Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 hr ago
It's nearly September and to the surprise of a lot of people, the Baltimore Orioles have the biggest division lead of any team in baseball. The O's stretched their AL East lead to seven games on Thursday after a 5-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The surprise isn't so much because nobody thought the Orioles would be good, rather it's not easy to run away with the usually tight AL East. But after taking three of four from the Rays, the Orioles are now sitting pretty as the clock counts down toward the season's final month. It's the New York Yankees who are seven games back, while the Toronto Blue Jays are nine and a half behind.
In Thursday's game, Baltimore got a seventh-inning, go-ahead single from J.J. Hardy to earn the win. The club also got a homer from Steve Pearce, while Adam Jones stole home as part of a double steal. Lots of people contributing there these days.
The Orioles host the fourth-place Minnesota Twins next in what seems like a good chance to stretch their lead even further.
Your browser does not support iframes.Fri, Aug 294:05 PM PDTMinnesota at BaltimorePreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 hr ago
The Los Angeles Angels celebrated a walk-off win Thursday night in the first game of a big series against the rival Oakland Athletics. Albert Pujols scored in the 10th inning on a Howie Kendrick sac fly, giving the Angels a 4-3 win and making them the first team in MLB to 80 wins.
The win, however, didn't come without controversy. In the ninth inning, with the score tied 3-3, Erick Aybar led off the inning and chopped a ball down the first-base line. A's pitcher Dan Otero and first baseman Brandon Moss both went to field it. Otero caught the ball and Aybar ran straight into him. Aybar fell to the ground and a few seconds later home-plate umpire Greg Gibson awarded him first base.
The call? Obstruction. It was a bit baffling, definitely not the type of you play you see often.
A's manager Bob Melvin fumed and immediately protested the game. His logic seemed to hold up. Otero had the ball and wasn't blocking the baseline. Aybar, actually, if you watch closely, changed directions and ran inside the baseline, into play — sort of like a basketball player flopping for a foul call.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
You know how baseball players are about superstition and routine. Something works once and they stick with it. No matter how odd it is. We've seen MLB players adopt cowboy boots, a souvenir gnome and a horse mask as good-luck charms this season.
But Salvador Perez, catcher for the Kansas City Royals — nay, make that the first-place Kansas City Royals — might have everybody beat. He wears women's perfume during games, usually Victoria's Secret, and he says MLB umpires love it.Fri, Aug 295:10 PM PDTCleveland at Kansas CityPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
Despite Jon Lester going 3-1 with a 2.60 ERA since joining the Oakland Athletics, there are still those within the ranks of A's fandom that think the Yoenis Cespedes-for-Lester trade was a mistake.
Obviously, the rent-a-star strategy isn't something they're used to in Oakland. Since Cespedes was a fan favorite and because the A's are having their worst month of the season in August, people are still second-guessing general manager Billy Beane.
"Who trades their cleanup hitter during a championship run?"
That's the question being posed by Hitler. Yes, Hiter ... but no, not the real Adolf Hitler. He's dead. Rather, we're talking about long-standing video meme of Hitler reacting to unfavorable news. An A's fans made a Cespedes-centric version of the meme and it's pretty funny (though, fair warning, there's a curse word that will show up in the subtitles).Fri, Aug 297:05 PM PDTOakland at LA AngelsPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
Coming into the San Francisco Giants' game Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit hadn't allowed a baserunner in more than a month.
Petit — chosen by S.F. to replace the struggling Tim Lincecum in the starting rotation — entered the game needing to retire eight more batters in a row to make history. He did, with a strikeout of Charlie Culberson in the third inning, and surpassed Mark Buehrle for the most consecutive batters retired in MLB history.
It was 46 in a row for Petit, a number that dates back to July 22 and includes eight games: two as a starter, the rest in relief. And right after his historic out, wouldn't you know it, Petit gave up consecutive hits to the Rockies. Nothing lasts forever. But the record is his for now.Fri, Aug 296:40 PM PDTColorado at ArizonaPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
The New York Yankees have won six of their past seven going into Thursday's game. They've adopted a horse mask as a good-luck charm and turned themselves into wild-card contenders as the MLB season approaches its final month.
The Yankees might also be getting something else for the stretch run, and it's better than a horse mask. It's their ace back.
Masahiro Tanaka, sidelined since July 8 with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, looked sharp in a 49-pitch simulated game on Thursday morning. The Yankees were encouraged by what they saw from Tanaka and are hopeful he'll be able to return in September.Fri, Aug 294:07 PM PDTNY Yankees at TorontoPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
We already told you about Buster Posey's walk-off homer from Wednesday night, as the San Francisco Giants sunk the Colorado Rockies. But do you know who told you about it before it even happened? MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, who predicted Posey would hit a walk-off during a live look-in on "MLB Tonight."
Amsinger even mimicked Giants announcer Duane Kuiper's "It. Is. Outta Herrrrrrre" home-run call seconds before Posey's ninth-inning blast. Even better than predicting the homer, though, was Amsinger's reaction when the ball left the yard.
At that point, MLB Network had gone live to the Giants broadcasters, so Aminger's told-you-so celebration happened off air. But MLB Network cameras captured it and we think it's worth your attention:
Your browser does not support iframes.Fri, Aug 297:15 PM PDTMilwaukee at San FranciscoPreview Game
Answer Man: Darren O'Day talks middle relief, sidearming submariners, self-balancing unicycles, pretending to be Irish and plastic surgeryDavid Brown at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
Informed baseball observers understand that sidearm or submarine pitchers are cooler than ones who throw overhand. Right-hander Darren O'Day of the Baltimore Orioles exemplifies this truth.
A profile written by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun in 2013 gets at the heart of what makes O'Day cool. O'Day is not Irish; His family name used to be Odachowski. His wife is a reporter for Fox News in D.C. O'Day honed his skills pitching in a beer league after enrolling at Florida for the academics and not baseball, but made the team after developing a sidearm delivery. And he loves gizmos, particularly the Solowheel, a self-balancing electric unicycle — like a Segway, but with no handles.
In an Answer Man session staged at the visitor's dugout at Wrigley Field on Sunday, O'Day expands on his life and interests, his career as one of the top relievers in the game who doesn't get saves and what it's like to be a sidewinder in an overhand world.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 day ago
In what feels like a now weekly occurrence, Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons made a defensive play worthy of the highest possible praise on Wednesday night. Only this time, it doubled as a potential game saver, as Simmons' heroics prevented the game-tying run from crossing home in Atlanta's eventual 3-2 victory over the New York Mets.
It happened in the eighth inning with a runner on third, two outs and rookie Travis d'Arnaud at the plate. d'Arnaud hit a grounder deep into the hole at short, which forced Simmons to range about three steps into the outfield. That was not a problem for Simmons. However, the angle and his distance from first base made it seem like an impossible play for him to complete unless he pulled off some magic.
As we should have learned by now, Simmons is absolutely capable of creating magic.
In two fluid steps, Simmons snagged the ball and then launched into the air while twisting his body into an off-balance, mid-air throwing motion.Fri, Aug 294:35 PM PDTMiami at AtlantaPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 day ago
The Colorado Rockies were thankful they didn't have to face Madison Bumgarner again 24 hours after he held them without a baserunner into the eighth inning. Unfortunately for them, Buster Posey, who homered twice in Tuesday's game, was in San Francisco's lineup, and it was his bat that made the difference.
After Colorado rallied to tie the score in the ninth on Justin Morneau's RBI double, Posey turned on and tomahawked a Juan Nicasio offering, keeping it just inside the left-field foul pole for a two-run walk-off homer, which gave the Giants a needed 4-2 victory and manager Bruce Bochy the 1,600th win of his career. The walk-off blast was the second of Posey's career. His first came last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 3.