Big League Stew
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been playing terrific baseball of late, surging from fourth place in the NL Central to second place, just two games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. That said, you might think they were still mired somewhere in the middle of 21 straight losing seasons if you happened to catch their epic baserunning blunder(s) during their 7-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon.
In one sequence, the Pirates somehow turned a walk that would have loaded the bases with one out, into a rally-killing, inning-ending double play that took all of us back to our Little League days.
It happened in the sixth inning with Travis Snider on second base and Gaby Sanchez on third. The eighth place batter, Chris Stewart, drew the walk and started his routine jog to first base. However, during this time, Snider wandered too far off second base, which he later admitted happened because he thought the bases were already loaded.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
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Jordy Mercer of the Pittsburgh Pirates launched a fourth-inning homer Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants, and the home-run ball played a mean game of fan abuse.
If you watch the video above, the whole thing happens so quickly that you'll probably just find yourself wondering — like our friend @GGGiants — why left fielder Michael Morse was jumping. His arms aren't that long.
To get the full story of this Giants fan abuse, we need to examine this Vine version of the play made by Marc Normandin of SB Nation:
The ball strikes the fan in the chin, which surely couldn't have felt good. Oh well, at least she still has her beer to drown her sorrows ... wait! The ball took out the beer too?! Yep, it ricocheted right into the cup and destroyed it.
Somebody obviously didn't love that baseball enough as a kid. That's no way to treat a person.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
By all accounts, Eric Chavez is a great guy. He was also a great ballplayer before injuries derailed his career, causing him to play just 212 games between 2007 and 2011.
Chavez, 36, announced his retirement Wednesday after 17 seasons in the big leagues, and he did so with one final classy gesture. He left $1 million on the table, which the Arizona Diamondbacks would have owed him had he just sat on the disabled list the rest of the season.
He played 44 games for the D-backs in 2014 until a knee injury sidelined him. Chavez was due the rest of the $3.5 million contract he signed in the offseason, but he told CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that his conscience wouldn't let him take the money and not play.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
The Boston Red Sox have traded another pitcher — just not the one every baseball fan is waiting to hear about.
The Red Sox sent Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday for a player to be named later, ending Doubront's unhappy stint in the Boston bullpen. FOX Sports' Jon Morosi first reported a deal was close. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported it was done.
Source: Red Sox have traded Felix Doubront to the Cubs. @jonmorosi had it close.
As @alexspeier said, Doubront goes to the Cubs for a PTBNL that will BN after the Rule 5 draft.
Doubront — 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA — was increasingly unhappy about his role in Boston to the point of speaking out publicly last weekend, telling MassLive.com:LiveToronto6 - 1BostonFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
A year ago, Justin Masterson played for the American League All-Stars and was a big reason the Cleveland Indians reached the postseason, if only for a game. This season, with free agency pending after contract extension talks fizzled, he finds himself traded to the other league with the non-waiver deadline looming.
The St. Louis Cardinals acquired Masterson on Wednesday afternoon for minor-league outfielder James Ramsey, rated the No. 8 prospect in the Cards system by Baseball America. The trading deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Peter Gammons, who covered Masterson when he played for Boston, first reported the deal.
Masterson, 29, has posted a 5.51 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 98 innings while being extremely vulnerable to left-handed batters. As Dave Cameron of Fangraphs points out, he'll be a great situational relief pitcher if nothing else. And if the Cardinals can "fix him" — which is their reputation — Masterson is a shade below elite as a starter. He posted a 3.45 ERA with three shutouts and 195 strikeouts in 2013, and a 3.21 ERA in 33 starts in 2011.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
We're inching close to MLB's non-waiver trade deadline. Teams have until 4 p.m. ET Thursday to get their deals done, or take their chances with waiver trades.
A number of teams could use help at the trade deadline. And a number of teams are in the mix for some of the biggest names on the market — the Los Angeles Dodgers, for instance, seem linked to almost anyone who is available.
But do the Dodgers really need to make a deal? Probably not. They could stand pat and still make the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals didn't need to make a deal to make the playoffs. They're a team with talent that just needs to play better. Though, getting Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians is going to help that mission.
Other teams aren't in such a desirable place. Other teams have playoff hopes that may just hinge on whether they do something meaningful. Other teams need to act before Thursday's deadline.
Here are five teams The Stew believes need to get down to business:Wed, Jul 307:10 PM PDTAtlanta at LA DodgersPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
A lot like they did in 2012, the Baltimore Orioles are winning once they get to extra innings. They improved to 12-3 and won their seventh straight in extras by beating the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 on Tuesday night. Manny Machado, seemingly a much more focused hitter since returning from a disciplinary suspension for throwing his bat in June, hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning against Cory Rasmus.
The O's were 16-2 in extra innings in 2012, when they won 93 games overall and surprised many by making the playoffs. They lead the American League East with a 59-46 record so far in 2014.
''We have good chemistry in the clubhouse like we did back then and obviously we have a good bullpen as well,'' Machado said.
- David Brown at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
Catcher John Baker performed as a pitcher and a history maker Tuesday night for the Chicago Cubs.
Baker, usually the team's backup behind home plate, was pressed into pitching duties in the 16th inning because the Cubs otherwise had run short of arms. He came through with a scoreless frame, and later scored the winning run in the bottom half, leading the way in a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field.
In celebration, teammates showered Baker with beer, chocolate milk, hair gel, shampoo, body wash and more beer, he said via MLB.com:
"Best shower I've ever taken," Baker said.LiveColorado4 - 1Chi CubsFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
No matter the outcome of the ballgame Tuesday night, Dodger Stadium was going to be a happy place: 86-year-old Hall of Famer Vin Scully announced he intends to return for a 66th season broadcasting the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The park went up for grabs in the second inning after the stadium's video board showed a "press conference" where players Hyun-jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner made the announcement in three different languages before cutting to Scully waving to the crowd from the press box. He also hugged his wife, Sandi, to celebrate the announcement.
Of course, it was a rare occasion for Angelenos to see Scully at all, considering the ongoing programming dispute involving the team's new SportsNet LA channel, which still can't be viewed by most of the area. Scully's still calling the games, though, just as he has since 1950 when the team played in Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.A.
- David Brown at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
The Detroit Tigers went with the Christmas in July theme at Comerica Park on Tuesday night by having Santa Claus catch the ceremonial first pitch thrown by local boy (and rock 'n' roll ace) Jack White.
Amid his tour, White has been attending ballgames all over the Midwest, most notably at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs, where the internet caught him making some funny but frowny faces and we all laughed and laughed. Detroit is home for him, and he did the Tigers a solid by appearing with the jolly red elf himself:
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White appeared to be making an extra effort to smile at all times, lest anyone (especially Santa) would think he's a sourpuss.LiveChi White Sox1 - 6DetroitFollow Game