Mark Townsend

  • Ross Ohlendorf defeated Wade Miley in a cow-milking contest

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    It's a tradition unlike any other at Globe Life Park.

    On Friday night, the Texas Rangers held their annual "Farm and Ranch Day" as they prepared for their second game against the Boston Red Sox, and as is always the case, the night's proceedings included a pregame cow-milking contest between players from the respective teams.

    This season, the Rangers were represented by Lockhart, Texas native Ross Ohlendorf, who actually grew up on a Longhorn ranch. Though he entered with limited cow-milking skills, he still fit the bill better than anyone else on the roster.

    “There is definitely a difference,” Ohlendorf said. “But I’m excited to get down in there. I think I milked a cow once when I was younger. I watched a YouTube video last night to prepare.”

    Proving once again that Youtube is the best educational tool we have left. Well, aside from Big League Stew that is.

    [Listen up! We've got Rays star Evan Longoria on this week's StewPod]

    Here are other sights from the event.

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  • Indiana records strike'em out, throw'em out, throw'em out again triple play

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    They say the double play is a pitcher's best friend, and the strike'em out, throw'em out double play in particular is a result that tends to send a jolt of energy through the defense while taking the wind out of the offensive team.

    During Friday's NCAA tournament regional game against Radford, the Indiana University baseball team went one better, recording a strike'em out, throw'em out and throw'em out again triple play.

    1... 2... 3 OUTS! Triple play by Indiana! #RoadToOmaha http://t.co/VHuhSXhZCq

    Call it whatever you like, it was a crazy play that you won't see very often.

    The sequence took place in the first inning after Radford started the game with consecutive singles off Indiana ace Kyle Hart, and it pretty much set the tone for the entire game. Attempting to take advantage of what could be its best scoring opportunity, Radford put the runner on first, catcher Josh Reavis, in motion on a 3-2 pitch. Unfortunately, batter Patrick Marshall took a called strike three, which left Reavis a sitting duck at second.

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  • Stephen Strasburg lands on DL with neck and back issue

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    After Stephen Strasburg was forced to leave another start early on Friday night with what the Washington Nationals described as neck tightness, the 26-year-old right-hander was officially placed on the disabled list on Saturday.

    The #Nats have recalled RHP Taylor Hill and placed RHP Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day DL with neck tightness: http://t.co/TzaRHbuhIw

    I know what the team wrote in its press release, but Matt Williams said Stephen Strasburg has a back issue. #MLB #Nats #Nationals

    As we noted on Friday, now seemed like the right time for Washington to give Strasburg a break, be it physical, mental or both, so he could recharge, reassess and perhaps heal. He'll have no less than two weeks to do all of which applies.

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  • A.J. Ellis takes exception to umpire Mike Winters critiquing his pitch framing

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    The Los Angeles Dodgers road struggles continued on Friday as they were shut out for the fourth consecutive game away from Dodger Stadium, losing 3-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

    With that in mind, it would be only natural to expect some frustration and anger, and the Dodgers target turned out to be home plate umpire Mike Winters. Throughout the game, catcher A.J. Ellis, manager Don Mattingly and others in the Dodgers dugout grew increasingly annoyed by Winters' strike zone, and eventually that led to an explosive exchange that Ellis claims became personal.

    It all broke loose in the seventh inning after reliever J.P. Howell walked Matt Carpenter. At that point, Mattingly had actually already been ejected by Winters for defending Andre Ethier, who was called out on a questionable strike. Ellis soon joined him and later revealed to the media that he not only became upset by an inconsistent strike, but also by Winters criticizing his pitch framing skills when he'd questioned the strike zone.

    From the Orange County Register:

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  • Cody Asche beats the shift to break up Chad Bettis' no-hit bid

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    As we've seen many times in the past, Major League Baseball teams will not hesitate to use a shift or unusual defensive alignment when there's a lot on the line. That even includes moments when history hangs in the balance, as was the case on Friday night in Philadelphia.

    Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis put on a remarkable pursuit of the franchise's second ever no-hitter, carrying his bid against the Phillies into the eighth inning. After retiring Maikel Franco to begin the inning, Colorado employed a dramatic shift against left-handed swinging Cody Asche that they hoped would aid Bettis in his efforts. Unfortunately, it did just the opposite. On a 1-0 pitch, Asche hit what would have been a routine ground ball to shortstop, but with Troy Tulowitzki playing on the other side of the infield, it scooted through for a clean single.  

    No-hitter over, and suddenly at that point the game-tying run was at the plate. 

    "Initially, I thought it was right at 'Tulo' -- perfect, here we go," Bettis said after the game. "Then I turned around and looked and I was like, 'Aw, man.'"

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  • Surging Giants take over first place in NL West

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

    Let's be honest, it wasn't exactly fun or interesting picking the San Francisco Giants to make the postseason again this season. After winning three of the last five World Series, we'd rather turn our attention to up and coming teams and the trendy picks of the season. But if we're being smart, there's no reason to pick against those Giants until they give us good reason.

    The loss of Pablo Sandoval seemed like a good reason. The loss of Hunter Pence for six weeks to an injury seemed like a good reason too. But they weren't. The Giants have easily overcome both and a six-game deficit in the NL West to take first place away from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The Giants are not a flashy group. At least not in the same vein as the Golden State Warriors. 

    Hello, Stephen Curry.

    But they're a talented squad with seemingly unmatched resilience. And this year they seem resolved to retain their crown.

    ROYALS SOAR AS CUBS STUMBLE

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  • Derek Norris hits walkoff grand slam after striking out four times

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 17 hrs ago

    San Diego Padres catcher Derek Norris was having a miserable night on Friday night, having struck out in each of his first four plate appearances.

    How bad was it? Norris was the only player in the league to achieve the undesired "golden sombrero" among the 15 MLB games played on Friday night. Needless to say, that would be an awkward and lonely feeling if that's all his night was remembered for. Fortunately for him, there was one more chance to rewrite the narrative.  

    In the ninth inning, Norris not only had an opportunity to erase our memories, he had an opportunity to do something unique as he walked to the plate with the game tied, two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning.

    He did all of the above, hitting a walkoff grand slam off Pittsburgh's Rob Scahill.

    Pretty cool?

    #Padres' Derek Norris is the 1st player since @teixeiramark25 on May 25, 2003 to strikeout 4 times and hit a grand slam in the same game.

    Yeah, we'd say that's pretty cool.

    Historic even?

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  • Stephen Strasburg leaves another start early as concerns grow

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 19 hrs ago

    It's no secret that Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has not looked comfortable over the last month. With each abbreviated outing that goes by, the concern surrounding his health and perhaps even his focus have continued to grow and have left many wondering what it might take to get him on track.

    On Friday night in Cincinnati, the concern seemed poised to reach its peak when Strasburg was lifted from his start against the Reds after just 16 pitches. Strasburg had walked Brayan Pena to begin the inning and was then tended to by the Nationals athletic trainer before walking off the mound and heading to Washington's clubhouse.

    The Nationals were mum on Strasburg's status throughout the game, offering nothing more than standard information. Afterward, however, they did provide an update that was surprisingly encouraging. Strasburg was dealing with neck muscle tightness, which is much better news than soreness or a setback impacting his surgically repaired elbow. 

    Strasburg also recently experienced tightness in his back. 

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  • Josh Hamilton launches first two home runs of the season

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    Look out, folks. Not only is Josh Hamilton back in the Texas Rangers lineup, it looks like he's getting locked in quicker than perhaps even the Rangers themselves could have hoped for. 

    After producing just one hit in 10 at bats and admittedly looking rusty in Cleveland, he's looked much more comfortable since returning to Arlington. In fact, after being greeted warmly by the crowd at Globe Life Park on Thursday, Hamilton ripped a first-pitch double that sent the crowd into a frenzy and put a stamp on his comeback.

    On Friday, he took two more big strides, launching his first two home runs of the season. 

    Hamilton's first big fly came in the second inning against Boston Red Sox starter Steven Wright. Wright attempted to catch Hamilton with a 3-2 curveball, which is a pitch Hamilton has struggled with since his return. However, Wright left this one up and out over the plate, allowing the Rangers outfielder to yank it over the right field fence for the game's first tally. 

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  • Rangers fan wears nacho cheese thanks to Prince Fielder foul ball

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 23 hrs ago

    When pondering the perfect ballpark experience, for many of us that vision includes enjoying a large plate of nachos and cheese, watching our favorite team win the game, and above all else catching a game used baseball.

    Of course, in reality, we know two out of those three coming true is about the best we can truly hope for, with the whole catching a baseball thing a distant fantasy. However, for one fan of the Texas Rangers on Thursday, the nachos and the baseball were literally in her lap just as she was taking her seat during the first inning of their game against the Boston Red Sox.

    It was a dream scenario, only it wasn't, because like we said, the nachos and baseball were literally in her lap.

    The timing was a just a little off, which left her unprepared to make a play on Prince Fielder's foul ball. Instead, the baseball bounced off her plate and the plate literally exploded, sending nachos and cheese flying everywhere, and the baseball rolling at her feet.

    It's not clear who ended up with the ball, but we can safely say that was a dream scenario turned nightmare.

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