Big League Stew
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
Considering where the Toronto Blue Jays were just over a couple months ago, where they find themselves today is nothing short of remarkable.
The Blue Jays enter Game 1 of their ALDS against the Texas Rangers on Thursday as the betting favorite to win the World Series. They certainly have all the attributes of a team that will be a tough out in October. Their offense, led by American League MVP front-runner Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, is the best in baseball. Perennial Cy Young candidate David Price leads the rotation, a rotation made better by having Marcus Stroman around, who has looked tremendous since making his borderline-miraculous return from an ACL injury that was supposed to keep him out the entire season.Thu, Oct 812:37 PM PDTTexas at TorontoPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
The Chicago Cubs have advanced to the NLDS, setting up a sexy matchup with their division foes and longtime rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. It's a powerful Cubs lineup against the team with the best ERA in baseball this season.
[Related: Discover more Yahoo Sports podcasts.]
Oh, it's going to be a good one. And we can say the same about the other NLDS series, which features the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets in a cross-country showdown between two teams with strong pitching staffs. Who do we like? Ah yes, that's a good question. Check out our latest podcast for our picks, plus a rundown of major storylines.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
It was another frustrating one-and-done in the MLB postseason for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were blanked by the Chicago Cubsin the NL wild-card game Wednesday night. The Pirates, the second best team in MLB this season, were sent home after one game in which they ran into the best pitcher in baseball in the second half.
The frustrations boiled over in the seventh inning, when Tony Watson plunked that Cubs pitcher, Jake Arrieta. Arrieta said something back and the benches cleared. Easily the angriest person on the field was Pirates utility man Sean Rodriguez, who had to be held back by three teammates. He was then ejected and took out his anger on a Gatorade jug in the dugout.Wed, Oct 7Chi Cubs4 - 0PittsburghGame Recap
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
After picking up 186 wins over the past two regular seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates have participated in just two postseason games. The Pirates were ousted from the playoffs again Wednesday, losing 4-0 to the Chicago Cubs.
The loss mirrored last season's disappointing performance against the San Francisco Giants. Pittsburgh was shut out in both contests, notching just four hits in each game as well.
Coming into both games, the Pirates had a strong offense according to the advanced stats. The team's wRC+, a stat that measures a team's overall offensive performance, ranked fourth in the league in 2014 with a 109 figure. They tied for ninth in that same category this season with a 99 wRC+. Once the playoffs hit, the Pirates' bats went dead.
That's not entirely fair, though. It's worth noting that the Pirates ran into two impossible pitchers in both matchups. Madison Bumgarner tossed a complete-game shutout in 2014, notching 10 strikeouts against Pittsburgh. Everyone knew Bumgarner was an excellent pitcher, but no one could have predicted this was the start of a historic postseason run for the lefty.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
The Chicago Cubs picked up their first postseason victory in 12 years on Wednesday, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in the NL wild-card game. Now they'll turn their attention to the St. Louis Cardinals, as the over one-century old rivals meet in the playoffs for the first time ever.
That historic series begins on Friday. In the meantime, the party is on in Chicago. Within moments of the final out in Pittsburgh, Cubs fans spilled into the streets of Wrigleyville to celebrate what truly feels like a breakthrough moment in the franchise's history.
And they just kept coming.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
The Chicago Cubs aren't done yet. With their 4-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday's NL wild-card game, they have advanced to NLDS and will now ace their NL Central rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs rode the right arm of Jake Arrieta, who completely over matched the Pirates offense. Once Kyle Schwarber launched a two-run homer into the Allegheny River, Pittsburgh was too far buried to possibly recover.
• Jake Arrieta said the Pirates' fans plans to rattle him wouldn't work. He was right. Nothing could faze him, not even getting hit by a pitch and being right in the middle of a bench-clearing incident during the seventh inning. The Cubs ace silenced a rabid PNC Park crowd time and time again on his way to a four-hit shutout. Arrieta struck 11 and needed just 113 pitches as his historic second-half run continued in the postseason.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
What's a one-game playoff without some drama? Tensions certainly ran high during Wednesday's NL wild card contest between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Things boiled over in the seventh inning, With Jake Arrieta at the plate, Pirates pitcher Tony Watson threw a fastball inside, hitting Arrieta in the left hip. As Arrieta made his way down to first, he stared at Watson, eventually voicing his displeasure with the pitcher's decision.
That caused both benches to clear and both bullpens to empty.
If the Pirates are more worried about hitting batters and revenge, they deserve to lose this game and go home. pic.twitter.com/WnLhlRxeRa
While no punches were thrown, a few players were pretty animated during the fracas. Dexter Fowler could be seen screaming in the middle of the pile, while Sean Rodriguez had to be held back by three teammates.
- Israel Fehr at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers meet in the ALDS in a matchup of teams with deep and talented lineups that really turned it on in the second half.
Trades for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki put a Blue Jays squad that already featured stars such as Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista over the top, and with their offense that averages 5.5 runs per game they enter the playoffs as the favorite to win the World Series. Toronto went 48-23 in the second half and they don't plan on stopping any time soon. No team in baseball hit more home runs this season either, so expect to see a few long balls from the boys in blue.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
When you think of a Chicago Cubs rookie with immense power, the first name that comes to mind is Kris Bryant. Well, Kyle Schwarber is here to remind you that he can also hit a baseball a country mile.
He did just that during Wednesday's NL wild-card game. With the Cubs already up 1-0 in the third inning, Schwarber stepped to the plate with Dexter Fowler on first. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, he delivered a punishing blow to Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole.
As if you needed confirmation, that ball was absolutely crushed.
Wow, Schwarber. @statcast had that as 449.8 feet, headed out at 111.3 mph.
Schwarber's blast not only landed in the Allegheny River, but gave the team a 3-0 lead. With Jake Arrieta on the mound, that lead proved to be insurmountable.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
The Chicago Cubs' playoff woes are well known at this point. The team hasn't won the World Series since 1908, and has only reached the postseason 12 times since then.
The last time they came close to making a deep postseason run was 2003. With the Cubs up 3-2 over the Florida Marlins, things looked promising. That is, until the eighth inning. Luis Castillo hit a ball just barely out of play in the left field corner. Outfielder Moises Alou attempted to jump at the wall and make the catch, but the ball was hit by a now infamous fan named Steve Bartman.
Though it was entirely undeserved, Bartman received a lot of scorn after the Cubs blew the lead and lost the game. They would eventually lose the series in seven games. For days, Bartman was harassed by the local media and fans.