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Brian WilsonIn the last few decades, the role of the closer has grown exponentially from guys who had to mop up games that a starter couldn’t finish to pitchers with defined jobs that earn them save stats all their own as well as paychecks with a significant number of zeros. However, despite the prestige the role gets when successful, it’s still very much a work in progress. On average, teams only convert 68 percent of their save opportunities.


Click to continue reading Closer role still a work in progress


Derek JeterDerek Jeter hit his 3,000th career hit on Saturday in grand fashion with a home run, which helps solidify his future place as a member of Cooperstown. But a calf injury will keep him out of Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game in Arizona. Jeter made the announcement on Friday that he decided – on his own – to vacate his spot on the American League’s starting roster and will watch from home instead. He joins teammates Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera as All-Star selections who won’t participate.


Click to continue reading Derek Jeter the 3,000 hit man opts out of All-Star Game

Lonnie ChisenhallMaybe it’s because the city of Cleveland has seen so much misery in the sports landscape in recent years that has many surprised that the Indians are actually doing well in the American League Central. How they’re competing with the likes of the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox amazes some. In reality, the team doesn’t have any individual superstars but instead has a strong core of above-average players and continues to grow talented prospects through the minor league system.


Click to continue reading Cleveland Indians farm system largely responsible for major league successes

Cliff LeeWith Cliff Lee’s win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, he capped what was one of the best months for a pitcher in baseball history and all-but-guarantees he’ll be selected as NL Player of the Month for June. He posted a 5-0 record with an unbelievable 0.21 ERA in 42.0 innings pitched with 29 strikeouts, giving up one earned run on 21 hits and eight walks for a 0.69 WHIP. Opposing batters had a .151 clip against him.

Click to continue reading Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay competing for pitching’s top honor

Evan MeekIn 2010, pitcher Evan Meek was one of the Pittsburgh Pirates' top relievers. Pitching for a team that has failed to reach even low expectations over the past two decades, Meek emerged as one of the team’s only reliable late inning options. Meek was exceptional all season long. He finished the year with a 5-4 record, but had a 2.14 ERA in 80.0 innings pitched, allowed 35 walks to 70 strikeouts, had a WHIP of 1.05 and opponents hit just .185 off him.

Click to continue reading Pirates’ pen mild without Evan Meek

Alex GordonAfter one month of baseball, the Kansas City Royals had exceeded expectations with a 14-13 record and were second in the AL Central. Only the more unexpected Cleveland Indians were better. Since then, the Royals have returned to form, going 18-32 through May and June to this point and have fallen all the way to the basement in the division. It seems to be a fan of the Royals is synonymous with dashed hopes and dreams.


Click to continue reading Alex Gordon finally coming around

Jim RigglemanA managerial change in professional sports usually grabs headlines for a day or so before things return to normal, especially in-season. But the situation developing with former Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman walking out on his team after they won a game on Thursday night has continued to pique interests nationwide. Riggleman cites a lack of respect as baseball’s lowest-paid manager as one reason why he chose to relieve himself as the skipper and leave.


Click to continue reading Jim Riggleman’s reasons continue to intrigue

Justin VerlanderThe Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander is making a strong case to start the 2011 MLB All Star Game for the American League. He threw his second consecutive complete game on Sunday and now has recorded a “W” in five straight starts. During those, he’s pitched 41.2 innings with a 0.86 ERA, 37 strikeouts and a 0.65 WHIP. Truly ridiculous numbers over the last three weeks. And none of those include the no-hitter he threw on May 7.


Click to continue reading Justin Verlander should start first All-Star Game for AL

Carl PavanoStatistically, Carl Pavano’s career has been nothing short of a wild rollercoaster ride. The Minnesota Twins’ starting right-hander has been unpredictable from year to year. Pavano’s no stranger to rough stretches, and clearly he’s learned a lot from his low points in order to be most effective when he turns it around. The only problem for Pavano is that nobody seems to know how long it will take him to improve; or even how long before it gets worse again.


Click to continue reading Carl Pavano, Minnesota Twins starting to get hot

Scott KazmirThe latest mistake of Los Angels Angels GM Tony Reagins finally blew up in his face as Los Angeles cut ties with doomed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, released him and swallowing the remainder of the $14.5 million they owe him for the rest of the 2011 season. Kazmir was disabled with lower back tightness after one Major League start, but couldn’t find the strike zone in extended Spring Training in Arizona, which proved to be quite futile.

Click to continue reading Scott Kazmir released by Los Angeles Angels