The Dugout Report

Red Sox and Rays-Is it time to panic?
April 8, 2011, 2:15 pm
Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Uncategorized

By: Tiffany Rutledge

The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have both started the 2011 campaign with an 0-6 record. With two series completed, these two AL East teams are still winless. Six games into the season, is it time to panic?

The Red Sox came into the season favored by many to win the World Series. Everyone was talking about their lineup with the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. How could they be stopped? The Rangers and Indians showed how to stop this team.  Take advantage of that shaky pitching staff. After Jon Lester and youngster Clay Buchholz, their staff is shaky at best. John Lackey is not the same pitcher he used to be. Neither is Josh Beckett. And Daisuke is well, Daisuke. He has not been the pitcher the Red Sox hoped to be getting for much of his time in the states. It might not be time to panic because with that offense, they should win a lot of games but they need another arm to solidify that rotation. Their weakness has been discovered and they do not look as scary to other teams as they did going into the season.

The Rays might need to be a little quicker to push the panic button because they do not have the offensive threat that the Red Sox have. They not only have not won a game, they also have put their biggest offensive threat Evan Longoria on the DL and have lost their biggest offseason acquisition Manny Ramirez to an abrupt retirement.  Things are going from bad to worse down in Tampa. The defending AL East Champions are reeling and in that division, a slow start could be the end of it. My question now is, will the fast-starting Baltimore Orioles end the season with a better record than the Rays? In this game, anything can happen.

The Red Sox bats came to life today to help them get their first win of the season. They defeated rivals New York Yankees 9-6. Lackey gave up 6 earned runs but the offense backed him up today. It felt good to be back at Fenway for the Sox and they look to right the ship and get back to winning games. The Rays take on the Chicago White Sox later today as they look to be the last team to get in the win column.


Are the A’s ready to compete in the West?
March 30, 2011, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hideki Matsui's bat needs to be hot for the A's this season

By Tiffany Rutledge

There are a few question marks surrounding the Oakland A’s going into the 2011 season, but for the first time since the 2006 team that lost in the ALCS there are expectations. The expectations are not sky high but they are there, which is new for this club. Some say they can overtake the reigning AL Champion Texas Rangers and win the AL West. With the Rangers losing a major piece of their postseason run in Cliff Lee, the A’s have hope. They can win the West, but it will take more than strong arms to lead the way.

It is well documented how good the A’s pitching staff is and can be. They led the AL with a team ERA of 3.56 and their arms are young. All-Star and Cy Young Candidate Trevor Cahill led the staff last year at the age of 22 while Brett Anderson was great as well at the same age. Gio Gonzalez matured on the mound and became a dominant force out there at the age of 24. We all know what Dallas Braden accomplished last year, hurling a perfect game at the young age of 26. This rotation is young and extremely talented. They started to come together as a unit last season and expectations for them this year are sky high. This staff has the potential to be great for years to come. The bullpen should be solid as well with the additions of Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour. They will accompany Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz in setting things up for All Star closer Andrew Bailey in the 9th (when healthy). The pitching looks to be rock solid, but where will the runs come from? This is and always has been the biggest concern for the Green and Gold.

With such a great pitching season last year, how is it the A’s only won 81 games? Runs. They did not scratch across enough runs to support the great outings from their staff. Their home run leader, Kevin Kouzmanoff, had a not-so-impressive 16 dingers in the 2010 campaign. The team ranked 23rd overall in runs scored, making it much harder on their young arms. Getting runs on the board is a concern for the club even with a few new bats in the lineup and a revamped offense. The A’s acquired Hideki Matsui in the offseason and hope he can provide some pop as the DH in the middle of the lineup. Also acquired were outfielders David Dejesus and Josh Willingham via trades this offseason and the A’s are hoping they too provide some much needed timely hitting and also a little power to an offense starving for it. Injuries have plagued the A’s in the past as well and they hope leadoff man Coco Crisp can stay healthy this year and get on base and in scoring position for these new guys to have the RBI opportunities. Only time will tell if these three additions to the lineup will make the difference and get the A’s back over that hump and back into the playoffs. It should be a fun year to watch and a great race to follow in the AL West.

Some have compared this team poised with pitching to the reigning Champion San Francisco Giants across the Bay but the A’s want to make a name for themselves and prove they can win with their own great pitching and a little bit of hitting on the side.

A’s Need Major Change, Geren Needs to Go
May 14, 2009, 8:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

VBCS3iNABeing an A’s fan I am used to the typical season: start off bad, pick it up a little in the middle, end playing .700 baseball and trying to get in the playoffs…but instead trading away any good talent we have for younger talent that will take at least a few years to have any showing in the majors.

This season has started like any other typical A’s season, badly. The team is playing bad in April and May like usual and before the deadline Matt Holliday will most likely be wearing colors other than green and gold. The only way the A’s even think about keeping Holliday through the season is if they are in contention which means they need to play better, more consistant baseball. Holliday has been asked about playing for the Yankees because they are a team said to be interested in the All-Star outfielder, he said that he would love to play for New York. Interesting, and disgusting at the same time. Many other teams will be interested once Beane says Holliday is on the block.

As for right here, right now…manager Bob Geren has got to go. He shows zero intensity, looks confused in the dugout half the time and makes downright stupid calls. Who in their right mind starts two catchers in a game? Twice he has started Kurt Suzuki in the DH spot and Landon Powell behing the plate. In effect when in the ninth inning with two outs and the tying run of second base, Geren had to let Powell hit because he could not give up the DH spot. So the game was in the hands of rookie and backup catcher Landon Powell because Geren’s stupid lineup when much better hitters sat from the bench to watch the final out.

Geren shows no emotion. He was thrown out of the game last week arguing balls and strikes but that was the first time in a long time he has showed any type of fire. That is what the team needs to see, fire and passion. So far the A’s have shown neither on the field. Things need to change and the first step is Geren, show the team we mean business and are serious about winning this year by firing Geren.

This will not happen because Geren got an extension before this season, stupid move. He is best friends with Billy Beane and that will get him far in this organization. Beane runs the show in Oakland, he needs to realize things need to change and I do not mean by trading away all the talent we have, been there done that.

Crawford Steals 6, Ties Record
May 4, 2009, 11:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

C4S_CRAWFORD081607.JPGCarl Crawford stole 6 bases in the game against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon, tying a record for steals in a single game. Only three other players have accomplished this feat since 1900.

Crawford said he was aware of how many bases ha had stole but he did not know about the record.

”I probably would have broken it if I knew. I’d have definitely tried,” he said. ”I didn’t even try. I don’t know if that will ever happen again.”

It came on the screen that he had just tied the record after he stole second for his sixth of the game in the 8th inning and he recieved a standing ovation from the hometown crowd in Tampa. Crawford thought they were just cheering for him, not the fact he had tied a record. He said he gets so into the game that he does not worry about other things like records.

The Rays won the game 5-3 and stole a total of 8 bases as a team. Running is definitely part of their game but a single player stealing 6 bases is not something we will see happen again soon. It would have been fun to see him try to break the record. Crawford stole second base 5 times in the game and third once without a throw.

Ryan Sweeney robs Kinsler, saves game for A’s
May 1, 2009, 10:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

4162_1087290416590_1056300013_30219513_8328916_n1It was the 8th inning, the A’s were up 3-1 and the Rangers had two runners on with their hottest hitter Ian Kinsler at the plate. Kinsler hit one that looked like it was going to land on the grass just beyond the center field fence and put the Rangers in the lead, but Ryan Sweeney used all of his 6’5” frame to jump and rob the home run and save the game for his team.

Sweeney said it’s the type of play you practice as a kid but never know if it will ever actually happen. Kinsler was clearly upset as Sweeney came down with the ball. Kinsler threw his helmet and said that he thought it was a home run, he was hoping it would be out of his reach in center field but Sweeney had a different idea. Pitcher Russ Springer needs to take him out to dinner to thank him for saving him out there.

It was a great way to end a not-so-great April for the A’s, who ended the month with an 8-11 record. It came a day after the A’s had to place infielders Mark Ellis and Nomar Garciaparra on the DL with calf strains. The A’s know about using the DL all too well, hope these guys get healthy quick and are back healthier and better soon.

Braden pitched solid to get the win for the A’s on Thursday. Matt Holliday hit his first home run of the season, ending a streak of 109 at bats without a home run. It was his first home run as an Athletic.

Duchscherer set to make June return to A’s rotation
April 27, 2009, 1:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

justin-duchscherer-csmphoto123728-mlb-rays-vs-athleti-13Oakland A’s lone-All Star from 2008 Justin Duchscherer was set to be the veteran arm in the A’s rotation this season until an elbow injury put him on the shelf, he is now set to start rehabbing and hopes to make it back on the mound in early June.

Duchscherer knows what it takes to come off an injury as he has had to go through it three times in the past two years. He has been a strong presence for the Athletics when he is healthy, making the All-Star team as both a reliever and a starter in the past three years.

The A’s staff this year is one of the youngest in the majors and having a guy like Duchsherer there to help the young guys progress is something the team is seriously missing. According to Mychael Urban and Duchscherer is having a tough time being an observer and not even being with the team in the early going this season. He said it is toughest when he sees one of his teammates out there struggling on the mound, like Eveland last week and he is not on the bench to even help him out a little bit.

But he knows he has to rehab the elbow that has put him on the DL to start the season and he is going through the process like he has before. He had surgery on the elbow and got it all “cleaned out” as he said. Things are going well since the surgery and nothing more was found during surgery which is a good sign. He is going to start throwing this week for the first time and slowly but surely will be making his way towards a minor league rehab assignment and then back on the mound for the A’s.

The A’s hope all goes well and Duchscherer will be back on the mound as soon as possible. Until then there are some other interesting options out there for a veteran arm, names like Pedro Martinez and Mark Mulder. Mulder’s agent says that the A’s have contacted him about a possible deal.

Haren Finally Rewarded with First Win
April 22, 2009, 4:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

danharenappaulconnorsGoing into Wednesday’s game, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren had made three starts and given up a total of 4 earned runs but had a record of 0-3. The Diamondbacks just could not seem to score with Haren on the mound, scoring just one run behind their ace in his first 3 games. Wednesday they found a way to get a couple runs in support of Haren and he did the rest.  Haren found a way to get his first win of the season, tossing 7 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies.

When Haren left the game it was tied 0-0 but his teammates rallied just enough in the 7th inning to reward Haren for his efforts on the mound this time. It took a clutch hit by pinch hitter Ryan Roberts to break the tie and give Haren a lead in the game. Haren was impressive once again, scattering 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 9 Rockies while improving his record to 1-3 on the year.
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