Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 hrs 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.
If for some reason you're still not convinced the Houston Astros are for real, perhaps their three-game sweep of the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals can sway your opinion. The Astros completed the sweep with a hard fought 6-5 victory on Wednesday night.
After falling behind 3-0 in the second inning, Houston rallied to score five in the middle innings to take the lead. Chris Carter's 100th career home run opened their scoring. After Marwin Gonzalez homered and likely All-Star Jose Altuve tied the game with an RBI single, Evan Gattis put them ahead with a two-run single in the fifth.
The resilient Royals didn't fade away though, tying the game again in the seventh on Jarrod Dyson's two-run triple. Houston scored the winner in their half of the seventh on Carter's fielder's choice. Not exactly the most thrilling winning run, but very fitting for the Astros.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
Aside from October, July might just be baseball's most dramatic and unpredictable month. Of course, that's mainly because the non-waiver trade deadline always falls on its final day, and now that we've officially crossed the threshold from June, the craziness is bound to begin very soon.
One pitcher whose future is almost certain to be impacted in the next 30 days is Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The 2014 All-Star and Cy Young Award runner-up is having another season that will put him in the conversation for both honors. In 15 starts this season, Cueto is 5-5 with a 2.84 ERA over 104 2/3 innings. Last season, he was 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA over a league-leading 243 2/3 innings.
The only difference this season is he's doing it for a Reds team on the outside of the postseason picture looking in, and with a contract that's set to make him a free agent come season's end. Basically, he fits every criteria there is for a player who is certain to be traded, the only questions now are when and where.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
Oakland Athletics ace Sonny Gray was unable to make Tuesday's scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies with what was simply described as illness. On Wednesday, we learned Gray wasn't battling the flu or a common cold, but rather a severe case of bacterial gastroenteritis, which forced him to spend Monday and Tuesday night in the hospital.
The good news, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, is that Gray was improving on Wednesday. Following Oakland's 4-1 win against the Colorado Rockies, she was also among the first to report that Gray was discharged from the hospital. But there's still some question about when he might be able to return to the mound.
Chris Bassitt made the start for Gray on Tuesday, tossing five innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 loss to Colorado. Bassitt will remain with the A's through the weekend in case he's needed again to make Gray's scheduled start against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.Thu, Jul 29:40 PM EDTColorado at ArizonaPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
The Butler did it on Wednesday night. Not once, but twice.
Of course, we're talking about Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Joey Butler, who in one game managed to spoil Carlos Carrasco's bid for a perfect game and no-hitter in two separate late-inning plate appearances.
Carrasco entered the seventh inning having retired all 18 batters he'd faced to that point. He made it 19 straight when he retired Kevin Kaiermeir leading off the inning, which led to an epic battle with Butler. After eight pitches, including four two-strike pitches, Butler ended up drawing a walk to end the perfect game.
Carrasco's bid for his professional no-hitter would continue in the ninth inning. Despite a rough start to the inning — Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch — Carrasco moved to within one out of history. Only Joey Butler stood in his way again, and Butler spoiled it again, lining a two-strike single just out of the reach of a leaping Jason Kipnis at second base.
Oh, the heartbreak.
Oh, the pain.Thu, Jul 212:10 PM EDTCleveland at Tampa BayPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
The interleague series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers got off to an intense start Tuesday night at Comerica Park.
The spark happened in the fourth inning when Tigers starter Justin Verlander clipped Pittsburgh's Starling Marte on the forearm with a 1-2 pitch. During the next half-inning, Pirates' ace Gerrit Cole drilled Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez with a 95-mph fastball to the backside. That did not sit well with Martinez, who shot a glare toward Cole as he slowly made his way to first base.
Martinez wasn't alone in feeling the pitch was intentional. In the next half-inning, Justin Verlander returned the favor again by drilling Pedro Alvarez with his first pitch. At that point, both benches were warned, but the bad blood was already boiling and it doesn't appear to have settled down as the teams entered play on Wednesday.
In fact, Martinez was quoted as saying he's lost respect for the Pirates organization as a result of the perceived targeting, which sets the stage for some more potential hostilities.Thu, Jul 21:08 PM EDTPittsburgh at DetroitPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Joc and Giancarlo, that pair sounds like it could be a lot of things — a melodic rap duo, for instance, or twin sons of a move star. Maybe a pair of chefs with a hip food truck.
They're also the two guys who ruled baseball's home-run distance game in June. We're talking, of course, about Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. And now that the calendar has flipped to July, it's time for The Stew, like we always do, to look at the longest homers from the month that just ended.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
With Jerry Dipoto officially out as general manager, the Los Angeles Angels have named Bill Stoneman, the architect of their 2002 World Series championship team, as the Angels' interim replacement, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports.
The news was revealed just moments before the Angels took on the New York Yankees Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.
Source: Bill Stoneman will become the #Angels' interim GM, with Matt Klentak basically serving as his No. 2. No Bud Black.
According to Gonzalez, the Angels could open a wider search for a permanent replacement this offseason, or could promote assistant general manager Matt Klentak. It was reported earlier Wednesday that both Klentak and Scott Servais, the team's other assistant GM, would remain with the club.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
At this rate, we're going to run out of high-profile prospects! OK, not really, but baseball's year of prospect continues with another big bat headed to the big leagues.
Miguel Sano, the freakish third baseman in the Minnesota Twins organization, is the latest to get the call, reports MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. After losing 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, the Twins sent Kennys Vargas to Double-A, a move that had some mouths in Minnesota watering for Sano. And it will be so, reportedly.
Just heard from a well-placed source that Miguel Sano will be getting the call up to the Twins.
Sano is a 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic who swings a big stick. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds, so he's very much an imposing physical specimen. Sano had been crushing the ball in Double-A lately, hitting .329 in June with a 1.090 OPS and six homers.Thu, Jul 28:10 PM EDTMinnesota at Kansas CityPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
One of the best things about Detroit Tigers pitcher David Price is that he's just as much of a baseball fan as anybody. He truly enjoys the game, his fellow players and the opportunities baseball affords him. That's not just money, either, that's a front-row seat to watch Miguel Cabrera do Miguel Cabrera things every day.
"This is a brotherhood," Price tells The Stew. "The coolest part for me is just to get to meet different people, to have different relationships, to get to know people on a personal level that you see on ESPN on an everyday basis doing really cool stuff in their sport. To me, that's what I'm always going to take away from this game, the relationships that I've been able to make."
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
Baseball streaks can be fickle. One minute, you're on a five-game winning streak, then, presto chango, all of the sudden you've lost eight straight contests.
Nobody understands this better than Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Maddon is known for keeping his clubhouses pretty loose, particularly when things get rough. That's why he decided to hire a magician to inspire the Cubs during a recent five-game losing streak.
Maddon apparently pulled the idea out of his ... hat after a weekend series in St. Louis, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.
Maddon thought of the idea "on the plane or bus" after the Cubs' weekend series in St. Louis, where they were swept. They were on a season-high five-game losing streak, having fallen 11½ games behind the Cardinals going into Tuesday's games.Thu, Jul 21:10 PM EDTChi Cubs at NY MetsPreview Game