Articles filed under MLB

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  • A’s, Giants give Bay Area high hopes for playoffs Jul 16, 2014 7:19 PM
    The small-budget Oakland Athletics are baseball’s best team at the break in a division featuring some of the sport’s highest-paid stars. The San Francisco Giants are right in the chase for the NL West title despite recent stumbles. Bay Area baseball has delivered a stellar first half. It’s only mid-July and there is already talk of a special October and, perhaps, the first Bay Bridge Series since 1989.

     
  • Bullpen hardly Sox’ biggest concern Jul 16, 2014 8:47 PM
    The bullpen has been an issue, but it’s not the biggest problem facing the White Sox, says Sox Insider Chris Rongey.

     
  • Manny Ramirez enjoying his new life with Iowa Cubs Jul 16, 2014 2:35 PM
    All Manny Ramirez wants now is to help future Cubs and be around the game he loves, even if it’s under a hot sun at a minor-league park in the middle of Iowa. “I knew how to have fun when I was in the big leagues, and I know how to have fun now that I’m here,” Ramirez said. “I’m loving it. I’m doing something that I like. I’m changing lives. I’m helping people. So I’m just happy to be here.” Joe Aguilar has more reaction from I-Cubs prospects and their new player/coach.

     
  • White Sox claim pitcher off waivers from Rockies Jul 16, 2014 2:39 PM
    The Chicago White Sox filled out their 40-man roster Wednesday by claiming right-handed pitcher Raul Fernandez off waivers from the Colorado Rockies. Team officials then assigned the 24-year-old reliever to Class A Winston-Salem.

     
  • The $1 million solution to All-Star Game woes Jul 15, 2014 5:28 AM
    Baseball is having a difficult time squeezing into the public consciousness these days. About all there is to say about baseball is that the All-Star Game – the latest edition scheduled for tonight in Minneapolis — is broken. The solution: Offer $1 million to the manager that manages to manage a victory.

     
  • Jeter, Trout lead AL to All-Star win Jul 15, 2014 11:25 PM
    Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and delivered two final All-Star hits. Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned him MVP honors. On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 in the All-Star game Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years. Miguel Cabrera homered to help give the AL champion home-field advantage for the World Series. No matter what else happened, it seemed destined to be another special event for Jeter. He received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate leading off the bottom of the first, another rousing cheer when he led off the third and about two minutes of applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth. As Frank Sinatra’s recording of “New York, New York” boomed over the Target Field speakers and his parents watched from the stands, Jeter repeatedly waved to the crowd, exchanged handshakes and hugs in the AL dugout and then came back onto the field for a curtain call. While not as flashy as Mariano Rivera’s All-Star farewell at Citi Field last year, when all the other players left the great reliever alone on the field for an eighth-inning solo bow, Jeter also tried not to make a fuss. A 14-time All-Star who was MVP of the 2000 game in Atlanta, he announced in February this will be his final season. His hits left him with a .481 All-Star average (13 for 27), just behind Charlie Gehringer’s .500 record (10 for 20) for players with 20 or more at-bats. While the Yankees are .500 at the break and in danger of missing the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in two decades, Jeter and the Angels’ Trout gave a boost to whichever AL team reaches the World Series. The AL improved to 9-3 since the All-Star game started deciding which league gets Series home-field advantage; 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games. Detroit’s Max Scherzer, in line to be the most-prized free agent pitcher after the season, pitched a scoreless fifth for the victory, and Glen Perkins got the save in his home ballpark. Pat Neshek, a hometown favorite whose brother works on the Target Field grounds crew, took the loss. It was not a notable night for the game’s Chicago representatives — aside from White Sox ace Chris Sale’s blown save in the 4th inning. Ramirez went 1 for 2 with a run scored, and Sox slugger Jose Abreu flied out in the bottom of the 8th. For the NL, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Starlin Castro both struck out. The AL won for the first time in three tries in Minnesota; it lost 6-5 at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965 and 6-1 at the normally homer-friendly Metrodome, where not one longball was hit under its Teflon roof in 1985. Target Field, a $545 million, limestone-encased jewel that opened in 2010, produced an All-Star cycle just eight batters in, with hitters showing off flashy neon-bright spikes and fielders wearing All-Star caps with special designs for the first time. With the late sunset the sky didn’t darken until the fifth inning, well after 9 o’clock there was bright sunshine when Jeter was cheered before his first at-bat. He was introduced by a recording of late Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard’s deep monotone: “Now batting for the American League, from the New York Yankees, the shortstop, number two, Derek Jeter. Number two. St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright left his glove on the mound and backed up toward second, clapping along with the crowd of 41,048. When Jeter finally stepped into the batter’s box, he took a ball and lined a 90 mph cutter down the right-field line for a double. “I was going to give him a couple pipe shots just to he deserved it,” Wainwright said. “I thought he was going to hit something hard to the right side for a single or an out. I probably should have pitched him a little bit better.” Jeter appreciated the move, saying “for him to do that meant a lot to me.” And Wainwright’s unorthodox decision was endorsed by Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. “He knew he was going to do the right thing,” Kershaw said. “He’s a class act.” Trout, the 22-year-old Los Angeles outfielder who finished second to Cabrera in AL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons, followed Jeter in the first by tripling off the right-field wall. After Robinson Cano struck out, Cabrera lined a sinker over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead just the fourth home run in the last six All-Star games. Jeter then hit a soft single into right off Alfredo Simon leading off the third but was stranded. The NL, which still holds a 43-40-2 advantage in the series, came back on consecutive RBI doubles by Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy off Jon Lester that made it 3-2. Lucroy’s run-scoring double against Chris Sale tied the score in the fourth. The AL went ahead for good in the fifth against Neshek, the St. Louis reliever who grew up in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park and started his career with the Twins. Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris hit one-out singles, and Trout hit an RBI double down the third-base line that was ruled fair by umpire Scott Barry. Because the ball landed in front of the umpire it was real close to the line it was not reviewable under baseball’s new replay rules by Jerry Layne, the umpire monitoring on video at the Replay Operations Center in New York. Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard that made it 5-3.

     
  • Yankees’ Jeter true star of stars Jul 15, 2014 10:00 PM
    Very few athletes have had the combination of attributes that it takes to earn the respect and reverence that Derek Jeter received in his final All-Star Game before he retires this fall.

     
  • With hitting down, should MLB lower the mound? Jul 15, 2014 11:02 AM
    Baseball has a problem: Clayton Kershaw, Aroldis Chapman, Felix Hernandez and all the other kings of the hill are just too good. Ruling with an assortment of big-bending curveballs, sharp sliders and 100 mph heat, a new generation of pitchers has thrown major league hitters into a huge slump. The spike in strikeouts, the dip in home runs and worries that the game is becoming boring for fans reminds some people of 1968, when Bob Gibson, Denny McLain and their fellow aces dominated.

     
  • Mike North video: Chicago baseball all stars Jul 14, 2014 10:56 AM
    Mike North is pleasantly surprised the Cubs and White Sox have a total of five players making the all-star team this year.

     
  • Cubs’ trade stings a bit, but it was the right move Jul 14, 2014 10:24 AM
    Now that the shock of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel deal has worn off, Cubs Insider Len Kasper don’t think there should be much question about what the Cubs did and why they did it. Trading Samardzija was inevitable so why wait until next year when you are more likely to be in buy mode?

     
  • A look back at first half’s memorable Sox quotes Jul 15, 2014 11:09 AM
    The White Sox pulled into the all-star break tied for last place in the AL Central with a 45-51 record. Beat writer Scot Gregor reviews the first half with notable quotes from Sox players and staff.

     
  • Hernandez to face Wainwright in all-star game Jul 14, 2014 1:56 PM
    Seattle’s Felix Hernandez will start Tuesday night’s all-star game for the American League and Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals will open for the National League. Hernandez, the first Venezuela pitcher to start for the All-Stars, is 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA. Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and three complete games in 19 starts.

     
  • Cespedes wins HR derby again Jul 14, 2014 11:31 PM
    Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star home run derby in 15 years, powering his way past Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier by a whopping 9-1 in the final round Monday night. Ken Griffey Jr. took the title in 1998 and 1999. With a serious, determined look on his face the whole time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat Washington’s Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round. Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest of the night. Athletics third base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round, which started after 10:30 p.m. local time. Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista, and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals. Bautista and Stanton each earned a bye to the semifinals under the new bracketed format, which gave each player seven outs and pitted the survivors from each side in the final round. Bautista went deep 10 times in the first round, keeping the fans in the second deck above left field on their toes, and Stanton hit six. That was all, though. After a long wait for his next turn, Stanton put up a zero in the semifinals and let Frazier advance with only one. Oh, but Stanton’s six were beauties. One landed in the third deck above left field, about a half-dozen rows shy of the very top of the ballpark. Another reached the second deck above the center field batter’s eye, a place never touched by a ball during an actual game here. Stanton has been credited with three of the 15 longest home runs in the majors this year, including the second-farthest at 484 feet. Bautista, the AL captain, has 11 home runs in 14 regular-season games here, the most by any visiting player. That’s only one less than Twins cornerstone Joe Mauer, who has played 284 career games at Target Field. Cespedes, who beat Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson in a tiebreaker after each finished with three in the first round, breezed by Baltimore’s Adam Jones in the second round. Frazier topped NL captain Troy Tulowitzki on the other side. Colorado’s Justin Morneau, the fan favorite after 10-plus years and four All-Star games for the host Twins, was eliminated in the first round. Morneau returned to his roots, and so did the event itself, considering the inaugural contest was held at the Metrodome before the 1985 All-Star game. Admission then was a mere $2, slightly less than the $200-and-up price tags on the derby these days. The original form was actually a 1960s-era television show, featuring sluggers like Harmon Killebrew of the Twins. Delayed 54 minutes by light rain on an unseasonably cool night — even for Minnesota — with a start-time temperature of 59 degrees, the contest began with a rainbow protruding from the clouds beyond left-center field that framed this limestone-encased ballpark that opened in 2010. Frazier went first, and while he went deep twice, he didn’t quite reach the rainbow. Neither did Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, the smallest of the participants who had the backing of the crowd with chants of his last name during his two-homer round. “Even my brother he said he got chills,” said Dozier, one of seven first-time participants. His brother, Clay, was his pitcher. The loudest roars were for Morneau, naturally, in his return to the place he called home until being traded last summer. An easy pick for Tulowitzki, Morneau checked the weather forecast as soon as he woke up to gauge the wind direction. The only left-hander in the event his year, Morneau’s third derby appearance brought the fans to their feet with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blaring in the background. He hit two in the first round, the only balls all night that landed in the seats in right. Frazier hit one more to beat Morneau and advance in the three-swing tiebreaker. The only player shut out? Dodgers sparkplug Yasiel Puig. He was the first homerless participant since Robinson Cano two years ago in Kansas City.

     
  • Rebuilding White Sox not in Tigers’ league Jul 15, 2014 10:17 AM
    Even if the White Sox’ bullpen were good, or Addison Reed were still here getting it done, how much different would 2014 be for the Sox? It would feel better, sure, but the Sox would still be chasing the Tigers.

     
  • Some good, but a lot of bad for Cubs Jul 14, 2014 6:48 PM
    Cubs manager Rick Renteria is nothing if not positive every day, win or lose. The Cubs did more losing than winning before the all-star break. Daily Herald Cubs reporter Bruce Miles breaks down the good and the bad as Major League Baseball takes its break.

     
  • Braves beat Cubs 10-7 at Wrigley Jul 13, 2014 5:52 PM
    Chris Johnson can rest easy during the All-Star break. He earned a couple days off. Johnson had three hits, including his third homer in two days, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cubs 10-7 on Sunday at Wrigley Field to keep pace with Washington at the top of the NL East. Johnson hit a long drive to straightaway center field for a three-run shot in a four-run third inning against Travis Wood (7-8). Johnson also went deep twice in the Braves’ 11-6 victory at Wrigley on Saturday. “The biggest thing for me is the fact I’m swinging at strikes,” he said. “When I swing at strikes, I can do some good things.” Atlanta (52-43) has won three of four since a four-game losing streak. It heads into the break one percentage point behind the division-leading Nationals, who won 10-3 at Philadelphia. “We had a pretty good first half, better than pretty good,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Now we’ve got to enjoy this break and come out in the second half and keep firing.” The Braves played without struggling second baseman Dan Uggla, who was suspended by the team for the series finale at Chicago. Atlanta announced the punishment on its Twitter feed, with no further explanation, and Gonzalez called it an “internal matter.” The last-place Cubs (40-54) have lost eight of 10. Arismendy Alcantara and Chris Coghlan each hit a two-run homer off All-Star Julio Teheran (9-6). It was the first career shot for the 22-year-old Alcantara, who also had a bloop double in the first and is batting .391 (9 for 23) in his first five major league games. “With my ability, I’m having fun,” Alcantara said. “It can be fast. I’m having fun.” Chicago scored three times in the eighth, highlighted by John Baker’s two-run double, but Jordan Walden got Junior Lake to fly out to center with a runner on second for the final out of the inning. All-Star Craig Kimbrel then worked the ninth for his 29th save in 33 opportunities. “We put ourselves in a position potentially to even edge closer, and we just fell a little short,” Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. Teheran pitched seven innings in his first start since a rough outing against the Mets. The right-hander lasted just 3 1-3 innings in an 8-3 loss at New York on Tuesday. Teheran retired 12 in a row after Chicago put runners on first and second with two out in the first. He allowed seven hits while improving to 2-0 in four career starts against the Cubs. “I know that my last outing I didn’t have a good outing,” said Teheran, who is ineligible for the All-Star game because he started on Sunday. “Just trying to come back like I did twice this year.” Wood was charged with seven runs and seven hits in six innings. The left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.49 ERA in his last five starts. Wood issued leadoff walks in the second, third and fourth innings, and the first two were costly. Gerald Laird had a two-run double in Atlanta’s three-run second, and Jason Heyward singled home a run before Johnson connected in the third. Johnson’s sixth homer was part of his 30th multihit game of the season. The third baseman was walked intentionally in the seventh to get to Tommy La Stella, who doubled home three runs to give the Braves a 10-2 lead. The 34-year-old Uggla has played sparingly since La Stella was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett on May 28. The three-time All-Star is batting .162 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 48 games. Gonzalez said he expects Uggla to be with the team when it resumes play on Friday night against the Phillies. He also isn’t worried about the effect of the suspension on his team. “I don’t think so. I got a pretty good pulse of our clubhouse,” he said. “If anybody wants to talk to me, my door is always open. And they know that.” NOTES: Atlanta also promoted INF Phil Gosselin from Gwinnett before the game. ... Wood will start Chicago’s second game after the All-Star break. RHP Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.64 ERA) starts the series opener Friday night, and RHP Jake Arrieta (5-1, 1.95 ERA) pitches next Sunday against the Diamondbacks. ... RHP Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.01 ERA) will start Friday night against Philadelphia in Atlanta’s first game after the break. But Gonzalez said he wasn’t sure just yet how the rest of the rotation would line up.

     
  • Castro, Rizzo excited about all-star trip Jul 13, 2014 7:04 PM
    Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro packed up after Sunday's Cubs game and headed to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game. The two players have enjoyed bounce-back years and now will be counted on as team leaders, despite their young age of 24.

     
  • Cubs showing cracks in the Wood? Jul 13, 2014 7:05 PM
    With all of the negative attention directed at Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, it seems only fair to raise concern about lefty Travis Wood. In Sunday's 10-7 loss to the Braves, Wood was cuffed around for 7 runs over the first three innings. He made it through 6, but he fell to 7-8 with a 4.96 ERA.

     
  • Another tough loss for White Sox Jul 13, 2014 7:01 PM
    The White Sox staggered into the all-star break with yet another tough loss. Javy Guerra gave up a 2-run homer in the eighth inning to Yan Gomes that erased the Sox’ comeback in the top of the inning, sending Robin Ventura’s squad to a 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday. After winning five of six, the White Sox have dropped four of their past five and are 45-51 on the season. It’s easy to see why Ventura wants to see more consistency from his team after the break. “I’d like it to be better,” Ventura said of the record. “We’ve had spurts where we play well, we’ve had spurts where we didn’t. You wish you were in a better spot but you come back and try to clean that stuff up.” Gomes drove in all 3 Cleveland runs. His home run to right off Guerra (0-2) came after the White Sox scored 2 runs in the top of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Nick Swisher led off with a single before Gomes, who also had an RBI single in the second, hit a 1-1 pitch into the Sox’ bullpen. “A slider, came out, wasn’t a very good one,” Guerra said. “(Gomes) did what he was supposed to.” Trevor Bauer, whose 10 strikeouts were a career high, blanked the White Sox for 6⅔ innings. In the eighth, though, with Bryan Shaw (4-1) on the mound, Conor Gillaspie singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Gordon Beckham’s single up the middle. After a groundout, Leury Garcia sent a roller to the right side. Second baseman Jason Kipnis tried to make a backhand stop near the bag, but the ball went under his glove and rolled into center field, allowing Beckham to score. White Sox starter John Danks gave up only 1 run and escaped trouble often in his 7 innings, as the Indians loaded the bases twice on the left-hander. In the second, Danks struck out the last two batters after a Carlos Sanchez error loaded the bases. He got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out to end the sixth. After an uneven first half of the season, Danks sees a promising team that needs to learn to win consistently. “We know what we need to do,” Danks said. “We need to go out there and play better baseball all the way around. This is a good group of guys that plays hard, plenty talented, but just gotta put it all together.” The White Sox offense wasn’t without chances against Bauer. He allowed eight hits and had at least one base runner in every inning, but pitched out of trouble each time. The right-hander was pulled after All-Star Jose Abreu’s two-out single in the seventh, but Marc Rzepczynski retired Adam Dunn. • OF Adam Eaton (jammed left wrist) was out for the second straight day. ... With 3 hits on the day, Abreu, who leads the majors with 29 homers, has hit safely in 26 of his past 27 games, going 38-for-107 (.355). He also extended his hitting streak to eight games.

     
  • Alcantara impresses Cubs with his speed, power Jul 12, 2014 3:32 PM
    While former No. 1 draft picks Kris Bryant and Javier Baez wait for their chance to be called up to the Cubs from Class AAA Iowa, former I-Cubs teammate Arismendy Alcantara has been playing big in his first big-league shot. And his Iowa manager isn't surprised given the skills he's witnessed.

     
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