Baseball News, Cincinnati Reds News, Major League Baseball News

As baseball goes high-tech, stealing a base still old school (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Billy Hamilton doesn’t bother to watch video of pitchers’ moves to home plate. When he reaches first, one of baseball’s top base stealers goes more by observation and instinct. ”I see so many things happen when I’m on the bases, so I can’t go into a game and say this is what the pitcher does,” Hamilton said.

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Baseball News, Los Angeles Dodgers News, Major League Baseball News

Jacob deGrom tosses a gem as Mets blank Padres (Big League Stew)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. On the third anniversary of the only no-hitter in New York Mets history, Jacob deGrom looked, for a while, like he might be joining Johan Santana in the team record books. The no-hitter didn’t happen, thanks to a Clint Barmes single in the sixth inning, but deGrom was still very, very good Monday night against the San Diego Padres. He gave up just two hits — Will Middlebrooks’ infield single was the other — facing one batter over the minimum in eight innings of work. deGrom struck out eight, didn’t walk a batter and threw 105 pitches. The Mets, meanwhile, gave him seven runs of support, so there was no need for deGrom to come back out for the ninth. As for the no-hitter, well … In case he didn’t realize he was throwing a no-hitter, deGrom said, a fan yelled at him after the fifth: “You’re throwing a no-hitter!” — Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 2, 2015 So if you believe in jinxes, find that fan and scream at him or her. Meanwhile, the opposing pitcher, Andrew Cashner, turned in a pretty baffling performance. Cashner has been a bit of a hard-luck loser for the Padres this year, owning a 2-7 record with just a 3.00 ERA heading into Monday’s game. The good: He set a career-high for strikeouts (12). The bad: He gave up 11 hits and six runs without finishing the fifth inning. That was good for a bit of history too. Andrew Cashner is the first MLB pitcher ever to allow 10+ hits with 10+ strikeouts and get removed before completing five innings. — Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) June 2, 2015 Quite a game, this one. YANKEES SLAM KING FELIX In another nice pitching matchup on the West Coast, Michael Pineda and the New York Yankees slammed Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. As in, Mark Teixeira hit a fifth-inning grand slam as the Yanks roughed up King Felix in front of his home crowd. Hernandez looked good early, but when the Yankees got to him in the fourth, things got ugly quick. Fernandez lasted just 4.2 innings, allowing seven runs and walking five — all uncharacteristic for him.  Pineda, meanwhile, bested the team that traded him, striking out nine in six innings. The grand slam was enough offense, but the Yankees added a few more runs to win 7-2 . KERSHAW, DODGERS OFFENSE TOO MUCH FOR ROCKIES Clayton Kershaw beat up on the Colorado Rockies on both sides of the diamond — knocking three hits at the plate while also pitching seven innings and striking out seven. The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, roughed up Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick and his bullpen en route to an 11-4 win . Kershaw had one of the Dodgers RBIs, which is fun, but the main takeaway is that he’s starting to look more like himself on the mound after a shaky start to the season.  #Dodgers Clayton Kershaw on his way to winning 3rd time in past 4 starts. 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 34K-6BB in those starts. #whatswrong — Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 2, 2015 BREWERS GET 1-0 WIN A DAY AFTER 17-INNING MARATHON The Milwaukee Brewers played 17 innings Sunday, a bullpen-eater that made for playing the MLB-best St. Louis Cardinals even more daunting Monday. After burning their scheduled starter in Sunday’s marathon game, the Brewers turned to Mike Fiers early and things actually turned out quite well. The Brewers scored a run in the first inning, on a Carlos Gomez single, and that was enough for a 1-0 win . Fiers gave the Brewers just what they needed, a solid six-inning start. He allowed four hits and struck out six. The Brewers called on four relievers, probably more than they would have wanted, but hey, things could have been much worse. Want to see more from Monday’s slate of games? Check out  our scoreboard . More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – – – – – – – 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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Baseball News, Los Angeles Angels News, Major League Baseball News

Rays-Angels Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

The Los Angeles Angels are showing signs of life offensively during their winning streak, but it might be difficult to continue as they face one of the toughest pitchers in the AL. Red-hot Albert Pujols and the host Angels seek a season-high sixth straight win Tuesday night when Chris Archer stands in their way looking to help the Tampa Bay Rays avoid their eighth loss in 10 games. Los Angeles (28-24) was hitting an AL-worst .232 while ranking second-to-last with 3.72 runs per game before batting .301 and averaging 6.6 runs over its past five.

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Baseball News, Los Angeles Angels News, Major League Baseball News

Rays-Angels Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

The Los Angeles Angels are showing signs of life offensively during their winning streak, but it might be difficult to continue as they face one of the toughest pitchers in the AL. Red-hot Albert Pujols and the host Angels seek a season-high sixth straight win Tuesday night when Chris Archer stands in their way looking to help the Tampa Bay Rays avoid their eighth loss in 10 games. Los Angeles (28-24) was hitting an AL-worst .232 while ranking second-to-last with 3.72 runs per game before batting .301 and averaging 6.6 runs over its past five.

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Baseball News, Chicago Cubs News, Major League Baseball News

Why the Rays continually have one of baseball’s best pitching staffs (Yahoo Sports)

Posted on 02 June 2015

James Shields is gone. So is David Price. That hasn’t stopped Chris Archer and the Rays’ other hurlers from following in their footsteps.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, Seattle Mariners News

Teixeira's grand slam gives Yankees 7-2 win over Seattle (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

For the first three innings, Seattle ace Felix Hernandez was conjuring up thoughts of perfection. ”When you see me throw five walks in two innings, you realize I don’t have it,” Hernandez said. Hernandez went from perfect to looking lost in just two innings on Monday night, giving up seven earned runs including Mark Teixeira’s ninth career grand slam in Seattle’s 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

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Arizona Diamondbacks News, Baseball News, Major League Baseball News

Braves-Diamondbacks Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Shelby Miller hasn’t made many mistakes with the Atlanta Braves, but one of his few came in his most recent start and it proved costly. Miller looks to rebound from his first road loss as the Braves go for a fourth straight victory Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Miller (5-2, 1.48 ERA) is among baseball’s leaders in ERA, WHIP (0.88) and opponent batting average (.175) while his two complete games match his total from the previous two seasons with St. Louis.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, New York Yankees News

Yankees-Mariners Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

It wasn’t all that long ago that drawing a pitching matchup with CC Sabathia in one’s MLB debut was probably considered a stroke of bad luck. The 25-year-old Montgomery was 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Tacoma after coming over from Tampa Bay for Erasmo Ramirez on March 31. “He’s done well down there,” manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB’s official website.

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Baseball News, Los Angeles Dodgers News, Major League Baseball News

Dodgers-Rockies Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Zack Greinke’s recent numbers point toward him being significantly shorted in the win column, but from the sound of it he doesn’t seem to believe he deserves much better. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense showed signs of making amends for the limited support in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies and will try to continue it Tuesday with Greinke going in the second game of a Coors Field doubleheader. “The last three or four games I actually feel like I’ve been doing a little worse,” Greinke said.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, New York Mets News

Jacob deGrom Proving His Sudden Rise to Stardom Has Staying Power

Posted on 02 June 2015

For much of the day on Monday, the New York Mets story du jour was the three-year anniversary of Johan Santana’s 2012 no-hitter. That is to say, the flavor of the day was that of bittersweet nostalgia.

But then Jacob deGrom took the mound and seized the spotlight for himself.

Against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, deGrom was superb. He led the Mets to a 7-0 victory with eight shutout innings that featured just two hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. He also darn near celebrated the anniversary of Santana’s no-no by one-upping him, taking a perfect game into the sixth.

With deGrom’s latest effort in the books, it’s now even easier to admire the hot stretch the 26-year-old right-hander is on. In his last four starts, he’s pitched 29.1 innings and struck out 34 with just one walk. He’s also allowed only three earned runs, equating to a 0.93 ERA.

So, cue Mets skipper Terry Collins with the money quote:

Indeed, and high praise in deGrom’s case. We are, after all, talking about a guy who just won the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year award on the strength of a 2.69 ERA in 22 starts. If he was pitching like an ace then, he’s pitching like even more of an ace now. 

And in the process, he’s silencing whatever doubts that might have followed him into the season.

Mind you, this is not to wag a finger and say that clearly nobody should have been doubting deGrom coming into his sophomore season in 2015. It’s awfully easy to say that now with the benefit of hindsight, but there were reasons to doubt him.

For one, deGrom did come out of nowhere in 2014. He was only a ninth-round draft choice back in 2010, and at no point was he a top prospect. He also didn’t tease his breakthrough 2014 with a strong 2013 season, posting just a 4.51 ERA across three levels.

For two, deGrom’s Rookie of the Year award was won more on the strength of his final 12 starts than on all 22. After posting a 3.77 ERA in his first 10 starts, he posted a 1.90 ERA the rest of the way. 

In light of these circumstances, deGrom looked like a solid bet for regression in his sophomore season. And in his first seven starts out of the gate, he didn’t do much to prove otherwise.

In those, he allowed 43 hits in 41.2 innings, striking out 37 and walking 12 on his way to a 3.50 ERA. He was also getting worse rather than better, following a 0.94 ERA in his first three starts with a 5.70 ERA in his next four starts.

It was then that Collins offered his diagnosis.

“Some of the things that I’ve seen him do, I think he’s tried way too hard to live up to what he did last year,” Collins said, per Maria Guardado of NJ Advance Media. “But yeah, I think he puts a little pressure on himself to think he’s got to win every game he goes out there instead of just pitching the kind of games he pitches where he’s going to be successful.”

As it happened, deGrom agreed.

“I was overthrowing in previous games, putting pressure on myself to do too much, instead of throwing the ball the way I know how to throw it,’’ he told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post.

This brings us to what deGrom has done in his last four starts, which certainly make it appear as if he’s gotten back to throwing the ball the way he knows he can throw it. As for what exactly has changed, there are a couple of things that stand out.

Brooks Baseball’s figures say deGrom is throwing his four-seam fastball more often, as he’s gone from 46.3 percent in his first seven starts to easily over 50 in his last four. It also looks like he’s being less predictable with his fastball location. And according to the man himself, he’s established a better rhythm:

The numbers actually back this up. The figures for deGrom’s outing on Monday night aren’t in as of this writing, but the PITCHf/x numbers at FanGraphs have deGrom going from throwing a pitch every 19.6 seconds in his first seven starts to one every 17 seconds in his next three.

Regardless of the specifics, everything fits under the same umbrella: deGrom is simply throwing with more conviction. Rather than trying to live up to the pitcher he was in 2014, he’s being himself.

And now, you can look at the big picture and see that the guy deGrom is now and the guy he was in 2014 look suspiciously like the same pitcher. He’s improved on last year’s 2.69 ERA with a 2.41 ERA through 11 starts this year.

And overall, D.J. Short of Hardball Talk notes that deGrom’s major league career to date has the look of one very, very good season:

Admittedly, 33 starts’ worth of work isn’t an ideal sample size for projecting ongoing greatness. But it’s easy to make an exception in deGrom’s case, as his success doesn’t look the least bit fluky.

The fact that his strikeout-to-walk ratio is as huge as it is is a big enough testament to that, and we certainly know deGrom hasn’t achieved it by accident. He’s had good command of his pitches since he first set foot in the big leagues last year, and what a mighty set of pitches it is. His mid-90s fastball is his money pitch, but he also has a slider, curveball and changeup that are all above-average on a good day.

Guys with really good stuff and really good command tend to do really well in the majors. Last year saw deGrom illustrate the point. After a bumpy beginning, we’re watching deGrom illustrate the point all over again right now.

It’s a heck of a sight. And on Monday night, it was more than enough to turn the mood from bittersweet nostalgia to sheer excitement.

 

Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked.

If you want to talk baseball, hit me up on Twitter.

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Read more New York Mets news on BleacherReport.com

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, New York Yankees News

Baseball standings (Reuters)

Posted on 02 June 2015

June 2 (Infostrada Sports) – Standings from the MLB on Monday AMERICAN LEAGUEEASTERN DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. NY Yankees 27 25 .519 – 2. Tampa Bay 26 26 .500 1 3. Baltimore 23 27 .460 3 4. Toronto 23 29 .442 4 5. Boston 22 29 .431 4 1/2 CENTRAL DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. Minnesota 30 19 .612 – 2. Kansas City 29 19 .604 0 1/2 3. Detroit 28 24 .538 3 1/2 4. Cleveland 24 26 .480 6 1/2 5. Chicago White Sox 23 26 .469 7 WESTERN DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. Houston 32 20 .615 – 2. LA Angels 28 24 .538 4 3. Texas 26 25 .510 5 1/2 4. Seattle 24 27 .471 7 1/2 5. Oakland 20 33 . …

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, Milwaukee Brewers News

Brewers-Cardinals Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Although Matt Holliday is reaching base at a historic pace, the St. Louis Cardinals are having trouble delivering a timely hit. As the outfielder closes in on the franchise’s record on-base streak, the Cardinals will try to avoid losing consecutive home games for only the second time Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. After missing one start due to the flu, Holliday singled and walked in Monday’s 1-0 loss to extend his NL record by reaching base in a 45th straight game to open the season.

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Baseball News, Chicago White Sox News, Major League Baseball News

Orioles-Astros Preview (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

The Houston Astros sit atop the AL in large part due to their late-inning heroics. After winning with that recipe again in their series opener against the visiting Baltimore Orioles, they’ll look for a more comfortable victory Tuesday night – though facing rookie Mike Wright hardly seems like an easy task. Houston (32-20) ranks atop the majors with 94 runs scored after the sixth inning, four of which came in Monday’s 5-2 win over Baltimore (23-27).

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Baseball News, Los Angeles Angels News, Major League Baseball News

Angels hit 3 HRs in 7-3 win over Rays (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout are swinging the bats like there’s no tomorrow. Pujols homered twice, Trout and David Freese also went deep, and the Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 Monday night for their fifth straight victory. ”It took us a while to get going, but we’ll take it any time,” Pujols said.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, Pittsburgh Pirates News

Cole strikes out 9 batters as Pirates beat Giants 4-3 (The Associated Press)

Posted on 02 June 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gerrit Cole struck out a nine to win his third straight start, Neil Walker hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the fifth after a pair of called strikeouts, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Monday night.

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Atlanta Braves News, Baseball News, Major League Baseball News

Freeman homers again to lift Braves to 8-1 win over Arizona (The Associated Press)

Posted on 01 June 2015

PHOENIX (AP) — – Freddie Freeman went 20 games without a home run until Friday. The Atlanta Braves first baseman had three hits, including a two-run home run, and teammates Andrelton Simmons added three hits in an 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night. Freeman’s two-run blast came in the fifth inning with Simmons on base, and Freeman also drove in a run with a sixth-inning single.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, Milwaukee Brewers News

Brewers shut down Cardinals 1-0 (The Associated Press)

Posted on 01 June 2015

A day after tying a franchise record by using nine pitchers in a 17-inning game, manager Craig Counsell was bold in using his bullpen again. This one, the Milwaukee Brewers finished a lot faster. Mike Fiers and four relievers combined on an eight-hitter and Carlos Gomez had a first-inning RBI single in a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

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Baseball News, Major League Baseball News, Milwaukee Brewers News

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

Posted on 01 June 2015

June 1 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Monday's Major League baseball games: – – – Dodgers 11, Rockies 4 Clayton Kershaw baffled the Rockies and helped his own cause at the plate with the first three-hit game of his career on Monday, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 11-4 romp over Colorado. Right fielder Andre Ethier and shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit solo homers for the Dodgers in the second inning to open the scoring before the Rockies responded with a two-run fourth. …

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Baseball News, Florida Marlins News, Major League Baseball News

Jason Hammel strikes out 11 and Cubs beat Marlins 5-1 (The Associated Press)

Posted on 01 June 2015

Jason Hammel was coming out of the clubhouse shower when he happened to cross paths with manager Joe Maddon, who gave him a smack on the chest for a job well done. It was the hardest Hammel got hit all night. The right-hander had a career-high 11 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings Monday night to help the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Marlins 5-1.

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Baseball News, Colorado Rockies News, Major League Baseball News

Kershaw leads Dodgers to 11-4 win over Rockies (The Associated Press)

Posted on 01 June 2015

Clayton Kershaw’s hitting actually overshadowed his pitching. Kershaw had a career-high three hits to back his strong pitching performance and Joc Pederson lined one of Los Angeles’ four homers, helping the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 11-4 on Monday night. Known for that fearsome left arm, Kershaw (4-3) is not exactly known for his fearsome compact left-handed swing.

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