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Category Archives: Justin Verlander

2012 World Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs San Francisco Giants

Detroit: 88-74; 1st in AL Central
San Francisco: 94-68; 1st in NL West

Schedule – 8 PM, EST; FOX
Game 1: Oct. 24: Justin Verlander (17-8, 2.64) at Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15)
Game 2: Oct. 25: Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45) at Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37)
Game 3: Oct. 27: Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86 vs Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37)
Game 4: Oct. 28: Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74) vs Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79)
Game 5*: Oct. 29: DET vs SF
Game 6*: Oct. 31: DET at SF
Game 7*: Nov. 1: DET at SF

Rosters

Rotation: D. Fister, A. Sanchez, M. Scherzer, J. Verlander.

Bullpen: A. Albuquerque, J. Benoit, P. Coke (CL), O. Dotel, R. Porcello, D. Smyly, J. Valverde.

Catchers: A. Avillia, G. Laird.

Infield: M. Cabrera, P. Fielder, O. Infante, J. Peralta, R. Santiago, D. Worth.

Outfield: Q. Berry, A. Dirks, A. Garcia, A. Jackson, D. Kelly, D. Young (DH).

Rotation: M. Bumgarner, M. Cain, R. Vogelsong, B. Zito.

Bullpen: J. Affeldt, S. Casilla, G. Kontos, T. Lincecum, J. Lopez, J. Mijares, G. Mota, S. Romo (CL).

Catchers: B. Posey, H. Sanchez

Infield: J. Arias, B. Belt, J. Crawford, A. Huff, P. Sandoval, M. Scutaro, R. Theriot.

Outfield: G. Blanco, X. Nady, A. Pagan, H. Pence.

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NL Demolishes AL in All-Star Romp

KANSAS CITY — The lineup was more dominant on paper. The pitching was more dominant on paper. And they had the crowd to their back.

Unfortunately for the American League, the National League stole the show in KC. Backed by a bases-clearing triple in the 1st by Pablo Sandoval, the NL squashed AL starting pitcher Justin Verlander en route to an 8-0 shutout win in KC, guaranteeing homefield advantage for the NL team in the World Series.

Sandoval crushed a 1-1 offering from Verlander with the bases loaded, giving the NL a 4-0 lead and blowing the game wide open only two outs in.

The Phillies featured three participants in the Midsummer Classic.

Carlos Ruiz caught for R.A. Dickey in the 6th, Cole Hamels in the 7th, Craig Kimbrel in the 8th and Jonathan Papelbon in the 9th. He had one plate appearance, flying out.

Hamels pitched a perfect 7th inning and Papelbon pitched the final out in the 9th inning, hugging Ruiz as the NL celebrated it’s third straight win of the All-Star Game.

Boxscore.

One-on-one battles highlight MVP and Cy Young races

Brewers 1B Prince Fielder (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

NL MVP
Matt Kemp: There have been two bright spots for the Dodgers this season, who are in the middle of a financial rut and baseball abyss. One of those bright spots is Matt Kemp (the other is in the Cy Young race). Kemp is having a Willie Mays-ian season (yes, I compared him to the Say Hey Kid), combining a rare mix of elite fielding, speed on the base paths, hitting for a high average and power while driving in runs on a terrible team.

Kemp is in the top four of all three Triple Crown stats: 4th in average (.320), 2nd in home runs (31) and 2nd in RBIs (102). He is only one homer and RBI behind the NL leader but sits .016 behind the injured Jose Reyes. If Kemp does go on one more hitting tear, a Triple Crown is a possibility. Kemp is one of a very small handful of players in baseball who are threats to do that every season and the fact he’s doing that this year makes him a top candidate for MVP.

Prince Fielder: Prince Fielder is right up there with Kemp statistically. Hitting .293 with 29 homers and 102 RBIs, Fielder is enjoying another one of the best seasons he’s compiled as a Milwaukee Brewer. Kemp has the advantage on Fielder for playing a more skilled position but Fielder has an advantage in another area that could be more important.

When voters look at Fielder, they will see that he’s raking on a team with the third best record in the NL, putting the Brewers in the position for the #2 seed in the post season. By being a “valuable” asset to one of the best teams in the National League, Fielder has made himself a top MVP candidate

Sleepers: Shane Victorino (Philadelphia), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee)

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Season Preview: AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Expectations: Ozzie Guillen tweets every lineup change from the dugout.
Key addition: 1B/OF Adam Dunn (.260, 38 HR, 103 RBI with Washington)
Key loss: RP Bobby Jenks (1-3, 27 Saves, 4.44 ERA)
Projected record: 92-70

Summary: Most of the puzzle pieces remain from last year’s team, with a power addition of Adam Dunn.  The team has speed (Juan Pierre, Alex Rios), power (Dunn, Paul Konerko) and pitching (John Danks, Mark Buherle).  Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Carlos Quentin are all solid ballplayers. The White Sox have a question mark in the bullpen, as they will have Chris Sale or Matt Thornton closing.  Jake Peavy’s injury concerns are troublesome, but as an end of the rotation guy, he won’t be relied on as an ace.

Minnesota Twins

Expectations: Increased amount of man-crushes on all-star catcher Joe Mauer.
Key addition: 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (.260, 14 HR, 41 RBI with Chiba of the Japanese League.
Key loss: 2B Orlando Hudson (.268, 6 HR, 37 RBI)
Projected record: 89-73

Summary: Mauer leads the Twins, who are bitter after two straight first round exits to the Yankees.  The core of the team returns, although key component 1B Justin Morneau missed the second half of last year with a concussion, and has only played six spring training games thus far.  The Twins rotation is decent; no stud ace, but some solid pitchers to get the job done.  One of the biggest question marks is the bullpen.  Joe Nathan is coming off Tommy John surgery, and if he is the Joe Nathan of old, the Twins will be fine.  If not, Matt Capps will be their go-to guy.

Detroit Tigers

Expectations: Leading the league in DUI arrests.
Key addition: C/1B Victor Martinez (.302, 20 HR, 79 RBI with Boston)
Key loss: OF Johnny Damon (.271, 8 HR, 51 RBI)
Projected record: 85-77

Summary: The Tigers underachieved last season going 81-81, finishing 13 games behind the first place Twins.  They added Boston’s Victor Martinez, who is a .225 career hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park.  Will Martinez continue his struggles at his new spacious home?  He will likely DH for the team, hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez, so RBI opportunities will be there.  Detroit’s pitching is good with Justin Verlander, Matt Scherzer and Rick Porcello.

Cleveland Indians

Expectations: The Indians beg Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn to come back and play for the team.
Key addition: OF Austin Kearns (.263, 10 HR, 49 RBI with Cleveland and New York AL)
Key loss: Uhhhh…. I guess 3B Andy Marte (.229, 5 HR, 19 RBI)
Projected record: 70-92

Summary: Carlos Santana has recovered from a knee injury he suffered last August, only two months after being called up to the major league club.  The Tribe are going to rely on their young catcher and OF Shin Soo-Choo, who hit .300 last year, with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  Other offensive weapons, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, have had trouble staying healthy in recent years.  Pitcher Fausto Carmona had a good year last season (3.77 ERA), despite losing 14 games.

Kansas City Royals

Expectations: Could contend for the AAA Championship.
Key addition: OF Jeff Francoeur (.249, 13 HR, 65 RBI with New York NL and Texas)
Key loss: SP Zach Greinke  (10-14, 4.17 ERA, 181 K)
Projected record: 65-97

Summary: The Royals fortunately have a deep minor league system, stocked up from many years of top draft picks.  However, that won’t help them this year.  They do have 1B Billy Butler, who hit .318 last year.  Top prospect 3B Mike Moustakas is ready for a promotion, and might get one this season.  Unfortunately the Royals traded away their best player, SP Zach Greinke for a boatload of prospects.  It’ll be a while before Kansas City is a competitor again.

Brown Sent to Minors

After Domonic Brown’s huge day today against the Tigers, he got sent to the minors camp. Brown went 3-3 with two homers and four RBI’s. His shots came off of Detroit ace Justin Verlander and former Yankee Phil Coke. But Brown knew his time with the Phillies was a great learning experience as it is evident to all of us that Brown could be a major league super star.

“I thought I was going down last week,” Brown said. “I mean, this is all a plus for me. This has been great. All these guys brought me under their wing. It’s a major confidence booster for myself. It’s really taught me the hard work part of it. I’m really happy, but there’s a long way to go.”

Brown hit .417 (10-for-24) with two homers, eight RBIs and three walks in 11 Grapefruit League games. His time was only going to last as long as Spring Training. All three outfield spots are locked up with 2009 all stars and sitting the bench would be a very unwise decision. We will see him again when the rosters expand in September.

But with Jayson Werth’s future after this season uncertain, many speculate Brown will be his replacement. If Werth is signed long-term, then Brown will be Raul Ibanez’s replacement, creating an outfield that could scare every pitcher in the majors for many years.

Brown Rips Two HR’s

Domonic Brown is really making an impression on the Phillies before they send him to the minors to start the season. Batting in the six-spot, the phenom hit two homers off Justin Verlander and Phil Coke in the Phillies 6-1 win over the Tigers. He finished the day going 3-3 with two runs and four RBI’s to go along with the dingers. Ryan Howard also homered in the fourth off of Verlander.

Brown’s first homer came after he worked a nine-pitch at-bat against Verlander, Detroit’s ace. Brown’s second homer was ruled a homer even though a fan reached over and grabbed the ball. I guess there is no review in Spring Training.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and pitched wonderfully. He allowed an unearned run on two hits, striking out four in five innings. The Phillies pitching allowed only three hits and two walks all game.

Boxscore.

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Placido Polanco could return to the Phillies by Friday.

“It’s still a little bit sore, but it’s the best case. I was pretty worried [Monday].”

“Hopefully I’ll be playing pretty soon,” he said. “The day off [Thursday] will help.”

Greg Dobbs played 3B today in place of Polanco. Shane Victorino batted in the two-hole.

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