Daily Dose: Peavy out for up to three months

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So much for all the trade talk. Jake Peavy will be sidelined for at
least one month and as long as three months after an MRI exam revealed
a slightly torn tendon in his ankle. He suffered the injury while
running the bases on May 22 and had one good start, one decent start,
and one terrible start since, but Peavy will now wear a protective cast
for the next several weeks.

Peavy is a long shot to be ready to pitch by the July 31 trade
deadline and even if he somehow makes it back by then the Padres would
have an extremely tough time getting anything resembling full value for
him. In other words, expect him to finish this season in San Diego
whether that means on the disabled list or in the rotation. Remember,
he’s still signed through 2012 with a team option for 2013.

While the Padres’ chances of avoiding last place take a major hit, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Howie Kendrick came into the season as a 25-year-old career .306
hitter in 997 plate appearances, but after batting just .231 through 51
games the Angels sent him to the minors Saturday. Kendrick’s
strikeouts, walks, and power are basically all the same as usual, but
he just doesn’t have the secondary skills to be useful without hitting
.280-.300.

Even with this year’s struggles he’s a .294 hitter in the majors
after hitting .360 in the minors, so Kendrick will smack around
Triple-A pitching for a while and rejoin the Angels. In the meantime
Sean Rodriguez was picked over Brandon Wood to replace Kendrick on the
roster, although it remains to be seen if he’ll actually get any action
after hitting .290/.377/.637 with 42 homers in 124 games at Triple-A.

* Johan Santana cruised through 11 starts, going 7-3 with a 2.00
ERA, but tied a career-high by serving up four homers to the Phillies
last week and turned in one of the worst outings of his career Sunday
versus the Yankees, allowing nine runs while recording nine outs. The
good news is that he allowed just one homer, but Mets fans will have
reason to be nervous when he faces the Rays this weekend.

* Cliff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Sunday versus
St. Louis, settling for a complete-game, three-hit shutout. He now has
a 2.88 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 97 innings spread over 14 starts.
Through his first 14 starts last year, Lee had a 2.45 ERA and 79/15
K/BB ratio in 96 innings. Of course, the big difference is that poor
run support has Lee with a 4-6 record as opposed to 10-1 last year.

* As if passing on him to select
mega-bust Matt Bush with the No. 1 pick in 2004 wasn’t enough, Jered
Weaver reminded the Padres of their mistake by shutting them out
Sunday. Weaver followed his great college career and impressive 2006
debut by disappointingly posting a 4.13 ERA over the past two seasons,
but he’s now 7-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 74/25 K/BB ratio in 90.2 innings
this year.

AL Quick Hits: Brad Penny is eligible to be traded Monday and
the Red Sox have reportedly received multiple offers … For now at least
Toronto is hoping that Roy Halladay (groin) can make his next scheduled
start Saturday … Despite tossing seven shutout innings Saturday,
Anthony Swarzak is back at Triple-A
after filling in for Glen Perkins … A.J. Burnett struck out eight while
shutting out the Mets for seven innings Sunday … Scott Kazmir
(quadriceps) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Wednesday at
Single-A … Gordon Beckham hit his second two-run double in as many
games Sunday, but is still just 4-for-35 … Oakland activated Travis
Buck (oblique) from the disabled list Sunday, but only to option him
back to Triple-A … Coco Crisp was put on the shelf Sunday after
initially trying to play through a shoulder injury … Scot Shields is
expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery Tuesday … J.P. Howell
struck out the side Sunday for save No. 3.

NL Quick Hits: Out for nearly two months, Jose Valverde (calf)
set down all four batters he faced over the weekend … Milwaukee finally
saw enough from Manny Parra after he was rocked for six runs in 1.2
innings Saturday, sending him back to Triple-A … Josh Johnson gave up
three runs Sunday in a complete-game win over Toronto … In the midst of
a 0-for-32 slump, Willy Taveras sat out Sunday’s game … Ryan Doumit
(wrist) has been cleared to resume baseball activities, but remains
weeks from returning … J.A. Happ struggled Sunday by walking six and
giving up seven hits, including a homer to Josh Beckett … Taylor
Buchholz tried to rehab his elbow injury, but will miss the next year
after opting for Tommy John surgery … Derek Lowe was knocked around for
seven runs while failing to make it out of the third inning Sunday and
faces Boston at Fenway Park next … Hitting coach Gerald Perry was fired
Sunday after the Cubs led the NL in runs last year.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.