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On 05/01/2013 12:28 AM in MLB

Cnotes MLB May's News-Notes-Trends & Best Bets !!

May Pitchers Report

April 30, 2013

The running of the Kentucky Derby each year signals the fact that MLB enters its 2nd month of play. And with it a handful of surprise teams take center stage. The key to sustaining will be the success, or lack of it, from the pitching staffs. With that thought in mind, let's zero in on pitchers that will look to keep their team in the race and those that may pull up before they hit the wire.

Listed below are hurlers that have enjoyed a two-to-one or better success ratio in team starts the last three seasons during the month of May. On the flip side, we've also listed pitchers that struggle in May team starts, winning 33% percent or less of their efforts. To qualify pitchers must have made a minimum of 10 starts, with at least one start each May over the last three years.

I'll be back next month with June's Good Month Pitchers. Until then, it's batter up!


Buchholz, Clay (12-5)

The Boston right-hander has gotten off to the best start of his career, averaging better than a strikeout per inning and opponents are hitting under .200 against him. Being united with former pitching coach and now skipper of Boston John Farrell has sharpened his focus, added sink to his fastball and made his changeup downright filthy.

Buehrle, Mark (11-4)

For the second year in a row, the veteran left-hander is on a new club with big expectations who has not gotten out of the gate. Buehrle has been a part of the problem in Toronto, since he has to spot his pitches to make up for the lack of velocity and right-handed hitters are batting well over .300 against him. If the Blue Jays are going to turn their season around, Buehrle has to pitch like he has in the past this month.

Cueto, Johnny (11-5)

Cueto suffered a strained right lat muscle on April 13 and went on the DL. At the end of April, he began tossing from distances up to 75 feet. No official word has been given when he will return. The Reds ace had gotten off to a very strong start.

Gonzalez, Gio (13-3)

After winning 21 games in 2012, the Washington lefty started this season slowly, but appears to be rounding into form. Gonzalez is a sturdy strikeout pitcher with a mid-to-low 90's fastball that tails away from right-hand hitters and he likes to go up in the zone with this pitch when ahead in the count. He will freeze LH batters with a tightly spun curve, which drops from above the belt to below the knees.

Hamels, Cole (15-2)

The Phillies best pitcher recorded his first win of the season on Apr. 28 and brighter days are ahead for Hamels. His low-90's heater is almost always down in the zone and his changeup is a true swing and miss pitch, baffling opposing hitters. His walks are up so far in 2013 and if he improves his overall command, this May should be like many others of the past.

Johnson, Josh (12-3)

JJ was a scratched from his last April start because of tightness in his right triceps muscle. An MRI did not reveal any structural damage. Johnson has annually been a fast starter and Toronto need the 6'7 Minneapolis native to be the dominant pitcher he was from 2008-10, not the one everyone has seen since.

Lester, Jon (12-6)

Here is another BoSox hurler who has battled back from a mediocre campaign to help Boston's surprisingly effective start. Opposing hitters are scuffling to hit .214 against Lester's tosses and the familiar two and four-seam fastballs have the plus and minus effect in the range of five miles per hour, leaving batters uncomfortable. The biggest change is the curveball has the snap back and he could have another sparkling May.

Peavy, Jake (11-4)

No question the 31-year old Peavy is all the way back. The former San Diego chucker has lost velocity from his blazing fastball of a few years ago; however, he's made the complete transition to the second part of career. His K-rate is phenomenal and his ability to spot pitches is a thing of beauty. Some might complain he is taken deep too often, but are their two more different parks than Petco and U.S. Cellular for fly-ball pitchers?


Fister, Doug (4-12)

Fister played on a number of bad Seattle clubs before joining Detroit in 2011. Since taking residence in Mo-Town, the 6'8 hurlerr with a clean delivery has quit nibbling and gained confidence in his curve, which has become his main swing and miss pitch. It is worth watching to see if he breaks his past tendencies in baseball's second month.

Garza, Matt (3-10)

Garza was supposed to be one of the fixtures in the Cubs starting rotation, but was hurt in Spring Training and is only now throwing on flat ground. The earliest he is expected to return is at the end of this month and some in the Chicago organization think this is optimistic.

Hernandez, Felix (5-12)

In the years we have been doing this article, it has always been a head-scratcher why King Felix struggles in May. But every year like most pitchers, Hernandez has a rough patch and more often than not it is this month. With Seattle only having nine home games in May, we could see another repeat from Felix.

Jackson, Edwin (5-13)

This much-traveled hurler, who was born in Germany, has never found a home and settled in. Jackson "stuff" has always been good enough to make somebody's big league roster, yet even when he threw a no-hitter in 2010 for Arizona against Tampa Bay (who else?), he walked eight batters. On a subpar Cubs crew, victories will again be a challenge to find.

Masterson, Justin (5-13)

Though Masterson was lit up in his final April appearance, he's gotten off a solid start this campaign. The question for the side-arm thrower is can he keep it going? Typically, walks are Masterson's undoing and opponents start patiently lying off pitches and force him to throw strikes and belt him around. This was the year Cleveland was to start showing promise and the Tribe needs their ace to have a chance.

Richard, Clayton (5-10)

Richard has always been a tease who never delivered. The port-sider will put together two or three starts and his coaches will think "he's finally figured it out" and then he will be rocked for the next trio of starts, taking him back to square one. With a 7.94 ERA this season and more walks than punch-outs (13 vs. 10), possibly the most damning aspect of his season to date is left-handed hitters are batting a ridiculous .364 against the Padres starter.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 12:31 AM

Preview: Mets (10-15) at Marlins (8-19)

Game: 3
Venue: Marlins Park
Date: May 01, 2013 12:40 PM EDT

Since David Wright's return to the lineup couldn't spark their struggling offense, the New York Mets are left trying to avoid a three-game sweep in Miami.

The reeling Mets also hope to end their season-worst six-game losing streak on Wednesday against the Marlins, who seek their longest winning streak since July.

Miami's Donovan Solano hit an RBI single and Juan Pierre scored on a wild pitch as New York's tired bullpen blew a one-run lead in the ninth in a 2-1 loss at Marlins Park on Tuesday.

The Mets (10-15) were also beaten in the final inning Monday when the Marlins scored twice in the 15th for a 4-3 win.

New York's offensive woes continued, leaving the team with a .165 batting average and 11 total runs during its skid. The Mets are also 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position over their last two games after going hitless in three chances Tuesday.

"Everybody's struggling,' said manager Terry Collins said. "We have to fight through it.'

Collins' club will try to break out of its funk and avoid being swept by the Marlins for the first time since 2010.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (0-4, 6.20 ERA) looks to pitch NL-worst Miami (8-19) to its first four-game winning streak since June 27-July 1.

"We're trying to find ways to win," Pierre said. "We found all the ways to lose. Now we're trying to get on the winning side.'

LeBlanc has allowed 11 runs and 17 hits in 9 2-3 innings over his last two outings at home. He surrendered four runs and eight hits - including a pair of homers - over six innings in a 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.

"I made a few mistakes that I got away with tonight, but the two that really hurt me are the two that I need to execute better,' said LeBlanc, who is 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in seven career starts at Marlins Park.

LeBlanc, though, has pitched well with a 2.21 ERA in four career starts against the Mets. He allowed one unearned run and seven hits over five innings, but failed to get a decision in a 3-2 home win over New York last October.

Wright went 0 for 4 in his return to the lineup after being relegated to pinch-hitting duties because of a stiff neck in the opener. The All-Star third baseman has hit LeBlanc hard with six hits in 10 career at_bats, including a home run.

Ike Davis is 3 for 7 with a homer, while Daniel Murphy is 4 for 8 with a home run in this matchup.

New York right-hander Dillon Gee (1-4, 5.96) hasn't fared well on the road, allowing 12 runs and 17 hits - including four homers - in his two starts away from Citi Field.

He's dropped five straight starts with a 7.36 ERA on the road dating back to last season.

Gee, who gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-0 home loss to Philadelphia on Friday, is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins.

Miami, which placed slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the 15-day disabled list after Monday's game, ranks last in the majors with 73 runs and failed to advance a runner beyond first base until the ninth inning Tuesday.

The Marlins have won four of five at home against the Mets.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 12:33 AM

Preview: Nationals (13-14) at Braves (17-9)

Game: 3
Venue: Turner Field
Date: May 01, 2013 7:10 PM EDT

The struggles and injury concerns surrounding Stephen Strasburg are making the most headlines, but in the meantime, Jordan Zimmermann quietly has been the most consistent starter in the Washington Nationals' rotation.

A lack of consistency on offense has caused the club some headaches, though.

Zimmermann takes the hill as Washington looks to avoid a 10th straight loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night at Turner Field.

Strasburg has gotten off to a disappointing 1-4 start and may have an irritated nerve in his right arm after throwing six innings of Monday's 3-2 loss to Atlanta in the opener of this four-game set.

While it's uncertain if Strasburg will miss any time, he remains in the news much more than teammates like Zimmermann (4-1, 2.00 ERA), who has gotten off to a fantastic start.

Zimmermann allowed one hit and tossed his first career shutout in Friday's 1-0 victory over Cincinnati. It marked his second complete game in three starts after throwing one through the first 83 of his career.

Manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann's latest outing was the best pitching performance he's seen since taking over the Nationals in 2011.

"He knows how (opponents) react to his stuff," Johnson told the team's official website.

The right-hander, who has not allowed more than three runs in any of his five starts, is giving up an average 0.86 walks and hits per innings pitched.

"He pitches his butt off every time he goes out there," Bryce Harper said. "He is a competitor. You are going to get a great performance out of him every night."

Zimmermann, 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in five starts against Atlanta, may be hoping his team's offense can put together a solid performance as well.

Washington (13-14) mustered only three hits in Tuesday's 8-1 loss to the Braves and has scored two runs or fewer in eight of its last 10 contests - seven resulting in losses.

"We're off to a slow start," said Gio Gonzalez, Monday's losing pitcher. "Once we turn it around it's going to be a big change."

Atlanta (17-9) has won the first five meetings of the season with the Nationals after Andrelton Simmons homered and Freddie Freeman went 3 for 5 with three RBIs on Tuesday.

The Braves, who were coming off a 3-7 road trip prior to this series, will send Paul Maholm to the mound Wednesday as he looks to get back on track.

Maholm (3-2, 3.30) won his first three outings while pitching 20 1-3 scoreless innings. However, he's lost two straight since allowing four hits and striking out seven in 7 2-3 innings of a 9-0 win over Washington on April 14.

The left-hander gave up three runs in six innings in a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh on April 20, then allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings of Friday's 10-0 defeat at Detroit.

"Baseball is a humbling game," Maholm told the team's official website. "Obviously, I was pitching really well and then in the last whatever, I've given up some runs. You kind of forget about it and move on."

Jayson Werth, who hopes to be back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday with a sore ankle, is 10 for 30 with four doubles and a homer off Maholm.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 12:34 AM

Preview: Twins (11-11) at Tigers (14-10)

Game: 3
Venue: Comerica Park
Date: May 01, 2013 1:08 PM EDT

Anibal Sanchez put on a dazzling display in one of the best pitching performances in recent memory his last time out.

Now everyone is eager to see what he can do for an encore.

Coming off his 17-strikeout masterpiece, Sanchez will try to lead the Tigers to a sixth straight victory Wednesday in the series finale against the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Off to a very solid start this season, Sanchez (3-1, 1.34 ERA) went well beyond that and had a game for the ages Friday, notching a franchise-record 17 strikeouts in eight innings and allowing five hits and one walk in a 10-0 win over Atlanta.

Since at least 1921, only Randy Johnson has struck out more than 17 while pitching eight innings or less. Johnson, then with Seattle, fanned 18 against Texas in 1992.

Sanchez was asked after the game about his new place in franchise history.

``Amazing,' he said. ``I'm just going to keep working. That's not going to stop today.'

The right-hander has held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in each of his five starts, pitching at least 6 2-3 innings in his last four outings.

"I don't think too much about strikeouts and records and things like that,' said Sanchez said, who has a 41:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. ``I prefer getting some zeros.'

He is 5-3 with a 1.30 ERA in his last 10 starts, including three in the 2012 postseason.

Now, Sanchez will face one of the league's weakest offenses, one he held to two hits over five scoreless innings at Target Field on April 3. He was in line for the win in that game before Detroit's bullpen faltered in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss.

The Twins (11-12) rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored (92), homers (15) and batting average (.237). They were held to six hits against Justin Verlander and three relievers in Tuesday's 6-1 loss.

Sanchez's teammates, meanwhile, have given Detroit pitchers plenty of support lately. The Tigers (15-10) have outscored opponents 35-11 during a five-game win streak and have 11 home runs, 10 doubles and a triple during that stretch.

``The name of the game in baseball is to try to extend your winning streaks - when you're playing well - as long as you can, and shorten the losing streaks,' Verlander said. ``You're not going to be hot the whole year. Our talent is going to take over, and I feel like we're starting to show that now.'

Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder each hit two-run homers and Alex Avila added a solo shot in support of Verlander's seven-inning performance.

Cabrera, who is batting .420 at home, finished April with 28 RBIs, the most by a Tigers player in the opening month since at least 1921. He is 7 for 15 with a pair of doubles off scheduled starter Scott Diamond.

Fielder has four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 11 home games against Minnesota.

Sanchez may have the added benefit of not facing Joe Mauer, who ended a career-worst 0-for-21 skid with a third-inning single Tuesday. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he may rest his veteran catcher with the Twins off Thursday.

Diamond (1-2, 4.32) looks to continue a run of solid outings against the Tigers. Since losing his first start versus Detroit on Aug. 26, 2011, the left-hander has gone 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA in four meetings.

He has a 2.35 ERA in three career starts at Comerica Park.

Diamond gave up a career-high 12 hits over 6 1-3 innings against Texas on Friday, but was able to limit the Rangers to three runs in a 4-3 loss.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 12:35 AM

Preview: Phillies (12-15) at Indians (11-13)

Game: 2
Venue: Progressive Field
Date: May 01, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

The Cleveland Indians haven't found a true staff ace since sending Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies and are surely glad they haven't had to face him since doing so.

That finally changes Wednesday night.

Lee returns to the city where he turned into one of baseball's best pitchers and gets his first crack at the Indians, who have turned into an offensive juggernaut of late.

They're the only team he's never faced and the one with which he made his major league debut in 2002. Lee (2-1, 3.03 ERA) was a middle-of-the-road starter early in his career before a breakout 2008 season, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA to win the AL Cy Young Award.

In July 2009, with the Indians concerned about signing the soon-to-be free agent, they dealt Lee to Philadelphia (12-15) for four players. None of them have had much success in the majors, and only pitcher Carlos Carrasco and catcher Lou Marson remain with Cleveland.

Making the Lee deal look even worse, the Indians (11-13) have finished below .500 and no higher than 23rd in the majors in ERA every year since his last full season with the team. No Cleveland pitcher has won more than 13 games since he left.

Lee, meanwhile, has the majors' third-best ERA (2.90) since the start of 2008 and his 23 complete games in that span rank second.

One of those came in his last start at Progressive Field, defeating Seattle on July 16, 2009.

"It doesn't feel like it's been that long since I played here," Lee said Tuesday. "Tomorrow is just another outing, but it's going to be interesting and it's going to be neat."

The left-hander was 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his first three starts this season but has allowed eight runs and 17 hits over 12 innings in his last two.

He'll be facing a red-hot Cleveland offense which has outscored opponents 33-5 while pounding out 45 hits - 18 for extra bases - during a three-game winning streak. That follows an 11-game stretch during which the Indians failed to score more than three runs nine times.

They opened this two-game set by hitting seven home runs - the most by one team in any game this season - en route to a 14-2 victory Tuesday.

Ryan Raburn became the first Indians player since Travis Hafner in 2004 to record two straight multihomer games. He's 7 for 8 with seven RBIs in that span. Raburn had one home run in his previous 87 games.

"Right now everything is clicking for me," he said. "I'm trying to ride this out as long as I can."

Mark Reynolds and Michael Brantley each hit a two-run homer Tuesday and have keyed the win streak, going a combined 12 for 25.

Reynolds, though, is 0 for 6 with five strikeouts against Lee and Raburn has gone 2 for 19.

Nick Swisher is 8 for 25 (.320), but he may miss a second straight game due to a sore shoulder.

While Lee has surrendered five walks through five starts, counterpart Trevor Bauer (0-1, 5.40) issued seven in his lone appearance for Cleveland this season. Bauer, though, yielded only two hits and three runs in five innings of the 6-0 loss to Tampa Bay on April 6.

The right-hander was sent back to Triple-A Columbus after that game with Carrasco returning from a suspension, and he may follow this outing the same way. Bauer, 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts at Columbus, is starting only because Cleveland is playing its sixth game in five days.

Bauer is 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in five major league starts, walking 20 in 21 1-3 innings.

Philadelphia had a three-game win streak snapped Tuesday, but the bright spot was Delmon Young going 2 for 3 with a homer in his Phillies debut. Young, last year's AL championship series MVP with Detroit, had been on the disabled list as he recovered from ankle surgery.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 09:12 AM

Preview: Pirates (15-12) at Brewers (14-11)

Game: 3
Venue: Miller Park
Date: May 01, 2013 1:10 PM EDT

The Milwaukee Brewers were looking for some offense after a tough end to their recent trip. They've found it at Miller Park.

Milwaukee goes for a ninth straight home win and a 10th in a row overall against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday's series finale.

After striking out 12 times and being held to four hits in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Brewers (14-11) have rebounded from their 3-3 trip with 28 total hits - 16 for extra bases - in a pair of wins over Pittsburgh (15-12). Yuniesky Betancourt, Jean Segura and Rickie Weeks all went deep in Tuesday's 12-8 victory after Milwaukee launched a season-high five homers in Monday's 10-4 win.

The Brewers, winners of 12 of 15, hadn't put up double-digit runs in back-to-back games since Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 against Houston.

"They play well here. They swing the bats well," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Milwaukee, which has lost just seven times in 53 home games in this series since 2007, goes for the sweep with Hiram Burgos (1-0, 3.27 ERA) getting his first look at the Pirates. The right-hander makes his third career start after throwing six innings of three-run ball in Friday's 7-5 loss to the Dodgers.

"I was too much over the plate. But I did adjustments, and I kept a couple of hitters off balance, and the defense made really good plays for me," Burgos told the Brewers' official website. "I just tried to keep it close."

The Pirates' pitching performances in this series haven't come close to their previous two games, wins at St. Louis over the weekend that moved them into first place in the Central. Now percentage points behind Milwaukee for third, Pittsburgh will turn to Jeanmar Gomez (1-0, 2.63) as it tries to finish a 10-game trip with a winning record.

Gomez, solid in five relief appearances, has taken over Jonathan Sanchez' spot in the rotation. Sanchez was designated for assignment on Tuesday, a day after being demoted to the bullpen - he surrendered two runs on Monday. The left-hander drew a six-game suspension on Saturday after hitting St. Louis' Allen Craig with a pitch the day before.

Gomez came on in relief in that 9-1 loss, yielding three runs in 4 1-3 innings.

Hurdle will give Gomez his first start since Sept. 29 while with Cleveland instead of calling up Andrew Oliver or Gerrit Cole. The Pirates, instead, brought up Bryan Morris from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday to take Sanchez' spot in the bullpen.

"There'd be no benefit to calling someone up for one time, when we've got a guy in-house who has started in the past," Hurdle told the Pirates' official website.

Gomez has never faced Milwaukee.

The Brewers are probably getting tired of facing center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who is 5 for 9 with a homer and three RBIs in the series after going 1 for 22 to open the trip. Five of McCutchen's 20 hits during his 10-game hitting streak in Milwaukee have left the park.

Betancourt, the only Brewer on the roster to have faced Gomez, is 2 for 6 with a homer in that matchup. Betancourt and Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who hit his fourth homer in four games on Tuesday, have six long balls since April 16 - tied for second in the majors during that stretch.

The Brewers have 19 homers and are averaging 7.1 runs during their Miller Park winning streak.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 09:15 AM

Preview: Reds (15-13) at Cardinals (15-11)

Game: 3
Venue: Busch Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 1:45 PM EDT

While Matt Holliday is producing at the plate recently, Lance Lynn's run of success dates to last year.

As Lynn goes for a 10th straight win, Holliday looks to continue pounding the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday when the St. Louis Cardinals try to take this three-game series.

Holliday is hitting .370 over the past seven games, increasing his season average 43 points to .276.

The left fielder hit a two-run homer to power Tuesday's 2-1 win over Cincinnati and help end the Cardinals' three-game losing streak, which included a defeat by the same score in the series opener Monday.

"The guy is a beast," Reds starter Bronson Arroyo said after Holliday's third homer of the season doomed him to a loss. "He's solid and he swings the bat about as hard as anyone in the game. There's only a handful of guys that hit the ball with such a low trajectory and get it out."

Holliday is batting .400 with 12 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak against the Reds. He's 12 for 27 with three doubles, a triple and two homers against Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's scheduled starter.

The Cardinals (15-11) may also feel confident with Lynn (4-0, 3.10 ERA) taking the mound.

The right-hander is 9-0 with a 2.63 ERA in 10 regular-season games - nine starts - dating to a loss in relief to Milwaukee on Sept. 7. That stretch includes winning all five home starts behind a 2.10 ERA, including a 5-1 victory over the Reds (15-13) on April 9 as he struck out 10 in six innings.

He's vying to become the first Cardinal to win 10 straight regular-season decisions since Chris Carpenter's 11 in a row July 5-Sept. 7, 2009.

Lynn has been particularly dominant in his last two starts, yielding one run and three hits over 14 innings while striking out 17.

"I thought I had a pretty good season last year," said Lynn, who had 18 wins and was an All-Star in 2012. "I was just trying to build off of that. That's where we're at; just trying to improve every time out. I'm doing that thus far."

He'll have to contend with a hot-hitting Brandon Phillips, who is 7 for 16 with three RBIs in four games. The second baseman has a .361 average over his past 15 meetings with St. Louis, while going 2 for 5 versus Lynn.

Bailey (1-2, 2.81) is taking the mound in search of his first win at St. Louis.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.93 ERA in six starts there, getting battered in the most recent April 10. He surrendered seven runs and nine hits - three homers - in five innings of a 10-0 loss.

Bailey has since been terrific in three starts, compiling a 1.29 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. However, he has an 0-1 record to show for it because he's been backed by a mere two runs.

The bats let him down again in Friday's 1-0 road loss to the Nationals, as he yielded one run in seven innings opposite Jordan Zimmermann's one-hitter.

Carlos Beltran homered off Bailey earlier this month and is coming off a three-hit effort Tuesday, giving him a .386 average in his last 12 games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 09:17 AM

Preview: Angels (9-17) at Athletics (16-12)

Game: 3
Venue: Coliseum
Date: May 01, 2013 3:35 PM EDT

The Oakland Athletics are on the verge of their longest winning streak over the Los Angeles Angels in almost nine years.

Seth Smith has been an unexpected contributor.

Smith looks to continue his production against the Angels on Wednesday and help the A's to another three-game sweep of the AL West rival.

Oakland (16-12) has won eight of the past nine meetings with Los Angeles, including all five this year while batting .310 with eight homers, eight stolen bases and 48 runs.

The A's last won six straight against the Angels from June 23-Sept. 24, 2004.

Smith, a career .270 hitter, has been particularly impressive in the season series, going 11 for 21 with five doubles and six RBIs in four games. He had a .188 average in 20 games against Los Angeles prior to this season.

A left fielder who also acts as a designated hitter, Smith had two hits Tuesday, including a three-run double in Oakland's 10-6 victory. That came a night after he had a pair of singles in a 10-8, 19-inning win.

Yoenis Cespedes is also swinging a hot bat. He has five hits - three for extra bases - and seven RBIs in three games since returning from a strained muscle in his left hand.

He connected for a double and a triple and drove in four runs Tuesday.

Tommy Milone (3-2, 3.38) may not need much help from his offense since he's 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in three home starts compared to a 6.17 ERA while splitting two road games. However, that road victory came at Los Angeles on April 10, when the left-hander allowed four runs in five innings of an 11-5 victory.

He's 3-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts versus the Angels.

"We always feel good when Tommy takes the mound," manager Bob Melvin said.

Milone was terrific at home again Friday, but a lack of support made him the hard-luck loser in a 3-0 defeat to Baltimore. He allowed only an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings, but Oakland had three hits and committed a season-high three errors.

"I have high expectations for myself, and outings like this are what I'm looking for every time, so it's good to get it," Milone told the team's official website.

The Angels will counter with C.J. Wilson (2-0, 4.30), who is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in his last five starts at Oakland. He's kept Smith hitless in five at_bats, while Cespedes is 3 for 9 in their matchups.

The left-hander didn't fare well against the A's at home April 9, allowing four runs with three walks in six innings while not getting a decision in a 9-5 loss.

Wilson has won both of his decisions over three starts since, including a 6-3 victory at Seattle on Friday. He surrendered three runs and seven hits while throwing 110 pitches in 5 1-3 innings.

Mike Trout had a double, triple and four RBIs on Tuesday after hitting .158 with one RBI in the previous nine games.

Last year's AL Rookie of the Year, Trout has a .188 average over 17 games in Oakland, and went 0 for 3 versus Milone last month.

Josh Hamilton, however, is 5 for 11 with a homer off Milone, but he's 4 for 22 against the A's this year.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 09:19 AM

Preview: Astros (8-19) at Yankees (16-10)

Game: 3
Venue: Yankee Stadium
Date: May 01, 2013 7:05 PM EDT

Despite their lengthy list of injured players, the New York Yankees are patiently plugging away in the early part of the season.

The young Houston Astros would do well to learn that lesson going forward as the teams wrap up their three-game set Wednesday night in the Bronx.

With a roster minus some of the customary star power that comes with a Yankees lineup - Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are all on the disabled list - New York (16-10) has stitched together a solid start.

Robinson Cano has been steady with team highs of a .327 batting average, seven homers and 17 RBIs, while veteran newcomers Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells each have six homers.

Hafner keyed Tuesday night's 7-4 win with three RBI singles, the first two coming over the first three innings to give Hiroki Kuroda all the cushion he needed for his fourth straight win.

"You just see that his approach is good, and he's been great in that four-hole for us," Girardi said of Hafner, who shares the team lead with 17 RBIs. "With all the people we have out, he's done a really good job in our lineup."

Hafner is 5 for 16 with five walks against Astros scheduled starter Erik Bedard but also has struck out eight times.

Lyle Overbay, 5 for 15 with two homers and a triple in his last four games, is 3 for 13 versus Bedard but hasn't faced him since 2007.

Bedard (0-2, 7.98 ERA) may be fighting to keep his spot in Houston's rotation. The left-hander was hit hard at Fenway Park on Friday, giving up five runs and eight hits - three homers - in three-plus innings of the 7-3 loss to Boston. It was the fourth time in as many starts Bedard has lasted four or fewer innings, and his frustration was evident after that outing.

"They did their job," he told the team's official website. "They fouled a lot of pitches off and got my pitch count up and got some runs."

Bedard, who is 4-5 against the Yankees but hasn't faced them since 2008, is 0-2 with a 15.95 ERA in his last three outings. During that span, he's been tagged for five home runs among his 16 hits while yielding 13 runs in 7 1-3 innings.

The Astros (8-19), who had 17 hits in winning Monday's series opener 9-1, failed to help themselves early Tuesday when Kuroda struggled. They finished with 12 strikeouts while going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

"If we could have gotten a few runs earlier with the opportunities that we had and made a couple of the crucial break-point plays, then the outcome could have been a little different," said manager Bo Porter, whose team has dropped 10 of 11 on the road.

David Phelps (1-1, 5.29) will make his first start this season for the Yankees after six relief appearances. He did pick up the win in his last outing Friday against Toronto, allowing a solo homer and one other hit in four innings after Ivan Nova left with elbow pain in a 6-4 victory. Phelps had a career-high nine strikeouts.

The right-hander has never faced the Astros.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33139 Followers:38
05/01/2013 09:20 AM

Preview: Red Sox (18-8) at Blue Jays (10-17)

Game: 2
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: May 01, 2013 7:07 PM EDT

Clay Buchholz is the first Boston Red Sox pitcher in six seasons to win his first five starts.

The right-hander is the only Red Sox starter ever to win six consecutive decisions at Toronto.

Buchholz will try to extend those streaks - and become the majors' first six-game winner - on Wednesday night when the Red Sox seek to bounce back from their first defeat in six games.

After going 0-5 with a 5.62 ERA in his final eight outings of 2012, Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) is off to a brilliant start for the MLB-best Red Sox (18-8). The right-hander matched his career high for consecutive winning starts by throwing 7 2-3 innings of two-run ball in Thursday's 7-2 win over Houston.

"If he doesn't have his best stuff, he finds a way to get it done," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia told the Red Sox' official website after Buchholz struck out 10. "... That's what Clay's able to do."

The last Red Sox starter to win his first five starts was Josh Beckett, who opened 7-0 in 2007.

"Last couple of years I've been a slow starter, so it feels good to be out there and have a little bit of confidence early on, and that helps a lot,' said Buchholz, who was 7-8 with a 5.19 ERA in April heading into 2013. "Guys are playing well behind me. Things are going right.'

Things couldn't have gone much better for Buchholz in his last seven starts in Toronto. He's 6-0 with a 1.27 ERA during that stretch after not earning a decision in his last start there, a 3-2 win on Sept. 15.

The Red Sox are hoping for another solid start from Buchholz north of the border after getting denied a team-record 19th April win on Tuesday, losing 9-7 in the series opener.

"They've got a quick-strike offense and they swung the bats very well tonight,' said John Farrell, the Blue Jays' former manager. "They didn't miss pitches when they got them on the plate.'

Edwin Encarnacion hit a pair of homers - including the first one into the upper deck at Rogers Centre since 2011 - to help Toronto (10-17) end a season-worst four-game skid and avoid its first 18-loss April.

"Winning a game like this, that's what we need right now," he said.

Wednesday's scheduled starter Mark Buehrle (1-1, 6.35) needs a victory following a rough first month with the club. In his last outing, the veteran southpaw was tagged for a season-high three homers, including a three-run shot by Robinson Cano in a 5-3 loss at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

"That's the thing about this game that sometimes makes it frustrating," said Buehrle, 28-16 with a 3.23 ERA in 65 May starts. "They get two infield hits, and I put it right where I want to and it's three runs.'

Buehrle, 6-8 with a 4.64 ERA lifetime versus Boston, better be careful where he puts the ball against David Ortiz, who is 22 for 61 (.361) with three homers and eight doubles in that matchup.

Since coming off the DL nine games ago, Ortiz has 18 hits in 36 at_bats. He hit his third homer on Tuesday and drove in a season-high four, extending his RBI streak to six.

Encarnacion is 10 for 30 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in an eight-game hitting streak, but he has one hit - a single - in 15 at_bats against Buchholz.

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