Daily Windup (cont.)
What Was He Thinking?
Does new Brewers manager Dale Sveum really want Mike Cameron to lead off? Cameron, who had an absurdly hot August, is now in the midst of an awful slump. Swinging from the sixth spot for deposed manager Ned Yost, Cameron was hitting just .122 in his first 11 games in September, with 17 strikeouts and just three walks. In his move to leadoff Tuesday -- just the second time all year he had been in that spot -- Cameron went hitless in four at-bats, with two strikeouts. The Brewers have lost five in a row. They're 3-12 in September and now trail the Mets in the wild-card race by a half-game. The Brewers need a real spark at the top of their lineup. Now.
Quote of the Day
"That speech I gave, I won't be selling any CDs. That's all."
-- Mets manager Jerry Manuel, on his pre-game talk to his team. The Mets then lost to the lowly Nationals, 1-0.
Wednesday's Key Games
White Sox (Broadway) at Yankees (Hughes), 7:05 p.m.
Washout Hughes had a 5.90 ERA in six Class AAA starts
Twins (Baker) at Indians (Lee), 7:05 p.m.
Gunning for win No. 23, Lee is 8-0, 1.85 in last eight starts
Red Sox (Wakefield) at Rays (Garza), 7:10 p.m.
Garza's last win vs. BoSox; 5 H, 1 R, 7 IP on July 1
Mets (Knight) at Nationals (Martis), 7:10 p.m.
21-year-old righty Martis (0-2, 2.70) making third career start
Astros (Backe) at Marlins (Nolasco), 7:10 p.m.
Backe 29 hits in last 23.2 IP with 7.23 ERA
Phillies (Happ) at Braves (Jurrjens), 7:10 p.m.
Braves just 2-11 against Philly; Jurrjens has one of 'em
Brewers (Sheets) at Cubs (Marquis), 8:05 p.m.
Sheets 1-1, 4.86 vs. Cubs this season
CC Sabathia's unbeaten National League run came to an end at the hand of the Cubs on Tuesday night. The Brewers' big lefty gave up nine hits and four runs in seven innings. He's now 9-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 14 starts since coming over from Cleveland in early July. So now that the unbeaten thing's done and the Brewers are on the ropes, does that put an end to talk of a Cy Young, too?
Prince Fielder did his part for the Brewers on Tuesday with a pair of monster home runs. But he was left looking at the game's final strike, a brutally breaking 81 mph curve from Cubs closer Kerry Wood that ended a nine-pitch at-bat. Wood hit 97 mph with his fastball earlier in the showdown, so when he pulled the string on Fielder, the big fella could do nothing but watch the game end.
These managerial firings can often get nasty, and when one happens as late in the season as Ned Yost's did with Milwaukee, it could have been particularly so. Didn't happen. "I think the world of Doug Melvin. I think he's one of the top three general managers in the game," Yost told XM Radio on Tuesday afternoon. "If he thinks that a change was needed, I don't necessarily need to agree with it, but I will respect his decision." Said Melvin, on the same program: "The job that [Yost has] been doing has been outstanding if you base it against all the teams that we're competing with. I look at it that way. He's done an outstanding job." Class act by both guys.
People keep asking me if the Rays can handle the pressure down the stretch. Didn't they just win two of three in Fenway? Go by that, or go by that thrilling win Tuesday night over the Sox. Don't go by that flukish performance from Scott Kazmir on Monday night. They might not win the East. But it won't be because the fold. At least they haven't yet.
Carlos Pena is hitting .313 with a 1.098 OPS against the Red Sox with four home runs. Oh, and the walkoff hit by catcher Dioner Navarro against the Red Sox on Tuesday was pretty sweet, too.
Arizona's Dan Haren, just minutes short of his 28th birthday, threw the first complete-game shutout of his career Tuesday night, keeping a flicker of hope alive that the Diamondbacks can somehow can make a run at the Dodgers for the NL West title. Arizona, which beat San Francisco 2-0 behind Haren, trails L.A. by 4 1/2 games. So, good luck with that, guys.
Paul Konerko had two more hits as the White Sox padded that AL Central lead a little with a win over the Yankees. Since the beginning of August, Konerko is hitting .347 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and a solid 1.101OPS.
Got a call from Major League Baseball on Tuesday objecting to my use of the phrase "patently unfair" in a column earlier this week as it pertained to the Astros having to play two "home" games against the Cubs in Milwaukee over the weekend because of Hurricane Ike. To clarify: The result was unfair, but I don't think the decision-making process was. I did point out that it seemed to me -- and it still seems -- that MLB's hands were cuffed on this. The people in New York did everything they could to find a suitable place to play the games. But given the constraints of time and venues, Miller Park was it. It's not fair to the Astros, trading two home games for two in "Wrigley North." But you can't blame MLB, folks. Much as you might like to.
Houston's record in the last three games: 0-3. Total hits: Six. Total runs: 2. Times no-hit: 1. Batting average over the past three games: .070. Chances of them making the postseason (they're now three games out of the wild-card lead): Fading by the second.
Roy Oswalt's 32 1/3 innings of scoreless ball came to an end in a hurry against the Marlins Tuesday. On his 11th pitch of the game, Jorge Cantu touched him for a three-run home run, and that was that.