Twins, Rangers should make run at Cliff Lee
The San Diego Padres have a great pitching staff, but who is their go-to guy? If they entered the postseason today, Mat Latos would likely be their No. 1 starter. Latos is good, but he's not Cliff Lee yet. Adding Lee to the rotation could really help Latos, and would be an invaluable addition to the team. In the midst of all the Cliff Lee trade talk, you have to wonder: What went wrong with the Mariners? Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley got off to horrible starts this season, and these were two guys Seattle was counting on to revamp its offense. The truth is, the M's have a bunch of guys who can't hit. Their big move was to go back and get veteran Russell Branyan. They initially let him go because they thought Bradley could get it done, but he couldn't. A lot of people want to blame Seattle's pitching, but Felix Hernandez and Lee have been phenomenal. If they get Erik Bedard back, the Mariners would actually have a good rotation. However, a rotation is only good if you can score a run or two, and Seattle is really anemic offensively. Early on, the Mariners thought they had it all figured out, but it just didn't work out for them. You can't blame management for that; blame the players.
John Kruk is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
Baseball Tonight Live
"Baseball Tonight" analysts, ESPN.com writers and SweetSpot Network bloggers chatted and gave their in-game opinions throughout the day's games -- all in Baseball Tonight Live.
Touch 'Em All
Who went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page. For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.
|Scott Rolen, CIN||17||PHI||Bot 4: 0-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Kendrick|
|Jason Bay, NYM||5||FLA||Top 2: 0-1, 1 Out. None on.||Nolasco|
|Ryan Braun, MIL||11||HOU||Bot 3: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.||Norris|
|Jason Bay, NYM||6||FLA||Top 7: 1-0, 2 Outs. 1 on.||Nolasco|
|Carlos Quentin, CHW||13||KC||Top 4: 0-1, 2 Outs. None on.||Lerew|
Tuesday's Best Matchups
Mariners at Yankees, 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Every time Cliff Lee takes the mound it could mark his final start with the Mariners. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, the watch is on. Lee is coming off consecutive complete games, and he has three in his past four outings. Phil Hughes returns to the mound after having a start skipped, a move made to help monitor his innings count.
Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET
Much like what the Yankees are doing with Phil Hughes, the Reds are trying to protect Mike Leake. His last start was skipped, meaning he hasn't pitched since June 21. After a 1-5 start to the year, Joe Blanton has won his past two outings, winning at home against Minnesota and Cleveland.
Dodgers at Giants, 10:10 p.m. ET
Dodgers starter John Ely is 0-4 over his past six starts, but then he hasn't gotten much help from his offense. Los Angeles has scored one or no runs in four of those starts and two runs in another. Matt Cain is coming off his worst outing of the year; he gave up nine hits and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of a 7-5 loss against the Astros.
BASEBALL TONIGHT ON THE AIR
|10 p.m. ET on ESPN2|
Host: Karl Ravech|
Analysts: John Kruk, Chris Singleton, Buster Olney, Aaron Boone
|12 a.m. ET on ESPN|
Host: Karl Ravech|
Analysts: John Kruk
Take it away
WEB GEMS LEADERBOARD
MONDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTTim Hudson, RHP, Braves
No, Hudson wasn't the headliner in his matchup with Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg. But Hudson walked out the winner thanks to seven shutout innings in Atlanta's 5-0 win. He struck out six and walked three as he improved to 8-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.37.
WORSTPaul Konerko, 1B, White Sox
It's not often Konerko finds himself in this spot, considering he's hit 20 homers, drove home 56 runs and is flirting with .300 -- he's hitting .296. But against the Royals, he struck out three times in four at-bats of a 3-1 loss. It was Konerko's second consecutive multistrikeout game. He whiffed twice in an 8-6 loss the day before against the Cubs.
Though Stephen Strasburg has made just four major league starts (prior to Monday night), there is already some buzz that he deserves to make the All-Star team. It seems likely that he'll end up getting picked by Charlie Manuel, the manager of the NL team, but if the All-Star Game is a representation of the season's best players, especially when it comes to the pitchers, who aren't voted on by the fans, Strasburg should not be considered this year. Other pitchers -- those who have been with the big club since Opening Day -- have done more for their teams this season.Strasburg should have six starts in the majors by the time the rosters are announced July 6. Even though his stats after four starts are at historic levels, those starts have been against the Pirates, Indians, White Sox and Royals, the 30th-, 24th-, 20th- and 17th-ranked offenses in baseball. When the Royals are the best offense you have seen this season, your stats should be taken with a grain of salt. With 34 players on the All-Star roster, there will probably be 12-14 pitchers selected, and three or four of them will be relievers. That means there are roughly 8-10 spots for starting pitchers. Using WAR, we can pinpoint 11 NL starting pitchers who easily surpass Strasburg in terms of value.