Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marquis A Twinkie

Jason Marquis has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Minnesota Twins worth $3 million. Marquis has spent all 12 of his MLB seasons in the NL. This will be his 1st AL team. The nice thing about going to Minnesota is the park. Marquis is a groundball pitcher, and Target Field does not yield very many HRs. The only real downside to this deal is Marquis will no longer get any ABs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PED Or STD?

According to TMZ, Ryan Braun had been taking a medication to treat a private medical issue, and that's why he ultimately tested positive. TMZ cited "sources directly connected to Major League Baseball."

If this is true, Braun could end up being exonerated. At the very least, his 50-game suspension could be reduced.

Grabow Signs Minor League Deal With Dodgers

John Grabow has signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers that includes an invite to Spring Training.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Downfall Of Braun?

Ryan Braun has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Braun is disputing the result through arbitration. I'm not going to comment on this right now, as there are simply too many unknowns at the moment. However, my gut reaction is, "Wow, this sucks on so many levels." For more on this breaking news, here's a link to an ESPN article.

Breslow Traded To D-Backs

Craig Breslow was just traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Trevor Cahill for top prospect Jarrod Parker, Colin Cowgill, and Ryan Cook. Breslow is well-traveled; this will be his 6th MLB team since 2005 when he broke in with the Padres. This will also be his 2nd NL team.

William at The Flagrant Fan gave me the heads up on this, so thank you, William. And check out his terrific blog if you haven't already done so. He always has insightful and thought-provoking posts about baseball.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011: A Year In Review

Was 2011 eventful? Eh. One NL MVP. Two 30/30 seasons. Three rookie debuts. Eh, my tuchus!

Ryan Braun - What happens when a superstar enters his magical age-27 season? Ryan Braun in 2011 is what happens. This guy was in "beast mode" all season long. In 150 games, the NL MVP's line was .332/.397/.597 for an OPS of .994 (166 OPS+) in 629 PAs. He hit 33 HRs, 38 doubles, 6 triples, drove in 111 runs, scored 109 runs, and stole 33 bags (only 6 CS). Yeah, that's a 30/30 season, 33/33 if you want to get technical. Braun joined Shawn Green and Ian Kinsler as the only JMLs to ever have a 30/30 season. His 23-game hitting streak was also one of the longest streaks among JMLs, falling behind only Shawn Green (28 games in 1999), Gabe Kapler (28 games in 2000), Ian Kinsler (25 games in 2008), and Buddy Myer (24 games in 1929). The hitting streak tied 2 other such streaks by Myer (1928) and Kevin Youkilis (2007). Braun led the NL in extra base hits (77), slugging, and OPS. He ranked 2nd in runs scored, total bases (336), and batting average. He was 4th in RBIs and doubles. He was 5th in OBP and hits (187). He was 6th in HRs and 7th in SBs. Braun set career-bests in BA, OBP, OPS+, SBs, BBs (58), walk rate (9.2%), strikeout rate (14.8%), BB/K ratio (0.62), SB percentage (85%), and WAR (7.8). In each of his 5 seasons in The Show, his walk rate has gone up and his strikeout rate has gone down. In all of baseball, he was 5th in WAR (Wins Above Replacement), one spot ahead of Ian Kinsler. In the NL, he was 2nd in WAR behind only Matt Kemp. His .265 ISO was his best mark since 2008. He didn't have any noticeable splits. His 2nd half was slightly better than his 1st half. In the 1st half, he put up a line of .320/.402/.559 for an OPS of .961 in 351 PAs. In the 2nd half, he put up a line of .346/.392/.642 for an OPS of 1.034 in 278 PAs. Defensively, Braun was also impressive. In the NL among left fielders, he was 1st in fielding percentage (.996) and 3rd in range factor. Among all NL outfielders, he was 4th in fielding percentage. This was also his 3rd season with 8 or more assists. Braun was selected to his 4th consecutive All-Star Game and received his 4th consecutive Silver Slugger award. And, of course, he won the NL MVP, the first time a JML has won the prestigious award since Sandy Koufax in 1963. As far as winning an MVP is concerned, Braun is in elite company with Koufax, Al Rosen (1953), and Hank Greenberg (1935 and 1940). Braun is also the only JML to ever win Rookie of the Year and MVP. Braun was no slouch in the postseason, either. In 11 playoff games, he posted a line of .405/.468/.714 for an OPS of 1.182 in 47 PAs. He hit 2 HRs, 7 doubles, drove in 10 runs, scored 7 runs, and stole 1 base. With Prince Fielder likely on the move in the offseason, Braun will certainly miss the protection he provided. Even so, I wouldn't expect too much of a dropoff in his production. Obviously, he'll be pitched around more often, but Braun has demonstrated he's not the free swinger he was when he first entered the league.

Craig Breslow - Definitely a down year for Breslow. In 59 1/3 innings, he was 0-2 with 8 holds, a 3.79 ERA (107 ERA+), 1.52 WHIP, 10.5 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, and 6.7 K/9. Opponents hit .296 against him. That's not getting the job done. While his walk rate was a career-best, his strikeout rate was a career-worst. Coming into the season, his career K/9 had been 7.8. Oddly enough, he fared much better against righties (.261 BAA, .714 OPS) than lefties (.352 BAA, .866 OPS). He also pitched much better at night (2.57 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .275 BAA, 35 innings) than during the day (5.55 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, .324 BAA, 24 1/3 innings), which has been a trend in his career, though not to this extreme. Breslow will be 31 next year. His best years may be behind him, but I would not be surprised to see him bounce back somewhat in 2012.

Ike Davis - Ike looked like he was going to have a breakout season in his sophomore campaign, but he ended up missing most of the year because of a severe ankle injury. In 36 games, his line was .302/.383/.543 for an OPS of .925 (155 OPS+) in 149 PAs. He hit 7 HRs, 8 doubles, 1 triple, drove in 25 runs, scored 20 runs, and drew 17 BBs. His walk rate was 11.4% and his strikeout rate went down from 23% to 20.8%. His ISO was .240, up from .176 the year before. Probably not sustainable, but it really did look like he was going to hit for more power this year. And with the forthcoming dimension changes to Citi Field, Ike should find his home park more conducive to the long ball. He'll turn 25 next year and won't require surgery in the offseason. In the Fantasy world, he's what you would call a sleeper. Look for big things from the big man in 2012.

Scott Feldman - Coming off a disappointing season and microfracture surgery on his right knee, it would have been easy to write Feldman off for 2011. Easy and premature. Feldman made 11 appearances (2 of them starts) and did an excellent job of saving the Rangers' taxed bullpen when starters couldn't go deep. In 32 innings, Feldman was 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA (114 ERA+), 1.09 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.8 BB/9, 6.2 K/9, and 2.20 K/BB. Feldman set career-bests in WHIP, BAA (.216), and groundball rate (62.1%). That is an incredible amount of groundballs. His walk rate and strikeout rate were his best marks since 2006. One thing that seemed to account for Feldman's renewed success was his changeup; he went to the change 15.5% of the time, up from 6.5% last year. His 3.99 FIP and 3.72 xFIP suggest he was this good and didn't merely get lucky in a relatively small sample size. Feldman was lights out at night (1.04 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, .138 BAA, 17 1/3 innings) and at home (2.33 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .182 BAA, 19 1/3 innings). In the regular season, Feldman tossed 10 consecutive scoreless innings at one point. In the postseason, he tossed 10 1/3 scoreless innings. Apart from Game 1, he was ineffective in the World Series, but overall in the postseason he was 1-0 in 13 2/3 innings with a 3.29 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 5.3 H/9, 0.0 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9, and 7.2 K/9.

Sam Fuld - Super Sam Fuld made quite an impression with the Rays early on in the season and quickly became a fan favorite. He was a human highlight reel, and now the baseball world knows what Cubs fans have known all along: Fuld is a terrific outfielder. In left field, Fuld had the 4th best UZR (8.5) in all of baseball. His overall outfield UZR was 9.5. Fuld wasn't too shabby at the plate, either. In 105 games, his line was .240/.313/.360 for an OPS of .673 (92 OPS+) in 346 PAs. He hit 3 HRs, 18 doubles, 5 triples, drove in 27 runs, scored 41 runs, drew 32 walks, and stole 20 bases. Fuld joins Braun, Ian Kinsler, Gabe Kapler, Elliott Maddox, and Buddy Myer as the only JMLs to ever steal 20 or more bags in a season. Fuld's walk rate was 9.2% while his strikeout rate was 14.2%. That's a pretty good ratio. Not known for his power, his ISO was .120, the 3rd highest total of his professional career (including the minors). Fuld hit much better against righties (.710) than lefties (.554 OPS) and also hit much better at home (.730 OPS) than on the road (.613 OPS). He got off to a fast start in April and swiped 10 of his 20 bags that month. He finished the season strong with a line of .246/.358/.391 for an OPS of .749 in 83 PAs in the 2nd half. In the postseason, Fuld was 0 for 3. He received significantly less playing time in the 2nd half because of Desmond Jennings being recalled. I would expect Fuld's playing time to take a dip next year as well. However, the 29-year-old Stanford graduate should still make significant contributions.

John Grabow - Not going to sugarcoat it. Grabow did not have a good season. In 62 1/3 innings, he was 3-1 with 5 holds, a 4.76 ERA (82 ERA+), 1.52 WHIP, 9.7 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9, and 5.5 K/9. Coming into the season, his career K/9 had been 7.9. The fact that his strikeout rate went down so much is disconcerting. On the plus side, his walk rate was better than his career average and his 2nd half (3.33 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 24 1/3 innings) was significantly better than his 1st half (5.68 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 38 innings). He also pitched much better during the day (3.66 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .250 BAA, 32 innings) than at night (5.93 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .293 BAA, 30 1/3 innings). He held lefties to a .244 BAA, but righties destroyed him to the tune of an .865 OPS. Mike Quade clearly overused him against righties. Grabow will be 33 next year and is currently a free agent. In the future, he should probably be used exclusively as a lefty specialist.

Ian Kinsler - Who led the Majors in BB/K ratio this year? This guy. Kinsler drew a career-high 89 BBs against just 71 Ks, which comes out to a ratio of 1.25. His walk rate of 12.3% and his strikeout rate of 9.8% were each career-bests. In 155 games and 723 PAs (2 more career-highs), Kinsler had a line of .255/.355/.477 for an OPS of .832 (117 OPS+). Oh yeah, and he also had his second 30/30 season. He is the only JML to ever have two 30/30 seasons. Only 12 players in MLB history have ever had 2 or more 30/30 seasons; Kinsler is one of them. This was his third 20/20 season. Only Joe Morgan (who had four 20/20 seasons) has more 20/20 seasons among second basemen. He hit 32 HRs (a career-high), 34 doubles, 4 triples (tying a career-high), drove in 77 runs, scored 121 runs (a career-high), and stole 30 bases (only 4 CS). He was successful on the basepaths 88% of the time and at one point stole 28 consecutive bases without being caught, breaking his own club record from 2007-2008. Kinsler also had 70 extra-base hits and 296 total bases (2 more career-bests). In the AL, he was 2nd in runs scored, 5th in HRs and BBs, 8th in ABs per K (8.7), and 9th in extra base hits and SBs. Defensively at 2B in the AL, he was 4th in games played, putouts, assists, and range factor. His UZR at 2B was 15.0 (yes, yet another career-best), which ranked 3rd in all of baseball. He led all AL second basemen in double plays, with 103. Kinsler's .223 ISO was a nice bounceback from his career-low .125 ISO in 2010. The wrist healed. The power returned. Kinsler also had a 7.7 WAR (a career-high), which ranked 4th in the AL and 6th in all of baseball. He didn't have any noticeable splits, except for his slash lines at home and on the road. At home, his line was .296/.405/.528 for an OPS of .933 in 367 PAs. On the road, his line was .214/.302/.428 for an OPS of .730 in 356 PAs. That's actually pretty much in line with his career splits at home and on the road. In the 1st half, his line was .251/.367/.448 for an OPS of .815 in 401 PAs. In the 2nd half, he had a line of .260/.340/.512 for an OPS of .852 in 322 PAs. Kinsler also had an outstanding postseason. In 17 games and 80 PAs, he had a line of .308/.438/.431 for an OPS of .868. He hit 1 HR, 5 doubles, drove in 11 runs, scored 10 runs, and stole 3 bases. His BB/K ratio was 14/9. The only blemish was the 4 CS, due in large part to Yadier Molina. In the World Series, he had a line of .360/.500/.400 for an OPS of .900 in 32 PAs. Hard to believe, but Kinsler will turn 30 next June. He'll still be in his prime in a great lineup and hitter's park. He finished 11th in the AL MVP vote (another career-best). I see no reason why he can't finish higher than that in 2012.

Ryan Lavarnway - Lavarnway made his MLB debut with the Red Sox on August 18. He had 7 starts at DH and put the gear on in 8 games (2 starts). In 17 games, his line was .231/.302/.436 for an OPS of .738 (96 OPS+) in 43 PAs. He hit 2 HRs, 2 doubles, drove in 8 runs, and scored 5 runs. He also threw out the lone baserunner who attempted to steal on him. Red Sox fans got a glimpse of his potential when he went yard twice in the same game against the Orioles. Lavarnway is only 24 and an offensive-minded catcher. I don't think we've heard the last from this Yale product. Not by a long shot.

Jason Marquis - Marquis pitched decently for the Nationals. In 20 starts with them through 120 2/3 innings, he was 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA (98 ERA+), 1.42 WHIP, 9.8 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 5.3 K/9, and 1.82 K/BB. When he was traded to the Diamondbacks, it got ugly. Real ugly. In 3 starts with them, he wasn't able to go beyond 4 innings. In his 3rd start with the D-Backs, it looked like he was about to buck that trend until he fractured his right fibula. Overall on the season, he was 8-6 with a 4.43 ERA (88 ERA+), 1.49 WHIP, 10.5 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 5.2 K/9, and 1.77 K/BB in 132 innings. Definitely some positives to take away from 2011. Marquis' 2.9 BB/9 was a career-best walk rate. Likewise, his 4.05 FIP and 4.02 xFIP were also career-bests. His 5.2 K/9 was his best strikeout rate since 2007 and his 1.77 K/BB was the 2nd best strikeout to walk ratio of his career. His groundball rate (55.1%) was the 3rd best mark of his career. Marquis also recorded the 100th win of his career in 2011. He now has 104 wins against 98 losses. He pitched very well at home in Washington. In 8 starts there (49 2/3 innings), he was 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 2.78 K/BB. Of his 23 starts, 13 were quality starts. On April 29 against the Giants, he tossed the 4th complete game shutout of his career on 5 hits, 0 BBs, and 7 Ks. Marquis used to be known as an innings eater, but the last 2 years he has been hurt and hit fairly hard. He is currently a free agent and will be 33 in 2012.

Josh Satin - Satin made his MLB debut with the Mets on September 4. He only had 27 PAs in 15 games. He played 8 games at 1st base and 1 game at 3rd base. Satin will be 27 next year and while he didn't exactly take the league by storm with his line of .200/.259/.240, he could still figure into the Mets' plans for 2012 as a bench utility player. He recently learned how to play in the outfield in winter ball, so that should give him even more versatility.

Michael Schwimer - Hard to evaluate a pitcher's performance when he only logged 14 1/3 innings, but I'd say Schwimer held his own out there as a rookie. Schwimer made his MLB debut with the Phillies on August 21 and did not disappoint, tossing 3 innings of 1-run ball on 4 Ks. I don't think you can read too much into his splits because of the sample size, but he did pitch much better on the road (1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 9 1/3 innings) than at home. Schwimer had 16 Ks, which translates to a K/9 of 10.0, and he had a high strikeout rate in the minors as well, so that's probably not an anomaly. His 3.87 xFIP indicates that he pitched better than his 5.02 ERA and 1.54 WHIP showed.

Danny Valencia - Valencia probably falls into the "sophomore slump" category. In 154 games, his line was .246/.294/.383 for an OPS of .677 (86 OPS+) in 608 PAs. He hit 15 HRs, 28 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 72 runs, scored 63 runs, and had 216 total bases. He did manage to raise his average in the 2nd half, at least. In the 1st half, he hit .236. In the 2nd half, he hit .260. His best months, by far, were July and August, where he hit .303 and .283. All the splits are pretty ugly, except his line against lefties (.309/.352/.470 for an OPS of .822 in 159 PAs). His ISO remained the same as last year at .137 and his strikeout rate went up some (14.3% to 16.8%), but his walk rate went up a little as well (6.2% to 6.6%). Valencia led the Twins in RBIs and games played and was 2nd on the team in runs scored, HRs, doubles, and extra base hits behind Michael Cuddyer. Valencia will be 27 next year, and that's supposed to be a magic number for ballplayers, so hopefully he'll have a career year, as Braun did in 2011 in his age-27 season.

Kevin Youkilis - Much has been made of the Red Sox late season collapse. Youk's health in the 2nd half was probably the biggest and most overlooked reason for the collapse. Youk played in 83 games in the 1st half and put up a line of .285/.399/.512 for an OPS of .912 in 358 PAs. In the 2nd half, he played in 37 games and put up a line of .199/.314/.346 for an OPS of .660 in 159 PAs. Overall in 120 games, his line was .258/.373/.459 for an OPS of .833 (123 OPS+) in 517 PAs. He hit 17 HRs, 32 doubles, 2 triples, drove in 80 runs, scored 68 runs, and drew 68 BBs. In atypical fashion, Youk also had some alarming splits, struggling on the road (.667 OPS) and against righties (.764 OPS). He also posted his lowest ISO (.202) and WAR (3.7) since 2007. His .258 BA was a career-low. It's not all bad, though. He played a career-high 112 games at 3B and made his 3rd All-Star appearance. In the AL, he ranked 3rd in HBP (14) and his walk rate of 13.2% was stellar. As an AL third baseman, he finished 3rd in fielding percentage (.967) and 4th in putouts (87). He has 927 career hits, so he should reach 1,000 in 2012. He's been bit by the injury bug the last 2 years and will be 33 next season. With Theo Epstein now with the Cubs and Aramis Ramirez testing the market, Youk could find himself wearing Cubbie blue in the near future. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Braun Wins NL MVP!!!

Let it sink in. Ryan Braun is your 2011 NL MVP.

Braun received 20 of 32 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He had 388 total points. The runner-up, Matt Kemp, received 10 first-place votes and had 332 total points. Braun's teammate, Prince Fielder (229 total points), finished third in the MVP vote followed by Justin Upton (214 total points) and Albert Pujols (166 total points).

Braun was instrumental in leading the Brew Crew to their 1st division title since 1982 and is the 1st Brewer to win the award since Robin Yount won his 2nd AL MVP in 1989. More importantly, Braun is the 1st JML to win the MVP since Sandy Koufax in 1963. Braun joins Koufax, Al Rosen (1953), and Hank Greenberg (1935 and 1940) as the only JMLs to ever win an MVP. Lou Boudreau also won the award in 1948, if you consider him a JML.

Like this year's AL MVP, Justin Verlander, Braun also won Rookie of the Year in 2007; Verlander won that award in 2006. Braun is the only JML to ever win Rookie of the Year and an MVP. Braun has placed in the voting every year of his career. He finished 24th his rookie season, 11th in 2009, 15th in 2010, and 3rd in 2008 when the Brewers won the Wild Card.

I'll go over Braun's numbers in a forthcoming post covering the 2011 season for every JML. That will be posted soon. I wanted to wait until after the MVP voting had concluded.

It should be noted that Ian Kinsler finished 11th in the AL MVP vote, the highest he's ever placed. He had previously finished 20th in 2008 and 26th in 2009. Kinsler had 25 total points, including 1 fifth-place vote and 2 sixth-place votes. His teammate, Michael Young, finished 8th in the vote.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Team Israel Adds More Star Power

Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, and Brad Ausmus recently met in Los Angeles with Israeli baseball officials; they are determined to help Israel assemble a competitive team for next year's qualifying round in the World Baseball Classic.

Green said he would help the team "in any capacity" and did not rule out playing. If you'll recall, Bernie Williams played in the 2009 WBC with Puerto Rico's team after he had retired from MLB in 2006. He was 40 at the time. Shawn Green last played in 2007 with the Mets and will turn 40 next November.

Ausmus said he would try to reach out to Jewish major leaguers and believes the team "could be a contender" in 2013 if it can get past the qualifying round. Ausmus hopes to bridge the gap between Jewish American baseball fans and Israeli baseball fans.

Kapler believes many Jewish ballplayers will want to participate in this historic event. Peter Kurz, the secretary-general of the Israel Association of Baseball, said the qualifying team will recruit recently retired major leaguers as well as current players in the minors and even players at the collegiate level. Obviously, recruiting current major leaguers will be a top priority, but that may not happen unless the team can advance beyond the qualifying round.

Kurz also said Green, Kapler, and Ausmus are each going to contribute in coaching, recruiting, and fund raising. One of the three is expected to become the team manager. Ausmus seems like the logical choice. He is one of the more cerebral baseball minds around, and it has long been thought that he would make an excellent skipper.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Braun's Burgeoning Trophy Case

Ryan Braun won his 4th Silver Slugger award and became the 1st outfielder since Barry Bonds to win 4 straight Silver Slugger awards. Will Braun add an MVP to his Silver Sluggers and Rookie of the Year? We'll find out November 22. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Tough Pill To Swallow For The Rangers

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-3 with 1 BB against the Cardinals. The Cardinals won the Fall Classic in 7 games. However, Kinsler had a great postseason, posting a line of .308/.438/.431 for an OPS of .868 in 65 ABs. He hit 1 HR, 5 doubles, drove in 11 runs, scored 10 runs, and stole 3 bases. His BB/K ratio was 14/9. Apart from his pivotal SB in Game 2 of the World Series, it should be noted that Yadier Molina had his number on the basepaths.

Scott Feldman pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up 2 runs on 3 BBs (1 IBB) and 1 HBP. Feldman's command was obviously off, but in his defense he may have got squeezed a few times.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hold Onto Your Butts

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 5th), 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Cardinals. Game 6 was an instant classic if there ever was one. The World Series is tied at 3-3. Game 7 will be played on Friday. This will be the 1st Game 7 of the Fall Classic since 2002. To quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park: "Hold onto your butts."

Scott Feldman pitched 2/3 of an inning on 1 hit and 1 BB (IBB) against the Cardinals. Feldman entered the game in the 10th inning with a 2-run lead, 1 out, and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Feldman didn't pitch poorly and had he started the inning without the inherited baserunners, things might have turned out differently. But as it is, he is credited with a blown save.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Liking The Playoff Beard

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-3 with 2 BBs (1 IBB) against the Cardinals. The Rangers lead the World Series 3-2. Game 6 will be played on Wednesday in St. Louis.

Scott Feldman pitched 2/3 of an inning on 1 hit and 1 K against the Cardinals.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Classic Up For Grabs

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 BB against the Cardinals. Also made this nice play up the middle. The series is tied at 2-2. Game 5 will be played on Monday.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cards Win A Laugher, Who Will Have Last Laugh?

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB against the Cardinals. The Rangers are down 1-2 in the World Series. Game 4 will be played on Sunday.

Scott Feldman pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 BBs against the Cardinals. Prior to this appearance, Feldman hadn't given up a run or walked a batter in the postseason. This is what you'd call regression.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Even Ian Steven

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 3rd) against the Cardinals. The Rangers were down 1-0 heading into the 9th inning. Kinsler led off the inning with a bloop hit to left, then got himself into scoring position by swiping 2nd off Yadier Molina, the best catcher in the game. He would go on to score the game-tying run later in the inning. The series is tied 1-1. Game 3 will be played on Saturday in Texas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rangers Drop Game 1 Of The Fall Classic

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-4 against the Cardinals. The Rangers are down 0-1 in the World Series. Game 2 will be played on Thursday.

Scott Feldman pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings on 1 hit and 1 K against the Cardinals.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brewers Down For The Count

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 with 1 RBI against the Cardinals. The Brewers lost the series in 6 games. It was a good run, but the Cardinals got hot at the right time, much like they did in 2006. Braun had a great postseason. In 11 games and 47 PAs, he put up a line of .405/.468/.714 for an OPS of 1.182. He hit 2 HRs, 7 doubles, had 10 RBIs, 7 runs scored, and 1 SB. It would have been cool to see Braun vs. Kinsler in the World Series. Oh well.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't Mess With Texas

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 BB, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Tigers. The Rangers won the series in 6 games and have reached the World Series for the 2nd consecutive season. So far in the postseason, Kinsler has a line of .275/.396/.450 for an OPS of .846 in 48 PAs. In 10 games, he has hit 1 HR, 4 doubles, has 9 RBIs, 8 runs scored, and 2 SBs. His BB/K ratio is 7/5.

Scott Feldman pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Tigers. Feldman has almost been perfect in the postseason. He's tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings of relief on 3 hits, 0 BBs, and 9 Ks.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brewers Down 2-3 Heading Back To Milwaukee

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 double (his 7th) against the Cardinals. The Brewers are down 2-3 in the series. Game 6 will be played on Sunday. The Brewers had the best home record in all of baseball in the regular season; they were 57-24 at home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Braun's Brewers Even It Up

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 1 RBI against the Cardinals. Braun drove in what turned out to be the game-winner for the Brew Crew in the 5th inning. The series is tied 2-2. Game 5 will be played on Friday.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 4th), and 2 runs scored against the Tigers. The Rangers lead the series 3-2. Game 6 will be played on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Postseason Pendulum Swings

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 3rd), 1 RBI, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 2nd) against the Tigers. The Rangers lead the series 3-1. Game 5 will be played on Thursday.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-3 with 1 HBP against the Cardinals. The Brewers are down in the series 1-2. Game 4 will be played on Thursday.

Scott Feldman picked up his 1st win of the postseason. He pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 HBP and 1 K against the Tigers. He only had 1 day of rest in between appearances, and his last appearance was 4 1/3 innings (49 pitches).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rangers Lead ALCS 2-1

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-3 with 1 HBP, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Tigers. The Rangers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 will be played on Wednesday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Feldman Tames The Tigers In Game 2

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 double (his 6th) against the Cardinals. Braun is still hitting .500 in the postseason. Yeah, that's not a typo. The series is tied 1-1. Game 3 will be played on Wednesday.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-5 against the Tigers.

Scott Feldman pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings on 1 hit, 0 BBs, and 4 Ks against the Tigers. His groundball to flyball ratio was 6-2. Feldman kept the Rangers in the game after starter Derek Holland was pulled before he could finish 3 innings. Feldman is definitely the unsung hero of this game for the Rangers. They lead the series 2-0. Game 3 will be played on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Brew Crew's One-Man Wrecking Crew

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 2nd), 1 double (his 5th), 4 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Cardinals. The Brewers lead the series 1-0. Game 2 will be played on Monday.

The Rangers-Tigers game was postponed. Game 2 will be played on Monday.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Verlander? No Problem

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-3 with 1 BB and 1 RBI against the Tigers. The Rangers lead the series 1-0. Game 2 will be played on Sunday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Braun's Wallbangers

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 4th), and 1 run scored against the Diamondbacks. The Brewers have won their 1st playoff series since 1982 and will play the 1st game of the NLCS against the Cardinals on Sunday. In the NLDS, Braun was 9 for 18 with 3 BBs, 1 HR, 4 doubles, 4 RBIs, 5 runs scored, and 1 SB against the Diamondbacks.

Ian Kinsler's Rangers will play the 1st game of the ALCS on Saturday. In the ALDS, Kinsler was 4 for 16 with with 3 BBs, 1 HR, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 2 runs scored, and 1 SB against the Rays.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Brewers & D-Backs Series Tied 2-2

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 3rd), 1 RBI, and 1 SB (his 1st) against the Diamondbacks. The series is tied at 2-2. Game 5 will be played on Friday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rangers Advance To ALCS Again

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 1st), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Rays. The Rangers won 4-3 and closed out the series at 3-1. Texas will advance to the ALCS for the 2nd consecutive season and will face the winner of the Tigers-Yankees series. Game 5 of that series will be played on Thursday.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-3 with 1 BB against the Diamondbacks. The Brewers are up 2-1 in the series. Game 4 will be played on Wednesday.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Rangers.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Man Of Vision

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 2nd), 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 1st) against the Rays. The Rangers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 will be played on Tuesday.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Rangers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Braun In Beast Mode

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-4 with 1 HR (his 1st), 1 double (his 2nd), 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Diamondbacks. The Brewers are up 2-0 in the series. Game 3 will be played on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Double Your Pleasure

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-4 with 1 double (his 1st) and 2 runs scored against the Diamondbacks. Braun set the tone early by saving a run and gunning down Willie Bloomquist in the 1st inning. The Brewers lead the series 1-0. Game 2 will be played tomorrow.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 double (his 1st) and 2 RBIs against the Rays. Kinsler's 2-run double in the 6th inning turned out to be the game-winner for the Rangers. The series is even at 1-1. Game 3 will be played on Monday.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Rangers.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Feldman Pitches Well On The Big Stage

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-3 with 1 BB against the Rays. The Rays won the 1st game of the ALDS. Game 2 will be played tomorrow.

Making his postseason debut, Scott Feldman pitched 3 scoreless innings on 2 hits and 4 Ks against the Rays.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Exhilarating Finish To The Regular Season

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 1-2 with 1 run scored against the Reds.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 against the Royals.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-2 with 2 BBs (1 IBB) against the Angels. Kinsler's Rangers will face Sam Fuld and the Rays in the ALDS on Friday.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 with 1 SB (his 33rd) against the Pirates. Jose Reyes got a bunt hit in his 1st AB and then took himself out of the game to preserve his average. Pretty gutless, if you ask me. Although Braun isn't the batting champ, I still think he is a viable MVP candidate. However, If Matt Kemp ends up winning, so be it. He also deserves it. Braun's Brewers will face the Diamondbacks in the NLDS on Saturday.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-0 with 1 BB and 1 RBI against the Yankees. Fuld drove in the 1st run for the Rays in the 8th inning when they were down 7-0 in what turned out to be an amazing comeback. I was upset when Joe Maddon pinch hit for Fuld with Dan Johnson in his next AB with 2 outs in the 9th inning. Ah, yeah, good call, Mr. Maddon. You have to wonder if this will bite the Yankees in the derriere later. They could have used Mo to close out the game. Instead, Joe Girardi elected to go with Cory Wade. Right now, I would say the Rays are a lot more dangerous than the Red Sox.

Batting 5th, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-5 against the Orioles. Pretty big collapse for the Red Sox. Sure could have used Youkilis down the stretch.

Michael Schwimer pitched 2 scoreless innings on 1 hit and 2 Ks against the Braves. Schwimer's Phillies will face the Cardinals in the NLDS on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kinsler & Lavarnway Share The Spotlight

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-5 with 1 HR (his 32nd), 1 double (his 34th), 1 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 1 SB (his 30th) against the Angels. Kinsler is the 12th player in MLB history to ever have 2 or more 30/30 seasons. He's quietly had a terrific season, setting career-highs in games played, runs scored, HRs, extra base hits, total bases, BBs, and BB/K ratio.

Batting 6th, Ryan Lavarnway was 2-4 with 2 HRs (his 1st and 2nd), 4 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Orioles. This was a game of firsts for the young catcher. Lavarnway got his 1st career start at catcher, threw out his 1st baserunner, hit his 1st home run, had his 1st multi-HR game, had his 1st multi-RBI game, had his 1st multi-run-scoring game, and had his 1st game-winning hit. His solo shot in the 8th inning ended up being the game-winner for the Sox. Also, had he not gotten robbed of a bases-clearing double or triple by Nick Markakis in the 5th inning, he would have had 7 RBIs. Huge win for the Sox. Huge night for the rookie.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-2 with 2 BBs, 2 runs scored, and 1 SB (his 32nd) against the Pirates. Jose Reyes is hitting .336. Braun is hitting .335. Looks like the NL batting title will come down to the wire.

Batting 3rd, Danny Valencia was 2-4 with 1 run scored against the Royals.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 0-1 with 1 BB against the Reds.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Mariners.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are You Ready For Some Baseball Postseason?!

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Angels.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Braun was 1-1 with 1 double (his 38th) and 1 RBI against the Pirates.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 against the Royals.

Batting 7th, Josh Satin was 0-2 with 1 HBP against the Reds.

Ryan Lavarnway caught for 1 inning against the Orioles.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seal The Deal With One More Steal!

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 31st), 2 RBIs, 3 runs scored, and 2 SBs (his 28th and 29th) against the Mariners. Kinsler also attempted to swipe his 30th bag but was caught stealing for just the 3rd time all year. In fact, this is the 1st time he's been caught since April 15; he was 28 for 28 before finally getting caught again. The Rangers have 3 games left on their schedule, so theoretically Kinsler will have 3 more games to get that last steal for 30/30.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-3 with 1 HR (his 33rd), 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Marlins.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 0-4 with 1 RBI against the Indians.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 0-1 against the Phillies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dos Doubleheaders

Five years of Spanish on display for you. Clearly, it paid off.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 triple (his 6th), 1 double (his 37th), and 2 RBIs against the Marlins.

Batting 5th in the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Indians, Danny Valencia was 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Batting 5th in the 2nd game, Valencia was 1-3 with 1 RBI.

Pinch hitting in the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Phillies, Josh Satin was 1-3. Batting 7th in the 2nd game, Satin was 0-3. He played 1st base in both games.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-1 against the Yankees. Lavarnway also caught for 2 innings.

Scott Feldman picked up his 2nd win of the season. He pitched 4 innings and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, 1 BB, and 4 Ks against the Mariners. His groundball to flyball ratio was 7-4.

In the 2nd game of a doubleheader against the Mets, Michael Schwimer pitched 1 scoreless inning on 2 Ks.

Craig Breslow pitched 2/3 of an inning on 1 hit and 1 K against the Angels.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Braun's Brewers Breaks Out The Bubbly

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 HR (his 32nd), 3 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Marlins. Braun's bomb to center in the 8th was the game-winner for the Brewers and clinched the NL Central. Here he is laying out and doubling up Emilio Bonifacio at 1st. The guy does it all. If you'll recall, Braun also went yard in 2008 in a critical game down the stretch to catapult the Brew Crew into the playoffs.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

6 Games, 3 SBs To Go

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 SB (his 27th) against the A's.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 0-4 against the Mariners. Valencia is 0 for his last 13.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 0-1 against the Cardinals.

Sam Fuld was a late inning defensive replacement in right field against the Yankees.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Go For It, Kinsler

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-4 with 1 HR (his 30th), 1 RBI, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 26th) against the A's. Kinsler's HR in the 8th inning tied the game at 2 apiece. The Rangers would go on to win the game. This is the 2nd time Kinsler has hit 30 HRs in his career. The Rangers have 7 games left on their schedule. So unless he sits, Kinsler will have 7 games to swipe 4 bags to reach 30/30. Call me crazy, but that doesn't sound inconceivable.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 1-2 with 1 double (his 1st) and 2 RBIs against the Cardinals. This was Satin's 1st extra base hit and also the 1st time he's driven anyone in. Maybe this will earn him a little more playing time in the coming days.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 0-4 with 1 BB against the Mariners.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 against the Cubs.

Michael Schwimer pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 hit against the Nationals.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grabow Prevails Over Braun

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-5 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored against the Cubs.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-3 with 2 BBs and 1 run scored against the A's.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 0-5 against the Mariners.

John Grabow pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Brewers. He got Braun to ground into a fielder's choice.

In the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Nationals, Michael Schwimer pitched 1 inning and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and 2 Ks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Case Of The Mondays

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-3 with 1 BB against the Yankees.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 against the Cubs.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-1 in the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Orioles.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Youk's Return Uncertain

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-4 with 2 runs scored against the Reds.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 run scored against the Mariners.

Pinch hitting, Danny Valencia was 0-0 with 1 BB and 1 RBI against the Indians. Valencia still has the flu.

Kevin Youkilis sat out another game, and Terry Francona isn't sure when he'll return to the lineup.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 2 hits and 1 BB against the Tigers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

MVP? He's Got My Vote

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-5 with 1 HR (his 31st), 4 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Reds. Braun has scored 101 or more runs 3 years in a row and has driven in 103 or more runs 4 years in a row.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Mariners.

Sam Fuld was used as a late inning defensive replacement in right field against the Red Sox.

Friday, September 16, 2011

30/30 A Reality For Braun

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 2 HRs (his 29th and 30th), 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Reds. Braun joins Shawn Green and Ian Kinsler in a pretty exclusive club. Braun has hit 30 or more HRs in 4 of his 5 seasons.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 against the Mariners. Kinsler has played in 145 games. That is new career-high for a season.

Danny Valencia was scratched from today's lineup because of the flu.

Kevin Youkilis sat out today. It has already been announced he'll sit out tomorrow as well.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on 1 K against the Tigers.

Scott Feldman pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 K against the Mariners.

Michael Schwimer picked up his 1st loss of the season. He pitched 1 inning and gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 BBs against the Cardinals.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Schwiming With The Sharks

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Indians.

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 0-3 against the Rays.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-1 against the Rays.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 0-1 against the Nationals.

In the 2nd game of a doubleheader against the Marlins, Michael Schwimer picked up his 1st win of the season (and his career). Schwimer pitched 1 scoreless inning on 2 Ks.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Grabow & Breslow In Rare Form Tonight

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-5 with 1 HR (his 29th), 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Indians.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 2-5 with 1 RBI against the Royals.

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 1-3 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Blue Jays.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 against the Rockies.

Batting 6th, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-3 with 1 RBI against the Blue Jays.

Batting 7th, Josh Satin was 0-3 against the Nationals.

Batting leadoff, Sam Fuld was 0-2 against the Orioles. Fuld left the game with a strained tendon in his wrist. He's considered day-to-day.

John Grabow pitched 2 scoreless innings on 1 hit and 1 K against the Reds.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 K against the Angels.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Braun Shocks The Rox

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-5 with 1 HR (his 28th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Rockies. Braun's HR was a walkoff in the 11th inning. Braun has driven in 97 or more runs every year of his career.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 1-2 with 1 BB against the Royals.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB and 1 SB (his 25th) against the Indians. This is Kinsler's 2nd career 25/25 season.

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 0-3 with 1 HBP against the Blue Jays.

Ryan Lavarnway caught 1 inning against the Blue Jays.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on 1 BB against the Angels.

Michael Schwimer pitched 1 scoreless inning on 2 hits against the Astros.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Braun Comes Through, Kinsler Locked In

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-5 with 1 RBI, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 24th) against the A's. That's 4 multi-hit games in a row. Kinsler is hitting .405 over his last 10 games. Looks like his bad luck and low BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is finally turning around. He'll have to pick up the pace on the basepaths if he wants to reach 30 SBs, though.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 RBI against the Phillies. Braun drove in the game-winner off Vance Worley in the 7th inning.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 1-1 with 1 run scored against the Cubs. Incidentally, Satin's hit was off John Grabow.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Lavarnway (recalled from AAA) was 0-1 against the Rays. Lavarnway also put on the gear for 1 inning.

Kevin Youkilis sat out his 3rd straight game. On top of his hip bursitis, he also has a hernia. The Red Sox have an off day tomorrow. Hopefully, the extra rest will do him some good.

Michael Schwimer pitched 1/3 of an inning on 1 K against the Brewers. I saw his appearance. He made Prince Fielder look silly with his off-speed pitches.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits and 1 K against the Rangers.

John Grabow pitched 1 inning and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and 1 K against the Mets.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Clarification On Identification

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-4 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 33rd), and 2 runs scored against the A's. Over his last 9 games, Kinsler has 11 RBIs and scored 15 runs.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 1 double (his 36th) and 1 run scored against the Phillies.

Batting cleanup, Danny Valencia was 0-3 with 1 RBI against the Tigers.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Red Sox.

Apparently, Dylan Axelrod is not a JML. Ron Kaplan confirmed it at Kaplan's Korner.

However, it turns out Paul Goldschmidt is Jewish on his father's side but was raised as a Christian. For the record, that isn't the answer I got from the Jewish Sports Review when I inquired a few years ago.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Youkilis Has Bursitis

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-4 with 1 BB and 4 runs scored against the A's. Kinsler has scored a career-high 105 runs this season.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 with 1 triple (his 2nd), 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Tigers.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 against the Phillies.

Kevin Youkilis was flown back to Boston for an MRI on his sore left hip; he has bursitis. As of right now, he's considered day-to-day.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 hit and 1 BB against the Rangers.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ike Will NOT Need Ankle Surgery

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 0-3 with 1 BB against the Blue Jays.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 against the Phillies.

Pinch hitting in game 1 of a doubleheader against the Braves, Josh Satin was 0-1. Pinch hitting in game 2, Satin was 0-1.

Doctors have confirmed that Ike Davis will not require surgery on his left ankle. Davis has been relatively pain-free the last 2 weeks and has recently resumed baseball activities.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Enjoy The Ride, Axelrod Arrives On South Side

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 2 HRs (his 27th and 28th), 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Rays. Wow. That's 7 HRs in 7 games. Again, wow. This is Kinsler's 3rd season where he has scored 101 or more runs.

Batting cleanup, Danny Valencia was 1-4 with 2 RBIs and 1 run scored against the White Sox.

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 1-4 with 1 HBP and 1 RBI against the Blue Jays.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 against the Cardinals.

Making his MLB debut with the White Sox, Dylan Axelrod pitched 2 scoreless innings on 2 hits, 1 BB, and 2 Ks against the Twins. According to Neil Keller, Axelrod is an MOT on his father's side. However, it should be noted he wasn't raised Jewish.

As far as his actual performance, he doesn't have overpowering stuff, but it looks like he can paint and has a decent changeup and slider. Splitting time between AA and AAA, Axelrod made 26 appearances and 24 starts. He was 9-3 with a 2.69 ERA, 1.069 WHIP, 7.5 H/9, 0.2 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9, 7.9 K/9, and 3.77 K/BB. He gave up just 126 hits in 150 2/3 innings and had 132 Ks. Definitely a control artist. It's doubtful the Sox will give him any starts this year (unless they shut down Jake Peavy), but in the future I could see him being a swingman and possibly getting a shot at cracking the rotation. Peavy is injury-prone and has 1 year left on his contract, Mark Buehrle is contemplating retirement, and I don't see the Sox being able to hang onto both John Danks and Gavin Floyd.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yep, Home Run Binge

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 26th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Rays. Kinsler has hit 5 HRs in his last 6 games.

Batting cleanup, Kevin Youkilis was 2-4 with 2 BBs, 1 double (his 32nd), 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Blue Jays.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 with 1 BB against the Cardinals.

Batting cleanup, Danny Valencia was 0-4 against the White Sox.

John Grabow picked up his 1st loss of the year. He pitched 2 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits, 1 BB (IBB), and 1 K against the Reds.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Not In My House, Zach Stewart!

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 1 HR (his 27th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Cardinals.

Batting 6th in the 1st game of a doubleheader against the White Sox, Danny Valencia was 1-3 with 1 BB and 1 run scored. Batting cleanup in the 2nd game, Valencia was 1-3 with 1 double (his 28th). Valencia's double broke up Zach Stewart's bid for a perfect game in the 8th inning.

Batting 5th, Kevin Youkilis was 0-4 with 1 BB against the Blue Jays.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 against the Rays.

Pinch hitting, Josh Satin was 0-1 against the Marlins.

Scott Feldman picked up his 1st loss of the year. He went 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, 4 BBs, and 2 Ks against the Rays.

Craig Breslow picked up his 3rd blown save of the year. He pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 1 hit and 1 K against the Royals.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Proclivity For Productivity

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-5 with 1 HR (his 25th), 1 triple (his 4th), 3 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Red Sox. Kinsler has 4 HRs, 8 RBIs, and 6 runs scored in his last 4 games.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-3 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 26th), 3 RBIs, and 1 run scored against the Astros.

Batting cleanup, Kevin Youkilis was 2-4 with 1 double (his 31st) and 1 run scored against the Rangers.

Batting 7th in his MLB debut, Josh Satin was 1-2 with 1 run scored against the Nationals. Here is Satin's 1st career hit.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 0-3 against the Angels.

Scott Feldman will make another spot start tomorrow against the Rays.

Michael Schwimer picked up his 2nd blown save of the season. He pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 1 hit, 3 BBs, and 2 Ks against the Marlins.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Valencia's Surprising Power

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 with 1 HR (his 15th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Angels. Most projections had Valencia in the 10-11 HR range before the season started. Not to toot my own horn, but I actually put him in the 12-16 range and said he was capable of approaching 20.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-5 with 1 run scored against the Astros.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Red Sox.

Batting cleanup, Kevin Youkilis was 0-5 against the Rangers.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Time For A Home Run Binge?

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 24th), 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the Red Sox. That ball was crushed. Kinsler has scored 96 or more runs in 4 of the 6 seasons he's played.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 2-5 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 28th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Angels.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-5 with 2 RBIs and 1 run scored against the Astros. Braun drove in the game-winning run in the 7th inning. Braun has driven in and scored at least 91 runs in each of his 5 seasons.

Batting cleanup, Kevin Youkilis was 0-3 against the Rangers.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 1-1 against the Orioles.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Satin Won't Be Sittin' In September

The Mets have called up Josh Satin from AAA. Satin will likely be used as a utility player, as he can play 3B, 2B, and 1B. At 26, Satin has certainly paid his dues and has been very good at every level in the minors. Splitting time between AA and AAA this season, he put up a line of .323/.411/.495 for an OPS of .906 in 564 PAs. He hit 12 HRs, 43 doubles, 2 triples, drew 71 BBs, drove in 76 runs, and scored 77 runs.

Ryan Kalish will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck. The 23-year old outfielder missed most of the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and now he has this to contend with. Kalish was thought to be the heir apparent to J.D. Drew in right field for the Red Sox, but to be fair Josh Reddick has made a case for himself and this has obviously been a lost season for Kalish. Hopefully, he comes back strong in 2012 so we can see more of this and this.

Kinsler's Quiet Quest For Another 30/30 Season

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-3 with 1 BB, 2 HRs (his 22nd and 23rd), 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored, and 1 SB (his 23rd) against the Rays. I've been talking about Ryan Braun's legitimate shot at a 30/30 season seemingly all year, but Kinsler has quietly put himself in a position to have another one if he gets hot. At the very least, it looks like he's poised to have a 25/25 season, which is also quite rare.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-5 against the Cardinals.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Rangers.

Craig Breslow pitched 2 scoreless innings on 1 hit and 3 Ks against the Indians. Good to see Breslow finally have a dominant outing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ike's Ankle Feeling Better

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 triple (his 5th), 1 RBI, and 1 SB (his 31st) against the Cardinals. Braun would have likely hit an inside-the-park HR had he not stumbled down the 3rd base line. This is what I'm talking about.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 0-3 with 1 BB against the White Sox.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 against the Rays.

Ike Davis isn't feeling any discomfort in his left ankle while running, so the Mets will test him with more strenuous activity. If Ike passes their tests, there is still a chance he could return and avoid surgery.

John Grabow pitched 2/3 of an inning against the Giants.

Craig Breslow pitched 2/3 of an inning against the Indians on 1 hit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feldman Spot-On In Spot Start

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 1-1 against the Rangers.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 0-4 against the Cardinals.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 against the Rays.

Pinch hitting, Danny Valencia was 0-1 against the White Sox.

Kevin Youkilis had his 1st rehab assignment today and is expected to return from the DL on Friday.

Scott Feldman was brilliant in his 1st start of the year, picking up his 1st win of the year. He pitched 6 scoreless innings on 2 hits, 1 BB, and 4 Ks against the Rays. His groundball to flyball ratio was 13-1.

Michael Schwimer pitched 1 scoreless inning on 1 hit and 1 K against the Reds.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 against the White Sox.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scott Swingman

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 double (his 35th), and 1 RBI against the Cubs. Braun has hit 6 doubles in his last 5 games.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB, 1 RBI, 3 runs scored, and 1 SB (his 22nd) against the Angels.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-3 with 1 BB and 2 runs scored against the Tigers.

Scott Feldman will make a spot start on Tuesday against the Rays in Texas. Feldman will likely move back to the pen after the start.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Valencia's Dramatic Turnaround

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-4 with 1 double (his 34th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Cubs. Braun has hit 5 doubles in his last 4 games.

Batting 5th, Danny Valencia was 1-3 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Tigers. In July and August, Valencia has put up a line of .300/.337/.463 for an OPS of .800 in 202 PAs.

Batting 2nd, Sam Fuld was 0-3 with 1 BB, 1 sacrifice bunt, and 1 run scored against the Blue Jays.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-3 with 1 HBP and 1 run scored against the Angels.

In the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Red Sox, Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 3 hits and 1 BB.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Braun Joins JML 30 SB Club

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-2 with 2 BBs, 2 doubles (his 32nd and 33rd), 1 RBI, 1 run scored, and 1 SB (his 30th) against the Cubs. Braun joins Buddy Myer, Shawn Green, and Ian Kinsler as the only JMLs to ever steal 30 bases in a season.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 2-4 with 1 run scored against the Tigers. By the end of June, Valencia was hitting .218. He's brought his average all the way up to .251.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 with 1 BB and 1 double (his 32nd) against the Angels.

Ryan Lavarnway was optioned to AAA. With David Ortiz back in action, the Red Sox didn't need Lavarnway to be their DH anymore. One would assume he'll get recalled in September when rosters expand.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Red Sox.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feldman Shuts Down BoSox

Batting 7th, Sam Fuld was 2-4 with 1 double (his 18th) against the Tigers.

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

Scott Feldman pitched 4 scoreless innings on 2 hits, 1 BB, and 3 Ks against the Red Sox. His groundball to flyball ratio was 7-1.

John Grabow pitched 2 innings and gave up 1 run on 1 hit, 1 BB, and 1 K against the Braves.

Craig Breslow pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 1 hit and 1 BB against the Yankees.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roenicke > Macha

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-4 with 1 SB (his 29th) against the Pirates. This is the 2nd month of the season where Braun has swiped 10 bags; he also did it in May. It would appear Ron Roenicke gives Braun the green light a lot more than Ken Macha ever did.

Batting 7th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 with 1 double (his 27th) against the Orioles. That's 8 extra base hits in his last 9 games, if you're keeping track.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 against the Red Sox.

Batting 7th, Sam Fuld was 0-2 with 2 BBs and 1 run scored against the Tigers.

Pinch hitting, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-1 against the Rangers. He put the gear on for the 1st time in his MLB career.

Michael Schwimer pitched 1 inning and gave up 1 run on 1 hit and 2 BBs against the Mets.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Braun Does It All

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 2-3 with 2 BBs, 2 doubles (his 30th and 31st), 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored, and 2 SBs (his 27th and 28th) against the Pirates. Braun has swiped 9 bags in August. He's got to be in the MVP discussion.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 2-5 with 1 HR (his 21st), 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Red Sox.

Batting 7th, Danny Valencia was 1-2 with 1 BB, 1 HR (his 14th), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Orioles. Valencia now has 7 extra base hits in his last 8 games.

Batting 8th, Ryan Lavarnway was 2-5 with 1 double (his 2nd), 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Rangers.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-1 against the Tigers.

John Grabow pitched 1 scoreless inning on 2 hits, 1 BB, and 2 Ks against the Braves.

The Golden Age Of Jewish Achievement

I've recently had a chance to read Steven Pease's book, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement, and I must say it's a very good read. Pease believes Jews are disproportionately high achievers because of an eclectic blend of cultural values, values that have been forged with the evolution of Judaism and 2,000 years of oppression. Victimization is a powerful source of motivation.

In his book, Pease recognizes Jewish innovation, creativity, and success. He has entire chapters devoted to science, education, the military, aviation, economics, politics, the law, literature, performing arts, comedy, Hollywood, radio, television, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and athletes. Pease also delves into some of the more ignominious Jews in history, so it's not all rainbows and sunshine.

The book itself is quite an achievement, as it was obviously an ambitious undertaking. At over 500 pages in length, Pease is extremely thorough. He gives props to just about everybody and offers a keen perspective on all things Jewish. Essentially, it's a comprehensive archive of our best and brightest. But it doesn't read like an archive; it's a great deal more engaging than that.

In his chapter on Jewish athletes, Pease pays homage to Sandy Koufax in a tribute worthy of the great hurler. My only gripe with that section of the book is Hank Greenberg's write-up, or rather lack of a write-up. Certainly, Greenberg is mentioned, but I felt he deserved the treatment Koufax got. Of course, Koufax has almost reached mythical status in contemporary times, so it's understandable.

Other than that slight omission, The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement really has no flaws. Pease did his homework and provides a pastiche of facts, trivia, and anecdotes. Some of the people highlighted in the book with Jewish ties will no doubt surprise you. Do yourselves a favor: buy this book. You can thank me later. Here's a link to it on Amazon.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Braun Within Striking Distance Of 30/30

Batting 3rd in the 1st game of a doubleheader against the Pirates, Ryan Braun was 1-5 with 1 HR (his 25th), 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored. In the 2nd game of the doubleheader, Braun was 0-4. Nice play right here. This is Braun's 5th consecutive season where he has hit 25 or more HRs. He now has 25 HRs and 26 SBs.

Batting 7th, Danny Valencia was 1-4 with 1 double (his 26th) against the Orioles. Make that 6 extra base hits in his last 7 games.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 1-4 against the Red Sox. Kinsler knows how to end a game with style. Great play.

Batting 6th, Ryan Lavarnway was 0-2 with 2 BBs against the Rangers.

Batting 7th, Sam Fuld was 0-3 with 1 BB against the Tigers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Schwimer Of Hope

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 3-5 with 1 double (his 29th), 1 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 2 SBs (his 25th and 26th) against the Mets. Braun last swiped 2 bags in a game on May 13.

Batting 6th, Ryan Lavarnway was 2-4 with 1 double (his 1st) and 1 RBI against the Royals. Lavarnway's 1st career double was nearly his 1st career HR; he hit it off the top of the wall.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 2-4 with 1 double (his 25th) against the Yankees. Valencia has 5 extra base hits in his last 6 games.

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 0-4 against the White Sox.

Pinch hitting, Sam Fuld was 0-0 with 1 BB and 1 run scored against the Mariners.

In his MLB debut, Michael Schwimer went 3 innings and gave up 1 run on 2 hits, 0 BBs, and 4 Ks. Schwimer struck out the side in his 2nd inning of work. Roy Halladay wasn't able to pitch deep into the game like he normally does because of a rain delay. Enter Michael Schwimer to pick up the slack. That's a pretty good debut.

John Grabow pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Cardinals.

Scott Feldman pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up 5 runs on 8 hits, 1 BB, and 3 Ks against the White Sox. He took one for the team today, as starter Derek Holland only lasted 3 1/3 innings. Feldman had a groundball to flyball ratio of 11-5.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kinsler Reaches 20/20 Again

Batting leadoff, Ian Kinsler was 3-4 with 2 HRs (his 19th and 20th), 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored against the White Sox. This is Kinsler 3rd career 20/20 season. Had he not gotten hurt back in 2008, he would have 4 of them under his belt.

Batting 3rd, Ryan Braun was 1-3 with 2 BBs, 1 HR (his 24th), 2 RBIs, and 3 runs scored against the Mets.

Batting 6th, Danny Valencia was 1-3 with 2 BBs, 1 HR (his 13th), 1 RBI, and 2 runs scored against the Yankees. This was Valencia's 1st long ball since July 23.

Batting 8th, Ryan Lavarnway was 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 RBI, and 1 run scored against the Royals.