- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
Houston Astros manager Bo Porter has had a frustrating week, which might be expected when tasked with guiding a young and inexperienced ball club in the midst of a complete rebuild. We saw a bit of that frustration boil over following Thursday night's loss to the Kansas City Royals when Porter could barely discuss a costly Matt Dominguez mental error.
He may have really let it get the best of him on the field during Houston's 11-3 loss to the Oakland A's on Friday night.
The seeds of the incident were planted in the first inning: With Houston already trailing 7-0, Porter and company took exception to Oakland's Jed Lowrie laying down a bunt against a defensive shift during his second plate appearance of the inning.Sat, Apr 191:05 PM PDTHouston at OaklandPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
The hottest hitter in baseball struck again on Friday night when Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton connected on yet another impressive home run. Only this time the drama wasn't attached to how far it would go (a more than respectable 407 feet), because it served as a walk-off grand slam that gave Miami an 8-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners.
Stanton's slam came immediately after the umpires reversed a critical call at third base. Reed Johnson was originally ruled out on a force play, but the umpires determined third baseman Kyle Seager never controlled the baseball before transferring, which loaded the bases with nobody out. MLB intends on reviewing transfer plays next week, but that won't be soon enough for Seattle. It hampered the Mariners' game plan, which up to that point was to pitch around Stanton when possible.
Stanton finished the game 3 for 3 with two walks and five RBI. Through 17 games, he has six home runs and a league-high 26 RBIs. With that in mind, Saturday's game plan may call for avoidance at all costs.Sat, Apr 194:10 PM PDTSeattle at MiamiPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
You’ll often hear a baseball player going through a good stretch at the plate described as “hitting the cover off the baseball.” What you never hear is someone described as “hitting the cover off the baseball,” followed by no, seriously, he hit the cover off the baseball.
Because it never actually happens in real life.
But it did happen on Friday night in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado literally knocked the covered right off the baseball on a ground ball to third baseman Pedro Alvarez during their a 5-3 victory over the Pirates.
With the cover hanging on for dear life, Alvarez fielded the baseball cleanly and attempted to make a throw across the diamond. Predictably, that failed, as the baseball nearly fell apart at the seams in the air.
Here's a look at what was left.Sat, Apr 194:05 PM PDTMilwaukee at PittsburghPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking for a steady solution to fill out their first base platoon dating back to their trade deadline acquisition of Justin Morneau last July. They may have found their man on Friday, acquiring Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report a deal had been agreed to just minutes before New York opened their weekend series with the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York confirmed the return a short a time later.
Official: Mets receive RHP Zack Thorton and PTBN for Ike DavisSat, Apr 194:10 PM PDTAtlanta at NY MetsPreview Game
Our first position player pitching alert of the season came to us during the Boston Red Sox 6-4, 14-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox at a chilly U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. White Sox manager Robin Ventura called upon infielder Leury Garcia, who ultimately took the loss after serving up a two-run double to Jackie Bradley Jr.
Of course, typically position players on the mound are saved for blow outs and the more extreme 18-inning marathons. However, in this case Ventura had little choice aside from using a starting pitcher, which apparently wasn't an option. The biggest problem? Ventura used five different pitchers to record six outs in the eighth and ninth innings, and his aggressive strategy didn‘t work as the Red Sox still managed to rally from a 3-1 deficit to force extras. Sacrifice flies from A.J. Pierzynski and Grady Sizemore did the damage.Sat, Apr 195:05 PM PDTChi White Sox at TexasPreview Game
Former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady took the next step towards a career in professional baseball when he made his first appearance for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Wednesday night.
McGrady was named Sugar Land’s starting pitcher for their exhibition game against Alvin Community College. He lasted one inning, allowing one run on three hits, but despite the traffic needed only 15 pitches (nine strikes, six balls) to get back to the dugout.
It was a pretty efficient outing by all accounts, but it sounds as through Alvin was aggressive at the plate and swinging at everything McGrady pumped in the zone.
The Houston Astros hit the fast forward button to the future on Wednesday, calling up outfielder and top prospect George Springer to make his major league debut. The 24-year-old entered with high expectations and with a palpable buzz in the air, but didn’t look intimidated in his first appearance. In fact, he came out swinging, grounding out in his first plate appearance only because of a tremendous defensive effort by Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar.
As they often say in baseball, your luck will even out eventually. It didn't take long for Springer, because in his second plate appearance he was swinging again, and this time collected his first big league hit on a dribbler about 25 feet up the third base line.
George Springer's first major league hit went about 10 feet. He's gonna have a whole lot more, and they're gonna go a whole lot farther.
It's a line drive in the boxscore, but with all of today's video technology it will be difficult to hide the truth from his grandkids someday.
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Little League coaches emphasize it at a young age and it holds true regardless of what level of baseball a player reaches: Every defender on the diamond has a place to be on every play, even if the ball is on the other side of the field. There might be a throw to back up, a base to cover, and even a rundown to participate in. The three main rules to follow are stay alert, never assume anything, and be ready to move into action.
We got a good example of how that can even carry over into the big leagues on Wednesday afternoon, and the alertness of New York Mets right-hander Dillon Gee paid big dividends as he was able to squash a potential two-out rally in the sixth inning by following those rules, helping to preserve a 5-2 victory.
Wednesday night's battle against the Kansas City Royals may prove to be the most anticipated game of the season for the Houston Astros. That's because top prospect George Springer finally got the call he's been waiting for since the Astros selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft, and is set to make his major league debut at Minute Maid Park.
It almost feels like a landmark moment for a franchise that has been in full blown rebuilding mode for the better part of three seasons. Springer represents a new wave of talent that general manager Jeff Luhnow hopes will be the catalysts for their turn around and ascension up the AL West standings.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew5 days ago
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The quest is finally over for Justin Verlander. After winning an MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year award. After being selected to six All-Star games and appearing in 268 games overall. After accomplishing pretty much everything there is to accomplish in baseball, the Detroit Tigers ace finally added his first big league hit to his résumé.
The big moment came in the third inning on Saturday night when he ripped a single up the middle off San Diego's Ian Kennedy. It was almost literally off Kennedy, too, as it shot between his legs and skipped cleanly into center field.
It was a proud moment for Verlander, who snapped an 0-for-26 streak.
And his teammates couldn't be happier for him. Especially Max Scherzer down there on the far right.
''It felt great. It's been a long time and I can finally get all these guys off my back ...,'' Verlander said.Sat, Apr 1910:08 AM PDTLA Angels at DetroitPreview Game