Archive for June, 2013
There would be no October magic this June because of trends that have confounded the Cardinals and their influential hitter since April.
The crowned kings of comebacks when last the Texas Rangers visited Busch Stadium, the Cardinals had their No. 3 hitter Matt Holliday up in the eighth inning Saturday with the tying run on base. He attacked the first pitch from reliever Tanner Scheppers and then sprinted to outrun a habit that has swallowed rallies whole. Holliday grounded into an inning-ending, drama-vaporizing double play. It was his second of the night and his league-leading 20th double play of the season.
The double-play grounder to third base sped the Rangers to a 4-2 victory and left Holliday with a blunt assessment of again turning one hard swing into two outs.
“That’s not good,” Holliday said of grounding into 20 double plays, more than twice as many as any teammate. “That’s just flat-out not good. That’s hitting too many balls on the ground. That’s not acceptable. … I knew he was coming with 97 mph. My game plan was to hit a line drive up the middle. I opened up a hair early and came over the top of it. That’s a pitch I can handle.”
For the second consecutive night the Cardinals staged an eighth-inning uprising that fell one hit short of upending the Rangers, 2011 World Series-style. Two-run home runs by A. J. Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz off Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller staked the Rangers to a 4-2 lead by the middle of the third inning. Rangers closer Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save and the Rangers’ fourth consecutive win. The Cardinals lost back-to-back game games for only the second time since April 30.
Texas rookie Martin Perez excelled by exploiting two of the Cardinals’ nagging tendencies. Perez too squelched a threat by getting a double play, and he prolonged the Cardinals’ troubles with lefties. Both losses to the Rangers have been to lefty starters, and the Cardinals are 8-10 in games started by an opposing lefthander. Still one of the top offenses in the majors, the Cardinals go cold against lefties. Perez (1-1) held them to five hits in his seven innings and dropped their average against lefties to .232. Only four teams in the National League have slugged less against lefties than the Cardinals’ .365.
“I imagine those numbers will even out and be closer to normal,” manager Mike Matheny said.
They can start in the middle.
A savage, high-average hitter and past batting champ, Holliday has hit close to .300 against lefties in his career. This season he’s 11-for-54 (.204) against lefthanded pitchers. He and David Freese, two righthanded line-drive hitters, have one home run in 107 combined at-bats. Freese hit it.
“I wish I knew (why),” Holliday said. “I don’t know whether I’m getting turned around on counts because I’m chasing pitches that I shouldn’t be or what. I think it has to do with pitch selection more than anything else.”
It could also be style. The Cardinals’ struggles against lefties have also come from a style of lefty. Perez was able to test the Cardinals’ with a fastball that hummed at 95 mph, and he did so by driving pitches inside on the Cardinals. Evaluators have described how similar the hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup can look when Carlos Beltran moves to the right side of the plate, and how a style of pitcher, some righties and recently lefties, can short-circuit the lineup’s approach.
“It’s hard to get extension when that pitch is up a bit and in on us,” Holliday said. “Now what you have to do is lay off of it. … You have guys who try to use the middle of the field or go the other way, well those guys can give you trouble. We have to move the ball back over the plate. That’s got to be something we execute better as a team, and me personally.”
Perez, making his second big-league start of the season, and Miller (8-5) entered with similar resumes. Both entered the season as their club’s top pitching prospect, and Perez had a chance to win a job in the rotation this past spring, like Miller did, before a line drive fractured his left arm. Both rookies had never faced a hitter on the other team’s roster. Blank slate. But Miller had a sense of what was coming from the brawny Rangers. They feasted on his fastball.
Ten of Miller’s 17 outs came on fly balls, and the power-hitting Rangers got two home runs, each on first-pitch fastballs.
“He lives up there,” Matheny said. “That’s where his success is. That’s one of those two-edged swords. Most of the guys in the league are going to have a tough time catching up with him. You don’t see many guys that see him for the first time squaring balls up on the first pitch.”
Said Miller: “The first home run I know for a fact (Pierzynski) was sitting dead-red fastball. And when you throw one down the middle it’s easy to hit any kind of fastball.”
Allen Craig’s RBI single in the first inning gave the Cardinals’ a 1-0 lead, and Freese’s leadoff triple set up a rally in the second inning that tied the game, 2-2. Cruz’s home run snapped that tie and Perez did the rest. He retired the final 10 Cardinals he faced, and in the third inning – right after Cruz’s home run – got three outs on five pitches. The last one was to Holliday.
He hit into a double play.
“I’m pretty sure we’ve had some people leaving the field scratching their head with what our offense has done,” Matheny said. “This is a good offensive team. It’s a well-balanced team. We’re right in (these games). Understand that it’s good competition. But we’d rather be on the other side.”
WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The 2012 Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team and sophomore outside attacker Taylor Swayzer, Houston, Texas, recently received academic honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
The team was named one of the 2012-2013 All-Academic Teams, and Swayzer received the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement.
“We are extremely proud of Taylor for her commitment to excellence both in the classroom and on the court,” said Grizzly Volleyball Head Coach Paula Wiedemann. “This is the culmination of a lot of work put in by Taylor. She epitomizes the term ‘student-athlete.’ She is the second Grizzly Volleyball player to receive All-American honors for both her academic and athletic achievements. These honors are a direct result of her effort to be the best in both areas. I couldn’t be happier for her.”
Wiedemann noted the first Grizzly Volleyball player to receive both athletic and academic All-American honors was Luiza Jarocka in 2006.
NJCAA officials recognize individual student-athletes for academic honors at three levels. Those who have a perfect 4.0 GPA (grade point average) receive the NJCAA Pinnacle Award for Academic Excellence; those with a 3.8 to 3.99 receive the NJCAA Award for Superior Academic Achievement; and those with a 3.60 to 3.79 receive the NJCAA Award for Exemplary Academic Achievement. Swayzer’s GPA this past academic year was 3.81. Over 1,600 student-athletes met the requirements for individual academic honors this year, NJCAA officials said.
To receive All-Academic Team honors, team members must have achieved a team cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The Grizzlies had a GPA of 3.05 this past year. Over 500 teams from various sports received All-Academic Team accolades during the 2012-13 academic year.
“As a team, this group did a great job in the classroom,” Wiedemann said. “This honor is the result of a lot of work put in by our players and everyone who supports their efforts as student-athletes. Although awarded to the team, it is shared by our tremendous faculty who lead them, as well as the staff of the Student Advisement and Academic Support (SAAS) Center and the PAWS (Promoting Academic Success With Student-Athletes) Program, who together work with our players to make them the best students possible. They do a fantastic job!”
Implemented in spring 2002, Missouri State-West Plains’ PAWS Program consists of a group of students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping student-athletes develop the skills they need to excel in the classroom and provides additional assistance to student-athletes during study hall periods.
Swayzer is the Grizzlies’ 14th individual academic award honoree, and the team earned its ninth academic team honor in 10 years with its combined grade point average this past year.
Swayzer graduated from Missouri State-West Plains in May with an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree and has transferred to Tennessee State University in Nashville.
(West Plains) – The West Plains CO-ED Softball Leagues meet Friday June 21, at the Hilburn Complex for tournament play. The scores were as follows:
HOME PLATE WRECKERS 12
EASY CATCH CATFISH PON 8
BRADFORD PHARMACY 19
LANDMARK BANK 12
AIR EVAC MAINTENANCE 11
TRI LAKES TOOL 7
BALES WELDING 0
FIRM/REAM OPTOMETRY 12
GUNTER TRUCKING 11
GREAT SCRUBS 15
COLVIN & WALKER 0
GILLIAM FARMS 21
OZARK JET A PET 10
WP SURGERY CENTER 8
BRASSFIELD FARMS 7
The West Plains Youth Baseball Little Leagues meet Friday June 21, at the Hilburn Complex for tournament play. The scores were as follows:
SUN LOAN 8
WP BANK 18
OPTIMIST CLUB 1
SOUTHERN HILLS 13
BIRTON CREK PHARMACY 1
THAYER #1 14
COLLINS TRUCKING 7
BAYOU LODGE 5
COLLINS TRUCKING 6
WILLOW SPRINGS 9
WP IMPACT 7
WP JR MERCHANS 8
OZARK HILLS INSURANCE 1
WP JR MERCHANTS 8
WILLOW SPRINGS 1
The event, hosted by Success Fitness, will be held in the MSU Student Recreation Facility at 323 West Trish Knight Street (across from the post office) in West Plains.
A minimum $5 donation is requested at the door. Reservations are not necessary, but with a$20 donation, you can reserve your very own 5X5 square for the Zumba classes.
Proceeds will be applied toward an endowed scholarship to benefit a student attending Missouri State University – West Plains. Upon fully endowment, annual earnings will be used for a student scholarship.
For more information or to reserve a spot, call or text 417-274-0297.
Congratulations to Bucky Collins for an Ace on hole # 15 in Men’s League. We have openings for the American Red Cross Tournament Saturday at 8:30AM. Due to the Holiday July 4th, we will not have any leagues that week. We have added Sod on holes 5 & 6, Please stay out of these areas.
|West Plains Municipal Golf Course|
|June 3 Person Scramble|
|Week # 2||Jun 19 & 20|
|Payne hole # 16||1||2||3||5||6||7||8||10||11||12||13||14||15||16||17||18|
|A – Flight|
|B – Flight|
|C – Flight|
|D – Flight|
|E – Flight|
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Raffi Torres showed the San Jose Sharks during his short stint both the attributes that make him a valuable player and the negatives of his suspension-filled history that sidelined him for the final six games of the playoffs.
General manager Doug Wilson decided that the rewards outweighed the risks, signing Torres to a $6 million, three-year deal Thursday that prevents him becoming an unrestricted free agent July 5.
“Every player comes with some level of risk and obviously we’re very comfortable with this,” Wilson said. “He’s really transformed and evolved his game. He’s a very effective player. I won’t comment and can’t comment on the suspension in the playoffs. We think he brings all the skill sets we’re looking for: speed, strength, he can shoot and he has a high skill level to play with high-end players.”
Torres showed those skills almost immediately after coming over in a deadline deal from Phoenix on April 3. He had two goals and four assists in 11 regular season games and provided a needed spark with his speed and physical play that helped San Jose wrap up a playoff spot.
He then scored an overtime game-winner in Game 2 of first-round sweep against Vancouver and turned himself into a key component on the Sharks.
That all ended when he hit Los Angeles’ Jarret Stoll in Game 1 of the second round against Los Angeles. Pointing to a long history of impermissible hits that included a 21-game suspension for a blow to the head of Chicago’s Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs, NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan banned Torres for the rest of the second round. It was his fourth career suspension.
Wilson and the Sharks said at the time that it was a “clean hockey hit” and the principal point of contact was with Stoll’s shoulder, not head. The organization was fined $100,000 for the comments, but Torres appreciated the strong support.
Torres had committed only six minor penalties in 39 regular games since returning from the Hossa suspension in an effort to change his game.
“I still feel like there wasn’t anything wrong with that Stoll hit,” Torres said. “At the end of the day, it’s something that I’m always going to be working on until the day I’m done playing — thinking the game a little bit more and obviously try not to put myself in a vulnerable position with those borderline hits.”
The Sharks felt Torres’ absence as it forced Joe Pavelski to move from third-line center to wing on one of the top lines and hurt the scoring depth that was key to San Jose’s success in the stretch run.
Instead of having a third line of Pavelski, Torres and either Marty Havlat or Tommy Wingels, the Sharks had to load up their top two lines and got little production from their bottom six forwards.
“That’s a line that’s tough to match up with and I think would have been a big mismatch,” Wilson said. “That was part of the thought process when we did it at the trade deadline to be able to put people in the proper roles. We did miss him.”
Now they will have him for three years in a deal that gives Torres the stability he had been seeking. Since being traded from Edmonton to Columbus following the 2007-08 season, Torres has played for five teams and has not spent two full seasons with any of them.
“Pretty much since I left Edmonton, it’s been tough,” he said. “You felt like you had to reprove yourself. I felt like I had to do that a couple of times in my career. I still feel like I have a lot more to give to this game especially now with the Sharks. Knowing there will be stability there is something I look forward to. I won’t have to worry about anything else except going out there and playing hard.”
Torres has 134 goals and 121 assists in 630 career games, with his most productive season coming when he scored 27 goals in 2005-06 to help Edmonton make it to the Stanley Cup finals.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
JOSH DUBOW,AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jordan Zimmermann pitched eight innings to win his 10th game, Adam LaRoche had three hits including a two-run triple and the Nationals spoiled Roy Oswalt’s return to the majors with a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.
Ian Desmond homered for the second straight game, and Denard Span and Steve Lombardozzi added a double and a single apiece for Washington.
Zimmermann (10-3) allowed an unearned run on six hits. He retired 16 straight in one stretch, throwing 112 pitches — 85 for strikes — while fanning nine and walking one.
Oswalt (0-1) went five innings in his Colorado debut, allowing four runs on nine hits. He struck out 11 and didn’t walk a batter.
The Rockies have lost four straight and fell to .500 for the first time since April 2.
HARVEY VALENTINE,Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Evan Longoria homered twice and drove in three runs, Matt Moore ended a personal three-game skid and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday night.
Longoria reached 500 career RBIs with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. He homered against Andy Pettitte (5-5) leading off the sixth and connected off Joba Chamberlain to open the eighth.
Yunel Escobar hit a two-run shot off Boone Logan later in the eighth. Tampa Bay had 14 hits after amassing 15 in a 6-2 win over Boston on Wednesday night.
Moore (9-3) pitched into the seventh inning and gave up three runs.
HOWIE RUMBERG,AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Allen Craig was supposed to be getting a day off. He never put his feet up, stretched and yawned.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ cleanup man made his first pinch-hit appearance of the season count in the go-ahead inning that paved the way for Lance Lynn’s 10th win of the season in a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.
”There’s not much time,” Craig said. ”Things are going to have to align perfectly for that to happen and guys just kept getting on base. We had an opportunity to kind of push right through and it worked out well.”
Matt Holliday homered and drove in two runs, while Yadier Molinabatted fourth for the first time this season and walked twice with a double, raising his NL-leading average to .366.
Craig struggled a bit over the previous four games, going 2 for 11 with two RBIs, before coming through on a two-run single with the bases loaded against Hector Rondon during a four-run sixth.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had been thinking about stretching Lynn past 92 pitches with a few days off coming up, but couldn’t pass up a chance to break it open with Craig, who leads the Cardinals with 55 RBIs.
”It was a great at-bat by Allen, to be able to stay sharp all game being in a situation he hasn’t been in for a while,” Matheny said. Great at-bat.”
The Cardinals took three of four from the Cubs and lead the majors with a 47-26 record heading into a weekend interleague series against the Texas Rangers, the team they beat in the 2011 World Series.
Welington Castillo homered leading off the third for the Cubs, who left the bases loaded in the fifth when slumping Starlin Castrofouled out. They’re 20-18 against NL teams outside their division, but just 9-24 against the Central.
”It’s tough, man, but you know, I keep my mind positive,” Castro said. ”I can be out of this. I’ll get 700-some at-bats and I’ve got 200 some at-bats now.
”I’ve got four months left, I’ll be aggressive, let’s see what happens.”
Lynn (10-1) allowed a run on three hits in six innings with six strikeouts and has reached double digits in wins before the All-Star break both of his years in the rotation, going 11-4 last year and making the All-Star team. He joined teammate Adam Wainwright and Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann for the league lead.
”Right now when I take the mound, they have all the confidence we’re going to win,” Lynn said. ”And they show it from the way they play.”
Lynn retired the side in order four times and is 5-1 against the Cubs, the lone loss coming last month at Wrigley Field. He’s won nine in a row at Busch Stadium and bounced back after winning his ninth game the last time out despite allowing seven runs in five innings.
”He had a whole different disposition today and pitched with a lot of confidence,” Matheny said. ”You could tell he had a good feel for the ball.”
Molina was 8 for 13 in the series with a homer and is 11 for 21 overall this season against Chicago with a homer and five RBIs. Holliday earned his first RBI in nine days.
Castro was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is in an 11-for-85 slump that has dropped his average to .232.
”He’s not the Lone Ranger in all this, you know,” manager Dale Sveum said. ”There’s not a whole lot of hitting going on.”
Castillo’s second homer of the season and first since April 8 briefly tied it at 1 after David Freese’s run-scoring groundout off Scott Feldman (6-6) had given the Cardinals the lead. Matt Carpenter scored from second on Holliday’s infield hit, a bouncer between third and short that Castro got his glove on but could not contain.
Feldman retired one of the four hitters he faced in the sixth, the lone out coming on center fielder Ryan Sweeney’s leaping catch at the wall to rob Matt Adams of a homer two at-bats after Holliday hit his 11th, also to straightaway center.
The Cardinals won consecutive games for the first time since June 6-7 after alternating wins and losses for nine games.
Notes: Rookie Tyler Lyons (2-3, 4.65) opposes the Rangers’ Derek Holland (5-4, 3.30) Friday night. … The Cubs’ three-game series against the Astros is their lone home action in a stretch of 19 games with Matt Garza (1-1, 4.98) opposing Dallas Keuchel (4-3, 4.23). … Cardinals starters lead the majors with 41 victories. … Attendance was 175,840 for the four-game series, with the finale of 43,651 just shy of a sellout.