Baseball Today April 24

Baseball Today April 24

Matsuzaka misses start, latest Red Sox player to be hit with flu
ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON (AP) -Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched from his start for the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night because of flu-like symptoms. Jon Lester took his place against the Los Angeles Angels.

Matsuzaka was the second Red Sox starter to get pulled from an outing in two days. Josh Beckett missed Tuesday night's game because of neck stiffness.

Matsuzaka (4-0) is the latest Red Sox player to be hit by a flu-like bug making its way through the Boston clubhouse. Beckett, Jason Varitek, Manny Delcarmen and Clay Buchholz are among the others who have been affected.

Lester was originally scheduled to start Thursday afternoon's finale against Los Angeles.

The Red Sox recalled right-handed reliever Craig Hansen from Triple-A Pawtucket. David Pauley, who was called up Tuesday and started in place of Beckett, was optioned to Pawtucket.

Beckett will start on Sunday as originally planned at Tampa Bay, manager Terry Francona said.

''I can't imagine moving him up'' to pitch sooner, he said. ''I think we'd be reaching for something that doesn't make any sense.''

Hansen gives the bullpen a needed arm with Delcarmen ailing.

''The quickest way to get a team off track is to overburden your bullpen,'' Francona said. ''Hansen has been throwing the ball great and there is also flexibility. We just try to make the best use of our roster in these difficult times where guys are feeling it.''

Hansen, a first-round draft pick by Boston in 2005, is 1-0 while allowing one earned run in 12 1-3 innings for Pawtucket. In 42 appearances in his career with Boston, he is 2-2 with a 6.59 ERA.

Kevin Youkilis was out of the starting lineup Wednesday night with a lower back injury suffered when he planted his feet to make a throw from third base in Tuesday night's 7-6 win over the Angels.

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Re: Baseball Today April 24

A-Rod not expected to play until weekend
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO (AP) -New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez probably won't play until this weekend's series at Cleveland, even though he's scheduled to rejoin the team in Chicago on Thursday.

A-Rod missed his second straight game Wednesday because of a strained quadriceps, and manager Joe Girardi said he would be ''shocked'' if Rodriguez played in the series finale against the White Sox, although he didn't completely rule out the possibility.

''If he comes in and says he's ready to play, I'm putting him in there,'' said Girardi, adding his ''hope'' is Rodriguez will be ready to play sometime this weekend.

The reigning AL MVP, Rodriguez left Sunday's game against the Baltimore Orioles with a strained right quadriceps and had treatment in New York the following day. He then headed to Miami, where his wife gave birth to their second daughter Monday night.

Morgan Ensberg has been starting at third in place of Rodriguez, who is batting .308 with four homers and 10 RBIs.

In other news, Jason Giambi, who left Tuesday's game after a hard groundball deflected off his right thumb in the eighth inning, was back in the lineup at first base.

And Girardi had a pregame guest, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

''We talked baseball,'' Girardi said.

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Re: Baseball Today April 24

Diamondbacks still raking in cash
By RYAN STETSON

Last year the Arizona Diamondbacks turned some heads by squeaking out a NL West division title and sweeping the Cubs aside in the first round before running into the storybook Colorado Rockies.

This year they’re dropping jaws and stopping traffic with a league-best 15-5 start to the season.

It surprising turn of events, not because the team didn’t have all the tools to be successful, but the Diamonbacks still looked like a young club that might struggle to produce runs for a lights-out pitching staff.

Well, so much for that idea.

Arizona offense ranks second in runs per game and third in home runs. The D-Backs have already cracked double digits on the scoreboard three times this season and have won by six or more runs seven times. Five regulars have 13 or more RBIs and four Diamondbacks are hitting better than .290 heading into Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the pitching staff continues to improve and currently leads the league in ERA, WHIP, and quality starts, with Danny Haren, Brandon Webb, and Micah Owings all working on perfect records.

It’s the kind of balance baseball bettors dream of, but sharp bettors know that it’s a long season and the Diamondbacks are sure to cool off eventually. Right?

Well, that’s what everybody has been saying for weeks. 

"A lot of good baseball players in here," Byrnes told reporters of the Arizona clubhouse. "I don't think this is an aberration the way we're playing. I think this is the type of team that this is.”

It’s hard to argue with the numbers they’re putting up and faithful Diamondbacks bettors would like to see a lot more of the same after the club’s earned 8.72 units for straight-up bettors and a ridiculous 12.46 units for runline bettors. Over bettors are getting rich with Arizona too, as the club has the over on a 12-6-1 run. 

“This was a young team that did not perform well offensively last year but as the hitters mature we are going to find that there is a little more punch in the lineup this time, and that leads to more team confidence all the way around,” says Covers Expert David Malinsky.

“But it comes with an asterix that also impacts the over trend as well - in the early part of the season they play a lot of games with the roof open at Chase, and when they do that the ball carries much better.

“In a few weeks they will begin playing most with the roof closed, which changes the game flows, and some of those home runs instead become long fly-ball outs. That impacts both teams, of course, which helps the Arizona pitching, but there may be appearances of a Diamondback offense slump that may not be quite real.”

Arizona finishes a quick two-game set against the Dodgers on Thursday before heading to San Diego for the weekend.

Covers.com

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Re: Baseball Today April 24

Baseball Today

Los Angeles at Detroit (7:05 p.m.) Ervin Santana is 26-9 at home.

STARS

- Prince Fielder, Brewers, homered twice and drove in four runs in a 5-4 victory over the Phillies. The homers were the first for Fielder in 14 games.

- Jorge Posada, Yankees, had three doubles as part of his four-hit night, driving in a pair of runs in a 6-4 victory over the White Sox.

- Geovany Soto, Cubs, went 4-for-5 with a homer in a 7-6 victory over the Rockies.

- Carlos Guillen, Tigers, went 3-for-4 with a double and five RBIs, three of them in an 11-run sixth inning that helped Detroit to a 19-6 rout of the Rangers.

- Chad Gaudin, Athletics, pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out four in a 3-0 win over the Twins.

- Jason Bay, Pirates, homered and drove in two runs to help Pittsburgh beat St. Louis, 7-4.

- Gary Matthews Jr., Angels, hit a pair of solo homers in a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox.

- Matt Stairs, Blue Jays, homered twice and drove in three runs in a 5-3 loss to the Rays.

- Daniel Cabrera, Orioles, went eight innings allowing five hits and two runs in a 3-2 victory over Seattle. He struck out five and improved to 2-0 on the season.

10 GRAND

The Cubs won their 10,000th game, joining the Giants as the only franchise to reach that mark with a 7-6 victory in 10 innings at Colorado. Ryan Theriot's run-scoring single off Kip Wells provided the winning run for Chicago after both teams blew ninth-inning leads.

PRINCELY POWER

Prince Fielder hit a pair of two-run homers, including the go-ahead shot in the eighth inning, to help Milwaukee beat Philadelphia 5-4. The homers were the first in 14 games for Fielder, who led the NL with 50 a year ago. Both came off Philadelphia ace Cole Hamels.

AILING

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez sat out the Yankees' game at Chicago with a strained right quadriceps. He hopes to rejoin the team Thursday and could play Friday. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka was scratched from his start for the Boston Red Sox because of flu-like symptoms. Jon Lester took his place against the Angels. ... Mariners starter Carlos Silva left in the seventh inning with tightness in the back of his right thigh. He doesn't expect to miss a start.

ANOTHER W

The Yankees' Mike Mussina pitched seven strong innings and moved ahead of Bob Gibson on the career wins list in a 6-4 win over the White Sox. Mussina earned his 252nd victory on his third try, giving him sole possession of 42nd place on the major league wins list.

FIRST LOSS

Arizona's Dan Haren was charged with six runs - five earned - and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings for his first loss of the season, 8-3 to the Dodgers. It was the most runs the right-hander allowed in 42 regular-season starts since Sept. 18, 2006, when, as a member of the Athletics, he gave up seven over 4 2-3 innings in a loss to the Cleveland Indians.

GETTING OFFENSIVE

Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Carlos Guillen had three of his five RBIs in an 11-run sixth inning that propelled Detroit past Texas, 19-6. Jacque Jones also homered as Detroit scored its most runs this season. The Tigers led 7-6 entering the sixth, when they had their biggest inning since scoring 11 in the sixth inning on April 23, 2004, against Cleveland.

FIRED AND HIRED

The Reds fired general manager Wayne Krivsky and replaced him with Walt Jocketty, who built consistent winners during 10 seasons in Oakland and 13 in St. Louis. Jocketty is the fourth GM in six years for a team that has gone through seven straight losing seasons. The Reds have been through four managers (plus an interim manager) and two owners since 2003.

GRIFFEY GOES DEEP

Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 597th career homer in the first inning off Houston's Chris Sampson, his fourth of the season. Griffey needs three more to become the sixth player in major league history to reach 600, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa. His 199th homer with the Reds moved him into eighth on the franchise list.

CLAIMING SPEED

The A's added speedy outfielder Rajai Davis off waivers from San Francisco, giving them more versatility and a replacement if Travis Buck's shin splints cause a stint on the disabled list. Davis hit .056 in 12 games before being designated for assignment on April 20.

SPEAKING

``I don't try to hit for power. I just try to hit the ball hard. I am just trying to win the competition. He's a good pitcher. It wasn't about feeling good or feeling locked in.'' - Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, after hitting two homers off Cole Hamels in a 5-4 win over the Phillies.

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