Cook, Torrealba Lead Rox To 5-4 Victory, Colorado Evens Series At 1-1

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 8 2009— The Colorado Rockies bounced back from a 5-1 loss on Wednesday night, winning
Game Two of their NLDS series. Colorado controlled the game from the start, thanks to pitcher Aaron Cook, who
shut down the potent Phillies lineup in 5 strong innings. The Rox offense roared to life against Cole Hamels, with
the big blow coming on a two-run homer by catcher Yorvit Torrealba, which gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead in the 4th
inning.

 The unheralded Colorado defense played a big role in Game Two, turning three double plays, including one that
bailed reliever Jose Contreras out of a sixth-inning jam. In that inning, with the Rockies sporting as 4-0 lead, the
Phillies struck for 3 runs, with Ryan Howard‘s RBI double ending Cook’s day. Following Howard’s two-bagger,
Contreras struck out Jayson Werth, but right fielder Raul Ibañez blooped a two-run single to center to cut
Colorado’s lead to 4-3. But with Carlos Ruiz at the plate, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes, and Todd Helton turned the
aforementioned double-play, and the Rockies lead was still intact heading into the top of the seventh, where the
Rockies attempted to end the scoring for the day with a Dexter Fowler sacrifice fly.
 But Werth would not oblige, blasting a solo homerun off Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning, cutting
the Rockies lead back to one run. Luckily for Colorado, Huston Street was able to retire the Phillies in the ninth to
preserve the win.
 The Friday travel day will be greatly appreciated by both teams. Managers Jim Tracy (Colorado), and Charlie
Manuel (Phillies), both never hesitated to go to their bullpens. Colorado used 6 pitchers, and Philadephia used 8
hurlers, including the two starters who Manuel was considering to start Game 3, Joe Blanton, and J.A. Happ.

Cook was the winning pitcher for Game Two, Hamels took the loss, and Street recorded the save.

Chris Carter Is Scary

Year Age Lev G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2007 20 A 126 545 84 136 27 3 25 93 67 112 .291 .383 .522 .906 244
2008 21 A_adv 137 596 101 131 32 4 39 104 77 156 .259 .361 .569 .930 288
2009 22 AA-AAA 135 637 112 175 42 2 27 114 83 129 .329 .422 .568 .990 302
5 Seasons 545 2386 371 589 142 10 117 412 283 548 .289 .383 .542 .924 1102
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2009.

A.J. Burnett=Ricky Romero

In the past offseason, A.J.
Burnett was handed a 5-year $82.5 million contract to leave the Toronto Blue
Jays for the New York Yankees.  As
with many of the rash, big-money moves that the Yankees make, it hasn’t paid
off, and the absence of Burnett opened a spot for an cheaper, better pitcher in
Toronto.

 

A.J. Burnett, to put it
mildly, has struggled this year.

 

2008: 4.07 ERA, 9.39 K/9, 3.5
BB/9, 2.69 K/BB, 0.77 HR/9, 1.34 WHIP, .328 BABIP, 70.5% LOB%, 3.45 FIP

 

2009: 4.29 ERA, 8.21 K/9,
4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55 FIP

 

Perhaps I should re-name this
post The Not-So Strange Case Of A.J. Burnett

 

Following a career year,
Burnett’s numbers regressed dramatically. 
His strikeout rate has come down, his walk rate has gone up, and his
homerun rate has gone up.  This is
even more impressive considering the fact that his BABIP shows he was unlucky
in 2008, and back to normal in 2009. 
Maybe he just has Yankee-Stadium-itis.

 

Anyhow, up in Toronto, the
‘Jays are paying a rookie who they were criticized for drafting, approximately 16.1
million dollars less than Burnett, to pitch better than Burnett.

 

A.J. Burnett 2009: 4.29 ERA,
8.21 K/9, 4.34 BB/9. 1.89 K/BB, 1.16 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP, .295 BABIP, 75.2%, 4.55
FIP

 

Ricky Romero 2009: 3.95 ERA, 6.85
K/9, 3.69 BB/9, 1.86 K/BB, 1.05 HR/9, 1.44 WHIP, .308 BABIP, 4.47 FIP

 

Stay tuned as the Yankees
free spending continues to carry them to their doom…

Dayton Moore Extension In The Works

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/08/royals-considering-extension-for-moore.html

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

FIRE DAYTON MOORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis Trade Revisited

On December 5th, 2007, the Florida Marlins traded
star 3B Miguel Cabrera, and star LHP Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers, in
return they received six minor leaguers, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Dallas Trahern,
RHP Eulogio de la Cruz, RHP Burke Badenhop, CF Camron Maybin, and C Mike
Rabelo.

 

The Tigers were immediately christened as the WS favorites
heading into 2008.  They were
receiving a top slugger, who was just 25, and had averaged 31 HR, 40 2B, 102 R,
115 RBI, and a .947 OPS over the previous four seasons.  His defense left something to be
desired, but they solved that by moving him to first base.  In 2008, despite a dissapointing season
for the Tigers, Cabrera set career highs in homeruns (37), and RBI’s
(127).  The only dark spot was his
career low .349 OBP, it’s back up to .407 in 2009.  Cabrera is in the midst of another stellar season for
Detroit.

 

Dontrelle Willis, was seemingly already losing it when he
was traded.  In his five seasons
with the Marlins, he had had a good rookie season, and one ace type year.   His low strikeout rate, coupled with an average walk
rate had never been encouraging, and his ERA was a bit on the high side for an
ace.  He was a workhorse, but he
had been lucky on his BABIP’s. 
Still, I don’t think anyone could have predicted how great a meltdown he
had.  In 2008, Willis made 7 starts
for Detroit, pitching just 24 innings, he also had a 9.38 ERA, due to his walk
rate going off the charts, from 3.8 to 13.1.  Willis was eventuallly demoted to Class A Lakeland, and
placed on the DL with  an anxiety
disorder.  In 2009, Willis halved
his 2008 BB rate, but it’s clear, he can no longer pitch.  Unfortunatley for Detroit, they’re
stuck with a contract that will pay him $10 million this year, and $12 million
in 2010.

 

First off for the Marlins, its important to remember that
this was another salary dump, that said, one to the prospects.  Andrew Miller has struggled in the
majors as a starter, when he was acquired, he was a 22-year-old phenom, who had
recorded a sub-3.00 ERA combined at Classes A+, AA, and AAA.  He performed well at AA for the Fish in
’08, but fared poorly in ’09, falling all the way to Rookie ball, then settling
in as a  24-year-old at Double-A,
not good.  Dallas Trahern was in
the same boat as Miller, just a year younger, but because of his low strikeout
rate, and a rising walk rate, he hasn’t played in the majors, and seems to be
walking backwards.  Eulogio de la
Cruz is currently playing for the San Diego Padres, he had a solid fourth
starter year at Triple-A for the Marlins, and was traded to San Diego for a
PTBNL.  Burke Badenhop has been
used as the Marlins long relief man this year, he’s been good enough, but it
seems to be his ceiling.  Cameron
Maybin, the main prospect in the trade is putting up another good season in
Triple-AAA, however, his homerun power, and speed on the basepaths seem to have
dissapeared, and to compound matters, hasn’t hit in the majors.  Mike Rabelo, is a catcher. He can field
well, but can’t hit a lick.

 

It’s hard to determine a winner for this trade, despite
their shortcomings, the prospects he Marlins received could still figure it
out.  Florida wouldn’t have been
able to extend Cabrera or Willis, or re-sign them when they hit free agency.  Detroit has received great production
from Miggy, but are stuck with the D-Train and his contract.

In Case You Didn’t Notice…

… the San Francisco Giants have the best pitching in the NL.

 

I’m not talking just Tim Lincecum here.  I mean completely, overall, dominant.

 

Teamwise, the Giants are first in ERA, checking in at
3.53.  They are also first in
complete games, first in shutouts, first in strikeouts, first in ERA+, second
in WHIP, and fourth in SO/BB ratio. 
As an added bonus, they are second in hits allowed, and third in
homeruns allowed.

 

Individually, the Giants are boosted by having a Cy Young
award winner (Tim Lincecum), who is playing better than he did during his Cy
Young season.  They also have a
budding Cy Young candidate (Matt Cain), a pitcher with  a ridiculous contract who has rebounded
(Barry Zito), and a pitcher who is one step away from putting it all together
(Jonathan Sanchez).

 

Wheter you like it or not, San Francisco has the best
pitching in the NL.  Just imagine
what kind of a team they would be if they had some hitters.

Early NL Cy Young Candidates: Edition 2

This is the second installment in the Early Cy Young
Candidates NL Series.  For the
first installment, click here

 

The NL Cy Young race is shaping up to be extremly
close.  All five of the contenders
here have a legitimate chance to win the award.  They’re all great, but there’s no pitcher blowing away the
field.

 

1) Danny Haren, RHP, D-backs

Dan+Haren+AP+Paul+Connors.jpg

Dan Haren has cooled off a little bit in the second half,
but his peripherals are still amazing. 
Haren’s 2.74 ERA ranks 6th in the league, his 167 strikeouts
are 4th in the NL, he’s tied for second in complete games, and his
0.93 WHIP leads the league.  Haren
has been helped by a low .248 BABIP, but he’s managed to maintain his gaudy
numbers even with his BABIP rising. 
Haren is not only a strikeout pitcher, but a control specialist, he
walks just 1.3 batter per 9
innings.  That, and a
8.6
SO/9 rate, contribute to his
league-leading
6.42 SO/BB
rate.  As I covered in the first
installment, Haren has superb peripherals, but his meaningless 12-8 record,
he’s receiving just 4.5 runs per game in support.  Haren’s record over a full season projects to be 16-11, not
representative of his ability, and unfortunatly, Cy voters won’t care about the
meaningful stats.

 

2) Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants

tim-lincecum1.jpg

Tiny Tim has set his eyes on back-to-back Cy Youngs.  His numbers will appeal to any
voter.  Lincecum is 12-3 this year,
not that it matters, and has a 2.37 ERA, good for 2nd place in the
NL, and a 1.04 WHIP, good for 3rd in the league.  Lincecum is excellent in all other
categories too.  Look at these
stats, 207 SO, 46 BB, 2.3  BB/9,
10.4 SO/9, 4.50 K/BB ratio.  Oh
yeah, he also leads the league in complete games, and shutouts.  Tim Lincecum dominated in 2008,  he’s even better in 2009.

 

3) Matt Cain, RHP, Giants

t1_cain_si.jpg

In 2008, Lincecums’s teammate Matt Cain was arguably the
unluckiest pitcher in baseball. 
His numbers were solid, but the Giants scored just 3.12 runs per game in
support of him.  It’s safe to say
his luck has changed in 2009.  Not
only has Cain upgraded hs performance, he’s 12-4, with a 2.43 ERA, and  a 1.15 WHIP, he’s benefited from a low
.258 BABIP, and the Giants have scored a full run more in support of him.  His peripherals aren’t amazing, but he
deserves to be considered along with his teammate.

 

4) Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Astros

St+Louis+Cardinals+v+Houston+Astros+XA71aDkb2BFl.jpg

You can’t say Wandy Rodriguez came out of nowhere, because
this small-market late-bloomer always had talent.  But you can say that he’s put it all together this
year.  Rodriguez has stayed
healthy, and has been more durable than in previous years.  He’s ramped up his strikeouts, and has
pulled down both his ERA, which is a sparkling 2.89, and his WHIP, which is a
servicable 1.25.  Like Cain, Rodriguez,
doesn’t have great peripherals, but he’s a fringe candidate who deserves a
mention.

 

5)  Chris
Carpenter, RHP, Cardinals

chris_carpenter_050906_2.jpg

Chris Carpenter has returned to his 2005 form better than
anyone could of dreamed.  Carpenter
is pitching even better than he did in ’05, with a 13-3 record, a 2.27 ERA,
tops in the league, a 0.97 WHIP, 2nd only to Haren, and incredible
durability, averaging a round 7 innings per start.  Carpenter also only gives up 0.5 HR/9 innings, and walks
just 1.3 batters per 9.  Carpenter
has gotten his job done this year and is a main reason why the Cardinals lead
the Cubs by 7 games in the central. 
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  This
race will come down to Carpenter, Lincecum, and Haren.