Sunday, May 31, 2009

Youkilis is Stupendous

Kevin Youkilis was 2-4 with 1 BB, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs, and 3 runs scored against the Blue Jays. He now has 9 HRs on the year.

Ryan Braun hit his 9th HR yesterday against the Reds. Today, he was 1-4 with 1 run scored. He also made a nice diving catch in left, robbing Jay Bruce of extra bases.

Yesterday, Ian Kinsler was 2-3 with 2 BBs, 1 double, 4 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the A's. Today, he was 1-5 and once again had a home run taken away by Ryan Sweeney. What's up with that?

Josh Whitesell was recalled from Reno to replace Chad Tracy, who went on the DL. Whitesell was 0-1 against the Braves today as a pinch hitter.

Gabe Kapler was 0-1 against the Twins. Yesterday, he was 0-2 with 1 BB.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief yesterday against the Astros.

Craig Breslow pitched 1/3 of an inning of relief against the Rangers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Right Stuff

It's starting to sound cliche, but Jason Marquis and Scott Feldman were once again on their game tonight.

Marquis, in particular, had it going on the mound against the Padres. He pitched 8 shutout innings on 6 hits, 4 BBs, and 6 Ks to pick up his 7th win of the season. The 6 Ks were a season-high. It was also the 3rd time in 2009 where he's gone at least 8 innings. The man is a horse this year. Marquis lowered his ERA to 3.93. At this rate, another 15-win season may not be out of the question. And maybe more...

Feldman has been money since being moved out of the bullpen into the starting rotation for the Rangers. Tonight was no exception. Feldman picked up his 4th win of the season with his 5th consecutive quality start against the A's. He went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits, 3 BBs, and 2 Ks. He lowered his ERA to 3.91.

Ryan Braun was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 double, and 1 run scored against the Reds. It was his 10th double of the season.

In a doubleheader today, Ian Kinsler went 0-5 with 3 BBs and 2 runs scored. He hit his 13th HR earlier this week against the Yankees.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB against the Blue Jays.

Gabe Kapler was 0-1 with 1 BB against the Twins.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Rangers. Breslow's ERA isn't so hot, but his WHIP is 1.24.

Monday, May 25, 2009

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Now that his first season with Eastern Illinois is officially over, I'd like to take this time to congratulate my brother, Zach, on an outstanding season. As a true freshman, Zach's line was .394/.506/.547. Zach started 36 games for the Panthers and in 137 ABs had 5 HRs, 6 doubles, 2 SBs, 43 runs scored, and 28 RBIs.

After Eastern's best player, Brett Nommensen, went down with a wrist injury, Zach took over as the leadoff man and did a fantastic job. He led the team in walks with 29. His BB/K ratio was 29/20. He hit safely in 17 of the first 18 games he started and reached base safely in 35 of the 36 games he started.

His .506 OBP was tops in the Ohio Valley Conference, after Nommensen's ridiculous .652 clip. In fact, he led all Division I freshmen in the nation in OBP. Overall, Zach ranked in the Top 25 in OBP in the nation. His average ranked in the Top 100. Among freshmen, it was in the Top 5. Needless to say, he made the All-Freshmen OVC team. And it was just announced that he was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.

Zach also made a smooth transition from the infield to the outfield. In high school, Zach was a first-team All-State shortstop. As a freshman in college, Zach was asked to play right field and a little third base, two positions that he had very little experience in. He only made 1 error all year.

Despite winning the OVC regular season title with a 36-14 overall record, Eastern Illinois did not receive an at-large bid to enter the NCAA Baseball Championship tournament. Had they won the OVC tournament, they would have automatically been in. Still, I think Eastern's omission is patently unfair for a variety of reasons.

The Panthers were ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in batting average, slugging, and home runs per game. Two of their pitchers ranked in the Top 50 in winning percentage. Shortstop Jordan Kreke ranked in the Top 50 in slugging. Southpaw Tyler Kehrer ranked in the Top 20 in Ks per 9 innings. Richie Derbak ranked in the Top 20 in toughest to strike out. There is a good chance that 3 or 4 players from EIU could be drafted this summer. In addition, Eastern posted 5 victories over teams that made the tournament field and were competitive against 2 other qualifiers.

While it was certainly disappointing that Eastern was overlooked for the tournament, my brother and his teammates should hold their heads up high. You had a great season, Zach. I'm very proud of you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Long Balls

Kevin Youkilis and Ian Kinsler both went yard today.

Youkilis was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBIs against the Mets. He's hitting .383 with 7 HRs and 26 RBIs.

Kinsler has been scuffling of late. Today, he was 1-5 with 1 HR, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI against the Astros. He's hitting .284 with 12 HRs and 33 RBIs.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 against the Twins. He's hitting .333 with 8 HRs and 31 RBIs.

John Grabow won his 3rd game of the season, pitching 1 inning of scoreless relief against the White Sox on 1 hit, 1 BB, and 1 K.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Quality Starts

Jason Marquis and Scott Feldman pitched very well on the bump today.

Marquis picked up his 6th win of the season
against the Tigers, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits, 1 BB, and 4 Ks. His WHIP is 1.286.

Feldman hurled his 4th consecutive quality start against the Astros to pick up his 3rd win of the season, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up 3 runs on 5 hits, 2 BBs, and 5 Ks. His WHIP is now 1.157. Feldman did give up 2 long balls, but obviously minimized the damage.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB and 2 RBIs against the Mets.

Ryan Braun was 2-4 against the Twins. He committed the first error of his career in left field.

Gabe Kapler was 0-2 with 1 BB against the Marlins.

Ian Kinsler had the day off.

Craig Breslow didn't exactly get off on the right foot in his debut with the A's. He picked up the loss against the Diamondbacks in extra innings, giving up 1 run in 1 2/3 innings of relief on 2 hits and 2 Ks.

On This Date In 2002...

Shawn Green went 6-6 and hit 4 HRs in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He set an MLB record with 19 total bases (Joe Adcock had 18 in 1954) and tied an MLB record with 6 runs scored. Oddly enough, Ian Kinsler is the only other MLB player to have 6 hits, 4 extra-base hits, and score 5 or more runs in a game.

Also, On This Date In 1960...

Sandy Koufax threw a 1-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a complete game shutout. He issued 6 BBs and struck out 10.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Breslow Let Go, Whitesell Sent Down

Craig Breslow was claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics yesterday, and Aaron Poreda of the White Sox was almost traded to the Padres in a package deal for Jake Peavy.

Josh Whitesell was sent down to AAA Reno. He was 3-26 with 1 double and 5 BBs. Keep in mind that it was only 26 ABs, so it's a small sample size. Personally, I believe this was just a hiccup. Rest assured. He'll be back.

Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 triple, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI against the Astros. He's hitting .326. His OBP is .451.

Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI against the Blue Jays.

Gabe Kapler was 1-3 with 1 double, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI against Breslow's new team.

Ian Kinsler was 1-5 against the Tigers. He swiped his 10th bag of the season.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Youk Makes Triumphant Return

Kevin Youkilis was 3-5 with 1 run scored against the Blue Jays in his first game back off the disabled list, raising his average to .404.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 against the Astros.

Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB against the Tigers. Kinsler started a triple play and very likely could have had an unassisted triple play had he been so inclined.

Gabe Kapler was 0-2 against the Athletics. He's now hitting below the Mendoza Line.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Nationals to pick up his 2nd win of the season.

Last but not least, tragedy struck Scott Schoeneweis as his wife was found dead in their Arizona home on Wednesday. The cause of death has not yet been determined. My condolences to the Schoeneweis family.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bouncing Back in a Big Way

Jason Marquis' last 2 starts were nothing to write home about. In fact, they were downright awful. But tonight Marquis had it all going, as he outdueled Derek Lowe to pick up his 5th win of the season. He went 8 innings and gave up 1 run on 5 hits, 3 BBs, and 3 Ks.

Ryan Braun had himself a ball game against the Cardinals. He was 2-3 with 2 BBs, 1 double, 4 runs scored, and 1 RBI. He also made a pair of web gems in the outfield, robbing Skip Schumaker of a sure triple with a full extension catch ranging to his left and coming out of nowhere in shallow center to take one away from Jason LaRue.

Gabe Kapler was 0-2 against the Athletics.

A few days after giving up a walk-off home run to Alex Rodriguez, Craig Breslow pitched 2/3 of scoreless relief against the Bronx Bombers.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning of relief against the Nationals and gave up a run on 2 hits, 1 BB, and 1 K.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Feldman Excellin'

Scott Feldman pitched his 3rd consecutive quality start against the Angels today. He left a donut on the scoreboard after 6 innings on 4 hits, 2 BBs, and 3 Ks. He didn't get the decision, but he lowered his ERA to 4.04.

So, what have been the keys to his success? How about this? He hasn't given up more than 4 hits or issued more than 2 free passes in any of his 5 starts. Also hasn't given up the long ball.

After John Lackey drilled Ian Kinsler yesterday and was summarily ejected in his first start of 2009, Kinsler swiped his 9th bag of the season. Today, Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 double, 1 run scored, and 1 RBI.

Ryan Braun was also 1-3 with 1 BB and 1 double against the Cardinals. He scored 2 runs and was hit by a pitch. Braun was hit 6 times all of last season. He's already matched that total. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Gabe Kapler was 0-2 with 1 BB today against the Indians, but it was a productive 0-2, as he scored and drove in a run.

Brad Ausmus was 1-5 with 1 run scored against the Marlins. Ausmus is 9-26 (.346) on the year.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On This Date In 1969...

Mike Epstein hit 3 HRs in a game against the Chicago White Sox.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kinsler A Man Possessed

Ian Kinsler went deep not once, but twice tonight against Joe Saunders and the Angels. He also walked twice, scored 3 runs, and drove in 3 runs. He has 11 HRs on the season, 31 RBIs, and 29 runs scored.

Josh Whitesell was once again 1-4 today against the Braves.

John Grabow pitched 1/3 of an inning of scoreless relief for the Bucs against the Rockies.

Finally, Craig Breslow earned the first win of his career yesterday against the Tigers. He pitched 1 2/3 of scoreless relief. Congratulations Craig!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And the Honeymoon is Over

Coming into tonight, Jason Marquis had a 3.92 ERA and a 1.210 WHIP through 6 starts.

Enter the Houston Astros. Marquis got shelled, plain and simple. He pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up 9 runs on 10 hits, 3 BBs, and 1 K. His ERA skyrocketed to 5.40.

Ian Kinsler was 0-3 with 3 BBs and 1 run scored in a wild one against the Mariners. He's hitting .319.

Ryan Braun was 0-3 with 1 BB against the Marlins. He's hitting .333.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief against the Cardinals.

Scott Schoeneweis yielded a run to the Reds. His ERA is now 2.70.

All in all, not the best of days for JMLs, especially with the news on Youkilis.

Youkilis on the DL

Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique. Here's to a swift and full recovery!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feldman Figuring Some Things Out

Scott Feldman had an inauspicious start to 2009 in the Texas Rangers' bullpen. We'll gloss over that. Since being moved back into the rotation, Feldman has a 2.74 ERA in 4 starts this season. And tonight was his best start yet. Feldman went 6 1/3 innings against the Mariners and gave up 1 run on 4 hits, 2 BBs, and 2 Ks.

In other news:

Ian Kinsler was 3-5 with 1 double.

Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 run scored against the Marlins.

Gabe Kapler picked up his 1st RBI of the year with a sacrifice fly against the Orioles. Kapler was 1-2 on the day.

Scott Schoeneweis pitched 1 inning of scoreless relief. His ERA is now 1.80.

Josh Whitesell, who has been scuffling so far, was 1-4 today against the Reds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

On This Date In 1963...

Sandy Koufax hurled his 2nd no-no against Juan Marichal and the San Francisco Giants. He issued 2 BBs and struck out 4.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Talk About Locked In!

Ryan Braun is on a tear. Today, he was 2-2 with 2 BBs, 1 HBP, 1 HR, 1 double, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. Also swiped his 3rd bag of the season.

Ian Kinsler was 1-5 with 1 RBI against John Danks and the White Sox.

Gabe Kapler was 1-3 against his former team.

Scott Schoeneweis pitched 2/3 of an inning. His ERA is now 2.00.

John Grabow got roughed up in his 1 inning of work, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 K. His ERA is now 3.95.

Josh Whitesell was 0-3 with 2 BBs.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Braun Goes Oppo for the Win

Ryan Braun hit his 7th HR of the year tonight against the Cubs, and he couldn't have hit it at a better time. The Brewers were losing 2-1 in the 8th before Braun went downtown to right-center against Aaron Heilman. Braun is hitting .337 and has 26 RBIs.

Ian Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 run scored, and 2 RBIs against the White Sox. He also swiped his 8th bag of the season. Kinsler is hitting .325 and has 27 RBIs.

Josh Whitesell got off the schneid with his first hit of the season against the Nationals; it also happened to be the first double of his MLB career.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Melvin Shown the (Revolving) Door

In the wake of Manny being Barry, Bob Melvin was fired by the Arizona Diamondbacks in what has quickly become the NL Wild West. Melvin's D-Backs were the division champs in 2007, where they won 90 games. However, last year was considered a setback for the franchise, as the team won 82 games. This year, the D-Backs were off to an uninspiring 12-17 start before Melvin got canned. To be fair, though, Brandon Webb has been MIA all season long and the offense has been anemic, to say the least.

For those keeping score, here's a recap of said revolving door:

Kevin Youkilis goes out - Jeff Bailey and Ryan Braun come in.

Manny Ramirez goes out - Xavier Paul and Juan Pierre come in.

Bob Melvin goes out - A.J. Hinch and Josh Whitesell come in.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Bloop and a Blast

Ryan Braun had a pinch hit bloop double the other night against the Pirates. Tonight, he hit his 2nd career grand slam off Bronson Arroyo. He had a monster of a game at the Great American Ball Park; he was 3-6 with the granny, 2 runs scored, and 6 RBIs.
Braun is hitting .320 on the year so far. He's also walking a whole lot more than he has in the past. In 2007, he walked 29 times. Last year, he walked 42 times. This year, he's already drawn 15 BBs. Coming into tonight, his OBP was .427.

Ian Kinsler was 2-4 tonight against the A's. He's hitting .328. But the real story was Scott Feldman, who was dealing for the Rangers. He went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, 2 BBs, and 3 Ks.

Craig Breslow gave up 1 run in 2 innings against the Orioles.

And finally, Josh Whitesell got the call! He was just called up by the Diamondbacks to replace Tony Clark, who's on the 15-day DL with a sore wrist. That's the good news. The bad news is he had to face Jake Peavy in his first game. The young first baseman had a so-so night. He was 0-2 with 2 BBs. Here's hoping Whitesell can play himself into the lineup on a permanent basis. If there's a team right now that needs instant offense, it's the D-Backs. And maybe Whitesell will be just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On This Date In 1962...

Bo Belinsky hurled a no-no against the Baltimore Orioles. He issued 4 BBs and struck out 9.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Braun Back for More, Youk's Back is Sore

Given Ryan Braun's recent history of back problems, it's no wonder why he was so miffed when Jeff Karstens nailed him the other day. Braun was listed as day-to-day, but came in to pinch hit against the Pirates in the 8th inning earlier today.

And wouldn't you know he came through with a bloop double to right off John Grabow, driving in 2 runs and tying the game. Grabow was credited with a blown save as the Brewers would later go on to win the game on Rickie Weeks' game-winning HR.

Braun's MRI revealed no structural damage in his back. So, that's good news.

While Braun entered a game today, Youkilis exited one in a revolving door of back injuries for the two sluggers. Youkilis left the Red Sox-Yankees game in the 6th inning after grimacing on a couple of pitches due to back stiffness. Hopefully, it's nothing serious.

The 2 hour rain delay and less than ideal weather conditions on the field may have had something to do with it. As a precautionary measure, don't be surprised if Youk sits out tomorrow's game against Joba.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Interview With Moi

Here's a link to an interview that Steve Marantz recently conducted with me for his website, Sports Media Guide.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Go The Distance, Said a Voice to Marquis in an Iowa Cornfield

And go the distance he did, picking up his 4th win of the young season. Marquis nearly pitched a complete game shutout. The only run he allowed was a solo shot off the bat of Pablo Sandoval in the 9th inning.

Other than that, he was just about perfect. He gave up 5 hits, issued 1 BB, and struck out 4 in a masterpiece against Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants. At the plate, he was 0-3 with 1 BB and 1 run scored.

It was Marquis' 5th career complete game and his 1st since 2007. Even though he's now on the Rockies, he's certainly not off to a rocky start. Sorry. Had to do it.

Former teammates Kevin Youkilis and Gabe Kapler squared off tonight as the Red Sox beat the Bay Rays 10-6. Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB, 1 double, 1 run scored, and 3 RBIs. He now has 11 doubles and 18 RBIs on the year. Kapler was 1-3 and is slowly yet surely bringing his average up.

Ian Kinsler had a solid night at the plate, going 2-4 with 1 BB, 1 double, 2 runs scored, and 1 RBI. He now has 8 doubles and 23 RBIs on the year. If you didn't see it, he was robbed of his 8th HR by a spectacular catch from Athletics' center fielder Ryan Sweeney the other day. Must not have phased Kinsler too much, though, as he took Mark Buehrle (my favorite pitcher) deep last night for his 8th roundtripper.

Scott Feldman pitched well for the Rangers against Buehrle and the White Sox. He went 5 2/3 innings, gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, 1 BB, and had 3 Ks. Had Ron Washington not taken him out in the 6th inning, he might've been able to get out of the jam he put himself in without giving up a run. Hawk Harrelson thought Washington should have let him pitch through it. I agree, though I will say that Feldman's command suffered when he had to go from the stretch.

Ryan Braun had the night off for the Brew Crew. I'm sure Dan Haren didn't mind.

Craig Breslow had a rough outing, walking 3 and giving up 3 runs in only 1/3 of an inning of work.

Finally, John Grabow had a mediocre night in the pen. He pitched 1 inning of relief and gave up an unearned run on 2 hits and 1 K.