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The National League West once again belongs to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers put the finishing touches on their fifth straight division title with a 4-2 victory against the San Francisco Giants on Friday. Remarkable rookie Cody Bellinger fittingly delivered one of the key hits, connecting for NL-rookie record 39th home run of the season. While on the hill, it was Rich Hill spinning another gem.

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The clinch didn’t come nearly as early as we anticipated, but the timing still worked out pretty well. The Dodgers were able to clinch on the 90th birthday of legendary manager Tommy Lasorda, giving them two great reasons to celebrate.

Los Angeles gained separation from the division and even threatened to challenge history thanks to their sizzling 69-18 stretch that covered most of the summer. A recent 1-16 slump emphatically halted any chance to match or surpass the Mariners record 116-win campaign in 2001, but it only served to delay the inevitable in the division race.

Dodgers' rookie Cody Bellinger congratulated by Chris Taylor after hitting a three-run home run in the Dodgers division-clinching win. (AP)
Dodgers’ rookie Cody Bellinger congratulated by Chris Taylor after hitting a three-run home run in the Dodgers division-clinching win. (AP)

The Dodgers became the fourth team to clinch their division this season, joining the Nationals, Indians and Astros. Only the AL East and NL Central remain undecided. Los Angeles secured its postseason berth on Sept. 12 and is still positioned to lock up home field advantage throughout the entire postseason.

Of course, the Dodgers success will be measured exclusively by their performance in the postseason. That’s the reality for any team, but it’s especially true when a team builds a perennial contender that continuously falls short of the goal. Just ask the Braves of the 90s and early 2000s how that goes. Despite winning 14 division titles in 15 years, the Braves managed only one World Series championship during that stretch.

The Dodgers have made eight postseason appearances dating back to 2004, getting as far as the NLCS four times. That’s not good enough for this franchise. No one involved will be satisfied with anything less than the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1988.

Veteran Rich Hill picked up the win as the Dodgers clinched the NL West. (AP)
Veteran Rich Hill picked up the win as the Dodgers clinched the NL West. (AP)

The good news is this Dodgers squad is much deeper than any of those recent contenders. Manager Dave Roberts can back up Clayton Kershaw with another ace in Yu Darvish, who despite his recent struggles is still capable of dominating an opponent. Then there’s 15-game winner Alex Wood and Friday’s winner Rich Hill. Roberts also has several options to bridge the gap from starter to all-world closer Kenley Jansen, and a versatile lineup that boasts six 20-homer hitters.

It’s a team built to withstand the rigors of the entire baseball season, from March through October, after injuries besieged the roster in the 2016. The added depth helped them overcome injuries this season and the unexpected boosts provided by Bellinger and breakout utility man Chris Taylor have really solidified the roster.

Those are all good things. But everyone knows the postseason is an entirely different ballgame. It’s not often about depth or who dominated the regular season. It’s about which team plays the best baseball when it matters the most, and that’s something that the Dodgers will have to do to make this a truly successful season.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 23, 2017, 5:06 am

Derek Jeter isn’t waiting around to make his mark on the Miami Marlins. According to a Miami Herald report, the prospective Marlins owner is cleaning house before officially taking the reins, ordering the firings of at least four well-respected member of the Marlins organization.

According to the report, those being let go will include Baseball Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, former manager Jack McKeon, who led them to the World Series championship is 2003, and Jeff Conine, an original Marlin who earned the nickname Mr. Marlin during his career.

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All four men have been serving as special assistants to Marlins president David Samson or out-going owner Jeffrey Loria. The decision makes it clear that Jeter and his group intend to take the Marlins in an entirely different direction with people they hand-select and trust.

The decision won’t be popular in Miami given the status of the men involved. Miami isn’t exactly known as a baseball town, but it holds a special place for those who have helped put the Marlins on the map. The report has shocked the baseball world outside of Miami too, perhaps more so for the manner in which the reported firings are being carried out.

And here’s the twist: Jeter asked Marlins president David Samson to fire those four Marlins luminaries for him, because Jeter didn’t want to do it.

Even more strange: Jeter made the request after telling Samson what he already knew: that Samson would not be returning as team president.

If that’s entirely true, it won’t reflect well on Jeter at all. We understand he’s on the other side of a business that is often ruthless, which will lead us to seeing a side of him we never did as a player. But this is one order of the business Jeter easily could have handled on his own.

Even if fans didn’t agree with his decision, being up front would have set an entirely different tone for the franchise than how it was run under Loria. Instead, this comes across as a little too close to Loria-like.

Derek Jeter is already putting his stamp on the Miami Marlins (AP)
Derek Jeter is already putting his stamp on the Miami Marlins (AP)

“Sure I’m sad,” McKeon told the Miami Herald after being informed of Jeter’s decision. “No question you’re sad. I’m disappointed, but you understand. A new regime is coming in and they want their new people in there. You can’t fault them with that.”

Changes were definitely expected, and more will undoubtedly come in the weeks ahead. Cleaning house and essentially starting over is often the norm when new ownership takes over. But we also highly doubt any of these men had enough real pull to be blamed for the team’s past failures, or to think they’re owed an expanded role under Jeter’s regime.

Was it necessary to let them go? Probably not.

Did it have to happen like this? Absolutely not.

But this will be Jeter’s team soon enough, and for better or worse it appears he’s comfortable with this being his initial stamp on the organization.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 23, 2017, 2:06 am

New York Yankees veteran Todd Frazier was fooled by the oldest trick in the book on Friday. Or at least the oldest trick in the book of baseball, as Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins caught him offguard with a classic hidden ball trick.

Frazier led off the Yankees third inning with a double. He remained at second base when two batters later Jacoby Ellsbury hit a fly ball to right field. Jose Bautista made a nice running catch in the alley to save extra bases and prevent Frazier from advancing.

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That’s when a heads up Goins put his plan into motion. After taking the throw from Bautista, Goins noticed that Frazier had his back to him. He still went through the motion of throwing of the ball back to the pitcher Marco Estrada, then hung around the bag waiting for his opportunity.

The split-second Frazier stepped off the bag, Goins applied the tag.

Todd Frazier just got hidden-ball-tricked pic.twitter.com/Ry2MN5Sodp

— Ozzie (@OzzieStern) September 22, 2017

Frazier made the mistake of trusting the opponent and basically walked right into it by taking his eye off the ball. He hid the ball from himself even better than the Blue Jays.

Granted, it’s rare that an opponent would pay that much attention to the runner’s actions. But to Goins credit he was right on top of it. The result was a truly rare successful hidden ball trick, and a moment Frazier won’t soon live down.

Ryan Goins waits to execute to the hidden ball trick on Todd Frazier. (MLB)

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 23, 2017, 1:03 am

The call for extended netting in MLB ballparks has grown louder this week. Unfortunately, it took another fan injury for it to get people’s attention again, but this time around we’ve seen a handful of teams take action by agreeing to extend the protective netting to the end of the dugout.

Of course, with every incident and injury that results in more teams agreeing to better protect their fans, we hear from those people who are vehemently against adding more netting. These people argue that this protective measure only serves to obstruct the views of additional premium seats, while adding that the responsibility is on the fans to pay attention.

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That might be true to an extent, but Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler isn’t buying it completely. In a series of tweets on Friday, Ziegler told fans who were opposed to extended netting that their best option is to stay at home if they’re more concerned about their view than the well-being of others.

A note to anyone complaining about teams extending netting and not wanting to “pay for an obstructed view”: stay home. pic.twitter.com/CpbXDkjcLp

— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) September 22, 2017

The point that always seems to elude the “pay better attention” crowd is that paying attention doesn’t always guarantee safety in these situations. As Ziegler and countless others have noted, sometimes there’s nothing you can do when a 105-mph line drive whistles into the stands. There’s next to no reaction time and in many cases it’s pure luck when a baseball or broken bat strikes an empty seat.

Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive during a game at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP)

The goal should always be to eliminate chance from the equation and to do the most possible to keep fans safe. That’s what the NHL did when a young girl was struck and killed by a puck during a game 15 years ago. The NHL made it mandatory to add netting at every arena, and now it’s just an accepted part of the game.

Took the death of a girl in Columbus for the NHL to put up nets. Now it’s hard to imagine that they weren’t always there.

— Michael Farrell (@farrell205) September 22, 2017

Once baseball fans get used to the added netting, they too will forget the days it didn’t exist. It’s natural to be resistant to change, but protecting fans is change for the better.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 22, 2017, 11:52 pm

Baseball, for all its talk about unwritten rules and tradition and playing the game the right way, remains ridiculous. Don’t think that a sport with 162 games, played almost daily during the summer, doesn’t succumb to its fair share of ridiculousness.

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That’s why in this week’s installment of my Open Mike video series, I’m counting down the most ridiculous things that happened in Major League Baseball this season. The postseason is right around the corner, and soon enough, that will consume us. We’ll just be thinking about such-and-such walk-off win or criticizing a bullpen decision.

We won’t be remembering that Mr. Met flipped off a fan or Madison Bumgarner’s dirt-bike injury. And that type of ridiculousness deserves to be remembered.

Mr. Met gave a fan the finger, which is totally ridiculous. (NBC)
Mr. Met gave a fan the finger, which is totally ridiculous. (NBC)

So without further ado, I invite you to watch the video above and re-live some of the most ridiculous moments of the season. More ridiculousness is surely coming in the postseason. But it just won’t be the same without the Mets.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 22, 2017, 10:02 pm

The Detroit Tigers spent the second half of 2017 coming to grips with the fact that they’re rebuilding. That meant trading away Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez. And on Friday it meant confirming that they’ll be looking for a new manager.

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The Tigers announced Friday that manager Brad Ausmus won’t return after this season. His contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and the Tigers say it won’t be renewed, leaving Ausmus to finish out his final nine games as Detroit’s skipper.

In a statement released Friday by the team, GM Al Avila said:

“As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position,” said Al Avila, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years. Our search for a new manager is underway. We plan to keep an open-mind in considering current members of the coaching staff for positions in 2018, but that will be in conjunction with the manager we hire.”

Brad Ausmus won't return as Tigers manager in 2018. (AP)
Brad Ausmus won’t return as Tigers manager in 2018. (AP)

After the Tigers’ announcement, Ausmus told reporters we likely wouldn’t have come back anyway:

Ausmus: “I fully understood. And I told [Avila] if he had walked in and offered me a contract, I probably wouldn’t have come back.”

— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 22, 2017

Ausmus: “This team, this organization is starting over and needed a new voice. And sometimes you have to be able to evaluate yourself.”

— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 22, 2017

Ausmus was hired as Tigers manager after the 2013 season with no big-league coaching experience. He followed Jim Leyland in the job, and in 2014 took the Tigers back to the playoffs and an AL Central title. But it’s been all downhill from there. The Tigers finished last in 2015 with 74 wins, rebounded and finished second in 2016 and find themselves in fourth this season. The Tigers went from 90 wins in 2014 to 62 so far in 2017. As of Friday, his career record as Tigers manager is 312-325.

Ausmus is the first manager to officially learn his fate as the season comes to end, but the Tigers’ job won’t be the only one open. Recent reports say Mets manager Terry Collins will retire at the end of the season. Braves manager Brian Snitker is also on the hot seat, as is Mike Matheny in St. Louis, although to a lesser extent than Ausmus and Collins.

Mike Redmond, the former Marlins manager, is one name that’s already been floated as a candidate in Detroit.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 22, 2017, 8:31 pm
Justin Verlander celebrates the Astros 2017 AL West division title. (AP Photo)

August 31, 2017 was a pretty crazy night. It was the waiver trade deadline for MLB, which meant it was every team’s last chance to work out a trade for a player and still have that player be eligible for the postseason.

The craziness of that night is mostly owed to the Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers, and starting pitcher Justin Verlander. The two teams worked out a trade that sent Verlander from the Tigers to the Astros, and it went right down to the wire of the 12 midnight EDT deadline. Jon Heyman already reported that the trade was done with just a minute to go, but apparently 60 seconds was an overestimation. The trade was verified with mere seconds left before the deadline.

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Ben Reiter of SI.com spoke to Tigers GM Al Avila and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and got a timeline of the night the deal happened, right down to the final seconds. And while the end of the deal was crazy, Luhnow’s part of the story is pretty wild. He had planned to do his waiver trade deals from Houston, surrounded by his staff, but was with his in-laws in Los Angeles instead — Hurricane Harvey had closed the Houston airports. So according to Reiter, his trade deadline war room looked a little different than it had in the past.

So, as his club flew to Tampa to play a relocated series against the Rangers, he stayed in L.A. to negotiate from one of the only spots in his in-laws’ house that receives strong cell service: the dining room table.

Not ideal, but there are worse places to set up shop in a house than the dining room. It could have been the bathroom, which would have involved stories of Luhnow making this deal while sitting fully clothed on a toilet, using it like a chair.

Actually, the bathroom did come into play. Luhnow was about to take a shower when his phone somehow found a signal and delivered a call from Avila a few minutes before 8 p.m. PDT, just over an hour before the deadline. The two GMs agreed on the deal, but it wasn’t done. Verlander had to weigh in and waive his no-trade clause if he agreed to it, and it wasn’t certain he would. Avila had sent people out to track down Verlander, so all Luhnow could do was go back to the dining room and wait.

The dining room had its own problems, though. Luhnow’s in-laws were hosting a dinner party that night, which meant that his war room was now filled with food and plates and silverware and people. This moment was probably pretty awkward.

The dinner guests were filling their plates with food from the kitchen buffet and settling in around Luhnow. “We’ve got four minutes left!” he shouted into his phone to his staff, drawing quizzical glances from the diners. “We’ve got to do this now!”

Luhnow didn’t end up finding out if the deal was done until 15 minutes after the deadline had passed. This is what an MLB executive told him on the phone.

“The deal’s been approved,” the executive said. “But, Jeff, don’t ever put me through that again. We received final verification from Verlander at 11:59 and 58 seconds.”

Two seconds to spare! That has to be a record. At the very least it’s a great story. And if Verlander ends up helping the Astros in the postseason (or even to a World Series victory), it’s a story that will go down in both Astros and baseball lore, one that we’ll tell for years to come.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 22, 2017, 5:25 pm

Ballboys and ballgirls are the unsung heroes of the ballpark. They’re there through big wins and huge losses, scooping up baseballs and delivering them to the masses. They grab ground balls and railing ricochets and aside from the occasional appearance on camera, they go unheralded. But they’ve all got the chops to sit on the field and wrangle the craziest fouls that major league players can muster.

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On Thursday night, a Detroit Tigers ballboy got a chance to wrangle one of those crazy fouls and show off his baseball skills for the camera. Well, not exactly for the camera. More like directly in front of the camera.

The Tigers were getting crushed by the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night, and by the eighth inning the score was a mind numbing 12-1. First baseman Efren Navarro was batting with one out, and on the first pitch he fouled a ball off the ground, and it ricocheted toward the Tigers dugout. More specifically, the part of the dugout that was home to one of the giant, expensive TV cameras. And it was headed right for the lens.

Then, the ballboy saved the day. (Which you may have figured out since this isn’t a post about a foul ball breaking a dugout camera lens.) With the instincts of a cat — a tiger, perhaps — he reached out and snagged the ball with one bare hand. And he did it directly in front of the camera.

A Tigers ballboy saved a camera with his catlike reflexes. (MLB.com)

The camera that the ballboy saved was on and recording, and MLB.com’s Cut4 made a gif of what that camera saw.

Tigers Ballboy, if TV cameras had brains and could think, they would be saluting you for saving one of their own.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 22, 2017, 2:53 pm

Jeremy Jeffress didn’t cover first, Wade Davis got out of a bases-loaded jam and Kris Bryant crushed a go-ahead 2-run homer in extra innings.

Not bad for the last day of Summer.

The Cubs 5-3 victory in Milwaukee on Thursday night was more intense than advertised, and likely more wild than fans of either side would’ve liked. For 10 innings the Brewers and Cubs traded off pressure-filled moments as Milwaukee looked to gain on Chicago’s 3.5 game lead in the National League Central. Instead the Cubs walked away with a thrilling victory in the opener of a four-game series against their division rivals.

And Jeffress is about to feel the heat for it.

Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ is safe at first as he beats Milwaukee Brewers’ Jeremy Jeffress to the bag during the ninth inning. (AP Photo)

With the Brewers up 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Milwaukee reliever couldn’t make it off the mound quick enough to cover first base on Ian Happ’s leadoff single. Happ was safe by inches at best and a challenge by the Brewers confirmed it. That on its own wasn’t too terrible, especially with Jeffress recovering to get Addison Russell and Alex Avila back-to-back.

But with two outs and two strikes on Javier Baez, Jeffrees couldn’t hold on any longer. Baez ripped a single through the infield which sent Happ flying home.

Tie game. And not even close to the end of it.

A single by Neil Walker forced the Cubs to summon Wade Davis from the bullpen, who promptly hit Ryan Braun with a pitch before allowing a Travis Shaw single. Not even bases loaded with one out could save the Brewers. Davis came back to get Domingo Santana on a swinging strikeout and induced an easy grounder from Orlando Arcia to escape the inning.

Bryant stepped up for his two-run shot in the top of the 10th and it proved to be more than enough with Davis coming back out onto the mound for the save.

This is going to hurt for Brewers fans and there’s really no way around it. Instead of closing the gap to win the Central, Milwaukee watched the Cubs’ magic number drop to six and fell 1.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the final Wild Card spot in the NL — St. Louis also won on Thursday night putting it just a half game behind the Brewers in the Wild Card race.

After Wednesday’s 6-4 defeat in Pittsburgh, this makes for back-to-back brutal losses for a Milwaukee team that had won nine of it’s last 13 games coming into the Chicago series. Two weeks ago the Brewers swept the Cubs at Wrigley. It didn’t seem impossible to topple the reigning champs on the road.

Now it’s starting to.

Fall is officially here and the Cubs are up to their old tricks again. The Brewers, meanwhile, well they’ve got some work to do.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Schustee

Author: Blake Schuster
Posted: September 22, 2017, 4:53 am

Remember when it looked like Joe Mauer had overstayed his welcome in Major League Baseball?

Well it appears news of his demise was a bit premature. The longtime face of the Minnesota Twins picked up his 400th career double on Thursday night with a two out laser off the wall in the 6th inning against Detroit to drive in two runs.

The former MVP has been a force at the plate in Minnesota and you really can’t help but be impressed. Since May 1st, Mauer is slashing .328/.409/.457. Despite an abysmal start to the year, that stretch brings Mauer’s season totals to .310/.388/.425. Not bad for anyone, let alone a 34-year-old veteran who’s had to battle through multiple injuries over the past few years. If you look back to August 10th, Mauer has the second highest batting average (.395) in the Majors. And that was before he went 3-for-4 with a walk in a 12-1 thrashing of the Tigers on Thursday.

Still not impressed? How about the fact that he’s only struck out 10 times in the last month. That’s over 95 plate appearances and includes 31 walks. He’s picked up a hit in 26 of his last 28 starts, too, in case you need any more convincing, which you really shouldn’t by now.

You could argue that Mauer is seeing the ball as well as he ever has and it’d be difficult at best to prove otherwise.

Mauer needs just 15 more doubles to pass Kirby Puckett (414) for first all-time in franchise history, and is only 19 hits away from 2000 for his career as well.

Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer collected his 400th career double Thursday night in Detroit. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

This resurgence couldn’t be more important for his club, by the way.

The Twins are up 2.5 games in the American League Wild Card race on the Angels with eight games left to play. There’s nothing comfortable about that kind of lead with the finish line so close. Making matters more difficult is the fact that Minnesota will face the hottest team in baseball for its next series when it travels to Cleveland.

Essentially, the Twins are hanging on for their postseason lives. Thanks to Joe Mauer, their grip is getting a little tighter.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Schustee

Author: Blake Schuster
Posted: September 22, 2017, 2:14 am

A disaster of a summer taking place in Queens is officially infecting the offseason.

The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Mets are expecting manager Terry Collins to retire after this year. The 68-year-old Collins has been with New York since 2011, racking up 578 wins (and counting) along with a National League pennant and back-to-back trips to the playoffs.

Of course, as with most things Mets, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a simple affair. The Daily News report claims Collins, whose contract is up after this season, isn’t sold on retirement just yet. Which could put general manager Sandy Alderson in the position of letting one of the most successful mangers in franchise history walk away to another team.

Barreling towards a finish in the bottom of the NL East this year, it’s not surprising New York is looking to go in a new direction — even though Collins isn’t at fault for the Mets’ failures. The club made the postseason just once in the decade before his arrival. This is still a team only two years removed from a World Series appearance with star talent like Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom on its roster. Which is to say a new approach could very well pry back open a rapidly-closing championship window.

New York Mets manager Terry Collins (10) watches from the dugout during the team’s game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

The Daily News report cites sources with the Mets want someone “tech savvy” and who understands advanced analytics. St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was brought up as an example.

And while it’s nice to see some in New York’s front office push for a modern approach to managing, the reality of baseball’s landscape may make its wish harder to fulfill.

That’s where the appeal of coaching in New York and the Mets’ roster comes in. If this is indeed the end of Collins’ tenure with New York, he’s leaving behind a team that was only a few wins away from a World Series in 2015, but with a horrific recent history of injuries that have all but drained their postseason momentum.

A change in manager may be the answer. It certainly wasn’t the problem.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Schustee

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Author: Blake Schuster
Posted: September 22, 2017, 12:27 am

Philadelphia Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins has enjoyed a record-setting start to his career. Since making his major league debut on Aug. 10, Hoskins has clubbed 18 homers, setting a ridiculous pace that’s not likely to be equaled again any time soon.

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Can Hoskins keep it up? That is the question. And no better authority than Hall of Famer, Phillies legend and eight-time NL home run champion Mike Schmidt stopped by the Yahoo Studios this week to weigh in.

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt stopped by the Yahoo Studios to discuss Phillies phenom Rhys Hoskins, debate which home run record Giancarlo Stanton is actually chasing and his comments on Odubel Herrera being a leader for the Phillies.

Schmidt gives his take on Hoskins hot start, and even compares him to a Yankees legend that might surprise some people.

With Giancarlo Stanton closing in on 60 home runs, the debate rages over what is to be considered the real record. Is it the 73 hit by Barry Bonds in 2001, amid baseball’s alleged PED breakout. Is it Mark McGwire 70 in 1998, which many believe signaled the true beginning of the steroid era? Or is it still Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961? We couldn’t let Schmidt get away without giving his opinion on that subject.

Schmidt also provides an update on his relationship with Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera, after drawing criticism for saying he wouldn’t build a team around Herrera or any other Spanish-speaking player.

It’s an informative interview that you can see in its entirety in the video above.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 21, 2017, 11:13 pm

The pressure is on Major League Baseball teams to add more protective netting to their stadiums after the scary scene Wednesday at Yankee Stadium where a young girl was hit by a foul line drive and apparently knocked out. Players fell silent and reported seeing blood. Some even cried on the field.

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The little girl was OK, according to an update that came Wednesday night after she’d been to the hospital, but it still added a new layer to a debate that’s been going for a few years: Do MLB stadiums need more netting to protect fans? Should it be required?

A young girl is carried out of Yankee Stadium after getting hit by a foul ball Wednesday. (AP)
A young girl is carried out of Yankee Stadium after getting hit by a foul ball Wednesday. (AP)

Our own Jeff Passan offered an impassioned argument that MLB does need more netting, calling out the teams that don’t have enough. Some 20 teams don’t have extended netting. Now that number is rapidly shrinking. The Cincinnati Reds were the first team since Wednesday’s ugly scene to announce that they’ll add more.

#Reds to install additional netting at GABP by Opening Day in 2018. pic.twitter.com/XC8t36YhY1

— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) September 21, 2017

Not more than a few hours later, the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres announced plans to add more netting for the 2018 season.

What makes this a tough issue is MLB’s loose stance on protective netting. When the league offered its 2015 recommendation, it was just that — a recommendation. There is no requirement, no rule, no law from MLB. Each team can do as it sees fit.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier this year that it’s tough to make a rule for all 30 stadiums when they’re all built differently. After Wednesday’s incident, he released a statement to Ken Rosenthal. It didn’t hint at a league-wide mandate, only that MLB would continue to work with clubs to add more netting:

 “The events at yesterday’s game involving a young girl were extremely upsetting for everyone in our game. Over the past few seasons MLB has worked with our clubs to expand the amount of netting in our ballparks. In light of yesterday’s event, we will redouble our efforts on this important issue.”

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 21, 2017, 9:35 pm

Curtis Granderson grew up in Chicago, but as a kid found himself rooting for the Atlanta Braves rather than the Cubs or the White Sox because TBS was pretty powerful back in those days. It helped that the Braves didn’t get in the way of “Saved By the Bell.”

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On this week’s 25-Year-Old Baseball Cards, we talk to the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder about his childhood baseball interests, while finding a few baseball guys from the ’90s he knows. Most notably, Granderson finds the player he thinks is the greatest of all time. How’s that for a tease? When it comes time to make a trade, we see the power of TWO Joe Carters, which was quite a bit of power in 1992, the years our cards were from.

Dodgers outfielder Curtis Granderson on “25-Year-Old Baseball Cards.” (Yahoo Sports)

If you’re new to this series, we’re glad to have you now. We open old baseball cards with baseball players, coaches and famous fans. The cards used to belong to my grandma, who bought them when she and I collected cards together when I was young. They’re not worth anything now, but they sure do produce some good stories. You can read more about the series here and check out plenty of our previous videos below.

Previously in 25-Year-Old Baseball Cards
MUST-SEE EPISODESPedro Martinez | Bronson Arroyo | Eric Davis | Dusty Baker | Hank Azaria | Alex Rodriguez | Scott Boras | A.J. Ellis | Bernie Williams | Chase Utley

MANAGERS/COACHESTerry Francona | Joe Maddon | Bruce Bochy | Clint Hurdle | Buck Showalter | Brad Mills | Bob Melvin

CURRENT PLAYERSNoah Syndergaard | Kyle Hendricks | Clayton Kershaw | Todd Coffey | John Axford | Dee Gordon | Adam Eaton | Rajai Davis | Brad Ziegler & Tyler Clippard

STARS FROM BACK IN THE DAYFrank Thomas | Sandy Alomar Jr. | Delino DeShields | Cliff Floyd | Dan Plesac | Aaron Boone | Bobby Bonilla | Andre Dawson  | Ivan Rodriguez | Jack Morris | Jeff Nelson

CELEBSAlyssa Milano | Josh Duhamel | Joel McHale

ETC: Josh Kusnick | Jeff Passan | Ken Kendrick

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 21, 2017, 8:39 pm

The Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and fund-raising by Houston Texas star J.J. Watt showed us just how much of an impact pro athletes can have as humanitarians. Now that Puerto Rico has been — as news reports say — “absolutely obliterated” by Hurricane Maria, two famous Puerto Rican baseball players are stepping up to raise money to help their homeland.

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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and former New York Yankees great Jorge Posada have each set up fundraising sites aimed at helping Puerto Rico. NBA player J.J. Barea, who is also from Puerto Rico, has launched an effort as well.

Baseball and Puerto Rico are pretty closely intertwined. It’s the land of Roberto Clemente, after all. And it birthed some of this generation’s most exciting young players in Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. This was the scene Wednesday at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the site of MLB’s Puerto Rican series in 2018.

Desde SJ: Serios destrozos en el estadio Hiram Bithorn tras El Paso del huracán María. @VoceroPR pic.twitter.com/P2VvTsqicY

— Yamaira Muñiz (@yamairamuniz) September 20, 2017

The problems in Puerto Rico extend far beyond baseball right now, however. The hurricane has left more than three million people completely without power. Officials are afraid it might take months to restore. Meanwhile, most phone services are down as well.

In the early going, the fund-raising efforts by both MLB players are gaining traction and donations. Posada’s effort has raised more than $65,000 so far, with a goal of $100,000. Molina’s fund just launched Thursday morning with a $1 million goal. At the time of this post, it had raised close to $5,000.

Yadier Molina and team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. (AP)
Yadier Molina and team Puerto Rico during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. (AP)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 21, 2017, 6:37 pm

If you’re looking for a feel-good story, look no further than San Diego Padres rookie Rocky Gale. The 29-year-old catcher has spent the last seven-plus seasons playing almost exclusively in the minor leagues, but his patience and perseverance all paid off with one glorious swing during Wednesday’s 13-7 loss to the Diamondbacks.

In the second inning, Gale connected for his first career home run — a two-run shot against Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray in the second inning. That’s the same Robbie Ray who earned an All-Star selection this season and should get his name on everyone’s Cy Young ballot.

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It was a great battle too. Gale worked the count full and then fouled off three straight pitches before squaring one up and sending it over the left field wall.

The epic at-bat was made even better by the result, but the best part was seeing the sheer joy on Gale’s face as he rounded the bases. A childhood dream was being lived out before our very eyes, and it was incredible to watch those emotions come through.

Find someone who makes you as happy as Rocky Gale’s first Major League home run made him. pic.twitter.com/xeTgR0TwJA

— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) September 21, 2017

How awesome is that?

Gale is not known as a home run hitter. He’s accumulated 2,008 at-bats in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Padres in the 24th round of the 2010 Draft, and during that time he only hit 11 home runs total. This marked his 11th at-bat ever in the big leagues — he went 1-for-10 during a brief stint in 2015 — and his first of the season.

Padres' rookie Rocky Gale (far right) is congratulated at home plate after hitting his first career home run against Arizona. (AP)
Padres’ rookie Rocky Gale (far right) is congratulated at home plate after hitting his first career home run against Arizona. (AP)

Hunter Renfroe, on the other hand, is well known for his power. The Padres rookie outfielder entered Wednesday with 81 homers in the minors and another 25 in the majors. He drilled three more homers in San Diego’s loss and could easily hit hundreds more before he’s done playing.

Not a single one in this game could overshadow Gale’s moment. He made the most of what will probably be a rare chance in the big leagues. In the process, he made a lifelong memory for himself while providing a genuine moment we won’t soon forget.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 21, 2017, 5:11 am

Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale reached a significant single-season milestone on Wednesday, recording his 300th strikeout in a 9-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles.

In doing so, Sale notched the 35th 300 strikeout season in MLB history and became the first American League pitcher to reach that milestone since Pedro Martinez — also with the Boston Red Sox — recorded 313 in 1999. Martinez’s mark is the Red Sox single-season record.

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Sale reached 300 on his 13th and final strikeout of the game. He caught Ryan Faherty looking on a curveball with two outs in the eighth inning. That would also be Sale’s final batter of the game after throwing eighth scoreless innings. Sale allowed just four hits.

Sale joined Clayton Kershaw (2015) as the only two pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson both accomplished that feat as teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002. That was the third of three consecutive 300 strikeout seasons for Johnson. The left-hander had six overall during his Hall of Fame career.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale reached quite a milestone with his 300th strikeout of the season. (AP)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale reached quite a milestone with his 300th strikeout of the season. (AP)

Sale left the field to a standing ovation from the fans at Camden Yards in Baltimore, many of whom were dressed in Red Sox gear. His teammates joined in the applause and greeted him with hugs upon his return to the dugout. This was the first celebration of the night for the Red Sox. Later in the evening they clinched at least a wildcard berth thanks to the Angels loss.

The double-digit strikeout performance was Sale’s 18th of the season. That included a stretch of eight straight overlapping April and May. If you like fun facts and interesting stats, here are a couple more from Sale’s season to date.

Sale: 4th pitcher since 1900 with 300 K in his 1st season with a team.

Others: Randy Johnson (99), Nolan Ryan (89, 72) Steve Carlton (72).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 21, 2017

Sale has struck out 166 different batters this year, topped by Judge and Souza at 10 each.

— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) September 21, 2017

Chris Sale’s first regular season in Boston has been a rousing success. But he above everyone knows there’s more work to be done.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 21, 2017, 2:31 am

As the end of the regular season nears, there will be plenty of speculation over which managers on the hot seat will be fired or retained. In some places, that speculation has been gaining steam for most of the season. In others, it’s apparent the manager is already resigned to his fate.

That appears to be the case in Detroit, where Tigers’ brass is fully expected to make a decision on manager Brad Ausmus with the team limping to its worst season since losing 119 games in 2003. If you ask Ausmus himself, he believes his fate has already been sealed.

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Despite using a joking tone, Ausmus seemed to make that clear while speaking to the media before Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Oakland A’s.

Brad Ausmus made a joke about next year’s manager just now. Asked if he felt his fate has been determined. He said he thinks so

— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 20, 2017

Further on Ausmus’ comments: He was asked whether he felt anything that happens in next few weeks will impact decision. He seemed doubtful

— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 20, 2017

Ausmus was hired by the Tigers before the 2014 and has since posted a 312-324 record. The team was coming off three straight postseason appearances at that time, and most recently had lost in the ALCS four games to two against the Boston Red Sox.

Despite an aging roster, Detroit seemed poised to continue contending under Ausmus, but have only managed one postseason appearance during his tenure. That was a quick three and out loss to Baltimore in the 2014 ALDS. Detroit finished last in the AL Central in 2015, winning only 74 games, before bouncing back to win 86 last season. That wasn’t good enough to earn even a wildcard entry.

Brad Ausmus' time as Detroit Tigers could be nearing its end. (Getty Images)
Brad Ausmus’ time as Detroit Tigers could be nearing its end. (Getty Images)

Obviously, the team went off the cliff in 2017. To the point where ownership and general manager Al Avila finally agreed it was time to start the rebuilding process. With that being the case, it would definitely make sense to put a new manager in place to help see that process through.

It might be good for Ausmus too to step out of this situation and regroup, knowing that some lean years lie ahead. We suspect managing is still his long term goal, and the best way to make that happen might be taking a step back and reevaluating what worked and what didn’t in Detroit. He definitely has some things to work on, and now that he has experience to draw from it might be easier to connect the dots when another opportunity comes along.

Obviously, no manager wants to get fired, just as no team really wants to fire the person it selected to call the shots, but sometimes it’s the best for everybody. This seems like one of those times.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 21, 2017, 1:57 am
Raul Mondesi (No. 43 here with the Pittsburgh Pirates) served as mayor of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic for six years. (AP)

Former major leaguer Raul Mondesi has been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption during his time as mayor of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic, Hector Gomez reported on Wednesday.

Mondesi, who served a six-year term as mayor from 2010-2016, was also fined 60 million pesos.

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Mondesi, 46, was originally under investigation in 2015 for an alleged misappropriation of more than $200 million. That led the Justice Department to accuse Mondesi and others of handling funds in a discretionary manner without complying with procedures.

According to Diario Libre, that included not preparing financial statements without technical criteria, retaining taxes collected that were not sent to the appropriate agencies and not complying with the budget.

Mondesi appeared in 1,525 games over 13 seasons in MLB, spending time with the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Angels, and Braves. He was voted NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1994, won two Gold Gloves and appeared in one All-Star game.

He made the move to politics after retiring from baseball in 2005. During the 2010 election, he ran as part of the Dominican Liberation Party but later switched sides and joined the Dominican Revolutionary Party.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 21, 2017, 12:36 am

Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. Like our video-game posts of last year, these are best done in theme. This time? We’re going with “Game of Thrones.” Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment, tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again. 

Sorry, San Diego Padres, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.

Not that you ever were going to do that. Not when Jhoulys Chacín is your opening day starter. Not when the three dudes you’re paying the most money this year — James Shields, Melvin Upton Jr. and Hector Olivera — don’t even play on your team. Not this year, Padres.

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That doesn’t mean 2017 didn’t have its bright spots. Manuel Margot has shown a lot of promise. Brad Hand has been great. The Padres will finish ahead of the Giants this season, which almost no one would have predicted. And, well, they’ve got good beer in San Diego.

Let’s further break down the season that was in San Diego:

(Amber Matsumoto / Yahoo Sports)

UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
Despite many predicting 100 losses for the Padres this season, they’ve played reasonably well all season and will avoid that mark thanks to a better than expected rotation. Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard seemed like odd choices to lead the pitching staff, but both provided exactly what they needed as veterans. Luis Perdemo and Dinelson Lamet supplemented the rotation with excellent seasons of their own. Not enough good things can be said about Brad Hand. The veteran left-hander cemented him position among the best relievers in the game. (Mark Townsend)

THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
For a rebuilding team, the Padres were surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline. We’re not sure if that’s something going wrong as much as it was just an unexpected approach. Regardless, it seemed counterproductive to the long-term goal. The Padres were hoping for more out of rookie Hunter Renfroe, but didn’t get much aside from some occasional power. He was back in the minors by August. Oh, and their decision to sign Jered Weaver (who had a 7.44 ERA in nine starts before retiring) went exactly like everyone predicted. (Mark Townsend)

THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
The Padres only had one player hit for the cycle in the entire history of their franchise before this season. But Wil Myers made it two back in April. He even finished it in most exciting fashion: With a triple.

.@Wilmyers collects ALL of the hits to nail down the second cycle in @Padres history (Matt Kemp, 2015). pic.twitter.com/eO0ZnfaujN

— MLB (@MLB) April 11, 2017

Myers is the face of the franchise in San Diego these days, so it’s only proper that he’s the one responsible for their best moment. (Mike Oz)

WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
The Padres need some juice at the plate, there’s no way around it. They’re in the bottom ten in home runs, but where they really fall down is just plain getting on base. They’ve got the worst batting average in baseball at .233 and by far the worst OBP at .299. They’re the only team with a collective OBP under .300. That’s just shockingly bad. There’s more: the only player with an OBP above .350 is Matt Szczur, and he’s not even an everyday player. The Padres just desperately need baserunners more consistently, which is probably something manager Andy Green should spend time thinking about this offseason. And GM A.J. Preller has his work cut out for him this winter, too: find someone who can hit. (Liz Roscher)

A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
Help is on the way, but probably not for a little while. Most of the Padres’ impact prospects are still at the low levels of the minors. Fans can expect a few to debut in 2018, but the majority of the team’s next core will still need time to develop in the minors. It will probably be ugly again in 2018 and 2019. At that point, the team may start to see its future taking shape. (Chris Cwik)

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia PhilliesCincinnati RedsChicago White Sox | New York Mets

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: September 20, 2017, 11:26 pm

As we’re reminded every year, baseball at the professional level is a business first. If teams can cut corners to save even the slightest bit of money, you better believe they’ll do it.

Unfortunately for players with vesting options and incentive clauses in their contracts, one of the easiest ways to cut costs is to avoid those incentives being met. Though the Los Angeles Angels are denying that as motivation, it appears recent changes to their pitching alignment may have been aimed at saving up to $750,000 in bonuses potentially owed to two pitchers.

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Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times specifically points to two decisions made last Friday as being a little too convenient for the team when considering the terms of Bud Norris’ and Jesse Chavez’s contracts.

Norris, who had served as the team’s primary closer when healthy this season, was moved into a starting role for this game. The reason given by the Angels was that they needed a starter for the injured Andrew Heaney. But Moura notes that Norris would be due a $500,000 bonus if he makes 60 relief appearances this season.

It’s a very specific clause, and considering that start had been Norris’ only appearance over a 10-day stretch, it added more fuel to Moura’s speculation the Angels have been limiting Norris’ relief appearances. It should be noted that Norris pitched in relief on Tuesday, giving him 57 relief appearances on the season. That one could come right down to the wire and will no doubt be watched very closely.

After making a surprise, Angels pitcher Bud Norris could miss out on a $500,000 bonus for relief appearances. (AP)
After making a surprise, Angels pitcher Bud Norris could miss out on a $500,000 bonus for relief appearances. (AP)

In the same game, Jesse Chavez, who has made 21 starts and 13 relief appearances for the Angels this season, appeared as a reliever. That’s worth mentioning for a couple reasons. One, he would have seemed a more logical choice to start given that he’s already logged 21 this season. The other being that had he made a 22nd start this season, it would have triggered a $250,000 clause in Chavez’s contract. Beyond that, Chavez had another $250,000 bonus coming if he reached 24 starts this season, but that very clearly is not going to happen.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Times on Tuesday that he was completely unaware of the incentives in either players’ contracts. General manager Billy Eppler offered a similar denial, stating that it’s “just a coincidence” things lined up as they did.

Perhaps that’s true. You almost hope it is considering the Angels should have bigger priorities with a postseason spot still well within reach. But man, what a coincidence when you consider the players involved and their roles.

You can draw your own conclusions on whether the Angels worked this situation to their advantage. All we can tell you with certainty is that the Angels are still paying the over $26 million that was owed to Josh Hamilton this season, not to mention they’ll be on the hook for the over $100 million still owed to Albert Pujols over the next four seasons. Saving money isn’t just a hobby for them. It’s a necessity.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 20, 2017, 11:15 pm

With each swing of Giancarlo Stanton’s bat, baseball fans wonder: Will baseball’s illustrious 60-homer club get another member?

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Stanton got one home run closer on Wednesday, blasting his 56th homer of the season for the Miami Marlins in their 9-2 win over the New York Mets. Stanton has 60 well within his sights with 10 games to play.

Giancarlo Stanton watches his 56th homer fly out of the park. (Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton watches his 56th homer fly out of the park. (Getty Images)

No. 56 was a line-drive shot that didn’t get the normal elevation and distance we see from Stanton. It only traveled 399 feet per Statcast. But it left the yard at 117 mph, which is still impressive as it ranks among the top-25 hardest hit balls this season.

Stanton @Marlins pic.twitter.com/dXgJiYZLvR

— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) September 20, 2017

Also impressive? Stanton’s 56 homers are the most in recent history. Ryan Howard hit 58 in 2006. A-Rod hit 57 in 2002. The real number being chased, though, is 60. Only Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds have hit 60 in a season.

Even though the single-season record of 73 seems out of reach for Stanton, hitting 60 or 61 would equal two famous former records. And in 10 games? He could do it. He hit 18 homers in August, which included a 10-game stretch of nine homers. He’s now hit two in his last three games after a slow start to September where he hit three in 15 games.

The Marlins might be nearing mathematical elimination from the postseason (one more loss does it) but there’s still something to watch in Miami the final two weeks of the season.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

More from Yahoo Sports:
Tribute for deceased HS soccer player turns into a ‘funky’ miracle
NASCAR team’s cheat: Was it caught on national TV?
St. Louis youth football team kneels during anthem
Cyborg’s unusual offer to fight Rousey

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 20, 2017, 9:02 pm

Fun fact: Did you now that Didi Gregorius, the shortstop for the New York Yankees, was knighted back in 2011 in his home country of Curaçao? That makes him Sir Didi — and as knights and sirs must do, Gregorius showed us an exemplary level of sportsmanship and goodwill to his opponent Wednesday when the Yankees hosted the Minnesota Twins.

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Gregorius hit a three-run homer as the Yankees were just pouring it on the Twins. It was their third homer of the game at that point and part of a six-run inning. It was also Gregorius’ 25th homer in 2017, which broke Derek Jeter’s 1999 record of 24 for a Yankees shortstop in a season.

In that moment Gregorius could have celebrated. But you know what he did instead? He apologized.

On his follow through, Gregorius’ bat hit Twins catcher Jason Castro, so before he rounded the bases, Gregorius stopped to make sure Castro was OK. It was his knightly duty, after all. Here’s another angle:

Sportsmanship is key. pic.twitter.com/3C89n3K2Zo

— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 20, 2017

Didi Gregorius set the Yankees' shortstop record for homers, but before rounding the bases, he apologized to Jason Castro. (Getty Images)
Didi Gregorius set the Yankees’ shortstop record for homers, but before rounding the bases, he apolgized to Jason Castro. (Getty Images)

What a guy! The Twins still probably won’t be too happy, as they lost 11-3 Wednesday, the final game of a Yankees sweep. The Yankees have now won seven of eight. They lead the top AL wild-card spot comfortably, but they’re still chasing the Red Sox for the AL East crown. They were three games out entering play Wednesday. With their win, the Yankees’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now four.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

More from Yahoo Sports:
Tribute for deceased HS soccer player turns into a ‘funky’ miracle
St. Louis youth football team kneels during anthem
Cyborg’s unusual offer to fight Rousey
Week 3 fantasy football rankings: Who should you start?

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 20, 2017, 7:56 pm
Pat Neshek (L) aired his beef with Zack Greinke on an online collecting forum. (AP/Getty Images)

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Pat Neshek is MLB’s most avid baseball card and autograph collector. He takes his collecting so seriously that at one point he was trying to get every card from Topps’ 1985 set — all 782 of them — autographed by the players on the cardboard.

Neshek collects a lot more than 1985 Topps, though, so when he was chosen for the All-Star Game this year in Miami, Neshek was asked which player’s autograph he was most eager to try to get. His answer? Zack Greinke.

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At the time, Neshek said: “He’s tough. Hopefully we can talk.” He had no idea.

Greinke, the Arizona Diamondbacks ace, and Neshek, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, were on the National League team together, so easy enough, right? Turns out that wasn’t exactly the case.

Neshek shared a story about his encounter with Greinke on the message board of SportsCollectors.net. Basically, Neshek — who has publicly said his username is “heat17” on the site — said Greinke snubbed him. Then he called Greinke a “turd” and said he wouldn’t try to get his autograph anymore.

Pat Neshek roasting Zach Greinke on this autograph forum is the greatest thing I’ve seen in a while #turd pic.twitter.com/UNdKedpshf

— chris jones¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) September 19, 2017

In case that’s too small to read, here’s what it says:

“Thanks guys. Greinke stiffed me once again. I asked him at the all star game if he would sign for me and he said he would… so a couple weeks ago we played them and I sent over the cards I needed signed… basically 3 league leaders cards with Kershaw and Wainwright already done and 2 from 2015 to complete the set. He said no… I waited around for him during batting practice and went up to him and he totally denied having the conversation at the all star game… I then asked why this was a problem and he said it’s because “I wear him out.” Hard to wear someone out when he has never signed for me. This is the only ahole in major league baseball that has been a turd to me. So going back to the conversation I said can you just get these done it will take 5 seconds… just draw a little z on them for me… He said no I will never sign for you… I walked away… a couple minutes later I confronted him in the outfield while he was jogging and told him what I thought of him… he just kept on running then said I wouldn’t even sign for your kid if he asked…. I wanted to laugh knowing he had probably thought of that line for a long time and that was the best he could come up with… I then let him know what I thought of him again and being the socially awkward guy he is ran back to the dugout and went inside. Soooo I’m done with this guy. I’m basically gonna have to trade with someone on here to 50/50 them down the road.”

Well, that’s quite a story. And there’s a lot to unpack there. So a few points of context:

• The reference to Neshek’s son is in response to a pre-All Star interview where Neshek said he’d send his kid over to talk to Greinke.

• As Neshek references, Greinke has suffered from social-anxiety issues in the past. It even led to him missing most of the 2006 season. In recent years, Greinke has said his social anxiety is under control.

• The idea of players sending items across clubhouses to get autographed isn’t rare at all. Many players in MLB collect autographed memorabilia from their peers, but nobody does it to the extent that Neshek does.

Neshek addressed the matter further Wednesday on Twitter, once his autograph feud with Greinke had turned into a full-blown story. A few worthwhile points he made:

he’s done this to numerous clubhouse staff and players over the years can respect no but when tells me he will and won’t I scratch my head

— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) September 20, 2017

In response to Eno Sarris from Fangraphs, Neshek said:

“… Autographs happen all the time & I respect a no. The guy told me he would sign no problem at the AS Game then denies saying it. I’m not hounding anyone, I sent a card over for my son’s set with the clubhouse guy…takes 2 secs to sign or say no & I’m fine with it. I casually asked him at the All Star game why he wouldn’t sign for me just curious why he said no…I was intrigued. He said he confused me with Brad ZIegler [editor’s note: Ziegler is an ex-teammate of Greinke’s who is also an avid baseball-card collector] and that’s why he wouldn’t sign…I said ok is it possible to sign then this seems like a misunderstanding. He said he would. Like I said I can respect a no, I just happened to be on the same team with him and was intrigued as to why… thought it was a good question. At the end of the day it’s a stupid autograph for my son’s set…who cares life goes on. I collect for the fun of it.”

Interestingly, the Rockies and D-backs could meet in the NL wild-card game if the standings stay the way they are now. Probably wouldn’t be any autograph requests that day.

– – – – – –

Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 20, 2017, 6:39 pm

Since Rhys Hoskins was called up on Aug. 10, he’s been making things happen for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 39 games he’s slashed .299/.428/.739 with a record-setting 18 home runs. And for Phillies fans, Hoskins still doesn’t seem real. The team is just starting to emerge from five solid years of rebuilding-related losing (and losing and losing), so Hoskins’ explosion almost feels like a joke that’s being played on them by the baseball gods.

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That definitely explains this tweet from Phillies fan Damon Miller Jr. Not believing that Hoskins would homer yet again, he tweeted this before the Phillies played the Miami Marlins on Sept. 14.

If Hoskins goes yard tonight I’ll buy everyone chicken nuggets

— Damon Miller Jr. (@Damon_Miller_Jr) September 14, 2017

A bold, daring promise. But Damon may have forgotten: once you tweet something out into the world, the internet never forgets. Because lo and behold, Hoskins homered again that night.

Enjoy. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/N1k3wujGjv

— Phillies (@Phillies) September 15, 2017

What was Miller’s immediate reaction to that fateful Hoskins homer? John Stolnis of The Good Phight spoke to him on Tuesday and found out.

Miller said, “I was actually at the game when he hit and my first reaction was I looked at my dad and said DID THAT JUST HAPPEN!? I OWE EVERYONE NUGGETS NOW!”

Miller had a little more to say about it on Twitter.

Rip my wallet

— Damon Miller Jr. (@Damon_Miller_Jr) September 15, 2017

But a promise is a promise. So the Phillies brought Miller to Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night to make good on it.

Tonight. First Base Gate.

CHICKEN NUGGETS Y’ALL! https://t.co/sK24nX5UEC

— Phillies (@Phillies) September 19, 2017

Damon Miller Jr. came to Citizens Bank Park to make good on his promise to buy everyone chicken nuggets if Rhys Hoskins hit a home run. (Twitter/@Phillies)

What a guy. pic.twitter.com/s3Oi2xwr2P

— Phillies (@Phillies) September 19, 2017

Here’s what Miller told The Good Phight about nugget-palooza:

Miller told me he gave away 300 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets (from 50 boxes) before Tuesday night’s game against L.A. He’s lucky attendance has been sparser during this rebuilding season.

Citizens Bank Park seats 43,647 people. If everyone who entered the park got a 4-piece chicken McNugget pack, that would equate to 174,588 chicken nuggets. Luckily, they’re $1.99 on the Dollar Menu, which would have cost him potentially just $86,857.53 (before tax). However, in the end, it didn’t cost him anything.

“[The Phillies] set up the entire thing, which I’m extremely grateful for!”

Rhys Hoskins home runs and chicken nuggets are both joyful things, and thankfully Miller’s wallet didn’t have to get murdered for their sake.

The story doesn’t end there, though. Later that night during the game, Miller got a special gift from the man who made this all happen, Rhys Hoskins himself.

CAUGHT A BALL FROM @RhysHoskins22 @Phillies THIS IS CRAZY pic.twitter.com/IXgGdzebZV

— Damon Miller Jr. (@Damon_Miller_Jr) September 20, 2017

Miller held up his sign for Hoskins, and the guy threw him a baseball in return. Could there be a more perfect ending to this story?

Hoskins hasn’t hit a home run in five games (since the Sept. 14 nugget-dinger, actually), but he’s still making things happen for the Phillies. They were facing the Dodgers on Tuesday night, and Hoskins hit a crucial three-run double in the sixth inning that put them ahead 5-2. They’d go on to win the game 6-2, beating the Dodgers for the second (?!) straight night.

Maybe it was the chicken nuggets.

– – – – – –

Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 20, 2017, 4:10 pm
Larry Corcoran was the ace of the Chicago White Stockings in the 1880s. (Photos provided by Penelope Corcoran)

Larry Corcoran’s obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune was just 46 words.

“New York, Sept. 20. — Larry Corcoran, the once famous pitcher of the Chicago Baseball club and for two seasons a member of the New York club, died at his home in Newark, N.J., last night of typhoid fever. He leaves a wife and two children.”

None of it was true. Corcoran died of Bright’s disease. He had four children. Oh, and he wasn’t dead yet.

The only part that was close to accurate — “the once famous pitcher” — undersold the point. From 1880 to 1884, the 5-foot-3, 127 pound Corcoran was the ace of the Chicago White Stockings. He etched his name in the record books, and is still mentioned today when someone approaches his mark, even though most baseball fans have no idea who he is.

Corcoran started 255 games between 1880 and 1884, going the distance in all but nine of them. He racked up 2,279 innings — an absurd number compared to today. From 2012 to 2016, David Price led baseball with 1,096 1/3 innings pitched. Corcoran also posted a 2.23 ERA over that period, which was 29 percent better than the league average.

In his first year with the club, he became the fourth pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter on Aug. 19, 1880. On Sept. 20, 1882 — exactly 135 years ago — he did it again, becoming the first pitcher in baseball history with multiple no-hitters. Two years later, on June 27, 1884, Corcoran added a third no-hitter, a record that wouldn’t be surpassed for 81 years.

And yet The Chicago Daily Tribune — the paper in the city in which Corcoran made baseball history — falsely reported his death. Corcoran died nearly a month after the Tribune ran his obituary, on Oct. 14, 1891. There was no mention of his on-field accomplishments. No hint of his historic performance with the White Stockings. No acknowledgment of the three consecutive National League championships he’d helped Chicago win. Less than five years removed from throwing his final pitch, Corcoran was already forgotten.

Over a century later, that remains true. All of the pitchers who have thrown three or more no-hitters are considered among the game’s greatest talents. Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Cy Young and Bob Feller are all no-doubt Hall of Famers.

And then there’s Corcoran. He’s the only member of that club who isn’t considered one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He’s not talked about as an inner-circle Hall of Famer. He’s not even talked about as an average, run-of-the-mill Hall of Famer.

That’s because he can’t be. Of the five pitchers to throw at least three no-hitters, Corcoran is the only one not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Among the endless debates each year surrounding Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and every other questionable candidate, Corcoran’s name never comes up, but his case might be just as fascinating.

Corcoran’s story is mostly lost to baseball history. A review of his Baseball-Reference page gives you stats, including his unusual height and weight. His brief Wikipedia entry reveals some memorable facts. Corcoran, along with Fred Goldsmith, combined to form one of the first pitching rotations in baseball history. He’s credited with being the first pitcher to create a pitch signaling method with his catcher. He was an ambidextrous pitcher.

But that’s it. There’s no hint of Corcoran’s meteoric rise, his feud with a powerful owner and his unceremonious demise partially brought on by alcohol. It’s quite a tale. One that a descendent of his has spent years researching, and now she’s pushing for his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Penelope Corcoran, Larry’s great-granddaughter, grew up knowing her great-grandfather was a famous baseball player who’d pitched three no-hitters a long time ago, but not much else.

“My dad told me Larry was a pitcher on ‘Cap Anson’s famous Chicago team’ in the 1880s,” she told Yahoo Sports. “He pitched three no-hitters. He threw his right arm out. He taught himself how to throw with his left … but he couldn’t get back to form. He drank himself to death by age 32. That was the story I grew up with.

“That leaves a lot of questions to be answered.”

A GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER’S QUEST
Locating published information on Larry was a passion project for Penelope’s father. They would look for Larry in any basic baseball almanacs they could get their hands on. When Penelope was a child, they even visited Cooperstown and talked to someone at the Hall of Fame to learn why Larry wasn’t a part of it. Her father died 20 years ago, and Penelope set out to fill in those gaps.

In 2006, as more archives became available online, she was motivated to see what she could find about her great-grandfather.

“I just wanted to know more,” she said. “I wanted to see stuff. I wanted to see his name on a census. I wanted to see documents.”

She joined Ancestry.com. There, she found articles from various newspaper databases on Larry. She found the 1880 census for Brooklyn, where she learned Larry’s father, William, was a butcher. His two older brothers were sparmakers. That was just the starting point. Her interest piqued, and over the past seven years she’s extensively researched anything she could find regarding Larry’s life and career.

It wasn’t easy. Penelope needed more than just the archives available on Ancestry. She found the papers that offered online archives and signed up. She archived every single story she could find about Larry from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. She looked up old issues of the New York Clipper.

While plenty of papers covered baseball at the time, some important sporting publications were unindexed. Penelope had to go through each issue one-by-one to find Larry’s name.

“[The N.Y. Clipper] was a weekly, thank God,” she said.

After doing everything should could online, Penelope took her research beyond the computer. She spent five days in Chicago at the Chicago History Museum trying to find every mention of her great-grandfather. This included not only baseball stories and coverage, but personal letters from people who knew and interacted with Larry. She went through the archives at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“They didn’t have much on Larry,” she said. “His file contained a couple of photocopies.”

Larry Corcoran is the only pitcher with three no-hitters not in the baseball Hall of Fame. (Photo provided by Penelope Corcoran)

CORCORAN BECOMES A STAR BUT CLASHES WITH OWNERSHIP
Larry Corcoran got his start in baseball playing in pickup leagues around Brooklyn. Word spread about his performance. Hall of Fame player/manager of the Chicago White Stockings Cap Anson heard about Corcoran while visiting Buffalo, and invited him to train with the team in California in the late fall of 1879.

Corcoran was picked up by the White Stockings for the 1880 season, and exploded onto the scene as a rookie. In his first year with the club, Corcoran started 60 games, going 43-14. He racked up a 1.95 ERA — which was 23 percent better than league-average — over 536 1/3 innings. His 268 strikeouts led the league. He threw his first no-hitter in August, and led the White Stockings to the pennant.

Nearly all of those figures would lead the league today. Thirty-three starts in a season is considered a lot now. A pitcher who throws 230 innings now is typically among the league leaders. Corcoran’s strikeout total isn’t all that out of place, but consider that it came in over 500 innings. His 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings led baseball in 1880. That figure would rank as the second lowest among qualified pitchers in 2017.

In 1882, Corcoran turned in perhaps the finest season of his career. Over 355 2/3 innings, he posted a league-leading 1.95 ERA — 47 percent better than league-average — with a league-low .967 WHIP. He led the league averaging 7.1 hits per nine innings. On Sept. 20, he threw his second no-hitter. The White Stockings won yet another pennant.

Prior to the start of the 1882 season, Chicago Baseball Club president William Hulbert died of a heart attack. Albert G. Spalding, the club’s secretary, replaced him. Spalding had been a standout pitcher with the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association in the 1870s. He was regarded as one of the best pitchers of his era.

When Hulbert decided to help create the National League, he recruited Spalding to play for him. In 1876, his first season with the White Stockings, Spalding led the team to the first-ever National League pennant. He went 47-12, with a 1.75 ERA in 528 2/3 innings.

Spalding had been well-regarded within the game for quite some time. As a player, he opened a sporting goods store with his brother. The business thrived, and is still around today. Yes, he’s that Spalding. He used his stature to influence the game. Spalding sold his balls, bats and other equipment to clubs.

He also wrote a baseball guide, in which he detailed what he believed it took to be a successful ballplayer. Spalding believed strongly in morals. Players should not drink and should remain abstinent in order to thrive. This presented a huge problem for many members of the White Stockings, who were treated like rock stars at the time, according to Corcoran.

“They were the National Champions for several years in a row,” she said. “They were famous. They partied. They partied hard. Some of [Larry’s] teammates would show up the next day drunk, and I’m sure Larry showed up hungover quite a few times.”

This enraged Spalding. After receiving letters from citizens implicating players on the White Stockings of “drunkenness and debauchery,” Spalding hired Billy Pinkerton to follow members of the team for a few weeks.

Spalding received a report from the detective, who followed members of the club “through a whole roster of saloons and speak-easy resorts.” In his book “America’s National Game” Spalding wrote, “Seven out of the fifteen players on the team were too awful for patient consideration.”

Spalding called a team meeting revealing he had the team followed, and presented a list of their transgressions. The players treated it like a joke, asking to hear the list of their escapades rattled off. They sat silently in anticipation until shortstop King Kelly interrupted to dispute one of the claims.

“I have to offer only one amendment,” King said in front of the group. “In that place where the detective reports me as taking a lemonade a 3 a.m. he’s off. It was a straight whiskey; I never drank a lemonade at that hour in my life.”

While the players laughed it off, Spalding took the charges seriously. The seven players agreed to a fine of $25 a piece. Spalding uses the story to explain why he sold Kelly to the Boston Beaneaters in 1887. While Corcoran was part of the drinking gang, Spalding does not mention him by name. Penelope Corcoran has not been able to confirm if Larry was on the Pinkerton list. Corcoran’s name only shows up one time in “America’s National Game.” It’s a one-sentence blurb noting his small stature.

Corcoran pitched two more strong seasons for the White Stockings in 1883 and 1884. In 1885, however, Corcoran injured his arm, leading to a massive and highly public falling out with Spalding.

“I think Spalding did his best to hurt [Larry’s] reputation,” Penelope Corcoran said. “I don’t know what kind of campaign they did, but they basically painted Larry as a bad guy. I think that carried a lot of weight.”

Excerpt from Albert G. Spalding’s letter to the Inter Ocean. (Photo provided by Penelope Corcoran)

He injured his arm in May, but remained with the club through June while rehabbing from his injury. When July began, Corcoran asked Spalding for his monthly salary. Spalding told him that he had terminated his contract as of June 1, and did not owe him any money. Corcoran was never notified of that, and had reported to the team every day in June. Corcoran asked for his release. Spalding eventually agreed, but the move was contingent on Larry returning to the club the following season if he was able to return to form.

Spalding believed Corcoran would join a team in Newark for the rest of the year to get right.

Instead, Corcoran agreed to a contract with the White Stockings’ arch rivals, the New York Giants. As both teams were engaged in a tight pennant race, Corcoran’s N.Y. defection and Spalding’s ire was a hot topic in newspaper sporting sections

After the falling out, Corcoran said said there was no way he would return to Chicago the following season. Upon hearing that, Spalding said he would never take Corcoran back.

The Chicago Daily Tribune defends Spalding’s actions with Corcoran. (Photo provided by Penelope Corcoran)

Spalding’s influence and stature within the game led to the Tribune generally taking his side in the fracas. They praised Spalding for his shrewd business methods, and mentioned Corcoran’s injury cost the team “a considerable sum of money.”

Though Corcoran insisted his arm was healthy, he struggled in New York. Corcoran pitched just three games with the club, putting up a slightly below league-average ERA. That was basically the end of his career as a useful pitcher. Corcoran posted a 5.79 ERA over 14 innings with the Washington Nationals in 1886. He joined the Indianapolis Hoosiers in 1887, but posted a 12.60 ERA in 15 innings. That was his final season in professional baseball.

CORCORAN’S DOWNFALL COMES WITH THE HELP OF ALCOHOL
As his career deteriorated, Corcoran’s drinking started to become more of a problem.

“Drinking might have started to show up at the end of the Nationals,” according to Penelope Corcoran. “It definitely became an issue in 1887. He started the season with Nashville. By May he was fined and indefinitely suspended for ‘intemperance.’ Amazingly, Indianapolis still signed him, but also released him.”

Following his stint with Indianapolis, Larry played in the minors in 1888. There his drinking again led to suspensions and releases. Larry retired and returned home to Newark. The following year, he began working as an umpire, but his reliance on alcohol became a much bigger problem. In the summer of 1890, he stopped umpiring due to illness. He was sick from 1890 until his death from Bright’s disease in October of 1891. He was 32.

Papers in New York, Cincinnati, Buffalo and St. Louis wrote warm obituaries on Corcoran, focusing on his career and accomplishments in baseball. His brief and inaccurate two-sentence obituary in the Chicago Daily Tribune showed just how much his rivalry with Spalding impacted Corcoran’s public perception in the city.

His wife’s family seemed to share that sentiment. Ill and unemployed, Larry, his wife, Gertrude, and four children moved in with her family. He died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave in Newark. Corcoran’s wife’s family owned a large family plot in Springfield, Massachusetts. They may have had the resources to ship Corcoran’s body to be buried, but chose not to.

“I think her family was just really pissed off,” Penelope Corcoran said. “I think they thought Larry was a bum. He drank himself to death and left his wife and four small children to be taken care of by them. So they buried him as cheaply as possible.”

A group of firefighters in Essex County, New Jersey found Corcoran’s gravesite in 2009, and raised money to buy him a headstone.

Corcoran’s rocky relationship with his wife’s family at the time of his death may be the reason no pieces of memorabiln ia from his playing days exist within the family today.

“We don’t have it,” Penelope Corcoran said. “None of my cousins have it. So, I think [Larry’s family] might have just been like, ‘I don’t want to see any reminders of him. Let’s throw it away.’”

A PUSH FOR COOPERSTOWN
Making Corcoran’s Hall of Fame case is complicated. There’s no one alive who saw him play, and the game has changed greatly since the 1880s.

The distance between pitcher and batter wasn’t as long as it is today, but the difference wasn’t as drastic as some believe. On top of that, overhand pitching wasn’t allowed until 1884, around the time Corcoran began to see his numbers decline.

Despite those changes, fans today would recognize the game of baseball during Corcoran’s era, according to Major League Baseball’s Official Historian John Thorn.

“The game prior to 1857 may not have been so recognizable to fans today,” Thorn said. “But the game in Larry Corcoran’s time was certainly recognizable.”

Though the game was different, it is possible to accurately analyze Corcoran’s numbers and compare them to player’s statistics today.

Looking at some counting stats only leads to confusion — good luck finding a player who came close to 43 wins during their rookie season — but there are advanced stats that are era-adjusted, giving you a better idea of how Corcoran’s numbers stacked up against his contemporaries.

ERA+ is useful in this case. It takes a player’s ERA and compares it to the league-average during that season. Corcoran had a 123 ERA+ over his career. His 2.36 ERA was 23 percent better than the league-average over his career. That’s about as effective as San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner has been over his career. That figure is good enough for the Hall of Fame. For comparison, Bert Blyleven’s ERA+ is 118 — 18 percent better than the league-average — over his career.

One counting stat that could be used for Corcoran is innings pitched. Due to the demands of pitchers in the 1880s, Corcoran compiled 2,392 1/3 career innings quickly during his career. That’s slightly more than Koufax, the Hall of Fame pitcher who broke Corcoran’s no-hitter record many years later.

“He was regarded as a top pitcher when he was at the top of his game,” Thorn said. “He also played for a great club. The Chicago White Stockings were always in the race for the pennant.”

Larry Corcoran with the Hoosiers (L). The White Stockings of the 1880s (R) with Corcoran at the bottom. (Photos provided by Penelope Corcoran)

But there’s one significant roadblock preventing Corcoran from even getting consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame: He didn’t last 10 years in the majors.

Corcoran’s career lasted just eight seasons. He falls two years short of the Hall of Fame’s mandatory 10-year threshold. That’s the reason he’s not currently a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, according to Thorn.

There is, however, precedent for the 10-year requirement being waived. It’s happened once. Cleveland Naps pitcher Addie Joss is the only player elected to the baseball Hall of Fame who played fewer than 10 seasons in the majors. After nine strong seasons, Joss died of tubercular meningitis at 31. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1978.

Since Corcoran isn’t a contemporary player, he would have to be inducted by the modern day Veteran’s Committee, now known as the Eras Committees. He would also have to receive the same 10-year requirement waiver voters considered for Joss.

Problem is, there’s no official process for that type of exception, according to the Hall of Fame’s Vice President of Communications & Education Jon Shestakofsky. In order for Corcoran to be considered, the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors would have to waive the 10-year requirement.

From there, the members of Historical Overview Committee would have to be convinced Corcoran deserved to be one of the 10 names on the next Early Baseball era ballot. The next year players from the Early Baseball era will be up for induction is 2020. If Corcoran isn’t on that ballot, he won’t have another opportunity until 2030.

Corcoran’s lack of longevity further complicates his Hall of Fame case. According to JAWS, a stat created by Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe that assesses a player’s Cooperstown credentials, Corcoran falls far short of the standard at starting pitcher to get inducted.

Hall of Fame Monitor, a Bill James creation, said Corcoran more than deserves the honor. Unlike JAWS, Hall of Fame Monitor doesn’t adjust for era, so Corcoran receives a lot of credit for consistently winning over 30 games a season due to the excessive workloads of his era.

Corcoran’s historical contributions to the game should elevate his case. Being the first pitcher to throw two — and then three — no-hitters is significant. As is Corcoran being the player responsible for creating pitch-signaling with his catcher.

Though the process for getting Larry Corcoran on the ballot is an uphill battle, Penelope Corcoran is willing to fight for it.

“That’s been my plan all along,” she said. “It feels like my life purpose. To accomplish for my dad what he deeply wanted: Larry’s rightful recognition by the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

That’s what has driven Corcoran the past couple years. It’s the reason she joined the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and became a member of their Nineteenth Century Committee. It’s the reason she dug through old newspaper archives and spent days in Chicago digging up anything she could find on her great-grandfather.

At this point, she believes she’s compiled the largest collection of newspaper stories and mentions concerning her great-grandfather “in the world.” The next part of her journey to raise awareness for Larry Corcoran includes a possible presentation at SABR’s 19th Century Base Ball Conference in 2018. She’s working on her proposal now.

If that goes well, she’s hoping to submit more of Larry’s story to more publications. She would love for this all to lead to a Larry Corcoran-based book or screenplay, and has already received interest from two literary agents.

From there, she hopes to get the attention of the Historical Overview Committee, and the voters for the Early Baseball era. It’s all with the goal of getting Larry “as close to inducted” into the Hall of Fame as possible.

While her great-grandfather’s chance of induction remains slim, Penelope Corcoran should already consider her campaign a success. Because of her efforts, Larry’s story can finally be told. After falling into obscurity the instant his career was over, Larry Corcoran’s baseball career might finally get the recognition it deserves.

“This is very very important to me,” she said. “And my ancestors.”

– – – – – – –

Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

More from Yahoo Sports:
Tribute for deceased HS soccer player turns into a ‘funky’ miracle
St. Louis youth football team kneels during anthem
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Week 3 fantasy football rankings: Who should you start?

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: September 20, 2017, 2:17 pm

Every home-run robbery is a great baseball achievement but like most things in life, when you can make a home-run robbery look completely effortless, you’re gonna win 1,000 extra cool points.

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That’s just what Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. did Tuesday night. The Red Sox were playing the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, which Mike Trout will tell you is a playground for home-run thievery. Look at Bradley calmly approach this fifth-inning would-be dinger off Chris Davis’ bat. Bradley hopped up, grabbed it above the wall and landed just as calmly.

Yep, Jackie Bradley Jr. is out here making home-run stealing look like light work.

Jackie Bradley Jr. stole this homer from Chris Davis. (MLB.tv)

What made this all the more important was the 0-0 score at the time. It would actually remain that way into the 11th inning. And wouldn’t you know it, it was Bradley who made the difference again. Standing on third base, he zoomed in to score the game’s only run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach.

In a tight AL East race with the Yankees, let’s remember this night — and what Bradley’s glove and legs did — if the Red Sox win by one game.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 20, 2017, 5:11 am

Chase Headley did something no baseball player ever wants to do. We’re not talking about striking out with the bases loaded. Or letting a grounder roll through your legs. Sure, those things are bad. But what happened to Headley on Tuesday night is a different kind of bed.

Headley, the New York Yankees’ designated hitter, got hit by a pitch in the most sensitive of man-places. Yep, right in the junk.

It happened in the fifth inning with Dillon Gee on the mound for the Minnesota Twins. And, gents, be warned, here’s another angle that might make your stomach turn:

Poor Chase Headley. #Yankees pic.twitter.com/n8t2CSYIUN

— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) September 20, 2017

Oof. Headley, to his credit, stayed in the game, which is probably more than many of us could do. If you watch closely, you’ll also notice that he decided to take off his shin guard while he was hunched over in pain. Never say Chase Headley isn’t efficient in certain situations.

The Yankees would go on to win the game 5-2, widening their lead over the Twins to six games for the first AL wild-card position. That’s the Yankees getting closer to an appointment with October baseball. And Headley, unfortunately, needing an appointment with a couple of ice packs.

Chase Headley gets hit by a pitch in a painful place. (YES Network)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 20, 2017, 4:34 am

Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. Like our video-game posts of last year, these are best done in theme. This time? We’re going with “Game of Thrones.” Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment, tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again. 

Sorry, New York Mets, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.

Instead, the Mets mostly sat on the trainer’s table. Injury after injury after injury plunged a team with World Series talent and aspirations to the bottom of the National League. The talent is there, but keeping it healthy has proven increasingly difficult the past two seasons.

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The injuries and the controversies will be what people remember most about the 2017 season. There was Mr. Met flipping off a fan. Matt Harvey not showing up for a game and the entire incident unfolding on the gossip pages. The sex-toy-in-the-clubhouse thing that happened on Twitter. The year was a disaster from front to back in Queens.

If there’s any hope for 2018, it’s that it can’t be this bad again … right?! That or Tim Tebow.

Winter Came for the New York Mets. (Amber Matsuomoto / Yahoo Sports)

UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
Michael Conforto performed like an offensive centerpiece, crushing 27 home runs and 20 doubles before a shoulder injury ended his season. Assuming the recovery goes well, he should slide to the middle of New York’s order next season after being miscast as a leadoff man this season. Jacob deGrom bounced back from his injury-riddled 2016 season to put up respectable numbers. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year won eight consecutive starts during his most dominant stretch of the season. (Mark Townsend)

THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
The injuries kept coming for the Mets and helped sidetrack another season in which many of their key players were in their prime. The rotation was again hit the hardest. Noah Syndergaard made only five starts while Matt Harvey and Steven Matz have combined for 30 to this point. In fact, deGrom was the only Mets starter to enter September with 20 or more starts. Between the injuries and the mounting losses, it’s no wonder Mr. Met went a little crazy. (Mark Townsend)

THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
It wasn’t all bad this year for the Mets. Not in mid-April at least. For a moment that Mets fans will remember fondly, let’s go all the way back to April 11, just a week into the season, before all the drama would overtake the team.

Five innings, three MONSTER homers. Are you kidding? pic.twitter.com/JFNR9IedsQ

— MLB (@MLB) April 12, 2017

Ah yes, that’s Yoenis Cespedes hitting three homers in five innings. Everybody loves that, right? (Mike Oz)

WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
Oh, Mets. How can you fix fate? Well, first off, you need a manager who’s willing to tell his players that they shouldn’t be pitching if they’re hurting. You need an owner that doesn’t meddle in player injury decisions. The biggest problem with the Mets this season has been injuries, and while many couldn’t be prevented, everything you hear about how the Mets handle injuries makes you think that some of them could have been. The Mets front office has to get it together and figure out how to competently handle player injuries without landing on the front page of the New York Post. It shouldn’t be too hard since 29 other teams manage to do it just fine. (Liz Roscher)

A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith made their long awaited debuts this season, and should both be full-time starters next season. Other than that, the rest of the club’s major impact prospects remain in the lower levels of the minors. It may take a while before they reach the big leagues. Contention really depends on the health of the club’s pitching staff, and that’s impossible to predict. Things look far less rosy than they did in 2015 when the team went to the World Series thanks to Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. All of them have dealt with significant injuries by now, and they aren’t the only ones. Getting them all right would make the Mets relevant again, but if that’s out of the question, the team could be in rough shape for a while. (Chris Cwik)

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia PhilliesCincinnati RedsChicago White Sox

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: September 19, 2017, 7:50 pm

The Boston Red Sox will be the first of five Boston pro sports teams to air an anti-racism PSA before its games starting Sept. 28. The PSA is titled “Take the Lead” and it comes after a season of high-profile racially charged incidents involving the Red Sox.

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According to WEEI, the video features both black and white athletes asking fans to join them in opposing bigoted behavior at pro sporting events. The Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and the New England Revolution have all agreed to play the PSA too.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe:

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this. We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

Protestors unfurled a sign at a Red Sox game last week that read,
Protesters unfurled a sign at a Red Sox game last week that read, “Racism is as American as baseball.” (AP)

In May, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he was taunted with racial slurs by fans at Fenway Park, setting off a week-long drama that eventually involved the likes of Curt Schilling saying he didn’t believe Jones’ story.  Soon after, a fan was ejected from Fenway for aiming a racial slur at another fan and was consequently banned for life.

Last week, a group of anti-racism protesters hung a banner at the top of Fenway’s Green Monster which read: “Racism is as American as baseball.”

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been trying to fight their franchise’s own ties to alleged racism back in the days of Jackie Robinson. The Red Sox were the last MLB team to add a black player to their roster. That happened in 1959, 12 years after Robinson joined the Dodgers. Former owner Tom Yawkey was accused of being a racist back then and it’s something that still doesn’t sit well with current owner John Henry.

Henry said last month that he’d support any efforts to rename Yawkey Way — one of the streets leading into Fenway Park — if other Boston leaders wanted to.

While the Red Sox’s anti-racism stance is commendable all around, it’s sure to be met with objections by at least some fans who will complain about political correctness running amok inside Fenway Park

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 6:27 pm

Forty-five guys dressed up as “Magnum P.I.” during a bachelor party Saturday night and went to the Detroit Tigers game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. They wore Hawaiian shirts, Tigers caps and pressed-on mustaches. They even carried around a life-size cutout of Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, the lead character from his popular ’80s private-detective drama.

Amazingly we haven’t even gotten to the oddest part of the story yet.

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The 45 Magnums were ejected from the game by stadium security, as the groom’s younger brother told the Detroit-adjacent News-Herald, because one of them was smoking and they were catcalling.

“I don’t know how that made us all guilty,” Tuccini told The News-Herald.

(Photo courtesy of Chris Tuccini, via The News-Herald)

While we don’t think it’s right for us to speculate on whether the 45 Magnums deserved the ejection, we do have some questions about the entire excursion:

• Anybody else surprised that a Magnum P.I.-themed bachelor party was able to pull 45 dudes?

• What’s up with the guys who weren’t wearing red Hawaiian shirts? It’s a Magnum P.I.-themed party, bros. Go red or go home. You don’t show up in a green Ferrari. Maybe that’s why they were ejected.

• This is probably the most important question: Where do 45 Magnum P.I.’s go after they’ve been kicked out of a baseball game? You can’t just go home. We hope it’s the same bar Magnum met Tigers legends Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell in an episode of the show. It would only be proper.

• Where was Higgins? He wouldn’t have stood for this.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

More from Yahoo Sports:
Boxing judge punished for controversial scorecard
Coach proposes dangerous fight for Ronda Rousey
Charles Robinson: NFL TV ratings aren’t pretty so far
NFL Power Rankings: Rookie changes Chiefs’ outlook

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 5:15 pm
Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman dressed up as Willy Wonka for his son's birthday. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)
Freddie Freeman would do anything for his kid, and that includes dressing up as Willy Wonka. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)

Baseball players who are parents aren’t any different than parents who aren’t baseball players. Everyone loves their kids more than words and wants to give them the world. Freddie Freeman, first baseman for the Atlanta Braves, is just like that. His son, Frederick Charles Freeman II, turned 1 on Sept. 15, and he and his wife Chelsea wanted to give him an incredible first birthday party.

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And boy, did they ever. They call the little guy Charlie, so they gave him a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” themed party. And it all started with Charlie’s dad dressing up as Willy Wonka, which is adorable and sweet. It’s a little weird to see Freeman, a pretty fearsome baseball player, dressed up as Willy Wonka, complete with purple jacket, velvet top hat and curly wig. But he’s obviously happy to do this for his son, and little Charlie is so excited about his party that he’s rubbing his hands together and looking off camera.

What could Charlie be looking at? How about the insanely awesome party and the truckloads of candy waiting for him.

The ridiculous cake for Charlie Freeman’s birthday party. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)

In that picture alone, there’s an insane cake, a smaller cake, a glass jar of multicolored popcorn, a jar of foil covered chocolates and in the bottom left corner that might be a bunch of candy covered pretzel rods. Can you get a sugar high from just looking at photos? Here are more photos of Charlie’s party, so let’s find out:

The balloons are candy colored, but probably not edible. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)

If you look closely at the tablescape above, you can see that the napkin rings are actually the candy dots you eat off of paper, which is an incredible detail.

More candy! (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)
The happy Willy Wonka family. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)

That looks like a seriously fun party. And the guest of honor definitely had the best time.

Little Charlie Freeman, covered in cake. (Instagram/@chelseafreeman5)

Little Charlie may not be able to remember this party, but Freddie and Chelsea gave him an extremely good time. Because for 1-year-olds, fun is measured in the amount of cake on their face/body after a party.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 19, 2017, 3:29 pm

There’s nothing amusing about a line drive rocketing off a bat and heading right for a pitcher’s head. We’ve seen some pretty horrible scenes when that happened in the past.

So it’s pretty incredible what happened to Tigers pitcher Jeff Ferrell on Monday night when Ryon Healy of the Oakland Athletics hit a 103 mph liner right back at Ferrell’s head. Ferrell, with almost no time to protect himself, took the ball off the side of his head. If you just listen to the highlight, you can hear how violent the moment sounds.

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The incredible part? Ferrell stayed on his feet the entire time. He has either some fantastic balance or unbelievable fortitude.

Jeff Ferrell took a liner off the side of his head. (MLB.tv)

There was no question he was leaving the game, though. Ferrell was swaying around a bit, like a boxer who just took a big punch and is about to fall down. He stayed on his feet, but the Tigers training staff were quick to get on the field and help him back to the clubhouse.

Ferrell was then transported to a local hospital, where early reports were good, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

Jeff Ferrell was sent to the hospital for a CT scan, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. He was responsive and very alert, Ausmus said.

— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) September 19, 2017

You never like to see a pitcher take a liner to the head, but when he does and he stays on his feet and stays alert, that’s a good sign.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 5:18 am

Three things they teach you in Little League: Ready position, keep your eye on the ball and catch it with your jersey.

OK, so maybe no Little League coach ever said that last one, but Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta did it anyways Monday night. Pivetta was facing the Los Angeles Dodgers — specifically catcher Austin Barnes — and when Barnes ripped a comebacker right at Pivetta, the pitcher pulled off the type of catch you don’t often see.

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He caught it inside his jersey. For real. It slipped right in there between a couple buttons. Even more amazing: The ball was moving at 106 mph off Barnes’ bat and Pivetta quickly and calmly pulled it out and showed everyone he “caught” it. Here, watch it over and over until you believe in magic.

Nick Pivetta catches a 106 mph line drive in his shirt. pic.twitter.com/oH2VViY3B8

— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) September 19, 2017

Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta catches a comebacker with his jersey. (MLB.tv)

Have you ever seen a catch like this? Can’t say we remember one. And it sure beats a 106 mph baseball hitting a pitcher in the chest or head.

Lucky? Sure. But lucky is better than hurt.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 4:45 am

Giancarlo Stanton’s historic home-run tear may have slowed down once the calendar flipped from August to September, but entering play Monday night he was six homers away from reaching 60 with 13 games left to play.

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Score one more for Stanton. The mighty Marlins slugger hit homer No. 55 on Monday night, a 455-foot blast that came off New York Mets starter Matt Harvey in the fourth inning. The Marlins smashed the Mets 13-1.

Giancarlo Stanton circling the bases after home run No. 55 on Monday night. (AP)
Giancarlo Stanton circling the bases after home run No. 55 on Monday night. (AP)

After hitting 12 homers in July and a record-tying 18 homers in August, Stanton cooled off in September. This was just his fourth homer of the month, and his first since Sept. 9. Cool steak aside, Stanton still has the potential to reach the historic 60-home run club.

Only five players have ever reached 60 homers. Babe Ruth hit 60 in 1927 then Roger Maris 61 in 1961, a record that stood until 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire hit 66 and 70, respectively. Then Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001 to set the current record. In between the two records, Sosa hit 63 and 64 (in 1999 and 2001) and McGwire hit 65 in 1999.

Whichever side you take on baseball’s steroid era and the all-time record books — and we know everybody has an opinion on that one — there’s no denying that Stanton reaching 60, or maybe even 61, would put him rare air.

Twelve more games. Let’s see if he can do it.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 2:21 am

In case you haven’t noticed, Aaron Judge appears to be back. The New York Yankees slugger, who suffered a terrible post-All-Star slump, has hit five homers in his past eight games after a first-inning blast Monday night at Yankees Stadium against the Minnesota Twins.

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That’s No. 44 for Judge, who is now getting closer to Mark McGwire’s all-time rookie record of 49, which he reached in 1987. It’s stood for 30 years, but could very well be falling soon if Judge has indeed found his homer stroke. The 25-year-old hit only three homers in all of August after 27 in the season’s first three months. But he already has seven in September to go along with 15 RBIs.

Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge's homer Monday night. (Getty Images)
Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge’s homer Monday night. (Getty Images)

Judge was also hitting .262 in the last 13 games heading into Monday’s action. That’s not the .326 average he had at the end of June, but it’s not the .185 he hit in August either.

And the Yankees will take it all, since they’re currently trying to catch the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They’re three games back after a 2-1 win Monday night because the Red Sox also won. Either way, the Yanks look good for a wild-card spot in the AL, which means we’ll see if Judge can launch these bombs in the postseason.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 19, 2017, 12:18 am

Of the cool things that have happened this season with the AL Central-winning Cleveland Indians, this might rank just slightly behind winning 22 straight games.

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Pitchers Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco have spent the last few months of the season making the Indians’ “Mini Team” — baseball art that they say are basically caricatures of their teammates. They take baseballs and manipulate them so they look the Indians’ roster.

That might sound weird, but take a look, it’s actually super cool and very well done. The Indians got the whole “team” together for a photoshoot that debuted Monday:

(Indians.com)

Being the team whose fictional identity introduced us to Jobu, makes these pieces of baseball art even better. Here are a few of notable Indians next to their “Mini” versions for comparison. You can see everyone identified over on the Indians’ Mini Team page — they’ve built a website for them.

FRANCISCO LINDOR

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

EDWIN ENCARNACION
(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)
JASON KIPNIS

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

MIKE CLEVINGER

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

COREY KLUBER

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

JOSE RAMIREZ

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

CARLOS SANTANA

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

BRADLEY ZIMMER

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

TREVOR BAUER

(Cleveland Indians/Getty Images)

They’re all good for different reasons, but Francisco Lindor’s and Jason Kipnis’ look amazingly like the real things. Bradley Zimmer’s is the funniest, because of his long face. Bauer’s has the best props because of the drone on his head, which is a great reference to his drone accident from last season.

It should be noted, that Jose Ramirez was the first one that was made. It first surfaced on Carrasco’s Instagram account back in June. The team came together since then.

For more of why Bauer and Carrasco decided to keep doing this, check out this recent interview from Fox Sports Ohio:

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 18, 2017, 11:48 pm

Three of baseball’s divisions are spoken for. The Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals have claimed their crowns and are now jostling for postseason positions. There’s still plenty of business to be determined, however.

The Los Angeles Dodgers should be the next team to clinch their division, which is the main MLB postseason storyline this week. You also need to keep an eye on the magic numbers for the red-hot Chicago Cubs, winners of six straight, and the Boston Red Sox, who have to fend off the New York Yankees in the AL East.

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The Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners have big weeks ahead and the Yankees/Twins meet in a possible wild-card preview. Here’s what you should watch for around baseball this week:

Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers could clinch the NL West by the end of this week. (AP)
Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers could clinch the NL West by the end of this week. (AP)

MAGIC NUMBER WATCH: DODGERS
Now that they’re winning again, the Los Angeles Dodgers have the NL West crown in their sights. Their magic number is four entering play Monday, with four games in Philadelphia followed by three more against the San Francisco Giants at home starting Friday. The Dodgers have now won four of five since snapping that 11-game winning streak. They also have a three-win advantage over the Indians for best record in MLB and home-field advantage should they get to the World Series.

MUCH-HIGHER MAGIC NUMBER WATCH: RED SOX/CUBS
Odds aren’t particularly high that we’ll see another division title clinched this week. Entering play Monday, the Chicago Cubs’ magic number is 10 — and that’s after the six-game winning streak they’re currently riding. The Boston Red Sox are sitting at an 11 magic number, and the AL East might still be the most competitive division with the Yankees just three games back. The Brewers are four back of the Cubs. If the Cubs stay hot, though, that’s just going to increase.

IT’S A GOOD WEEK TO BE …
The Colorado Rockies, who are currently holding the second NL wild card. The Brewers are their chief competition there and they’re two-and-a-half games back. The Rockies would be well served to win a bunch of games in a row to tighten their grasp on the postseason spot— and this might be the week to do it since they’re facing the bottom of the NL West. They’ve got two games against the Giants starting Tuesday then four against the San Diego Padres. The Rockies are a combined 22-10 against both teams this season.

The Yankees still have control of the first wild-card spot. (AP)
The Yankees still have control of the first wild-card spot. (AP)

SERIES TO WATCH
The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins tussle for three games in the Bronx starting Monday. They’re currently the AL’s two wild-card teams, with the Yankees having a more firm grasp on the postseason. The Twins are fending off the Los Angeles Angels, who are two games back. So this could impact the wild-card standings — or it could be a preview of the wild-card playoff. Either way, worth keeping an eye on.

THE TEAM THAT NEEDS TO START WINNING
The Seattle Mariners, who own the longest postseason drought in baseball, are still hanging around in the AL wild-card race. They’ve lost three in a row, however, and their season may not be able to withstand much more. The Mariners start up a three-game series at home against the Texas Rangers (who they’ve fared well against this season) on Tuesday and then play three more against the tough Indians. The Mariners are 4.5 back for the second wild-card spot and would have to leapfrog the Angels to get there.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 18, 2017, 8:32 pm

For the third time this year, a baseball player has died after a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

Miguel Gonzalez, a 21-year-old minor leaguer in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, died Monday from injuries sustained Saturday night in an auto accident. Earlier this year, Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former big leaguer Andy Marte died on the same day in unrelated accidents in the Dominican Republic. Young St. Louis Cardinals star Oscar Tavares also died in a car accident in 2014.

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Gonzalez was signed as an international free agent and pitched with the Orioles’ Dominican Summer League club the past three seasons. Here’s the team’s announcement about Gonzalez’s death:

Statement on the death of Orioles minor league pitcher Miguel Gonzalez: pic.twitter.com/G6JhedDKCP

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 18, 2017

In 38 appearances, Gonzalez had a 7.65 ERA, though he had his best season this past summer, with opponents hitting almost 50 points lower against him than last summer.

Orioles minor leaguer Miguel Gonzalez, 21, has died after a car accident. (Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)

The Dominican Republic is known as one of the most dangerous places to drive in the world. Three baseball players dying in nine months is an example of the larger problem. According to the World Health Organization, the Dominican Republic averages 29.3 auto accident fatalities annually per 100,000 residents.

Orioles minor leaguer Miguel Gonzalez, 21, has died after a car accident. (Getty Images)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

More from Yahoo Sports:
Fans prove the NFL made a big mistake moving to Los Angeles
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Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 18, 2017, 7:44 pm

When you think about the TV show “Friends,” chances are you don’t think of baseball. The titular friends don’t play baseball and they don’t really talk about baseball (despite living in New York, a city with two major league baseball teams). But the show is extremely popular among a number of Latino ballplayers, and for a very simple reason: it helped them learn English.

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James Wagner of the New York Times spoke to several Latin American baseball players about their love of “Friends,” and they all gave the sitcom credit for helping them become more comfortable with English. While many Latino players learn basic English skills when they’re young or after they get to the U.S., it’s far from what they need to effectively communicate in America.

Here’s how Wilmer Flores of the New York Mets put it:

“The basics you can learn in a classroom,” said Flores, who was interviewed in Spanish, along with most of the players, for ease. “But to speak the language, that comes from here in the clubhouse, on the street or from television.”

And that’s where “Friends” comes in. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis didn’t learn English until later in life, so when he came to the U.S. he would watch “Friends” with the subtitles on.

“You can compare what’s going on that way,” he said. “If they say ‘happy,’ you see he’s happy and the subtitle says ‘feliz’, then you can learn. You might not learn 100 percent, but you’ll learn to associate.”

These “Friends” helped Latino baseball players become more comfortable with English. (NBC)

Galvis is a “Friends” devotee, but Flores is a full-on fanatic. He uses the theme song as his walk-up music when he’s playing at Citi Field, and has visited the set where the show was filmed. And both Galvis and Flores still watch “Friends” all the time despite having a more-than-solid grasp on English. Galvis watches with the subtitles with his wife to help her learn English just like he did. And Flores is pretty much all “Friends” all the time.

“Now that it’s on Netflix, I always put it on and watch it,” said Mets infielder Wilmer Flores, 26, who is from Venezuela. “When I get up in the morning, I turn on the TV, and whatever episode is there I’ll watch and keep watching. I stop it when I come to the stadium. When I come home from the stadium, I pick up where I left off.”

It may seem crazy, but watching TV (and consuming other pop culture) is a solid way to become more comfortable with English. “Friends” ran for ten years (1994-2004), has 236 (!!!) episodes, and is still heavily syndicated. Episodes still run on local TV channels, TBS and Nick at Nite. Even 13 years after the show ended, it’s still easy to find it on TV. And as Flores pointed out, it’s now available on Netflix.

Everything in the article is great, but the awesomest thing might be the consensus choice for favorite character: Joey Tribbiani, the down-on-his-luck actor who’s a hit with the ladies. So to celebrate the important role “Friends” (and Joey Tribbiani) has played in the lives of some of our favorite ballplayers, here’s a classic Joey clip:

If Galvis or Flores suddenly yell “Joey doesn’t share food!” in the clubhouse when someone tries to take their sunflower seeds, everyone should know why.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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Jeff Passan: The American League is about to descend into chaos

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 18, 2017, 4:29 pm

San Diego Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte delivered the most emotional home run of his life Sunday. On the one-year anniversary of his wife’s death, Solarte hit one of the longest home runs of his career.

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Solarte’s hit occurred in the top of the sixth inning. He hit a first pitch slider from Chris Rusin 443 feet out to left center. According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, it was the second longest home run of Solarte’s career.

Yangervis Solarte’s 17th home run of the season was emotional. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

The hit occurred a year to the day Solarte’s wife, Yuliette, died after complications with cancer. As Solarte was rounding the bases, he looked up toward the sky. While approaching home plate, he pointed up, jumped and clapped his hands together. Solarte always claps his hands together after home runs, but this was a much more deliberate celebration.

Yuliette’s death was one of the most heart-breaking stories of the 2016 season. The Padres rallied around Solarte while he was away from the team with family. Adam Rosales mimicked Solarte’s home run celebration a day after Solarte’s wife died. Solarte’s return to the team a few weeks later was inspirational and emotional.

The 30-year-old Solarte was hitting .251/.316/.409, with 16 home runs, coming into Sunday’s game.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: September 17, 2017, 10:45 pm

Before we begin, how about a moment of silence for that baseball you just watched get destroyed. It served its purpose admirably before being sent into the stratosphere by Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo.

Gallo absolutely obliterated a ball during Sunday’s contest against the Los Angeles Angels. He struck in the top of the second inning. With the Rangers already holding a 2-0 lead, Gallo jumped all over an 89 mph slider from Garrett Richards.

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The ball was hit directly to center, and landed far past the forest area immediately behind center in Angel Stadium. The official measurement said Gallo hit that ball 490 feet. It was the third longest home run hit this year. Not only that, but it was … gasp … the second 490-foot home run hit by Gallo this season. It was also the longest home run hit at Angel Stadium during the Statcast era.

To all of that, we say “hachi machi!”

Gallo was touted for his immense pop as a prospect, earning 80 grades — the highest possible — from virtually every scout. After seeing that bomb, you know why.

Joey Gallo will hit some massive home runs. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old Gallo came into Sunday hitting .212/.337/.547, with 38 home runs, over 489 plate appearances. While his average is low, Gallo’s 125 wRC+ indicates he’s been 25 percent better than the average hitter this season. Power is important, obviously, but it also helps that Gallo offsets his whiffs with strong plate discipline.

If power is his main source of value, then sign us up. Gallo’s first full season in the majors has been — pardon the pun — a blast. It hasn’t been perfect, but the heights are incredible to watch.

With consistent playing time, Joey Gallo is going to hit 40 home runs per year. We’re guessing it won’t be long until he breaks the 500-foot mark.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: September 17, 2017, 10:10 pm

The drought is over. For the first time since 2001, when they were still members of the National League Central, the Houston Astros have won a division championship.

The Astros clinched the AL West and secured their spot in the postseason with a 7-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

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The wild race many anticipated in the AL West never materialized. That’s because the Astros exploded out of the gate, winning an AL-best 60 games before the All-Star break.

Despite an up and down second half, Houston never looked back in what’s still proven to be a competitive division. The Angels, Mariners and Rangers are all still in the wild-card hunt with two weeks to go, but the Astros are clearly on a different level.

The Astros punched their postseason ticket Sunday. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Astros join the surging Indians as the only two American League teams to punch their postseason ticket. Those two teams will now jockey for home-field advantage in the AL playoffs. The Dodgers and Nationals have clinched postseason berths in the National League, with the Dodgers seemingly headed for home-field throughout the entire postseason.

The Indians finished Sunday with a two game edge in the AL standings. Not that Astros manager A.J. Hinch is worried. In fact, he threw some shade at the Indians and their 22-game winning streak on Friday.

“Someone had to win 20-plus games in a row to even be relevant with us, so that tells you what kind of season we’re having.”–A.J. Hinch

— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) September 16, 2017

We try to not play favorites around here, but you can sign us up for that potential mega-ALCS.

Whether you consider Hinch’s comments confident or arrogant, the Astros don’t have to fear anyone on either side of the bracket. They will bring a star-studded roster that features a loaded lineup and a recently strengthened rotation thanks to the addition of Justin Verlander, who won the division-clinching game.

The bullpen remains a question mark. It enters the stretch run among the bottom three in ERA. That’s a weakness that opponents will aim to exploit in October. It will be a challenge for Hinch to put his relievers in the best position to succeed, but it gives him an opportunity to back up his confidence. One way or the other, he’ll be judged for the results.

Despite their postseason appearance in 2015 and despite the bullpen flaws, it feels like we’ve now entered the prime spot where their championship window is wide open. The only question now is will they take advantage?

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 17, 2017, 9:13 pm

Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd turned in a tremendous performance Sunday, but it could have been historic. The 26-year-old nearly threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox before losing it with one out to go in the ninth.

After dominating the entire game, the only thing standing between Boyd and history was White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Boyd was sitting at 8 2/3 no-hit innings when Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.

Boyd fell behind Anderson 2-0. On the third pitch, he threw a changeup that Anderson drilled to right center for a double to spoil the no-hit bid. Boyd would remain in the game and pick up a shutout after getting Yoan Moncada to ground out for the final out.

Though it ended in slight disappointment, it was an all-around excellent game from both Boyd and the Tigers’ offense.

After a perfect first inning, Boyd was immediately supported by his teammates. The club scored a run in the bottom of the frame to give Boyd the 1-0 lead. That would set the tone for both sides all game.

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Boyd continued his perfect outing in the second, and was again given another run to work with by his offense. Boyd lost his perfect game in the third after a two-out walk to Rob Brantly. That didn’t stop the Tigers, though. They added another two runs.

That was pretty much how the game progressed in the middle innings. Boyd continued to stymie White Sox hitters while the offense continued to pound White Sox pitching. The Tigers scored at least a run in each of the first six innings. They led 9-0 at that point.

Boyd, meanwhile, was through the seventh with 91 pitches. While his pitch count was somewhat of a concern, Boyd threw 116 pitches in his previous outing. It was the second time in 2017 he exceeded 110 pitches in a start, so it appeared Boyd would be given a long leash.

After getting through the eighth, Boyd sat at 105 pitches. The Tigers didn’t need additional runs based on how well Boyd was performing, but they added a three-run homer in the eighth to bring their lead to 12-0. They would win by that score.

Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd nearly threw a no-hitter on Sunday. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Boyd began the ninth on a promising note, forcing a weak popup and a weak groundout to come within one out of the no-hitter. That’s when Anderson stepped in and broke things up. Boyd finished the contest with a season-high 121 pitches. He left the field to a standing ovation and loud cheers from the fans.

Had Boyd gone the distance, it would have been the 297th no-hitter in Major League Baseball history. It would have also gone down as one of the most surprising, as Boyd had a 5.69 career ERA over 52 starts prior to the contest, and a 5.75 ERA on the season.

Boyd came into the game with a terrible track record at Guaranteed Rate Field. In six career starts there, he carried a 6.91 ERA.

With Boyd faltering, Miami Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season. If he had done it, Boyd would have been the first American League pitcher to accomplish the feat since Houston Astros starter Mike Fiers threw his no-hitter August 21, 2015.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing year for the Tigers. The club fell out of the postseason race, and traded away both Justin Upton and Justin Verlander at the waiver deadline.

Those moves may have signaled the start of a lengthy tear down for the Tigers. Things aren’t likely to be good again for a while.

For one day, though, Boyd’s nearly historic start helped fans forget about that. While he didn’t put his name in the record books, Boyd managed to turn in the Tigers’ most memorable moment in what has otherwise been a lost year.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: September 17, 2017, 8:10 pm

That sound you just heard was everyone in Washington, D.C. breathing a huge sigh of relief. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says he’s “optimistic” superstar outfielder Bryce Harper will be back in time for the postseason, according to MLB Network Radio.

Mike Rizzo with an update on @Bharper3407 . #Nationals pic.twitter.com/taLUWaGQl4

— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) September 15, 2017

Here’s Rizzo’s full quote:

“Harp has been doing some baseball activities. He is progressing at a cautious pace. We are optimistic that he will be here for playoff baseball and we’re moving towards those ends. He really lengthens the lineup and is an impact guy in the middle that everybody that we play has to account for. He makes it easier for everybody around him.”

That should come as tremendous news for Nationals fans for all the reasons Rizzo outlined above. After a down year in 2016, the 24-year-old Harper has rebounded to hit .326/.419/.614, with 29 home runs, over 472 plate appearances. Had he not gotten injured, Harper may have been in the thick of the National League MVP race.

Bryce Harper is working his way back from a knee injury. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Harper has been recovering after an ugly knee injury during an Aug. 12 game. While trying to beat out an infield hit, Harper slipped on first base, landing awkwardly on his left leg. He was initially diagnosed with a “significant” bone bruise. That was considered a positive result considering how gruesome the injury looked.

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A few weeks later, things appeared less rosy. On Aug. 30, manager Dusty Baker said Harper was “a long ways from running,” casting doubt on whether he might be able to rehab in time to join the club in October.

Harper has apparently made a ton of progress in the past few weeks, and it now appears the postseason is possible. The club will be looking to advance past the National League Division Series for the first time in franchise history, and having Harper healthy and effective would be a huge boost toward getting them there.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, but this is a good sign for Harper, the team and fans hoping the Nationals can finally win a playoff series.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: September 17, 2017, 6:56 pm

Giancarlo Stanton has few equals when it comes to hitting the long ball. Or at least that was true coming into the 2017 season. He’s definitely gained some company from this year’s impressive rookie class, as Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins have all announced their arrival by making home run history.

As good as they’ve all been though, none can lay claim to the feat A’s rookie slugger Matt Olson achieved on Saturday. With his second-inning solo home run against Phillies hurler Ben Lively, Olson upped his season total at the big league level to 20 in just 52 games.

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That alone is mighty impressive. But what sets Olson apart is the fact he also hit 23 home runs in 79 games in the minors earlier this season. In doing that, he joins Stanton as the only two players in the last 30 years to hit at least 20 homers at both the major and minor league level in the same season.

#Athletics Matt Olson joins Giancarlo Stanton (2010) as only players in past 30 years to hit 20 HR in @MLB and @MILB in same season.

— William Boor (@wboor) September 16, 2017

It should be noted that Hoskins stands a good chance of joining Stanton and Olson in that exclusive club. He hit 29 homers in the minors this season and is already up to 18 in the big leagues despite an August call up.

As for Olson, he’s been especially hot of late, hitting nine of his home runs since Sept. 3. That included a 483-foot blast during Friday’s game in Philadelphia.

Rookie Matt Olson is on a home run tear for the A's. (Getty Images)
Rookie Matt Olson is on a home run tear for the A’s. (Getty Images)

Like most power-oriented hitters, Olson strikes out quite a bit. He added another one to his total Saturday, giving him 51 in 188 plate appearances. He averaged a little more than a strikeout per game in the minors too, so it’s definitely part of his game. Still, when you’re producing that much power and hitting for a respectable average, which Olson is at .268, then it’s easier to tolerate the whiffs.

The next challenge for Olson will be adjusting to the adjustments that are made to him. We’ve seen Aaron Judge slow down a lot in the second half in large part due to team’s adjusting to his tendencies and swing path. Olson will run into that eventually. It will be a constant battle, but it will also be a sign of respect for his unmistakable power.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 17, 2017, 4:18 am

The Cleveland Indians are once again champions of the American League Central.

Riding the wave of a modern day record 22-game winning streak that only ended on Friday, the Cleveland Indians took command of the division before securing their second straight title on Saturday. The Indians clinched thanks to their own 8-4 win against the Royals during the afternoon, and the Twins 7-2 loss to the Blue Jays in the evening.

About the only thing that hasn’t gone right for Cleveland over the past month is that they weren’t able to clinch on their own or celebrate on Saturday. Instead, that will be saved for after Sunday’s finale against Kansas City.

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Don’t make the mistake of thinking Jose Ramirez or his teammates won’t be ready.

Getting my hair ready for the party tomorrow #2017ALCentralChamps pic.twitter.com/QZTyPGYyng

— Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) September 17, 2017

Overall, the Indians have won 23 out of their last 24 games, and have outscored their opponents 153-45 in the process. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a team surge to the postseason with such dominance and determination. Even the wildcard Rockies from 2007 pale in comparison, as they merely won 13 out of 14 regular season games to force a tiebreaker. Thirteen wins was so two weeks ago in respect to this Indians run.

Another difference is that the Indians were already well positioned before they started crushing every team in sight. The Indians were a comfortable 5 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota, who by the way still hold the second wildcard position, when the hot stretch began on Aug 24. That lead has since grown to 14 1/2.

Jose Ramirez scores on a double by Jay Bruce as the Indians extended their winning streak to 22 games on Sept. 14, 2017. (AP)

Even with the division wrapped up, the Indians still have some work to do. First, they’d love to secure home field advantage over the Houston Astros. But even if that doesn’t happen, they will turn their attention to finishing what they couldn’t in 2016. Cleveland came up one win short of winning its first World Series championship since 1948 after letting a 3-1 advantage against the Chicago Cubs slip away.

This team is certainly equipped to do that. With a mix of All-Stars like Corey Kluber, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, in addition to key veteran additions like Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians have no shortage of players who can change a series on their own. More importantly than their star power though, they seem poised to enter October a much healthier team than they were one year ago.

Last year Cleveland’s rotation was decimated by late-season injuries to Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, who was never really effective after lacerating his finger while cleaning his drone. All three should be available, with Salazar now adding to an already deep Indians bullpen. It’s hoped Andrew Miller will stay on track too after dealing with knee issues. He returned to action on Thursday.

There’s a lot to like about this Indians team, and that’s not an overreaction to their recent success. If it’s not the Indians hoisting the World Series trophy this season, it feels like whoever does will have to go through the Indians to earn that honor.

Cleveland Indians players thanks the fans moments after their 22-game winning streak came to an end. (AP)

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 17, 2017, 2:02 am
The Twins fired Doug Mientkiewicz as manager of their Single-A affiliate in Fort Myers as soon as his cell phone service returned following Hurricane Irma. (Getty Images)

Like any other business, baseball can be ruthless. Just ask every manager who has hung up the phone or walked out of the owner’s office unemployed.

Managers being fired is just one of the many harsh realities attached to the game. It happens every year, at every level. It’s something they all know is coming eventually when they sign up for the job. But the dismissal of Doug Mientkiewicz, a former major leaguer who had been serving as manager of the Twins’ Single-A affiliate, the Fort Meyers Miracles, has raised some eyebrows.

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That’s because Mientkiewicz is currently dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which damaged his home in the Florida Keys.

Mientkiewicz learned the news on Friday, not long after his cell phone service had been restored. It served as the latest gut punch in a week filled with them. He was working to help his community clean up and get back on its feet when the phone rang, and not surprisingly he’s pretty upset about what transpired during that call.

He hasn’t held back in the 24 hours since, telling the Star Tribune that the timing and handling of the decision was less than professional.

“I’ve been cutting down trees up and down the block, cleaning up after the hurricane, and watching the National Guard go up and down the street. My cellphone was out for several days, and then I got a call today. I’m out here working my rear end off, dealing with the remnants of the hurricane, and they call to tell me I’m fired. You think they will ever do something professional as an organization?”

It’s tough not to feel for Mientkiewicz given the circumstances. Most can only imagine what it’s like going through the anticipation and aftermath of such a powerful storm, not knowing when your life will return to some semblance of normalcy. It’s a situation we wouldn’t wish on anyone. But, again, this is what baseball managers sign up for. Baseball and business go on, and in Mientkiewicz’s case he at least knew this possibility existed.

“I wasn’t shocked, because I had a message that changes were taking place,” Mientkiewicz said. “I feel bad for the kids who played for me, including the ones I managed that are helping the Twins make a run for the playoffs right now. Ask any of them about me as a manager.”

As much as the timing bothered him, Mientkiewicz was even more bothered by the lack of communication from Twins general manager Thad Levine and CBO Derek Falvey. Instead, he received the news from director of minor league operations Brad Steil, who refused to divulge why the decision was made and who was responsible for making it.

That part is understandably frustrating. One would think a guy who was drafted by the Twins in 1995, represented the franchise as a player for seven years, and now as a minor league manager, would garner a little more respect. Mientkiewicz says the Twins brass offered him next to nothing in terms of feedback throughout the entire season.

The whole situation seems a bit odd and undoubtedly runs deeper than what we’ve heard. The timing though is definitely unfortunate, and that doesn’t reflect very well on the Twins. More than anything though, it’s a harsh reminder that baseball at the professional level will always be business first.

BLS H/N: Sporting News

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 10:07 pm

A missed strike-three call turned into a wild scene Friday at Wrigley Field, leaving two key Chicago Cubs players ejected after on-field tirades in the first game of a pivotal series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Starting pitcher John Lackey and catcher Willson Contreras were both tossed after clashing with home-plate umpire Jordan Baker in the fifth inning. Lackey was especially fuming — so mad that he was tossed while trying to cover home plate.

MLB announced Saturday that Contreras was suspended two games for throwing his mask during the blow up. Lackey was fined an undisclosed amount for his role.

It was the top of the fifth in a 1-1 game. Lackey had Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez at the plate with two strikes. He threw a cutter across the middle that looked so much like a strike that Martinez started to walk back to the dugout before the pitch was even called. Surprisingly, Baker called it a ball.

John Lackey screaming at umpire Jordan Baker during Friday's game. (AP)
John Lackey screaming at umpire Jordan Baker during Friday’s game. (AP)

Lackey was mad. The Cubs dugout was mad. Wrigley was mad. Even Lackey’s wife, Kristina, was mad on Twitter (and she showed us a picture of where the pitch was):

Good call Ump! pic.twitter.com/cKMUNaEubZ

— Kristina Lackey (@klackey33) September 15, 2017

Oof. That doesn’t look too much like a ball. Nonetheless, Lackey went back to work and Martinez singled on the next pitch, bringing home the go-ahead run for the Cardinals (the Cubs would later win 8-2 after a seven-run sixth inning). Lackey was running to back-up home plate and was yelling at Baker immediately. Baker didn’t even engage him, just threw him out of the game by calmly waving him away.

Then Contreras got upset and was also ejected. He bounced his facemask off the ground and it hit Baker, which led to his suspension. Contreras is appealing the suspension and will play Saturday.

It was quite a scene and certainly not the way the Cubs wanted to open a weekend series against the Cardinals, who trail them by three games in the NL Central standings.

It probably wasn’t the most ideal moment for Lackey to lose his cool, but you see where that pitch was — can you blame him?

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 16, 2017, 6:42 pm

While the Indians historic 22-game winning streak ending was garnering all of the headlines on Friday night, the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox were engaged in one of the wildest games of the season.

The AL East rivals played 15 innings before the Red Sox broke through to win 13-6. But the truth is, the game could have been over much earlier if not for the acrobatics and heroics of Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier.

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The two-time Gold Glove award winner has made a career out of making defensive highlights, but it’s possible he’s never made a better play than his all-out diving play to rob Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. of a potential game-winning hit in the ninth inning.

Bradley’s drive to left-center field appeared ticketed for the wall, which would have driven in the tying and go-ahead runs. However, Kiermaier was able to cover 104 feet in 5.1 seconds, according to Statcast’s measurements, to make what’s categorized as a five-star catch.

Here’s a little more perspective on the distance Kiermaier traveled:

Kevin Kiermaier’s crazy diving catch in the 9th: . Catch prob: 18%. Had to go 101 ft in 5.1 sec. Sprint speed: 30.4 ft/s. Go watch it. pic.twitter.com/u09sBKTRW6

— David Adler (@_dadler) September 16, 2017

The catch had an 18 percent probability, but the effort was one-hundred as Kiermaier sacrificed his body to pull it in.

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier wowed again during Friday’s marathon against the Red Sox. (AP)

The five-star catch was Kiermaier’s fourth this season. Only five other outfielders can make the same claim. One inning later, Kiermaier made another fantastic leaping catch at the wall to take away extra bases from Mookie Betts.

The Red Sox ended up tying the game in the ninth inning. In the 14th, they temporarily took the lead. That’s when Kiermaier struck again, cracking a game-tying home run to force a 15th frame.

Obviously, the game didn’t go the Rays’ way in the end, which further damaged their already fading wildcard hopes. But it wasn’t due to lack of effort from Kiermaier. He showed once again why he’s among the game’s elite outfielders.

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 6:07 pm

When Trevor Bauer took the ball for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night, he entered territory that few pitchers, if any, had before.

For the second time in his life, the 28-year-old right-hander was tasked with prolonging a 22-game winning streak. And for the second time in his life, he was the losing pitcher when said streak came to a screeching halt.

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Bauer acknowledged this oddity during his postgame news conference on Friday. While pitching at UCLA, the Bruins began the 2010 season with a perfect 22-0 record. Then, Bauer took the ball in Game No. 23 and the streak abruptly ended.

What did Trevor Bauer learn from The Streak? pic.twitter.com/Rt5iLWh1gd

— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 16, 2017

Truth be told, Bauer was hardly at fault way back on April 3, 2010. He was saddled with the loss after allowing just one run in 4 2/3 innings. UCLA would go on to lose the game 8-4 to Stanford. The loss for Bauer was his first in over a year at that time.

Bauer’s outing on Friday night was a little bit shaky, but it was far from dreadful. He allowed four runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings. Royals starter Jason Vargas was slightly better, allowing three runs over five innings. Both bullpens were spotless, allowing a total of three hits over the game’s final four innings. The Royals would go on to win 4-3.

Though disappointed, Indians fans were far from angry. They would give the team a standing ovation in appreciation of their record-setting run.

Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer took another painful loss to end a 22-game winning streak. (Getty Images)
Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer took another painful loss to end a 22-game winning streak. (Getty Images)

We’re certain there’s no resentment for Bauer either despite his connection to another streak ending. If anything, there’s probably greater appreciation for his overall performance considering the 16-game winner in 2017 has now played a big part in two different winning streaks reaching 22 games.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 4:47 pm

For first time since Aug. 23, the Cleveland Indians didn’t end their game with a handshake line.

Instead, they were showered with cheers from an appreciative home crowd after their historic 22-game winning streak was ended by the Kansas City Royals.

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The mood in Progressive Field was all over the place during the ninth inning. The fans went from hopeful when a single began the inning, to anxious as the first two outs were recorded, to gleeful when Francisco Liriano again stepped in with the tying run on base. Ultimately, they were disappointed when left-hander Mike Minor struck Lindor out, wrapping up the Royals’ 4-3 win.

There was a brief silence as the reality of the streak being over set in. But that was quickly replaced by the roars of 34,025 fans. The streak was over, but the adulation was only beginning.

What a ride!

The @Indians‘ win streak ends at 22 but they provide us with an unforgettable Cleveland story. #RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/bkCyIhMedJ

— SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) September 16, 2017

The standing ovation was so overwhelming the Indians players had no choice but to return to the field to take it all in and to say thank you back to the fans.

The Indians come out of the dugout after they lost, and gave the fans a standing ovation. This is amazing ⚾️❤pic.twitter.com/SKZ7msFOkA

— Baseball King™ (@BasebaIlKing) September 16, 2017

That’s a beautiful sight.

Cleveland Indians players thank the fans moments after their 22-game winning streak came to an end. (AP)
Cleveland Indians players thank the fans moments after their 22-game winning streak came to an end. (AP)

If these are the emotions already being stirred in September, then we can hardly wait for what lies ahead in October.

The winning streak definitely brought a playoff atmosphere to Progressive Field. The Indians may not have packed the house for every game, but those fans who were there were making enough noise for a full house.

That shouldn’t change over the weekend as the Indians close in on their second straight division championship. The team’s Magic Number is currently two following the Twins loss on Friday.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 3:53 am

All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately for the Cleveland Indians, that included their record-setting 22-game winning streak.

For the first time since Aug. 23, the Indians were on the losing side of an MLB game, falling 4-3 to the Royals at Progressive Field.

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The Indians winning streak had been defined mostly by their dominance, as they outscored opponents 142-37 for the duration. But they showed resilience too when needed. That was especially true in Thursday’s historic 22nd straight win, when Francisco Lindor tied the game with the team down to its final strike.

There would be no such magic on Friday. Despite jumping out to an early 3-1 lead, and despite Francisco Lindor having another chance to save them in the ninth inning, the remarkable streak ended when Lindor went down swinging against Royals left-hander Mike Minor.

Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor sits near second base after being forced out in Friday's game. The Indians 22-game winning streak would be snapped by the Royals. (AP)
Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor sits near second base after being forced out in Friday’s game. The Indians 22-game winning streak would be snapped by the Royals. (AP)

As for the Indians winning streak and where it stands in history. At 22 games, it’s the undisputed longest streak in American League history. The debate over whether or not it’s the longest winning streak in MLB history will undoubtedly carry on. At least until there’s another notable storyline to distract us.

The 1916 New York Giants are credited with winning 26 games, which the Elias Sports Bureau recognizes as the record. The controversy stems from a tie game that came after the Giants 21st straight win. That game was thrown out and replayed later, with the Giants ultimately winning.

Whether you recognize the Indians streak as the record or not, it doesn’t take away from what they’ve accomplished. Now though, it’s all about the postseason, and whether or not the Indians can finish what they nearly accomplished in 2016, and that’s winning the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1948.

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 2:22 am
The Brewers gave Miller Park some Miami flair with Marlins series forced to Milwaukee by Hurricane Irma.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, Major League Baseball has been forced to relocate three different series over the past two weeks. The latest is taking place this weekend at Miller Park in Milwaukee after the Marlins scheduled home series was moved north.

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Like the Tampa Bay Rays were for the displaced Houston Astros, and the New York Mets were when the Rays needed a place to host the Yankees this week, the Brewers have been more than welcoming.

In fact, they went the extra mile for the weekend series, giving Miller Park a Miami makeover to help the Marlins feel a little more at home.

As we prepare for tonight’s game, our thoughts are with everyone in Florida & we wish them all the best for a quick recovery. #MILatMIA pic.twitter.com/naaJxiODSx

— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) September 15, 2017

Thank you, @Brewers, for adding some Miami flair to Miller Park. #LetsPlay pic.twitter.com/IyzqbjaMUF

— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) September 15, 2017

That’s a nice touch by the Brewers.

Of course, not everyone was thrilled with the series being moved to Milwaukee. Especially with the Brewers being in the thick of the NL Central and wildcard races. Even though the Brewers will play all weekend as the visiting team, many saw it as three additional home games. While there may be some truth to that, it’s important to keep the circumstances in perspective.

Minimal damage to the Marlins Park roof played a part in the league’s decision. As did the continuing recovery efforts that are taking place in Miami and other parts of Florida. Obviously, the safety of the players and fans, along with the best interests of the communities directly involved are the top priority, so the decision to move the series wasn’t a difficult one.

It’s hoped the Marlins will be able to return home next week. In the meantime, it’s nice to see them welcomed so warmly in Milwaukee.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 16, 2017, 12:59 am

Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. We’ve done similar posts in the past. Last year was done in a video game theme. This time around, we’re going with a “Game of Thrones” look. Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment, tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again. Enjoy.

Sorry, Chicago White Sox, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.

But, and this might be the real point of the 2017 White Sox season, ruling the land might not be too far away. The White Sox went into complete rebuilding mode this year, after trading ace Chris Sale in the offseason. The win total? Well, it wasn’t looked at as much as the prospect list this year.

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This year’s team started to give glimpses of what the future could hold and still offered the stellar bat of Jose Abreu. It all equaled a quicker-than-most postseason elimination and a lot of losses, but such are the pains of a rebuild.

The White Sox didn’t make the playoffs this year, which isn’t exactly a surprise. (Amber Matsumoto / Yahoo Sports)

UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
The White Sox continued stacking prospects after trading Jose Quintana and other key chips at the deadline. Those deals continued their full-scale rebuild and quickly revitalized their minor league system, which essentially was the front office’s goal coming in. The White Sox also threw a pretty epic jersey retirement ceremony for Mark Buehrle. Jose Abreu remained awesome too, putting up big numbers again and even hitting for the cycle on Sept. 9. (Mark Townsend)

THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
Not nearly as much as the 2016 season, when the Drake LaRoche in the clubhouse and Chris Sale cutting up jerseys controversies dominated the headlines. The White Sox problems were limited to the field, which is no surprise given their rebuild. If there was a major disappointment though, it had to be veteran left-hander Derek Holland. The White Sox hoped to catch lightning-in-a-bottle with the idea of flipping Holland for a prospect. Instead, he’s arguably been the least effective starting pitcher in the league. (Townsend)

THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
The most memorable moment(s) of the White Sox season didn’t even happen on the field. They weren’t playing to win games this year as much as they were playing to win trades. And they did a pretty good job. Most notably, they acquired Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal. He’s a much-hyped hitting prospect who can do stuff like this. They got Blake Rutherford and another group of prospects from the Yankees for Todd Frazier and David Robertson. The best part of the White Sox season? Definitely the trade deadline.

Yoan Moncada (pictured) is among the prospects the White Sox hope will lead them back to the promised land. (AP)
Yoan Moncada (pictured) is among the prospects the White Sox hope will lead them back to the promised land. (AP)

WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
When a team is in a rebuild like the White Sox are, it’s hard to find one thing to fix since theoretically, everything needs to be fixed. But also, nothing needs to be fixed because they’ve got a boatload of prospects in the minors that will one day come up and fix everything. This year they took the plunge and fortified their farm system with trades of big players, and now there’s nothing left to do but draft and wait. It’s not so much about fixing things as it is about staying the course. The team will be better in the future as long as the front office remains dedicated to developing their prospects. (Liz Roscher)

A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
Phase 1 of the rebuild is complete. The White Sox sold off assets and built the best farm system in baseball. Now, the team will charge forward with Phase 2, which involves developing and getting all those future studs to the majors. That was a mixed bag in 2017. Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito all saw time in the majors, and each experienced some struggles along the way. They’ll have to show growth and improvement in 2018.

They should be joined by Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez — both of whom turned in strong seasons in the minors in 2017. After graduating those guys, the club will have to focus on making sure their lower-level prospects like Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Jake Burger and Zack Collins and Blake Rutherford (we could keep going, honestly) continue to move up the ladder and adjust to the better competition. Expecting contention before 2019 seems aggressive, but the future is bright. (Chris Cwik)

PREVIOUSLY IN THIS SERIES
San Francisco GiantsPhiladelphia PhilliesCincinnati Reds

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Yahoo Sports Staff
Posted: September 15, 2017, 11:35 pm

If Corey Seager went on a seven-game hitless streak in the middle of September, what do you suspect that would mean for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ chances of success in October? The correct answer is nothing. No more than Corey Seager hitting home runs in five straight games in September would mean the Dodgers were going to win the World Series.

It’s the same with winning streaks and losing streams for playoff-bound teams in September. I don’t care about them. Especially not for the Dodgers, a team that was only going to get judged for its success in October anyway.

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The Dodgers have won two in a row now, but earlier this week, they were stuck in an 11-game losing streak, which was part of a 1-for-17 skid. Is that what you want to see as a Dodgers player, coach, executive or fan? Certainly not. Does that have anything to do with what will happen come playoff time? Also a no.

Same goes for the Indians. Their 22-game winning streak is great. It’s been a thrill to watch and it’s an unbelievable accomplishment. But it’s no more an indication of what will happen in October than the Dodgers’ losing streak. It’s the topic I cover in my Open Mike video series this week and it’s specifically true for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers, wins and losses only really matter in October. The rest is just a warm-up. (AP)
The Dodgers, wins and losses only really matter in October. The rest is just a warm-up. (AP)

Back when the Dodgers got out to that huge lead and won the trade deadline by acquiring Yu Darvish, it was clear there was only one objective. A division title wasn’t going to be enough. A trip to the World Series wasn’t going to be enough. They would either need to win the World Series or be a disappointment.

A team with that big of a payroll and that big of a postseason monkey on its back? It was only going to be judged by October. The Dodgers would have won 120 games and the refrain would be “October, October, October.” Clayton Kershaw could throw a perfect game in every remaining regular-season start and people would say “October, October, October.”

You can say all you want about momentum, but consider this: The 2016 Boston Red Sox won 93 games. They had their best month of the season in September, going 19-8. And then what happened in the playoffs? They got swept by the Indians. What about the 2001 Seattle Mariners, the team that won a record-tying 116 games. You remember what happened to them in the playoffs, don’t you? Got rolled in the ALCS by the Yankees. But they were 20-7 in September and October regular-season games.

So the Dodgers’ losing streak? Meh. Better now than October.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 15, 2017, 10:44 pm
Josh Harrison made a new fan during the Pirates trip to Milwaukee this week. (AP)

There’s no experience quite like going to a Major League Baseball game for the first time. The excitement. The atmosphere. The sheer enormity of the ballpark. It can be overwhelming, but it’s also unforgettable.

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That was especially true for one very young Brewers fan who made her first trip to Miller Park earlier this week. As her mom wrote on Facebook, the young girl couldn’t have been more excited. But the experience was made truly unforgettable thanks to the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. Namely, Josh Harrison, who saw the little girl crying after another young fan had taken a ball she thought was coming to her.

Harrison didn’t know it was the girl’s first game, but he did know he didn’t want her disappointment to last. It wasn’t long after Harrison first spotted her crying that he had a signed baseball delivered by Pirates first base coach Kimara Bertee, earning himself and the Pirates at least two new fans in the process.

Pirates first base coach Kimera Bartee gives a young fan a baseball on behalf of Josh Harrison. (Pirates on Twitter)

What an awesome gesture.

Hopefully Harrison’s fanbase will grow even more after the mother posted this heartfelt message to her Facebook page.

(Pirates on Twitter)

It truly is a reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness can have the biggest impact.

Harrison wasn’t obligated to sign that baseball. Especially in the middle of a game. But he could see the young girl needed a lift, and he knew in the grand scheme it was the least he could do. Good on you, Josh Harrison.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: September 15, 2017, 10:37 pm

Major League Baseball has concluded its investigation into the sign-stealing controversy that involved the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and an Apple Watch. It was one of the more odd controversies of the season and the punishments announced Friday by MLB were a tad unpredictable, as the Red Sox escaped major punishment and the Yankees were fined for something that wasn’t even originally being investigated.

The Red Sox earned an undisclosed fine by the league after MLB confirmed the Yankees accusation that the Red Sox were having their video replay team relay opposing signs to the dugout using an Apple Watch. The violation, though, wasn’t for sign-stealing — which MLB re-affirmed that it’s OK with — rather it’s for the use of electronic devices in the dugout. Some had wondered whether the Red Sox might lose a draft pick or even vacate wins because of this, but MLB deemed this was not that egregious.

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Furthermore, the Yankees were fined after MLB found evidence that they’d inappropriately used the dugout phone during one of their past championship runs. MLB wasn’t clear about which year or what exactly happened, only that the Yankees were fined a smaller amount than the Red Sox. This, mind you, wasn’t something the Yankees were accused of. It was just uncovered in the investigation. The last Yankees World Series win came in 2009.

MLB, to help this medicine go down a little easier, announced it was donating money from both fines to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred at a recent news conference at Fenway Park. (AP)
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred at a recent news conference at Fenway Park. (AP)

Here’s the entirety of MLB’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s statement on the matter:

“Several weeks ago, the New York Yankees filed a complaint with the Commissioner’s Office alleging that the Boston Red Sox violated certain Major League Baseball Regulations by using electronic equipment to aid in the deciphering of signs being given by the Yankees’ catcher. The Commissioner’s Office has conducted a thorough investigation of the allegation. Today, I am prepared to disclose the results of that investigation.

“At the outset, it is important to understand that the attempt to decode signs being used by an opposing catcher is not a violation of any Major League Baseball Rule or Regulation. Major League Baseball Regulations do, however, prohibit the use of electronic equipment during games and state that no such equipment ‘may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage.’ Despite this clear Regulation, the prevalence of technology, especially the technology used in the replay process, has made it increasingly difficult to monitor appropriate and inappropriate uses of electronic equipment. Based on the investigation by my office, I have nonetheless concluded that during the 2017 season the Boston Red Sox violated the Regulation quoted above by sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout.

“In assessing the significance of this violation, the investigation established three relevant points. First, the violation in question occurred without the knowledge of ownership or front office personnel. Second, when the Red Sox learned of the Yankees’ complaint, they immediately halted the conduct in question and then cooperated completely in my investigation. I have received absolute assurances from the Red Sox that there will be no future violations of this type. Third, our investigation revealed that Clubs have employed various strategies to decode signs that do not violate our rules. The Red Sox’ strategy violated our rules because of the use of an electronic device.

“Taking all of these factors as well as past precedent into account, I have decided to fine the Red Sox an undisclosed amount which in turn will be donated by my office to hurricane relief efforts in Florida. Moreover, all 30 Clubs have been notified that future violations of this type will be subject to more serious sanctions, including the possible loss of draft picks.

“In the wake of the Yankees’ complaint to the Commissioner’s Office, the Red Sox brought forward allegations that the Yankees had made improper use of the YES Network in an effort to decipher the Red Sox signs. The Commissioner’s Office also investigated this allegation and the Yankees fully cooperated with the investigation. During that investigation, we found insufficient evidence to support the allegation that the Yankees had made inappropriate use of the YES Network to gain a competitive advantage.

“In the course of our investigation, however, we learned that during an earlier championship season (prior to 2017) the Yankees had violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone. No Club complained about the conduct in question at the time and, without prompting from another Club or my Office, the Yankees halted the conduct in question. Moreover, the substance of the communications that took place on the dugout phone was not a violation of any Rule or Regulation in and of itself. Rather, the violation occurred because the dugout phone technically cannot be used for such a communication.
“Based on the foregoing, I have decided to fine the Yankees a lesser undisclosed amount which in turn will be donated by my office to hurricane relief efforts in Florida.”

The part of this that might have the longest impact is MLB putting other clubs on notice about the rules against electronic devices in dugouts. Sign-stealing without electronics is A-OK, the league says. But electronic devices in the dugout, that might cost you a draft pick.

That’s a punishment that should get teams’ attention.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: September 15, 2017, 9:06 pm

As a baseball player, one of the biggest moments of your life is being called up to the majors. It’s the realization of a lifelong dream. And then you have to actually suit up and get on the field, and that’s when it stops being a dream and gets real.

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Tomas Nido now knows what that feels like. Nido is a catching prospect for the New York Mets, and he was called up Tuesday from Double-A to provide more depth for the team. He made his debut on Wednesday, but it was in Thursday’s game against the Chicago Cubs that he experienced the true pleasure and pain of being a major league baseball player.

It all went down in the ninth inning. The Mets were losing 14-5, and down to their last three outs. Nido came in as a pinch hitter with one out and Juan Lagares on second base. And he came out swinging — he sent first pitch he saw into left field for his first ever major league hit. Juan Lagares crossed the plate on that hit, so with one swing of the bat he had his first RBI, too.

Nido was obviously feeling pretty great. Brandon Nimmo struck out for the second out, but Nido advanced to second base on defensive indifference and was looking for more. Mets infielder Phillip Evans came up next, and that’s when things got weird.

Evans hit a soft grounder that barely rolled up the third base line, and Cubs catcher Alex Avila managed to snag it. Avila stumbled and somehow didn’t fall on his butt, but he wasn’t able to get off a throw to first. Play over, right? Nope, apparently not. Nido, who had advanced to third, didn’t stop there. He kept going to try and score a run, which was really unwise. Avila tossed the ball to Felix Pena at home plate and Nido literally ran right into the tag — and the end of the game — a few feet short of the bag.

The Mets’ Tomas Nido ran directly into the final out of the game. (MLB.com)

It’s not totally clear what Nido was thinking there. Maybe he thought that the ball had rolled all the way to the backstop, which could have potentially given him enough time to make it home. Or maybe he just thought he could make it.

Either way, it was an unwise baserunning decision at best. But the Mets were losing 14-6 and were one out away from ending the game. If a rookie is going to make a mistake, you want him to make it in a game like that instead of one that’s close. And really, you can’t blame the kid for trying.

Chin up, rookie. You’ll have another chance to score that run from third someday.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 15, 2017, 4:36 pm

Everyone knows that Adrian Beltre has more fun playing baseball than anyone alive. He throws his entire being into every game, and that includes his personality. On Thursday night that glorious personality was on full display when Beltre’s Texas Rangers took on the Seattle Mariners, and Felix Hernandez got in on the fun.

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In the second inning, Beltre and Hernandez were facing off. Beltre hit a comebacker to the mound, which Hernandez snagged. Beltre saw him grab it and then broke out in a huge smile as he ran up the first base line, and then Hernandez started jogging with him as he threw the ball to get Beltre out at first. It was thoroughly delightful, and there was more where that came from. In fact, Beltre and Hernandez spent most of the night playfully jawing at each other anytime Beltre was up.

King Felix Breaking Beltre’s Bat…and Telling him to Go Over there and Get Another. pic.twitter.com/D5Q6DJx7Gc

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 15, 2017

King Felix, 1-2 Curve to Beltre. Felix thought he had a K…Beltre told him he needs to bring it up a little. pic.twitter.com/xDl4xEEp7t

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 15, 2017

Beltre and Hernandez actually go way back, from when they were teammates on the Mariners a decade ago. The two had a… well, let’s call it a special relationship.

Felix Hernandez is savage. https://t.co/ItC5dqNY3b pic.twitter.com/MciBBHmWzL

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2017

“It’s not a conversation station” is just one of the many, many reasons Adrian Beltre is an awesome human being.

Their relationship goes even farther. Back in July, Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan revealed that King Felix was the first person to discover Beltre’s aversion to head touching. When Beltre left for the Boston Red Sox, King Felix told Beltre’s new teammates about it, and that’s how the saga of the head touch was born.

Adrian Beltre and Felix Hernandez are jogging buddies now. (MLB.com)

Even though Hernandez is the reason that Beltre gets his head touched all the time now, the two are still friends. You could see how much respect that Hernandez has for Beltre in July after Beltre reached the 3,000 hit milestone. Hernandez came off the mound before Beltre’s at-bat to give him a hug of congratulations. 

It’s really rare to see guys on different teams having this much fun when they’re facing off as batter and pitcher. Now imagine if this happened with more batters and pitchers. Imagine if baseball was somehow even more fun than it is now. It would be madness, I tell you. Madness!

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: September 15, 2017, 3:16 pm

Royals skipper Ned Yost stamped out any doubt that may have arisen as to his status for 2018, telling reporters including MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he is going to return. Yost’s deal runs through next year, so the news isn’t much of a surprise. But from the outside, at least, there was perhaps at least…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 23, 2017, 3:57 am
ROSTER MOVES BY TEAM (9/18-9/22) NATIONAL LEAGUE CHICAGO CUBS | Depth Chart Back In Action: SP Jake Arrieta (hamstring) made his first start in 17 days on Thursday (5 IP, ER, 5 H, BB, 2 K) CINCINNATI REDS | Depth Chart | Team Payroll Contract Extension: C Tucker Barnhart agreed to four-year (2018-21), $16MM contract with a $7.5MM club option for…
Author: Jason Martinez
Posted: September 23, 2017, 2:39 am
In an evident bid for a fresh start, the prospective Marlins ownership group has notified a series of high-profile special assistants that they will not be retained once the sale is completed, according to an eye-opening report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Specifically, the Marlins will no longer employ former…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 23, 2017, 1:36 am
The Mets will attempt to work out a new contract with general manager Sandy Alderson to keep him for 2018 and (presumably) beyond, according to a report from Kristie Ackert. The fate of manager Terry Collins, though, is less clear — with signs suggesting it’s not expected he’ll be back. Contracts for both organizational leaders…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 22, 2017, 11:13 pm
The Tigers and Brad Ausmus will part ways after the end of the current season, as Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports on Twitter that the club won’t extend his contract. Ausmus, 48, has been at the helm of the Detroit dugout for the last four seasons. Detroit had exercised a club option to…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 22, 2017, 8:17 pm
The White Sox have made a staggering amount of progress on the rebuild of their franchise in less than a year’s time. It’s almost incredible to think that last year, when doing a “Three Needs” look at the Sox, one need that Tim Dierkes listed was to make a decision on whether they should embark…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 8:03 pm
There are “hints” that the D-backs plan to try locking up MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to a longer-term deal, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports in his latest NL Notes column. However, the team’s below-average revenues (in part due to the league’s lowest ticket prices) could make it difficult. Goldschmidt will earn $11MM in 2018…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 5:36 pm
Yesterday, FanRag’s Jon Heyman wrote that the Orioles have “no intention” of shopping Manny Machado with just a year on his contract before free agency and a potential record-setting deal, and today MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that Baltimore is aiming to add two starting pitchers from outside the organization. (Morosi, like Heyman, hears that shopping…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 2:46 pm
The Reds announced on Friday morning that they’ve signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension that will keep him around through at least the 2021 season. Barnhart’s new contract also contains a club option for the 2022 season. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Barnhart will be guaranteed $16MM (Twitter link).…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 1:07 pm
The most recent edition of the MLBTR Mailbag featured questions on J.D. Martinez and the Diamondbacks, the Orioles’ rotation, the Cardinals’ offseason, Juan Nicasio’s free agency and potential trades for the Phillies. If you have a question pertaining to the 2017-18 free agent market, offseason trades, or any other topic we’d typically cover here on…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 4:59 am
The Yankees are once again striving to get under the luxury tax threshold, though there’s added incentive for them to do so this time around, writes Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Getting under the luxury tax barrier (which is set to rise to $197MM next year) will reset the Yankees’ luxury tax hit just in…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 3:30 am
While it’s been a rough season for the Rangers, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes in this week’s AL Notes column that one source indicates to him that manager Jeff Banister is “100 percent” coming back. The third-year skipper could potentially turn in his third straight winning the season, but the Rangers’ 76 losses already…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 22, 2017, 1:19 am
Phillies right-hander Jesen Therrien underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week and could miss the entire 2018 campaign as a result, as Jeremy Filosa of 98.5 FM Sports in Montreal (Therrien’s hometown) first reported, on Twitter. [Related: Philadelphia Phillies depth chart] The 24-year-old Therrien made his Major League debut this season, appearing in in 15 games…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 21, 2017, 10:19 pm
Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the league… The Padres announced that shortstop Dusty Coleman and right-hander Jose Valdez have cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier this week. Both players have subsequently been sent outright to Triple-A El Paso. Coleman, 30, saw his most extensive big league stint to date this season,…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 21, 2017, 8:47 pm
Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat with host Jeff Todd.
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 7:04 pm
Over at Fangraphs, David Laurila provides an interesting look at the concept of African-American ballplayers serving as role models. Angels prospect Jo Adell has expressed an inclination to be just that; Laurila asked a variety of professionals what advice they have for the recent draftee. The post is well worth a full read. Here’s more from…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 6:58 pm
It has long been wondered just how long the Orioles would manage to keep their best player, superstar third baseman Manny Machado. As the team begins looking ahead to the offseason, his long-term status in Baltimore remains an open question. What’s clear, though, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, is that…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 4:45 pm
Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang discussed his attempt to return to the majors with Jee-ho Yoo of Yonhap (here and here). Kang derailed his career when he drove under the influence of alcohol in his native Korea — the third time he has been arrested for a DUI — with a subsequent conviction leaving him…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 3:23 pm
The Giants have seemingly signaled their intentions to partake in the Shohei Otani sweepstakes. As Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, GM Bobby Evans and AGM Jeremy Shelley each went to watch the 23-year-old Japanese star. While the Giants, like several other teams, would be limited to offering only a miserly $300K bonus to Otani,…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 1:15 pm
Despite the increasingly worrying health issues and pitching struggles of former Mets ace Matt Harvey, the club isn’t ready to give up on his talent. As GM Sandy Alderson tells Mike Puma of the New York Post, “it’s high unlikely that we’re not going to bring [Harvey] back next year.” Harvey is still just 28 years…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 5:27 am
The Rays have outrighted infielder Danny Espinosa, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter). His 40-man roster spot will go to lefty Xavier Cedeno, who is set to be activated from the 60-day DL. Espinosa, 30, saw limited action in Tampa Bay late in the season after a brief stop with…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 2:34 am
Even after locking up righty Marco Estrada to a one-year extension, the Blue Jays are planning to pursue starters over the offseason, GM Ross Atkins tells Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). Toronto aims to line up eight or nine hurlers capable of taking the ball in the majors, Atkins says. If it wasn’t clear…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 21, 2017, 12:54 am
Click here to read the transcript for MLBTR Chat With Jason Martinez: September 20, 2017
Author: Jason Martinez
Posted: September 20, 2017, 11:28 pm
The Padres have announced an extension with lefty Clayton Richard, who had been slated to return to free agency. It’s a two-year deal with a $6MM guarantee and “minor” incentives, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reports on Twitter. Since signing a one-year, $1.75MM deal over the winter, the 34-year-old Richard has operated as a full-time starter for the…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 20, 2017, 10:32 pm
The shoulder procedure performed today on Brewers righty Jimmy Nelson ended up being somewhat more extensive than had been hoped. While there was optimism that surgeons would not find a need to repair Nelson’s labrum, they did end up needing to do some tissue work, GM David Stearns told reporters including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy (via…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 20, 2017, 8:57 pm
The Indians have updated the medical situation of key outfielder Michael Brantley in a team announcement (via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, on Twitter). While the door still seems at least theoretically open to a return at some point in the postseason, it’s now apparent that Brantley won’t make it back before the end of the…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 20, 2017, 8:22 pm
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler tells MLB.com’s Jon Morosi that he intends to sit down the general manager Al Avila in the next couple of days to discuss his future with the team (all Twitter links). The 35-year-old Kinsler says his willingness to waive his partial no-trade clause will be dependent on what Avila tells…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 7:52 pm
It’s been previously reported on multiple occasions that the Blue Jays and right-hander Marco Estrada had mutual interest in a reunion, and that interest came to fruition on Wednesday. The 34-year-old Estrada, who was slated to hit free agency at season’s end, will instead forgo that opportunity in order to return to the Jays on…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 5:57 pm
The Cubs announced to reporters that right-hander Pierce Johnson, who was designated for assignment last week, has been claimed off waivers by the Giants. The Giants have transferred first baseman Brandon Belt to the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Johnson, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area (Twitter link), which definitively puts an…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 5:51 pm
The Twins are currently 1.5 games up on the Angels for the second Wild Card spot and have a favorable remaining schedule — seven games against the rebuilding Tigers — but they may be without their top slugger over the final 11 games. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Rhett Bollinger of…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 3:41 pm
Bryce Harper is slowly progressing toward a return to the Nationals, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. Harper ran the bases lightly on Tuesday, fielded some grounders and also hit in a simulated game against Nationals minor leaguers Brigham Hill and Sterling Sharp (no, not that Sterling Sharpe). Both manager Dusty Baker and GM…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 1:44 pm
The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they’ve activated right-hander Adam Wainwright from the disabled list. The longtime St. Louis ace has been out since Aug. 17 due to an impingement in his right elbow. Wainwright is reportedly ticketed for a bullpen role upon his return from the disabled list, as the Cards will roll with…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 1:59 am
Mariners right-hander David Phelps recently underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). That procedure will come with a recovery time of six to eight weeks, per Divish, but he’s expected to be ready to go for Spring Training in 2018. Unfortunately for…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 20, 2017, 12:15 am
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com analyzes the Orioles’ use of their minor-league system in recent years. The club has increasingly drawn upon players right out of Double-A Bowie, notes Kubatko, and it seems that’s somewhat by design. Skipper Buck Showalter says that top affiliates are increasingly utilized “almost like major-league taxi squads,” not as steps on the…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 10:02 pm
Click here to read a transcript of Tuesday’s chat with MLBTR’s Steve Adams.
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 19, 2017, 8:23 pm
MLBTR’s sister site Hoops Rumors is looking to add part-time contributors to its writing team. The position pays on an hourly basis. Applicants must meet the following criteria: Exceptional knowledge of all 30 NBA teams, with no discernible bias. We want you to be as comfortable writing about Fred VanVleet and Nicolas Brussino as you…
Author: Luke Adams
Posted: September 19, 2017, 7:49 pm
The Reds have outrighted corner infielder D.J. Peterson after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Cincinnati had just claimed the former top prospect off waivers from the White Sox. Clearly, the series of moves was designed to add Peterson without tying up a 40-man spot, which seems to have been successful. He will be Rule…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 5:59 pm
This is the latest edition in MLBTR’s Three Needs series. Click to read entries on the Braves, Tigers, Reds, Pirates, Giants, Mets, and Blue Jays. Oakland entered the 2017 season with a plan to compete, but there was always an alternative course available. With some intriguing young players pushing for MLB time and a few quality veterans on short-term deals, the A’s pivoted…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 5:36 pm
While the Athletics still face an uncertain path to finally landing a new ballpark, the club’s announcement of a target site has gained some support from the business community, Kimberly Veklerov of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. It certainly seems as if there’s some public relations jockeying going on as the ballclub attempts to ramp up…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 3:59 pm
Mets righty Matt Harvey turned in another abysmal start last night, leaving him with a 13.19 ERA in his four outings since returning from the DL. As Marc Carig of Newsday writes, Harvey seemed rather dejected after the game, calling his work “terrible all the way around” — though, perhaps, there’s at least some cause…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 1:31 pm
As he closes in on his 43rd birthday, Braves knuckler R.A. Dickey has shown no signs of slowing down. He has settled in as an average starter, sure, but he’s not your average “average starter,” either. Dickey is no longer close to being the Cy Young winner he was in 2012. Since then, though, he…
Author: Jeff Todd
Posted: September 19, 2017, 3:45 am
For the most recent edition(s) of the MLBTR Mailbag, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd fielded questions on the Cardinals’ search for a bat, whether the Pirates are at a crossroads, the heavily active August trade period and the Giants’ offseason. We also published a second special edition hosted by Twins right-hander Trevor May, who has been contributing to…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 19, 2017, 1:37 am
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league… The Reds have announced that RHP Barrett Astin cleared waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Louisville. Astin, 25, was selected 90th overall by the Brewers in the 2013 draft, and traded to the Reds along with righty Kevin Shackelford for reliever Jonathan Broxton in August…
Author: Steve Adams
Posted: September 19, 2017, 12:52 am
Miguel Elias Gonzalez, a minor-league pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system, died in a car accident this past Saturday in the Dominican Republic, according to a press release from the organization. Gonzalez has no relation to the Rangers pitcher of the same first and last name who once pitched with the Baltimore organization. The Orioles…
Author: Kyle Downing
Posted: September 18, 2017, 11:18 pm
The Padres have designated infielder Dusty Coleman and right-handed reliever Jose Valdez for assignment, according to an official announcement from the organization. The contracts of catcher Rocky Gale and infielder Christian Villanueva have been selected in a related move. The Padres have also recalled RHP Tim Melville, along with outfielders Travis Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe. Valdez…
Author: Kyle Downing
Posted: September 18, 2017, 10:31 pm