Big League Stew
- David Brown at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
After a quick rain storm apparently took them by surprise Tuesday night, the Wrigley Field grounds crew sadly and hilariously struggled for six or seven minutes to get a soaked tarp to fully cover the infield during the fifth inning. In true Chicago form, many in the crowd booed the grounds crew's feeble execution. "Pull, pull, pull!" others shouted.
The problematic coverage didn't take as long to play out as a similar debacle at Yankee Stadium that lasted 14 minutes in July, or a nine-minute affair happening in the Bronx a season before, but it seemed even more absurd. And even though it rained on Chicago's North Side only for about 15 minutes, the ensuing delay because of unplayable conditions lasted 4 hours, 34 minutes. Umpires finally called the game at 1:16 a.m. and, because five innings had been played, the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 2-0.Wed, Aug 205:05 PM PDTSan Francisco at Chi CubsPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
If ever there were a cure for a six-game losing streak, getting the reigning MVP back in your lineup might just be it. At least that's what the Pittsburgh Pirates are hoping now that they've activated Andrew McCutchen from the disabled list.
McCutchen hasn't played since Aug. 3 and the Pirates are 5-9 in that span, punctuated by a losing streak that's seen them fall to the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
McCutchen was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list last Monday, but the move was retroactive to the previous week. He left the Pirates' game on Aug. 3 after hitting a sac fly and immediately nursing his side. It was eventually determined that McCutchen had a fractured rib.Wed, Aug 204:05 PM PDTAtlanta at PittsburghPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
Surprise and sadness lasted only a while, and no hard feelings linger for slugger Yoenis Cespedes now that nearly three weeks have passed since he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. He won't be part of a World Series winner this season in Boston, which is unlikely to finish with a .500 record, but that doesn't mean Cespedes can't pick a team to root for this October.
Speaking through a Spanish translator via an interview with reporter Jane Lee of MLB.com, Cespedes said he'll be rooting for the Oakland Athletics, who have a chance without him:
Cespedes will miss "everything" about Oakland, he says, "from the guys in the clubhouse to the coaching staff to the fans, who always treated me extraordinary, to the friends I made there," and counts the final day of the 2012 season, when the Cinderella A's claimed the American League West title, as his favorite memory in green and gold.Wed, Aug 2012:35 PM PDTNY Mets at OaklandPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
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Actor Jon Hamm was immortalized in bobblehead form Monday night by the St. Louis Cardinals, so he showed up at Busch Stadium to meet the Cards players and throw out the first pitch.
Hamm, when he's shaved up and slicked back, makes ovaries swoon as Don Draper on the hit AMC show "Mad Men." He was also in the recent baseball movie "Million Dollar Arm" and he proved Monday night his arm isn't too bad.
Hamm didn't fire his first pitch, opting for an easy rainbow that bounced right in front of Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith, who was waiting to catch it. We'll call Hamm's a hundred-dollar arm.Wed, Aug 204:15 PM PDTCincinnati at St. LouisPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
The firsts keep coming for Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old pitcher from Philadelphia's Taney Dragons who became the first girl to throw a shutout in LIttle League World Series history last Friday.
Now she's the first Little Leaguer to make the national cover of Sports Illustrated. The mag announced Tuesday that Davis would cover their issue dated Aug. 25, with the headline "Remember Her Name."
People aren't going to have trouble with that. With the help of her 70-mph fastball, Davis threw a two-hit shutout Friday against the LLWS team from Nashville, striking out eight en route to capturing the nation's attention. She's been covered on every sports news platform, of course, but she's fully become a pop-culture talking point too.
- David Brown at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Cincinnati Reds hang by a string in the National League playoff race, and part of that string might be inside of the "achy" shoulder of closer Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman was not available to pitch Monday, one day after his worst performance of the season in a tough loss to the Colorado Rockies, because of soreness in his left shoulder. Chapman threw 28 pitches and walked all four batters he faced in Game 2 of a doubleheader that the Reds lost 10-9. Reds manager Bryan Price said afterward that there was nothing physically wrong with Chapman — but that was a fib. The Reds lost another tough game against St. Louis on Monday, and did not use Chapman.
Price said, via MLB.com:
"He's just a little achy, and it just doesn't make sense at all for us to keep running him out there," Price said after a 6-5 loss to St. Louis in 10 innings. "He was a little achy [Sunday]. I didn't want to say anything, but he was. By the time we knew there might be an issue, the damage was done yesterday.Wed, Aug 205:40 PM PDTKansas City at ColoradoPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
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The "rally cap" is a well-meaning but horrible idea in which baseball players on the bench or fans in the stands literally turn their hats inside out and wear them in order to change a team's luck. It's an OK thought because it's a way to show team unity, but it's terrible in practice because it wrecks your cap!
Enter: Right-hander Doug Fister of the Washington Nationals. As his team was engaged with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the late innings Monday night, Fister felt the club needed a little something extra to get over the hump. Say hello to his little friend!
Rather than turning all of his clothes inside out, Fister placed a Jayson Werth garden gnome in the collar of his fleece sweatshirt so it could watch the game with him. The gnomes were given away to fans earlier this month — and demand was night. They're like bobblehead dolls, but different!Wed, Aug 204:05 PM PDTArizona at WashingtonPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew18 hrs ago
Pretty much the worst news the Kansas City Royals could hear would be that "Salvador Perez is coming out of the game." However, with catcher Erik Kratz available to come off the bench, the Royals aren't doomed without Perez, who otherwise comes close to being irreplaceable.
Kratz came though with two home runs against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night after Perez came out because of a right knee injury, helping the Royals win 6-4 and increase their first-place lead in the American League Central. Kansas City's 69-55 record is the same as it was in 1985, also the most recent time the Royals made the playoffs and won the World Series.
It's also not often players come off the bench and hit two home runs:
Erik Kratz hit 2 HR in game he didn't start. Only other AL players to do that in last 4 seasons: Matt Joyce 9/29/12 & Raul Ibanez 9/22/12
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
It seems like the Washington Nationals have been playing with magic wands the past few days.
The Nats won their third straight game via a walk-off hit Monday night and their seventh consecutive game overall. Adam LaRoche blasted an 11th inning home run — a no-doubt type of homer — to give the Nats a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After the game, LaRoche told reporters, including Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post:
“I got every bit of that one,” LaRoche said. “Just a crazy few days. I don’t know how we’ve gotten into these walk-off situations the last few days, but we’ve been able to grind back.”
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
For the first time since April 23, the Oakland Athletics are not in first place in the AL West.
The Los Angeles Angels, with a 4-2 win Monday night over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, took over sole possession of first in the division. It's only a half-game lead and could very well be gone after Tuesday's games, but for the Angels — a team that was a severe disappointment a year ago — getting past the A's is something to celebrate.
The teams had been tied the past two days, with a couple winning-percentage points giving the Angels the slightest of edges. But now, with the A's idle on Monday, the Angels are alone in first place for the first time since May of 2011.
The Angels are 16-13 since the All-Star break, taking advantage of the A's going 14-15 in that time. After the game, starting pitcher C.J. Wilson told Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:Wed, Aug 204:10 PM PDTLA Angels at BostonPreview Game