Just give him the Cy Young now

If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch Rockies’ ace Ublado Jimenez carve up an opponent this year, then consider yourself among the unfortunate.

Jimenez struck out eight batters in seven innings of two-run ball on Sunday to beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2. Of course, that was like an off day for him, as he finally gave up a run after pitching 33 consecutive scoreless innings before Conor Jackson took him deep in the eighth inning.

In 12 starts this season, Jimenez has gone at least six innings in every outing and has allowed two or fewer runs every time. His win on Sunday now gives him a record of 11-1 with an unbelievable 0.93 ERA. For sake of comparison, this time last year, 2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA. Granted, the Giants are awfully stingy when it comes to run support, but you can see what kind of season Jimenez is having compared to last season’s Cy Young award winner.

Barring injury or a complete mental breakdown, it’s safe to say that Jimenez will be your 2010 NL Cy Young winner. To early too tell? Not for anyone that has actually watched him. His stuff has been so filthy this year that hitters must think he’s throwing tiny stones at them. He’s been by far the most dominant pitcher in either league so far this year – even better than Roy Halladay (8-3, 2.03 ERA, 77 Ks), who is pitching incredibly well himself.

I don’t want to jinx the kid, but Jimenez is on pace to exceed 20 wins this season, which is no small feat. He’s been absolutely brilliant and incredibly fun to watch.

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D-Backs interested in Dontrelle Willis?

Steve Gilber of MLB.com reports via his Twitter page that the Diamondbacks have had discussions with the Tigers about acquiring left-hander Dontrelle Willis.

Willis was designated for assignment over the weekend after he amassed a 1-2 record with an ERA of 4.98 and a WHIP of 1.78. He showed signs of rebounding back into form earlier in the year, but he’s struggled of late and the Tigers needed to make room on their roster for Max Scherzer.

Maybe a change of scenery would be good for Willis, who would return to the National League (which is where he had his most success) if the Diamondbacks can work out a deal with the Tigers. Detroit would have to eat most of his salary, but they were already planning to do that anyway so they might as well get something in exchange for the struggling lefty.

Willis probably won’t morph into the player he was with the Marlins earlier in his career, but the Diamondbacks are starving for pitching and he might turn out to be a marginal arm for their rotation. He’s worth a shot depending on how much of his contract the Tigers are willing to eat and what prospect they want in return.

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MLB Roundup: Scutaro error costs BoSox, Zito impresses & Crawford delivers in the clutch

Yankees 6, Red Sox 4
Newcomer Marco Scutaro didn’t endear himself to many Red Sox fans on Tuesday night when he botched a routine ground ball in the eighth inning of a 4-4 game. Reliever Hideki Ojajima then walked Nick Johnson with the bases loaded to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead and the Mariano Rivera closed out the ninth. Considering the BoSox signed Scutaro for his defense, it wasn’t a good start for the former Blue Jay. The error made Boston fans pine for the days of Julio Lugo, who…all right sorry, I couldn’t continue with that joke. Red Sox fans would rather see Scutaro botch nine more throws than ever see Lugo in a Boston uniform again.

Giants 3, Astros 0
The Astros probably figured that they caught a break when Bruce Bochy decided to throw Barry Zito in between starts by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in Houston’s opening three-game series with the Giants. But the joke was on the Stros, as Zito completely shut them down for six innings. He allowed no runs on three hits while striking out five, proving that he was indeed worth the seven-year, $126 million contract he signed in December in ’06. No? Ah well – it was still a nice outing for the former Cy Young pitcher. Now Houston gets to deal with Cain tomorrow – good luck with that.

Rays 4, Orioles 3
Carl Crawford played the hero for the Rays on Tuesday night, knocking in the game-winning two-run single off Orioles’ closer Mike Gonzalez. It was Crawford’s only hit of the game, but it came at a crucial time. When asked about his dramatic hit afterwards, Crawford replied: “I know, right? Maybe the Rays should pony up for that new contract now – hahahaha…ahhh. Just kidding. But for realsies – where’s my contract?”

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 3
Chris Young managed to deliver his best Jake Peavy impression on Tuesday night, allowing no runs on one hit over six innings of work in San Diego’s win over Arizona. Young also struck out five to earn his first victory of the year. If Young’s shoulder is completely repaired, there’s no reason he can’t post similar numbers to the ones he produced in 2006 (11-5, 3.46 ERA). He’s really, really good…for a max of about six innings. But still – he’s good.

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2010 MLB Preview: NL West

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

Last up is the NL West.

1. Colorado Rockies (7)
Before I wax poetically about the youthful Rockies, I have an axe to grind about the television broadcasting crew of Drew Goodman, Jeff Huson and George Frazier. Those three form one of the most biased, nonobjective broadcasting teams in baseball history. I’m not kidding. The Rockies never get the same calls as their opponents do. The Rockies never get the national recognition like everyone else does. The Rockies are the greatest team to ever walk the planet and if they played a roster compiled of Jesus, Moses, God and the 12 apostles, Colorado should win 5-4 in extras nine times out of 10. If not, the Rockies beat themselves, because there’s no way Jesus and the gang were better. Don’t believe me? Just ask Goodman, Huson and Frazier. All right, now that that’s out of the way – the Rockies are a damn fine club and should leapfrog the Dodgers in the division this year. Their core – Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta, Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez – are all 27 years old or younger and that doesn’t include 26-year-old stud Ubaldo Jimenez, who is absolutely filthy when he’s on. Throw in key veterans like Todd Helton (a perennial .300 hitter) and Jeff Francis (who could win 15-plus games filling in for the departed Jason Marquis), and Colorado has the tools to make a deep run. The question is whether or not starters Francis and Jorge De La Rosa will keep their ERAs below 5.00 and the young offensive players can move forward in their development and not backwards. But outside of the ultra-annoying broadcast team, I love the Rockies from top to bottom this year and believe they can do some damage in 2010.

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Yankees acquire Curtis Granderson in three-team deal

According to Jon Morsoi of FOXSports.com, the Yankees have acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson from the Tigers as part of a three-team deal that also includes the Diamondbacks.

Here’s how the trade breaks down:

Yankees Get:
Curtis Granderson (Tigers)

Tigers Get:
Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks)
Daniel Schlereth (Diamondbacks)
Phil Coke (Yankees)
Austin Jackson (Yankees)

Diamondbacks Get:
Edwin Jackson (Tigers)
Ian Kennedy (Yankees)

The Yankees and Tigers did very well in this deal. The Bronx Bombers get a five-tool player in Granderson, who can play either center or left field depending on whether or not the club re-signs Johnny Damon this winter. Granderson struggles hitting lefties, but he’s only 28-years old and his potential is still very high.

The Tigers, meanwhile, get financial flexibility by trading Granderson and also hauled in a coup of young talent. Austin Jackson was highly regarded as the Yankees’ centerfielder of the future. He’s 22 and hit .300 with four home runs, nine triples, 23 doubles, 65 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 132 Triple-A games last year. If he continues to develop, he might turn out to be Detroit’s next Granderson.

Scherzer is a 25-year old, hard-throwing right-hander who can eat up innings and is a workhorse. Schlereth was Arizona’s 2008 first round pick and saw some game action late last season and Coke already has experience at the big league level himself.

Not to take anything away from the Edwin Jackson, but this seems like a lateral move for Arizona. Scherzer is just as talented as Jackson (if not more talented), so why part with him and Schlereth to complete this deal? They better hope Kennedy starts fulfilling some of his potential or this might look like a bad deal for the D-Backs in a couple years.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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