cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
On 05/26/2012 09:37 AM in MLB

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Preview: Padres (17-30) at Mets (25-21)

Game: 3
Venue: Citi Field
Date: May 26, 2012 1:10 PM EDT

A longshot to make any major league roster at one point in his career, Mike Baxter appears to be making up for lost time since joining the New York Mets.

He's also making the San Diego Padres regret what they once had.

Baxter tries to continue his solid play and lead the Mets to back-to-back wins as their series continues Saturday with the Padres.

Originally a fourth-round pick in the amateur draft by the Padres in 2005, Baxter steadily worked his way up the team's system until his major league debut in 2010 and appeared in nine games. The outfielder, though, tore ligaments in his thumb late in spring training last year and was placed on waivers in July, and the Mets claimed him the same day.

``He's a solid, fundamentally sound player. I think our minor league people taught him well,' Padres manager Bud Black said of Baxter. ``He's a bright kid, our minor league guys really liked him. The cool thing is when a guy comes back and plays in his hometown.'

He appeared primarily as a defensive replacement in 22 games in 2011, getting 34 at_bats and had started this year doing the same. Recently, though, Baxter has found a groove at the plate, and with it, increased playing time.

After making a leaping catch at the left-field wall to start an inning-ending double play in the first, Baxter had a go-ahead RBI double in the third to spark the Mets to a 6-1 victory Friday night. The native of Queens, N.Y., has hit safely in his last six starts, going 8 for 24 with three doubles and a triple.

``He came to camp to make the club,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ``Now he made the club. He's pretty tough to get out of the lineup right now.'

Mets scheduled starter Johan Santana (1-2, 3.24 ERA) is hoping for similar strong defensive support as he tries to avoid going winless for a fourth straight start. The left-hander has not had a decision in the previous three, yielding nine runs in 20 innings in that span.

Santana failed to protect a two-run lead in the seventh inning Monday at Pittsburgh, leaving after giving up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of New York's 5-4 defeat. In his previous two starts, Santana watched the Mets bullpen implode in eventual losses.

He is 2-3 with a 2.47 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Padres.

San Diego's offense, however, was held down after a season high in runs in Friday's 11-5 win. The Padres (17-30) fell to 1-10 on the road when scoring three or fewer runs and 8-24 overall.

Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.63) knows all about that lack of run support - the Padres have backed him with three or fewer runs in six of his nine starts - as he seeks a third consecutive solid start and a second straight win. The left-hander was in line for a victory Monday at St. Louis, where he allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings, but Jason Motte was unable to hold the lead in a 4-3 defeat.

Richard has allowed two runs in each of his last two starts after doing so twice in his first seven, but he has struggled on the road this year - going 0-3 with a 6.68 ERA in five starts. Richard did not get a decision in his only start against the Mets in 2010, limiting them to one run in seven innings.

Mets third baseman David Wright, whose average dipped to .397 after going 0 for 3 with a walk Friday, is 3 for 8 lifetime against Richard.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:39 AM

Preview: Tigers (21-24) at Twins (15-30)

Game: 2
Venue: Target Field
Date: May 26, 2012 2:10 PM EDT

After an overpowering display last weekend, Max Scherzer is hoping he's put his inconsistency behind him.

Considering how erratic he's been against the Minnesota Twins, it might be too soon to say.

Scherzer looks to build on his 15-strikeout performance as the Detroit Tigers continue a three-game set with the AL-worst Twins on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.

While Scherzer (3-3, 5.73 ERA) has shown flashes of his tremendous potential throughout the year, he's also been knocked around quite a bit.

Five days after surrendering six runs over four-plus innings on the road against the White Sox, Scherzer was at his best Sunday. He yielded a pair of runs and four hits while striking out a career high over seven innings in a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.

"Even when I've struggled, I've always believed the next time I go out there that I'm going to have a great start, no matter what," Scherzer said. "That's always been my belief ever since I've been in the big leagues, and (Sunday) was no different."

The right-hander became just the second player to record 15 swinging strikeouts since 1988, and has now yielded two runs or fewer in three of four outings.

"I've worked really hard over the past two or three weeks on identifying this," he told " ... I want to be somebody on this team that can step up and help this team win. I know I'm capable of it on a consistent basis."

Scherzer has been anything but against the Twins (15-30), going 1-1 with a 6.45 ERA over six starts in the series. While he's allowed two runs or fewer in three of those outings, he's given up a combined 23 - all earned - over 14 2-3 innings in the other three, including a career-worst 10 during a 10-4 road loss May 3, 2010.

Justin Morneau is 3 for 5 with a pair of homers against Scherzer. Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham have also taken him deep, going a combined 7 for 18.

Scherzer will try to lead the Tigers (21-24) to back-to-back victories for the first time since a four-game winning streak April 15-18. Detroit snapped a three-game skid Friday, beating Minnesota 10-6 behind a 9-for-16 effort with runners in scoring position.

Alex Avila went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs while Prince Fielder, Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch - the Tigers' 4-5-6 hitters - each collected three hits.

"This is our team," manager Jim Leyland said. "This is what we've got. That's a little bit more what we're supposed to look like. Hopefully it gets contagious and we get on a little roll."

The Twins, meanwhile, suffered their third straight loss while going just 3 for 16 with men on second and third.

Minnesota gives the ball to Carl Pavano (2-3, 4.91), who was originally scheduled to pitch Thursday before getting pushed back due to a lingering strained right shoulder.

The right-hander, though, is coming off one of his better efforts of the season. Pavano gave up two runs, five hits and struck out six in as many innings during last Saturday's 5-4, 11-inning win at Milwaukee.

"It's always a work in progress, but I thought I was definitely stronger," Pavano said following his 300th big league appearance. "Everything is moving in the right direction."

Pavano, who compiled a 1.48 ERA while winning each of his first four starts against the Tigers from May-August 2009, has since gone 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in his last eight. Avila is 6 for 16 and has taken Pavano deep twice while Fielder is 5 for 11 with a homer.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:41 AM

Preview: Blue Jays (24-22) at Rangers (28-18)

Game: 2
Venue: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Date: May 26, 2012 3:05 PM EDT

After three subpar performances at the plate to conclude their road trip, the Texas Rangers found their bats again during their return home.

The Rangers will try to keep things going while adding to Toronto Blue Jays' and right-hander Henderson Alvarez's woes Saturday afternoon.

With a .288 batting average, 256 runs scored and 66 homers, Texas (28-18) is again one of the top hitting teams in the majors but hit .167 and scored a combined seven runs while dropping two of three in Seattle earlier this week.

The Rangers bounced back in a big way Friday with a 14-3 drubbing of Toronto (24-22), which matched their second-highest run total this season.

"It was nice to break out like this," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

Nelson Cruz hit his fourth career grand slam and second this season while matching a career high with eight RBIs, set July 22 against Toronto.

"You dream to have those kinds of days,' said Cruz, who went 4 for 5. "It can't happen every day. When it happens, you should be happy and enjoy it."

Josh Hamilton also hit his first home run since May 12 and recorded his 50th RBI of the season before leaving with a head cold. Hamilton's longball was also a club record-tying 10th in May, and he's the first Rangers' player with 19 homers through the first 46 games of a season.

Hamilton and his teammates will try to keep rolling against Alvarez (3-4, 3.30 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA over his last two starts. The right-hander tied a career high Sunday by giving up six runs over five innings in a 6-5 loss to the visiting New York Mets.

"There are always good days and bad days. I feel like I didn't have a good day today," Alvarez told the team's website through an interpreter. "Things happen when you pitch, but I will learn from this start."

While Alvarez will try to get back on track in his first start against Texas, the Rangers' Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.30) will try to build on his best outing of the month. The right-hander allowed a solo homer and three other hits over eight-plus innings Sunday during a 6-1 victory in Houston after going 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in his first three starts this month.

"Things didn't go my way in the last couple of starts, so I just wanted to bounce back and go deep into the game," he said.

Lewis gave up a solo homer and a single over 6 2-3 innings in his most recent matchup with Toronto, a 12-2 win in Arlington on July 22.

He will try to duplicate that outing while helping the Rangers register consecutive victories for the first time since May 10-11. Texas has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games but has won four of six at home against the Blue Jays.

Toronto, meanwhile, will try to avoid its first four-game losing streak since April 24-27.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:44 AM

Preview: Royals (17-27) at Orioles (29-17)

Game: 2
Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Date: May 26, 2012 4:05 PM EDT

Adam Jones has been an emerging star since arriving in Baltimore in 2008.

It appears he's about to be paid like a fully-fledged one.

With the announcement of a contract extension seemingly very close, Jones looks to extend his 16-game hitting streak and lead the Orioles to a sixth straight home win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

Jones has slowly developed into Baltimore's best player since he was acquired from Seattle in February 2008, and the team appears ready to make a long-term commitment to its center fielder. Jones confirmed Friday that his representative, Nez Balelo, was in Baltimore and also said he's taken a physical, a prerequisite to a multi-year extension.

"Hopefully, we can get this done. It would be good for the team, good for the fans,' Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "Adam Jones is a good player. We like Adam Jones, like what he does for our team. He is a great defensive center fielder and hits in the middle of our lineup.'

On pace for the best season of his seven-year career, Jones seems likely to make his second All-Star team and first since 2009. He leads the league-best Orioles (29-17) in batting average (.310), homers (14), RBIs (31), runs (33) and steals (7).

Baltimore entered this three-game series having lost three of four but Jones knocked in a pair and Jason Hammel pitched six scoreless innings in an 8-2 victory Friday.

The crowd of 28,954 included nearly 11,000 walk-up fans, a testament to the excitement the Orioles have generated after 14 straight losing seasons.

"Outstanding crowd tonight,' Hammel said. "If they are backing us, we are going to feel even better about ourselves. It's been fun to see the stands filling up now. We want to just continue to play good baseball for them.'

Jones is batting .348 during a career-best 16-game hitting streak in which he has six homers, 14 RBIs and 10 runs.

Chris Davis hit Baltimore's major league-leading 70th homer and had three RBIs on Friday to help the Orioles beat the Royals for the fifth straight time at home and improve to 16-3 in their last 19 games against the AL Central.

Nick Markakis added three hits and is 9 for 19 in his last four games versus Kansas City (17-27).

The victory gave the Orioles three consecutive winning months of at least 10 games for the first time since Sept. 2004-May 2005.

Jeff Francoeur had a two-run homer in the Royals' third straight loss and seventh in nine games since a season-best four-game winning streak.

Hammel's outing improved the Orioles to 22-1 this season when they get a quality start - a trend Wei-Yin Chen (4-1, 3.35 ERA) hopes to continue.

The left-hander allowed more than three earned runs for the first time in eight starts Sunday in a 9-3 loss at Washington. He gave up six runs and eight hits - including Stephen Strasburg's first career homer - in a season-low 4 1-3 innings and failed to become the first starter since Jimmy Key in 1997 to begin his Orioles career with five straight wins.

After pitching brilliantly in his second start this month against the Yankees, the Royals' Felipe Paulino (2-1, 1.42) attempts to do the same versus Baltimore.

Paulino scattered six hits over 6 2-3 innings and struck out eight in a 6-0 win at Yankee Stadium on Monday. He became the first starter to pitch shutout ball against New York in consecutive outings since Boston's Josh Beckett on April 10 and May 14 last year.

The right-hander was outstanding in his first career start against the Orioles, striking out nine in seven scoreless innings May 16 before the Royals lost in 15.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:46 AM

Preview: Yankees (24-21) at Athletics (22-24)

Game: 2
Venue: Coliseum
Date: May 26, 2012 4:05 PM EDT

CC Sabathia hasn't suffered three consecutive losses over his three-plus seasons with the New York Yankees. A return home might help him avoid that dubious streak.

The Bay Area native will try to snap out of his slump while leading the Yankees to their eighth consecutive road win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.

Sabathia (5-2, 3.78 ERA) is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA since winning five starts in a row, and he walked a combined nine batters over those two outings. He issued three of his season-high five free passes and gave up a pair of homers in his final inning, the seventh, during a 5-2 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday.

"It's baseball," Sabathia told the team's official website. "It's a long season, you've got some ups and downs. When it's down, it's time for the pitching to step up and make pitches. I didn't do that."

Sabathia hasn't lost three straight decisions since May 20-June 5, 2008, while with Cleveland and hasn't lost three consecutive starts since April 5-16 that same year.

He'll try to avoid that while improving on his 2-0 record and 1.57 ERA over the past three matchups with Oakland (22-24). The left-hander yielded one run over 7 2-3 innings during his most recent game at Coliseum on July 6, 2010, and gave up three runs over 7 1-3 in the Bronx on Aug. 24 during his only outing in last season's series.

In this start, the native of nearby Vallejo, Calif., will pitch opposite former teammate Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.09), who is coming off his first win since April 18. The right-hander earned that by giving up two runs over five innings in San Francisco on Sunday.

Colon, 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA for the Yankees in 2011, was 0-3 with a 5.52 ERA over the five starts before that 6-2 victory.

Colon hasn't faced New York (24-21) since July 6, 2007, and he's probably thankful for that. He hasn't made it past the third inning in his past two matchups against the Yankees and has given up a combined 15 runs in those games.

This time, he'll face a team that's produced 17 runs during a three-game win streak - one shy of matching a season high - after scoring a combined 15 during a 1-6 stretch.

Mark Teixeira hit just his third home run since April 21 in a 6-3 win Friday while Nick Swisher had his first since May 6. Robinson Cano also went deep as his team finished with 12 hits, its most since 14 in a 6-2 win over Seattle on May 11.

"We're used to scoring that many runs. It's kind of more normal for us," Teixeira said. "We're a team that's used to hitting a lot of (homers) and we'd like to hit a little bit more.'

Alex Rodriguez, who had two hits Friday, is 22 for 47 with eight home runs against Colon. Derek Jeter, who is three hits shy of passing George Brett for 14th on the all-time list, is 13 for 36 with two homers versus Colon but has also struck out 10 times.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:48 AM

Preview: Nationals (27-18) at Braves (26-21)

Game: 2
Venue: Turner Field
Date: May 26, 2012 4:05 PM EDT

The Washington Nationals got the best of the slumping Atlanta Braves in the opener of a three-game set between the top two teams in the NL East.

They appear to have a good opportunity to create further separation in the standings with Stephen Strasburg taking the hill opposite Mike Minor on Saturday afternoon at Turner Field.

Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 4 with three RBIs and Ian Desmond and Rick Ankiel each also drove in a pair Friday as Washington (27-18) earned its fourth win in five games, beating Atlanta (26-21) 7-4 to extend its division lead to two games. The Nationals improved to 10-1 when scoring at least six runs, compared to 17-17 when totaling five or fewer.

Losers of three straight in this series, the Braves have totaled 12 runs while dropping a season-worst five in a row overall, and things aren't about to get any easier with Strasburg (4-1, 2.21 ERA) on the hill.

While the hard-throwing right-hander has lost both of his starts against Atlanta with a 4.35 ERA - his highest against any opponent he's faced more than once in his career - Chipper Jones knows his club will be in for a challenge Saturday. Jones, however, won't be available as he heads to the 15-day disabled with a bruised left leg.

"He has the best stuff, the best repertoire of pitches, that I've seen on any one single pitcher," Jones told "He is like a Kerry Wood in his prime and Justin Verlander hybrid.

"He has the fastball, just like those two, the breaking ball just like those two. The changeup is what sets him apart ... (Strasburg's changeup) is a 90-plus (mph) split that falls off the table. When you are geared up going for 95-96 and he throws you 90 and the bottom drops out of it, it's a pretty lethal combination."

Strasburg yielded three runs - one earned - four hits and struck out eight over five innings of Sunday's 9-3 win over Baltimore before being removed as a precaution due to tightness in his bicep.

"The bicep is fine," he said. "Starting out, I threw a lot of pitches early and then we put up a lot of runs. I got a little tired. (The bicep) got a little tight. It's nothing different than any other outing. It's probably gonna be like this for the rest of the year. It's all part of coming back from Tommy John (surgery). It's something I have to be smart about."

Owner of the highest ERA among NL qualifiers, Minor (2-4, 6.96) - who has also been taken deep a league-worst 12 times - has had an especially rough time in recent weeks.

The left-hander dropped to 0-3 with an abysmal 10.46 ERA over his last five starts after allowing four homers and four walks in six innings of Monday's 4-1 loss at Cincinnati.

Minor is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA in three starts against the Nationals.

Atlanta hasn't lost six in a row since a nine-game slide April 21-29, 2010.

Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, mired in a 3-for-27 (.111) slump over his last nine games, is 5 for 6 with a homer against Strasburg - the most hits Strasburg has allowed to any player.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:50 AM

Preview: Indians (26-19) at White Sox (24-22)

Game: 2
Venue: U.S. Cellular Field
Date: May 26, 2012 4:10 PM EDT

While Derek Lowe was enduring one of the worst seasons of his career in 2011, the Chicago White Sox's Jake Peavy was dealing with another injury-plagued one.

Now healthy, Peavy will try to add to his promising campaign when he faces a rejuvenated Lowe and the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon.

Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner, hasn't won more than seven games or made more than 18 starts since being acquired by the White Sox from San Diego on July 31, 2009. Surgery on his right shoulder kept him out from July 2010 to May 2011 and he also had a stint on the DL in June for a strained muscle in his right groin.

Peavy (5-1, 2.39 ERA) has tried to make up for that lost time this season and had one of his best outings Sunday against the Chicago Cubs.

Despite the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field, he allowed three hits over 6 1-3 innings and struck out seven in a 6-0 win. It was the sixth time in nine starts he's given up two runs or fewer.

Lowe, meanwhile, was relatively healthy for Atlanta in 2011 but registered a career-high 17 losses and his worst ERA (5.05) since a 5.42 mark for Boston in 2004. The veteran right-hander has rediscovered his groove during his return to the AL and allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last six outings.

Lowe (6-2, 2.15), though, suffered a hard-luck 5-3 defeat to Miami on Sunday, giving up two runs over six innings as his four-game win streak ended.

The Indians (26-19) could use Lowe's help to avoid having their 2 1/2-game lead over Chicago in the AL Central cut even further. The White Sox (24-22) trimmed that deficit with a 9-3 victory in Friday's series opener and ended a three-game win streak for their division rivals, who have also prevailed in eight of 11 contests.

"I think it's fun that way,' Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "It was good (sweeping) Detroit here at home, but now we got to turn our focus to (Chicago). These guys are closer in the division than Detroit is right now ...This team is good and we know that.'

Dayan Viciedo was among four White Sox players with two RBIs on Friday as he hit his sixth homer in 11 games. A.J. Pierzynski had his third in five contests and Adam Dunn hit his third in six games for Chicago, winners in seven of eight and three in a row over Cleveland.

"We have a good feeling," Pierzynski said. "There's been some ups and downs, but at the end of the day, when we come in, we know that there's a positive vibe.

"We know we're in for a dogfight, but at the end of the day, we like where we're at. We like our chances. If we continue to pitch and get some hits like we have, we should be able to win.'

Peavy might not need too much help from his teammates judging by his recent outings against the Indians. He gave up one run over seven innings during an 8-1 victory at Progressive Field and tossed a three-hit shutout in his most recent matchup in Chicago on May 18, 2011.

Lowe will face the White Sox for the first time since June 24, 2010. He's 1-2 with a 3.67 in seven lifetime starts against them.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:52 AM

Preview: Giants (24-22) at Marlins (25-21)

Game: 3
Venue: Marlins Park
Date: May 26, 2012 4:10 PM EDT

In the midst of their record-setting month of May, concerns at closer continue to plague the Miami Marlins.

Despite another rough outing, Heath Bell is expected to remain the closer as the Marlins look to extend their record win total this month Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.

After converting four straight saves chances, Bell entered Friday's contest with a three-run lead but was pulled after he allowed two runs and three hits in one-third of an inning. Steve Cishek got the final two outs for a 7-6 win, as Miami (25-21) set a record with its 17th win in 24 games in May.

Though Bell is 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA and blown four of his 11 saves chances, manager Ozzie Guillen is sticking with the veteran.

"He gets paid to close games, I get paid to win games," Guillen said. "It's a very hard, uncomfortable move. I needed a different look. But he's going to be back there as my closer (Saturday).'

After dropping two in a row, including Thursday's opener to San Francisco, Chris Coghlan hit a three-run shot and Giancarlo Stanton hit his second long homer this week as the Marlins rallied from a pair of two-run deficits.

Stanton, who hit the left field scoreboard during Monday's 7-4 win over Colorado, become the first player to hit the Marlins' animated home run sculpture. Estimated at 409 feet, the homer is Stanton's 10th this month. All but one of his home runs have come in May, along with 25 RBIs in 24 games.

He's 10 for 22 with four home runs and seven RBIs in five games versus San Francisco this month.

"It's incredible, his ability to hit the ball,' Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera said. "He has amazing power.'

Like Friday's performance, not all of Miami's victories this month have been easy. Scheduled Miami starter Mark Buehrle (4-4, 3.36 ERA) knows that firsthand.

The left-hander has grinded his way to a 3-0 record and 3.38 ERA in four May starts. He allowed four runs for the second straight start, this time over 7 2-3 innings of a 7-4 win over Colorado on Monday.

"When you talk about bulldog, when you talk about gamer, there's a lot of fake out there,' Guillen said. "There's a lot of fake bulldogs. This kid's for real.'

Buehrle is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Giants, but he has not faced them since 2008.

Cabrera, batting .630 (17 for 27) with two home runs against Buehrle, homered Friday as the Giants (24-22) lost for the second time in eight games at Miami. San Francisco won 14-7 in Thursday opener and jumped out to an early 2-0, but Miami jumped ahead for good after a five-run sixth.

Cabrera has batted .487 with seven RBIs in his last nine games.

The Giants hand the ball to Madison Bumgarner (5-3, 2.85), who is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last three starts. The left-hander, however, gave up three runs - one earned - and struck out a season-high 10 in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-3, 14-inning victory Monday.

"His cutter was really on," Milwaukee star Ryan Braun told the Giants' official website. "It's his best pitch, and when he's throwing it well, he's definitely pretty tough to get runs against."

Bumgarner has allowed three runs in six innings in each of his two starts against the Marlins, going 0-1.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:54 AM

Preview: Rays (28-18) at Red Sox (22-23)

Game: 2
Venue: Fenway Park
Date: May 26, 2012 7:15 PM EDT

Designated hitter Luke Scott didn't do much hitting in the Tampa Bay Rays' series opener against the Boston Red Sox. Instead, he got hit - and the benches cleared as a result.

He appears to have a good chance to turn the tables given his history against Josh Beckett.

Scott, Carlos Pena, Matt Joyce and the rest of the Rays will take their hacks against Beckett on Saturday night as visiting Tampa Bay looks for a fourth straight win.

Scott hasn't yet had a great effect on the outcomes of the games between the Rays (28-18) and Red Sox in 2012 - his two homers when Tampa Bay visited Fenway Park last month both came in losses - but he's done plenty to stoke the flames of this AL East rivalry. Scott, who badmouthed Boston fans in spring training and then publicly called Fenway a "dump" shortly before the Rays visited in April, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in Friday's series opener, a 7-4 win for the Rays.

His four hitless at_bats won't be remembered for long, but after Scott got hit by a Franklin Morales pitch in the top of the ninth, the benches and bullpens cleared and several heated exchanges took place.

"I had a little adrenaline going and the guys had some adrenaline going, so that's good. Nothing wrong with that," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "Maybe it was the ghost of Fenway past remembering that he bad-mouthed all our fans and our stadium or something, just directing the ball at his leg.'

Rays manager Joe Maddon was not amused.

"To be really carelessly incompetent on their side and truly try to hit someone and throw behind somebody and hitting them in the leg for all the wrong reasons eventually they can get their own guys hurt," Maddon said. "That was ridiculous. It was absurd, idiotic. I'll use all those words.

"Our guys got it. We had every reason to be totally into the push-back right there. We didn't start anything. We don't start stuff. We'll finish stuff, but we don't start it.'

Scott may be able to let his bat do the talking against Beckett (4-4, 4.38 ERA), as he's 10 for 24 in their matchups with three homers, five walks and a .517 on-base percentage - highest of any player with at least 20 career plate appearances versus the right-hander.

Pena is 4 for 32 with 17 strikeouts against Beckett, but is swinging a hot bat right now. Pena homered Friday, and is 4 for 12 with two homers, four RBIs and five runs scored in three games since Maddon moved the hulking first baseman into the leadoff spot.

The Rays have won all three of those games after dropping four of their previous five.

Friday's loss marked the fifth time this season Boston (22-23) had a chance to move above the .500 mark and failed. The Red Sox have still won 10 of 14 overall, with Beckett earning two of those victories.

Beckett has allowed one run over 14 2-3 innings to defeat Seattle and Philadelphia. That's a striking turnaround from his May 10 start, when he surrendered seven in 2 1-3 innings of a loss to Cleveland and got booed off the mound following news that he had played golf while skipping a start to rest a strained lat muscle.

Beckett's first win of 2012 came against the Rays on April 13, when he limited them to one run and five hits in a season-high eight innings of a 12-2 victory. He defeated David Price (6-3, 2.88), who will get the ball again for Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Price yielded three runs in a season-low three innings while losing to Beckett last month, but has lasted through the seventh in each of his last four starts. The left-hander held Atlanta to two runs - one earned - over seven innings Sunday, but received no support and got saddled with a 2-0 loss to Tim Hudson.

Joyce provided the biggest blow Friday with his second grand slam in six games. He's batting .421 (8 for 19) in the season series with Boston with at least one hit in all seven games, but is 1 for 15 with five strikeouts against Beckett.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33145 Followers:38
05/26/2012 09:56 AM

Preview: Angels (22-25) at Mariners (21-27)

Game: 3
Venue: Safeco Field
Date: May 26, 2012 7:15 PM EDT

Although the Los Angeles Angels are suddenly rolling, they haven't had to face particularly tough starting pitching during their four-game run.

That will change Saturday as they try to extend their longest winning streak of the season against the Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez, who has completely overwhelmed the Angels of late.

After floundering for much of the first two months, Los Angeles (22-25) is within three games of .500 for the first time since it was 6-9 on April 21. Albert Pujols is leading the charge, having hit three of his season's six homers during the winning streak.

"He's starting to come to life," manager Mike Scioscia said.

The nine-time All-Star hit a three-run shot Friday in Seattle to help the Angels roar back from a 4-0 deficit en route to a 6-4 victory. Los Angeles completed the comeback with a three-run ninth inning as pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick broke a tie with a two-run single off struggling closer Brandon League.

"Hopefully a couple of months from now we can point back to the things we did right and we can point back on a night like (Friday)," Scioscia said. "It's a good comeback win."

Pujols is batting .400 with seven RBIs during the winning streak, and the Angels have taken advantage of starting pitchers Blake Beavan and Jason Vargas in the first two games against the Mariners (21-27) after squaring off against rookies Jarrod Parker and Graham Godfrey in their final two games in Oakland.

Going up against Hernandez (4-3, 2.80 ERA) likely won't be as easy.

Pujols has never faced Hernandez, and Los Angeles is hoping the three-time NL MVP can help it end its woes against the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner.

This will be Hernandez's first start of the season against the Angels after going 2-1 with a 1.41 ERA in four outings against them last year. The right-hander posted a 0.72 WHIP and struck out 34 in 32 innings.

He is coming off a strong performance Monday against Texas, yielding one run and six hits while striking out seven in eight innings of a 6-1 victory. Hernandez had posted an 8.71 ERA in back-to-back losses in New York and Cleveland in his previous two outings.

Excluding those blemishes, Hernandez has a 0.69 ERA in his other five starts since April 19.

"We're so confident when he's up there, especially when we get runs early for him, we're like, 'We're in the driver's seat right now,'" second baseman Dustin Ackley told the Mariners' official website.

Since the start of last season, Seattle is 16-2 when backing its ace with at least three runs of support, but it hasn't managed to reach that mark in Hernandez's last 10 starts against the Angels. The Mariners have lost seven of those games.

Seattle, which has combined for 10 runs in its last four contests, could again have trouble offensively against Jerome Williams (4-2, 3.74), who has a 1.95 ERA in his last five starts.

The righty wasn't particularly sharp Monday against Oakland, however, yielding five hits, five walks and hitting a batter in 6 1-3 innings. Despite his struggles he only allowed two runs, but the damage was done as he suffered a 2-1 loss, snapping his three-start winning streak.

Williams posted a 3.00 ERA in winning his only two career starts against Seattle last season, and he's limited Ichiro Suzuki to one single in seven at_bats.

Suzuki is 2 for 12 in the last three games after batting .381 during a five-game hitting streak.

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