cnotes Posts:26577 Followers:33
On 05/28/2012 07:48 AM in MLB

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Preview: Yankees (26-21) at Angels (24-25)

Game: 1
Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Date: May 28, 2012 9:05 PM EDT

The Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees have both gone through well-documented offensive funks, but both have heated up just in time for their series in Southern California.

The Angels and Yankees each try to extend their longest winning streaks of the season in Monday night's opener.

Los Angeles (24-25) stumbled out of the gate by losing 14 of its first 20 games, dropping two of three at Yankee Stadium in mid-April, but is suddenly starting to look like the division contender most expected. The Angels have won six straight and are one victory away from getting back to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2 on April 9.

"We got off to a rough start but everyone stayed on an even keel,' said Mark Trumbo, who homered in Sunday's 4-2 win over Seattle. "We have confidence in what we're doing now. This is the style of play we knew we could do. I don't see any reason why we can't continue.'

The offense is steadily improving, averaging 4.3 runs during the winning streak after averaging 3.6 to start the year, and Albert Pujols is starting to look comfortable in his new environment.

Although he had a six-game hitting streak end Sunday, Pujols is still batting .308 with six homers and 14 RBIs in the last 13 contests.

The Yankees' offense is also built to score runs in bunches, though it wasn't doing that a week ago.

New York (26-21) averaged 2.1 runs in going 1-6 from May 15-21, but has averaged 5.6 in winning its five games since.

"You're going to have good stretches, you're going to have bad stretches,' Derek Jeter said after Sunday's 2-0 victory in Oakland.

Jeter singled Sunday for his 3,155th career hit, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer George Brett to move into sole possession of 14th place all-time, and is batting .400 during a seven-game hitting streak versus the Angels.

Mark Teixeira heads to Anaheim as one of the Yankees' hottest hitters after finishing the series against the Athletics 8 for 14 with three homers, three doubles and eight RBIs - raising his batting average 28 points to .254.

"I've been waiting for that hot streak and I found it the last few days,' Teixeira said. "Sometimes that's the name of the game, getting hot. As a team we're winning games, which is great.'

Teixeira and the rest of the Yankees, however, could have trouble generating much offense Monday against Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA).

Weaver gave up a run, three hits and two walks over eight innings in Wednesday's 3-1, 11-inning win over Oakland. Excluding a disastrous outing against Texas on May 13, he has a 1.00 ERA in his other five since April 27.

Weaver, whose turn in the rotation didn't come up in the Angels' trip to the Bronx in April, was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 15 innings in two starts against the Yankees last season.

Teixeira is hitting .188 in 16 at_bats against the right-hander since 2008, while Jeter is 2 for 20.

New York counters with Phil Hughes (4-5, 4.94), who gave up two runs and five hits in six innings in Tuesday's 3-2 win over Kansas City. He improved to 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA over his last four starts after opening 1-4 with a 7.48 ERA.

One of those shaky starts, however, came against Los Angeles - a team that has historically given the righty problems.

Hughes, who grew up near Anaheim, was knocked around by the Angels on April 14 for six runs and eight hits - including homers by Howie Kendrick and Chris Iannetta - in 3 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss. Kendrick was 3 for 3, while Pujols was 2 for 2 with a double.

In four career starts against Los Angeles, Hughes is 1-2 with an 8.69 ERA and 1.98 WHIP.




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05/28/2012 07:53 AM

Preview: Cardinals (26-22) at Braves (26-23)

Game: 1
Venue: Turner Field
Date: May 28, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

A three-game sweep in St. Louis two weeks ago propelled Atlanta to the top of the NL East, but the Braves haven't enjoyed much success since.

The Cardinals' current struggles, meanwhile, originated with that sweep by Atlanta.

In a matchup of two slumping clubs, the Braves try to avoid losing their eighth in a row Monday afternoon against St. Louis at Turner Field.

Atlanta (26-23) was one-half game back of Washington in the East heading into its series in St. Louis from May 11-13, and after outscoring the Cardinals 23-13 the Braves emerged with a one-half game lead. Atlanta has since dropped to fourth place, four games back of the division-leading Nationals, having lost 10 of 14 and seven in a row.

"We just haven't, as a whole, been playing like we're capable of playing,' said Dan Uggla, who had one of the Braves' three hits in Sunday's 7-2 loss to Washington.

The offense has been awful during the franchise's longest losing streak since a nine-game skid in April 2010, scoring 18 runs while batting .180 to go with 66 strikeouts. Uggla is hitting .211 with two homers and three RBIs, while Jason Heyward is batting .150 with a home run and two RBIs.

Those two powered the offense at Busch Stadium earlier this month, with Heyward driving in five runs, while Uggla hit .385 with three doubles and three RBIs. Michael Bourn, second in the NL with 64 hits - but only three in his last five games - also had a big series, batting .471 with a homer and three RBIs.

The Cardinals (26-22) owned a 3 1/2-game lead atop the NL Central heading into their series with the Braves two weeks ago, but being swept by Atlanta initiated a 6-11 stretch that has dropped them 1 1/2 back of division-leading Cincinnati.

The Braves completed the sweep with a 7-4 victory on May 13, as Tommy Hanson (5-3, 3.12 ERA) outdueled Lance Lynn (7-1, 2.54), and those two will square off again Monday.

Despite Atlanta's struggles, Hanson has pitched well, yielding two runs or less in each of his last four starts. In St. Louis, the right-hander gave up a run and five hits while striking out a season-high nine in five innings to get the win.

He pitched well enough to get the victory Wednesday in Cincinnati, permitting a run and four hits in six innings, but didn't get much help from his offense and the Reds rallied for a 2-1 win.

Lynn's outing against the Braves earlier this month, in which he allowed three runs, four hits and three walks in six innings, began what has become a trend of shaky starts.

After posting a 1.40 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in winning his first six outings, the righty is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in his last three. He gave up three runs, eight hits and three walks in six innings in Wednesday's 6-3 win over San Diego.

The Cardinals had lost three in a row following that victory before defeating Philadelphia 8-3 on Sunday.

"We needed this win," catcher Yadier Molina told the Cardinals' official website. "I'm proud for our team."

Molina hit a grand slam Sunday, while Carlos Beltran connected on a three-run homer for his NL-leading 15th and rookie Matt Adams added a solo shot. It was the first career homer for Adams, who is hitting .345 with four doubles in eight games filling in for injured first baseman Lance Berkman.

Molina, batting .563 with two homers and eight RBIs during a four-game hitting streak, left due to dehydration in the 90-degree heat Sunday and his status is uncertain.

Brian McCann, Atlanta's All-Star catcher, could return for the opener. He has not started since last Monday due to an illness.


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05/28/2012 07:56 AM

Preview: Nationals (29-18) at Marlins (26-22)

Game: 1
Venue: Marlins Park
Date: May 28, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

One of the longest road trips of the season hasn't proven much of an obstacle so far for the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

The Nationals will try to complete their three-city journey to the homes of division rivals in positive fashion when they pay their first visit to the Miami Marlins' new park for three games starting Monday afternoon.

After beginning its nine-game trek by taking two of three in Philadelphia, Washington (29-18) completed a three-game sweep of Atlanta with a 7-2 victory Sunday night. Jesus Flores went 3 for 4 with two RBIs in the series finale against the Braves, while Bryce Harper hit his second homer in as many games.

"The big thing in division play is that you try to win series," second baseman Danny Espinosa told the Nationals' official website. "You are not always going to sweep, especially in this division. It's a tough division. You always want to go out there and win series, especially on the road."

Washington will try to win its first game at Marlins Park with help from Jordan Zimmermann (3-4, 2.47 ERA), who is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA - best among major league qualifiers - in four road starts this season. He gave up one run over six innings to defeat the Phillies on Tuesday.

Zimmermann is 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins, but has no decisions and a 2.00 ERA in three outings in Miami. He'll be opposed by Carlos Zambrano (2-3, 2.85), who endured his worst outing of the season Wednesday at Marlins Park.

The right-hander was tagged for seven runs in five innings - a major step back after he'd gone 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his first four May starts.

Zambrano limited the Nationals to one run on a solo homer by Rick Ankiel and two total hits over seven innings April 20 in the nation's capital, but got outpitched by Ross Detwiler and charged with the Marlins' 2-0 defeat.

The Nationals earned a 3-2 victory the following day to complete a two-game sweep and improve to 5-1 in their last six games against Miami (26-22). They won two of three last Sept. 26-28 in the final series at Sun Life Stadium.

While Washington is surging, the Marlins have been playing well all month with an 18-8 record in May.

"They're playing with confidence, and so are we,' Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Guillen's club is coming off a four-game split at home against San Francisco, concluding with a 3-2 loss Sunday. The Marlins had their opportunities, but went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position after hitting .356 in RBI situations over the first six contests of their season-high 10-game homestand.

Miami is still hoping Heath Bell can establish some consistency. The struggling closer was pulled in the ninth inning of Friday and Saturday's wins, has blown four of 11 save chances and sports an 8.47 ERA, but Guillen is maintaining his support.

"It's going to be very hard for us to win if Heath Bell is not our closer," Guillen said. "It's easier for everyone if this kid comes out and does what he has been doing in the past. We have to get him back on track, and we have to give him the confidence."

Bell has converted five consecutive save chances against Washington but gave up two runs in the ninth inning of a 2-0 defeat for San Diego on June 12, the last time he faced the Nationals.




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05/28/2012 08:00 AM

Preview: Phillies (25-24) at Mets (27-21)

Game: 1
Venue: Citi Field
Date: May 28, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

Cole Hamels has been unbeatable over the last six weeks. That run began with a victory against the New York Mets.

The left-hander looks to become the majors' first eight-game winner Monday when he tries to help the visiting Phillies end their struggles against the Mets this season.

Since giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Miami in his 2012 debut April 9, Hamels (7-1, 2.17 ERA) is 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight starts.

"I feel the same as I've felt the last couple years," Hamels told the Phillies' official website. "Fortunately, things are just falling my way. I'm just trying to make sure it goes as long as it possibly can."

In his last start Wednesday, Hamels allowed four hits and struck out eight in eight scoreless innings of a 4-1 win over Washington.

His current run began April 15 at home versus New York. He allowed a two-run homer to Ike Davis and fanned a season-high 10 in seven innings of an 8-2 win to improve to 4-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 starts against the Mets.

That victory is Philadelphia's only one in six games this season versus New York (27-21) - all at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets swept the teams' last series May 7-9.

Philadelphia (25-24) looks to bounce back after its four-game winning streak ended with an 8-3 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay left after two innings with shoulder soreness.

New York, meanwhile, has won three in a row and five of six after beating San Diego 2-0 on Sunday. One day after Johan Santana tossed a four-hitter in a 9-0 win over the Padres, R.A. Dickey struck out 10 over 7 1-3 innings.

The Mets, who posted 26 straight scoreless innings in winning the final three of the four-game set against the lowly Padres, last shut out three straight opponents May 25-27, 2010 - against the Phillies at Citi Field.

"It's nice to be able to celebrate some good outings in a row and, hopefully, the next guy out feels an obligation to keep it's where it's at right now,' Dickey said

New York actually shut out the Phillies four straight home meetings in 2010, but since then Philadelphia has won nine of 14 in Queens.

"When you play these teams (like the Phillies) you raise your level,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We got to pick our game up, but if we continue to pitch, we'll be in some games.'

The pressure to continue the Mets' mound success falls on Jonathon Niese (3-2, 4.29), who is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts versus Philadelphia in 2012.

After giving up a season-high eight runs in three innings of a 14-5 loss at Toronto on May 18, the left-hander allowed a run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz is 5 for 14 versus Niese, and 9 for 17 in his last four games overall.

A lifetime .333 hitter with two homers off Hamels, Mets star David Wright is 10 for 22 (.455) with a home runs and five RBIs against the Phillies this season. However, he went 0 for 9 in his last three games to drop his average from .405 to .382.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:26577 Followers:33
05/28/2012 08:00 AM

Preview: Phillies (25-24) at Mets (27-21)

Game: 1
Venue: Citi Field
Date: May 28, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

Cole Hamels has been unbeatable over the last six weeks. That run began with a victory against the New York Mets.

The left-hander looks to become the majors' first eight-game winner Monday when he tries to help the visiting Phillies end their struggles against the Mets this season.

Since giving up four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Miami in his 2012 debut April 9, Hamels (7-1, 2.17 ERA) is 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight starts.

"I feel the same as I've felt the last couple years," Hamels told the Phillies' official website. "Fortunately, things are just falling my way. I'm just trying to make sure it goes as long as it possibly can."

In his last start Wednesday, Hamels allowed four hits and struck out eight in eight scoreless innings of a 4-1 win over Washington.

His current run began April 15 at home versus New York. He allowed a two-run homer to Ike Davis and fanned a season-high 10 in seven innings of an 8-2 win to improve to 4-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 18 starts against the Mets.

That victory is Philadelphia's only one in six games this season versus New York (27-21) - all at Citizens Bank Park. The Mets swept the teams' last series May 7-9.

Philadelphia (25-24) looks to bounce back after its four-game winning streak ended with an 8-3 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay left after two innings with shoulder soreness.

New York, meanwhile, has won three in a row and five of six after beating San Diego 2-0 on Sunday. One day after Johan Santana tossed a four-hitter in a 9-0 win over the Padres, R.A. Dickey struck out 10 over 7 1-3 innings.

The Mets, who posted 26 straight scoreless innings in winning the final three of the four-game set against the lowly Padres, last shut out three straight opponents May 25-27, 2010 - against the Phillies at Citi Field.

"It's nice to be able to celebrate some good outings in a row and, hopefully, the next guy out feels an obligation to keep it's where it's at right now,' Dickey said

New York actually shut out the Phillies four straight home meetings in 2010, but since then Philadelphia has won nine of 14 in Queens.

"When you play these teams (like the Phillies) you raise your level,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We got to pick our game up, but if we continue to pitch, we'll be in some games.'

The pressure to continue the Mets' mound success falls on Jonathon Niese (3-2, 4.29), who is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts versus Philadelphia in 2012.

After giving up a season-high eight runs in three innings of a 14-5 loss at Toronto on May 18, the left-hander allowed a run and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz is 5 for 14 versus Niese, and 9 for 17 in his last four games overall.

A lifetime .333 hitter with two homers off Hamels, Mets star David Wright is 10 for 22 (.455) with a home runs and five RBIs against the Phillies this season. However, he went 0 for 9 in his last three games to drop his average from .405 to .382.




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05/28/2012 08:04 AM

Preview: Tigers (23-24) at Red Sox (23-24)

Game: 1
Venue: Fenway Park
Date: May 28, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

It's been nearly two months since the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox opened the season against each other.

They both still have identical records, although neither team is bragging.

The Tigers, who swept that opening series, are coming off another sweep heading into Monday's opener of a four-game set against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Boston was hoping for improvement in manager Bobby Valentine's first season after missing out on a playoff spot in 2011, due to a 7-20 collapse down the stretch. Detroit won 95 games a season ago, advanced to the AL championship series and - after adding slugger Prince Fielder in the offseason - entered 2012 as a clear favorite for another division crown.

These teams, however, are currently both below .500 at 23-24. The Red Sox are last in the powerful AL East and the Tigers occupy third place in the Central.

Detroit comes to Fenway with more momentum after sweeping three games in Minnesota. Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Tigers to Sunday's 4-3 victory.

Cabrera was 5 for 12 with five RBIs and four runs scored in the series while Fielder went 9 for 12 with two walks.

"We're here to win games, not here for personal numbers," Cabrera said. "If you think about that, you put pressure on yourself.'

Cabrera was one of several Tigers who turned in big numbers in the season-opening, three-game sweep of Boston at Comerica Park. He went 5 for 11 with three homers and eight RBIs, Austin Jackson was 8 for 14 and Fielder and Alex Avila each went 5 for 12 with two homers.

Jackson is out with an abdominal strain, but could return next weekend.

The Red Sox, outhomered 7-1 in the season-opening series, will look to bounce back after closer Alfredo Aceves blew a save in the ninth inning by allowing Sean Rodriguez's two-run homer in Sunday's 4-3 home defeat to Tampa Bay. Aceves also blew a save April 8 against the Tigers, when he allowed a three-run home run to Cabrera and did not retire a batter, but had converted 11 of 12 opportunities since.

Boston has spent the entire season at .500 or worse, and has squandered three opportunities to obtain a winning record in the past week alone.

"It's frustrating for now, but it will happen," slugger Adrian Gonzalez told the Red Sox's official website. "(We have to) keep playing hard, get over that hump and keep going from there."

The Red Sox expect to activate Ryan Sweeney, who has been on the seven-day disabled list for a concussion suffered May 19 against Philadelphia. He's one of four Boston hitters with at least 14 doubles.

Felix Doubront (4-2, 3.96 ERA) will take the mound for the Red Sox after he yielded two runs over six innings Tuesday in a 4-1 loss at Baltimore as his three-start winning streak ended.

The left-hander, who ranks among baseball's leaders with a 7.02 run-support average, has never faced Detroit.

Doug Fister (0-2, 1.84) will start for the Tigers. He won his final six decisions of 2011, but is still in search of his first win this season after allowing two runs over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday and not getting a decision in a 4-2 defeat at Cleveland.

Fister lasted 3 2-3 innings April 7 in a 10-0 win over Boston before leaving a muscle strain in his left side that forced him to miss a month. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:26577 Followers:33
05/28/2012 08:04 AM

Preview: Tigers (23-24) at Red Sox (23-24)

Game: 1
Venue: Fenway Park
Date: May 28, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

It's been nearly two months since the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox opened the season against each other.

They both still have identical records, although neither team is bragging.

The Tigers, who swept that opening series, are coming off another sweep heading into Monday's opener of a four-game set against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Boston was hoping for improvement in manager Bobby Valentine's first season after missing out on a playoff spot in 2011, due to a 7-20 collapse down the stretch. Detroit won 95 games a season ago, advanced to the AL championship series and - after adding slugger Prince Fielder in the offseason - entered 2012 as a clear favorite for another division crown.

These teams, however, are currently both below .500 at 23-24. The Red Sox are last in the powerful AL East and the Tigers occupy third place in the Central.

Detroit comes to Fenway with more momentum after sweeping three games in Minnesota. Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer with one out in the ninth inning lifted the Tigers to Sunday's 4-3 victory.

Cabrera was 5 for 12 with five RBIs and four runs scored in the series while Fielder went 9 for 12 with two walks.

"We're here to win games, not here for personal numbers," Cabrera said. "If you think about that, you put pressure on yourself.'

Cabrera was one of several Tigers who turned in big numbers in the season-opening, three-game sweep of Boston at Comerica Park. He went 5 for 11 with three homers and eight RBIs, Austin Jackson was 8 for 14 and Fielder and Alex Avila each went 5 for 12 with two homers.

Jackson is out with an abdominal strain, but could return next weekend.

The Red Sox, outhomered 7-1 in the season-opening series, will look to bounce back after closer Alfredo Aceves blew a save in the ninth inning by allowing Sean Rodriguez's two-run homer in Sunday's 4-3 home defeat to Tampa Bay. Aceves also blew a save April 8 against the Tigers, when he allowed a three-run home run to Cabrera and did not retire a batter, but had converted 11 of 12 opportunities since.

Boston has spent the entire season at .500 or worse, and has squandered three opportunities to obtain a winning record in the past week alone.

"It's frustrating for now, but it will happen," slugger Adrian Gonzalez told the Red Sox's official website. "(We have to) keep playing hard, get over that hump and keep going from there."

The Red Sox expect to activate Ryan Sweeney, who has been on the seven-day disabled list for a concussion suffered May 19 against Philadelphia. He's one of four Boston hitters with at least 14 doubles.

Felix Doubront (4-2, 3.96 ERA) will take the mound for the Red Sox after he yielded two runs over six innings Tuesday in a 4-1 loss at Baltimore as his three-start winning streak ended.

The left-hander, who ranks among baseball's leaders with a 7.02 run-support average, has never faced Detroit.

Doug Fister (0-2, 1.84) will start for the Tigers. He won his final six decisions of 2011, but is still in search of his first win this season after allowing two runs over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday and not getting a decision in a 4-2 defeat at Cleveland.

Fister lasted 3 2-3 innings April 7 in a 10-0 win over Boston before leaving a muscle strain in his left side that forced him to miss a month. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox.


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05/28/2012 08:09 AM

Preview: Reds (27-20) at Pirates (23-24)

Game: 1
Venue: PNC Park
Date: May 28, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

After hitting plenty of homers on a homestand, the Cincinnati Reds could find it difficult to go deep against a pitcher who has been keeping the ball in the stadium of late.

Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald hasn't allowed a homer over his last 33 2-3 innings heading into Monday's opener of a three-game set against the first-place Reds.

Cincinnati (27-20) has won eight of nine, completing a 6-1 homestand in which it homered 17 times with Sunday's 7-5 victory over Colorado. Four Reds homered Sunday in a game that featured a record nine longballs at Great American Ball Park.

"The ball was flying out today," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website. "That's too many home runs for them. I'll take all of ours."

McDonald (3-2, 2.51 ERA), however, figures to be stingy since he has yielded one run in five of his last seven outings. That includes a May 5 effort in which he limited the Reds to one run over 6 1-3 innings while striking out seven to earn a 3-2 victory, improving to 2-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four career home starts against them.

McDonald has struck out at least seven in six straight starts to tie Bob Veale's 1965 club record.

Several key Reds hitters have good numbers against the right-hander, with Brandon Phillips 6 for 15, Jay Bruce 5 for 13 with a homer and Joey Votto 6 for 19 with one home run.

All three of those hitters homered Sunday along with Todd Frazier for Cincinnati. Phillips went 9 for 23 with three homers and eight RBIs during the homestand while Votto was 11 for 24 with four walks and four runs scored.

Bruce, who sat out Friday's 6-3 loss after striking out 16 times during a 1-for-29 slump, has extra-base hits in consecutive games since returning to the lineup.

"To get momentum like that at home is always good," Bruce said. "Winning the series is key. That's what you hope for."

Drew Stubbs was the hitting star for the Reds when they took two of three in Pittsburgh (23-24) earlier this month, going 6 for 12 with two homers. The Pirates were outhomered 5-2 in that series.

Pittsburgh had not hit a three-run homer until Pedro Alvarez had one in the first inning Sunday in a 10-4 win over the Cubs. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones also went deep for the Pirates, seeking their first four-game win streak of 2012.

"I was well aware of the fact we didn't have (a three-run homer)," manager Clint Hurdle said. "They make the offensive game pick up dramatically when you can get three runs in one swipe."

Several Pirates could face a challenge Monday against Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 3.22). McCutchen is 1 for 16 against him, Rod Barajas is 0 for 11 and Jones is 4 for 16.

The right-hander went 0-2 with a 8.18 ERA in two 2011 starts against Pittsburgh, although he is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four outings at PNC Park.

Arroyo yielded one run over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday and did not get a decision in a 2-1 win over Atlanta.



Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:26577 Followers:33
05/28/2012 08:09 AM

Preview: Reds (27-20) at Pirates (23-24)

Game: 1
Venue: PNC Park
Date: May 28, 2012 1:35 PM EDT

After hitting plenty of homers on a homestand, the Cincinnati Reds could find it difficult to go deep against a pitcher who has been keeping the ball in the stadium of late.

Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald hasn't allowed a homer over his last 33 2-3 innings heading into Monday's opener of a three-game set against the first-place Reds.

Cincinnati (27-20) has won eight of nine, completing a 6-1 homestand in which it homered 17 times with Sunday's 7-5 victory over Colorado. Four Reds homered Sunday in a game that featured a record nine longballs at Great American Ball Park.

"The ball was flying out today," manager Dusty Baker told the Reds' official website. "That's too many home runs for them. I'll take all of ours."

McDonald (3-2, 2.51 ERA), however, figures to be stingy since he has yielded one run in five of his last seven outings. That includes a May 5 effort in which he limited the Reds to one run over 6 1-3 innings while striking out seven to earn a 3-2 victory, improving to 2-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four career home starts against them.

McDonald has struck out at least seven in six straight starts to tie Bob Veale's 1965 club record.

Several key Reds hitters have good numbers against the right-hander, with Brandon Phillips 6 for 15, Jay Bruce 5 for 13 with a homer and Joey Votto 6 for 19 with one home run.

All three of those hitters homered Sunday along with Todd Frazier for Cincinnati. Phillips went 9 for 23 with three homers and eight RBIs during the homestand while Votto was 11 for 24 with four walks and four runs scored.

Bruce, who sat out Friday's 6-3 loss after striking out 16 times during a 1-for-29 slump, has extra-base hits in consecutive games since returning to the lineup.

"To get momentum like that at home is always good," Bruce said. "Winning the series is key. That's what you hope for."

Drew Stubbs was the hitting star for the Reds when they took two of three in Pittsburgh (23-24) earlier this month, going 6 for 12 with two homers. The Pirates were outhomered 5-2 in that series.

Pittsburgh had not hit a three-run homer until Pedro Alvarez had one in the first inning Sunday in a 10-4 win over the Cubs. Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones also went deep for the Pirates, seeking their first four-game win streak of 2012.

"I was well aware of the fact we didn't have (a three-run homer)," manager Clint Hurdle said. "They make the offensive game pick up dramatically when you can get three runs in one swipe."

Several Pirates could face a challenge Monday against Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 3.22). McCutchen is 1 for 16 against him, Rod Barajas is 0 for 11 and Jones is 4 for 16.

The right-hander went 0-2 with a 8.18 ERA in two 2011 starts against Pittsburgh, although he is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four outings at PNC Park.

Arroyo yielded one run over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday and did not get a decision in a 2-1 win over Atlanta.



Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:26577 Followers:33
05/28/2012 08:11 AM

Preview: Athletics (22-26) at Twins (15-32)

Game: 1
Venue: Target Field
Date: May 28, 2012 2:10 PM EDT

The Oakland Athletics are once again struggling to score runs while the Minnesota Twins are once again having difficulty keeping them off the scoreboard. It comes as perhaps no surprise then that both teams are in the midst of lengthy losing streaks.

The Athletics have dropped a season-high five in a row heading into Monday's opener of a three-game series against the Twins, who are on the verge of matching their longest skid of the campaign.

Oakland (22-26) is hitting a major league-worst .209 this season and its 158 runs scored are 22 fewer than any other AL team. The A's, though, have fared worse than usual during their losing streak, batting .145 while being outscored 25-6.

They produced five singles in their latest defeat, 2-0 to the visiting New York Yankees on Sunday.

"We're beyond pressing at this point," manager Bob Melvin said. "We have to try to relax. We're trying too hard. We're going to try a little easier."

Minnesota, meanwhile, has the worst ERA in the majors at 5.47 and has given up a combined 36 runs over its five straight losses. The Twins, though, had one of their better efforts Sunday against visiting Detroit but closer Matt Capps gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning of a 4-3 defeat, his first blown save in 10 chances.

"We're a good enough team. We score enough runs. We've got to do a better job of preventing them," reliever Glen Perkins said.

The Twins (15-32) might have a better chance of limiting their next opponent with Scott Diamond (3-1, 1.78 ERA) on the mound. The left-hander has not allowed a run in his 14 innings at Target Field this season but could use some more support in this outing.

Minnesota tied a season high with three errors during a 6-0 defeat to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, and Diamond was charged with three unearned runs - five total - over six innings.

"He threw the ball well. Unfortunately, we didn't make some plays behind him," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's website. "We made him throw a few extra pitches, and made him work a little bit harder."

After sending a struggling Graham Godfrey back to the minors, the A's are expected to give Travis Blackley (0-0, 0.00) his first major league start since Sept. 29, 2007. The left-hander, acquired off waivers from San Francisco on May 15, has made three relief appearances for Oakland, including one of 3 2-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Blackley is 1-3 with a 9.35 ERA in eight major league starts with six of those taking place in 2004 for Seattle. He will face Minnesota for the first time Monday.

Diamond is also making his first start against Oakland, and Brandon Inge, expected to be activated from the disabled list Monday, is the only A's player to have faced him, going 2 for 4.

Inge had four homers and 16 RBIs in his last six games before going on the DL.

Minnesota last dropped six in a row from April 21-27. Oakland's most recent skid of six or longer was 10 games from May 30-June 9.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: