Mark Townsend

  • Orioles considered boycotting game due to Rogers Centre turf issues

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 48 mins ago

    Before the on field hostilities kicked in between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, it's reported the Orioles were already displeased by the ballpark's new artificial turf, which early in the season has played very soft and thick. That's led to several unusual hops and baseballs slowing down much quicker than on normal grass or typical turf sufface. 

    In fact, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles may have been one step out the door, at one point even considering boycotting or flat out forfeiting Tuesday's game after infielder Jimmy Paredes was shaken up after taking a bad hop ground ball to the face.

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    Paredes was fine, but there were concerns about another bad hop, or worse yet, the turf potentially giving way leading to a season-changing knee or ankle injury.

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  • Josh Reddick nearly hit a walk-off Little League home run

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    The Houston Astros and Oakland A's cornered the market on crazy on Friday night, so it would have been appropriate for Josh Reddick to dash home in the 10th inning with the game-winning run, which also would have doubled as a walk-off Little League home run. 

    The thing is, this game was so crazy, a crazy A's victory wasn't good enough. It needed to go another inning, where the first-place Astros — crazy, isn't it? — could prove their resilience before holding off another wild A's rally. 

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    Digest that.

    Now we'll continue.

    Reddick, eyeing a big finish, then charged home. Unfortunately for him, closer Luke Gregorson did his job backing up the plate. Reddick ended up being out by a good 10 feet, but man, the shot of the ball bouncing away and Reddick with his head down running hard was thrilling. 

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs 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 12 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 14 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 2 days 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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