MLB News and Notes Thursday 5/14

MLB News and Notes Thursday 5/14

Baseball Today

SCOREBOARD


Thursday, May 14

Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia (1:05 p.m. EDT). The Dodgers send Chad Billingsley (5-1, 2.45 ERA) to the mound to face the Phillies and Cole Hamels (1-2, 6.17), who is coming off his first win since the World Series.

STARS

Wednesday

-Alfonso Soriano, Cubs, hit his 53rd leadoff homer in Chicago's 6-4, rain-shortened win against San Diego, tying Craig Biggio for second on baseball's career list and setting a club record.

-Lance Berkman, Astros, went 4 for 4 with two RBIs to help Houston beat Colorado 15-11.

-Hank Blalock, Rangers, hit a two-run double in the 11th inning to give Texas a 6-5 victory over Seattle.

-Adrian Gonzalez, Padres, homered twice in San Diego's 6-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs in a game shortened by rain.

-Brandon Phillips, Reds, drove in four runs and Cincinnati beat the Diamondbacks 10-3 to complete a three-game sweep in Arizona.

-Jack Cust, Athletics, had four RBIs to lead Oakland to a 7-2 win over Kansas City.

-Joe Crede, Twins, hit a game-ending grand slam in the 13th inning as Minnesota beat Detroit 14-10.

-Brett Gardner, Yankees, hit his first major league homer and drove in three runs to lead New York to an 8-2 win over Toronto.

-Shairon Martis, Nationals, allowed one run and two hits over seven sharp innings in Washington's 6-3 victory over San Francisco.

-Martin Prado, Braves, homered in the 12th inning to lead Atlanta to an 8-7 win against the New York Mets 8-7.

-James Loney, Dodgers, homered and drove in four runs as Los Angeles beat the Phillies 9-2 in Philadelphia.

-Rickie Weeks, Brewers, homered for the third straight game and Milwaukee beat Florida 8-6.

-Matt Palmer, Angels, overcame a shaky start to record his first career complete game, tossing a five-hitter in Los Angeles' 8-4 victory over Boston.

HOLD UP!

Soon after Adam LaRoche became the first player to have a home run taken away following a video replay review, Ross Gload lost one the same way Wednesday night when umpires reversed their call. LaRoche wound up with a double for Pittsburgh at PNC Park. Gload's pinch-hit drive was finally called foul at Milwaukee and he eventually struck out. Both players had already rounded the bases when umps changed the original call.

ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL

Ryan Zimmerman's 30-game hitting streak ended when he went 0 for 3 with two walks in the Washington Nationals' 6-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Zimmerman never got the ball out of the infield, falling just short of tying Vladimir Guerrero's franchise-record streak of 31 games for the Montreal Expos in 1999.

BEAUTIF-LEE DONE

Cliff Lee outpitched Mark Buehrle, throwing seven innings in the Cleveland Indians' 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. Lee (2-5) hadn't won since April 16 at New York. The AL Cy Young Award winner struck out a season-high nine while working out of two bases-loaded jams. He has pitched 20 consecutive scoreless innings against the White Sox since July 1 last year.

AND THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING

Lance Berkman went 4 for 4 and the Houston Astros finished with 24 hits in a 15-11 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Berkman drove in two runs and scored three times for the Astros, who were one hit shy of their franchise record for a nine-inning game set during the second matchup in a doubleheader against Atlanta on May 30, 1976.

HE'S BACK

Dontrelle Willis gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks over 4 2-3 innings in his first start of the season for Detroit, which lost 14-10 to the Minnesota Twins in 13 innings. It was a decent start considering all he's come back from. He was sent to Class A last year to work on his control, and he had been on the disabled list this spring due to an anxiety disorder.

SPEAKING

"We're a team that's very hungry, very young. We're going out there and just playing Reds baseball the best way we know how. That's all we're really doing. We're just out there playing the game the right way.'' - Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips after the Reds beat Arizona 10-3 to complete a three-game sweep and improve to a major league-best 13-5 on the road.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursday 5/14

Thursday's streaking and slumping starting pitchers
By COVERS.com

Streaking

Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)


Justin Verlander had to have bought Curtis Granderson a beer or two after the outfielder made what could be the catch of the year to preserve the pitcher’s complete-game shutout last Friday. Verlander allowed just two hits and struck out 11 batters in the 1-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.

"It was out of the park and he brought it back," the right hander said of Granderson’s grab. "I felt like I did everything I could to help my team win, but some things are out of my control."

Verlander is doing his fair share for the Tigers. Including Friday’s game, he is 3-0 in his last three starts and has given up just one run in 23 innings of work. Verlander has 31 strikeouts in this span and only five base-on-balls. His fast ball is hitting the high 90’s and got faster the deeper he went against the Tribe.

Wandy Rodriguez (Houston Astros)

Despite posting the third-best ERA in the National League, Houston Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez has just a 3-2 record to show for it. Now, with the Astros lineup finally giving him some support on the scoreboard, Rodriguez is undefeated in his last three starts.

The south-paw pitcher has gone 20 innings during that stretch, allowing only four runs on 16 hits. Houston’s bats have provided 17 total runs over those three games. However, in his most recent appearance, Rodriguez had to tow the load himself. He went eight innings of shutout baseball, striking out seven batters in a 2-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.

"He looked like he was totally in command," Astros manager Cecil Cooper told reporters. "His curveball was pretty good. He didn't have a whole lot of deep counts. I thought Wandy was efficient with his pitches and that's what you have to do to stay deep in ballgames."

Slumping

Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners)


Felix Hernandez must have an awful crick in his neck after watching four home runs soar overhead in his last 10 innings of work.

After starting the season with a bang, the Mariners ace has imploded in his past two starts. He’s allowed 11 earned runs off 12 hits during this span. Most recently, he posted as many home runs allowed as strikeouts (two) in a 9-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins Saturday.

Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu told reporters that Hernandez was “dragging his arm” and pulled the right hander after just four innings of work this weekend. He said he was concerned about Hernandez’s arm but both manager and pitcher deny anything is actually wrong health wise.

"Felix -- talking to him today, there were no repercussions from yesterday," Wakamatsu told the media Sunday. "We just felt that, again, his mechanics were little bit out of whack and he just tried to do too much."

Jonathan Sanchez (San Francisco Giants)

The answer to Jonathan Sanchez’s recent struggles could be as simple as venue.

The Giants left-handed hurler has surrendered nine earned runs in his past two games, giving up 11 hits and walking 10 batters in just nine innings on the mound. However, those starts came on the road where Sanchez is 0-3 with an ERA just under 9.00.

Now, San Francisco comes home to AT&T Park where Sanchez is 1-0 and has yet to yield an earned run in over 11 innings pitched. In his recent home start, a 5-3 loss to the Dodgers, Sanchez was tagged with two unearned runs while giving up just three hits.

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Re: MLB News and Notes Thursday 5/14

NATIONAL LEAGUE

N.Y. Mets (18-15) at San Francisco (18-15)


The Mets kick off a 10-game road trip with this opener of a four-game weekend series against the Giants at AT&T Park. John Maine (3-2, 4.54 ERA) takes the ball tonight for New York, which concluded an eight-game homestand with Wednesday’s 8-7, 12-inning loss to Atlanta. Jerry Manuel’s club has still won eight of its last 10 overall and three of its last five on the road.

Jonathan Sanchez (1-3, 4.78) is scheduled to take the mound for the surprising Giants, who dropped a 6-3 decision to Washington on Thursday to end a three-game winning streak. Still, the Giants are 5-2 in their last seven games, and their 12-5 home record is the second best in the National League.

In addition to winning eight of their last 10 overall, the Mets are on hot streaks of 10-3 against N.L. West foes, 10-3 on Thursday and 6-1 in series openers. Meanwhile, San Francisco is on surges of 5-2 at home, 4-1 against the N.L. East, 5-1 against righty starters, 7-3 versus teams with a winning record and 7-2 in series openers.

The Mets have dominated this rivalry the last two years, winning nine of the last 11 battles, including the last five in a row in 2008. New York has also taken two of three in San Francisco each of the last three seasons, but ironically it lost the series opener all three years.

Maine has rebounded from a poor start to his season, going 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last three starts after posting an 0-2 record and a 7.47 ERA in his first three outings. On Saturday, he held the Pirates to a single run on three hits in six innings of a 10-1 home victory. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three road starts, and New York is 2-5 in his last seven on the highway.

Sanchez is coming off consecutive ugly road outings at the Cubs and Dodgers, surrendering a combined nine runs in nine innings, this after yielding just two unearned runs in his first two home starts covering 11 2/3 frames. San Francisco has lost 14 of Sanchez’s last 17 starts overall (1-4 this season), going 2-7 in his last nine at home (1-1 this year).

Maine is 2-0 with a 3.78 ERA in three career starts against the Giants, with New York winning all three games, including a pair of 5-3 victories in San Francisco (one in 2007, one in 2008). Sanchez has faced New York four times (two starts), going 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in 12 2/3 total innings.

The Mets carry “over” streaks of 6-1 overall, 4-1-1 against the N.L. West, 22-7-1 on Thursday, 13-5-3 with Maine on the mound overall and 5-0-1 when Maine takes on N.L. West squads. Similarly, the Giants are on “over” stretches of 6-3 overall, 5-2 against right-handed starters and 6-1-1 with Sanchez pitching at AT&T Park. Finally, five of the last seven clashes between these squads in San Francisco have topped the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. METS and OVER


AMERICAN LEAGUE

N.Y. Yankees (16-17) at Toronto (23-13)


C.C. Sabathia (2-3, 3.94), who is coming off by far his best effort as a Yankee, will try to guide his team a series victory in this series finale at the Rogers Centre. New York rebounded from Tuesday’s 5-1 loss and pounded out an 8-2 victory Wednesday. Still, the Yanks are just 3-7 in their last 10 overall and are on additional slides of 1-4 against southpaw starters, 17-36 when facing lefties on the road and 3-9 against A.L. East rivals.

Brian Tallet (2-1, 4.95) is slated to make his sixth start of the season for the first-place Blue Jays, who saw their three-game winning streak halted last night. Despite that setback, Toronto has won eight of its last 12, and it is 6-2 in its last eight at home. The Blue Jays still own the best home record in the American League at 12-5, and they’re on further streaks of 39-20 at home since last season, 7-2 on Thursday, 11-5 against lefty starters, 5-1 against A.L. East rivals and 37-19 versus teams with a losing record.

Sabathia ended a string of four consecutive non-quality starts with a brilliant performance at Baltimore on Friday, pitching a complete-game four-hitter while walking one and striking out eight en route to a 4-0 shutout victory. The big lefty has pitched at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his last four trips to the mound, and he’s 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA in four road starts.

Tallet is coming off back-to-back strong efforts, holding the Indians to three runs and four hits in seven innings on May 4, then limiting the A’s to a run on two hits in seven innings Saturday. The southpaw got a no-decision in his team’s 9-7 extra-innings home loss to the Indians, but picked up a 6-4 victory at Oakland. Tallet has made four appearances at home this season (two starts), failing to record a decision while compiling a 2.86 ERA.

Going back to his days with Cleveland, Sabathia is 7-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 10 career starts against the Blue Jays, including 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four outings at the Rogers Centre. On the other hand, Tallet’s experience against New York has been limited to 20 relief appearances covering 28 1/3 innings, and he’s 1-0 with a 2.86 ERA.

The under is 9-4 in the last 13 Yankees-Blue Jays clashes north of the border, 3-1 in Sabathia’s last four against Toronto and 3-1 in Sabathia’s last four trips to Canada. Additionally, the under is on streaks of 7-2-2 for New York against left-handed starters, 4-2 for Toronto overall and 8-4 for Toronto against divisional opponents. However, the Yankees have topped the total in nine straight games on Thursday, and the over is 4-0 in Tallet’s last four trips to the mound.

ATS ADVANTAGE: N.Y. YANKEES and UNDER

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