Mark Townsend

  • Phillies knock off Braves on Freddie Freeman's walk-off error

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    The previously red hot Atlanta Braves were cooled off in New York to begin the week. Now it would appear they're frozen after dropping their weekend series opener 1-0 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

    The fact the game ended 1-0 is painful enough for Atlanta. That they only mustered two hits against Aaron Harang, who was in their rotation last season, adds some salt to the wound. But the kicker has to be their defense, which committed four errors on the evening. The final one led directly to the game's only run, as Freddie Freeman was unable to handle Ben Revere's ninth-inning chopper.

    Freeman and the entire infield were drawn in on the play to cut down the winning run at home. It might have worked, but the ball squirted away before Freeman could corral it, which allowed Freddy Galvis to sprint home. It goes down as a game-winning RBI for Revere, and a walk-off error for Freeman, who committed only five errors all last season.

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    Hint: They didn't win. 

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  • Mark Teixeira homers twice as Yankees snap Mets 11-game winning streak

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    If the New York Mets are to make history this season, it will have to wait, because the New York Yankees weren't having any part of it on Friday night.

    In the first-ever Subway Series battle that featured both teams entering play in first place, the Yankees dismissed the Mets bid for a franchise record 12th straight win with a 6-1 victory.

    The victory was the Yankees seventh in their last eight games, which includes a sweep in Tampa Bay and taking three of four in Detroit. That officially makes them the hottest team in the American League. It also snapped the Mets 11-game winning streak, which matched the franchise record set in 1990.

    The Yankees rode the hot bat of Mark Teixeira, who launched a pair of two-run home runs off Mets' starter Jacob deGrom, and the right arm of Michael Pineda, who improved to 3-0 with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball.  

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  • Addison Russell robs Billy Hamilton with ridiculous backhand

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    Addison Russell's first week with the Chicago Cubs hasn't been nearly as buzzy as that of fellow top prospect Kris Bryant. But don't worry, baseball fans, he's still showing us flashes of the brilliance we expect to witness for the next 15 years

    That includes  this remarkable webgem from Friday night, which robbed Reds speedster Billy Hamilton of a sure hit.

    With Hamilton batting in the fifth inning, Russell, who's a shortstop by trade and a second baseman by necessity in Chicago, was playing pretty much straight up. That seemed to put him out of position when Hamilton laced a ground ball toward the middle that was ticketed for center field.

    Honestly, with Hamilton's crazy speed, the placement of the ball looked like a sure hit regardless of whether it actually squirted through the infield, but Russell had other ideas. 

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  • Torii Hunter attempts straight steal of home, kills Twins rally

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is known for its fountains in the outfield, but clearly the Fountain of Youth is nowhere within its confines.

    We know as much, because despite Torii Hunter's most aggressive efforts to relive his younger, more athletic days during Wednesday's Twins-Royals tilt, his efforts were met with disappointment and despair.

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    With the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, Hunter thought he might catch Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie off guard by charging down the third-base line with an attempted straight steal of home plate.

    At the time, the thought process was honestly quite puzzling. 

    Torii Hunter has stolen home once before - 5/4/02 vs. Detroit. #MNTwins

    As we learned after the game, it was actually entirely strategic based on observations he'd made about Guthrie.

    He even got the nod of approval from manager Paul Moiltor.

    And that's the real issue here. The timing.

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  • Giants benefit from non-interference call to upend Dodgers

    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.

    A battle that started with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner on the mound was ultimately decided in the ninth inning following a non-interference call involving San Francisco Giants third-base coach Roberto Kelly.

    With the game tied, runners on first and second and one out, Brandon Belt lined a single to left that for a moment seemed to be leading to a game-deciding play at home plate. That's because, for a moment Kelly was waving home pinch-runner Gregor Blanco with all his might, but then as Blanco neared third base he changed his mind and put up the stop sign while positioning himself close to the bag.

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    The non-call was obviously the talk in both clubhouses after the game, and based on comments from Mattingly it may not be the last we hear of this play.

    Stay tuned, folks. . 

  • Juan Lagares channels Willie Mays as Mets extend winning streak to 10

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    How well are things going for the New York Mets right now?

    All one needs to do to find the answer is watch the incredible catch made by center fielder Juan Lagares during Wednesday night's 3-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves, which extended New York's winning to streak to 10.

    It happened on a seventh-inning rocket off the bat of Atlanta's Jace Peterson. Lagares got twisted around a bit in his pursuit, which under the circumstances is excusable. As they always say, the hardest ball to judge is the line drive right at you, and this truly was a missile that ended up with more slice than Lagares anticipated.

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    Not that it was any problem for Lagares. As he continued tracking the baseball, he showed incredible athleticism to not only keep up with the fast-traveling baseball, but to contort his body on the run to make an awkward yet exceptional over-the-shoulder catch. 

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  • Yankees and Tigers play through snow, and David Price struggled mightily

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    If you live in the upper midwest and parts of the northeast,  then you're well aware that Wednesday was a miserable day weather wise. Perhaps not necessarily miserable by winter weather standards, but April 22 and baseball standards it was actually something beyond miserable.

    You probably won't get an argument from too many New York Yankees or Detroit Tigers in particular. After playing through the cold, wind and some occasional rain on Monday and Tuesday night, they were subjected to the s-word on Wednesday at Comerica Park.

    I'll spell it out for you but refuse to actually say it: S-N-O-W.

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    This was the scene in the first inning. 

    Though it can't entirely be blamed on the cold and wet conditions, Tigers' left-hander David Price looked the least comfortable of everybody on the field. The former Cy Young Award winner required 51 pitches just to record the first three outs, and along the way allowed six runs on five hits, two walks and one hit batter.

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  • Bernie Williams to formally retire with Yankees, nine years after final game

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Nobody likes filling out paperwork, though it appears no one likes it less than former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams.

    Nine years after making his final major-league appearance, Williams, now 46, has finally requested his retirement papers and is scheduled to put pen-to-paper on Friday. 

    In fact, according to a Yankees announcement on Wednesday, Williams will formally announce his retirement and hold a press conference with general manager Brian Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman at Yankee Stadium prior to the Yankees hosting the New York Mets. 

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    .@bw51official will formally sign his retirement papers at a press conference on Friday at Yankee Stadium. pic.twitter.com/kX7KAXjlTZ

    It's noted that as part of Friday's festivities, the Yankees will unveil a logo related to those events on the field.

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  • Jose Bautista out with shoulder injury aggravated by ill-advised throw

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    Amidst the drama on Tuesday night between Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista and a slew of Baltimore Orioles, most notably pitcher Jason Garcia and outfielder Adam Jones, came an aggressive and seemingly unnecessary decision on Bautista's part which could prove costly for Toronto.

    Fortunately, it did not involve any physicality between the two teams. Unfortunately, at least for the Blue Jays, Bautista's pre-existing shoulder injury was aggravated on an aggressive but ill-advised throw that was clearly fueled by his anger.  

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    To set up the scene: After Bautista responded to a Garcia fastball that sailed behind his back by launching a monster home run, Bautista sauntered around the bases, exchanging words with first baseman Steve Pearce and second baseman Ryan Flaherty. Following the inning, that escalated into an exchange of words with Adam Jones, who reportedly called Bautista's actions bush league.  

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  • Jon Lester tosses entire glove to first base to record an out

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    Yasiel Puig has the bat flip. Bryce Harper has the hair flip. And now Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester has the "baseball's stuck in the webbing, so here comes the whole glove" flip.

    During Sunday's afternoon game at Wrigley Field, Lester was forced to get creative when Clint Barmes' ground ball got wedged in the webbing of his glove. Rather than panic, though, Lester jogged several steps toward first base before tossing his entire glove to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

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    It's a play that's happened a few times before in baseball, but it never gets old watching the process unfold. There's that moment when the fielder, usually a pitcher, first realizes his predicament. There's the quick dash toward first base. Then there's the flip itself, which always looks like a disaster waiting to happen but never is.

    It's also quite interesting and a bit fitting that Lester was involved in a play such as this.

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