THT Daily: A New Tune from Tim

Major League News for September 25

Player News
Yesterday’s Results
Today’s Games
Top Minor League Performances

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Player News

Player Headlines are courtesy of Rotoworld
According to Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox plan to start Jon Lester in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup.
It’s all rumor and speculation until manager Terry Francona makes an official announcement, but the idea does make sense. Lester has been the club’s most dominant pitcher this season, with an unreal 11-2 record and 2.13 ERA since May 31. Josh Beckett would start Game 2 and Clay Buchholz would draw the nod for Game 3. As of now, it appears the Red Sox will face the Angels in a five-game series beginning on October 8.

Tim Lincecum told reporters Thursday that he’s open to signing a long-term extension with the Giants as soon as this offseason.
Lincecum, who’s making just $650,000 this season, is eligible for arbitration this offseason for the first time in his career and could land close to $10 million, maybe more. If the Giants are going to be forced to doll out a huge chunk of cash, they might as well make it part of a long-term deal. “I definitely like San Francisco,” Lincecum said. “I’ve seen nothing but positive things as far as my personal experiences. It’s where I see myself being for awhile.”

According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles will not pick up Melvin Mora‘s $8 million option for 2010.
It will end his nine-year tenure with the Birds, and rightly so. The 37-year-old’s stats have declined sharply and he’s become a major injury risk. “Whatever I am going to be next year,” Mora said Thursday, “I’ll never get tired of thanking the Orioles, because I made my career here.” A career .278/.352/.436 hitter, he’s batting just .259/.317/.361 in ’09.

Jeff Baker crushed a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning Thursday to lead his Cubs over the Giants 3-2.
The Cubs are playing the role of pesky spoiler at this point, holding the Giants back in the NL Wild Card race and preventing the rival Cardinals from clinching the NL Central all in the same night. Baker launched his two-run bomb off hot closer Brian Wilson. He finished 2-for-4 and is batting .306 on the season with four dingers and 22 RBI.

Brad Penny hurled eight innings of one-run ball Thursday but was left with a no-decision in an eventual Cubs win.
Penny was brilliant, fanning four batters against one walk and scattering seven hits. But with his pitch count at 95 and a reliable closer warming in the bullpen, manager Bruce Bochy decided to rest Penny for the ninth. It didn’t work out. Brian Wilson allowed a two-run homer to Jeff Baker and the Cubs prevailed. With a Rockies loss, the Giants remain four games back in the NL Wild Card race.

Zack Greinke was ejected from the dugout Thursday for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Greg Gibson.
Greinke was trying to stick up for Royals starter Anthony Lerew, but obviously went a little too far with his criticisms of the strike zone. Royals manager Trey Hillman was also ejected, just one inning later.

Rich Harden has been shut down for the rest of the season.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella left the decision up to Harden, an impending free agent. “It’d be a lot different if we were in it and they needed me to pitch,” he said. “I’d be out there in a second and I’d be fine. I’m still healthy, feeling good and took that as a positive for this season.” He’ll finish 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 141 innings.

Josh Hamilton (glute) is planning to return to the Rangers’ starting lineup on Friday against the Rays.
Hamilton took batting practice and ran in the outfield earlier this week without any issues. “He has been doing pretty good the past couple of days,” manager Ron Washington said. “He hasn’t had any setbacks, so we’ll see how it goes.” He’s been out since September 2.

Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt told’s Jon Heyman Thursday that his club is going to work on a multi-year extension with Albert Pujols this winter.
The Cardinals have also said they’re hoping to lock up Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa. If DeWitt is serious, and the Cardinals have that kind of cash laying around, we’re talking about a monstrous offseason in St. Louis. Pujols isn’t eligible for free agency until 2012, but the Birds on the Bat obviously want to eliminate any chance of him leaving the franchise. Some believe he could command up to $30 million per year on the open market.

Yesterday’s Results

For the full scoop regarding yesterday’s games, read “And That Happened” at Shysterball.

American League
SEA     5  TOR     4    (Recap and Boxscore)
DET     6  CLE     5    (Recap and Boxscore)
BOS    10  KC      3    (Recap and Boxscore)
OAK    12  TEX     3    (Recap and Boxscore)

National League
LAN     7  WAS     6    (Recap and Boxscore)
PHI     9  MIL     4    (Recap and Boxscore)
CIN     4  PIT     1    (Recap and Boxscore)
SD      5  COL     4    (Recap and Boxscore)
CHN     3  SF      2    (Recap and Boxscore)

Check out Fangraphs’ scoreboard to see all the games in action.

Mental Health and the CBA
A particular bit of language in the latest CBA could have negative consequences for some players.

Today’s Games

RedSox (91-61) @ Yankees (97-56), 7:05pm
Jon Lester (25, LHP) vs. Joba Chamberlain (23, RHP)
Orioles (60-92) @ Indians (61-91), 7:05pm
David Hernandez (24, RHP) vs. Fausto Carmona (25, RHP)
Mariners (80-73) @ Blue Jays (69-84), 7:07pm
Doug Fister (25, RHP) vs. Roy Halladay (32, RHP)
Rays (78-74) @ Rangers (83-69), 8:05pm
James Shields (27, RHP) vs. Derek Holland (22, LHP)
Twins (79-73) @ Royals (63-90), 8:10pm
Carl Pavano (33, RHP) vs. Robinson Tejeda (27, RHP)
Tigers (82-70) @ WhiteSox (73-80), 8:11pm
Eddie Bonine (28, RHP) vs. Jake Peavy (28, RHP)
Athletics (73-80) @ Angels (90-62), 10:05pm
Gio Gonzalez (23, LHP) vs. Jered Weaver (26, RHP)
Dodgers (92-61) @ Pirates (56-95), 7:05pm
Jon Garland (29, RHP) vs. Jeff Karstens (26, RHP)
Braves (82-70) @ Nationals (52-100), 7:05pm
Javier Vazquez (32, RHP) vs. John Lannan (24, LHP)
Mets (65-88) @ Marlins (82-71), 7:10pm
Tim Redding (31, RHP) vs. Ricky Nolasco (26, RHP)
Phillies (89-63) @ Brewers (75-78), 8:05pm
Cliff Lee (30, LHP) vs. Manny Parra (26, LHP)
Reds (72-81) @ Astros (71-81), 8:05pm
Matt Maloney (25, LHP) vs. Brian Moehler (37, RHP)
Cardinals (89-64) @ Rockies (86-67), 8:10pm
Chris Carpenter (34, RHP) vs. Aaron Cook (30, RHP)
Padres (71-83) @ D'backs (66-87), 9:40pm
Kevin Correia (28, RHP) vs. Max Scherzer (24, RHP)
Cubs (79-73) @ Giants (82-71), 10:15pm
Carlos Zambrano (28, RHP) vs. Tim Lincecum (25, RHP)


The graphics next to each team are called “sparklines.” They depict each team’s performance over the last month. Each “up” bar is a victory and a “down” bar is a loss. There are horizontal lines for home games and red bars represent games decided by two runs or less. “PWins” is short for Projected Wins, based on each team’s Run Differential, and is often a better measure of a team’s true strength. Other team graphs and stats can be found on our Team Page.

American League East        Pwins  Diff
NYA     97  56 .634    0.0   90     7    sparkline graph
BOS     91  61 .599    5.5   90     1    sparkline graph
TB      78  74 .513   18.5   82    -4    sparkline graph
TOR     69  84 .451   28.0   78    -9    sparkline graph
BAL     60  92 .395   36.5   64    -4    sparkline graph
American League Central     
DET     82  70 .539    0.0   77     5    sparkline graph
MIN     79  73 .520    3.0   79     0    sparkline graph
CHA     73  80 .477    9.5   75    -2    sparkline graph
KC      63  90 .412   19.5   63     0    sparkline graph
CLE     61  91 .401   21.0   68    -7    sparkline graph
American League West        
LAA     90  62 .592    0.0   86     4    sparkline graph
TEX     83  69 .546    7.0   80     3    sparkline graph
SEA     80  73 .523   10.5   70    10    sparkline graph
OAK     73  80 .477   17.5   78    -5    sparkline graph

National League East        Pwins  Diff
PHI     89  63 .586    0.0   88     1    sparkline graph
ATL     82  70 .539    7.0   85    -3    sparkline graph
FLA     82  71 .536    7.5   77     5    sparkline graph
NYN     65  88 .425   24.5   66    -1    sparkline graph
WAS     52 100 .342   37.0   60    -8    sparkline graph
National League Central     
STL     89  64 .582    0.0   87     2    sparkline graph
CHN     79  73 .520    9.5   81    -2    sparkline graph
MIL     75  78 .490   14.0   73     2    sparkline graph
CIN     72  81 .471   17.0   69     3    sparkline graph
HOU     71  81 .467   17.5   65     6    sparkline graph
PIT     56  95 .371   32.0   61    -5    sparkline graph
National League West        
LAN     92  61 .601    0.0   95    -3    sparkline graph
COL     86  67 .562    6.0   85     1    sparkline graph
SF      82  71 .536   10.0   80     2    sparkline graph
SD      71  83 .461   21.5   63     8    sparkline graph
ARI     66  87 .431   26.0   70    -4    sparkline graph

Wildcard Standings
American League             
BOS     91  61 .599    0.0
TEX     83  69 .546    8.0
SEA     80  73 .523   11.5
MIN     79  73 .520   12.0
TB      78  74 .513   13.0
National League             
COL     86  67 .562    0.0
ATL     82  70 .539    3.5
SF      82  71 .536    4.0
FLA     82  71 .536    4.0
CHN     79  73 .520    6.5

Top Minor League Games

The following list, provided by First Inning, includes the top minor league batting (based on Runs Created) and pitching (based on Game Score) performances from yesterday.

ORG LVL PLAYER            AB  H 2B 3B HR BB SO  Notes

ORG LVL PLAYER            IP  H  R ER SO BB HR  Notes
First Inning’s Major and Minor League Daily Reports:

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Actually, I think Greine’s criticism was pretty mild (you could hear the “discussion” word for word on the broadcast).  He yelled, “Hey Greg, where’s the strike zone?”  Gibson turned to the dugout and asked him to repeat himself, so Greinke did.  Gibson said, “You know what?  You’re out of the game!”  I suppose just the simple act of repeating is what got him tossed.  There’s sure been plenty worse than that said on baseball fields.

Greg Simons
Greg Simons

“Some believe he could command up to $30 million per year on the open market.”

Count me among the “some,” and I hope the Cards get some sort of discount off that amount from Pujols.  I can see something in the range of A-Rod’s 10-year, $252 million deal from the Rangers.