Mark Townsend

  • Clayton Kershaw to start NLDS Game 4 for Dodgers on three days rest

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    Manager Don Mattingly ended any potential drama about his NLDS Game 4 starter before Game 3 even started on Monday. Regardless of the outcome, he was giving the ball to Clayton Kershaw despite his ace being on three days rest.

    As we learned on Monday, that start will come with the Dodgers season on the line after they dropped Game 3 by a 13-7 final.

    [Look: Mets fan brings 'Chase Utley Hearts ISIS' sign to Game 3]

    When asked why he was going to that well again in 2015, Mattingly had a simple response.

    Don Mattingly on why he named Kershaw Game 4 starter: "Do I have to explain that one? He's pretty good." #Dodgers

    The Mets are still expected to go with Steven Matz in Game 4, so we won't get a rematch.  

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  • Rusty Staub throws out first pitch at NLDS two weeks after heart attack

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    Former Mets star Rusty Staub has thrown out the first pitch at Citi Field before. However, his journey to the hill before Monday's NLDS Game 3 was nothing short of miraculous or extraordinary, and likely made the moment more meaningful than any other he's experienced on a baseball field.

    Just two weeks ago, Staub was fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack on an international flight from Ireland to New York. According to reports, t wo doctors on board were able to revive Staub and keep him stable until the plane could return to Ireland. Staub was taken into emergency surgery upon his arrival and spent several days recovering in the hospital before returning to New York last week. 

    He's back! A healthy Rusty Staub throws out tonight's ceremonial first pitch. #Mets #LGM

    As Mets color commentator on SNY and TBS broacaster Ron Darling said it when greeting Staub before the game.

    “I really mean this so much. It’s so great to see you here, Rusty.”

    We couldn't agree more. 

  • NLDS Game 3: Cubs overpower Cardinals with six homers in 8-6 win

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    Playing their first postseason home game since 2008, the Chicago Cubs took control of their NL division series against the St. Louis Cardinals with an 8-6 victory in Game 3. Now just one win stands between Chicago and its first trip to the NLCS since 2003. 

    The Cubs offense came out swinging on Monday. For the first time in postseason history, six different players from the same team hit home runs as Chicago relentlessly pummeled St. Louis pitching. The two loudest home runs came on back-to-back shots from Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in the fifth inning. Bryant's home run gave Chicago a lead.

    Kyle Schwarber, Starlin Castro, Jorge Soler and Dexter Fowler were also in on the barrage, meaning the first six in Chicago's lineup took part. Soler's two-run shot was the dagger against Adam Wainwright in the sixth. 

    • The Cardinals don't have any answers for Jorge Soler. After reaching base in all five plate appearances in Game 2, he reached base all four times up in Game 3. That included a huge two-run homer that extended Chicago's lead. In the series, he has two homers, a double, single and five walks. 

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  • End of the Road 2015: Pittsburgh Pirates

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    After losing Wednesday's NL wild-card game to the Chicago Cubs, the Pittsburgh Pirates, have been eliminated from the MLB postseason. That means they've effectively come to the end of the road in their 2015 season. As we'll do with each eliminated team this season, let's give them a send-off that would make Boyz II Men proud.

    We'll look at the highs and lows of their season, what bright spots their future might hold and what questions need answering as they prepare for 2016.

    [Elsewhere: Yahoo Sports predictions to the 2015 MLB Postseason]

    HIGH POINT: The Pirates were on a high all season, reaching the playoffs for the third straight year after going 20 seasons without a winning season. They notched 98 victories in 2015, the second highest total in MLB and their highest win total since 1991. They did so by being remarkably consistent. The Pirates did not have a losing month this season, and had three winning streaks of at least seven games.

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  • Hector Rondon was locked in Busch Stadium bathroom during Game 1

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Chicago Cubs closer Hector Rondon earned the save in their Game 2 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

    A little less than 24 hours earlier, he nearly needed to be saved himself after getting locked in a Busch Stadium bathroom.

    According to's Carrie Muskat, Rondon was stuck in the bullpen bathroom for several minutes while the game was ongoing. He was literally trapped in what we imagine were pretty small and potentially unpleasant quarters. Apparently there was one potential escape route, but that involved climbing and possibly jumping a long way down. Rondon played it safe, meaning he was forced to wait there until Busch Stadium staff could fix the lock.

    "I started looking which way to get out, and I thought, 'Oh my God, I might have to jump,'"

    Fortunately, Rondon was rescued before he was forced to jump or more drastic measures had to be taken.

    [Related: NLDS Game 2: Cubs take advantage of critical Cardinals errors to even series]

  • Chase Utley has taken Ruben Tejada out before with an aggressive slide

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    In the seventh inning, New York shortstop Ruben Tejada was injured on a late and aggressive takeout slide by Chase Utley. Given the circumstances of the play, Utley's slide was unnecessary at best. Some might contend it was borderline vicious in nature. As a result of the play, Tejada sustained a fractured right fibula, ending his season.

    [Related: NLDS Game 2: Dodgers rally to even series after controversial takeout slide]

    That was also a lot of baseball stuff involved too. A review determined Tejada missed tagging second base, which allowed Utley to stay on base despite never actually touching it. The impact that ruling had on the game was immense, as the Dodgers went on to score three more runs and win the game 5-2.

    But we want to look at the slide itself, and more or less Utley's history of being quite aggressive on the bases. 

    First things first though, while it may not have specifically violated any rules... 

    Play was unfortunate and ugly. Utley did what base runners are taught to do. Rule needs to be implemented to protect infielders.

    Take a look. 

  • NLDS Game 2: Dodgers rally to even series after controversial takeout slide

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers pulled even in the NL division series on Saturday, defeating the New York Mets 5-2 in a wild and controversial Game 2. 

    The entire outlook of the game changed very suddenly in the seventh inning. With New York leading 2-1, Enrique Hernandez on third base, Chase Utley on first and one out for the Dodgers, Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball that second baseman Daniel Murphy fielded and and flipped to shortstop Ruben Tejada for an apparent force out at second. However, Tejada was unable to complete the play after Utley slid in very hard and very late, actually sending Tejada head over heels. 

    Unfortunately, Tejada was taken off the field by cart after sustaining what appeared to be a serious right leg injury. The Mets later confirmed Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula, so his postseason is obviously over.

    Here's how MLB saw the controversial play. 

    MLB Spokesperson: Once replay determined 2B ump got call wrong, runner who left field could be placed back at 2B.

    Here's how everyone else appeared to see it.

    This stat remained alive on Saturday. 

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  • Addison Russell channels Ozzie Smith, makes amazing diving play

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    For a moment or two on Saturday, we couldn't tell if that was Addison Russell manning shortstop for the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium or Ozzie Smith in his defensive prime.

    There was no visible difference as Russell robbed Jhonny Peralta of a second-inning basehit. From Russell's instincts, to his cat-like reflexes, to the remarkable athleticism displayed on the back-handed diving stop, he looked every bit like the Wizard of days gone by.

    [Check it out: Yahoo Sports MLB writers make their postseason predictions]

    It's a strong comparison no doubt. Perhaps one Russell hasn't completely earned in the eyes of most fans at this stage in his career, but he's shown flashes of that same brilliance.

    One thing Russell can definitely do like Ozzie, perhaps more so than any other shortstop in recent memory, is field a baseball and bounce to his feet in essentially one movement.

    It's almost as if both guys are made of springs.

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  • NLDS Game 2: Cubs take advantage of critical Cardinals errors to even series

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    We have a series. The Chicago Cubs evened things up with the St. Louis Cardinals, winning Game 2 of the NL division series by a 6-3 score.

    The Cubs broke through for five runs in the second inning thanks to two Cardinals errors, a safety squeeze, an infield single, and a two-run home run from Jorge Soler. Between Starlin Castro's leadoff single and Soler's home run, the Cubs did not get a ball out of the infield, but still pieced together what could be a season-saving rally.

    Speaking of piecing things together, the Cubs got a decent outing from Kyle Hendricks. He allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings, but left after allowing back-to-back home runs to Kolten Wong and Randal Grichuk in the fifth. Joe Maddon used three relievers to record the final 13 outs. 

    There's no other way to say it, this was a huge win for the Cubs. They'll head home now with the series even and Jake Arrieta waiting to take the ball on Monday.

    • Adam Wainwright did similarly strong relief work, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings for St. Louis. He struck out the side in the eighth. 

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  • Kevin Pillar helps Blue Jays fan propose to girlfriend before postseason game

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    When he isn't making highlight reel catches or participating in postseason games, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar is helping facilitate the biggest moment in the lives of local couples.

    Or least that's what he was doing on Thursday. Before taking on the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS, Pillar assisted one Blue Jays fan who proposed to his girlfriend at Rogers Centre.

    Thanks @KPILLAR4, she said "yes" outside gate 5 #ComeTogether #mlb @KatieBookman @BlueJays @Sportsnet @MLBNetwork

    That's true. But the photo was a big part of the proposal.

    See, there it is.

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