Big League Stew
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew34 mins ago
Like many baseball players who grew up in the 90s, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson looked up to San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds. It's easy to see why. Bonds put up tremendous numbers on the field. It also helps that, like Pederson, he was a lefty with excellent power and plate discipline.
So, when Pederson had a chance to finally meet one of baseball idols, he was pretty excited. During a series against the Miami Marlins, Pederson introduced himself to Bonds and told him how much he enjoyed watching him play.
What should have been a joyous occasion for Pederson quickly became awkward after the outfielder asked Bonds for a picture. According to Pederson, Bonds just turned away from him and didn't answer the question.
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew42 mins ago
When the powers that be at Major League Baseball came up with the idea to alter the strike zone they didn't ask Adam Wainwright for his input.
There aren't many pitchers in baseball with a better grasp of the strike zone than the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander, who is best known for his pinpoint command and his ability to keep the ball down.
Given Wainwright's bona fides, it isn't all that surprising he isn't in favor of the bottom of the strike zone being raised to the top of a batter's knees.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew57 mins ago
There's no such thing as an automatic win in baseball, but Jake Arrieta Day has essentially become that for the Chicago Cubs.
That continued to be true on Wednesday, despite the fact that Arrieta posted his worst outing in over one year.
Arrieta allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits over five innings, but extended two remarkable streaks as the Cubs ultimately outslugged the Cardinals 9-8.
Arrieta won his 20th straight decision, which in its own right is very impressive. Beyond that, the Cubs have now won the last 23 regular season games started by Arrieta, which ties the MLB record set by the Braves and Kris Medlen.
- Big League Stew staff at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
The New York Mets have reached the point where they have a Matt Harvey problem again. And the 2016 version of the Matt Harvey problem is unlike any the Mets have faced with their ace thus far in his career.
It's not like last season when they were arguing about how many innings he'd pitch coming off Tommy John surgery. Or like when they clashed with him about his rehab plans after surgery. Nope, this one is all the way on the other side of the baseball spectrum. Matt Harvey is a mess and, so far, he hasn't been able to fix himself.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
Talk about a long shot. If the Major League Baseball season ended today, Texas Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara would finish the year with the longest home run of the season.
Mazara accomplished the feat Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels. In the top of the second inning, Mazara belted an 83 mph cutter from Angels starter Hector Santiago deep into the upper deck in right field for a solo shot. The ball traveled an incredible 491 feet, making Mazara's blast the longest hit this season.
It's early, of course, and Mazara could eventually lose this accomplishment. That said, hitting a ball 491 feet is no easy task. And while Mazara has proven himself to be a tremendous player thus far, the odds that he would hit the longest home run of the season had to be astronomical.
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
To the chagrin of baseball fans everywhere, the Vin Scully farewell tour will not include the All-Star game.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated writes that Scully, who is in his 67th and final season calling Dodgers games, has declined an invitation from Fox to take part in their broadcast of the upcoming Midsummer Classic. The network made it clear to Scully they were willing to accommodate him and proposed a number of options to get him in the booth.
With the game in San Diego, there was some hope Scully would be willing to come down from Los Angeles, but even a short trip wasn't enough to get him to change his answer.
Scully's reasoning lines up with his principles: he doesn't want to take any attention away from the players who will take the field July 12 at Petco Park representing their respective leagues.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
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It's still early, but the Philadelphia Phillies have easily been the most surprising team in baseball. Many projected the club to be among the worst teams in the majors prior to the start of the year. Instead, they are 25-21, and sit just three games out of first place in their division.
While the Phillies have shown they have more talent than most people expected, the club occasionally has to resort to clever tricks in order to get ahead. The team proved as much Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers, pulling off a rare steal of home.
Andres Blanco steaks home. pic.twitter.com/p57KJmJ5vO
Anyone who has played Little League will understand what happened here. With men on first and third, the Phillies called for a steal of second base. In doing so, they decided to utilize one of the oldest tricks in the baseball book.
- Will Laws, PointAfter at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
Any day now, Major League Baseball will reveal its first fan voting update for the 2016 All-Star game in San Diego. It might seem too early to consider who deserves to earn bids to the Midsummer Classic, but online fan voting commenced on April 24.
One can debate the merits of that starting point, but since the ballot boxes have been stuffed for more than a month now, it’s high time to discuss which players have matured into All-Star caliber performers this year.
Though Weekly Rotation, brought to you by PointAfter, usually ranks five baseball-related things, the format is being mixed up a bit this week. Like some clubs occasionally need to stretch out to a six-man rotation to cruise through particularly grueling sections of their schedule, Weekly Rotation will instead highlight six players who deserve All-Star calls: two pitchers and four batters.
Note: All statistics are accurate as of games played through May 24.
2016 Stats: .346/.415/.622 slash line, 54 hits, MLB-best four triples, 8 HRs in 44 games
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik is known for one thing. No, it's not his 11-year minor-league baseball career, or the fact that he has a .520 winning percentage in 18 seasons as a minor-league manager. Anyone would be proud of those accomplishments.
Instead, the manager of the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate is defined by something far more sinister. Any time he's ejected from a game, he completely loses his mind.
Mikulik was at it again Tuesday. In a game against the Tulsa Drillers, Mikulik went on a three-minute tirade after being ejected from the contest.
The whole thing started after the umps enforced the new slide rule at second base. The umps ruled double-play, and that sent Mikulik into a rage. There's a lot going on during this tirade, so we figured it might be easier if we just broke it down by event.
This ejection features the following:
- Liz Roscher at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
Shifts are the best or worst thing in baseball, depending on which side you're on. They're great when your favorite team uses them, but less so when they stop your favorite team from getting on base.
Regardless, they're a useful weapon for teams to employ against batters who routinely hit to a certain area. The San Diego Padres, who need every bit of help they can get, tried an outfield shift on Tuesday night during their game against the San Francisco Giants. It didn't go so well.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Padres decided to try an outfield shift against Giants third baseman Matt Duffy. They moved center fielder John Jay into right center field, moved right fielder Matt Kemp into far right field, and had left fielder Melvin Upton Jr. move to left center.