- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 hr ago
The biggest series in nearly 30 years at Kauffman Stadium got off to a very disappointing start for the home-standing Royals. Before the 37.945 fans had a chance to settle in, Detroit struck for three first-inning runs, including an RBI double from Miguel Cabrera that was horribly misjudged by left fielder Alex Gordon. With a locked-in Justin Verlander on the hill, they never looked back, cruising to a big 10-1 victory.
''We just went out there and did what we're capable of doing,'' Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. ''But there are no statements. Our intent is just to play the game.''
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
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Russell Martin once played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He now plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yet with one mighty swing on Friday night, he managed to improve the postseason outlooks for both.
With Pittsburgh trailing by two runs in the eighth, Martin muscled up and delivered an opposite field three-run homer off another former Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, which sent the raucous PNC Park crowd into a frenzy, and gave Pittsburgh its first lead of the game.
Neither Broxton or the collapsing Brewers would recover. Pittsburgh tacked on an insurance run in the inning and then wrapped up a 4-2 victory.
In doing so, Pittsburgh extended its lead over Milwaukee for the second wild-card spot to 4 1/2 games with only nine left to play. That essentially puts the Brewers in a position where they have to win the final two games in Pittsburgh to give themselves a realistic shot in the final week. A split doesn't work, and a sweep would be the death knell.Sat, Sep 2010:05 AM PDTLA Dodgers at Chi CubsPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
If players are given the Gold Glove Award as recognition for their superior defensive skills, perhaps fans should be rewarded with golden buckets of popcorn when they make the highlight reels. That seems to be the most commonly used prop — well, aside from an actual glove — used to make spectacular catches in the stands.
To be perfectly honest, it's also the most visually appealing, especially when the bucket happens to be full and its contents explode from within.
That would be the exact scene that played out on Friday night in Atlanta. As one Braves fan in the right-field bleachers attempted to enjoy his mid-game snack, Lucas Duda of the Mets took aim and launched a mammoth two-run homer right in his direction. It appeared like the fan was still enjoying his last bite as it unfolded, yet without thinking twice he lined himself up and moved his bucket into position to make a fantastic catch.
He even used two hands to steady the bucket.
Strong fundamentals on display at Turner Field! From that fans, that is. The big league club would go on to lose 5-0.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
As the end of Derek Jeter's fantastic career nears, the race to honor his legacy has accelerated. On Friday, the folks at New Era added its contribution to the farewell tour, and we must admit it's among the coolest items Jeter has received all season.
Prior to Friday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, New Era CEO Chris Koch presented Derek Jeter with a one-of-a-kind bronzed version of the New Era 59FIFTY Yankees cap.
Here's another look at it.
As you can see, the bronze version also includes the Jeter sidepatch that the team is currently wearing.
That attention to detail is certainly appreciated. As is New Era's generous $22,222 donation to Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation.
That honor came on the heels of Major League Baseball releasing its official tribute ad to Jeter, which included notable appearances from Mo'ne Davis and Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout.
Your browser does not support iframes.Sat, Sep 201:05 PM PDTToronto at NY YankeesPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for wins any way they can get'em as they near a second straight postseason berth and division championship. With that goal in mind, it must be nice to know they can turn to two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw every fifth day, because even on days when he's not his usual dominant or efficient self, he simply can't lose.
Kershaw was credited with his 20th victory in the Dodgers 14-5 win over the Cubs on Friday afternoon, despite only lasting the minimum five innings needed to qualify. That snapped a string of 17 consecutive outings with at least seven innings pitched.
After being spotted a six run lead in the first inning, Kershaw gave three runs right back, and needed 106 pitches to survive the afternoon. Kershaw allowed those three runs (all earned), seven hits and tied a season-high with three walks. It's a subtle reminder that the win stat is often more misleading than it is telling of a pitcher's true value or performance on a given day, and that our celebration of such milestones is outdated.
If baseball games were played on paper, the Los Angeles Angels would probably be working on a third straight division championship. After spending money and adding big name free agents like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson to the roster, the expectations rose with the payroll, but the results remained disappointing.
Until now. The 2014 Angels currently own the best record in baseball at 95-57, and they've officially punched their ticket to the ALDS after clinching their first AL West division championship since 2009.
It wasn't always easy. Even with the remarkable record, the Oakland A's, who won the West each of the past two season, remained one step ahead deep into August. But it was the Angels who sustained excellence while the A's fell back. Here's a look at five big reasons why the Angels are in the postseason and on pace for 100 wins.
The existence of Mike Trout
Mike Trout has arguably been the best position player in baseball since debuting as a 21-year-old in 2012. He's now 23, and aside from a somewhat concerning rise in strikeouts, he's still getting better.
An inning without a baserunner allowed is considered perfect, but there's actually a greater, far more rare single-inning achievement for a pitcher to shoot for. It's called the "immaculate Inning," and it stands for complete and utter dominance.
To be credited with an immaculate inning, a pitcher must strike out all three batters in an inning on the minimum nine pitches. It's something that had only been done 71 times by 66 different pitchers coming into this season, but New York Yankees right-hander Brandon McCarthy became the sixth different pitcher to throw one this season. That's a new single-season major-league record.
McCarthy joined the elite list by striking out Wil Myers, Nick Franklin and Matt Joyce inthe seventh inning of New York's 3-2 win.
"I actually didn't realize what it was until I got inside and I saw what it was on the broadcast," McCarthy said. "I was just happy it was three strikeouts, but I didn't realize what kind of an inning it was."
The end of the AL West race could not have been more fitting given how the last few weeks have played out. While the Los Angeles Angels continued soaring, defeating the Seattle Mariners 5-0 in Anaheim behind C.J. Wilson's gem and C.J. Cron's three-run homer, the collapsing Oakland A's allowed another game against baseball's worst team, the Texas Rangers, to slip through their fingers, losing 6-1 after leading into the ninth inning.
Those results together allowed the Angels to unseat the two-time defending West champion A's, while claming their division crown since 2009.
The scene played out dramatically in Anaheim as the Angels wrapped up their victory about an hour before the A's loss concluded. An estimated 5,000 Angels fans who attended the game stuck around to watch the A's on the big screen at Angels Stadium, hoping for a chance to celebrate with the team.Sat, Sep 206:05 PM PDTTexas at LA AngelsPreview Game
Every now and then life slaps us in the face with a cold, hard dose of reality that puts its meaning back into perspective. It reminds us that our problems are usually minimal compared to those of others. That most of our bad days are actually good days in the grand scheme of things. And that as much as those we love frustrate us, yes, even the sports team we cheer for, it's not the end of our world.
Carlos Beltran and his wife, Jessica, didn't need that reminder. They had already experienced enough reality, pain and anguish, having lost two children before, both by miscarriage. Sadly, we learned on Wednesday they are going through that pain and anguish again, as Beltran announced that they had lost their unborn son.
Carlos Beltran, away from the team for personal reasons, just posted on his facebook page that he has lost his son. https://t.co/PmpD9VyFUG
Translation of Carlos Beltran's heartbreaking post on Facebook pic.twitter.com/r50IPpXnJg
The Miami Marlins were optimistic that slugger Giancarlo Stanton would return to the lineup this season despite suffering multiple fractures, dental damage and a laceration from being hit in the face by a Mike Fiers 88-mph pitch.
That optimism disappeared on Wednesday, however, as the team announced Stanton will be shut down for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Giancarlo Stanton will miss the remainder of this season. He is expected to be ready for spring training. #GetWellGiancarlo
Despite missing what will amount to 17 games, Stanton stands a pretty good chance to hold on as the NL's home run king. He'll finish the season with 37 homers. Cubs' first baseman Anthony Rizzo is second with 31 homers, but he's been slowed recently by a back issue, making it unlikely that he'll go on a major tear over Chicago's final 11 games. Lucas Duda of the Mets checks in third with 27 home runs.Sat, Sep 204:10 PM PDTWashington at MiamiPreview Game