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Athletics Fan

Jason Hammel posted by Athletics Fan

Born September 2, 1982, Jason Hammel is an MLB pitcher and is currently with the Oakland Athletics. He makes use of five pitches, consisting of two-seam and four-seam fastballs at around 92 to 95 mph, a curveball at around 70 to 73 mph, changeup at around 86 to 89 mph, and a slider at around 85 mph. Hammel is known to use all the five pitches against left-hand batters, but avoids the changeup with right-handers. He mainly uses the slider with two strikes for off-speed pitch.

Hammel started his professional career in 2002, when he was drafted in the 10th round by Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He made his MLB debut in April 2006 pitching against Baltimore Orioles. In 2007, he was the starter and got his first win against New York Yankees. In 2009, the Rays traded him to the Colorado Rockies, but he did not perform well against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series.

In 2012, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, and he performed well for the team with a win of 3-1 against Minnesota Twins. Again, in June, he led his team to 5-0 win against Atlanta Braves. This was a first total game shutout of Hammel's career, and first complete game of the season by an Orioles pitcher. However, later in July, Hammel had to undergo knee surgery, and he was placed on the disabled list for 15 days. In 2013, he was back on opening day as the starter for Orioles. In June, he was ejected by the umpire when his slider pitch hit the shoulder of Matt Tuiasosopo. In January 2014, Hammel signed a one-year contract for $6 million with Chicago Cubs. However, in July 2014, the Cubs traded him to the Oakland Athletics with another pitcher Jeff Samardzija, to acquire pitcher Dan Straily, and two other players.

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David

Playoff newcomers show the baseball world what they’ve got posted by David

While the fans in Cincinnati, Atlanta, and St. Petersburg may not have appreciated it, nearly every game played so far this postseason has featured a dominant pitching performance.  Roy Halladay no-hit the Reds, Tim Lincecum shut out the Braves on just two hits while striking out 14, and C.J. Wilson and Cliff Lee combined to hold the Rays to one run in 13.1 innings.  Lee displayed his talents during last year’s World Series, earning both of the Phillies’ wins over the Yankees, but Halladay, Lincecum and Wilson were all making their postseason debuts, and not one of them showed any sign of butterflies.

How ‘bout that?

How about Félix Hernández?  Despite a 13-12 record, King Felix deserves the American League Cy Young Award for his outstanding season on the mound.  He led the majors in ERA (2.27) and finished just one strikeout behind Jered Weaver’s 233 and one inning pitched shy of Halladay’s 250.2 – both of which led all big league pitchers.  The Venezuelan workhorse threw six innings or more in 32 of 34 starts, allowing three earned runs or fewer in 30 of them.  Had he played for any team other than the Mariners, whose lack of offense cost all of their pitchers, Hernández would almost certainly have won 20 games or more.

How about Danny Valencia?  Following a promotion to the big leagues in June, the Twins’ third baseman hit .311 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 85 games. Valencia was most productive during the month of September, hitting five homers and driving in 17 runs in 22 games.  Had he spent the entire season in the big leagues, Valencia would be a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year; as is he will probably be voted third behind Neftali Feliz and Austin Jackson.  Minnesota fans, however, should be happy to have a promising young hitter who will occupy the hot corner for years to come.

Continue reading "Playoff newcomers show the baseball ..."


David

Third member of Yankee trio not a lock for Hall posted by David

After their playing careers are over, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will undoubtedly be elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, but will teammate Jorge Posada join them in Cooperstown?  Yankee fans may feel differently, but the truth is that if Posada retired from baseball today, he would not belong in The Hall.  His credentials include five trips to the All-Star Game, five Silver Slugger awards, 243 home runs, and five seasons with 90+ RBI’s, as well as having caught the perfect game thrown by David Wells in 1998.  Arguments against Posada’s candidacy are that he is not a strong defensive catcher, has only once batted over .300 (.277 career average) and his 1,488 career hits do not make him stand out among his catching peers.  Despite 11 career playoff home runs, his postseason line (.239/.351/.384) is sub-par for a catcher known primarily for his hitting.

While offensive expectations for Hall of Fame catchers have tended to be lower over the years, Posada has never drawn comparisons as a hitter to Mike Piazza (2,127 career hits), Johnny Bench (2,048), or Ivan Rodriguez (2,711), who at 38 still has a chance at reaching 3,000 hits.  Posada’s supporters might point out that Roy Campanella collected only 1,161 career hits, but he also won the Most Valuable Player Award three times in a span of five years, and more importantly, missed out on years of big-league ball before African Americans were welcome.  Jorge Posada has had a solid career, for which I give him a lot of credit, but at this point in time, he’s not bound for Cooperstown.

Continue reading "Third member of Yankee trio not a lock for Hall"


David

Offerman a disgrace to the game posted by David

I generally prefer beginning my blog with news that is positive or at least neutral, but I cannot think of a more worthy story than that of former Major Leaguer Jose Offerman, who was banned from the Dominican Winter League for life after attacking an umpire earlier this month.  The incident, sadly, is not the first time Offerman has embarrassed the game of baseball.  While playing in the Atlantic Independent League in August 2007, he charged the mound – bat in hand – after being hit by a pitch, and proceeded to break one of the pitcher’s fingers.  The catcher, trying to protect his pitcher, was hit in the back of the head and received a severe concussion that ended his career.  Now, two and a half years later, Offerman is still making the game look bad.  His behavior, without question, is Bad for Ball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Grant Desme?  The 23-year-old outfielder announced his retirement from baseball last week in order to pursue the priesthood.  Desme was the second-round pick of the Athletics in the 2007 draft, and last year was the only minor leaguer – at any level – to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases.  (He swiped 40.)  After being promoted to High-A, he hit .304/.398/.656 with 20 homers in just 227 at-bats.  He was then named MVP of the 2009 Arizona Fall League.  Desme would have had to put in more time in the minors, but his numbers certainly suggest he could have made it to the Big Leagues eventually if he didn’t feel the need to answer another calling.

Continue reading "Offerman a disgrace to the game"


Charles Bisbee

Checking In... And Talking Sox Shortstop Situation posted by Charles Bisbee

Oh man, it’s been a bit too long and I’d like to apologize, first and foremost, to my legion of loyal readers. Who still checks in on occasion? Rogers? You still out there? Bark twice if you’re in Milwaukee!  Slim Bob? Herman? Dalton? Petey? Reginald? David Lefort from the Boston Globe? 

Anyway, lets talk sports. Or perhaps, I will talk sports with myself. Either way, it should be a good time.

During the past week, the Sox allowed Alex Gonzalez to stroll north of the boarder via free agency and then nabbed the man A-Gon will be replacing in Toronto, Marco Scutaro. As far as shortstop swaps go, this move has been widely praised as a coupe. Not only is Scutaro, seemingly, a superior offensive player but he also comes with a pristine reputation as a team-first, winning player. (On another note, I find it equally amusing and sickening that the Sox will pay more money to Julio Lugo to NOT play for them next season than they will pay Scutaro).

Whatever the case, I am not as high on this move as many other supposed experts are and here is why: I believe Scutaro had an aberration season last year. Look at his career numbers and then tell me that his line from last season (.282, 12, 60) fits the mold. Sure, he was mostly a bit player during his time in Oakland but he still averaged 385 ABs a year. Scutaro’s average line during these four seasons was .261, 7, 40. Bottom line is, Scutaro, I believe is still a role player, albeit an above average one. One decent season should not earn a man a multi-year, generous contract from a championship caliber club.

Continue reading "Checking In... And Talking Sox Shortstop Situation"


David

Gold Glove on the pitcher’s mound: a new era begins posted by David

For the first time since 1990, both the American and National Leagues saw first-time Gold Glove winners on the pitcher’s mound.  It is no coincidence that 2009 is the first year that Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, and Kenny Rogers aren’t eligible, each having retired following the 2008 season.  From 1990 through 2008 – his final year in the big leagues – Greg Maddux was named the National League’s Gold Glove pitcher every year but one – 2003, when teammate Mike Hampton won.  From 1996 through 2008, the American League saw two pitchers – Mike Mussina and Kenny Rogers – win all but one Gold Glove.  (Johan Santana received the award in 2007.)

If history is getting ready to repeat itself, 2009 winners Mark Buehrle and Adam Wainwright could both be on their way to collecting a dozen Gold Gloves.

How ‘bout that?

How about Zack Greinke?  Though he won only 16 games, Greinke led A.L. Cy Young Award challenger Felix Hernandez in E.R.A. (2.16 to 2.49) and WHIP (1.073 to 1.271).  He was also second in the majors (to perennial Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay) with six complete games and three shutouts.  In 33 starts, Greinke surrendered 11 home runs – the same number as allowed by Yankee pitchers in the six games of the World Series.  The Royals tied the Indians for last-place in the A.L. Central, winning 65 games, but on a first-place team, Greinke would likely have been a 20 game winner.

How about Andrew Bailey?  The A’s rookie right-hander boasted a 1.84 E.R.A. to go with his 6-3 record, 26 saves, and most impressive of all, a 0.876 WHIP.  Among American League closers, not one had a lower WHIP, and only Mariano Rivera bested Bailey’s Earned Run Average.  Bailey was without question the right choice for A.L. Rookie of the Year.

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Colin Linneweber

Fedor is a Yellow-Bellied Coward, Once Known As The Rainbow Warriors, How Can Hawaii's Coach Talk About The Irish? & Manny & Papi Are Juiceheads, Rickey Likely Is & Canseco Is Truthful posted by Colin Linneweber

Fedor is a Yellow-Bellied Coward

Strikeforce announced that World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) Heavyweight Champion, Fedor Emelianenko, signed a multi-fight agreement to fight for their promotion Monday.

“Strikeforce is a top promotion that houses some of the greatest fighters in the world,” said Emelianenko, 32, who will make his debut for the company sometime this fall. “I am prepared to fight any of them.”

Emelianenko (30-1), who had negotiated all last week with UFC to no avail, is considered by many analysts and fighters to be the greatest mixed martial artist in history.

Despite his lofty stature in the world of MMA, it is hard to understand Emelianenko’s decision to snub the UFC and it will be even more difficult for genuine fight fans to now recognize the Russian as anything except a yellow-bellied coward.

“Fedor is a fucking joke,” abrasive UFC President Dana White said after he learned that the last holder of the Pride Heavyweight Championship had signed with Strikeforce. “He turns down a huge deal and the opportunity to face the best in the world to fight nobodies for no money.”

White, and most MMA fans around the world, had envisioned a dream matchup that would have pitted Emelianenko against current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar, 32.

Lesnar (4-1) is a legitimate beast in the octagon and it is curious and disheartening that Emelianenko would cower and basically refuse to scrap the greatest fighters in the world.

Emelianenko’s moniker is “The Russian Military Experiment.”

Continue reading "Fedor is a Yellow-Bellied Coward, ..."

Colin Linneweber

Manny & Papi Are Juiceheads, Rickey Likely Is & Canseco Is Truthful posted by Colin Linneweber

The New York Times reported last week that Boston Red Sox World Series heroes of yesteryear, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, are two of a 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs when baseball conducted its "anonymous" testing survey in 2003.

 

Ramirez, 37, being fingered by the renowned publication as a charlatan is not a surprise considering that the slugging hemorrhoid resumed playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers just last month after he served a 50 game suspension for abusing women's fertility drugs.

 

On the flipside, most of New England was comically shocked and shattered when the beloved Ortiz, 33, was finally exposed as the cheating weasel that he has been for years.

 

Big Papi, a five-time All-Star selection and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner, had been a harsh and outspoken critic of juiceheads.

 

After Alex "Bitch Tits" Rodriguez was officially found to be an utter phony in March, the hypocritical designated hitter suggested testing should be administered three or four times a year and that a single positive test should result in a one-year suspension.

 

Upon being “informed” that he was a farce, Papi played coy in sad and pathetic stamen to the media.

 

“Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance enhancing substances,” said Big Papi, who was personally trained at a popular gym in Boston on Lansdowne Street by a known abuser of steroids. “Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive. Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me. I will not hide and make excuses.”

Continue reading "Manny & Papi Are Juiceheads, Rickey ..."


Cesar Valverde

Move over Boones. Move over Molinas. Get ready for the Hairstons! posted by Cesar Valverde

Baseball families have made history in pinstripes. The Boones are in their 3rd generation playing baseball. Aaron Boone, whose brother Bret, father Bob, and grandfather Ray all had 10+ year careers in the majors, cemented his name in Yankee history. Jose Molina, whose brother Yadier plays for the Colorado Rockies and other brother Bengie plays for San Francisco Giants, also cemented his name in Yankee history. Now that the Yankees have acquired Jerry Hairston, Jr., whose brother Scott is playing for the Oakland Athletics, and father Jerry, Sr., uncle Johnny, and grandfather Sam also had MLB baseball careers. Now Jerry Jr. has a chance to continue this trend of success for baseball families playing for the Bronx Bombers. Before we get into the Hairstons, let’s take a look at what the Boones and the Molinas have accomplished in pinstripes.

 

First, the Boones. Yankee fans will remember the 2003 ALCS. Aaron was a summer rental. The Yankees obtained him before the trade deadline. Little did they know what would happen in Game 7. It was an extra inning game. Tim Wakefield pitching for the Red Sox. Aaron steps to the plate. First pitch: BANG! Walk-off homer. Yankees go to the World Series! Even though they would end up losing to the Florida Marlins in the World Series, the Yankees expected him back in pinstripes for 2004. Unfortunately, he blew out his knee playing basketball of all things. Leading the Yankees to obtain Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers and convert him from a shortstop to a third basemen. Regardless of his stupidity, his walk-off ALCS winning home run is one of the greatest moments in Yankees history. Hence, the Boone family cements its history in Yankee pinstripes

Continue reading "Move over Boones. Move over Molinas. ..."


Cesar Valverde

How Joba Got His Groove Back posted by Cesar Valverde

You may be wondering how Joba Chamberlain came off the All-Star Break with 2 consecutive victories: 1 against the Tigers and 1 against the A's. Before the break, it just seemed to be no-decision after no-decision. He holds the Major League Record for most No-D's in a season.

Reports say that Joba went home to Oklahoma during the All-Star Break. He didn't even think about baseball. He just spent quality time with his family. He only had a couple of throwing sessions and that's it! Nothing complicated. No pressure. No nothing. Just basic throwing. No Joba rules to worry about.

As a family man with 2 kids, I can relate with how Chamberlain can come back and have success on the mound his first 2 starts back . Joba was grinding it out in the first half. He was working hard with coaches trying to figure things out. This is a lot like a student grinding it out with his schoolwork; grinding it out with his schoolwork, getting pressure from his teachers to do better, getting pressure to keep their GPA up, but oh, when the semester is over, they go home, hang out with family and friend, and just breathe. When the new semester starts, they're fresh minded and ready to go.

This was Joba all the way. He went home to spend quality time with his wife. He went home to spend quality time with his daughter. These times are special and are able to help turn things around when you go back to the grind.

Could this fresh start with 2 victories in a row against Detroit and Oakland be only the beginning for a great 2nd half or will his woes from the 1st half come back to haunt him?

Continue reading "How Joba Got His Groove Back"

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Noah Syndergaard denies reports he has bone spur after short start (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off , the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.   The New York Mets have some pitcher drama, but this time it doesn't involve Matt Harvey. After struggling during an 11-4 loss against the Washington Nationals, Noah Syndergaard denied reports he's been dealing with a bone spur in his elbow. While Syndergaard was able to pump his usual velocity during the start, he had issues with his control and command. Syndergaard uncharacteristically walked two during the first inning, but managed to escape a bases-loaded jam. He looked like his normal self in the second, striking out the side. Things fell apart in the third. The Nationals tagged Syndergaard for five hits and a walk during the frame. Five runs scored in what was Syndergaard's final inning. He lasted just three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Not counting ejections, it was the shortest start of Syndergaard's career. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Shortly after the contest ended, reports emerged that Syndergaard has been dealing with a bone spur in his elbow for some time now, but has been pitching through it. Multiple New York reporters confirmed that report. Can confirm reports by @Ackert_NYDN and @NYPost_Mets . Despite denial, source says Syndergaard is pitching with a bone spur in elbow. — Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 28, 2016 Syndergaard, however, did not. Syndergaard flat out denied those reports in front of the media. Syndergaard says he has no bone spur in elbow. — Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) June 28, 2016 The whole thing could make for an uncomfortable situation, especially considering Syndergaard's rotation mate, Steven Matz, is also dealing with a bone spur in his elbow and has contemplated surgery. The Mets have confirmed Matz's injury , but have not commented on whether Syndergaard is currently dealing with a bone spur. TOP PERFORMERS Kris Bryant: Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was unstoppable during an 11-8 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. The third baseman made history, becoming the first player on record to ever go 5-for-5, with three home runs and two doubles. He set the Cubs team record with 16 total bases, and also managed his first-career three home run game. Bryant scored four runs and drove in six RBI during the contest. Marcus Semien: Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien was once traded for San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija, and he managed to get the better of that deal Monday. In the second inning, Semien belted a three-run shot off Samardzija, adding to the A's lead. He would later add an RBI double. Semien finished 2-for-4, with one run scored and four RBI in the 8-3 win. Nick Franklin: A number of Tampa Bay Rays were productive in Monday's 13-7 win over the Boston Red Sox, but Franklin was the best of the bunch. The DH went 3-for-5 at the plate, with a home run a double and a single. He scored one run and drove in five. MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT Starting a double play from center field is always an impressive feat. That's exactly what Odubel Herrera managed to do during Monday's 8-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. With no outs in the bottom of the third, Michael Bourn hit a line drive out near center. Jean Segura, who was on first base, was running on the pitch. Herrera made the catch in center, and with Segura on his way to second, fired the ball to first to try and get the force out. Segura attempted to make it back to the base, but, despite his speed, was doubled up due to Herrera's strong throw. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD    Royals 6, Cardinals 2: Matt Holliday's two-run homer gave the Cardinals an early lead, but Adam Wainwright was tagged for six earned runs over five innings, earning the loss.  Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: The Pirates jumped out to a four-run lead on Scott Kazmir early, but Francisco Liriano couldn't hold the lead, giving up five runs over 4 1/3 innings. Rangers 9, Yankees 6: A near four-hour delay could not stop the Rangers bats. The team still managed to tack on some runs despite the layoff during the victory.  Indians 8, Braves 3: Six Indians picked up at least one RBI during the win, including Carlos Santana, who did so in a pinch-hit appearance. Rockies 9, Blue Jays 5: Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs, but that wasn't enough to stop Colorado during Troy Tulowitzki's return. Astros 4, Angels 2: Houston tagged the Angels bullpen for four runs, ruining Matt Shoemaker's strong start.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - 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 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The Walk Off: Tim Lincecum struggles in second start with Angels (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.   The honeymoon period may already be over for Tim Lincecum and the Los Angeles Angels. After a strong first start with his new club, Lincecum struggled his second time around. Lincecum lasted just three innings against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. The 32-year-old surrendered four runs on seven hits during the 5-4 loss . He walked two and struck out two in the outing.  After two quick outs to open the game, Lincecum put two men on in the first inning. He was able to get out the jam, striking out Khris Davis to end the frame. The second inning, however, proved to be difficult. Lincecum gave up two straight singles to open the frame, and then allowed a three-run homer to shortstop Marcus Semien. After getting a quick out, Lincecum put two more hitters on base. Another run came in to score on an error. That run would eventually be charged to Lincecum after he gave up another single to the next batter.  The third inning actually went fairly smooth. Despite a leadoff walk, Lincecum has able to retire the next three batters in order. By the time the third inning had ended, Lincecum had thrown 83 pitches. He was removed from the game at that point. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Though the Angels would battle back in the ninth, scoring two runs, they couldn't complete the comeback. Lincecum dropped to 1-1 with the loss.  TOP PERFORMERS    Freddy Galvis: Galvis was a one-man wrecking crew for the Philadelphia Phillies during Thursday's 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins. Galvis provided plenty of power, hitting both a triple and a home run during the contest. He finished 2-for-3, with one run scored and five RBI. Wei-Yin Chen:  Chen may not have picked up the win for the Miami Marlins on Thursday, but he still tossed an impressive game against the Chicago Cubs. Chen held Chicago to just two runs over seven strong innings. He gave up five hits, walked three and struck out seven during the contest. Chen was matched by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester the entire way, preventing him from getting the win in the Marlins' 4-2 victory .  Zack Greinke: By his normal standards, Greinke didn't have a great start for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. He gave up three runs over 5 2/3 innings and notched four strikeouts in the team's 7-6 win over the Colorado Rockies. Greinke, however, was impressive at the plate and on the bases. He finished 1-for-2 at the plate, but also walked. Greinke came around to score both times he reached, and even managed to show off his wheels, stealing second. His all-around performance earns him the nod in our "Top Performers" section. MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT With the Boston Red Sox on the verge of a four-game sweep, the team needed someone to step up in a big way Thursday against the Chicago White Sox. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts turned out to be that man. With the game tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, Bogaerts delivered a walk-off single the scored Mookie Betts from second base. Bogaerts wasn't Boston's top performer during the contest, but he came up with the biggest hit of the night. He finished 2-for-6, with one huge RBI, during the 8-7 victory . THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD    Giants 5, Pirates 3: Joe Panik's third inning triple plated two runs, giving the Giants a lead they would never relinquish.  Tigers 5, Mariners 4: With the game tied in the bottom of the 10th, Steve Cishek threw a wild pitch to bring in the winning run for Detroit.  Braves 4, Mets 3: A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs early while Adonis Garcia's two-run homer in the eighth gave the Braves the victory. Padres 7, Reds 4: Derek Norris smashed a three-run homer to give the Padres the lead in the sixth inning after the Reds took an early lead. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - 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 [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Angels-Athletics preview (The Associated Press)

The Oakland Athletics have scheduled a fireworks show following their series opener against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Friday night. Given the recent forms of Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker and A's righty Kendall Graveman, the show might start earlier than planned. As the San Francisco Bay Area awaits the return of Tim Lincecum as the Angels' starter Saturday, the series opener figures to serve as virtual batting practice for the California rivals. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

The Walk Off: Victor Martinez puts on power show in Tigers win (Big League Stew)

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers flexed their muscle in a big way on Thursday night. Martinez smashed three of the Tigers’ six home runs as Detroit thumped the Kansas City Royals 10-4 . A sore right knee kept Martinez out of the starting lineup for the past the three games and he had a cortisone shot before coming back for the series opener against the Royals. His return was certainly welcome. Kansas City jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning and Martinez cut it to 2-1 with a solo shot in the second. After the Royals made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning, Martinez responded with another solo shot in the fourth. Martinez’s third and final homer, also of the one-run variety, came in the ninth and confirmed the final score. Nick Castellanos, James McCann and Miguel Cabrera also went deep for Detroit and Justin Verlander went seven innings in the win. But it was Martinez who was undoubtedly the star of the show. It’s the second time the 37-year-old Martinez has had a three-homer game in his career. Adding to his impressive feat is that he did it from both sides of the plate. His first two were as a right-handed batter against Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy and No. 3 was off right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. Detroit is now 1 1/2 games back of the first-place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central and just 1/2 game behind the Royals. It wasn’t all good news for the Tigers, though, as J.D. Martinez leftthe game in the second inning with a fractured elbow he suffered crashing into the outfield wall and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. TOP PERFORMERS Colby Lewis: The Rangers’ right-hander came within four outs of a perfect game and three outs of a no-hitter, but instead settled for a complete game in Texas’ 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics. Lewis’ final line: nine innings pitched, two hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts as he improves to 6-0 on the season. Tyler Wilson : Eight shutout innings against the best offense in baseball. That’s what left-hander Tyler Wilson did as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 . Wilson allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out six. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Jonathan Villar: Villar’s ninth inning home run was the difference as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 . The game was tied 6-6 when Villar sent a Pedro Baez offering beyond the wall in centerfield to cash himself and Ramon Flores. The Brewers’ shortstop has been exceptional this season and is now hitting .302/.390/.442 out of the leadoff spot. MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT The annual Edwin Encarnacion hot-streak is here. This monster two-run home run off Aaron Nola in the first inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 13-2 dismantling of the Philadelphia Phillies made it three straight games he’s gone deep and gives him six homers in the last six games. Encarnacion added a two-RBI single in the fourth to raise his league-leading RBI total to 61. It happens every year, and it’s always a treat to watch when Encarnacion gets into these absurd grooves. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD Braves 7, Reds 2 : Freddie Freeman had three hits, including a two-run home run, while Nick Markakis and Jace Peterson also drove in two runs. Mariners 6, Rays 4 : Dae-Ho Lee led the way for Seattle with three RBIs, helping recently called-up left-hander James Paxton earn his first win of the season. Mets 6, Pirates 4 : Bartolo Colon gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings and also smacked a double and Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Michael Conforto all homered. Yankees 4, Twins 1 : C.C. Sabathia pitched six innings of one-run ball to earn the win and Didi Gregorius had a home run and three RBIs to pace the offense. Nationals 8, Padres 5 : Bryce Harperhit a home run on a three-RBI night for Washington and Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon went deep, too. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew  on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Baseball-Highlights of Thursday's MLB games (Reuters)

Highlights of Thursday's Major League Baseball games: Rangers 5, Athletics 1 Colby Lewis lost on no-hitter in the ninth inning on a leadoff double by Max Muncy but rebounded to pitch a complete game, delivering the Texas Rangers a 5-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon. Ian Desmond broke a scoreless tie with a leadoff home run in the seventh, propelling the Rangers to a third win in four days against the A's and their franchise-record-tying eighth straight series win. Lewis took a perfect game two outs into the eighth before issuing a four-pitch walk to Yonder Alonso. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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