Tag: Jimmy Nelson

Chase Utley

Video: Chase Utley hits what may be his final Phillies homer


Chase Utley took Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson deep to right field on Saturday night for what very well might be the veteran second baseman’s final home run as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies …

Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin has already said that Utley will not play in Sunday’s series finale against the Brewers and rumors are swirling that a trade is close. In fact, the Angels thought they had a deal in place for Utley on Friday. The 36-year-old is also drawing interest from the Giants, Cubs, Yankees, and Astros.

Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

Jaime Garcia

Jaime Garcia went seven scoreless innings and rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty hit a pair of RBI singles as the Cardinals bested the Brewers 3-0 on Saturday night at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Garcia now holds a 1.77 ERA through 66 innings (10 starts) this season and the Cardinals’ pitching staff has combined for 36 straight scoreless frames.

They’ve rattled off three shutouts in a row.

St. Louis stands 71-39 with a six-game lead over the Pirates in the National League Central standings. Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Milwaukee pits veteran John Lackey against Jimmy Nelson.

Lackey is sporting the best ERA (2.85) of his illustrious 13-year major league career.

Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 0

Astros 1, Athletics 2

Giants 6, Cubs 8

Dodgers 5, Pirates 6

Rangers 11, Mariners 3 (11 innings)

Mets 4, Rays 5

Rockies 1, Nationals 6

Red Sox 6, Tigers 7

White Sox 6, Royals 7

Cardinals 3, Brewers 0

Twins 4, Indians 17

Marlins 2, Braves 7

Reds 4, Diamondbacks 1

Phillies 4, Padres 2

Orioles 5, Angels 0

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 7.40.13 AM

Yankees 13, Red Sox 3: Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. The Sox had a 2-1 in the sixth inning before the Yankees scored three times in the bottom of that inning and then nine times — nine times? NINE TIMES — in the seventh. Brian McCann drove in four. Chris Young knocked in three. A-Rod killed a guy with a trident.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 4: Wilson Ramos hit two-run single with one out in the bottom of the eighth to break a 3-3 tie and the Nats snapped their four-game skid. Didn’t matter in the standings though because . . .

Mets 5, Marlins 1: . . . The Mets won their fifth straight thanks to a four-run eighth inning. Juan Lagares had a two-run triple in that frame and Eric Campbell broke the tie with an RBI single. After the game Marlins manager Dan Jennings talked about how it’s hard to lose a game like this:

“They have a lot of momentum going their way. But when you stay right there cheek-to-cheek with them and let it get away it’s definitely frustrating.”

There’s your problem, Dan. You’re supposed to be playing baseball, not dancing.

Phillies 6, Dodgers 2: Here’s one you don’t see every day:

That was eventually ruled a balk and it put runners at second and third. A walk later loaded the bases for Makiel Franco who launched a grand slam. Not exactly the way Alex Wood wanted his Dodgers debut to go, I reckon. The Phillies, for their part, are 13-3 since the All-Star break. Which is the sort of thing, had someone given you odds on in Vegas a few weeks ago, no one woulda bet.

Cubs 5, Pirates 0: Anthony Rizzo had four hits, Jorge Soler and Starlin Castro each knocked in two and Jake Arrieta shut the Pirates out over seven innings. If the playoffs started today the Cubs would be in the wild card game. And we’d all be shocked because, wow, playoffs in August? How cool is that?!

Blue Jays 3, Twins 1: Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki hit homers that a combined distance of [bashes calculator keys while holding a pencil behind his ear] really dang far. The Jays have won six of seven and move past Minnesota into the second wild card spot.

Royals 5, Tigers 1: Sal Perez had three hits including a homer off Justin Verlander. Perez:

“I’m just up there trying to do my job and he’s trying to do his job. Today he left a couple fastballs up, and I was able to hit them.”

Story of Verlander’s season. The Tigers are now 1-8 in his nine starts.

Giants 8, Braves 3: Hunter Pence hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the eighth and Jake Peavy was solid. It was a hot and humid night in Atlanta. The kind of heat that holds ya like a mama holds her son: tight when he tries to walk, even tighter when he runs. What did you think about the humidity Jake?

“I love the humidity,” said Peavy, who is from Mobile, Ala. “Certainly I’ve gotten away from it, but when I come home, I feel good. I’ve pitched in this weather all my life. I love it.”

In other words, Jake Peavy is a monster.

Reds 3, Cardinals 2: Anthony DeSclafani struck out nine Cardinals in six innings. Tidbit from the AP gamer said that DeSclafani is the most experienced starter in the Reds rotation right now. Which, holy crap, is true. He has 26 career starts.

Rangers 4, Astros 3: This is my eighth year doing these recaps, and over that time I’ve learned pretty quickly what the key takeaway of a game is based on either a quick glance at the box score or the lede graf of the game story. Most of the work is not figuring that out but, rather, trying to find something interesting to say about games that didn’t really have an obvious key takeaway. If you read these every day you know well that oftentimes I don’t think of anything interesting to say. There are a couple thousand baseball games a year. Not all of them are exciting.

This one, however, may be the single most difficult one I’ve ever encountered given the weird and narrow parameters of what I’m doing here with this feature. The Astros lost but so did the Angels so there was no playoff movement. Carlos Gomez had a couple of RBI and homered, but he was on the losing team, so that doesn’t lead. Prince Fielder homered but it was just a solo shot and no Ranger batter had a truly big night. Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo got a win but it was a fairly non-descript win. When I can’t find anything that jumps out in the box score I go to the gamer but here the gamer spends the first nine of its paragraphs on the closer who got the save.

Anyway: when the recap post goes up closer to 8AM than 7AM, a lot of time it has to do with me staring at a box score of a game like this wondering just what in the hell it means in the grand scheme of thing. Some of them don’t mean all that much I guess.

Rays 11, White Sox 3: Tampa Bay hit four homers, two of them off Chris Sale, who has given up seven runs in each of his last two starts and 20 runs in his last four. Which, um, kinda concerning?

Brewers 4, Padres 1: Jimmy Nelson allowed three hits and no earned runs in six and two-thirds. In a lost season, Nelson emerging as a solid starter is about as good a thing the Brewers have had all year.

Mariners 10, Rockies 4: Nelson Cruz homered in his fifth straight game. That’s the second time he’s had a streak of five this season. Jon Gray made his major league debut for Colorado. He had a 33-pitch first inning and allowed three runs on five hits, striking out four in four innings. He’ll see better days.

Indians 2, Angels 0: Exhibit A in the case against anyone who is still a big fan of pitcher win as Carlos Carrasco tossed a one-hitter over nine innings, striking out seven and needing only 100 pitches . . . yet got a no-decision because the Indians couldn’t score in regulation. Indians third baseman Giovanny Urshela saved the day for the team, however, by hitting a two-run homer in the 12th.

Athletics 5, Orioles 0: Chris Bassitt tossed seven shutout innings and Marcus Semien hit a three-run homer for some added insurance. Brett Lawrie had an RBI triple and Eric Sogard scored twice.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Carlos Carrasco

Indians 8, Tigers 2: I’ve seen enough wrestling to know a work when I see one, and the Tigers not starting Miguel Cabrera against a team he routinely destroys was clearly a work designed to put the Indians over as a team that can actually, on occasion, beat the Tigers in a house show like this. Carlos Carrasco took a two-hit shutout into the eighth, but broke kayfabe to give up a two-run homer to J.D. Martinez.

Angels 2, Astros 1: A walkoff single for Taylor Featherston in the 13th. In other news, “Taylor Featherston” was the name I gave my villain character in the 1980s teen comedy screenplay I wrote that time. He was a rich kid on the swim team who competed with our John Cusackian hero for the affections of, umm, let’s say Lea Thompson. Why everything got resolved based on the results of a big swim meet is beyond me — and why were there cheerleaders at a swim meet? — but a writer has to conform to the conventions of his genre.

Nationals 2, Braves 1: Ian Desmond with a walkoff sac fly in the 11th as the Nats beat the Braves for the [frantically mashes keys on a calculator] 264th straight time. The sac fly was made possible by Dana Eveland loading the bases by giving up a double to Bryce Harper and walking two guys, one intentionally. This is Eveland’s worst work since he played the femme fatale in that truly misguided RKO noir from 1951, “Farewell my Tomato Can.”

Blue Jays 1, Rays 0: Marco Estrada took a perfect game into the eighth, thanks in part to a fantastic catch by Josh Donaldson. You don’t figure the Jays to win a lot of 1-0 games this year, but when everything breaks right oddities can occur.

Yankees 10, Phillies 2: Ivan Nova came off the DL to tame the Phillies. Not that taming the Phillies is particularly hard, Monday and Tuesday’s results notwithstanding. Cole Hamels had himself a not too great day, but given how little support he’s gotten from his teammates this year he’s allowed to mail one in once in a dang while. Save it for the contender you’re traded to, Cole. Don’t burn yourself out for these guys.

Twins 6, White Sox 1: It was Phil Hughes’ birthday yesterday. Working on your birthday is lame, but Hughes made it work, allowing one run over eight innings. Chris Sale reached double digits in strikeouts once again — it was the seventh straight time he did it, which is the longest streak since Randy Johnson did back in 2001 — but strikeouts ain’t enough in and of themselves. Sale lost to the Twins for the third time this year.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: A four-run first inning off of Gerrit Cole is not the sort of thing we’ve come to expect, but the Reds did it anyway. Cincinnati is about the only team who has gotten to Cole this year, actually. They scored three off of him on April 8, three off of him on May 6 and these five last night. No other team has scored three runs off Cole even once this year.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 1: A five-run sixth inning which included a David Ortiz homer powered the Sox to victory, but it was something of a Pyrrhic one, as Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and Hanley Ramirez (bruised hand) each left with injuries. The Sox have won five of eight.

Cardinals 6, Marlins 1: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer but the Marlins were otherwise stopped cold. Jason Heyward homered for the third straight game. Jamie Garcia stifled the non-Stanton Marlins and even singled and scored. His ERA is down to 1.69.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 2: Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez homers helped snap the Cubs’ four-game winning streak. Turner surprised everyone with his .340/.404/.493 season last year. This year he’s hitting .323/.392/.575.

Athletics 8, Rangers 2: Four straight for Oakland, as Brett Lawrie hit a grand slam in their five-run first and never looked back. That was plenty of run support for Kendall Graveman. Which made me think of the word “gravamen” which is one of those words more people should use but don’t.

Brewers 4, Mets 1: Seven straight losses for the Mets as Jimmy Nelson held them to two hits over eight innings. After the game Terry Collins held a closed-door meeting with his team. Which I will never think about the same way again after what I read yesterday.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 7: Arizona rallied after being down two in the ninth, thanks in part to Yasmany Tomas’ RBI single — his fourth hit in the game — and a bases-loaded walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. These two teams have combined for 30 runs in two games. They play again today. If you are walking around Denver and see any baseball players getting breakfast this morning, the pitchers are the ones looking kind of sick and ordering dry toast.

Royals 8, Mariners 2: Mike Moustakas hit a two-run home run and Omar Infante had a three-run double as the Royals put up a seven-spot in the fourth inning. After the game, Eric Hosmer said “This is great for a team that’s built off pitching and defense.” Secret: no truly good teams are built solely on pitching and defense. What changed the Royals from lighting-in-a-bottle team in 2014 to strong contender in 2015 is the fact that they hit now.

Giants 6, Padres 0: Buster Posey hit a grand slam as the Giants cruised. Posey was playing first base as Brandon Belt covered left field. Posey hit a grand slam last Friday too.

2015 Preview: Milwaukee Brewers

jonathan lucroy getty

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Milwaukee Brewers.

The Big Question: Are they good enough?

It is an overly straightforward question — one you’d be asking about any team in any division this time of year. But it’s also the only thing worth asking about a club that spent 153 days in first place last summer and then wound up eight games back of the division-champion Cardinals with a final record of 82-80.

Jonathan Lucroy earned his first All-Star nod and finished fourth in the 2014 National League MVP balloting after producing a .301/.373/.465 slash line in 153 games (including 133 starts behind the plate). He’s only 28 years old, so there may be even better production ahead. Carlos Gomez, who’s 29 years old, boasts an .838 OPS, 47 home runs, and 74 stolen bases in 295 games over the last two seasons and plays great defense in center field. Ryan Braun is no longer a perennial MVP candidate, but offseason cryotherapy seems to have solved his chronic right thumb discomfort and he should be capable of a bounceback at age 31. That’s an ultra-talented core of relatively young stars, and they’re the first three hitters (Gomez, then Lucroy, then Braun) in the Brewers’ batting order.

But as you move down the lineup, the player snapshots get less and less impressive.

Aramis Ramirez has watched his OPS drop from .901 to .831 to .757 over the last three seasons and he turns 37 years old in June. He’s owed $14 million in the final year of a four-year, $46 million deal. Adam Lind had a productive final two summers in Toronto, but consistency and health have both been big issues. His defense at first base is dreadful. Khris Davis possesses good raw power and Miller Park is a power-friendly place, but the 27-year-old outfielder delivered a rough .299 on-base percentage in 549 total plate appearances last season and he batted .186/.253/.314 with two home runs over his final 30 games as the Brewers completed their late collapse. Those are the next three hitters in Milwaukee’s batting order, and it’s rounded out by Scooter Gennett (who has regressed in predictable fashion) and Jean Segura (who we’ll talk more about below).

This was a top-heavy group last year and it killed them down the stretch. It’s top-heavy again in 2015.

What else is going on?

  • The starting rotation is a mixed bag — lacking a true ace but potentially pretty good if everything goes right. Matt Garza had a 3.64 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 163 1/3 innings last year. He needs to log his first 200-inning season since 2010. Kyle Lohse is 36 years old and doesn’t miss many bats, but it feels like we can pencil him in for another sub-3.50 ERA, 30-start campaign. That is what he’s done for four years straight. Wily Peralta has the arsenal of a front-line starter and greatly improved his control in 2014. It’ll be huge for the Brewers if he takes another step forward at age 26. Mike Fiers has teased this club before, but it’s hard to argue with the excitement over his 2014 numbers: a 2.13 ERA, 0.879 WHIP, and 76/17 K/BB ratio in 71 2/3 frames. Jimmy Nelson carries quite a bit of promise after dominating Triple-A.
  • It’s rare that a team will make it through a full season needing only five starters, and the Brewers are severely lacking in organizational rotation depth. Yovani Gallardo was entering his contract year, so Milwaukee’s cost-conscious front office shipped him off to the Rangers this winter in exchange for three minor leaguers. The Brewers don’t have any prospects in Baseball America’s Top 50 and the two guys that cracked the Top 100 are position players — outfielder Tyrone Taylor (ranked 93rd) and middle infielder Orlando Arcia (ranked 94th). An injury or two in the rotation will be very problematic.
  • Back to shortstop Jean Segura. He made the National League All-Star team in 2013 and boasted a .325/.363/.487 slash line with 11 home runs, 27 stolen bases, and 54 runs scored in 92 games at the break. But his production fell off a cliff in the second half of the 2013 season and he was a mess throughout 2014. Personal tragedy struck last July when Segura lost his nine-month-old son to a sudden illness. Segura is still young and remains the crown jewel of the Zack Greinke trade, but right now he looks like nothing more than a base-stealer — and his success rate in that department hasn’t been all that great.
  • After an entire offseason of dancing, the Brewers finally re-signed closer Francisco Rodriguez to a two-year, $13 million free agent contract on February 26. K-Rod converted 44 saves last season and should have plenty left in the tank at age 33. But, again, there’s an issue of depth in the Milwaukee bullpen. Jonathan Broxton seems to alternate good years and bad years, left-hander Will Smith struggles mightily against righties, and Jim Henderson is still trying to regain his form following right shoulder surgery.

Prediction: If the Brewers have good luck with the health of their rotation and get something unexpected from a down-lineup hitter, they can hold relevance all year in the National League Wild Card race. But it’s hard to see them challenging for the National League Central championship when the division houses four other good teams. I don’t think enough will go right for Milwaukee in 2015. Fourth place, NL Central.