- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew43 mins ago
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Only one player in Major League Baseball is capable of being ejected in the third inning and still stealing the show. That one player, of course, is Yasiel Puig.
On Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, Puig was the center of attention from the moment he first walked on to the field, until his third inning exit after home plate umpire David Rackley ejected him for arguing balls and strikes. Undoubtedly, it was a much shorter stay than he, the Dodgers or the 51,794 fans in attendance would have liked. His exit wasn't exactly graceful, either — we understand a few magic words were spoken — but his entrance and pregame antics surely made up for it.
Here's the one thing we can definitely take away from Saturday: Yasiel Puig is ready for his All-Star close up.
Puig was selected by the fans to start his first All-Star game this Tuesday night at Target Field. He'll also be a participant in Monday's Home Run Derby, meaning he'll have a full slate once he arrives in the Twin Cities. But rest assured, while he's there, he aims to look like a star from head to toe.Sun, Jul 131:10 PM PDTSan Diego at LA DodgersPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
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Reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen is on a mission to retain his crown in 2014. Among the best ways to make that happen? Come up in the ninth inning with your team trailing by a run and hit a game-tying homer, then come up with the game tied and hit a go-ahead homer two innings later. That will always get people talking, and that's exactly what McCutchen did on Saturday night, helping his Pirates to a huge 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
McCutchen's ninth inning homer was a solo shot off Jonathan Broxton, who was filling in for closer Aroldis Chapman. The game-winner was also a solo blast, this time off J.J. Hoover in 11th. The homers were McCutchen's 16th and 17th of the season. He's hit 20 against Cincinnati in his career, the most by any opposing player since his debut in 2009.
Like any good leader though, he was quick to credit others action's that afforded him the opportunity.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
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The Milwaukee Brewers lost for the 11th time in 12 games on Saturday afternoon, dropping a lopsided 10-2 ballgame to the St. Louis Cardinals. That means that after leading the NL Central by 6 1/2 games just 12 days ago, Milwaukee is now tied atop the division with St. Louis.
Needless to say, this has been a difficult stretch for the Brewers on many different levels, and one awkward moment during Saturday's game summed up their struggles perfectly.
Already trailing 8-1 against Adam Wainwright in the fifth inning — which is a worst case scenario even for the 1927 Yankees — All-Star Carlos Gomez came to bat with a runner on second and a mindset that he was somehow going to hit a game-tying seven-run homer. Naturally, Wainwright used Gomez's aggression against him, striking him out with a filthy curveball on a 2-2 pitch.Sun, Jul 1311:10 AM PDTSt. Louis at MilwaukeePreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
The American League West race is close enough in mid-July that it's easy to envision a photo finish between the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Angels. Entering play on Saturday, Oakland holds a 2 1/2 game lead over LA, with the Seattle Mariners lurking in the distance at eight games back. It's a race that, as the old baseball cliches suggests, could come down to one game, one play, and even one pitch, to decide a winner.
With that in mind, there was an awfully big pitch during Friday night's battle between the A's and Mariners at Safeco Field. With the tying run at third, two outs and a 3-2 count on Oakland's Nick Punto, Seattle closer Fernando Rodney pumped in a fastball that at first glance appeared to be up and off the plate. Punto agreed with that assessment and laid off the pitch thinking he'd drawn a game-extending walk. However, home plate umpire James Hoye rang him up to end the game and give Seattle a 3-2 win.Sun, Jul 131:10 PM PDTOakland at SeattlePreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
Welcome to the future! The 16th annual Futures Game (Sunday, 5 p.m. ET on MLB Network) is upon us, which means All-Star week in Minneapolis is about to officially kickoff.
For those who may not be familiar with the Futures Game, the concept is exactly what the name implies. 50 of the game's brightest prospects will be present and divided into teams representing the U.S. and the World (view full rosters here), and for nine innings they'll have an opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage.
For many diehard fans, it's actually the most anticipated event of the week. With an impressive list of alumni that includes greats such as Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, it's clear the Futures Game isn't just about hype. It always delivers on its promise to provide a sneak peak at tomorrow's stars.
If you're not sold on the Futures Game concept or were already planning on watching the World Cup Finals instead, here are five good reasons to change the channel to MLB Network on Sunday afternoon. We promise, you won't regret it.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Milwaukee Brewers are going through their toughest stretch of the season, having lost 10 of their last 11 games. But none of that matters on Saturday. Not following the news that shortstop Jean Segura's 9-month-old son, Janniel, died on Friday in the Dominican Republic.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made the heart-wrenching announcement prior to Milwaukee's game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, but was unable to offer many specific details.
"He was sick," Roenicke said of Segura's son. "(Segura) was on the phone yesterday before the game, and they thought he was OK and getting better. I don't really know much more than that.
"I don't know if it's been (going on) a while. Saying that, it may have been a couple days. I don't really know."
Roenicke says Segura has been placed on the bereavement list and is already traveling back home to be with his family. The team will give him as much time as he needs to grieve and come to grips with an unspeakable and unexpected tragedy.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
The "Human Highlight Film" nickname that once belonged to NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins may need to come out of retirement. Cincinnati Reds rookie Billy Hamilton is staking his claim to assume that title on an almost nightly basis, and if so given threatens to take it to all new heights.
That's not hype. That's not overstating his speed, quickness or athleticism. That's just truth. And if you don't believe it, perhaps you should check out his slick baserunning move on Friday night that turned an easy out into a scintillating bunt single.
It happened on the first pitch Hamilton saw leading off the first inning. Hamilton's gameplan was to push the bunt past Pittsburgh's left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke on the first base side, which he was able to do. However, he bunted the ball way too hard, which allowed first baseman Gaby Sanchez to scoop it up and run to the line for an easy tag.
The traveling Minnesota Twins fan who once made headlines for shaving Joe Mauer's name and No. 7 into his back hair, jersey style, has returned to the national spotlight. This time around, he's showing his support for shortstop Brian Dozier, who on Monday night will represent the Twins during the Home Run Derby.
When we first saw the fan in 2011 he was in Milwaukee taking in an interleague game against the Brewers. He also made an appearance at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in 2012 reppin' Mauer. On Friday, he ventured to Coors Field to watch as the Twins fell to the Rockies 6-2. Probably not the result he was looking for, but, hey, at least his guy Dozier had a nice game with a single, double and walk.Sun, Jul 131:10 PM PDTMinnesota at ColoradoPreview Game
The walls have been slowly closing in around the Milwaukee Brewers this month, and they certainly won't feel any more comfortable in their surroundings following Friday's painful 7-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Brewers seized control of the game early, jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning against returning Cardinals starter Joe Kelly, but the resilient Redbirds started pecking away with two runs in the fourth on Matt Adams' two-run homer. In the sixth, they plated four more runs. Kolten Wong led off the inning with a solo blast, while Jhonny Peralta added another two-run shot to even things up. Then in the ninth, Matt Holliday delivered the knockout punch with a solo home run off All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez.
It's the type of win the Cardinals have become known for. At a time when they could be reeling – following the loss of Yadier Molina – they come off the deck fighting again until the final out.
The New York Yankees will be without Masahiro Tanaka for at least six weeks after he was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his elbow on Thursday, and no one feels worse about that fact than Tanaka himself.
On Friday, the 25-year-old right-hander, who signed a seven-year, $155 million deal in the offseason, did something we rarely see in professional sports. He actually issued an apology to the Yankees organization, his teammates and the fans for getting injured. More specifically, he apologized for not being there to fight with them during what will undoubtedly be a difficult stretch.
“As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks. I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love. Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong.Sun, Jul 135:05 PM PDTNY Yankees at BaltimorePreview Game