Mark Townsend

  • NLCS Game 4: Cubs offense erupts to even series with Dodgers

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Chicago Cubs offense is alive and well. After being shutout in consecutive postseason games for the first time in franchise history, the Cubs bounced back to destroy the Dodgers 10-2 in a much-needed Game 4 breakout. The win evens the series at 2-2, setting up a pivotal Game 5 Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.

    The Cubs scoreless innings streak reached 21, but it was snapped convincingly by a four-run fourth inning rally. Chicago’s offense peppered Julio Urias with three straight singles leading up to Addison Russell’s slump-busting two-run homer. One inning later, Anthony Rizzo broke his own slump with a solo blast that seemingly opened the floodgates.

    The Cubs kept things going in the sixth, adding five more runs. Rizzo’s two-run single served as the dagger.

    • Mike Montgomery continued a good day for left-handed relievers. After Andrew Miller was named MVP of the ALCS, Montgomery picked up a win with two scoreless innings in relief of John Lackey. He also added a single, which helped fuel the Cubs five-run sixth inning.

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  • Cleveland's conundrum: World Series Game 1 or Cavaliers' ring ceremony?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The city of Cleveland has been waiting 52 years to raise a championship banner. Now it has six days to decide whether the Cavaliers NBA championship ceremony will trump being witness to what could be the beginning of the end of the Indians 68-year World Series championship drought.

    That’s right, after decades of being a laughing stock, the sports world will revolve around Cleveland on the evening of Tuesday, Oct. 25. On one side of Gateway Plaza, the Cavaliers will celebrate their NBA championship before their home opener against the New York Knicks. At the exact same time just a few-hundred feet away, the Indians will be playing host to Game 1 of the World Series at Progressive Field after defeating the Blue Jays in the ALCS.

    Talk about a conundrum of epic proportions. Not only will fans have to decide which game to watch, some might have to decide which game to attend. And others with plans on driving will have to find a parking spot.

    Good luck with that.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Indians not impressed with fan's $5 World Series bet

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Despite a 5-1 loss in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, the Cleveland Indians still hold a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Toronto Blue Jays. All they need is one more win and they’ll reach their first World Series since 1997. From there, they’ll attempt to secure the franchise’s first world championship since 1948.

    That’s a pretty exciting proposition for all Indians fans. Especially so for those confident enough to place a World Series bet on the team before the season. That’s exactly what a fan using the moniker “Matty Cleveland” did back in January, and he wanted to let the entire Twitterverse know of his confidence with the team on the verge of history.

    Wanna talk about how much I believed in this team coming into this year… made a bet on them winning the World Series JANUARY 4TH ✊????

    — Matty Cleveland (@MarronMatt) October 18, 2016

    He believed, ladies and gentleman! He believed so much that he reached in his wallet and pulled out …. one $5 bill.

    @MarronMatt $5?

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  • NLCS Game 3: Dodgers shut out Cubs again to take series lead

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    It wasn’t even a week ago we were questioning if the Los Angeles Dodgers had enough pitching to advance through the NLDS. Now that same pitching has carried them to a lead in the National League Championship Series. Behind six scoreless innings from Rich Hill, the Dodgers emerged with a 6-0 victory in Game 3. Now they’ll look to take full control of the series in Game 4 on Wednesday.

    Dave Roberts pushed the right buttons with his bullpen too. Joe Blanton put his rough Game 1 behind him with a scoreless seventh inning. Grant Dayton picked up two outs in the eighth before giving way to closer Kenley Jansen, who remained light outs.

    Of course, the Dodgers also needed some offense of their own against Jake Arrieta. They only managed two total hits in their last two games against Arrieta, but came through for four runs here, with Corey Seager’s RBI single in the third serving as the icebreaker. The Dodgers would add three more on a Yasmani Grandal two-run homer and a Justin Turner solo shot.

    For a little more perspective on the Dodgers’ pitching excellence and the Cubs’ current struggles.

    Cubs have never been shut out in back-to-back postseason games.

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  • Terry Francona's gross reason for visiting dentist following ALCS Game 3

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    It turns out Trevor Bauer’s bloody pinkie wasn’t the only crisis weighing on Terry Francona during Game 3 on the American League Championship Series on Monday night. As the Cleveland Indians manager revealed before Game 4 on Tuesday, it was actually a distant second to the bizarre crisis he was going through.

    Brace yourself for this one folks: Only moments before the game began, Francona had a tooth veneer pop clean out of his mouth while he was chewing tobacco in the dugout. Naturally, he couldn’t get it fixed then and there, so he fished the tooth out of his tobacco wad, handed it to the team’s head athletic trainer and anxiously awaited word on when he could visit a local dentist.

    Here’s the full story, as transcribed by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Zack Meisel:

    “Right before the game, I mean, like literally, my lower tooth, the veneer popped out while I was chewing. That thing came off and I’m chewing and it felt crunchy. I was like, ‘Uh oh.’

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  • Dodgers call on Clayton Kershaw to rescue them again

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    If you go to the well too many times, eventually it will dry up.

    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts hopes that won’t be the case with ace Clayton Kershaw, because like Kershaw’s start in Game 4 of the NLDS and especially his surprising relief appearance in Game 5, Roberts needs him to be at his best on Sunday night.

    No, the Dodgers season isn’t on the line. But let’s be realistic. Another loss to this Chicago Cubs team with no Kershaw to fall back on again until Game 5, or maybe more realistically Game 6, would put them in a difficult position. We might go as far as to say an impossible position, given how poorly the rest of Roberts’ starting rotation has performed.

    Simply put, it’s as close to a must-win as you’ll find in Game 2 of a seven-game series.

    For baseball fans in general, it sets up an intriguing matchup that will be fun to watch unfold. Will the Cubs be aggressive against Kershaw early in the count, or will they make him work? Will Kershaw attack a little more, hoping to work deeper in the game, or will he try to avoid as much contact as possible?

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  • Diamondbacks hire Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen as vice president, GM

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced the hiring of Mike Hazen as the team’s new general manager and executive vice president.

    Hazen had been serving as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, where he worked under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. The 40-year-old executive was promoted to that position last September after serving as Red Sox assistant general manager the previous four years.

    The #Dbacks have named Mike Hazen their Executive Vice President & General Manager.

    — Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 16, 2016

    Now he’ll have all the power in Arizona, where he’ll be charged with reinventing and redeveloping an organization that has seemingly stagnated under Dave Stewart’s watch.

    The Diamondbacks hinted at a balanced front office plan, though many expect a more analytics-based front office under Hazen. Either way, he’s sure to provide much-needed fresh perspective.

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  • Pedro Baez's glacial pitching pace led to avalanche of Twitter jokes

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    As we move into the future, Major League Baseball figures to implement more and more rules aimed at speeding up the game. Until that’s accomplished though, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez is just going to keep chillin’ on the hill. Because let’s be honest, he’s got nowhere else to go, and he’s not being paid by the time he saves. So what’s the harm, right?


    Well, unless you’re an impatient viewer, which seems to cover a wide range of baseball fans and writers, or bored, in which case a pitcher who needs an average of 30.2 seconds between pitches — the slowest pace in MLB — is probably a detriment to the game.

    We’ll just say he was on the high side of his between pitch average, and everyone on Twitter had an opinion that was molded into a joke.

    Like this for example.

    Things you can do in between Pedro Baez pitches: – Play any "Minute to Win It" game – Brush your teeth – Pop a bag of popcorn

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  • NLCS Game 1: Cubs win thriller on Miguel Montero's historic grand slam

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    The Chicago Cubs won an absolute thriller in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Miguel Montero’s historic pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning. We say historic, because according to the Elias Sports Bureau Montero is the first player to ever hit a pinch-hit go ahead grand slam in a postseason game.

    The relentless Cubs fought off a late rally from the Dodgers, as both teams continued to show the fight that helped them advance in the NLDS. In fact, the Dodgers could have folded several times, but only succumbed once Joe Blanton faltered and allowed five runs in the eighth inning. In the end, it was the Cubs deeper roster that made the difference.

    The scariest part for the Dodgers is that it’s nearly impossible to cover all those bases. When you shut down one area, another will step up until the Cubs are clicking on all cylinders again.

    The thought process was probably pretty sound. Unfortunately, Blanton’s pitch execution wasn’t, and the Dodgers paid for it.

    Welcome to an exclusive club, Miguel Montero.

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  • Francisco Lindor's 'Believeland' cleats are the talk of Cleveland

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    It started with an improbable Cleveland Cavaliers rally to end the city’s 52-year championship drought. Now, the “Believeland” movement has spread from the Quicken Loans Arena to Progressive Field, where it’s currently inspiring the Cleveland Indians.

    Given their injury situation, an Indians World Series championship might be considered even more improbable than the Cavaliers rallying from a three games to one deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But that’s not stopping anyone from believing. Certainly not shortstop Francisco Lindor, whodelivered the game-deciding two-run homer in ALCS Game 1 while sporting cleats that drove home the ‘Believeland’ message.

    Francisco Lindor, on his cleats: "I believe in my team. I believe in my city. We're just trying to do our thing."

    — Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) October 15, 2016

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