Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
The Detroit Tigers hold a comfortable 6 1/2 game lead in the AL Central — which is the largest for any division leader in either league — yet their fans rarely feel comfortable holding a lead in the late innings thanks to a very shaky bullpen.
On Wednesday, they finally made a move to address that issue by acquiring Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria.
Kyle Bogenschutz of 97.1 The Ticket first reported the deal. He also noted the Rangers will receive valuable pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel to complete the deal, which shows how serious and perhaps desperate the Tigers are to plug the holes.
The deal comes less than 24 hours after Detroit's bullpen coughed up another late lead in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Setup men Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque combined to walk the bases loaded, and then Ian Krol allowed a game-winning two-run single to Miguel Montero. With Joba Chamberlain unavailable, rookie manager Brad Ausmus had no reliable arm to turn to to get through the inning, and that includes closer Joe Nathan.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
The Yankee Stadium grounds crew experienced their worst nightmare on Wednesday night. After a severe thunderstorm bringing torrential rains and fierce lightning forced a stoppage in play during the fifth inning, the grounds crew ran into every conceivable problem in their attempt to pull the tarp over the infield and ended up taking 14 minutes to complete their task.
[ Slideshow: Sudden deluge hampers grounds crew ]
That, folks, is not good. Especially considering the rain did not let up for their entire struggle. It almost looked like hurricane conditions, which obviously only added to their complications.
The process of applying the tarp appeared to begin swiftly and smoothly. The tarp was rolled out in the outfield in quick fashion, but the first attempt to pull the tarp hit a snag.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
Prior to Game 6 of the 2013 NLCS, we saw a true first in Major League Baseball. Scott Van Slyke of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Joe Kelly of the St. Louis Cardinals engaged in a spontaneous on field standoff following the singing of the national anthem, in which both refused to leave their position until the other man blinked.
Each man's desire to be the last man standing was evident, and it even carried on to the point that the first pitch of the game was delayed before umpire Greg Gibson finally regained control and got Kelly to take a step back.
It was one of the most bizarre and unexpectedly entertaining events we've seen in baseball, especially considering it happened in the thick of the postseason. It also left us to wonder if we might ever see a sequel, whether it be between Kelly and Van Slyke, who ironically matchup over the weekend in St. Louis, or elsewhere in MLB.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
The Stew's Trade Talk Tracker follows the juiciest rumors in MLB until the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. We'll give you the day's most important links about who may (or may not) be changing teams soon.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: The Cardinals want and need David Price. [USA Today]
AND THIS WILL HELP: The Cards got the No. 3 pick in the competitive balance lottery Wednesday, which could help them land Price from the Rays. [@BNightengale]
HOWEVER: The Rays aren't ruling out that they'll actually be *buyers* and not sellers between now and the trade deadline. Hmmm. [@JimBowdenESPNxm]
THE KEMP QUESTION: The Mariners, Indians and Rangers are interested to some degree, but are the Dodgers really trying to move Matt Kemp? [Fox Sports]
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
The A's and the City of Oakland have now agreed to a deal that will keep the team in Oakland for 10 more years. The Oakland City Council approved the new lease Tuesday after A's co-owner Lew Wolff agreed to a number of changes the city council has asked for late in the negotiations. The A's will pay about $20 million to use O.Co Coliseum for the next 10 years.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
A day after trading away Chase Headley to the New York Yankees, the San Diego Padres have now lost outfielder Cameron Maybin. Although for an entirely different reason.
Major League Baseball has suspended Maybin for 25 games effective Wednesday for using an amphetamine that violates the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Maybin says he uses a stimulant to treat ADD and previously had an exemption from MLB. Problems arose, however, when he "neglected to follow all the rules" when changing his prescription.
Maybin will be eligible to return to the Padres on Aug. 20, but who knows what the team will look like then. The Padres (43-56) don't have a GM and are in full fire-sale mode.
In a statement, Maybin said he wasn't trying to "gain any advantages" on the baseball field:Thu, Jul 245:05 PM PDTSan Diego at Chi CubsPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Jeff Francoeur was called up to the big leagues again Wednesday. The veteran outfielder will join the San Diego Padres, seeing time with his third MLB team in the last two seasons.
This is good news for Francoeur, but bad news for the people in Triple-A who enjoy pranking him. Namely Cody Decker, the El Paso Chihuahuas player who also dabbles in filmmaking.
Decker produced the now-famous video of the team's intricate prank on Francouer in which they convinced Frenchy that teammate Jorge Reyes was deaf. As a follow-up, he and some of the Chihuahuas locked Francoeur in a bathroom earlier this season, forcing him to climb through the ceiling to forge an escape route.
- David Brown at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Let's say you have tickets to the big game tonight, but you can't make it down to the ballpark because you have to work late. Selling your tickets online is not a problem, but you still don't want to miss being embedded among the action. What do you do? Nothing. You're Seoul out of luck. Until now.
As @MyKBO on Twitter notes, Korea's Hanwha Eagles have installed a robot cheering section in their home stadium to which fans can upload their avatars, mannerisms, messages, cheers, beer preferences — whatever — for the first truly virtual ballpark experience.
You don't need to be at the game anymore in order to still be at the game!
Convenient? Yes. Creepy? Oh, definitely. These fan robots (or "Fanbots") look like police from the movie "THX-1138" or the "I, Robot" robots — only with baseball caps. They won't hurt us, right? Nice machine! Well, before we bring Fanbots to the major leagues, we need to set up some ground rules:
• They won't be allowed inside of Comerica Park where the Detroit Tigers play and many auto industry workers watch. Too soon.
- David Brown at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
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As the days count down toward the end of Derek Jeter's career in the major leagues, he continues to tick off career milestones. Jeter on Tuesday night broke a 79-year-old record held by Lou Gehrig, putting himself at the top the New York Yankees' all-time doubles list. Among all major leaguers, Jeter is 36th all-time in doubles, and could crack the top 30 before the end.
Jeter had gone 16 games without getting an extra-base hit before putting the Yankees in position to break a scoreless tie with the Texas Rangers by knocking a double to left field against left-hander Neal Cotts in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Yankees didn't score Jeter, and didn't win until the 14th on a single by newcomer Chase Headley.
Gehrig broke Babe Ruth's record of 424 on Sept. 8, 1935. Who else is among the top 10 of Bronx doublers?Thu, Jul 2410:05 AM PDTTexas at NY YankeesPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
Pirates are supposed to make you walk the plank , not nearly half of their lineup. And yet, no matter what he tried, Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Chris Perez kept walking Pittsburgh hitters in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday night — with disastrous consequences.
Trying to keep the Dodgers within a run after the Los Angeles offense had rallied, Perez instead walked four straight batters, helping Pittsburgh extend its lead to five runs. Perez threw only eight of 25 pitches for strikes and allowed four runs in a 12-7 loss at PNC Park.
Chris Perez five batters away from having the Pirates lineup "walk around."
Here's how it looked on the play-by-play transcript. It started OK with Michael Martinez, but then:
Brandon League followed and the Pirates got two more hits and three more runs — all of which were charged to Perez, whose ERA inflated to 5.35. He has allowed 19 walks in 35 1/3 innings after walking 21 batters in 54 innings with the Indians in 2013.