Mark Townsend

  • Anibal Sanchez dominates Blue Jays, but Tigers lose Miguel Cabrera to injury

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs 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 .

    Detroit Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez nearly carved out a rare place in the history books on Friday night. The 31-year-old from Maracay, Venezuela came up five outs short of pitching his second career no-hitter in Detroit's 8-6 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Yes, that score is deceiving. We'll get to that in a moment. 

    As for Sanchez, he was looking to become the 28th pitcher in MLB history to throw multiple no-hitters. He also pitched a no-hitter for the then Florida Marlins on Sept. 6, 2006 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The near nine-year stretch between no-hitters would have been the second longest between a pitcher's first and second. 

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  • Veteran relievers Joba Chamberlain, Neftali Feliz designated for assignment

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 8 hrs ago

    Friday was another reminder of just how unpredictable and unstable the career of a mjaor-league reliever can be.

    Veteran right-handers Joba Chamberlain and Neftali Feliz were both designated for assignment by the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers respectively, leaving both teams with 10 days to trade, release or place the relievers on waivers.

    Chamberlain, 29, inked a one-year, $1 million deal with Detroit during the offseason in an attempt to rebuild his value. For Detroit, it was a cheap signing they hoped would add depth to their bullpen despite Chamberlain's up and down 2014.

    Chamberlain had performed well in a relief role previously for the New York Yankees, It just didn't work out in Detroit. In 30 appearances, Chamberlain posted a 4.09 ERA and a 1.682 WHIP. He struggled avoiding contact as well, striking out just 15 over his 22 innings.

    From The Detroit Free Press: 

    Self awareness is a good thing to have. Better execution and better results are the name of the game though, so for now anyway Chamberlain will be forced to take a step back.

  • Alert fan catches flying bat in Washington, gets a kiss for his efforts

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    We've already had our fill of scary flying bat incidents this season. That's why everybody watching cringed and held their breath on Friday night when San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy lost his grip and sent his bat barreling into the stands at Nationals Park.

    Fortunately, when the camera quickly panned to the crowd, all we saw was a fan celebrating perhaps the biggest catch of his life.

    Catching a bat > catching a ball.

    That man here is a hero, and to the hero go the spoils.

    It's a happy ending this time, but we should also use this as another reminder of just how important it is for fans to constantly pay attention at the ballpark. That's especially true of fans sitting around the home plate and dugout areas. It's a vulnerable position to be in when there's no netting around, and if you're not watching the action a bat or ball can get on you awfully quick.

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  • Mike Scioscia wants Josh Hamilton to apologize to Angels owner Arte Moreno

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 12 hrs ago

    Just when you thought the Los Angeles Angels' week couldn't get any more dramatic, here comes a weekend series in Texas against the Rangers and former outfielder Josh Hamilton.

    The story here has been told many times over the past few months. In February, Hamilton suffered a drug and alcohol related relapse, which the Angels condemned and attempted to use as a way out ouf Hamilton's bad contract.

    Ultimately, they were forced to eat the majority of the deal in order to trade Hamilton back to Texas, which sets up Friday's big reunion.

    A lot has been said about the Angels' lack of support for Hamilton during his difficult time. Many felt they portrayed themselves in a bad light by immediately shunning him and distancing themselves. Before his comeback last month, Hamilton even said that he was denied a meeting with Angels owner Arte Moreno, noting that the two hadn't directly talked since last season.

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    However, it should come as no surprise that Hamilton has zero intentions of seeking out Arte Moreno.

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  • Charges recommended against Cardinals employee in alleged computer hack

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 13 hrs ago

    Federal investigators have recommended charges be brought against at least one St. Louis Cardinals employee implicated in the probe of an alleged computer intrusion of databases belonging to the Houston Astros, according to a report from CNN.

    Per the CNN report, the investigation is complete. It is not immediately clear which employee was in line to be charged or how high up the Cardinals' hierarchy that employee might be, but it's apparent they've pinpointed at least one individual's involvement.

    Here's more from the CNN story: 

    The probe by investigators at the FBI's Houston office is complete, according to officials briefed on the matter, but is awaiting action by the Houston U.S. attorney's office. A U.S. attorney spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment.

    The FBI's Houston office declined to comment on pending charges.

    That would seemingly position Correa as the employee in question, but until that's confirmed or denied we're left with the same questions and the same uncertain answers. 

  • Astros complete sweep of Royals, close in on AL's best record

    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.

    If for some reason you're still not convinced the Houston Astros are for real, perhaps their three-game sweep of the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals can sway your opinion. The Astros completed the sweep with a hard-fought 6-5 victory on Wednesday night.

    After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning, Houston rallied to score five in the middle innings to take the lead. Chris Carter's 100th career home run opened its scoring. After Marwin Gonzalez homered and likely All-Star Jose Altuve tied the game with an RBI single, Evan Gattis put the Astros ahead with a two-run single in the fifth.

    The resilient Royals didn't fade away, though, tying the game again in the seventh on Jarrod Dyson's two-run triple. Houston scored the winner in its half of the seventh on Carter's fielder's choice – not exactly the most thrilling winning run, but very fitting for the Astros.



  • Has Johnny Cueto made his final home start in a Cincinnati Reds uniform?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Aside from October, July might just be baseball's most dramatic and unpredictable month. Of course, that's mainly because the non-waiver trade deadline always falls on its final day, and now that we've officially crossed the threshold from June, the craziness is bound to begin very soon.

    One pitcher whose future is almost certain to be impacted in the next 30 days is Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The 2014 All-Star and Cy Young Award runner-up is having another season that will put him in the conversation for both honors. In 15 starts this season, Cueto is 5-5 with a 2.84 ERA over 104 2/3 innings. Last season, he was 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA over a league-leading 243 2/3 innings.

    The only difference this season is he's doing it for a Reds team on the outside of the postseason picture looking in, and with a contract that's set to make him a free agent come season's end. Basically, he fits every criteria there is for a player who is certain to be traded, the only questions now are when and where.

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  • A's ace Sonny Gray battling severe case of bacterial gastroenteritis

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray was unable to make Tuesday's scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies with what was simply described as illness. On Wednesday, we learned Gray wasn't battling the flu or a common cold, but rather a severe case of bacterial gastroenteritis, which forced him to spend Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital. 

    The good news, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, is that Gray was improving on Wednesday. Following Oakland's 4-1 win against the Colorado Rockies, she was also among the first to report that Gray was discharged from the hospital. But there's still some question about when he might be able to return to the mound.  

    Chris Bassitt made the start for Gray on Tuesday, tossing five innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 loss to Colorado. Bassitt will remain with the A's through the weekend in case he's needed again to make Gray's scheduled start against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

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  • Joey Butler spoils Carlos Carrasco's no-hit bid with two outs in ninth

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Butler did it on Wednesday night. Not once, but twice.

    Of course, we're talking about Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Joey Butler, who in one game managed to spoil Carlos Carrasco's bid for a perfect game and no-hitter in two separate late-inning plate appearances. 

    Carrasco entered the seventh inning having retired all 18 batters he'd faced to that point. He made it 19 straight when he retired Kevin Kaiermeir leading off the inning, which led to an epic battle with Butler. After eight pitches, including four two-strike pitches, Butler ended up drawing a walk to end the perfect game.

    Carrasco's bid for his professional no-hitter would continue in the ninth inning. Despite a rough start to the inning — Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch — Carrasco moved to within one out of history. Only Joey Butler stood in his way again, and Butler spoiled it again, lining a two-strike single just out of the reach of a leaping Jason Kipnis at second base.  

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    Oh, the heartbreak.

    Oh, the pain.

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  • Victor Martinez has 'no respect' for Pirates after 'intentional' hit by pitch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The interleague series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers got off to an intense start Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

    The spark happened in the fourth inning when Tigers starter Justin Verlander clipped Pittsburgh's Starling Marte on the forearm with a 1-2 pitch. During the next half-inning, Pirates' ace Gerrit Cole drilled Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez with a 95-mph fastball to the backside. That did not sit well with Martinez, who shot a glare toward Cole as he slowly made his way to first base. 

    Martinez wasn't alone in feeling the pitch was intentional. In the next half-inning, Justin Verlander returned the favor again by drilling Pedro Alvarez with his first pitch. At that point, both benches were warned, but the bad blood was already boiling and it doesn't appear to have settled down as the teams entered play on Wednesday. 

    In fact, Martinez was quoted as saying he's lost respect for the Pirates organization as a result of the perceived targeting, which sets the stage for some more potential hostilities. 

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