Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Suspending Operations, Baseball on Deck Hits the 60-Day DL

Putting this blog on the DL

Due to continuing schedule and logistical conflicts, Baseball on Deck has suspended operations as of April 24, 2015. We appreciate the support of fans and readers of this blog, but we are presently unable to deliver a compelling, entertaining product.

Therefore, until further notice (possibly around the All-Star break) this blog is officially inactive.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A-Rod, Nelson Cruz, Jeurys Familia, Matt Carpenter Highlight POTW through April 19

Players of the Week for w/e April 19, 2015

American League

Infielder of the Week - While he certainly has his hare of detractors, NY's Alex Rodriguez spent the week hammering out hits to the tune of a .333 average (6-for-18) with three HRs, a double and five RBI. A-Rod also worked out five walks and scored seven times as the Yankees went 4-2.

Outfielder of the Week - Even though the Seattle Mariners went just 2-4 during the week, that didn't stop right fielder, Nelson Cruz, from doing some serious mashing.

Cruz belted six homers in the week, starting with a pair in a 6-5 loss to the Dodgers, and finishing with a two-homer game in an 11-10 victory over Texas on Sunday.

Cruz extended his hitting streak to eight games. During the week's six games, he went 12-for-24, an even .500. The six homers and other hits yielded 10 RBI for Cruz, who leads the majors in home runs, with eight, and has 14 RBI, two behind Baltimore's Adam Jones in the AL.

Starting Pitcher of the Week - Detroit's Shane Greene improved to 3-0 with a pair of victories on the week. On April 14, Greene went eight innings in a 2-0 win at Pittsburgh, allowing just three hits. In his next start, on April 19, Greene got more support, going seven solid innings in a 9-1 win over the White Sox. Greene allowed one earned on five hits, fanning three.

Relief Pitcher of the Week - The Yankees' Andrew Miller has settled into the closer role nicely, picking up three saves in the most recent week to give him four on the season. Miller had a five-out save in a 6-5 win over the Orioles, followed by a four-out save against the Rays and a regular ninth-inning variety again against the Rays, as the Yanks swept Tampa Bay.

National League

Infielder of the Week - St. Louis has surged to the top of the NL Central on the strength of second baseman, Matt Carpenter's torrid hitting streak.

Riding a seven-game hitting streak (two hits in each game) Carpenter ended the week batting an even .400. Nine of his 12 hits went for extra bases - seven doubles and two home runs, including a leadoff blast in Sunday night's 2-1 win over the Reds.

Outfielder of the Week - The Mets have won seven straight and are atop the NL East, and that's the same number of games comprising left fielder Michael Cuddyer's hitting streak.

Cuddyer went 10 for 21 (.476) on the week, driving in our runs with three doubles and a triple in his arsenal.

Starting Pitcher of the Week - Scary as it may be to think about, Matt Harvey is 3-0 and still hasn't displayed his best stuff. Harvey, who picked up two wins on the week, gave up five hits and three earned in the Mets' 6-5 win over Philly on the 14th, striking out eight, then, on the 18th Harvey allowed four earned runs while fanning seven in the Mets' 7-6 win over the Marlins. Harvey worked six innings in each of his starts.

Relief Pitcher of the Week - Jeurys Familia pitched five innings in relief for the Mets and picked up five saves, tying him with Atlanta's Jason Grilli for the major league lead with six. Familia allowed just two hits and one earned run over the five games, striking out five and issuing two walks. All of his saves occurred at the Mets' home field, Citi.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Zack Greinke, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez Lead Players of the Week for April 6-12

Players of the Week for April 6-12, 2015

American League

Cabrera: .520 BA
AL Infielder: Getting off to a blazing start, the Detroit Tigers swept the Indians (at Cleveland) and Twins (in Detroit) for a 6-0 record and a tie for first place with the equally-hot Kansas City Royals.

Mashing away, and, putting a significant scare into pitchers everywhere, Miguel Cabrera set out on an MVP pace with a .520 batting average (13-for-25), including two doubles, two homers and eight RBI, which is tied for the league lead with KC's Salvador Perez.

Cabrera didn't start out the season with his best. Against the Twins, he was just 2-for-11 with two RBI, but in the three-game sweep of Cleveland, he went 11-for-14. In Sunday's 8-5 finale, he was 4-for-4 with two homers, four RBI, and three runs.

Ramirez: Red Sox
LF is red-hot.
AL Outfielder: Adding Hanley Ramirez to their roster has already paid off for the Red Sox, as the shortstop-turned-left fielder turned in an awesome week as the Red Sox went 4-2 on the road with a pair of wins in Philadelphia and two more against the Yankees in the Bronx.

Ramirez played in five of those games, sitting out Saturday's game with the Yankees, but, he made is presence felt in the series final (won by the Yanks, 14-4) with his third home run of the season, and a sac fly, good for two RBI.

While Ramirez hasn't set foot yet in Fenway Park, Boston fans were appreciative from day one. Ramirez opened the season with a two HR game in Boston's 8-0 rout of the Phillies. Ramirez went 2-for-4 and drove in five runs.

For the week, he batted .320, with three homers and seven RBI.

Ventura: 2-0
AL Starting Pitcher: With his team scoring runs in bunches, Yordano Ventura didn't have to be very sharp, but he managed to rack up a pair of wins, the first in a 10-1 victory over the White Sox on opening day, and, the latest, a 9-2 romp over the Angels on Sunday afternoon.

The first outing was better than the second, though the starter was solid in both. In the opener, he went six innings, allowing four hits and one earned run, fanning two. His second start featured seven strikeouts, and two earned runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. A bit troubling is Ventura's giving up a home run in each of his starts.

Holland: 3 saves
AL Relief Pitcher: When your team goes 6-0 for any week, chances are your closer is going to get a few save chances.

Such was the case for KC's Greg Holland, who managed to finish three of Kansas City's six wins, working the ninth in each of their Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday victories. Holland hasn't allowed a hit (or a walk) in three innings of work thus far into the season, and he's fanned three, two of them in Thursday's 4-1 win over the White Sox.

Holland had 47 saves in 2013 and 46 last season, finishing second in saves both seasons.

National League

Gonzalez: 5 HR
NL Infielder: The Dodgers made some moves in the off-season, but one constant is going to be Adrian Gonzalez at first base, and for good reason. Gonzalez started out his 2015 campaign in style, bashing home runs in his first two games before belting three of them and driving in five runs in the Dodgers' 7-4 win over the Padres.

After his blazing 10-for-13 start, Gonzalez cooled off into the weekend, but still managed to go 4-for-10 in three games at Arizona, laving his batting average, as of Sunday night, at a blistering .609. His five homers lead the majors, but he's driven in just seven runs, though that is good enough to tie hime for fourth place with Philly's Jimmy Rollins.
Dickerson: 9 RBI

NL Outfielder: Prior to dropping Saturday and Sunday games to the Cubs, the Rockies were off to a 4-0 start, largely the result of the play of left fielder Corey Dickerson, who started the season with a bang, belting a three-run homer and driving in four runs in Colorado's 10-0 smashing of the Brewers on opening day in Milwaukee.

After that, Dickerson hit safely in each of his next five games, added another homer and drove in five more runs. By week's end, Dickerson was batting .417, and had nine RBI, good enough for the league lead over Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Todd Frazier, each with eight.

Greinke: 0.69 ERA
NL Starting Pitcher: - Zack Greinke ought to be 2-0, but he's 1-0, since, in his first start of the season on April 7, his teammates failed to score early or often, despite Grienke's six innings of 2-hit ball. The starter gave up a run in that 7-3 loss to the Padres, but came back undaunted on Sunday at Arizona, tossing seven shutout innings on five hits as the Dodgers whipped the Diamondbacks, 7-4.

Grilli: 3 saves
Striking out seven without allowing a walk in his second outing, Greinke upped his seasonal total to 11 Ks and is at his best with a 0.69 ERA and 0.62 WHIP.

NL Relief Pitcher: Atlanta's Jason Grilli looks like a keeper as the Braves' closer. Grilli got three chances and converted them all in a pair of wins over the Marlins and a Friday night, 5-3 win over the Mets.

Grilli, who spent last season split between Pittsburgh and the LA Angels, appears fit and ready for the Braves. He fanned four in his three innings of work, didn't give up a hit and issued just one walk.

The Braves are 5-1 as of Sunday night and have a two-game lead over the Mets and Phillies in the NL East.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Alfredo Simon Stops Rays in 1-0 Tiger Victory; Mets Rangers Close Spring with 4-4 Tie on Anthony Recker's 9th Inning Slam

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 4, 2013

Simon: 1 Hit
Grapefruit League

The Tigers and Rays finished up the exhibition season with a 1-0 win for Detroit in which there were only a combined six hits between the two teams.

Detroit had four of them, one a solo homer by Victor Martinez, his second-inning shot scoring the only run of the game.

The Rays managed only two hits, and just one off starter, Alfredo Simon, who worked five innings, didn''t allow any walks, struck out three and threw 37 of 50 pitches for strikes.

The Reds traded right-hander Simon to the Tigers during the off-season for 2013 first-round Draft pick Jonathon Crawford, and infielder Eugenio Suarez.

Recker: Grand Slam
So far, the trade has received mixed reviews from Tiger management. In seven Spring starts Simon is 2-2, with a 4.55 ERA. He is expected to bolster an already deep Detroit staff ad Saturday's effort was a positive development.

Cactus League

Maybe this is how exhibition season should end.

Down 4-0 in the ninth, the Mets rallied to put three men aboard for catcher, Anthony Recker, who - fittingly, on the day before Easter - took an offering from a fellow named Jesus (Texas reliever, Jesus Pirela) and deposited the ball over the center feild wall for a grand slam and a 4-4 tie with Texas.

The Rangers failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the 12,000+ faithful at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a less-than-satisfied feeling.

With the regular season beginning on Sunday, with one game - the Cubs vs. Cardinals - there was no point in prolonging the end of Spring training, the players itching to get the regular season underway as much as the impatient fans.

For the Mets, and Recker, who played 58 games last season behind the plate for New York, the finish left them with a 19-12 mark. The Rangers ended up 9-19.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Albert Pujols, Andrew Heaney Lead Angels over Dodgers; Jason Marquis Hurls Reds past Blue Jays in Montreal

Players of the Day for Friday, April 3, 2015

Grapefruit League

Jason Marquis
Despite indications to the contrary, there are still baseball fans in Montreal - at least 46,314 of them, not to put too fine a spin on it. That's how many turned out to see the Reds defeat the Blue Jays, 2-0, inside climate-controlled Olympic Stadium.

Mark Buehrle and Jason Marquis put on a fine pitching duel to start the game. Buehrle allowed three hits over four innings, but Marquis was truly masterful, allowing no runs on one hit over a five-inning span, striking out three.

Marquis, who missed all of last season due to injury, appears fully repaired. He's thrown 31 innings of exhibition ball this Spring, allowing 22 hits and 10 earned runs, posting a respectable ERA of 2.80. He'll be in the Reds' starting rotation when the regular season opens this coming week.

While the two teams combined for just 10 hits, fans were appreciative, many sporting gear bearing the insignia of the Montreal Expos, the team that was moved from Canada in 2004 to become the Washington Nationals.

Skip Schumaker doubled in the game's only runs in the eighth inning.
Pujols: Slam

Cactus League

Heaney: No Hits
David Freese smacked a two-run homer in the second and Albert Pujols added a sixth-inning grand slam, the two long balls more than enough to support the 5 1/3 innings of no-hit ball from Angels starter, Andrew Heaney, who got the win in LA's 6-0 whitewash of the Dodgers.

Heaney walked three, but struck out just as many, getting his first win of the exhibition season. He was surely trying to impress the team's coaches, as the fifth spot in the rotation has yet to be filled, and he's one of a few players getting a look.

Heaney went 0-3 for the Marlins last season, making five starts, but his performance was less-than-impressive, putting up an ERA of 5.83.

Until Friday, his stats this Spring were also poor. He finishes up with a record of 1-2 and a 7.03 ERA. The Angels may not use a fifth starter until sometime later in the month.

For Pujols, the slam was his fifth homer of Spring. He has 19 RBI in 20 games.

Last season, his third in an Angel uniform, Pujols hit .272 with 28 HR and 105 RBI.

Oakland Secures Cactus League Crown Behind Scott Kasmir and Billy Butler; Ervin Santana Sharp as Twins Fall to Boston

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 2, 2015

Grapefruit League

Ervin Santana
Ervin Santana must have figured he'd given his team a reasonable shot at winning their game with the Boston Red Sox. After all, he'd held Boston scoreless over the first five innings on one hit, walked just one batter and struck out a pair while his Twins' teammates had put two runs on the scoreboard.

All of that changed as soon as his replacement hit the mound, the Red Sox exploding for seven runs in the sixth inning, getting six of them off J. R. Graham, who allowed six hits in 1/3 of an inning, and the other off Nick Burdi, who got the last two outs of the inning, but not before giving up a two-run homer to Mike Napoli.

Thus, Santana, who has had a solid Spring, was denied his fourth win against one loss. Santana got no decision, but, he appears ready for the regular season. In five starts, he's tossed 19 innings, allowing just four runs, for an ERA of 1.89.

His teammates seem to need a bit more seasoning. After the 8-5 defeat by Boston the Twins are 12-15, while the Red Sox have improved to 16-11 and are just 1/2 game behind the Blue Jays and Mets, both 18-12.

Santana spent the first eight years of his major league career with the Angels, then went to Kansas City in 2013, before heading to Atlanta, where he was 14-10 last year. The Twins acquired the 6'2" right-hander in the off-season.

Cactus League
Butler: New A.

Kazmir: Sharp.
The Oakland A's claimed the Cactus League crown with an 8-2 win over the Giants on Thursday, but, instead of doing so amidst the desert breezes of Arizona, the finalized the deal at the Giants' home field, at AT&T Stadium in San Francisco, where an estimated 41,581 watched the A's capture the first of what they hope will be many flags this year.

Scott Kazmir looked good in his final tune-up prior to the regular season, allowing one run on four hits over six innings. He did not issue any walks, nor did his strike out any of the opposition.

Billy Butler went 3-for-5, including his fifth homer of the exhibition season, and drove in a pair of runs, giving him 15 RBI this Spring.

Kazmir is starting his second season with the A's. Last year he was 15-9 with a 3.44 ERA. Butler figures to be the primary DH for the Athletics. He was snatched away from Kansas City this off-season, after having spent his entire, eight-year career with the Royals.

The win was the ninth straight for the A's, who hold a 2 1/2 game edge on Kansas City with just two games left to play.

* * * *

With the start of the regular season, significant changes are coming to Baseball On Deck.

Instead of daily posts featuring players of the day, the format will change to a main, once-weekly post, on Mondays, in which various players of the week will be presented. Each league will feature an infielder and outfielder of the week, along with starting pitcher of the week and reliever of the week for both the American and National leagues. A special category for DH of the Week will also be part of the new mix.

Interim posts - between Mondays - will appear on an ad hoc basis, along with presentation of streaks, notable stats and other stories of note. These changes will allow Baseball on Deck to become more focused on the larger scope of the season while also providing a more literate interpretation of events.

During the season special attention will be given to the standings and schedules of contending teams, as well as expanded coverage during the pennant races in September and the playoffs and World Series in October.

These changes will begin shortly. Saturday and Sunday will be the final posts in the current Players of the Day format, but opening week of the regular season will feature daily, or nearly daily, posts. The first major post in the new, expanded format will be Monday, April 13.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chase Utley Homers Twice as Phillies Down Braves; Archie Bradley Blanks Reds as Arizona Triumphs, 3-0

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 1, 2013

Grapefruit League

Utley: 2HR, 4RBI
Chase Utley was at it again for the Phillies, belting a pair of homers and driving in four runs as Philadelphia pounded Atlanta, 9-2.

Getting some healthy swings in prior to the start of the regular season, Utley has whacked four home runs and driven in nine runs in 29 at-bats. He's hitting a vary healthy .442 this Spring.

Last year, Utley hit 11 homers and drove in 78 runs in 155 games.

Both teams are under .500 in exhibition play. Atlanta is 13-16; the Phillies are 12-16.

Bradley: 1-Hit

Cactus League

Archie Bradley has spent three years in the minors, compiling a record of 29-18, with a 3.14 ERA.

With a final bullpen spot still open, Bradley let loose with his best stuff in Arizona's 3-0 win over the Reds, blanking Cincinnati for six innings on one hit.

While he did allow three walks and struck out two, Bradley was largely untouchable in what was his sixth game and fourth start of the Spring. He's tossed 22 1/3 innings, allowing just four earned runs, for an ERA of 1.61.

With his latest performance, there's a fair chance that he'll be spending at least part of this season in a major league uniform.

* * * *

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jon Niese Sharp in Mets Shutout of Nationals; Jay Bruce's Three-Run Blast Lifts Reds over Brewers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Grapefruit League

Niese: 6IP, 0ER
Will this finally be the year the Mets live up to their potential and vie for the top spot in the NL East?

Could be, especially if their starting pitching works as well during the regular season as it has through exhibition games.

The 18-11 Mets find themselves currently in first place in Florida's Grapefruit League, a slim game ahead of the Pirates, Red Sox and Blue Jays after Jon Niese tossed six shutout innings en route to his third win of Spring, a 2-0 victory over the Nationals.

Scattering four hits and striking out three without issuing any bases on balls, Niese was in control before handing the ball over to the bullpen, whose three relievers finished the job.
Jay Bruce

The Mets scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, both of Nats' starter, Gio Gonzalez, including a solo homer by John Mayberry, Jr., who finished 3-for-4.

Niese went 9-11 with a 3.40 ERA last season. If he pitches back to that ERA and the Mets get some runs for him, his could be a very productive season.

Cactus League

Cincinnati's Jay Bruce went 2-for-3, including a three-run homer and the Reds cruised to a 10-4 win over the Brewers.

It was Cincinnati's 14th win against 11 losses, leaving them in fourth place, four games back of Oakland in the Cactus League.

Bruce will once again be an integral part of Cincinnati's offensive plans, and will usually be patrolling right field when the Reds play defense.

Last season, Bruce missed some playing time, appearing in only 137 games, but still managed to club 18 homers and drive in 66 runs, though those numbers were well below his usual production. From 2011-2013, Bruce average better than 30 homers and 100 RBI per season.