Daily Dose: Wakefield floats to DL

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Clay Buchholz is back in Boston’s rotation after making a spot start
last week, as the Red Sox put Tim Wakefield on the disabled list
Tuesday. Wakefield, who was picked for his first All-Star game last
week, tweaked his lower back while tossing a bullpen session Saturday
and the AL co-leader in wins will have to wait a while for victory No.

Buchholz will pitch in Wakefield’s place Wednesday against the
Rangers after he allowed one run in 5.2 innings versus the Blue Jays
last week. He struggled with Boston last season, going 2-9 with a 6.75
ERA in 76 innings, but Buchholz is still just 24 years old and has
definitely earned another chance after going 7-2 with a 2.36 ERA and
89/30 K/BB ratio in 99 innings at Triple-A. He has AL-only value.

While the Red Sox’s vaunted starting pitching depth continues to come in handy, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Scott Olsen will miss the remainder of this season following
surgery to repair a partially torn labrum, but the good news is that he
should be fully healthy in time for spring training. Had it been a
fully torn labrum Olsen would’ve been facing at least 12 months of
recovery and rehab, but the Nationals’ team doctor described this
surgery as “just a clean-up procedure.” Healthy or not, he’s a question mark.

* Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi revealed Tuesday that he’s
set a July 28 deadline to deal Roy Halladay, adding: “At this point
it’s probably unlikely that we’ll trade Doc” because “no one has really
stepped up yet” with a big offer. July 28 is the deadline because
Halladay is scheduled to start on July 29 against the Mariners,
although my guess is that a great offer on July 30 would be listened

* Hours after some doofus at Circling the Bases
suggested that he might be a better trade target than Halladay, Cliff
Lee allowed one run in a complete-game victory against none other than
the Blue Jays. Two straight complete-game wins have his ERA down to
3.17 and Tuesday’s gem involved outlasting rookie Brett Cecil’s seven
shutout innings.

* Failing to make it out of the third inning in back-to-back outings
earned Andrew Miller a trip back to the minors Tuesday. Miller’s raw
stuff has always been good enough to dominate and he has 206 strikeouts
in 258 career innings, but horrible control has too often been his
undoing with 143 walks. Also of note is that Miller initially looked
like an extreme ground-ball pitcher, but has been neutral recently.

* Gaby Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A to take Miller’s roster
spot and could get a shot at third base if the Marlins finally realize
that Emilio Bonifacio’s great speed doesn’t make up for a .617 OPS and
bad defense. Sanchez hit just .281 with nine homers in 60 games at
Triple-A and is already 25 years old, but batted .314/.404/.513 with 17
homers, 42 doubles, and 17 steals at Double-A last year.

AL Quick Hits: John Danks has been scratched from his scheduled
Wednesday start with a blister on his index finger … Carlos Guillen has
put his rehab stint on hold to have his sore shoulder examined by a
team doctor … Franklin Gutierrez is day-to-day with left knee and left
elbow contusions after violently crashing into the outfield wall
Tuesday … Justin Duchscherer (elbow) threw a simulated game Tuesday and
could begin a rehab assignment next week … Clayton Richard got a
no-decision for the best start of his career Tuesday, allowing one run
in eight innings … Jack Hannahan homered twice Tuesday to double his
hit total with the Mariners … Josh Beckett lost Tuesday for the first
time since June 14, giving up four runs in eight innings … Sergio Mitre
won for the first time since July of 2007 in his Yankees debut Tuesday
… Jeff Niemann won his fifth straight decision by tossing eight innings
of two-run ball Tuesday, whiffing seven and walking none.

NL Quick Hits: Lance Berkman will rest for a few days after
being diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain … Ryan Dempster is slated to
have his broken toe X-rayed Thursday and may then be cleared to throw …
Jim Riggleman finally got into the win column Tuesday with John
Lannan’s first complete-game shutout … Brandon Phillips was benched
Tuesday after not running out a fly ball Monday … Braden Looper
combined with three relievers to shut out the Pirates on Tuesday … John
Maine (shoulder) faced Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado in a 65-pitch
simulated game Tuesday … Mark DeRosa homered twice Tuesday for his
second straight multi-hit game … Ryan Sadowski’s deal with the devil
finally ran out Tuesday, as he coughed up eight runs … Manny Ramirez
left Tuesday’s game and was taken for X-rays after being hit on the
hand by a pitch … Oliver Perez allowed four runs in six innings Tuesday
and has a 12/17 K/BB ratio since rejoining the Mets.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.