Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew15 mins ago
Perhaps the most intriguing LDS series begins Thursday night in Anaheim. The Kansas City Royals finally took the step many anticipated was coming this season, snapping their 29-year playoff drought by qualifying for the AL wild card. After beating Oakland in a 12th-inning, wild-card thriller, they'll play in their first October series since the 1985 World Series. The Los Angeles Angels have fallen short the past two seasons despite a very talented roster, but they too have put the disappointment behind them, allowing Mike Trout to make his much anticipated postseason debut.
The Royals don't look a typical postseason team. They finished the season with a league-low 95 home runs. What they like to do is pitch, play defense, make contact and run the bases, while keeping constant pressure on the opposition. Even though they won an MLB-best 98 games, the Angels have their problems as well. They enter October with one healthy and reliable starter in Jered Weaver, but they can definitely score in bunches with Trout, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick leading the offense.Thu, Oct 26:07 PM PDTKansas City at LA AngelsPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 hr ago
A lot of people didn't expect the Baltimore Orioles to be here, the AL East champs, with home-field advantage in the divisional round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, most expected the Detroit Tigers would be in the postseason again. The Tigers are in the ALDS for the fourth straight season, and they've advanced each time.
These aren't the same Tigers we've seen in the past few years. They're better in some ways (those three Cy Youngs are scary) and worse in others (the bullpen is a different kind of scary). Meanwhile, the Orioles are a team with a potent lineup, better-than-you-think pitching and they haven't let injuries derail them.
Detroit owned Baltimore in the season series, but those games were played back in April and May. The Orioles are a better, more confident team now. The Tigers are a different team too. They added David Price. Victor Martinez stepped up with an MVP-like season.Thu, Oct 22:37 PM PDTDetroit at BaltimorePreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
Miguel Cabrera has been close enough to winning a World Series the past few years with the Detroit Tigers, that it's become his singular focus in 2014.
As the Tigers prepare to open the ALDS on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles, Cabrera wasn't even interested in filling out the paperwork that will get him a playoff bonus.
And it's not that he doesn't want to fill out some papers. He told teammates that he doesn't even want the money. He just wants to win.
Cabrera won a World Series as a rookie with the Marlins in 2003, but hasn't since. The Tigers made the World Series in 2012, but were swept by the Giants.
Do you think Cabrera — who has otherwise excelled the past five years — stews on not grabbing the postseason's top prize recently?
Here's what went down with Cabrera and his bonus money, according to Paul White from USA Today, who was in the Tigers clubhouse Wednesday in Baltimore:
- Nick Bromberg at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
Katie Castan will get her puppy, but she's waiting until after the playoffs to adopt.
Castan was the Kansas City Royals fan spotted by TBS cameras in the middle of the fifth inning of Tuesday's wild card game between the Oakland A's and Royals holding a sign saying the man she was with would buy her a puppy if the Royals won.
When we went to look for her in the 10th inning of Tuesday night's game, we found her section, but the fans around her said she left. While Castan and her boyfriend had left their seats, they hadn't left the ballpark. Castan emailed us after the game was over with a picture from the outfield concourse. The two had moved to the fountain area in the seventh inning for another beverage and to try to spark the Royals.
- Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Now that Derek Jeter is done with his richly rewarding life as a star for the New York Yankees, it looks as if he's moving onto another profession that's just as respected and well paid.
OK, so maybe Jeter won't be waking up every morning to create GIFs and quip on that day's news. But it does look like he has an eye on becoming the Arianna Huffington of athlete-produced content with "The Players' Tribune," a website Jeter believes will become a direct line from athletes to fans.
Jeter announced the creation of the website with a letter on the site Wednesday morning and is listed as "the founding publisher."
Jeter, who has listed publishing as a post-career interest for awhile now and owns his own book imprint, says his goal is "to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bringing fans closer than ever to the games they love."
And just so we get the irony out of the way: The man who became famous by saying almost nothing of note during a 20-year career now says he has something to say.
- David Brown at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
Cops love baseball too. Just like the rest of the community felt the excitement of the Kansas City Royals being in the playoffs Tuesday night for the first time in 29 years, so did the Kansas City (Mo.) police. One problem, of course: It's hard to depend on criminals also catching Royals Fever so thoroughly that they forget to commit crimes so law enforcement also can enjoy the game.
But, in case local scofflaws were feeling the least bit civic, the KCPD took to Twitter in the late innings of Kansas City's 9-8 victory against the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game:
We really need everyone to not commit crimes and drive safely right now. We'd like to hear the @Royals clinch this.
One of the greatest tweets of all time. The best part, aside from the half-joking audacity and sass, is the "really." We really need this, you guys. It wasn't an unreasonable request, given:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
This probably wasn't how Adam Dunn imagined things would go.
Dunn was traded to the Oakland Athletics from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 31 as Oakland looked to add postseason power. It was going to be the slugger's first time in the playoffs in his 14-year career. He finished the regular season with 2,001 MLB games played, the most of any active player who hadn't been to the postseason. His chance, finally, was here.Tue, Sep 30Oakland8 - 9Kansas CityGame Recap
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
There's no doubt the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco have taken two vastly different roads to reach the 2014 NL wild-card game.
For the Pirates, there are 20 years of futility now firmly placed in the rearview mirror. The satisfaction of a winning season and simply making the postseason in 2013 has given way to desires of winning their first World Series championship since 1979. For the battled-tested Giants, they've been there and done that twice since 2010, but the hunger for a third championship is strong.
The Pirates appeared in the first NL wild card game in 2013, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 at PNC Park. The Giants, on the other hand, haven't played in a one-game playoff. If Pittsburgh has one edge, as slight as it might be, that one-game experience could be it. That said, this is about the most unpredictable scenario any team can face — just ask the Royals and the A's. No matter the path they've taken, the pressure on each is the same. It's win-or-go-home.LiveSan Francisco0 - 0PittsburghFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Arrowhead Stadium receives lots of attention for being the loudest place in sports when the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs play there. As the Oakland Athletics found out Tuesday night in the American League wild-card game, the ballpark across the parking lot at the Truman Sports Complex can get deafening enough to affect the outcome of a baseball game, too.
A's outfielder Sam Fuld credited Kansas City fans with an assist after neither he nor Jonny Gomes could catch Eric Hosmer's fly ball in the 12th inning that turned into a triple and sparked the Royals' final comeback in a rollicking 9-8 victory that sent them to the AL Division Series.
- Nick Bromberg at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Salvador Perez just needed to take a pitch.
A player not known for his patience at the plate, Perez was especially antsy in the late innings of Tuesday's wild-card win against the Oakland A's. With the Royals trailing 7-6 with one out and runners on the corners in the bottom of the eighth, Perez, the Royals' All-Star catcher, was facing the A's Luke Gregerson.
Gregerson, a righty reliever who relies primarily on his slider, attacked Perez with the pitch. Perez was more than willing to go after it. Gregerson threw three straight sliders and Perez chased all three, unable to lay off the last one before it bounced in the dirt. Perez was the second out and the Royals didn't score again in the inning.
After Kansas City tied it in the ninth inning, Perez was up with Eric Hosmer on third and two outs in the 10th. He fouled the first pitch and swung at the second, grounding out softly to second.