Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
Arismendy Alcantara knew the plan.
The Chicago Cubs had called him up from Triple-A to play exactly two games. He was a fill-in while regular second baseman Darwin Barney was on paternity leave, then it was back to the minors.
But Alcantara, 22, the seventh-ranked prospect in the Cubs farm system, made it tough for the Cubs to keep their word. He went 4-for-5 on Thursday with three RBIs and two runs scored, forcing the Cubs to change their plans. He'll stay with the big-league team until at least the All-Star break.
Alcantara's first MLB hit was a two-run double, making up for his 0-for-4 day in his MLB debut Wednesday. By the end of Thursday, he was just a homer shy of the cycle with two singles, a double and a triple. The Cubs won 6-4 in extra innings, gathering 10 hits. So it's hard to demote the guy responsible for half the team's offense.Fri, Jul 111:05 PM PDTAtlanta at Chi CubsPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
Derek Jeter's farewell tour is leaving Cleveland with a few cool gifts.
The New York Yankees captain is doing the ol' farewell tour thing as he inches closer toward retirement. As is custom now after Mariano Rivera's send-off last season, opposing teams aren't letting Jeter leave town without a little something extra in his suitcase.
The gifts have varied in coolness — the A's gave him some wine (meh) but the Angels gave him a huge surfboard (bodacious!) Good luck fitting that surfboard in your overheard compartment on the team plate, Jeets.
Both gifts Jeter received Thursday from the Indians need to be handled gently too. They gave him a personalized guitar (since Cleveland is the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) and a portrait of himself made out of Lego. It depicts a homer he hit against the Indians in 1996.
Closeup of the Jeter Lego mosaic: pic.twitter.com/yPHzmTBJsbFri, Jul 114:05 PM PDTChi White Sox at ClevelandPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
If not for one pitch, we'd be talking about Clayton Kershaw's 45-inning scoreless streak.
That one pitch, an 88 mph slider that Chase Headley sent over the fence in the sixth inning, was all the San Diego Padres could muster against the Los Angeles Dodgers ace Thursday night. He threw his 14th career complete game, striking out 11 and surrendering just three hits. The Dodgers beat the Padres 2-1.
Kershaw had pitched 36 consecutive scoreless innings coming into the game. He hadn't given up a run since June 13, before his no-hitter. The way Kershaw has been pitching lately, it wasn't out of the question that he could challenge Orel Hershiser's record of 59 straight scoreless innings from 1988. But it wasn't to be. Kershaw's streak was halted at 41 innings.
Since June 2nd, Clayton Kershaw is 8-0 with a 0.74 ERA, 80 strikeouts, and 6 walks. Aloe Blacc wrote a song about him. #TheManFri, Jul 117:10 PM PDTSan Diego at LA DodgersPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
When was the last time you saw a 5-8 forceout at second base on a bunt? Anyone? Bueller?
Watch this bit of baseball wonder above and you'll see the aforementioned abnormality courtesy of the St. Louis Cardinals. The play started with a mental lapse, but ended with enough hustle to make you forget something was wrong in the first place.
Here's how it unfolded: Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Edinson Volquez squared around to bunt with two runners on in the sixth inning. The Cardinals had put a play on for such an event, sending their shortstop to cover third base and their second baseman to cover first while the corner infielders charged. So far, so good.
When Volquez popped up the bunt and didn't quickly leave the batter's box, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter decided it was better to let the ball drop and try to turn a double play. The ball hit the ground, he grabbed it and threw to second base. Did you pick up on the problem here? No one was covering second.Fri, Jul 115:10 PM PDTSt. Louis at MilwaukeePreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew5 hrs ago
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tried putting right-hander Colby Lewis in a position to "take one for the team" Thursday night, even though Lewis was more about giving. Lewis gave up hit after hit, and run after run, against the Los Angeles Angels. Lewis couldn't really come through in the longevity department, either, so that the Rangers bullpen might be spared. He managed to get only seven outs (2 1/3 innings) before being replaced.
In doing so, Lewis "took the worst beating in franchise history," the Dallas Morning News reported, allowing a whopping 13 runs (11 earned) and 13 hits in a 15-6 loss to the Angels at Globe Life Park. His ERA jumped from 5.51 to 6.64.Fri, Jul 115:05 PM PDTLA Angels at TexasPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
It's not the worst possible news for the New York Yankees, but it isn't good news, either: After getting an MRI and seeing the team doctor Thursday, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says Tanaka won't get surgery yet; instead, he'll rehab for six weeks and see if he can pitch. The injury could be similar to that sustained by Matt Harvey of the New York Mets, who considered rehab before deciding to undergo Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. If Tanaka, 25, decides later on surgery, he'll miss the rest of this season and a good chunk of 2015 because of the 12-15 month rehab time expected.
Here's a glimpse into Harvey's thinking, via the beat writer for the Bergen (N.J.) County Record:
Harvey on his decision with TJ: "For me personally it was a mental thing and something I didn’t want to continue thinking about.”Fri, Jul 114:05 PM PDTNY Yankees at BaltimorePreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Chicago White Sox play-by-play announcer Hawk Harrelson is from another era, something that either endears him to fans or grates on peoples' nerves. It seems, on the modern baseball web, it's definitely more of the second.
It's one thing for Harrelson to thumb his nose at advanced statistics, but it's another thing entirely for him to pepper his broadcasts with racial and ethnic stereotypes. On at least three occasions this season, that's happened when Harrelson's talked about Asians.
Harrelson, 72, has had plenty of opportunity to talk about Asian pitchers this week as White Sox played the Boston Red Sox. Two of Boston's go-to relievers are Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara of Japan. And, not surprisingly, Harrelson's slipped back in time 30 years and called Tazawa "Oriental" twice.
This came amid the Red Sox-White Sox game Thursday:
Yup...Hawk Harrelson just referred to Junichi Tazawa as an "oriental".
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
The Oakland Athletics and Colorado Rockies have the best chances of victory in the MLB Home Run Derby, because a second player from each team has been added to the field.
Josh Donaldson and Justin Morneau were announced Thursday as the final two competitors in Monday's derby at Target Field. Donaldson joins teammate (and defending champ) Yoenis Cespedes in the annual long-ball contest, while Morneau accepted an invitation from Rockies teammate Troy Tulowitzki, who is the captain of the NL team. Morneau was the NL runner-up in the All-Star game's Final Vote competition.
Here's a look at the complete 10-man field:
AMERICAN LEAGUE • Jose Bautista (captain): 17 homers in 2014, 17.2 career AB/HR.
• Yoenis Cespedes (defending champion): 14 homers in 2014, 21.4 career AB/HR.
• Adam Jones: 16 homers in 2014, 25.0 career AB/HR.
• Brian Dozier: 16 homers in 2014, 30.2 career AB/HR.Fri, Jul 115:40 PM PDTMinnesota at ColoradoPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
Information continues to drip out of the Biogenesis scandal and, Thursday afternoon, Gaby Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates was answering questions about a reported link to Tony Bosch and performance-enhancing drugs.
A book except published in the Miami New Times says that Bosch's records show Sanchez in 2011 met several times with Bosch, reputed to be a PED supplier to Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other major leaguers. The excerpt also says Sanchez, a teammate of Braun's in college at the University of Miami, failed a drug test there in 2004.
#pirates gaby Sanchez on PED allegation: "I've got no comment on that. I'm here to play baseball." Denies using PEDs.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
And now, the thumbs of Chicagoans get a well-deserved break.
White Sox ace Chris Sale and Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo have been named to the AL and NL All-Star teams after a feverish four days of text messages, online vote and tweets as part of MLB's Final Vote campaign.
Chicago ruled, getting the biggest chunk of the 52.5 million votes cast and sending two deserving players to the MLB All-Star game in Minneapolis next Tuesday. Sale has the best ERA in the AL, while Rizzo's 20 homers are second in the NL.
The six-hour final flurry of Twitter votes Thursday was incredible. Each player was assigned a hashtag (#TargetSale, for example) and each use of that hashtag counted as a vote. That hashtagmania accounted for a quarter of all the votes cast, as fans averaged 65,000 votes per minute.
Here's a breakdown of the final vote tally, per MLB: