nd half of the season is negligible: .749 OPS in the 1st half against a .764 OPS in the 2nd half.

Ryan Braun's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .291/.341/.532 for an OPS of .874
VS. LHP: .364/.432/.708 for an OPS of 1.140
HOME: .306/.372/.597 for an OPS of .968
AWAY: .310/.355/.553 for an OPS of .909

Analysis: Against lefties, Braun is somewhere between Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. Wow. Against righties, Braun is almost as good as Al Rosen. That's no small potatoes. His home/road splits aren't nearly as pronounced, but there is still a disparity, particulary in slugging. In addition, Braun is slightly better in the 2nd half of the season. His OPS in the 2nd half is .949 while his OPS in the 1st half is .926.

Ian Kinsler's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .272/.346/.452 for an OPS of .797
VS. LHP: .300/.363/.548 for an OPS of .911
HOME: .311/.382/.542 for an OPS of .925
AWAY: .248/.318/.412 for an OPS of .730

Analysis: Against lefties, Kinsler is about as good as Duke Snider. Against righties, he's about as good as Ron Gant. That's respectable. However, it looks like Kinsler's overall numbers might be a little inflated because of the Ballpark in Arlington. A 200-point difference in the home/road splits kind of jumps out at you. Kinsler is also definitely a 1st half player. His OPS in the 1st half is .868 while his OPS in the 2nd half is .770.

Shawn Green's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .294/.367/.518 for an OPS of .884
VS. LHP: .253/.323/.431 for an OPS of .754
HOME: .280/.353/.502 for an OPS of .855
AWAY: .285/.357/.487 for an OPS of .845

Analysis: Against righties, Green was a little better than Al Rosen. Against lefties, he was a little better than Mike Lamb. While Green didn't exactly terrorize lefties, he was good enough to merit being an everyday player, unlike a few other players who appear on this list. The difference between his home/road splits is negligible. Green was slightly better in the 2nd half of the season. His OPS in the 2nd half was .868 while his OPS in the 1st half was .833.

Ron Blomberg's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .304/.367/.500 for an OPS of .867
VS. LHP: .215/.306/.272 for an OPS of .578
HOME: .288/.353/.472 for an OPS of .826
AWAY: .298/.366/.473 for an OPS of .839

Analysis: We know that injuries prevented Blomberg from being an everyday player for the Yankees, but seeing how ineffectual he was against lefties may have been another factor. However, take the splits with a grain of salt, as Blomberg only had a total of 180 PAs against lefties. You have to figure that those numbers would have gone up in a larger sample size. The difference between his home/road splits is negligible. Blomberg was more of a 1st half player. His OPS in the 1st half was .843 while his OPS in the 2nd half was .815.

Mike Lieberthal's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .264/.324/.428 for an OPS of .753
VS. LHP: .310/.381/.510 for an OPS of .891
HOME: .270/.336/.439 for an OPS of .775
AWAY: .278/.338/.453 for an OPS of .791

Analysis: Lieberthal's splits versus righties and lefties are just like Green's, only they're inverted. Against lefties, he had more walks than strikeouts. Against righties, he had 247 more strikeouts than walks. His home/away splits are similar, although he had a little more power on the road. Lieberthal was neither a 1st half player nor a 2nd half player; his splits were nearly identical. His OPS in the 1st half was .784. His OPS in the 2nd half was .783.

Mike Epstein's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .254/.372/.455 for an OPS of .827
VS. LHP: .215/.316/.342 for an OPS of .658
HOME: .226/.338/.411 for an OPS of .748
AWAY: .260/.376/.437 for an OPS of .813

Analysis: Clearly, Epstein had issues against lefties. That probably contributed to him never getting 500 ABs in a season. The home/road splits aren't all that surprising, as Epstein played a lot of games at R.F.K. Stadium and the Oakland Coliseaum. Like Lieberthal, Epstein was neither a 1st half player nor a 2nd half player; his splits were also nearly identical. His OPS in the 1st half was .782. His OPS in the 2nd half was .781.

Art Shamsky's Career Splits
VS. RHP: .255/.333/.435 for an OPS of .768
VS. LHP: .223/.291/.321 for an OPS of .613
HOME: .273/.356/.475 for an OPS of .831
AWAY: .232/.304/.380 for an OPS of .684

Analysis: Shamsky, Epstein, and Blomberg all have one thing in common; they were atrocious against lefties. The same cannot be said against righties. However, since Shamsky hardly ever faced lefties (131 total PAs), you should take his .613 OPS against them with a grain of salt. The disparity between Shamsky's home/road splits is rather large. Shamsky had a lot of success at Crosley Field and Shea Stadium. Shamsky was also definitely a 1st half player. His OPS in the 1st half was .780 while his OPS in the 2nd half was .729.

Kevin Youkilis' Career Splits
VS. RHP: .295/.384/.495 for an OPS of .880
VS. LHP: .285/.408/.466 for an OPS of .873
HOME: .300/.394/.496 for an OPS of .890
AWAY: .285/.388/.479 for an OPS of .867

Analysis: Youk's splits show you just how remarkably consistent he is. He gets on base more against lefties, but he has a higher slugging against righties. Like Kinsler, he benefits from playing at a RH hitter's park. Unlike Kinsler, Youk also puts up good numbers on the road. So, you can't really say his numbers are inflated because he plays at Fenway. However, he's definitely more of a 1st half player. His OPS in the 1st half is .913 while his OPS in the 2nd half is .832.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kapler Re-Signs With Rays

Well, that didn't take very long. Gabe Kapler has just signed a 1-year deal with the Rays worth $1.05 million. Over the last 2 seasons, Kapler has hit .304 against lefties with a .577 SLG, which ranks 11th best in all of baseball over that span. In addition to being a scourge to southpaws, Kapler is still an excellent outfielder.

However, Kapler's role on the 2010 squad is a bit murky. If the Rays platoon Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce in right, Kapler could wind up being the Rays' 5th outfielder. Then again, Kapler might be platooned with Joyce if the Rays decide to make Zobrist their everyday 2nd baseman. Kapler might even see playing time as a DH if the Rays can unload Pat Burrell.

One JML free agent down, four to go.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Never Too Early To Speculate And Prognosticate

Jason Marquis will sign a 2-year deal with the Mets and will relish pitching at Citi Field. However, he won't be a media darling in New York. The team that Marquis signs with in the offseason will make the playoffs next year. Take it to the bank.

Expect a down year from Ryan Braun if the Brewers shop Prince Fielder for starting pitching. Should this come to pass, Braun will have little to no protection in that lineup and will be pitched around. If Fielder remains on the Brewers, expect what we've come to expect from Braun.

Kevin Youkilis will have another great season. He'll fall a little short of 25 HRs, but he'll set a career-high in doubles with 44. However, if he continues to man the hot corner for the Sox, injuries may slow him down.

Ian Kinsler will have another 20/20 season. He will win his 1st Gold Glove and will be about as durable as he was in 2009. He will no longer be a leadoff man. Instead, he will bat 5th most of the time. As a result, he will drive in 100 runs.

Scott Feldman will make his 1st All-Star Team next year. His newly developed cut fastball will serve him well. He will have at least 14 wins. His stamina will be much improved, and he will pitch his 1st complete game in 2010.

Unfortunately, Ryan Sadowski will not pitch in The Bigs next year unless the Giants' rotation is decimated by injuries.

Sam Fuld will effectively replace Reed Johnson as the Cubs' 4th outfielder. He'll get more playing time. His .409 OBP may not be sustainable in a larger sample size, but he'll still get on base at a relatively high clip.

Josh Whitesell will be platooned at 1st base. He'll have more ABs than he had in 2009. More importantly, he'll have better ABs. And if he does well enough, the starting job could be his by midseason. If he does poorly, he'll be buried in the Diamondbacks' farm system or let go.

Aaron Poreda will have a shot at making the Padres rotation at the start of the season, but I believe he will once again be used in the bullpen. If he can cut down on the free passes, he could be moved into the rotation by June.

The Cubs will sign John Grabow to a 3-year deal or a 2-year deal with a club option. Most Cub fans will think Jim Hendry overpaid for him, but Grabow will have earned his paycheck when it's all said and done.

Unlike the Indians and the Twins, the A's will not put Craig Breslow on waivers next year. He will continue to be one of the best middle relievers in all of baseball.

Scott Schoeneweis may sign a 1-year deal with a team looking for a lefty specialist, but I have my doubts. I believe he will get a Spring Training invite from a team, and that's as much action as he'll see in 2010.

Brad Ausmus will either sign another 1-year deal with the Dodgers or call it quits. I'm leaning towards the latter. However, he'll be an MLB skipper soon enough. Before signing with the Dodgers, Ausmus had expressed interest in playing for the Padres. Should he sign with the Padres, he and Poreda would form a Jewish battery.

Gabe Kapler will sign a 1-year deal with a team in need of a 4th outfielder. Given Rocco Baldelli's lingering health issues, Kapler could return to Boston. If the Rays make Ben Zobrist their everyday 2nd baseman, Kapler will likely be re-signed by Tampa Bay. To tell you the truth, I have no idea where he will end up.

Mets 1B prospect Ike Davis will get a September call-up.

Last but not least, Phillies in 7.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sorry to see you go, Welcome to the tribe













I suppose I've put this off long enough. In terms of classification, JMLs who are converts invite controversy. While we've gained many players through conversion, we've also lost a lot through conversion.

Players who have left the tribe:

Bo Belinsky (LH SP) - Threw a no-no as a rookie in 1962 against the Orioles, was teammates with Barry Latman in 1964 on the Angels and again in 1967 on the Astros along with Norm Miller and Larry Sherry, was known more for his exploits off the field than on the field.

Lou Boudreau (SS/Manager) - Member of the Hall of Fame, won 1948 MVP, batting champion in 1944, led the AL in doubles 3 times, was a terrific two-way player, managed and played for the last Indians team to win the World Series.

Harry Feldman (RH SP) - was teammates with Sid Gordon, Harry Danning, and Morrie Arnovich on the 1941 New York Giants, was teammates with Phil Weintraub in 1944 and 1945, had a 3.27 ERA and a 1.296 WHIP in 217 innings in 1945.

Doug Johns (LH SP) - Played for the Orioles and the A's in the late 1990s, had a 4.47 ERA and a 1.223 WHIP in 86 innings in 1999.

Ryan Karp (LH RP) - Was teammates with Mike Lieberthal and Ruben Amaro Jr. on the Phillies in the 1990s, had 20 Ks in 17 innings of relief.

Bob Melvin (C/Manager) - Not an offensive catcher, threw out 176 of 552 attempted base stealers (32%), has won 90 or more games twice as a manager.

David Newhan (UT) - His father, Ross Newhan, is a Hall of Fame baseball writer, had a 113 OPS+ with the Orioles in 2004.

Jon Perlman (RH RP) - Logged a total of 39 2/3 innings of relief in 3 seasons in the 1980s, was teammates with Melvin in 1987 on the Giants.

Fred Sington (OF) - Played with Buddy Myer in Washington and Goody Rosen in Brooklyn, had 36 doubles and 85 RBIs in 516 career ABs, walked more than he struck out.

Players who have joined the tribe:

Lloyd Allen (RH RP) - Had 15 saves, a 2.49 ERA, and a 1.223 WHIP in 94 innings in 1971 for the Angels. Played under Jewish manager Lefty Phillips.

Jim Gaudet (C) - Had two cups of coffee with the Royals in the late 1970s.

Joe Horlen (RH SP) - Threw a no-no in 1967 against the Tigers, finished 2nd in Cy Young Voting in 1967, led the AL in ERA once and WHIP twice, won a World Series in 1972 with Ken Holtzman and Mike Epstein on the A's.

Skip Jutze (C) - Played in the 1970s, not much of a hitter, threw out 63 of 191 attempted base stealers (33%).

Elliot Maddox (OF) - Finished 8th in MVP voting in 1974 with the Yankees, stole 20 bases in 1972 with the Rangers, was teammates with Mike Epstein and Richie Scheinblum in 1971 on the Washington Senators under Ted Williams, walked more than he struck out, played every position but catcher and pitcher.

Jeff Newman (C) - An All-Star in 1979 for the A's, hit 22 HRs and drove in 71 runs that season, threw out 160 of 406 attempted base stealers (39%).

Bob Tufts (LH RP) - Logged a total of 42 innings of relief in 3 seasons in the 1980s.

Dan Warthen (LH SP) - Played in the 1970s, had a 3.11 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP in 167 innings in his rookie season with the Expos.

Steve Yeager (C) - Named World Series MVP in 1981, hit 16 HRs for the Dodgers in 1977, threw out 363 of 595 attempted base stealers (38%).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NLCS Update

Brad Ausmus and the Dodgers have been eliminated by the Phillies in 5 games. Ausmus didn't get any playing time in the series.

While there are no JMLs left in the postseason, there are some former members of the Tribe, and by that I mean there are some former Cleveland Indians...

At least we still have the Phil's GM to root for; Ruben Amaro Jr. may not have a Jewish-sounding name, but tell that to his dear old mum.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Intangibles of Brad Ausmus

For those wondering how a guy with a career 75 OPS+ has managed to hang around for 17 seasons in The Bigs, here is an informative and insightful write-up on Brad Ausmus and the impact he's had on his teammates.

It also discusses how, more than any other position, the duties of a catcher cannot be quantified by metrics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On This Date In 1974

Ken Holtzman hit a home run off Andy Messersmith in Game 4 of the World Series against the Dodgers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On This Date In 1965

After declining to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series due to his observance of Yom Kippur, Sandy Koufax pitched the 2nd of back-to-back complete game shutouts on 2 days of rest in Games 5 and 7 against the Twins. Naturally, Koufax was named World Series MVP.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

ALDS Games 2 and 3/NLDS Game 3

Kevin Youkilis was 1-4 with 1 double in Game 2 against the Angels. He was 0-4 in Game 3. The Angels swept the Red Sox and will face the Yankees in the ALCS. Overall, Youk was just 1 for 12 in the series. Not his finest October.

Brad Ausmus did not play in Game 3 against the Cardinals. The Dodgers swept the Cards and will play the winner of the Rockies-Phillies series in the NLCS.

Jason Marquis did not pitch in Game 3 against the Phillies. The Phillies are up 2-1 in the series.

Jim Tracy's decision to start Jason Hammel instead of Marquis didn't exactly work out. Hammel gave up 4 runs in 3 2/3 innings. Tracy also decided to use Jose Contreras instead of Marquis in the 6th inning, and Contreras gave up 1 run in his 1 inning of work. The Rockies ended up losing by 1 run. Kosher food for thought...

Update: Marquis did not pitch in Game 4. The Phillies beat the Rockies 3-1 in the NLDS. They will face Ausmus and the Dodgers in the NLCS. Will Ausmus get any playing time? We shall see.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On This Date In 2005

Brad Ausmus hit a home run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Braves in Game 4 of the NLDS to tie the game at 6 apiece and send it into extra innings. The Astros would go on to win the game in 18 innings (the longest game in postseason history).

Also On This Date In 1973...

Ken Holtzman pitched 11 innings and gave up 1 run on 3 hits, 1 BB, and 7 Ks against Mike Cuellar and the Orioles in Game 3 of the ALCS.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ALDS: Game 1/NLDS: Game 2

Kevin Youkilis was 0-4 against the Angels. The Angels are up in the series 1-0.

Brad Ausmus did not play against the Cardinals. The Dodgers are up in the series 2-0.

Jason Marquis did not pitch against the Phillies. The series is tied 1-1, which means there will be a Game 4.

Marquis could be called upon to start that game. A game which will be played in the frozen tundra that is Colorado in October. So, bust out that thermal underwear, Jason! May the Phil's bats be as cold as the frost in the outfield grass.

On This Date In 1959

After Johnny Podres got roughed up for 3 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in Game 6 of the World Series against Barry Latman and the Chicago White Sox, reliever Larry Sherry pitched 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Dodgers won the game by a score of 9-3 and with it the Series. Sherry had 2 wins, 2 saves and a 0.71 ERA in the 12 2/3 innings he pitched. Small wonder why he was named World Series MVP.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NLDS: Game 1

Jason Marquis pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Phillies. He gave up 1 hit. The Phillies are up in the series 1-0.

Brad Ausmus did not play against the Cardinals. The Dodgers are up in the series 1-0.

Marquis Relegated to Bullpen Duty

The Rockies announced yesterday that Jason Marquis will begin the NLDS against the Phillies in the bullpen. Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching Game 1 as we speak. Aaron Cook will pitch in Game 2. Jorge De La Rosa will be unavailable due to a groin injury.

Therefore, Jim Tracy has elected to go with Jason in Game 3 - Jason Hammel, that is. Not that I'm questioning the presumptive NL Manager of the Year's decision here, but Hammel's second half (4.23 ERA) wasn't that much better than Marquis' second half (4.56 ERA). One other thing to consider: Hammel's ERA at Coors was 5.73 this year while Marquis' ERA at Coors was 3.92. If the series goes to a Game 4, Marquis could be called upon to toe the slab.

The Dodgers have released their 25-man postseason roster, and Brad Ausmus is on it. Never had a doubt.

Finally, here's a good write-up from The Boston Globe on Kevin Youkilis that examines his intensity, what makes him a polarizing figure, and how he was overlooked and underrated for most of his life leading up to his MLB career.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009: A Year in Review

In 2009 the stars shone bright, the veterans were venerable, and the rookies made a lasting impression.

Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, and Kevin Youkilis are who we thought they were, to quote Dennis Green.

Jason Marquis was voted to the All-Star Game for the 1st time in his career. Scott Feldman came out of nowhere and emerged as the Rangers' ace.

Gabe Kapler gave southpaws fits. Brad Ausmus hit .295 (that's not a typo) for the Dodgers.

Craig Breslow and John Grabow experienced a change of venue mid-season and flourished for their new teams.

Aaron Poreda showed the promise of a live arm. Sam Fuld can flat-out field. And Ryan Sadowski defied the odds.

Lots of things made this season special. Here's a rundown in alphabetical order of what each JML did in 2009.
Brad Ausmus - At 40, Ausmus is at the twilight of his career, but don't tell him that. Not known for his offense, Ausmus actually had a decent year at the plate as the Dodgers' backup cacher. He put up a line of .295 / .343 / .368 for an OPS of .712 in 107 PAs. From an offensive standpoint, it was his best season since 2000 when he was on the Tigers. Ausmus threw out 30% of the base stealers who ran on him, which is a far cry from the years when he gunned down nearly half of the men on base who tested him, but it is still a respectable number when you consider his age. As far as career milestones are concerned, Ausmus hit his 80th home run and collected his 600th RBI. He also came within 1 game of tying Shawn Green's JML all-time mark of 1,951 games played. If this was his swan song, it was a pretty good one. And curiously enough, the Houston Astros now have a manager vacancy. One would assume the Dartmouth grad Ausmus would be on their short list.

Ryan Braun - In my opinion - and this is by no means a slam dunk - Braun had the best year of all the JMLs in 2009. He led the NL in hits with 203. Those 203 hits are tied with Hank Greenberg for 2nd most all-time in a season among JMLs after Buddy Myer's 215 in 1935. Incidentally, Greenberg's 203 hits were also in 1935. In addition, Braun set career-highs in games played (158), plate appearances (708), at bats (635), runs scored (113), RBIs (114), stolen
bases (20), walks (57), OBP (.386), HBP (13), and total bases (350). He tied a career-high in doubles with 39. As evidenced by his walks and OBP, his plate discipline was noticeably better this year than in '08 and '07. He even cut down on double plays he grounded into. He grounded into 13 in each of the previous 2 years and only 6 this year. Braun also became the 1st JML to hit 30 or more home runs in his first 3 seasons and only the 3rd to have a 20/20 season. He put up a line of .320 / .386 / .551 for a .937 OPS. With runners in scoring position, Braun had an OPS of .971. Braun was 1st in the NL in hits, 2nd in ABs and runs scored, 3rd in PAs, 4th in RBIs and total bases and extra base hits and HBP, 7th in batting average, 8th in OPS, 9th in doubles and SLG, and 10th in triples (6). Braun led all NL left fielders in fielding percentage (.994) and putouts (304) for the 2nd year in a row. He also led all NL left fielders in range factor (2.06) and was 3rd in assists (8). He turns 26 in November. After just 3 seasons under his belt, Braun has amassed 523 hits, 104 doubles, 103 home runs, and 317 RBIs. What will his counting stats look like 10 years from now?
Craig Breslow - Start with 1 team at the outset and end with another. That has been the formula for Breslow the last 2 seasons. It's amazing that teams keep putting him on waivers. Breslow is only 29 years old, and he sports a career 2.79 ERA and 1.214 WHIP in 145 innings of work. I mean, it'd be one thing if he were just a lefty specialist, but Breslow was actually a little better against righties this year than lefties. Against lefties in 31 innings he had a 1.13 WHIP and a .204 BAA. Against righties in 38 2/3 innings he had a 1.09 WHIP and a .191 BAA. That's outstanding. Coming into 2009, Breslow didn't have any decisions; he had 15 this year. He was 8-7 with 15 holds, a 3.36 combined ERA (Twins and A's), a 1.105 WHIP, and a .197 BAA in 69 2/3 innings of work (a career-high). His 6.2 hits per 9 innings was also a career-best. He was 2nd in the AL in appearances (77) and held batters to a .154 BA with runners in scoring position. Last year, I would've said John Grabow had the better year out of the bullpen (mostly because he logged more innings). This year, my vote would go to Breslow.
Scott Feldman - Inserting Feldman into the rotation last year ended with underwhelming results, so much so that Feldman didn't even start 2009 in the Rangers' rotation. But there was nothing underwhelming about what Feldman did this year, particularly his dominant performance against the Rays where he had 11 Ks in 7 shutout innings. Feldman was 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, and a .250 BAA in 189 2/3 innings. As a starter, Feldman had a 3.79 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 183 innings. His 17 wins ranked 4th in the AL. His .680 winning percentage ranked 7th. And his 0.854 HRs per 9 innings ranked 8th. His 12 wins on the road set a franchise record. Needless to say, he set career-highs in just about every pitching category. Before the All-Star break, Feldman was 8-2 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and a .233 BAA. After the All-Star Break, he was 9-6 with a 4.34 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and a .266 BAA. I suspect fatigue had a lot to do with the dropoff. In MiLB, the most innings Feldman ever threw was 70; that was in 2005. Last year, Feldman tossed 151 innings in 25 starts. This year, he tossed almost 40 more innings than that total in 31 starts. Now that his arm has been stretched out, I would expect him to have more endurance in 2010. Feldman will turn 27 in February, so he could be one of the top AL pitchers for many years to come.
Sam Fuld - For awhile, it looked like Fuld was going to be remembered solely for this dazzling catch he made in his brief stint with the Cubs in 2007. Fuld didn't get a whiff of The Show last year, and he was all but forgotten. But injuries to Alfonso Soriano and Reed Johnson paved the way for the 27-year old Fuld to finally get his shot. Fuld, like Johnson, is the type of hard-nosed player you'd think Lou Piniella would readily endorse, especially after seeing Soriano and Milton Bradley dog it on a daily basis in the outfield. Whether that's the case or not, Fuld didn't get a whole lot of playing time. Still, he made the most of it. He put up a line of .299 / .409 / .412 for an OPS of .821 in 115 PAs. In addition, he stole 2 bases (both off Ausmus) and drew more walks than he had strikeouts. But it was Fuld's play in the outfield that really won Cubs fans over this year. Fuld is an excellent outfielder, and compared to Soriano and Bradley he looks like Willie Mays. He covers a lot of ground, lays out for everything, and has a better arm than advertised. At the plate, he's a grinder. But most importantly, this guy shows up to play every day. I love
how he plays the game.
John Grabow - Grabow followed up a career-year in 2008 with a pretty decent 2009 campaign. After 5+ years with the lowly Pirates, Grabow was traded to the Cubs and unlike other additions to the bullpen (I'm talking to you, Kevin Gregg) Grabow didn't disappoint. He was 3-0 with 23 holds, a 3.36 ERA, a 1.41 WHIP, and a .233 BAA in 72 1/3 innings of work. His 75 appearances and 0.6 HR per 9 innings were both career-bests. Lefties hit .222 against him while righties hit .238 against him.
Gabe Kapler - Kapler didn't have the season he had last year with the Brewers, but he was still a force coming off the bench for the Rays. He put up a line of .239 / .329 / .439 in 238 PAs for a .768 OPS in the toughest division in all of baseball. All 8 of his HRs and 14 of his 15 doubles were off lefties; he had a .931 OPS against southpaws in 174 PAs. In addition, Kapler drew 29 BBs, the most he's had since 2001 when he was a full-time player with the Rangers. Also swiped 5 bags, the most he's had since 2004. Career-wise, he hit his 80th home run and scored his 400th run. Kapler also provided the Rays with excellent defense in the outfield, particularly in right field where his UZR was 8.3. In the AL, only Ryan Sweeney, Nelson Cruz, Clete Thomas, Ben Zobrist, J.D. Drew, and Ichiro Suzuki had higher UZR ratings in right field. Kapler is 34 years old now and will be a free agent in the offseason, and I think it's safe to say he still brings a lot to the table.
Ian Kinsler - Despite losing his All-Star bid to Brandon Inge's .720 OPS, Kinsler had another year worthy of All-Star consideration. Sure, his average and OBP were down, but just about everything else was up. Kinsler set career highs in games played (144), plate appearances (640), at bats (566), home runs (31), RBIs (86), stolen bases (31), and total bases (276). He joined Shawn Green as the only other JML to have a 30/30 season and became only the third 2nd basemen to have a 30/30 season. He put up a line of .253 / .327 / .488 for an OPS of .814. He finished 7th in the AL in stolen bases and 10th in runs scored (101). With runners in scoring position, his OPS was .976. His 31 stolen bases are 2nd best all-time in a season among JMLs behind Shawn Green's 35 in 1998. And he was only caught stealing 5 times. He became the 2nd JML to hit for the cycle and go 6 for 6 in a game. He is the only player in the modern era to go 6 for 6 and hit for the cycle. He had 13 total bases in that game and scored 5 runs. That's one of the greatest single game performances of all time. Kinsler's fielding also improved. His range factor was a little down from previous years, but he made less errors and he finished with an UZR rating of 7.5. Only Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Dustin Pedroia, and Felipe Lopez had higher UZR ratings at 2nd base. And at 27 years of age, you have to think that the best is yet to come.
Jason Marquis - Pretty nice bounce-back year for Marquis. Not that he was bad with the Cubs, but this was certainly his best season since 2005. Marquis was 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and a .267 BAA in 216 innings pitched for the Rockies. His 15 wins tied a career-high set back in 2004 with the Cardinals and ranked 4th in the NL. His 216 innings set a career-high and ranked 8th in the NL. His 0.625 HR per 9 innings was a career-best and ranked 8th in the NL. Marquis threw 2 complete games (including his 3rd career complete game shutout). This marked Marquis' 6th consecutive season with 11 or more wins. Still, it was slightly disappointing that he didn't surpass 15 wins when he already had 11 at the All-Star Break. Before the All-Star Break, he was 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and a .254 BAA. After the All-Star Break, he was 4-7 with a 4.56 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP, and a .284 BAA. But anyone who can post a 3.92 ERA at Coors Field deserves some respect. And with a little more luck, Marquis could have definitely come close to 20 wins. He had 5 no decisions this year where he posted a 2.91 ERA and a 1.324 WHIP. He averaged nearly 7 innings in those 5 no decisions, so it's not as if he left those games early. Marquis won't win his 2nd Silver Sluggers this year, but he had a respectable year at the plate; he hit .172 with 3 doubles, 8 RBIs, and 7 runs scored. He has 28 career doubles in 505 ABs. This marked his 6th consecutive season with 10 or more hits. If Marquis stays healthy next year, and his track record says that he will, he will win his 100th game at the age of 31. The question is: what team will he be playing for? The Rockies? The Mets? Should be an interesting offseason.
Aaron Poreda - Touted as the 2nd best prospect in the White Sox farm system behind Gordon Beckham, 23-year old Poreda got a taste of The Show in 2009 and was pretty good. With the Sox and the Padres, he pitched 13 1/3 combined innings and had an ERA of 2.70 while striking out 12. He only gave up 10 hits and didn't surrender a home run. The only knock against him is the 13 free passes.
Ryan Sadowski - Sadowski began is MLB career with 13 scoreless innings and 7 hits allowed. Not bad for a guy who only pitched 6 2/3 innings in college. Sadowski followed up his first 2 outings with 2 so-so outings and 2 bad outings. He ended up being 2-4 with a 4.45 ERA, a 1.588 WHIP, and a .264 BAA in 28 1/3 innings (6 starts). Lefties hit .291 against him while righties only hit .235 against him. What does the future hold for the 27-year old Sadowski? Don't know, but for a guy who wasn't highly regarded in college or the minors, he's already accomplished quite a bit.
Scott Schoeneweis - Not much to say here. Schoeneweis was coming off one of his better seasons. As of May 16, his ERA was 2.53 in 11 innings of work. Schoeneweis lost his wife on May 20, and the rest is history. A lost season. At 36, perhaps his last season.
Josh Whitesell - After putting up a line of .328 / .425 / .568 for an OPS of .993 in 560 PAs, Whitesell was voted the Diamondbacks' 2008 Minor League Player of the Year. He hit 26 HRs, 36 doubles, scored 86 runs, and drove in 110 runs in Tucson. Baseball America also ranked him the best power hitter in the organization. With credentials like that and with first base manned by two has-beens in Chad Tracy and Tony Clark, you'd think Whitesell would have been given every opportunity to come in and win the job. Whitesell was given a grand total of 133 PAs. And unlike Fuld, this 27-year old did not make the most of his playing time. He put up a line of .194 / .346 / .287 for an OPS of .633. I'll say this: given his average, that .346 OBP is impressive.
Kevin Youkilis - Youk proved in 2009 that he is no fluke. He put up a line of .305 / .413 / .548 for an OPS of .961 in 588 PAs. He set career-highs in OBP, OPS, stolen bases (7), and HBP (16). He ranked 2nd in the AL in OBP and OPS, 4th in HBP, and 5th in SLG. He is the 1st JML since Mike Epstein in 1969 to have an OBP of .400 or above in at least 500 PAs. His 16 HBP is a single-season record among JMLs. With runners in scoring position, his OPS was 1.075. That's not an anomaly; his career OPS with runners in scoring position is 1.001. This was his 4th consecutive season with 35 or more doubles. In the field, he split time between 1st base and 3rd base. Because of Mike Lowell's fragile hip, Youk played 63 games at 3rd, the most since his rookie year in 2004. He even played 2 games in left field for the 1st time since 2006. He was once again a serviceable 3rd baseman and a sure-handed 1st baseman. He missed 26 games because of various back injuries and the 5-game suspension he was given for charging the mound. Say what you will about the incident with Rick Porcello, but it was memorable. Despite playing in only 136 games, Youk still managed to hit 27 home runs, 36 doubles, score 99 runs, and drive in 94 runs. At 30, he's still in his prime and should be for another 2 years or so.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Last Day of Regular Season Doesn't Disappoint

Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 39th), 1 RBI, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 20th) against the Cardinals. Braun joins Ian Kinsler and Shawn Green as the only JMLs to have 20/20 seasons. Braun swiped 8 bags in the last 31 games of the regular season. You get the feeling that if he really wanted to he could steal 30 bases in a season... Additionally, Braun led the NL in hits with 203.

Batting 5th, Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 double (his 32nd) and 2 runs scored against the Mariners. Kinsler finished the season with 101 runs scored. He's had back-to-back seasons with 100 or more runs scored.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-2 with 1 run scored against the Indians.

Sam Fuld hit his 1st MLB home run and with it also got his 1st RBI against the Diamondbacks. Fuld was 2-3 with 1 double (his 6th), 1 HR (his 1st), 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored.

Gabe Kapler was 1-3 against the Yankees.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 Ks. His WHIP was 1.11. His ERA was 3.36. His record was 8-7. He had 15 holds.

Jason Marquis picked up his 13th loss of the year against the Dodgers. He got off to a rough start, surrendering 4 runs in the 1st inning. But he settled down after that and pitched 3 scoreless innings. Marquis went 4 innings and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits, 2 BBs, and 3 Ks. His WHIP was 1.38. His ERA was 4.04. His record was 15-13.

Scott Feldman picked up his 8th loss of the year against the Mariners. He went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs on 6 hits, 1 BB, and 4 Ks. A vast improvement over his previous 2 starts, and in that sense it was a good way to end the season. His WHIP was 1.28. His ERA was 4.08. His record was 17-8.

Stay tuned for postseason coverage and a comprehensive review of the 2009 season.

Youk and the Red Sox will face the Angels in the ALDS on Thursday.

Marquis and the Rockies will face the Phillies in the NLDS on Wednesday.

Brad Ausmus and the Dodgers will face the Cardinals in the NLDS on Wednesday. Will Ausmus make the Dodgers' postseason roster? We shall see.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One Plateau Down, One To Go

Ryan Braun collected his 200th hit today against the Cardinals; it was a 2-run HR off Kyle Lohse in the 1st inning. Braun was 2-5 with 1 HR (his 32nd), 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored. His 201 hits this season lead the NL. Miguel Tejada and Hanley Ramirez are right behind him with 198 and 199, respectively.

Braun is the 1st JML since Al Rosen in 1953 to have a 200-hit season. The only other JMLs who've done it are Hank Greenberg (3 times) and Buddy Myer. Lou Boudreau had 199 hits in 1948, the year he won MVP. Goody Rosen had 197 hits in 1945. Shawn Green came close in 1999 with 190 hits. Braun joins Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount as the only Brewers to have 200 hits in a season.

Braun needs just 1 stolen base for 20/20. Unfortunately, he has only 1 game left to do it, and Yadier Molina stands in his way.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 BB against the Mariners.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-4 with 1 BB against the Indians.

Gabe Kapler was 0-2 against the Yankees.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief on 1 K. His WHIP is 1.08. His ERA is 3.29.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Kapler Leans Heavily to the Lefties

Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 2 doubles (his 37th and 38th), 3 RBIs, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 19th) against the Cardinals. His 342 total bases this year are a career-high. Braun needs just 1 more hit for 200 and 1 more stolen base for 20/20.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 36th), and 2 RBIs against the Indians.

Batting 5th, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 against the Mariners.

Gabe Kapler was 2-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 15th) 1 RBI, and 3 runs scored against the Yankees. Coming into today's action, Kapler had a .952 OPS against lefties this year. His career OPS against lefties hovers around .850.

Sam Fuld was 0-4 against the Diamondbacks.

Scott Schoeneweis pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Cubs.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief on 1 hit and 2 Ks against the Diamondbacks. His WHIP is 1.41. His ERA is 3.36.

Aaron Poreda pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Giants.

On This Date In 1963

Sandy Koufax fanned 15 in Game 1 of the World Series against the Yankees. After the game Yogi Berra said, "I can see how he won 25 games. What I don't understand is how he lost five." Koufax had the record for strikeouts in a World Series game until Bob Gibson broke it 5 years later when he had 17 Ks.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

No Surprise Here: Marquis In The Postseason

Batting 5th, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 double (his 31st), 1 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 1 SB (his 31st) against the Angels. Kinsler's 31 stolen bases this year rank 2nd all-time behind Shawn Green's 35 in 1998.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 HR (his 31st), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Rockies.

The Rockies' win over the Brewers guarantees a Wild Card berth for them and keeps them in the hunt for the division race against the Dodgers. They're 2 games behind the Dodgers and will play the last 3 games of the season against them. Should be a good series. Jason Marquis will toe the slab on Sunday looking for his 16th win. This marks his 10th straight postseason. If nothing else, Marquis appears to be a good luck charm.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored against the Indians.

Gabe Kapler was 0-3 against the Orioles.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Mariners. His WHIP is 1.10. His ERA is 3.34. Bet the Twins are kicking themselves now for letting this guy go. William has been saying this all along. Not like they're in a playoff race or anything...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Braun Going for 20/20 and 200

Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 HBP (his 13th), 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 18th) against the Rockies. Braun swiped 6 bags in September. Looks like he's going for a 20/20 season. He also needs just 4 hits for 200. He'll have 4 games to do it.

Batting 5th, Ian Kinsler was 0-0 with 3 BBs against the Angels.

Kevin Youkilis, along with most of Boston's starters, got the day off.

In the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Pirates, Sam Fuld was 0-1. In the 2nd game, Fuld was 1-3 with 1 BB.

John Grabow pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits. His WHIP is 1.42. His ERA is 3.41.

On This Date In 1945

Hank Greenberg hit a grand slam on the last day of the regular season in the top of the 9th inning against the St. Louis Browns to clinch the pennant for the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers were down 3-2 before Greenberg's blast put them ahead for good. The Tigers would go on to win the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Also, On This Date In 1973...

Steve Stone struck out a career-high 12 batters in a complete game shutout against the Oakland A's on 3 hits and 2 BBs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Abner Double-Day

Kevin Youkilis was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 35th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Blue Jays. Also swiped his 7th bag of the year. This marks Youk's 4th consecutive season with 35 or more doubles. With the Rangers' loss tonight, the Red Sox have officially clinched the Wild Card. So we'll be seeing Youk again in the postseason.

Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 2 doubles (his 35th and 36th) against the Rockies. Braun was 2-3 against Jason Marquis.

Batting 6th, Ian Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 double (his 30th) and 1 run scored against the Angels. His 270 total bases are a career-high. Sadly, he and teammate Scott Feldman will not be in the postseason this year.

Sam Fuld was 3-4 with 1 double (his 5th) and 1 run scored against the Pirates. Fuld is 7 for his last 13 with 3 BBs and 3 runs scored.

Marquis pitched well enough against the Brewers to get his 16th win, but he got a no-decision instead in his 21st quality start after Huston Street surrendered a game-tying 3-run HR to Jason Kendall in the 9th inning. Marquis went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs on 6 hits, 4 BBs, and 1 K.

The walks are a bit of a concern. Marquis has issued 18 free passes in his last 22 1/3 innings. His WHIP is 1.36. His ERA is 3.95. And he's logged 212 innings this year; that's a career-high.

Feldman picked up his 7th loss of the season against the Angels. He pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits, 1 HBP, 3 BBs, and 3 Ks. Feldman has had 3 great starts this month and 3 awful starts. Hopefully, he can get it together for his last start in October. His WHIP is 1.28. His ERA is 4.02.