Mark Townsend

  • Prankster Jacob deGrom startles Daniel Murphy during postgame interview

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    Jacob deGrom made an incredible postseason debut on Friday, striking out 13 Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mets 3-1 NLDS Game 1 victory. The means deGrom to some degree fooled 13 batters throughout the course of his seven sparkling innings.

    His opponent, Clayton Kershaw, struck out 11 in the game, so deGrom wasn't alone when it came to fooling hitters. But deGrom also didn't stop fooling them even after the game ended.

    [Also: Mets win as Jacob deGrom tops Clayton Kershaw in strikeout fest]

    In fact, during the postgame press conference, deGrom fooled the one Met who made the biggest mark on Kershaw's outing. That would be Daniel Murphy, who during the fourth inning literally branded a Kershaw fastball for home run. As Murphy was answering a question, perhaps about that home run, deGrom reached over and lowered Murphy's chair, scaring the you-know-what right out of his teammate. 

  • Daniel Murphy homers off Clayton Kershaw, leaves his branding on ball

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

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    Starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom were so good on Friday night, few batters were making contact at all, let alone squaring the baseball up. Together, Kershaw and deGrom became the first opposing starters to strikeout at least 11 batters each in a postseason game.

    [Related: Mets win as Jacob deGrom tops Clayton Kershaw is strikeout fest]

    One batter who did have luck though was Daniel Murphy. In the fourth inning, he crushed a solo home run off Clayton Kershaw that opened the scoring in the Mets 3 -1 NLDS Game 1 victory against the Dodgers.

    And we do mean crushed. Just check out the mark he left on the baseball.

    That's going to leave a mark! Murphy's HR ball literally has his name on it. #Beast #LGM #Mets

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  • NLDS Game 1: Mets win as Jacob deGrom tops Clayton Kershaw in K duel

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    While starting pitchers Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw made postseason history with their strikeout duel, the New York Mets emerged with a 3-1 victory in Game 1 of their NL division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

    The All-Star deGrom struck out 13 over seven scoreless innings to pick up the victory for New York. He topped Kershaw, the former three-time Cy Young winner, who notched 11 strikeouts of his own. Together though, they did something no other opposing starting pitchers had done in postseason history.  

    For the first time in baseball history, both starting pitchers have at least 11 K in a #postseason game.

    We can't overlook what this means to the Mets' franchise. It's their first playoff victory since 2006, and it means they'll go home Monday no worse than even in the series. 

    • Both starters were vulnerable at times, but mostly overpowering. Jacob deGrom was straight up filthy to begin the game, recording his first six outs via the strikeout. His 13-strikeout performance was a joy to watch, and it put him in elite company in Mets' postseason history.  

  • NLDS Game 1: John Lackey silences Cubs bats as Cardinals win 4-0

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    The St. Louis Cardinals kept on rolling Friday night, winning Game 1 of their NL division series against the Chicago Cubs by a 4-0 score.

    John Lackey dominated the action for St. Louis, holding the Cubs hitless through the first five innings. Chicago would mount a mild threat in the sixth, moving Addison Russell to third after his leadoff single. Russell stayed there after Dexter Fowler's long fly ball was caught at the warning track. That would be the only Cubs baserunner to reach scoring position until the ninth inning.  

    [ Also: Royals rally after early deficit in ALDS Game 2, even series with Astros ]

    • You can't say enough about John Lackey's outing. Mike Matheny looked to his veteran to set the tone in the series and Lackey responded with a strong performance. He wasn't overpowering by any means. but relentlessly attacked the strike zone and got outs. He finished with five strikeouts and one walk.  

    John Lackey's great outing wasn't a surprise to those following the Cardinals closely.

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  • Cardinals fan taunts the Cubs with 'Mount Chokemore' painting

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago

    The Chicago Cubs have decades worth of material that can be used against them for taunting purposes. It's the unfortunate reality for a franchise that hasn't won a World Series championship since 1908, and it's a reality that's never lost on fans of their biggest rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.

    With those two historic franchises now set to meet for the first time ever in the postseason, we expected the taunting to be elevated to entirely new levels. Ahead of Friday's Game 1, Cardinals fans didn't disappoint, unveiling this painting that gives a virtual tour through Cubs fans' Hell. 

    From left to right on "Mount Chokemore":

    • The Curse of the Billy Goat, which was supposedly placed on the Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley Field because his pet goat wasn't pleasant to be around. According to reports, the goat stunk, so it had to go. 

    • Of course that's Steve Bartman. He'll always be connected to the Cubs collapse in the 2003 NLCS. 

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  • NLDS preview: Cubs and Cardinals prep for first-ever postseason clash

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    That fact alone probably makes this series the marquee matchup of the opening round. However, we also must take into account that both of these teams entered the postseason with better records than anyone else still playing. That's because the NL Central absolutely dominated the competition this season with St. Louis (100 wins), the now-eliminated Pittsburgh Pirates (98) and Chicago (97) finishing with the three highest win totals in MLB.

    [Related: Yahoo Sports' MLB writers make their postseason predictions]

    That may lead to changes in the postseason seeding down the road. For this season, only one can reach the NLCS, and that should only add to the intensity of the series. The Cardinals enter as the top dog with the best record, the most postseason experience and the championship pedigree, but there's a hunger in this Cubs team that will be difficult to deny.

    We can't wait for this one.



    • 1.25: John Lackey's ERA is three starts against Chicago this season. In 21.2 innings, he did not allow a home run.

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  • Cubs fans gather at Wrigley Field to celebrate wild-card victory

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Chicago Cubs picked up their first postseason victory in 12 years on Wednesday, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in the NL wild-card game. Now they'll turn their attention to the St. Louis Cardinals, as the over one-century old rivals meet in the playoffs for the first time ever. 

    That historic series begins on Friday. In the meantime, the party is on in Chicago. Within moments of the final out in Pittsburgh, Cubs fans spilled into the streets of Wrigleyville to celebrate what truly feels like a breakthrough moment in the franchise's history. 

    The celebration! #FlytheW #CubsNation #CubsvsPirates #WrigleyField

    And they just kept coming.

    And coming.


    It was absolutely chaos, we tell ya.

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  • NL wild card: Jake Arrieta shuts out Pirates as Cubs advance to the NLDS

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Chicago Cubs aren't done yet. With their 4-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday's NL wild-card game, they have advanced to NLDS and will now ace their NL Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs rode the right arm of Jake Arrieta, who completely over matched the Pirates offense. Once Kyle Schwarber launched a two-run homer into the Allegheny River, Pittsburgh was too far buried to possibly recover. 

    • Jake Arrieta said the Pirates' fans plans to rattle him wouldn't work. He was right. Nothing could faze him, not even getting hit by a pitch and being right in the middle of a bench-clearing incident during the seventh inning. The Cubs ace silenced a rabid PNC Park crowd time and time again on his way to a four-hit shutout. Arrieta struck 11 and needed just 113 pitches as his historic second-half run continued in the postseason. 

    • The top of Chicago's order really set the pace in this game. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler picked up three hits in the game, including a fifth-inning home run. He added two singles, a stolen base and scored three runs. 

    When the going gets tough, Jake Arrieta only gets tougher. 

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  • Rockies will retain manager Walt Weiss for 2016 season

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The verdict is in on Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss.

    As first reported by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Weiss will return to the Rockies dugout for the 2016 season, which is also the final year of his contract.'s Thomas Harding backed up Rosenthal's report a short time later, stating that both Weiss and general manager Jeff Bridich were willing to confirm the skipper's return.  

    [Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness.]

    #Rockies manager Walt Weiss and GM Jeff Bridich each said Weiss will return to dugout in '16. They're discussing ways to imrprove

    During Weiss' tenure, the Rockies have had multiple general managers and multiple pitching coaches, sometimes at the same time, which only muddied the waters and highlighted the organization's lack of direction. The Rockies have gone 208-278 during Weiss' tenure, including two last place finishes and one fourth place.

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  • Ichiro Suzuki re-signs with Marlins, continues pursuit of 3,000 MLB hits

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Ichiro Suzuki's quest to reach 3,000 hits in Major League Baseball will continue in 2016.

    The future Hall of Famer, legendary hitting aficionado, and occasional relief ace, re-signed with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, Ichiro will receive $2 million in 2016, and the Marlins will also hold a $2-million option for 2017 season.

    [Play a Daily Fantasy contest for cash today!]

    Ichiro, who turns 42 on Oct. 22, will be entering his 16th big league season — his second with the Marlins — just 65 hits shy of 3,000. Between Japan and MLB, Ichiro has collected a total of 4,213 professional hits, which ranks second all-time to Pete Rose's 4,256. He'll return to Miami in the same outfield reserve role he occupied in 2015, but that should still give him a fair shot at reaching one or both of those milestones.

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