MLB In Full Bloom – Carlos Santana Continues To Surge – 7/28/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Carlos Santana continued his two-month surge over the weekend as he capped it all off with a two-homer, four RBI game against the Royals on Sunday. In his last seven games, Santana went 15-for-27 with six home runs, 10 RBI, eight runs scored and he even added a stolen base. That brilliance included five home runs during the four-game series with the Royals. In the series, Santana went 9-for-14 with five walks and reached base in 15 of his 20 plate appearances. In the season’s first two months, Santana was ice cold combining for a .159 BA over his first 50 games. That stretch was punctuated with a concussion Santana suffered from taking a foul tip off his mask in late May, keeping him out for nine games. Santana returned to the lineup on June 6th and hit .308 last month and in June while playing primarily first base. July is shaping up to be his best month yet. After Sunday’s game, Santana has eight home runs and 18 RBI through 23 games this month, and five of his six multi-hit games have come within the past week. After Sunday, Santana’s season batting average is up to .232.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Josh Harrison had a monster day on Sunday afternoon in Colorado as he went 4-for-6 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases in the Pirates’ 7-5 victory over the Rockies. Harrison was 5-for-27 since the All-Star break before Sunday’s performance. He’s now hitting .294 with six homers and 13 stolen bases this year.
  • John Jaso went 2-for-5 and drove home three runs on Sunday as the Athletics earned a 9-3 victory over the Rangers in Texas. Jaso has been one of the better offensive catchers in the American League this season, slashing .286 with eight homers and 38 RBI.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu picked up his 12th victory of the season on Sunday as he allowed three runs on six hits over his six innings of work. Ryu racked up seven strikeouts on the night while walking just one. The Giants got single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings against the left-hander. The last one on a solo blast by Buster Posey. Ryu will carry a 3.44 ERA into his next start against the Cubs.
  • Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and a stolen base in Sunday’s loss to Miami. The home run was Altuve’s fourth of the season and the stolen base was his 42nd. The 24-year-old second baseman leads MLB in hits (148), batting average (.344), multi-hit games (46) and three-hit games (18).
  • Jedd Gyorko (foot) was activated by the Padres from the 15-day disabled list today. Gyorko wound up missing close to two months with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He has batted just .162 in 221 plate appearances before the injury, but the second baseman is capable of much better now that he is healthy.
  • Starling Marte is eligible to return from the 7-day concussion disabled list on Wednesday, but it appears that he is still experiencing concussion symptoms. According to Pirates GM Neal Huntington, Marte has had very good stretches, but hasn’t felt quite right other times. The Pittsburgh GM added that the longer Marte remains out, the better the chance he will need a rehab assignment. Marte was hit by a Jamey Wright fastball July 18 and last played three days thereafter before heading to the disabled list.
  • After snapping a 17-game losing streak on Saturday in the Bronx, the Toronto Blue Jays won their first series against the Yankees in New York on Sunday in two years. The Blue Jays won for the seventh time in 10 games following the All-Star break. But their first series win in New York against the AL East rival since Aug. 27-29, 2012.
  • Greg Maddux was enshrined into the Hall of Fame on Sunday along with Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox. Maddux’s career was one of the best in the history of baseball. Without ranking him, I think few would argue he’s not among the 10 best pitchers in history. In 1985, Maddux’s second pro season after being selected in the second round, he was 13-9 with a 3.19 ERA for Class A Peoria. After the season, Cubs scout Duffy Dyer submitted a scouting report to the organization that he is “not strong enough to be a starter.” In the comments, it notes that he “ran out of gas” and didn’t pitch well in the last third of the season. Not that it mattered, Maddux pitched very well in Double-A and Triple-A the next season, earning a trip to the majors. He was an All-Star for the first time in 1988 and won his first Cy Young in 1992.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Tyson Ross Dominates & Padres Offense Erupts – 7/25/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Tyson Ross continued his dominance Thursday night against the Cubs over six innings to earn the victory. Ross was in control from the first inning and he piled up a season-high 11 strikeouts over six innings in a victory over the Cubs. He surrendered just one run on five hits and a walk last night. Ross began missing bats at an impressive rate during his breakout 2013 campaign, and has carried over that success right into this season. Through Thursday, his 143 strikeouts tie him with teammate Ian Kennedy for third in the National League, trailing only Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. With Thursday’s victory at Wrigley, Ross now owns a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings in his last three starts away from Petco Park. He’ll try to earn his 10th victory when he faces the Cardinals at home on Tuesday. As for Padres offense which ranks last in the National League in runs scored, batting average, and on-base percentage, they erupted in the sixth inning. In that frame, they scored nine runs on eight hits, all singles, in 15 plate appearances. The Padres won 13-3 and won the three game series against the Cubs.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Corey Kluber had a perfect game going into the seventh inning and he pitched nine innings of one-run (unearned) ball, but the Indians lost in 14 innings to the Royals on Thursday. Kluber’s bid for a perfect game ended with one out in the seventh inning when Omar Infante singled on a line drive to center field. Kluber lost his shutout in the eighth when a poor defensive play by Ryan Raburn allowed Mike Moustakas to round the bases on a double and a two-base error.  Kluber went nine innings but the Indians needed 14 before they were dispatched. Kluber allowed two hits, walked none, and struck out 10. He now has a 2.77 ERA and will face the Mariners next week.
  • Matt Garza threw eight innings of one-run ball against the Mets and got a win on Thursday. Garza had a miserable outing last Saturday against the Nationals, but bounced back nicely against the Mets. He made only one damaging mistake, serving up a solo home run to Lucas Duda in the seventh. Overall, he allowed two hits, walked one, and struck out four. He now owns a 3.87 ERA. He’ll face the Rays on the road in his next start.
  • Brandon McCarthy pitched six innings and allowed just one run Thursday in a win over the Rangers. Combining his last two starts with the Diamondbacks and his first three with the Yankees, McCarthy is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA since June 27. He has benefited from an easy schedule and that will continue Monday when he faces the Rangers again.
  • Brandon Moss hit a grand slam, drew a walk and scored two runs Thursday against Houston. That’s his third grand slam this season, which is the most in the majors. Moss has an eight-game hitting streak going and he’s had exactly one hit in each of those eight games. Half of those hits have been homers.
  • Phil Hughes (contusion) left Thursday’s game due to a right shin contusion. He limped off the field after being struck with a comebacker in the fourth inning, and the ailment is now officially being called a shin contusion. He may end up questionable for his next start, but it will likely depend on the severity of the bruise and how well he’s able to push off that leg. Hughes had allowed two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts before exiting.
  • David Ortiz (back) will be re-evaluated on Friday before it’s determined how much time he might miss. Ortiz left Wednesday’s game after feeling “like a little pop or something” in his upper back during his final at-bat. Fantasy owners should expect the worst, but hope for the best.
  • Cooperstown will host the annual Hall of Fame inductions this weekend and they are expected massive crowds. Brad Horn, the Hall’s vice president of communications and education, said the best guess is that some 40,000 fans will find their way to the museum and various festivities. Cooperstown, N.Y., has a little more than 1,800 full-time residents. A typical induction weekend crowd runs between 15,000 and 20,000. The population will change dramatically this weekend when six honorees that includes Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Joakim Soria Traded To Tigers – 7/24/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

On Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers sent their closer Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for right-handed pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. Last week, the San Diego Padres got a nice return from the Los Angeles Angels last week for Huston Street and Soria didn’t come cheap either. Thompson was a second-round pick in 2012 and currently has a 2.96 ERA in 200 2/3 career innings between rookie ball and Double-A. Knebel was drafted in 2013 out of the University of Texas at Austin and made his major league debut in Detroit earlier this season. The 22-year-old owns a dominant 1.26 ERA in 64 1/3 career minor league innings. After the deal was completed, the Tigers announced that Joe Nathan will continue to be their closer, but that is not likely to last long. Nathan has an ugly 5.89 ERA this season and he has blown five saves in 25 opportunities. Nathan has been pretty good of late and has closed his last three save opportunities, but it is quite possible that Soria will be the Tigers closer sooner than later.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Yoenis Cespedes (thumb) was diagnosed with a right thumb sprain on Wednesday night after he hit two home runs in another Athletics victory. Cespedes suffered the injury swinging the bat on Wednesday night.  X-rays were negative, but Cespedes is likely to miss the game today with the Astros. The A’s are calling him day-to-day so fantasy owners should monitor this situation based on that report.
  • Hunter Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk until clearing the bases with a double to break a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth in Wednesday’s win over the Phillies. Pence has destroyed his former team this week and entered Wednesday’s game with six hits in 13 at-bats. He now has 6 RBI in the series and can help the Giants wrap up a four-game sweep this afternoon. Pence has been among the most productive hitters in baseball this year with a .304 BA with 13 home runs, 41 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.
  • Neftali Feliz is expected to take over as the Rangers’ closer in the wake of the Joakim Soria trade. Feliz is still working to regain his dominant stuff, but he owns an impressive 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings of relief since rejoining the Rangers’ active roster on July 4. He needs to be owned in all standard fantasy leagues even though his save opportunities may be few and far between for a Rangers team that has clearly mailed it in this year.
  • Ervin Santana allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings and he earned the win against the Marlins on Wednesday. This was his second double-digit strikeout game this season. Santana struck out 10 Marlins and was in control throughout the game. His last double-digit strikeout game came in his second start on April 14. Santana improved his ERA to 3.87 and he was face the Padres on Monday in his next start.
  • Starling Marte (concussion) was placed on the 7-day DL on Wednesday by the Pirates. There were some differing reports about Marte’s status, but his concussion tests came back positive, and he will be out until at least July 28. It’s been a challenging year for Marte who has struggled at the plate and been in and out of the lineup for a variety of issues. Brent Morel was called up as a corresponding move.
  • It was a wacky night last night around Major League Baseball. Hunter Pence gave the Philly Phanatic mouth-to-mouth after the legendary mascot was struggling to complete a sit-up. Did you see the epic standoff between Aaron Barrett of the Nationals and Brandon Barnes of the Rockies? The two men participated in this epic standoff in which both refused to leave where they stood for the national anthem. After sunscreen was applied and energy drinks were provided by teammates, the two continued to stand at their positions. Denard Span actually stepped in the batter’s box to start the game. The winner was Barrett, who was standing near the dugout railing while Barnes stood at the edge of the warning track in foul territory down the first-base line. Barnes was forced to move by first-base umpire Jordan Baker made him move. Finally, did you see that cheese crackers were delivered right to home plate? It happened during Wednesday’s Rays-Cardinals game in St. Louis, where  St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina had third-base coach Jose Oquendo take two packages of cheese crackers and set them on home plate for his brother Jose Molina, the Rays catcher. The elder Molina seemed to appreciate the fine gesture from his brother and he tucked them in his back pocket, perhaps for late-inning snack.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Welcome To The Bronx Chase Headley – 7/23/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

On Tuesday, the New York Yankees acquired Chase Headley from the San Diego Padres for infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitching prospect Rafael De Paula to San Diego in the deal. It didn’t take long for Headley to get on the good side of Yankees fans. After getting to Yankee Stadium in the middle of the game, Headley struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning and then grounded out in his next two at-bats. It didn’t matter because Headley was a hero after delivering a walk-off single in the 14th inning of a 2-1 victory over the Rangers. It will be interesting to see whether Headley can revive his career over the next two months before he hits free agency. He finished fifth in the National League MVP voting in 2012 after batting .286 with 31 homers and 115 RBI, but he’s battled injuries since then and going into Tuesday’s game, has hit just .243.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Ortiz Belts Two Homers As Red Sox Offense Explodes – 7/22/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The trade deadline is fast approaching and the Red Sox are holding their horses. The hitters who weren’t hitting — Stephen Drew (three-run homer, four RBIs Monday night), Xander Bogaerts (three hits), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (two hits, two RBIs) are now hitting. In addition, David Ortiz slammed a pair of two-run homers off Brad Mills in the Red Sox’s 14-1 drubbing of the Blue Jays on Monday. Ortiz has long been known as one of baseball’s premier power hitters, and last night, the Red Sox slugger continued to climb through the ranks in the game’s record books. In the fourth inning, Ortiz hit his 452nd career homer to deep center field and for a moment, he was tied with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski at No. 36 on the all-time home run list. Then in the fifth, he broke a tie with Yastrzemski as he went deep for a second time, his team-high 22nd of the season to right field to give Boston a 13-1 lead. It was his third multi-homer game of the season and 44th of his career. The Red Sox have won eight out of nine and are just 7 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. They have 63 games remaining and a second half surge is certainly possible for the defending World Champions.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Cliff Lee returned from the disabled list on Monday night and struggled through 5 2/3 innings. Lee gave up six runs and 12 hits in a loss to the Giants in Philadelphia. Lee’s velocity is typically in the 89-92 mph range when healthy, but he was working more at 86-89 mph last night. Combine that with the fact that he still has some rust and the result turned out to be that Lee was very hittable in his return. He will face the Diamondbacks in his next outing, so keep him active in mixed leagues for now.
  • Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with a couple of two-run homers in Monday’s 4-2 win against the Angels. Jones’ first inning shot off Matt Shoemaker put the Orioles on top 2-0. Five innings later, Jones hit a 443 foot moon shot over the left center wall to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead. Jones has two homers and nine RBI over his last three games. He is now batting .300 is on pace for 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI.
  • Ian Desmond went 5-for-5 with three runs scored, two RBI and a home run Monday night against the Rockies. Desmond is now has an eight game hitting streak and has gone hitless in only two games during July. The shortstop is slashing .357 with 13 RBI so far in July.
  • Dee Gordon was 2-for-5 in Monday’s victory over the Pirates and he collected his 45th base as well. Gordon now has seven hits in his last three games and is batting .297. He’s now stolen three bags in his last five games.
  • According to Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, the club has no plans to temporarily shut down Garrett Richards in order to limit his workload. Richards is already at 131 1/3 innings, just short of the 145 innings he threw last season. He has never thrown more than 157 innings in a season before in pro ball, but Dipoto said there haven’t been any discussions about giving him a break.
  • Matt Cain (elbow) was placed on the disabled list on Monday with elbow tendinitis. Cain underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed no structural damage. Inflammation can often make MRI results difficult to view, however, so Cain may not be out of the woods just yet. The Giants remain optimistic that he’ll be able to avoid season-ending surgery, and will likely take another scan after the inflammation clears up. Cain has landed on the disabled list three times this season and is on pace to post the worst ERA of his career (4.18). Despite all the good news, he remains without a timetable to return to throwing.
  • Tommy Milone has asked the Oakland Athletics to be traded after being demoted to Triple-A earlier this month. Milone was sent to Triple-A. He lost his rotation spot following the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade. Milone was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 16 starts for the Athletics this year. He is 31-22 with a 3.74 ERA for Oakland over the last three seasons since being acquired from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Several teams have contacted Athletics GM Billy Beane about the left-hander, but the team does not want to trade him at this time.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Astros Unable to Sign Brady Aiken – 7/21/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The Houston Astros became the first team in 31 years to fail in signing the No. 1 overall pick (Tim Belcher, 1983) when they couldn’t come to terms with Brady Aiken by Friday’s deadline. The high school left-hander and his representation had a public argument with the Astros front office, accusing team officials of negotiating in bad faith. Houston also failed to sign Round 5 pick Jason Nix. According to Tony Clark, union executive director, said the MLBPA and the players’ representatives are considering legal action against the Astros. The Astros messed up the Aiken negotiations from the start of the process. They rescinded a $6.5 million offer after their medicals revealed a slight abnormality in Aiken’s left elbow ligament, amending to a $3.1 million minimum proposal that guaranteed the No. 2 pick as compensation next year if he didn’t sign. It’s quite possible the Astros will end up with two top 5 selections in the 2015 MLB draft. The ligament isn’t torn and will not require surgery. Aiken is pondering heading to junior college next year instead of honoring his commitment to UCLA, so he can opt into the 2015 draft.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • The Los Angeles Angels acquired Huston Street on Friday evening (and little-known relief prospect Trevor Gott) from the San Diego Padres on Saturday for minor leaguers Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Jose Rondon and Elliot Morris.  This trade makes so much sense that many several media outlets predicted it over a month ago. The Padres are once again cellar dweller’s and don’t need a stud closer. They get a handful of intriguing prospects. Lindsey, the No. 37 pick in the 2010 draft was rated by a few services as a top-100 overall prospect this spring and he was also the top prospect in the Angels’ system. It’s far too soon for an offensively-bereft organization to pull the plug on a keystone talent like Jedd Gyorko, but Lindsey could press him for playing time beginning next spring.
  • C.J. Cron took over as the Angels’ full-time designated hitter after they released Raul Ibanez in June. But, he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to make room on the roster for Huston Street. Cron should be back with the club before the season is over, but the curious move makes his fantasy value non-existent in the near term.
  • C.C Sabathia (knee) will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery which officially ends his season. There was some good news on Saturday, however: Sabathia won’t require microfracture surgery, which means he’ll be ready to go at the start of spring training. With his velocity plummeting and his body letting him down, Sabathia is a very risk option in dynasty formats.
  • The beginning of the second half means we’ve officially entered trade rumor season. FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi kicked things off with gossip that the Seattle Mariners are trying to get the Tampa Bay Rays to trade them left-hander David Price and infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist. If Price is headed to Seattle, you can bet Taijuan Walker will be given a one-way ticket to Florida as the package headliner.
  • Saturday was a dangerous day to be at the ballpark, as Brandon Belt and outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Holliday all hit the showers early. Belt was hit in the face during batting practice. The Giants decided to start him anyway, and Belt left the game against the Marlins early due to dizziness. On Sunday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed that Belt will be placed on the disabled list. NL-only leaguers will want to pick up Tyler Colvin. Puig was hit in the left hand by a Joe Kelly pitch. X-rays were negative, but is considered day-to-day. As for Holliday, his fifth inning exit was only a delayed precaution after he ran into Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez at second base in the first inning. He returned to the Cardinals lineup on Sunday night.
  • The Chicago Cubs have filed a lawsuit against a group of people they claim have been dressing in a bogus mascot costume and participating in “inappropriate and unsavory actions” near Wrigley Field, which includes charging fans for pictures and getting into bar fights. Yes, the Cubs are indeed suing the men behind the “Billy Cub” unofficial mascot.
  • The New York Yankees announced that they will honor Derek Jeter on September 7th. This surprise announcement sent ticket prices soaring on the resale market. The average list price for the home game in the Bronx against the Kansas City Royals went from $139.24 before the announcement to $497.98 by Saturday afternoon. On StubHub, the cheapest ticket went from $26 to $328 within a matter of hours.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – 10 Predictions For the Second Half of MLB Season – 7/17/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

The 2014 All-Star Game at Target Field was always going to be about Derek Jeter. The Yankees’ legend went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored to help lead the American League to a 5-3 win over the National League on Tuesday night. Angels star and All-Star Game MVP Mike Trout added an RBI triple in the first inning and a go-ahead double in the fifth, while Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first to pace the offense for the AL, which won home-field advantage in the World Series for the second straight year. Now the All Star Game is over and its time to turn our attention to the second half of the MLB season. Here are my 10 predictions for the second half!

10 PREDICTIONS FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE MLB SEASON

10. Will a Team Lose 100 Games? For the first time since 2007, it looks as if baseball may finish the season without having a team reach triple digits in the loss column. According to FanGraphs, not only is no team in baseball on track to lose 100 games, but only two—the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros—are projected to crack the 90-loss plateau, with the Astros edging out the Cubs by one loss (71-91) for the worst record in baseball.

9. Edwin Encarnacion Will Hit the Most Home Runs in 2014: Encarnacion hit 16 home runs, which tied Mickey Mantle for the most ever by an American League player in that month. On the season, the right-handed hitter has gone yard 24 times. After hitting 36 home runs a season ago, look for Encarnacion to lead all of baseball with 42 home runs in 2014.

8. Gregory Polanco Will Win National League the Rookie of Year Award: Polanco has played just 32 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, during his brief big league career, the right fielder has already produced an 11-game hitting streak. There’s also the consideration that he’s up against a weak rookie class in the National League. The most noteworthy players that Polanco is competing against are shortstop Chris Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks and center fielder Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds.

7. Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton Will Both Steal More Than 70 Bases: It’s no surprise that Billy Hamilton has been racking up steals for the Cincinnati Reds. What is somewhat unexpected is that the center fielder isn’t leading baseball in that category. That honor belongs to Dee Gordon of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who has 43 steals compared to Hamilton’s 38. Both players have the speed to swipe more than 70 bases this season, but Gordon will maintain his early advantage and finish with 76, while Hamilton will end with 71.

6. Kirk Gibson Will Be the First Manager to Get Fired: It’s been a rough season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are already buried in the NL West. The central issue for the club is the terrible performance of the rotation, which has the third-worst ERA in baseball. Ultimately, though, the disappointing campaign can’t end well for Gibson. It seems inevitable that Tony La Russa, the club’s chief baseball officer, will want to clean house. That makes Gibson the overwhelming favorite to become the first manager to lose his job in 2014. Bud Black of the San Diego Padres and Terry Collins of the New York Mets could be next in line after Gibson.

5. The San Diego Padres Will Score Fewer Than 500 Runs: The Padres offense has been unbelievable unproductive in the opening months of the season. Through 95 games, they have scored 279 runs, which is by far the lowest total in baseball. For some context, the Los Angeles Angeles, who lead MLB in that category, check in at 478 runs. Last year, the Miami Marlins produced the fewest runs in MLB with 513. This season, the Padres won’t even hit the 500-run mark.

4. Bob Melvin Will Win the AL Manager of the Year Award: Melvin presses all the right buttons for the Oakland Athletics. He utilizes his entire 25-man roster than any other manager in baseball. That ability to use every single player of the squad has helped Melvin guide the club to the top record in MLB. Melvin will win his league’s Manager of the Year Award this season, which will mark the third time in his career that he will receive that honor.

3. The Los Angeles Dodgers Will Acquire David Price: The Los Angeles Dodgers clearly don’t need another starting pitcher. Then again, the addition of Price would be a game-changing move for the club. A top three of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Price would provide a playoff rotation that would shred the opposition in October.

2. Johnny Cueto Will Win the NL Cy Young Award: There are quite a few contenders for the National League Cy Young Award in 2014. Adam Wainwright, Julio Teheran, Tim Hudson, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are all in the conversation. However, none of those pitchers can match the season that Johnny Cueto has produced this year.

1. The Houston Astros Will Win More Games Than the Boston Red Sox: Last year, the Boston Red Sox were the World Series champions. However, this year, the Sox have been spending its time near the cellar along with the Tampa Bay Rays. While the Red Sox are trending downward, the Astros are on the rise. The Astros have received an infusion of young talent this year and are clearly on the upswing. Right now, the Red Sox have three more wins than the Astros. However, by the time Game 162 is complete, Houston will be higher in the standings than Boston.

Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Cespedes Repeats As HR Derby Champion – 7/15/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star game home run derby in 15 years on Monday night in Minneapolis. Cespedes became the first player to win back-to-back trophies in the Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. did it in 1998 and 1999. But unlike last year, when Bryce Harper fell one short of Cespedes’ mark in the final round, he cruised past Frazier 9-1 to earn his second title. 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. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. In the first round, Cespedes needed a swing-off against teammate Josh Donaldson to advance to the next round. He then took care of Adam Jones as he got into the swing of things. On the National League side, Frazier took down Troy Tulowitzki after sliding past Tulo’s teammate and fan favorite Justin Morneau in the first round.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Adam Wainwright has been named the National League starter for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. There was a strong argument to be made for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but National League manager Mike Matheny will go with his own guy. Wainwright owns a sensational 1.83 ERA in 138 innings this season for the Cardinals. Kershaw has also thrown 40 more innings than Kershaw has to this point in the season and that was also a factor in Matheny’s decision.
  • Felix Hernandez will start for the American League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field. American League skipper John Farrell made the announcement Monday with not as much anticipation as there was when National League manager Mike Matheny made his announcement for his starting pitcher. Hernandez earned his 11th victory of the season last Friday against the A’s and owns a 2.12 ERA in 144 1/3 total innings this year.
  • Cliff Lee (elbow) surrendered eight runs, just three earned, on eight hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings in his final rehab start for High-A Clearwater on Monday. It was an ugly performance for the left-hander and certainly raises concerns moving forward. There’s been no word on Lee’s velocity or how he felt, but clearly these weren’t the results the Phillies were looking for in Lee’s final tune-up before rejoining the rotation on July 21.
  • Carlos Beltran (concussion) will likely be activated Friday. Beltran has not experienced any lingering symptoms, and felt fine after physical activity on Sunday. It is still likely he will continue to be the Yankees’ DH upon return, but it’s obviously an encouraging sign if he can come back immediately following the All-Star break.
  • Alfonso Soriano was officially released by the New York Yankees on Monday. Soriano was designated for assignment a week ago and, not surprisingly, cleared waivers. Soriano has returned to the Dominican Republic, but would be open to playing for another club for the remainder of the season. He was batting just .221 with six homers over 67 games for the Yanks before losing his roster spot. Soriano is relaxing at home collecting on his $18 million salary this season, which is mostly being paid by the Chicago Cubs.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox were prepared to offer Jon Lester  approximately $100 million over five years before Lester ceased negotiations. Lester is set to become a free agent after the season, and he will be paid handsomely by the Red Sox or someone else if he’s allowed to reach the open market.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Andrew Velazquez set a new minor-league record by reaching base in his 72nd consecutive game on Sunday. The previous record was shared by Kevin Millar (1997) and Kevin Youkilis (2003). Mookie Betts also reached base in 71 straight games spanning 2013-14 when you include the postseason. During the 72-game streak, Velazquez hit .314 with 94 hits, 41 walks and two hit-by-pitches.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – MLB History Made in Grand Style – 7/14/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Madison Bumgarner became the first pitcher in 48 years to hit two grand slams in a season, and Buster Posey also hit a slam Sunday that boosted the San Francisco Giants over the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4. Never before Sunday afternoon had a starting pitcher-catcher tandem each hit a grand slam in the same game, but that’s precisely the history Bumgarner and Posey made with their twin slams at AT&T Park. The last pitcher to launch two slams in a season was Tony Cloninger, who hit both in the same game for Atlanta on July 3, 1966, against the Giants at Candlestick Park. The Giants lost 22 of their last 32 games to close the first half, but enter the break on a high note and just one game behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Thanks to a torrid start to the season, they’re among a pack of eight NL teams separated by just four games atop the league standings.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Brock Holt went 5-for-6 with a home run and two runs scored against the Astros on Sunday. Holt put an exclamation point on a breakout first half, hitting his third home run of the season to go with four singles. The 26-year-old has been tremendous for the Red Sox this season, batting .327 and serving as the team’s primary leadoff hitter. Look for him to continue his strong season in the second half.
  • Todd Frazier finished the first half of the season the way he started it as he hit his 19th home run of the season. It was a two-run homer as the Reds defeated the Pirates 6-3 on Sunday. His 19 home runs are fourth-most in the National League at the break, and he’s also among the league leaders in runs scored (57) and slugging percentage. Perhaps no player had a bigger breakout in the first half than Frazier who will take a .290 BA with 14 stolen bases and 53 RBI into the second half.
  • Sonny Gray allowed one unearned run over 7 2/3 innings in the Athletics’ 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Sunday. Gray gave up six hits and struck out five. Gray has now won four straight to improve his record to 10-3. The right-hander is emerging as a front-of-the-rotation pitcher this season. He owns a 2.79 ERA in 19 starts and he should continue to pitch well in the season’s second half.
  • Dan Uggla’s future in Atlanta was in question Sunday after the Atlanta Braves suspended the struggling second baseman for their final game before the All-Star break. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would only say it’s an internal matter, however it was reported that he arrived at the ballpark to close to the start of a game on Saturday. Uggla is making $13 million this season and another $13 million next year in the final season of his deal. It would not be surprising for the Braves to cut the struggling second baseman right now even though Uggla has another year remaining on his contract. He has not been productive and has only two starts in the last 40 game.
  • All eyes will be on the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby tonight as the event will kick off the All-Star Week extravaganza back to the Twin Cities where it first began 29 years ago. The American League team is led by Jose Bautista (captain), Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Adam Jones, and Yoenis Cespedes. The National League team is led by Troy Tulowitzki (captain), Todd Frazier, Yasiel Puig, Justin Morneau, and Giancarlo Stanton. Cespedes is the defending champion of the derby and he will be tested tonight. The favorite to win is Stanton who should be on a show! MLB is offering fans the chance to predict the winners of the derby and if you complete the perfect bracket, you can win $25,000! The odds to predicting the perfect bracket is slightly less than 500,000 to 1.
  • Carlos Gomez did not enjoy striking out against Adam Wainwright during Saturday’s game. In frustration, Gomez tried to break his bat over his knee multiple times, but couldn’t accomplish his goal and he eventually just smashing it on the ground.
  • Babe Ruth’s contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1918 was for only $5,000, but at an auction Saturday night, the document itself sold for $1.02 million. The contract was signed by Ruth, American League president Ban Johnson and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who famously agreed to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees in December 1919. The contract is in perfect condition and it sold the highest price ever paid for a sports contract, surpassing the record previously held by the document that sent Ruth to the Yankees, which sold for $996,000 in 2005.
Share

MLB In Full Bloom – Will Tanaka Need Tommy John Surgery? – 7/11/2014

MLB In Full Bloom is featured on Buehler’s Day Off on Team 1010 KXPS in Palm Desert, CA.

Masahiro Tanaka has been a great story in baseball during the first half, but it’s that story has taken a turn for the worst. The Yankees are now faced with the very real possibility that they will have to make do without their new ace for the rest of this season and the majority of 2015. That’s the major takeaway after Thursday’s update from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Tanaka was seen by three doctors, all of whom agreed that he’s dealing with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. A decision on surgery will wait, as he will go the rest and rehab route for now. Tanaka will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow before he will begin a throwing program. If there are no setbacks, Tanaka could return to game action within six weeks. However, if the elbow fails to respond, Tommy John surgery is possible. Tanaka’s tear is considered small, but there haven’t been many success stories with pitchers attempting to rehab.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw’s scoreless streak ended at 41 2/3 innings when he gave up a home run to Chase Headley, but the Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitched a complete game three hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Dodgers over the Padres 2-1 on Thursday night. Kershaw’s scoreless streak was the longest single-season scoreless streak since Brandon Webb hurled 42 straight in 2007. Orel Hershiser has the most in the major league divisional era with 59. Kershaw is on his way to another Cy Young award with a 10-2 record and 1.83 ERA in 14 outings.
  • Steve Pearce singled and hit a solo home run in four at-bats as the Orioles defeated the Nationals on Thursday. Pearce has been unstoppable this season. He singled in the Orioles’ first run in the third inning, doubled in another run in the fifth, and stole two bags on the evening just for good measure. Pearce, 31, is slashing .322 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, and four stolen bases. Fantasy owners should enjoy the ride that seems to have no end in sight for Pearce.
  • Mike Trout went 4-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored as the Angels routed the Rangers on Thursday. Trout singled in a run in the second, then blasted a three-run home run in the third inning. Shortly into the season’s fourth month, Trout has been making a strong case to win his first career AL MVP award. Trout has 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and a .310 batting average.
  • Torii Hunter went 3-for-6 with two RBI singles and a solo home run as the Tigers blew out the Royals in a win on Thursday. Hunter has turned his season around with a hot start to July. Thursday’s three-hit performance marked his sixth multi-hit game in nine games this month. The outfielder now has 12 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .276 batting average.
  • Brandon Phillips (thumb) has been diagnosed with a torn left thumb ligament and will undergo surgery today. He’s expected to miss the next 8-to-12 weeks as a result. While X-rays after Wednesday’s game cleared Phillips of a fracture, he wasn’t able to escape without any ligament damage, and is now facing a long-term absence. Cincinnati will try to get by with Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago at the keystone in the interim, but neither player provides anywhere close to the offensive upside that Phillips does. With Phillips’ long-term DL stint and  with first baseman Joey Votto (quadriceps) also facing an uncertain return timetable.
  • Yadier Molina (thumb) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. Molina has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his thumb and will undergo surgery today. He’s expected to miss 8-12 weeks, which could put him out of the mix for the rest of the regular season. Tony Cruz will receive the playing time for now, but the Cardinals will need to figure out other options for the second half.
  • On this date in 1914, Babe Ruth made his major league debut as a 19-year-old pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth held the Cleveland Naps to three runs (two earned) in seven innings to earn the win at Fenway Park. Ruth made two more starts and one relief appearance with the Red Sox the rest of the 1914 season, finishing with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings.
Share