Cliff Lee gets his first taste of Texas

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Arlington, Texas July 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Despite going the distance and throwing only 95 pitches, Cliff Lee took the loss in his Rangers’ debut on Saturday, dropping a 6-1 decision to the Orioles. Nick Markakis, Cesar Izturis and Adam Jones all took him deep in his first experience playing in Arlington.

From SI.com:

” It was an electric atmosphere. They got a lead early and never lost it. That kind of kills that a little bit,” Lee said. ” They came out swinging. You have to tip your hat to them for their approach.”

Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young winner the Rangers got from Seattle in a six-player deal Friday, still threw his AL-best sixth complete game.

” It was just one of those weird games, every swing they took turned into a run somehow,” said Ian Kinsler , the Rangers’ All-Star second baseman.

” Cliff showed exactly what he’s capable of doing,” Michael Young said. ” He had to be tired from all the travel and all that’s been going on for the last couple of days, but he showed exactly what he’s capable of giving us. … We’re all excited about what we have.”

If this game were in Seattle, I highly doubt Lee would have given up six runs, but them are the breaks pitching in Texas. While the score suggests otherwise, he was highly efficient, striking out two and walking none. The complete game was his fourth in his last five starts.

Depending on how manager Ron Washington sets his rotation after the All-Star break, Lee will face either the Red Sox or Tigers in his next outing.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Orioles fire manager Dave Trembley

Following the club’s 6-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday night, the Orioles fired manager Dave Trembley. The O’s currently sit in last place in the AL East with a 15-39 record. They’re off to the worst start in club history since the 1988 team began the year 0-21.

From the Baltimore Sun:

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail for the opportunity to serve as manager for the Baltimore Orioles for the past three years. The results on the field were not what any of us would have hoped for, and I understand that the organization felt the time was right to move in a different direction. While I am disappointed at the outcome, I feel it was a privilege to wear the Orioles uniform each day and I thank all the fans for their tremendous support. I hope the team will soon return to the winning tradition they enjoyed for so many years.”

Trembley, who took over as Orioles manager on an interim basis on June 19, 2007, after Sam Perlozzo was fired, compiled a 187-283 record guiding the club. The .398 winning percentage is second-worst of any manager in Orioles history, better only than Jimmy Dykes (.351 in 1954).

The fans and media often criticized Trembley for the way he didn’t hold his players accountable for their poor play. His handling of the bullpen has also come under criticism.

It’s easy to see that Tremebly couldn’t motivate his players. For as young as the Orioles are, they’re not improving and that’s a problem. Angelos and MacPhail would be best served finding a young, energetic coach that the players will play for.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Top 10 active innings eaters

Chances are, you need a few pitchers on your fantasy baseball roster that can eat up innings. You know, that silly rule that prevents you from loading up on closers? Well, here is a list you could use, especially if your team if floundering and you need some steady pitchers to deliver quality innings of work. This is the list of active leaders in innings pitched. Some of the names will surprise you, but certainly not all of them:

1. Jamie Moyer, Philadelphia Phillies (3966 innings)—Remember when Jamie Moyer pitched for the Cubs? Yeah, neither does anyone else. He was a rookie in 1986, the year Mookie Wilson hit the ball through Bill Buckner’s legs. I know, most of you don’t remember that, either.

2. Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees (2984)—Though it’s early, Andy Pettitte is having a career year at age 38. And I’m just glad I had the foresight (errr, luck) to draft him for my fantasy team.

3. Tim Wakefield, Boston Red Sox (2980)—Remember when Tim Wakefield pitched for the Pirates? Seriously, he started out there in 1992 and joined the Sox in 1995. And dude is still beloved by the chowder heads.

4. Livan Hernandez, Washington Nationals (2795)—Two things are baffling. One, that Livan’s age is listed as 35. Thirty-freaking-five! Um, no. And two, that this guy is still getting hitters out with that blistering 80 mph fastball of his.

5. Javier Vasquez, New York Yankees (2532)—So this guy has banked $92 million in his career to date for losing as many games as he wins (145-144). That’s proof right there that innings eaters are worth something, but still sounds like highway robbery to me.

6. Jeff Suppan, Milwaukee Brewers (2437)—He’s relegated to the bullpen for the most part, but still racking up innings of work.

7. Kevin Millwood, Baltimore Orioles (2382)—Remember when Kevin Millwood was the fourth starter behind Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine in Atlanta? That was in 1997 but seems like it was 50 years ago.

8. Derek Lowe, Atlanta Braves (2191)—He may have peaked a few years ago, but this guy still has some of the nastiest stuff in the game.

9. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves (2124)—Through all of the injuries, it’s truly amazing that Tim Hudson has pitched that many innings. And hey, Javier, put this in your pipe and smoke it—a 153-79 career record.

10. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (2123)—This dude just keeps winning, but even he’s only got 154 wins to date. Does that seem right?

Source: Baseball Reference

NL East providing some exciting baseball

Going into the new baseball season, all eyes were once again set to watch the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays duke it out in the AL East. As it’s become customary, we assumed the division would deliver both the AL leader in wins, but also the Wild Card. Of course, this will probably still happen, but the hallowed division has turned into a head-scratcher given Boston’s poor start. I’m not lamenting this by any means (I’d love to see the Blue Jays in the playoffs, actually), but I’m here to tell you that there’s another division worth your interest: the NL East.

What? The NL East doesn’t just consist of the the Phillies and a handful also-rans? Well, not yet, anyway. Currently, three of the the division’s five teams have winning records (Mets, Phillies, Nationals), and the two others (Braves, Marlins) have enough talent to contend for the rest of the year. While I’d like to provide high-brow sabermetrics and detailed graphs, it’s really quite simple: The pitching and hitting on each of these teams are both decent at the very least. That’s it really, just decent. As long as one of these components isn’t woeful, a club should expect to hover above a .500 winning percentage. That may not satisfy a die-hard fan who has everything riding on their team making it to the World Series, but it sure does encourage neck-and-neck competition.

This is what we have in the NL East — an intriguing balancing act. The Mets surprisingly sit atop the leaderboard in the division, on the strength of their pitching no less. Mike Pelfrey has been sensational — who knows how — boasting a 4-0 record and a 0.69 ERA. With Johan Santana, Jon Niese and Oliver Perez performing well on the mound, the Mets have reason to be feel comfortable. And look, the hitting has not been phenomenal — merely decent. Jason Bay isn’t knocking blasts out of the park left and right, but guys like David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jeff Franceur and Ike Davis are getting on base. On base percentage can sometimes be the most feared statistic in the game. The Mets may not keep it up for long — there’s far too many question marks. Still, it’s nice to see the Phillies getting some guff from within.

Now, the Phillies will make the playoffs — there’s no way around it. Roy Halladay tops an intimidating rotation, and not even Brad Lidge or Ryan Madson will be able to consistently blow the countless leads provided by their hitting. I just think the NL East went a bit overlooked during the offseason. If it continues to play out as it has, this division could yield two playoff teams. None of the other teams look entirely vulnerable: the Braves quietly put together a solid unit during the offseason; the Nationals are stunning opponents with both power and unheard of pitchers; the Marlins are the Marlins, meaning we know nothing about them and they’ll still finish with a winning record.

I know, it’s strange, but the NL East had us fooled from the start. There’s some dramatic baseball in there.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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