Mark Townsend

  • Marlins lose eighth straight game, Mat Latos and Henderson Alvarez to DL

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

    The Miami Marlins weeks of turmoil and terrible baseball continued on Friday, this time with an 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. That makes eight straight losses for Miami, all of which have come on their current 10-game homestand which is set to end on Sunday.

    That moment probably can't come soon enough for a Marlins team that desperately needs to get out of town and regroup. The former will definitely happen. It may honestly be too late for the latter to matter if it does happen.

    As for Friday, it started out promising as the Marlins tallied three early runs against Ubaldo Jimenez. But hope quickly faded when Baltimore scored two in the fifth and four more in the sixth, all against Henderson Alvarez. Adding insult to injury, immediately following the game Miami placed both Alvarez and another starter, Mat Latos, on the disabled list with injuries.  

    Of all Miami's issues, the injuries in their rotation might be the most concerning.

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  • Alcides Escobar wows again with long distance backhand flip

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    Escobar, who much like Atlanta Braves Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons is quickly building a reputation for his defensive prowess, added to his highlight reel on Friday with a diving stop and backhand flip that was stunning in both its resourcefulness and flawless execution.

    To set the stage, the Cardinals had a runner on first base with nobody out and Matt Adams at the plate. As many teams like to do against Adams, the Royals employed an extreme shift by moving third baseman Mike Moustakas to the right field side of second base, leaving Escobar all alone to cover the left.

    Not a problem, says Alcides.

    When Adams' surprisingly bounced a grounder to his left, he reacted with a dive. Then, from near the outfield grass while on the seat of his pants, he launched a long distance backhanded flip to get Matt Holliday, the lead runner.

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    As it is, the flip wins out, just as the Royals did 5-0 behind two home runs and five RBIs from Kendrys Morales. 

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  • Mike Trout pulls off slick stolen base with acrobatic slide

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    Within the realm of baseball, there's nothing the athletically-gifted and multi-talented Mike Trout can't do.

    He's a five-tool player, with speed, power, an ability to hit for average, a rocket for a right arm and defensive skills matched by very few in the game today.

    But his game is about more than just those measurable tools. He has instincts that allow him to make some of the most difficult plays you'll see look routine, and an ability to adjust during an at-bat to gain the upper hand.

    In fact, as we learned on Friday, he even has the instincts and ability to react and adjust in the middle of a slide, which allowed him to pull off perhaps the steal of the season in Boston.

    Here's another look: 

    .@MikeTrout is one slippery fish. pic.twitter.com/mdaMSfpj1c

    After driving in the go-ahead runs with a single followed by a Red Sox error, Trout aimed to keep the pressure on by stealing third. Catcher Blake Swihart had him dead to rights with a great throw, but Trout was able to use the old swim move to avoid the initial tag attempt. 

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  • Marlins players skip team's annual Fish 'N Chips charity event

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Just when you thought things couldn't get any messier for the Miami Marlins this season and especially this week, Thursday night happened.

    On the heels of a seven-game losing streak, which has now spanned two managers and all occurred at Marlins Park, the team held its annual Fish 'N Chips charity event at the ballpark on Thursday. The event has always been an opportunity for fans to mingle and play cards with Marlins players and other personnel while the organization helps raise money.

    This year's was to be no different. In fact, here's the invitation which confirms the scheduled appearance of players

    Please join the Marlins Foundation for an evening of fun and stakes at the Craps, Blackjacks, Roulette, Poker and Domino tables as you rub elbows with your favorite Marlins players, coaches and alumni. Enjoy a night filled with hors d'oeuvres, open bars, dancing and entertainment, with the breathtaking view of downtown Miami.

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  • A group of 24 Nebraska baseball players got stuck in an elevator

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    On Tuesday, one day before challenging the hottest baseball team on planet Earth, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in the first round of the Big Ten conference tournament, members of the Nebraska baseball team — 24 of them to be exact — unwisely tested the capacity of a hotel elevator in Minneapolis.

    That decision resulted in the ultimate test of their collective sanity as the elevator became stuck mid-ride, trapping all 24 players in the cramped quarters for what had to feel like an eternity.

    Ever wonder what it's like to be stuck with a baseball team on an elevator? pic.twitter.com/xPM5Wmgp2W

    Yeah, if that was on the bucket list, the sanity test may have been failed before it was started.

    Based on the timeline of the tweets, the ordeal only lasted right around 15 minutes. Senior catcher Tanner Lubach served as the embedded reporter, sending a series of video tweets which updated the social media of their condition.

    Skers stuck on an elevator pic.twitter.com/BlQd6qcOby

    Status: Unfazed and perhaps a little too excited to be dangling helplessly from a cable.

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  • Joe Mauer's first homer of 2015 leads Twins to sweep in Pittsburgh

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

    Joe Mauer's long-running power drought is over, and he could not have possibly picked a better time to snap it. With the Twins and Pirates tied in the 13th inning at PNC Park, Mauer smacked Antonio Bastardo's 0-1 pitch into the right field bleachers for a go-ahead solo home run that held up as the difference in Minnesota's 4-3 victory.

    The home run was Mauer's first of the season. In fact, it was his first since Aug. 17 of last year, which covers a span of 76 games and 322 plate appearances. But you'd hardly know that based on the swing or the result. Looking comfortable against a left-handed pitcher, Mauer turned on the pitch like we've seen so many times in the past and gave it a ride.

    Vintage Mauer, you might say, and as a result the Twins are now a comfortable six games over .500.

    ASTROS KEEP ROLLING IN AL WEST

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  • Bartolo Colon legs out infield dribbler thanks to rare Yadier Molina error

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    For all the talk about a universal designated hitter, perhaps the greatest argument against its seemingly inevitable implementation into MLB revolves around the existence of New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon.

    As we've noted in the past, Colon's plate appearances aren't just the throw away moments you may come to expect with pitchers, they are events that unite baseball fans from all points of the world, regardless of where their loyalties lie.

    There's always an element of drama in Colon's at-bats, from whether he'll actually make contact, to whether his helmet will stay on or fall off, to the ultimate hope, that he'll put a ball in play and have to run the bases. On Wednesday, we actually got the latter when Colon hit the weakest of all possible dribblers in front on home plate, and somehow managed to leg it out. 

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    When all was said and done, it was a short night for Colon, but one with a little bit of everything, which is why we want him to stick around forever. 

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  • Bryce Harper ejected for second time in eight days

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Since launching three home runs against the New York Mets on May 6, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been baseball's hottest hitter. Over a 12-game stretch that began that afternoon leading up until Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees, Harper hit .535/.630/1.349 with 10 home runs and 23 RBIs over 54 plate appearances.

    Unfortunately, his sizzling stretch at the dish isn't the only thing that's taken center stage. During his time in the spotlight, which goes back to his days in high school in Las Vegas, Harper's also earned a reputation at times for being a hot head, which has now in some way contributed to two ejections during that same stretch.

    The first came on May 13, when Harper's temper clearly got the best of him following a strikeout in Arizona. Following the ejection, Harper launched into a heated tirade against home-plate umpire Rob Drake

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  • Josh Hamilton launches first rehab home run into a pool

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    Over the past two weeks, Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been slowly working himself into baseball shape with a sharp eye toward his return to MLB during his extended minor-league rehab assignment. On Wednesday, he took a fairly significant step forward by launching his first home run of 2015 for Double-A Frisco.

    Here's another look at the home run from the press box. It actually landed in a pool beyond the outfield wall at Frisco's home ballpark.  

    Two-run homer for Josh Hamilton. Landed in the pool pic.twitter.com/EcSSd0TZJd

    Hamilton's splash landing will cap a four-game stint with Frisco that saw him go 9-for-16 with nine runs scored and four driven in. Overall, Hamilton is hitting .371 during his 10-game rehab stint, which the Rangers say will return to Triple-A Round Rock this weekend.  

    Rangers announce Josh Hamilton will play at Round Rock THursday through Saturday and then be re-evaluated....

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  • Rockies batters struck out four times in one inning in two straight games

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    If we could sum up the Colorado Rockies recent struggles in one sequence, it would have been the eighth inning on Friday when Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen returned from the disabled list to strike out four of them in a single inning.

    On 14 pitches no less.

    But here's something cool about the Rockies. They're very accommodating. So assuming you missed the season-defining sequence on Friday, they went ahead and replayed it for you on Saturday by striking out four times in the eighth inning again, this time against Sergio Santos.

    Swell guys, aren't they?

    Of course, it should be noted that on Saturday they actually took advantage of the extra out and plated three runs thanks to a separate Dodgers error and a Nolan Arenado two-run homer. But we will overlook that success to identify the true meaning of that inning.

    On rare occasions, the batter actually reaches base safely. On even fewer occasions, the unique opportunity for four strikeouts arises. In this series, it just so happened to present itself twice, and on both occasions it actually happened.

    Which do you think is more likely?

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