Mark Townsend

  • The Walk Off: Edinson Volquez's nightmare start among worst ever

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    Friday's 15-game slate didn't feature a single marquee pitching matchup. With that in mind, it should come as no real surprise that the night was dominated by offense, with all 30 teams combining to score 173 total runs on 293 totals hits. 

    Yeah, it was a rough night for a lot of pitcher's ERA. None more so though than Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, who may have turned in the worst start of baseball's modern era in Kansas City's 13-4 loss to the Astros.

    The numbers are downright awful. Volquez was knocked around for nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits in the first inning alone.

    .@astros 9-run 1st inning vs Royals: Triple RBI single Single Out RBI single RBI single BB Error, run scores RBI single Grand Slam Out Out


    If that wasn't bad enough, Royals' manager Ned Yost rolled with Volquez again in the second inning, where he allowed three more runners to reach without recording an out. As you can probably guess, all three of those runners came around to score, putting Volquez's outing in uncharted territory.

  • Rajai Davis turns wild juggling catch into game-ending double play

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 8 hrs ago

    Coming into Friday's game at Comerica Park, Cleveland had won each of the first six matchups. On top of that, Cleveland had won six straight games overall after sweeping back-to-back home series against the White Sox and Rays.

    Those trends did not bode well for Detroit,. Based on the crazy finish to Friday's game, they may even be destined to continue forever. Despite the Tigers challenging the Indians bullpen in a dramatic ninth inning, Cleveland still walked away with a 7-4 victory after center fielder Rajai Davis reached into his bag of tricks to save the day.

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    The catch itself was remarkable, strange and also very confusing for the baserunners. By the time Davis pulled it in, Ian Kinsler had already crossed home plate and Cameron Maybin was at third base, meaning a game-ending double play was one long throw away.

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  • Holy cow! Javier Baez dives into stands to make crazy catch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago

    Javier Baez is doing everything he can to carve out a regular role on an incredibly deep Chicago Cubs roster.

    He went a long way toward accomplishing that during Friday's 5-4 win in Miami, diving into the stands to make arguably the best defensive play in baseball this season.

    Baez measured the foul ball off the bat of Miami's J.T. Realmuto the whole way, but seemed to be running out of room as he approached the wall about halfway up the third base line. At that point, the 23-year-old risk-taker decided nothing was going to stop him from completing the catch, so he launched himself into the air and ultimately into the stands to give himself the best shot.

    The effort obviously paid off, as Baez made the play. He also avoided injury, which may have actually been the better news to the injury-riddled Cubs.  

    .@javy23baez absolutely giving up the body:

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  • Minor league team's special honor for player's cancer-stricken son

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 13 hrs ago

    When the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers take the field for Super Hero Night on Friday, their jerseys will look a lot different than usual. That's because the team is honoring a super hero within its own family in four-year-old Miles Mortensen.

    Mortensen, who's the son of current Omaha reliever and former major leaguer Clayton Mortensen, is currently undergoing treatment following a cancer relapse last month. As a show of support during his courageous fight, the team decided to create a special custom jersey that would be worn in Miles' honor.

    The team even included its fans in the process by holding a contest earlier this month. The winning jersey was designed by Nicole Pappas of Boston, and according to will feature players and coaches wearing capes on the back of their jerseys as part of the design.

    Yeah, these jerseys are pretty awesome! And that's due in large part to the fact that Miles himself was able to select the winning uniform.

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  • Yasiel Puig adds to Michael Taylor's misery with dramatic walkoff

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    With the Dodgers down a run in the ninth inning and a runner on first, Yasiel Puig hit a rocket single to center field that put them in good position to at worst tie the game.

    That's when disaster struck for Washington, as center fielder Michael Taylor allowed the baseball to scoot under his glove and roll to the wall. At that point, all heck broke loose and both Puig and lead runner Howie Kendrick were off to the races. The end result was Puig dramatically belly-flopping into home plate with the absolutely stunning winning run for the Dodgers. 

    It was one of those exhilarating plays that will be talked about for a long time because of the circumstances involved and, let's face it, because of the personality involved. Everything Yasiel Puig does is going to get some attention. When he hits a walk-off Little League home run — it was officially scored a single and a three-base error — then it's going to be the talk of the baseball world. 

    Washington's leadoff man finished 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. That's a dreadful night any way you slice it, but it's especially bad and a lot more unexpected coming from a leadoff man.  

  • The Walk Off: Cardinals complete rare series sweep at Wrigley Field

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    After pulling off two one-run victories to open the series, history and logic did not favor the St. Louis Cardinals completing the three-game series sweep on Wednesday afternoon in Chicago.

    That's because St. Louis had not swept a three-game series at Wrigley Field since 1988. They were also facing perhaps the most dominant starting pitcher in MLB over the last 15 months in Jake Arrieta. They were coming off a homestand in which they lost all five games to Houston and Texas. Oh, and you've probably heard the 2016 Chicago Cubs have been on fire all season, posting a 47-20 record while holding a 12 1/2--game lead over the Cardinals coming into this series.

    None of that seemed to bother the Cardinals though. Instead, they proved they could hang with Chicago by not only winning those first two games, but by completing the unexpected sweep with a 7-2 win




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  • Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Utley team up for crazy circus catch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    This is why we should always expect the unexpected.

    During Wednesday's game against the Washington Nationals, Gonzalez was involved in a circus-like "catch of the year" candidate, teaming up with second baseman Chase Utley to rob Nationals' pitcher Joe Ross of another swing.

    It was one of those plays that had nothing or disaster written all over it. Either Gonzalez, Utley, and Yasiel Puig, who also raced in from right field, weren't going to make he grab, or they were going to collide in the process of not making the catch.

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    Instead, the efforts of these Dodgers defied the odds, as Utley blindly swiped at the ball and deflected it directly to Gonzalez, who bobbled and secured it for the out.

    Teamwork makes the dream work.

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  • MLB planning unique way to honor dedicated fans

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    For decades baseball fans have debated which players deserved to have their jersey numbers retired by their respective MLB teams. Now it's MLB's turn to debate which dedicated fans deserve the very same honor from the league itself.

    On Wednesday, the league announced that for the first time ever, one dedicated fan will have his or her jersey retired during at the "Enshrine Mine" event at the MLB All-Star FanFest on Sunday, July 10th.  

    Of course, you're probably wondering what jerseys we're talking about. Well, that's entirely up to you, the fan. The idea is to feature the jersey that has the most meaning to you, and then explain why it deserves this new honor.

    Here's a better explanation from the league's press release:

    It's also noted that the same fan will win an All-Star prize package, which includes round-trip flights and accommodations for two in San Diego, and tickets to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game (July 10th), T-Mobile Home Run Derby (July 11th) and the MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard at Petco Park (July 12th).

    Good luck to all.  

  • Bryce Harper meets Vin Scully, honors him with heartfelt message

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    With legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully set to retire at season's end, opposing teams realize he will be calling their games for the final time when they visit Dodger Stadium. 

    For many players, that hits home pretty strongly as there was no greater honor than knowing Scully was on the call when they were on the field. That's the level of respect Scully has earned from generations upon generations of players, and it continues now in his 67th and final season. 

    One player who really appreciates Scully though happens to be Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. That's because Harper listened to Scully’s classic calls and unforgettable stories many a night while growing up in Las Vegas. He especially wanted to say thank you for always making baseball fun for the home viewers, and he got that chance before Washington's series finale in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

    .@Bharper3407 and VIN Scully #Dodgers #Nationals

  • Terry Collins takes harsh jab at Mets PR man at news conference

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    New York Mets manager Terry Collins was in no mood to discuss Noah Syndergaard's ailing right elbow following Wednesday's 4-3 win against the Kansas City Royals. That much became clear during an awkward public exchange with Jay Horwitz, the team's well-known public relations manager, who had urged the Mets' skipper to address the issue during his postgame news conference. 

    As video of the incident shows, Collins had no intentions of bringing up Syndergaard's elbow, which flared up at the end of his six-inning outing, unless prompted by a question. That question never came, but Horwitz still pushed Collins, leading to the Mets skipper taking an unnecessary shot at Horwitz.  

    “The puppy dog wants you guys to know that Noah Syndergaard’s seeing the doctor,” an annoyed Collins spat into the microphone. “His elbow flared up on him. That’s why I took him out of the game.”

    Collins then stormed off without providing further details. 

    Several outlets have confirmed the insult was directed at Horwitz.

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