Mark Townsend

  • Julio Urias struggles in MLB debut, but better days are ahead

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 43 mins ago

    There were several reasons for this added attention. It's the first time these two teams have met in New York since last October's contentious NLDS, which included Chase Utley injuring Ruben Tejada with an aggressive takeout slide. That was the main storyline coming in, at least until Thursday, when the Dodgers announced 19-year-old pitching phenom Julio Urias would make his anticipated MLB debut under the bright Friday night lights.

    [Related: Chase Utley expects hostile Mets fans still upset with playoff slide]

    It's a moment that's been years in the making, despite the fact that Urias is only 19 years old. In fact, Urias became the youngest player to make his MLB debut since a 19-year-old Felix Hernandez did so in 2005.

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  • The Walk Off: Steven Matz picks up baton dropped by Matt Harvey

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The New York Mets are facing a conundrum of epic proportions thanks to the struggles of Matt Harvey. For now, the Mets say he's staying in the rotation, but there has been no shortage of debate concerning what the Mets are doing or should do to get Harvey back on track.

    Fortunately for the Mets, a situation that's become a five-alarm fire in the media is producing more smoke than actual fire in terms of their starting rotation. That's because they not only have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom serving as legit aces every five days, but also because Steven Matz has essentially stepped right into the position everyone expected Harvey to occupy.

    [Roundtable: What should the Mets do with Matt Harvey?]

    Those are the results of a pitcher who is locked in, with Mike Puma of the New York Post even calling Matz the anti-Harvey.  

    Today Matz pitched a clinic on how to keep hitters looking like bobbleheads

    TOP PERFORMERS 

  • Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Rodriguez, 40, went 3-for-6 during his brief two-game stop, including launching a monster home run over the 407 sign in center field at Arm & Hammer Park on Wednesday night. Rodriguez punctuated that home run against New Hampshire Fisher Cats hurler Casey Lawrence with a pretty exuberant bat flip, which many saw as his final proclamation that he's ready to return.

    [Elsewhere: Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara crushes longest homer of the year]

    "Whether you're playing in high school or playing in the Major Leagues, a home run feels good," Rodriguez told the assembled media. "The ball came off of the bat nicely; you have to walk before you run. That was a good start today."

    You have to walk before you can run. And before you walk, you most certainly should bat flip. That is, if you can ever get the bat away from Trenton's fearless bat dog.

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  • Jennie Finch set to make history with independent baseball team

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    For the first time in professional baseball history, a female will manage a men's team.

    It will happen this Sunday, May 29, when the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League officially welcome softball legend Jennie Finch as their guest manager for one game when they take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

    [Elsewhere: Adam Wainwright thinks MLB proposal is a 'horrible idea']

    According to a press release from March, Finch will also be involved in pregame activities, such as throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and participating in a pre-game meet-and-greet with fans. The attraction though is having a chance to witness history, as Finch will be in charge of managing the Bluefish from the dugout for the entire game.

    She's even matched her skills against MLB players in the past, often getting the best of them with her impressive arsenal. 

  • Mike Napoli's teammates won't let him live down embarrassing slide

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    He proved that to Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale on Tuesday when he split the outfielders for a two-run triple. The triple was Napoli's first since April 15 of last season, and it couldn't have come at a better time as it helped Cleveland knock Sale from the ranks of the undefeated with a 6-2 victory.

    [Elsewhere: Joc Pederson got dissed by Barry Bonds after simple request]

    Unfortunately for Napoli, the triple also highlighted those two previously mentioned facts: He's not fast, and he's not graceful. That led to one of the most awkward and embarrassing slides we've seen in a long time as he arrived to third base only somewhat safely.

    Better: Mike Napoli's triple or his slide? pic.twitter.com/4YmRtMdrZ8

    To his credit, Napoli has been a good sport too, even donning a neck brace for a photo after the game. 

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  • Cubs and Jake Arrieta tie MLB record despite rare rough outing

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    That continued to be true on Wednesday, despite the fact that Arrieta posted his worst outing in over one year. 

    [Roundtable: What should the Mets do with Matt Harvey?]

    Arrieta allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits over five innings, but extended two remarkable streaks as the Cubs ultimately outslugged the Cardinals 9-8

    Arrieta won his 20th straight decision, which in its own right is very impressive. Beyond that, the Cubs have now won the last 23 regular season games started by Arrieta, which ties the MLB record set by the Braves and Kris Medlen. 

    The @Cubs have won each of Jake Arrieta's past 23 starts, tied for the longest such streak in MLB history (2010-12 Kris Medlen) @EliasSports

    Will it be automatic? Far from it. But given all the factors in play, no wise person would bet against the Cubs on Jake Arrieta Day. 

  • The Walk Off: Royals gaining ground quickly in AL Central

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. 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.  

    The American League Central is starting to get very interesting, and not surprisingly the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals are right in the middle of it all.

    With Saturday's 2-1 win against the White Sox, the Royals have shaved 4 1/2 games off their deficit in the standings over the last seven days. That puts them 2 1/2 games behind Chicago entering play on Sunday. If they complete the three-game sweep, the difference will narrow even more.

    [Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now

    Kansas City's bullpen took it home, allowing just one run on three hits.

    TOP PERFORMERS 

    There's also this. 

    MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT 

  • The three best features at Coco Crisp's nearly $10 million mansion

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Considering Crisp grew up in Los Angeles, playing in Oakland has been more convenient than his past gigs in Cleveland, Boston and Kansas City. And considering he's been making some really good money — he's earned a little over $60 million to date, according to Baseball Reference — it allowed him to purchase a season home in the Bay Area, and also a dream home closer to home, just outside Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley.

    [Elsewhere: Yankees become latest victims of Oakland Coliseum plumbing]

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Crisp bought the nearly 17,900-square-foot, five-bedroom home for a cool $7 million. Now though, that dream home is for sale, with the property value listed at $9.995 million. 

    Needless to say, there are 9.995 million reasons why the good majority of us will never own or even come near the property, but that won't stop us from dreaming.

    There's a lake in the backyard

  • George Springer decided to play some football dressed as a T-Rex

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. Before most Astros games, outfielders George Springer and Jake Marisnick like to hit the field early and throw the football around as part of their pregame routine. 

    [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ]

    That was also the plan before Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park, though this time Springer added a highly entertaining twist to the proceedings.

    Springer pic.twitter.com/PfZBpklmJO

    Well, we'll just have to take his word that it's George Springer dressed up as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    @brianmctaggart Springersaurus*

    Or Springersaurus. Whichever you prefer.

    It's actually not the first time Springer has donned a costume for his pregame ritual, which we're going to assume serves to loosen him up both mentally and physically. In fact, one time before he dressed like an actual Houston Texans wide receiver. 

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  • The Mets discussed a crazy idea to help jumpstart Matt Harvey

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 6 days ago

    For whatever reason, New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey hasn't looked right this season. His first eight starts were marred by inconsistency, then his ninth start on Thursday veered past inconsistent and into disastrous territory. In just 2 2/3 innings, Harvey allowed nine runs, six of which were earned, in a 9-1 loss to the Nationals.

    It was the shortest start of Harvey's career, and it was also the most damaging to his confidence and his ERA. In turn, that's led to an undeniable feeling of uneasiness as both the player and team search for answers. 

    [Related: From bad to worst: Matt Harvey gets rocked again in Mets loss]

    But that was far from the only strategy discussed. As the report also notes, the Mets were looking at solutions that run deeper than baseball mechanics, conventional wisdom and perhaps even logic. 

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, but are we really at the burning things stage? 

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