Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 hr ago
The AL West may not be decided over the next 10 days, but the seven-game heavyweight fight scheduled between the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A's during that time frame will be the closest thing to late September and October baseball that we can experience in August.
The opener didn't disappoint, either, as Oakland walked away with a heart-pounding 5-3 win behind an excellent effort by starter Sonny Gray and some timely hitting from unlikely sources.
Gray nearly went the distance, retiring one batter in the ninth before walking Josh Hamilton. Hamilton would end up coming around to score, leaving Gray's final line to read three runs allowed on six hits with five strikeouts. Closer Sean Doolittle allowed a pair of hits to make things interesting, but struck out Chris Iannetta representing the go-ahead run to start the celebration at O.co Coliseum.Sat, Aug 236:05 PM PDTLA Angels at OaklandPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
So close to history, so far from a victory. That seems to be the theme of the week for starting pitchers.
One day after David Price pitched a complete game one-hitter and lost in his return to Tampa Bay, Atlanta Braves left-hander Mike Minor came dangerously close to suffering the same fate in Cincinnati, but ended up settling for a no-decision in Atlanta's eventual 3-1, 12-inning victory over the Reds.
Minor was four outs away from pitching the 15th no-hitter in Braves franchise history — fourth since moving to Atlanta —— when Billy Hamilton delivered a soft single to center field, just beyond the reach of shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Zack Cosart, who walked earlier in the inning and advanced on Chris Heisey's ground out, raced around third to break up the shutout and tie the score at one.
Just that fast, Minor was one hit away from being on the hook after being on the brink of history.Sat, Aug 234:10 PM PDTAtlanta at CincinnatiPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
It won't be long before Joc Pederson, the 19th ranked prospect according to MLB.com's middle-season rankings, is living the major league life with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, it's expected he'll get his first taste this September as a role player behind the Dodgers already loaded outfield.
Obviously, this impending promotion and a likely long term future in MLB will allow Pederson to make upgrades in his life. With that in mind, before his 2014 stint with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes ends, Pederson is looking to literally give away the 1994 Buick Century he bought for $1,000 during his time there, and according to a press release on Friday, the team is going to help him out by giving fans an opportunity to win the car.Sat, Aug 236:10 PM PDTNY Mets at LA DodgersPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Boston Red Sox already added one Cuban outfielder in their quick tear-down-and-rebuild, acquiring Yoenis Cespedes in a deal for Jon Lester. Now the Red Sox are close to adding another sought-after Cuban: outfielder Rusney Castillo, an MLB-ready 27-year-old who looks likely to fill the gap left by Jacoby Ellsbury's departure.
According to Jesse Sanchez and Ian Browne of MLB.com, the Red Sox are close to finalizing a seven-year, $72 million deal, which would be a record for an international free agent. Castillo's contract would reportedly start immediately and end after the 2020 season. The Red Sox haven't confirmed the deal. Fellow Cuban Jose Abreu's six-year, $68 million contract with the Chicago White Sox currently stands as the most expensive for an intenational free agent.Sat, Aug 2310:35 AM PDTSeattle at BostonPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew18 hrs ago
In the heat of competition, emotional athletes sometimes say words and take actions they later regret. The same can go for the wife of an athlete, as Danielle Shoemaker might attest. Her spouse, Matt Shoemaker of the Los Angeles Angels, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Thursday night at Fenway Park until Will Middlebrooks had the audacity to break it up with a double.
Mrs. Shoemaker, upset that her husband's masterpiece had been smeared, let out a roar of displeasure on Twitter (which, thankfully, Dayn Perry of CBS Eye on Baseball preserved before she deleted it):
That's not very nice! But it is hilarious. Shortly after getting predictable blowback from some unhappy fans, Middlebrooks deleted the insult and added:
Wow social media is harsh. It was all in good fun @middlebrooks. Didn't know a little joke would upset so many people!
Ultimately, at least one fan was forgiving and apologetic:
- David Brown at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
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The Chicago Cubs denied an assertion by the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that the tarp debacle earlier in the week against the San Francisco Giants happened because the club short-staffs the grounds crew at Wrigley Field in order to avoid paying health insurance.Sat, Aug 2311:20 AM PDTBaltimore at Chi CubsPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
A night earlier, people were freaking out about pitchers in Los Angeles. Then Clayton Kershaw and Matt Shoemaker came along to console L.A. baseball fans with dominant outings.
We'll start with Kershaw. He and the Los Angeles Dodgers were a bit out of order. Zack Greinke got pushed back from his spot in the rotation. Kershaw got pushed up. There were fears about Greinke's elbow. So Kershaw started Thursday against the San Diego Padres.
It doesn't bring any certainty to Greinke's situation (he'll supposedly start Saturday), but Kershaw came out and dominated again. He notched his 15th win of the season, tying him for the most in baseball, while striking out 10 and giving up one run on three hits.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
In the end, only one of the Little League World Series' big stories could survive, and it wouldn't be Mo'ne Davis.
Davis, the 13-year-old girl pitcher who captured the nation's attention, and her Taney Dragons team from Philadelphia were eliminated from the tournament Thursday. Chicago's Jackie Robinson West, which made headlines because it's made up entirely of black players, won the game 6-5 and advances to the U.S. finals.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
At some point, this improbable streak the Washington Nationals are riding will end — but it wasn't happening Thursday.
The Nats won their 10th straight game, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 on a walk-off error in the bottom of the ninth inning. Of the Nats' last six wins, five of them have been walk-offs, which is a crazy kind of luck that the team and its fans have started to call #WalkOffCity.
Denard Span was in the hero role this time. He singled in the ninth inning of a scoreless game, then stole second. Anthony Rendon hit a grounder to third, which Jordan Pacheco of Arizona threw into the camera well beyond first base. That meant Span went to third base and was awarded home.
It was a little strange. Being "awarded" a walk-off win summons confusion. But a 10-game winning streak accepts victories of all types.Sat, Aug 231:05 PM PDTSan Francisco at WashingtonPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew1 day ago
On Thursday, the Brewers finally got Hank the Dog, the most famous canine in baseball, in a room with his namesake — the great Hank Aaron, who played 12 seasons with the Milwaukee Braves, then finished his career as a Milwaukee Brewer.Sat, Aug 234:10 PM PDTPittsburgh at MilwaukeePreview Game