Mark Townsend

  • Brett Gardner joins catch-of-the-year conversation with balancing act

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    Once a stalwart in the New York Yankees outfield, Brett Gardner may not have much of a future there with a youth movement underway. Don’t throw dirt on him either though. He’s not going to give his spot away that easily, which was evidenced by his sensational catch-of-the-year candidate on Saturday night.

    Gardner went above and beyond to rob Angels’ slugger C.J. Cron of a two-run homer, and then nearly crashed into the stands on his way down. Fortunately for him, he was able to balance his body atop the wall before falling forward back on to the field.

    Yes, this play actually happened. If you didn’t believe it the first time, perhaps you will the second time.

    #WOW moment of the night. ???????????? https://t.co/F84EMmIEMo pic.twitter.com/r0JjxDaw02

    — MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 21, 2016

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  • Blue Jays have good reason for sending Cy Young candidate to minors

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Toronto Blue Jays turned a few heads Sunday morning when they elected to option Aaron Sanchez to the minor leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander has pitched like the team’s ace all season, posting a 12-2 mark with a 2.99 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 156 1/3 innings. He even earned an All-Star nod and is in the thick of a wide open Cy Young debate in the American League.

    So what gives?

    Two simple words: Workload and logistics.

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    The Blue Jays have been hinting all season at limiting Sanchez’s workload to keep from wearing him down this season and beyond. It’s a long-term thought process not unlike what the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012 despite being World Series contenders. Strasburg, of course, was coming off Tommy John surgery, but even then many questioned the decision.

    We wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. But in no way is it a demotion.

  • Watch Live: Blue Jays and Indians meet in Free Game of the Day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    With ten days left in August, we’ve officially reached the point where checking the baseball standings has become a daily routine. Even if your team has no shot — which right now is a relatively small number of teams — it’s still worthwhile just to see where things stand.

    With that in mind, it’s also not a bad time to start checking the stats to get a better feel for which players should be in contention for the notable individual awards. Some candidates are always obvious just based on the hype and the highlights you see every day. That’s particularly true in the respective MVP races. However, the Cy Young races in both leagues seem to be pretty wide open right now, which means the hottest contending pitcher from this point forward may have the inside track.

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  • David Ortiz takes selfie break before hitting notable home run

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    David Ortiz is a man of the people. That much we’ve always known. However, during Saturday’s game in Detroit, he took his ability to balance having fun with the fans to taking care of business to an entirely new level.

    Prior to his at-bat in the top of the fifth inning, Ortiz paid a visit to some Red Sox fans seated near the first-base dugout. That part is not unusual. Nor is the fact that Ortiz didn’t come empty-handed, as he handed out some gum to the handful of kids who gathered around. Before turning his focus back to baseball, Ortiz even posed for a selfie with one of the young fans.

    Typically, the selfie would be the coolest part of the story. After all, it’s David Ortiz, the same guy who posed for a selfie with President Obama at the White House.

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  • Alex Bregman hitting stride and more reinforcements coming for Astros

    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.

    Remember when Houston Astros rookie Alex Bregman started his season 1-for-32?

    Good. Now forget about it. Because Bregman sure has.

    In 16 games since, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft is hitting .333. That includes his 3-for-6 outing inSaturday’s 12-2 win against Baltimore. Bregman connected for his third home run and drove in three to lead Houston’s red-hot offense.

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    If that trend continues, the Astros will be overjoyed.

    Make no mistake though, they won’t be short-handed.

    TOP PERFORMERS

    MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT

    That was a historic home run for David Ortiz and pretty significant one for the Red Sox.

  • Dwight Gooden insists he's OK, calls Darryl Strawberry's concern 'unreal'

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Don’t worry about Dwight “Doc” Gooden. The 51-year-old former major league pitcher says he’s not in trouble health wise or otherwise after former New York Mets teammate Darryl Strawberry expressed concern when Gooden no-showed a scheduled interview on Thursday.

    “I am fine, just finishing up some minor health issues,” Gooden told the New York Daily News in a text on Saturday.

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    Knowing that Gooden had battled drug addictions much like himself, Strawberry said he feared for Gooden’s life after he pulled out of Thursday’s event at the last minute. Of course, there was no indication from Gooden’s representatives that he was in trouble, but the reason for his absence was also kept hushed.

    “Yes, I see,” Gooden texted. “Unreal.”

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  • Little Leaguer provides memorable moment during mom's cancer battle

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The Little League World Series is in full swing this weekend and there have already been some very memorable moments.

    None have been greater though than the scene that played out during Friday’s U.S. bracket battle between the kids from Johnston, Iowa and Chula Vista, Calif.

    As always, the tournament is receiving national coverage from ESPN. That means the players and the families of the players are given a unique opportunity to share their stories, which are often inspiring on a entirely different level than the game itself.

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    Among those stories this is Jen Garcia. She’s the mother of Iowa star player JT Garcia, and we learned on Friday that she’s currently battling pancreatic cancer. That hasn’t stopped her from following her son and his teammates to Williamsport as they chased their Little League World Series dream. That alone is very inspiring and worthy of acknowledgment.

    You will not see a greater moment than that.

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  • Watch Live: Dodgers visit Reds in Free Game of the Day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The Los Angeles Dodgers near historic rash of injuries has been well documented. With 26 players landing on the disabled list this season, they’ve had to overcome more games lost from key players than any other team in baseball.

    It hasn’t been easy for them all season, but there might be a sign of hope on the horizon. On Saturday, ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to throw a light bullpen session in Cincinnati. If that goes well, it could be a big step in his recovery from a herniated disk in his back.

    That’s a silver lining. However, the goal to reach the postseason — they currently hold the NL wild-card by two games — still depends heavily on those currently healthy and carrying the load.

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    File that start under disaster. Saturday is a new day though and a new opportunity for Anderson to make a mark.

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  • Brewers end stunning three-year starting pitching streak

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    On Friday night in Seattle, the Milwaukee Brewers finally threw a curveball at an opponent. For the first time since Aug. 28, 2013, the Brewers trotted out a left-handed starter, ending a string of 474 consecutive games that were started by right-handers.

    The southpaw of the hour was 26-year-old Brent Suter. Ironically, Suter has a small connection to Mariners icon Ken Griffey Jr., as both attended Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati. But that tidbit paled in comparison to the realization of a dream that played out at Safeco Field.

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    Suter was taking the turn of Junior Guerra, who recently landed on the DL with elbow inflammation. For most of the season, Guerra has been Milwaukee’s most effective pitcher, so those are no small shoes to fill.

    Seattle went on to win the game 7-6, handing Suter a loss in the process.

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  • Tyler Naquin's walk-off inside-the-park homer was unique and fun

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    The play of the night on Friday and perhaps the play of the season in baseball took place in Cleveland when rookie Tyler Naquin delivered a walk-off for the ages.

    After Jose Ramirez tied their game against Toronto with a conventional home run in the ninth inning, Naquin immediately followed with an unconventional home run that had to be seen to be believed.

    Naquin’s long drive to right field bounced high off the wall, eluding Michael Saunders as he valiantly attempted to rob extra bases. By the time center fielder Melvin Upton retrieved the baseball, Naquin was nearing third base. Then Upton fell down attempting to get the ball back to the infield, allowing Naquin to dive home with the winning run.

    The exciting sprint sent Progressive Field into a frenzy, and further research has confirmed that it also put Naquin in elite company.

    More on Tyler Naquin's heroics, via @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/8l0WfGFP00

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