Daily Dose: Cardinals bring in help for Pujols

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Acquired from Cleveland for Chris Perez plus a player to be named
later, Mark DeRosa jumped right into St. Louis’ cleanup spot Sunday and
went 0-for-3 with a walk hitting behind Albert Pujols. While not a
prototypical cleanup hitter, DeRosa has batted .280/.364/.473 with 34
homers and 43 doubles since the beginning of last year, compared to the
measly .220/.297/.387 produced behind Pujols so far.

He’s a nice pickup for the Cardinals, who can either re-sign him or
take draft pick compensation if he leaves as a free agent. Depending on
the PTBNL the Indians also did fairly well cashing in a guy they
acquired this winter for three mediocre prospects, because Perez is a
23-year-old with a 3.72 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 65 innings as a big
leaguer and should be a quality setup man or closer option.

While the Cardinals help a lineup that beyond Pujols has hit just
.248 with a .381 slugging percentage, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* Antonio Bastardo has been scratched from his scheduled Wednesday
start with shoulder soreness and has left the team to undergo further
tests, so Philadelphia will call up Carlos Carrasco to fill in. He’s
been the Phillies’ top pitching prospect for years, but Carrasco’s
stats haven’t quite matched the hype with a 4.14 ERA and 239/83 K/BB
ratio in 237 innings between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008.

* Josh Outman’s promising rookie year may be finished after Oakland
transferred him to the 60-day disabled list Sunday. He had been sent to
the 15-day DL last week with a sprained left elbow and there’s
speculation that he may be headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery
that would knock him out into the middle of 2010. He’ll meet with Dr.
James Andrews before any decision is made.

* Adrian Beltre and the Mariners have already decided that he’ll
undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his left shoulder, but
haven’t settled on an exact date yet. In the meantime he’s still
playing, starting at third base and knocking in a run Sunday, but the
surgery is expected to sideline him for at least a month and take place
at some point this week. Chris Woodward seems like the probable fill
in.

* Xavier Nady had to remove himself from a minor-league rehab game
Thursday after experiencing pain in his partially torn elbow ligament
and reportedly may be headed for Tommy John surgery. While the
operation isn’t as bad for hitters, he’d be finished for this year and
questionable for the first few months of 2010, so the impending free
agent may be done with the Yankees.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton (abdomen) is expected to start a
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A … Zack Greinke was limited to 6.1
innings Sunday due to a rain delay, but picked up his 10th victory …
Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list Sunday less than four
weeks after suffering an ugly looking shoulder injury … Francisco
Liriano turned in perhaps his best start of the season Sunday with
seven innings of two-run ball … Aaron Hill went deep twice Sunday and
has already set a career-high with 19 on the year … Adam Kennedy slid
to third base Sunday with Mark Ellis coming off the DL … David Price
gave up just one run in 6.1 innings Sunday, but again struggled with
his control by walking five … Alexei Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a homer
Sunday and is batting .301 with nine homers in his last 40 games … John
Danks shut out the Cubs for seven innings Sunday for his fourth
straight Quality Start … Reports suggest that impending free agent
Jason Bay is close to beginning long-term contract talks with the Red
Sox.

NL Quick Hits: Jamie Moyer moved past Bob Gibson into 45th place
all time with his 252nd career victory Sunday … Kyle Lohse (forearm) is
expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A … Nate
Schierholtz went 4-for-5 with a homer Sunday and is hitting .312 with
nine extra-base hits in 22 starts … Tommy Hanson improved to 4-0 with
six scoreless innings Sunday and hasn’t allowed a run in three starts …
Ryan Sadowski tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut
Sunday, getting a dozen outs on the ground … Despite leading the team
in wins, Shairon Martis is being bounced from the rotation to make room
for Scott Olsen … Ryan Doumit (wrist) is slated to start rehabbing
Tuesday at Single-A in the hopes of returning next week … Aaron Cook
tossed eight innings of one-run ball Sunday, with Huston Street closing
out his eighth win … Max Scherzer gave up eight runs Sunday, but only
three were earned.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK (AP) Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: