Mark Townsend

  • Dodgers overcome injuries to clinch fourth straight NL West title

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Let there be no doubt about it, the Los Angeles Dodgers are the best in the National League West.

    Despite a historic series of injuries that would have demoralized and defeated most teams, the Dodgers survived and even persevered on their way to a fourth straight NL West crown. Now they’ll seek to be more than regular season wonders as they chase the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1988.

    The Dodgers fittingly clinched in Vin Scully’s final home broadcast, which is as good a tribute as any the legendary broadcaster has received. It was also the perfect game for Scully to call, as it featured a dramatic finish.

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    The Colorado Rockies got out to an early lead in the third, picking up two runs off Dodgers’ starter Brandon McCarthy. The Dodgers would answer back in the bottom of the frame, getting a run back on a Yasiel Puig sacrifice fly.

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  • Mets must take path of least resistance to postseason

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    When it comes to playoff scenarios, fans love rooting for chaos. This season has already provided plenty of that, and there’s still time for a lot more over the final week. That’s especially true in the wild card. The AL and NL races could conceivably feature three and even four-way ties, which would be a chaos-loving fans’ dream come true.

    Well, unless you’re a fan of a team directly involved in those scenarios. In that instance you’re rooting for the clearest path possible to the wild-card game, because there’s only so much stress the heart can take. Just as there’s only so much energy the players can expend.

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    By the way, you can stream Sunday’s game at Yahoo’s Sports Home, MLB index and video home beginning at 1:10 p.m.

    What a world, right Mets fans?

    Oh, and then there’s the wild-card game itself on Oct. 4.

  • Dustin Pedroia's grand slam helps Red Sox clinch playoff berth

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.

    For most of the season it looked like the American League East would be the one division not decided until the season’s final weekend. The Boston Red Sox have all but eliminated that possibility thanks to a winning streak that was extended to 10 games in their come-from-behind 6-4 win against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

    With the win, Boston officially clinched a postseason berth. They also lowered their magic number to clinch the AL East to three.

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    The beneficiary was Rick Porcello, who notched his league-best 22nd win after pitching 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball. He also struck out nine.

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  • Nationals bounce back from disappointment to win NL East

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Washington Nationals watched the playoffs from home last season after completely unraveling in the second half. They’re all the way back now after putting together a complete season under new manager Dusty Baker.

    On Saturday, Washington clinched its third NL East championship in five years by defeating the Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park. They also received help from the Phillies, who knocked off the Mets 10-8 in a wild game at Citi Field.

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    The Nationals join the Chicago Cubs as division champions in the NL. That leaves the NL West, which the Los Angeles Dodgers could clinch later on Saturday, and the two team wild card positions open. The Texas Rangers are the only AL team to punch their ticket after winning the West.

    Time will tell if Washington’s first World Series championship is in the cards, but there’s no doubt they have the talent to make it happen.

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  • Adrian Beltre tries out for new role on rare off day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    On Friday night, the Texas Rangers clinched their second straight AL West title with a 3-0 win over the A’s. That meant it was celebration time in the visitor’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

    It also meant Saturday would be a well deserved off day for the team’s veterans. In fact, every regular, save for shortstop Elvis Andrus, was on the bench. And that’s only because Andrus asked to play. Manager Jeff Banister is probably glad he did too, as he delivered a pair of two-run home runs in Texas’ 5-0 win.

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    Naturally, the Rangers were in good spirits on Saturday. That’s especially true of Adrian Beltre, who spent his rare off day engaging in his always playful antics on the Rangers bench.

    Well, that, or he’s considering making a run at one of the Rangers coaching positions.

    Carlos Beltran also joined in the fun, at times seemingly contradicting Beltre’s signs.

  • Watch live: Astros hosts Angels in Free Game of the Day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The American League West championship is officially out of reach for the Houston Astros. Without a strong finish, a potential wild card spot will slip through their fingers too. Fortunately for them, they’re set up to gain ground against an opponent they’ve dominated this season, as five of their eight remaining games come against the Los Angeles Angels.

    Through 14 matchups this season, the Astors have posted an 11-3 record against the Angels. They’ll look to make it 12-3 on Saturday, when the teams meet again in the MLB Free Game of the Day at Yahoo Sports. You can stream the game at Yahoo’s Sports Home, MLB index and video home beginning at 8:10 p.m. ET.

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  • Five reasons the Rangers could win the World Series

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The Texas Rangers became the first American League team and the second team overall — joining the Chicago Cubs — to secure a postseason berth after clinching the AL West on Friday night.

    The triumph continues a pretty solid run of success for the Rangers. This marks their second straight division title and their fourth dating back to 2010. In fact, the Rangers won it back-to-back in 2010-11 as well, before reaching and losing the World Series in both of those seasons. Texas played in the inaugural wild-card play-in game in 2012, losing to the Baltimore Orioles.

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    We’re here to talk about the Rangers though. More specifically, we’re here to give you five reasons we believe this could finally be the season they celebrate with a championship parade.

    Previous in this series: Chicago Cubs

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  • Vin Scully says farewell to Dodgers fans and baseball in moving speech

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    If Vin Scully’s impending retirement hadn’t sunk in before Friday night, it certainly has after he penned a touching letter and then delivered a moving farewell speech in front of an appreciative Dodger Stadium crowd.

    The maestro of the microphone was treated toa spectacular video tribute covering just some of the great moments of his career. Because covering all of them would have taken a month. He was then greeted by a three-minute standing ovation, before hitting his anticipated speech out of the ballpark in a way only Vin Scully could.

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    Here’s the full speech:

    #VIN.???? pic.twitter.com/Sv5wLrU7Ml

    Did you make it through that with dry eyes?

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  • Five reasons the Cubs could win the World Series

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Now that the postseason party is starting to fill up, it’s time to examine some of the names on the guest list.

    The first team to accept its invite was the Chicago Cubs. They officially clinched the NL Central last Thursday thanks to a St. Louis Cardinals loss in San Francisco. Don’t worry though, the Cubs have continued taking care of business since. In fact, on Friday, they locked up home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.

    Their 98 wins entering play on Saturday are the franchise’s most since 1945, which happens to be the last time they reached the World Series. With two more wins, they’ll reach 100 for the first time since 1935.

    Needless to say, this team is special. There are definitely more than five reasons why they could (and perhaps should) win their first World Series championship since 1908. It would take us all day and part of Sunday to list them all though, so we’ll limit it to five. That way the other postseason guests shouldn’t feel too overwhelmed.

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  • David Ortiz breaks record held by Shoeless Joe Jackson

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.

    We knew David Ortiz wouldn’t go away quietly in his final season. What he’s done so far and continues to do though has been nothing short of extraordinary.

    With each passing week, it seems “Big Papi” reaches another milestone or breaks another record. That continued in Friday’s 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, as Ortiz’s two-run first-inning home run helped him break a record previously held by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

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    — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 23, 2016

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