- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
The Detroit Tigers season ended earlier then they'd hoped and in very disappointing fashion after they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. Now their offseason is getting off to a pretty rough start too after the team learned that Miguel Cabrera will not be able to resume baseball activities for at least three months following surgery on his right ankle.
Though resurgent in September, Cabrera wasn't his MVP caliber self for most of the second half of the season. His lack of production (three home runs and 16 RBIs from the All-Star break until Sept. 1) can be attributed in part to a bone spur in his right ankle injury, which was bothersome enough that manager Brad Ausmus considered giving Cabrera multiple days off in late August even after the team had fallen behind the Kansas City Royals in the standings.
The Tigers knew offseason surgery was distinct possibility, but nobody was anticipating that in addition to the bone spur, doctors would find a stress fracture in the navicular bone on the top of his foot. Doctors were forced to place two screws in his foot to stabilize the fracture, which changed his offseason outlook significantly.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
Your browser does not support iframes. Baseball fans were simply stunned when MLB declined to honor or even mention Tony Gwynn during July's All-Star game broadcast on Fox.
It was nearly one month to the day after Gwynn died at age 54 following a long battle with salivary gland cancer, and it was almost expected that a few moments would be set aside to pay tribute to one of the game's purest hitters and one of its most respected ambassadors. A Hall of Famer in every sense both on and off the field.
Instead, Fox's cable sports network Fox Sports 1 aired a video tribute to Gwynn during its All-Star game pregame show, and that was that.
It was a nice video that would have sufficed, but airing it on the pre-game show didn't have the same impact as a moment-of-silence or the video airing during the game he starred in 15 times would have. Gwynn's exclusion from the broadcast felt strange, especially given the timing, and it left an empty feeling following an otherwise enjoyable game.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
The San Francisco Giants already possess a notable home-field advantage because of the unique layout at AT&T Park. For Game 3 of the World Series, it appeared the grounds crew was looking to give them an even greater advantage by watering down the infield to an almost excessive level in an attempt to slow down the Kansas City Royals' enormous speed advantage on the bases.
In the end, it would become more of an afterthought than an advantage after the Royals won the game 3-2 and grabbed a 2-1 series lead, but the overly saturated infield dirt was easily noticed and its effects were often discussed during the early innings.
Giants grounds crew spent entire October water allotment on the infield; I just saw a sea lion surface to Panik’s right
Pretty cool that McCovey Cove was relocated in about 400 feet for this game
Giants grounds crew trying to turn the dirt into mud to slow the Royals. Cain and Dyson still flying home to first in under 4.0 seconds.
The grounds crew here cleaning up the over-watered infield between innings. Sloppy track surely aimed at KC base-stealers.Sat, Oct 255:07 PM PDTKansas City at San FranciscoPreview Game
Your browser does not support iframes. Lost in the background of MLB's so far fascinating postseason is the experimentation going on down in the Arizona Fall League involving the league's proposed "pace of play" measures. In select games, we've even seen the first usage of a 20-second pitch clock, which is obviously designed to limit or eliminate any lollygagging and unnecessary posturing that routinely takes place between pitches.
As noted in the clip above, a pitch does not have to be released before the pitch clock expires. A pitcher coming set at the waist is good enough. From there though, the pitcher must either throw a pitch or make a pick-off attempt. Stepping off the mound after the clock hits zero results is considered a violation.
There were three violations in the first game which featured the clock, which will be used in 17 games total at Salt River Field during league play. Mark Appel, the Houston Astros No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, committed two of those violations.
Your browser does not support iframes. The penalty for a clock violation is an automatic ball added to the batter's count.
The Kansas City Royals 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in World Series Game 2 didn't necessarily set up perfectly, but it did allow manager Ned Yost to unleash his trio of dominant late-inning relievers with the game hanging in the balance.
The main thing that didn't fit Yost's preferred script was having to call on his usual seventh-inning reliever, Kelvin Herrera, to record an additional two outs in the sixth inning. Herrera has done this before during the postseason, recording five outs in the AL wild-game card and six outs in their ALCS Game 1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. It's something he's proven he can handle, and with a full week off in between outings, he was obviously well rested.
Make that extremely well rested. Herrera came right out of the bullpen firing nothing but heat. Eight 100-mph plus fastballs later, the Giants threat was over and many were left in amazement at Herrera's overpowering stuff.
That includes ESPN's Jayson Stark, who was moved to tweet the following.
Just as World Series Game 2 got interesting on Wednesday night, Comcast customers who double as baseball fans in and around Washington D.C. were left in the dark about what was going on at Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Royals had already struck for three run in what would prove to be the difference-making sixth inning in their 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants, but the biggest blow and first real incidence of drama was yet to come.
All those fans knew was that Omar Infante was about to step in against Giants rookie reliever Hunter Strickland, and the Royals were on the brink of breaking the game wide open with one swing.
Then this happened.
The most dramatic point this far in the World Series and DC cable goes to an emergency alert test pattern. pic.twitter.com/Jw2T472Fn0
This is only a test of the emergency broadcast alert system. It's just a really poorly timed one.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
The Kansas City Royals were dealt their first postseason setback in Game 1 of the World Series, falling 7-1 to the Madison Bumgarner- and Hunter Pence-led San Francisco Giants at a boisterous Kauffman Stadium.
The lopsided result wasn't what they had in mind, obviously, and it was a bit surprising given the unstoppable roll it appeared they were on coming in. The Royals, who are looking for their first world championship since 1985, set an MLB record by winning their first eight postseason games, including the AL wild-card game. Given the franchise's championship drought and the relative ease with which they were able to dispatch the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles, they were obviously the story coming into Game 1 and in many circles were considered the favorites until proven otherwise.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz has been a postseason hero several times over during his potentially Hall of Fame worthy career. This year, though, with his Boston Red Sox long eliminated from the October scene, he's changing his role up in order to help the Red Sox and Major League Baseball honor real life heroes in the military.
During a recent gathering at Fenway Park, Ortiz surprised a group of three veteran and current military members by playing tour guide for their visit. That was a big hit with the stunned group, but as CBS Boston notes, that was only the appetizer to the biggest news of the day. Before the experience was over, Ortiz also surprised each of them and their families with tickets to Game 1 of the World Series.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew5 days ago
There are a lot of different angles that can be analyzed heading into this sure-to-be fascinating World Series matchup between the Kansas City Royals, who have not appeared in a Fall Classic since 1985, and the San Francisco Giants, who have won two of the last four.
Is it David vs. Goliath? Dynasty vs. Drought? Or maybe you prefer the quick, aggressive and fearless newcomers vs. the composed, resilient and opportunistic former champions. They all aptly describe this series on multiple levels, but when looking at where these two teams have come from in 2014 and where they hope to go, the stories are essentially the same.
They both controlled their respective divisions for a time, only to fall behind the preseason favorites down the stretch. They both advanced in the do-or-die wild card round. They both were perceived as underdogs, yet dominated in the LDS and LCS rounds without home field advantage. And they enter the World Series with impressive postseason streaks intact.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew6 days ago
As we noted on Friday, the umpiring crew for the 2014 World Series has been selected and announced. The expanded crew of seven, which now includes one umpire who will be assigned to oversee replay challenges in New York, will include four veterans who are set to make their World Series debuts.
Among the first-timers is 16-year veteran Eric Cooper. He received the good news in a phone call from MLB's Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre, and at the time of the call was driving home with wife Tara after they took in an afternoon movie.
Understandably, Cooper was taken aback by the call. After all, he's been in the business a long time now, and that late October call had never come before. There probably wasn't much indication that his outlook would change much this season, but it has, and it appears he at least partially had expanded replay to thank for that.