David Shovein

Baseball Daily Dose

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Rios on a Rampage

Thursday, September 06, 2012

White Sox centerfielder Alex Rios had a monster day at the plate in Wednesday’s victory over the Twins, blasting a pair of home runs and driving home six runs. Rios accounted for all of the Sox scoring in the game, smashing a grand slam to left off P.J. Walters in the first inning, and victimizing him again with a two-run shot in the sixth.

Among the plethora of options that the White Sox have for the AL Comeback Player of the Year award this season, Rios appears to be the strongest candidate. Sure, Adam Dunn has delivered massive power, and Jake Peavy has stabilized the front of the rotation, but Rios has produced across the board. He’ll head into the weekend series against the Royals with a stellar .298/.329/.516 line with 22 homers, 81 runs, 82 RBI and 20 stolen bases.
He’s always possessed elite talent, but has dealt with injuries, under-performance and a possible lack of motivation in his career. What’s very encouraging is that he’s been fairly consistent on a month-to-month basis throughout the season. As long as he can repeat this level of production, Rios will fly off the board in the top three rounds of next March’s drafts.



McCarthy experiences scary moment


Brandon McCarthy experienced a scary moment, when he was forced to leave Wednesday’s start against the Angels in the fourth inning after taking an Erick Aybar line drive off the back of his head. He never lost consciousness on the field, and was able to walk off under his own power.
As of the most recent update, McCarthy was “conscious and doing well” at Summit Hospital in Oakland, which is obviously a very encouraging sign. He will not accompany the team on the flight back from Seattle, as doctors would like him to stay overnight for further observation.

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to him for a speedy recovery.



Harper charges towards history


Just one week to the day after Bryce Harper notched his first multi-homer game, he pulled the same trick again in Wednesday’s victory over the Cubs. He opened up with a solo shot to center off Chris Volstad as part of a four-run third inning, and took Michael Bowden over the right-field wall for a solo homer in the sixth.

Harper joins the elite company of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mel Ott as the only players in the history of Major League Baseball to have two multi-homer games as a teenager.

With 17 home runs on the season, Harper trails only Tony Conigliaro (24) and Mel Ott (18) for most career homers as a teenager.

Harper has been on an absolute tear over his last eight games, hitting .400 (12-for-30) with five homers and 10 RBI. His strong late season push has placed him as one of the front-runners for NL Rookie of the Year honors.



National League Quick Hits: Ben Sheets played catch from 90 feet, but is still far from certain to return to the Braves rotation this season… Neil Walker missed a ninth straight game with back tightness, and remains without a timetable to return. Brock Holt has filled in admirably this week, hitting .438 (7-for-16) with three RBI… The Padres signed Chris Denorfia to a two-year, $4.25 million contract extension… Edinson Volquez will have his next start pushed back a few days due to a blister issue… Kenley Jansen threw a side session on Wednesday and remains on track to return September 17… The Dodgers transferred Chad Billingsley to the 60-day DL, officially ending his season… Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated that he may begin benching Brian McCann down the stretch if he doesn’t break out of his prolonged funk. The star catcher is hitting a meager .226/.297/.397 on the year… Brandon Laird belted the first home run of his MLB career, and could get an extended look over the season’s final month… R.A. Dickey defeated the Cardinals, picking up his MLB-leading 18th victory of the season… Roy Halladay twirled a gem in a victory over the Reds, and has posted a 5-2 record and 3.74 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break… Jay Bruce homered for a fourth consecutive game in a losing effort against the Phillies. He has driven in 12 runs in his last six games… Joey Votto went 2-for-3 plus a walk in his return to the Reds’ lineup on Wednesday… Mike Minor was tremendous, tossing seven one-hit innings in a 1-0 win over the Rockies… Rickie Weeks blasted a pair of two-run homers in a win over the Marlins, and has homered three times in his past four games… John Axford notched his 25th save and looks to be firmly entrenched as the Brewers closer again... Gio Gonzalez dominated the Marlins, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowing just three hits over seven scoreless innings, matching R.A. Dickey with his 18th victory of the season… Adam Wainwright pitched poorly in a losing effort against the Mets, though he did smash his first home run of the season… Trevor Cahill twirled a gem in a victory against the Giants on Wednesday, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning, before giving up two runs in the frame.



American League Quick Hits: Rays manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday that Alex Cobb likely has three starts left before being shut down for the season. He’s posted a 4.28 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over an already career-high 148 innings… Andy Pettitte threw 15 pitches to hitters on Wednesday, and hopes to make a couple of starts for the Yankees down the stretch… Brandon Inge will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery on September 13… White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Wednesday that Chris Sale will not get any extended rest down the stretch. He’s already tossed a career-high 163 innings, but the White Sox will stick with their best starter as they compete for a division title… Jered Weaver returned to California to get his injured shoulder examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, which is never an encouraging sign. He’ll miss at least one trip through the rotation, with a possibility of more… Brett Lawrie will move his rehab assignment to Low-A Lansing, and is hopeful he’ll return to the Blue Jays next week… J.P. Arencibia will return to the Jays on Friday… Miguel Cabrera blasted his 35th home run in a win over the Indians, and leads all major league hitters with 116 RBI… Dan Haren defeated the A’s to earn his second consecutive win, and finally looks to be back on track… Adrian Beltre homered yet again in a victory over the Royals, and has launched an insane nine homers while driving home 17 over his last 13 games… Mark Reynolds has been pretty hot himself, smashing his 17th homer of the season, and sixth in his last seven contests… Doug Fister tallied his first victory since August 14, allowing one run in seven strong innings against the Indians... Kevin Millwood won for just the second time since May 23, allowing one run over six innings against the Red Sox… David Lough suffered a mild hamstring strain in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s contest and is likely to miss a couple of games. The September call-up is 5-for-17 through his first four MLB games, with four runs scored and a stolen base… Tom Wilhelmsen notched his 24th save preserving a 2-1 victory against the Red Sox, in what has been a fine breakout season for the 28-year-old journeyman.

Dave Shovein also contributes to The Hardball Times, Fantasy Pros 911 and Sports Draft Daily. You can follow him on Twitter as well.
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