MLB News and Notes September 16

MLB News and Notes September 16

Tuesday’s streaking and slumping starting pitchers
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Tuesday’s streaking starting pitchers

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins (5-3, 3.19 ERA)


Liriano has been just what the Twins needed since he was called up from the minors in early August. The left-hander is 5-0 in his eight starts since then and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts since being called back up to the bigs.

Liriano is usually good for at least five strikeouts and he hasn’t allowed any more than six hits in a game since his return despite going at least five innings in each start.

The secret is out on this youngster, however. He was heavily favored in his most recent outing against Kansas City and he should see more of that against sub-.500 Cleveland on Tuesday.


Derek Lowe, Los Angeles Dodgers (13-11, 3.48)

Derek Lowe has a lot to do with Los Angeles’ late-season charge for the NL West pennant. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs over his last six starts and posted a pair of shutouts over that span.

The longball was a big issue for Lowe earlier in the year, but he’s keeping it in the park now, giving up just three jacks through his last 11 outings. The 6-foot-6 right-hander should be strong down the stretch too, having cracked the 110-pitch mark just once since mid-June.


Slumping

Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants (8-12, 3.96)


You can excuse Cain for slipping lately. Not only does he play for the lowly Giants, but he also ranks sixth in the National League for most innings pitched this season. The guy is exhausted.

Cain has given up 15 earned runs combined over his past three starts, despite fewer than 15 innings pitched over that span. He was most recently chased out in the fourth inning after giving up six runs to the San Diego Padres.

The Giants are 1-3 in his last four outings.


Jeff Karstens, Pittsburgh Pirates (2-5, 4.46)

The last thing Jeff Karstens needed right now was a bothersome toothache. The right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start last Saturday because of an abscessed tooth.

Karstens, who pitched back-to-back shutouts when he joined the rotation at the beginning of August, has now dropped five straight decisions heading into Tuesday’s tilt with the Dodgers. He only lasted three innings before getting the hook against the Giants last week.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 16

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Milwaukee (83-67) at Chicago Cubs (90-58)


One day after the stunning firing of manager Ned Yost, the Brewers hand the ball to CC Sabathia (9-0, 1.59 ERA) to open a crucial three-game series at Wrigley Field. Chicago is scheduled to counter with Ryan Dempster (15-6, 3.02).

After getting swept in a four-game series over the weekend in Philadelphia, Milwaukee lowered the boom on Yost on Monday and turned the team over to third-base coach Dale Sveum. In addition to the current four-game slide, the Brewers have dropped 11 of their last 14 and seven of their last eight, and they begin this series eight games behind Chicago in the N.L. Central and tied with the Phillies in the wild-card race.

The Cubs capped a strange abbreviated series against the Astros with Monday’s 6-1 victory in Milwaukee, which hosted the two-game set after the teams were forced out of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Ike. One day after Carlos Zambrano pitched the first no-hitter for Chicago since 1972, Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday to lead the Cubs to their fourth straight win, which comes on the heels of a 1-8 slump.

On the bright side for the Brewers, they’ve won 12 of their last 16 divisional games, and they’re 5-1 in their past six after an off day. Meanwhile, Chicago is on hot streaks of 29-14 overall, 50-21 at home and 11-3 versus lefty starters. Also, the Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee last month and they hold a slim 6-4 edge in the season series, with the visitor winning eight of the 10 contests.

Sabathia has been sensational since being acquired from Cleveland, delivering a quality effort – at least seven innings pitched and three earned runs or fewer allowed – in all 13 of his starts. Milwaukee is 12-1 behind the big lefty, including eight consecutive wins coming into this contest. What’s more, Sabathia is 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA in five outings on the road, yielding just four runs in 42 1/3 innings.

The only loss Milwaukee has suffered with Sabathia on the hill came on July 28 against the Cubs, as he gave up four runs (three earned) in 6 2/3 innings, getting a no-decision as Chicago rallied for a 6-4 victory.

Dempster has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 25 of his 30 starts, and Chicago is 20-10 behind the right-hander this season, including 14-4 at home and 3-0 against Milwaukee. However, the Cubs have come up empty in Dempster’s last two outings, losing 4-0 to Houston at home and 4-3 at St. Louis, with Dempster yielding three earned runs in seven innings both times out.

Dempster is 12-3 with a 2.90 ERA at home, and he’s won all three decisions this year against the Brewers, posting a 2.37 ERA. For his career, Dempster is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 10 saves in 33 games (11 starts) against Milwaukee.

For Chicago, the under is on streaks of 8-3 overall, 5-1 at home and 9-4 when Dempster starts at Wrigley. Conversely, the Brewers are on over streaks of 4-0-3 overall and 5-2-2 on the road, but the under is 5-2-1 in Sabathia’s last seven starts. Finally, the over is 20-8-3 in the last 31 head-to-head clashes in this rivalry, including 7-2-1 this year.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO CUBS


AMERICAN LEAGUE

Chicago White Sox (83-66) at N.Y. Yankees (80-70)


Still clinging to a one-game lead in the A.L. Central, the White Sox continue their critical four-game series at Yankee Stadium, with Gavin Floyd (15-7, 3.77) set to oppose New York veteran Andy Pettitte (13-13, 4.52).

New York scored a 4-2 victory on Monday, its third straight win following a 2-6 slump. Despite the recent mini run, Joe Girardi’s club remains nine games behind the Rays and Red Sox in both the A.L. East and wild-card races.

Chicago is mired in slumps of 3-5 overall, 2-6 on the road and 2-7 versus the A.L. East, but Ozzie Guillen’s troops still lead the Twins by a game in the Central after Minnesota also lost last night. On the positive end of the spectrum, the White Sox are on streaks of 16-6 against lefty starters, 9-4 on Tuesdays, 8-2 with Floyd on the mound and 4-1 when Floyd starts on the road.

New York has won three of the four meetings with Chicago this season, and the Yankees are 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head clashes overall and 7-1 in the past eight in the Bronx.

Floyd has pitched at least six innings in five straight starts, but he’s gotten roughed up in his last two, surrendering a combined nine runs (all earned) in 14 1/3 innings. He’s 6-4 with a 3.93 ERA on the road this season, and in the right-hander’s first career start against the Yankees on April 24, he allowed five runs in six innings, failing to get a decision in his team’s 7-6 victory.

Pettitte is 0-4 with a 7.15 ERA in his last four starts, including Wednesday’s 4-2 loss at the Angels in which he yielded all four runs (three earned) in 4 2/3 innings. The veteran southpaw is 3-6 with a 5.43 ERA in 11 post-All-Star break starts, and he’s 5-7 with a 5.32 ERA in 15 outings at Yankee Stadium in 2008.

Pettitte is 11-8 with 4.41 ERA in 21 career starts against the White Sox, including a dominating 8-1 home win last year when he gave up just the one run in seven innings.

The over is 6-2 in the last eight series meetings between these teams (3-1 this year), 8-1-1 in Floyd’s last 10 starts overall and 5-1 in Pettitte’s last six outings against the ChiSox. On the flip side, the under is on streaks of 5-1-1 for Chicago on the road, 20-7-2 for Chicago versus the A.L. East, 36-17 with Pettitte on the mound overall and 15-6 when Pettitte toils at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE


Boston (89-61) at Tampa Bay (88-60)

Six days after facing off in a thrilling 14-inning affair at Fenway Park, the Rays’ Andy Sonnanstine (13-7, 4.47) once again opposes Red Sox ace Josh Beckett (12-9, 4.10), this time at Tropicana Field as these rivals look to break a tie atop the A.L. East.

Boston finally pulled even with the Rays in the division standings courtesy of Monday’s 13-5 rout. The Red Sox have won 15 of their last 21 games since Aug. 24, going 6-2 on the road during this stretch. Additionally, Terry Francona’s team is on runs of 11-4 in divisional games, 19-7 on Tuesdays, 7-2 against right-handed starters and 21-8 when Beckett pitches on the road.

Tampa Bay has lost seven of its last 10 games overall, but the Rays still sport positive streaks of 49-15 at home, 20-10 against right-handed starters, 18-8 with Sonnanstine on the hill and 7-1 when Sonnanstine pitches at home.

With Monday’s rout, the Red Sox snapped a seven-game losing skid in Tampa Bay that dated to last September. In fact, after the home team won the first 14 meetings in this rivalry this season, the visitor has taken the last three.

Beckett (one run in six innings) and Sonnanstine (one unearned run in seven innings) both pitched brilliantly on Wednesday at Fenway Park, but they departed in a 1-1 tie, which wasn’t broken until the 14th inning.

Beckett has made two starts since returning from a stint on the disabled list, allowing just a run on 10 hits with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 11 innings. He’s been solid on the road this year at 7-5 with 3.00 ERA, including 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in the last three on the highway. The veteran right-hander is also 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay in 2008.

Prior to Wednesday’s strong effort in Boston, Sonnanstine had four consecutive bumpy starts, allowing 16 earned runs in 21 innings (6.86 ERA). He’s also 1-1 with a 6.59 ERA in five career starts against Boston. However, the right-hander is 7-3 at home this season with a 4.88 ERA.

For the Rays, the over is on streaks of 7-0 at home, 12-4 overall (all against the A.L. East), 9-2 against right-handed starters, 4-1 in Sonnanstine’s last five starts overall, 4-0 in his last four at home and 4-1 in his five career outings against the Red Sox. Also, the over is 8-3 in Boston’s last 11 road games and 5-0-1 in its last six on Tuesdays.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and OVER

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 16

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD

Tuesday, Sept. 16

Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees (7:05 p.m. EDT). Gavin Floyd (15-7, 3.77 ERA) takes the mound for the AL Central-leading White Sox against Andy Pettitte (13-13, 4.52). The Yankees will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

STARS

Monday

— Ted Lilly, Cubs, carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning a day after Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros, and Chicago beat Houston 6-1.

— David Ortiz, Red Sox, went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and one of six Boston home runs in a 13-5 win over Tampa Bay.

— Manny Ramirez, Dodgers, was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, raising his average since joining Los Angeles to .395 in the Dodgers’ 8-2 rout of Pittsburgh.

— Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, drove in four runs with a 3-for-4 game, including his 33rd home run, in San Diego’s 11-5 win over Colorado.

— Taylor Teagarden, Rangers, hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs to help Texas beat Detroit 11-8.

— Kyle Davies, Royals, allowed four hits in eight scoreless innings and Kansas City shut out hapless Seattle 3-0.

FIRED

In an unprecedented move, the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost, hoping to pull out of another late-season slump that has jeopardized the team’s chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 1982. Third-base coach Dale Sveum will take over for the remainder of the season. The Brewers have lost seven of eight and fallen into a tie with Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead. It marked the first time in major league history—except the strike-split 1981 season—that a manager was fired in August or later with his team in playoff position, the Elias Sports Bureau said.

NEAR NO-NO

Everyone from Cubs manager Lou Piniella to fellow starter Ryan Dempster needled Ted Lilly about having to follow up Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter. Lilly sure came close to one of his own. He pitched no-hit ball until Mark Loretta’s seventh-inning single, and the Cubs beat the Astros 6-1 to sweep a two-game series moved from Houston by Hurricane Ike. On Sunday, Zambrano pitched the Cubs’ first no-hitter since Milt Pappas in 1972, leading Chicago to a 5-0 win. Lilly faced the minimum through six innings, allowing only a leadoff walk in the second to Lance Berkman. Mark Loretta broke it up with a clean single to right with none out in the seventh.

TIGHT RACE

The defending World Series champion Red Sox homered a season-high six times, overwhelming All-Star Scott Kazmir and the division-leading Rays 13-5 to pull within percentage points (.002) of ending the Tampa Bay’s two-month stay atop the standings. The Rays (88-60) were a season-high 5 1/2 games up on Boston heading into September. They’re 4-9 this month. The Red Sox (89-61), on the other hand, have won three straight and 10 of 14 in September to get as close to the lead as they’ve been since mid-July, when they erased a five-game deficit in a week to pull ahead by a half game at the All-Star break.

JOBA’S ROLE

Jorge Posada reignited the debate over Joba Chamberlain’s future, recommending the young pitcher be kept in the bullpen and predicting more injuries if the Yankees put him back in their starting rotation. “If you start him and he pitches 200 innings in one year, you’re going to lose him. He’s going to get hurt. I don’t see him as a starter,” Posada said Monday during a session of “CenterStage,” scheduled to air on the team’s YES Network on Sept. 28. Chamberlain, the hard-throwing righty who turns 23 next week, began the season in the Yankees bullpen, then moved to the rotation in June. He was sidelined from Aug. 4 to Sept. 2 because of rotator cuff tendinitis and went back to the bullpen when he returned.

AILING

Rangers right-hander Brandon McCarthy left his start against the Tigers in the first inning with a strained flexor tendon on his pitching hand. McCarthy got the first two outs, then began shaking his hand after delivering a pitch to Magglio Ordonez. Rangers manager Ron Washington and team trainers ran to the mound to check on McCarthy, who could not continue. The Rangers will monitor McCarthy’s condition over the next few days to determine if surgery will be necessary.

PULLING A ZIEGLER

Scott Lewis pitched six shutout innings in his second career start and the Indians beat the Twins 3-1. Lewis has yet to allow a run in 14 innings since being called up from the minors Sept. 7. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lewis has the longest scoreless streak to start his career as an Indians pitcher since 1969. He’s not the first rookie to start his career with a scoreless inning streak this year, though. Oakland’s Brad Ziegler tied the major league mark for relievers by pitching 39 straight shutout innings to start his career, having his streak stopped by Tampa Bay earlier this month.

SHUT DOWN

Detroit left-hander Kenny Rogers won’t pitch again this season, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. Rogers is a free agent at the end of the season and the Tigers are unlikely to re-sign the 43-year-old veteran of 20 major league seasons. Rogers allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 innings on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox and had given up at least six runs in four straight starts. He finishes the season with a 9-13 ERA and 5.70 ERA in 30 starts. Rogers didn’t speak with the media when he arrived at the ballpark about an hour before game time.

BENCHED

Robinson Cano was benched again by the Yankees on Monday night for not hustling after a ball the previous day. The slumping second baseman was yanked from Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay after he was late retrieving Cliff Floyd’s hard grounder that caromed into shallow right field. Cody Ransom started at second Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox. Girardi said he would decide Tuesday whether Cano will start.

SAITO SIGHTING

Dodgers reliever Takashi Saito made his first appearance since being diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his right elbow two months ago, pitching a scoreless eighth inning in Los Angeles’ 8-2 win against Pittsburgh. Saito, the Dodgers’ closer until he was hurt, walked one and struck out two while facing four batters. Manager Joe Torre wanted to use Saito in what he called “a non-stressful situation” his first time out, and the Dodgers led 8-0 at the time.

MILESTONE

Boston’s Mike Timlin pitched the eighth inning against Tampa Bay, making his 1,051st relief appearance—an all-time record for right-handed relievers. He had been tied with Kent Tekulve. “Quite humbling,” Timlin said of the record. “It’s something I’d been eyeballing all season, and its been out there slowly coming. I was not trying to be excited about it, but I probably will be when the season is over.”

SPEAKING

“(Yost) didn’t have all the answers for what is going on the last two weeks and I’m not sure I have all the answers. I’m not sure this is the right one, either.”—Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin during a news conference after the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 16

Tigers' Rogers shut down for rest of season
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -Detroit left-hander Kenny Rogers won't pitch again this season, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said on Monday.

Rogers is a free agent at the end of the season and the Tigers are unlikely to re-sign the 43-year-old veteran of 20 major league seasons.

''We're not going to pitch Kenny,'' Leyland said. ''We shut him down for the rest of the season.''

Rogers allowed seven runs in 4 2-3 innings on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox and had given up at least six runs in four straight starts.

He finishes the season with a 9-13 ERA and 5.70 ERA in 30 starts.

Rogers didn't speak with the media when he arrived at the ballpark about an hour before game time.

Rogers has a career record of 219-156 for the Tigers, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, and New York Yankees.

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