A Quick Guide To: #SpringTraining

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Spring Questions For All 30 Teams:

Will the Cubs live up to the rampant World Series expectations? Are the D-backs for real? Can David Price make his contract worth it? Are the Royals a dynasty in the making? Do the Blue Jays, Astros and Mets have staying power?

Spring Training preview materials will be loaded with these questions and more, but the obvious truth is that Spring Training itself can’t answer those questions. So the goal in this particular preview, mere days away from pitchers and catchers report dates, is to pose an actual, spring-specific question each Major League club is facing on the cusp of camp.

I’m dedicating this column to the memory of my friend and teammate Tom Singer, who suddenly passed away earlier this week. Tom was one of the more inquisitive and creative minds in the business, and I know he was looking forward to showing up at Spring Training camps and asking unique questions of his own.

Here we go….

NL East

Mets: How carefully should the young starters be eased into the season?

For the Mets, it will be a delicate balance between overworking and underworking Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard after they all saw significant innings increases due to the postseason run. Syndergaard jumped 65 2/3 innings from his 2014 total in the Minors, while deGrom and Harvey jumped 37 2/3 apiece. Because of injury, Steven Matz (15 2/3) didn’t see quite as big an increase, though he, like Syndergaard, is entering his first full Major League season, an adjustment in and of itself. These guys need to be properly prepared for the every-five-day grind, but they should also probably see a less rigorous spring workload than the typical big league starter.

Nationals: Is Trea Turner ready for the big leagues?

The Grapefruit League will be a great test of the Nats’ new-look infield. Anthony Rendon is moving back to his natural position at third base — a fine move in isolation (he grades out better defensively there than at second base). But some scouts believe Daniel Murphy would be far better suited at third than at second base and that Rendon is the better defensive option at second. And then, of course, there’s the big question at short, where the Nats’ options come down to a utility guy (Danny Espinosa) who has spent far more of his career at second, a light-hitting free-agent signee (Stephen Drew) and the top prospect (Turner), who has only played 212 games in what has already been a whirlwind pro career (including 27 with the Nats down the stretch in 2015). Lots of questions in this infield.

Marlins: Can Barry Bonds help Marcell Ozuna’s swing?

New manager Don Mattingly and new hitting coach Bonds pleaded with the front office to keep Ozuna despite the rampant trade rumblings and the disconnect between player and organization last season. Ozuna was one of eight players identified as above-average in each of the five-tool categories by Statcast™, so the potential is off the charts. But his decline in production last season — leading to a controversial stay in Triple-A — was as swift as it was stunning, and spring is an important time for Ozuna and Bonds to develop a positive working relationship.

Braves: Will Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn open any eyes with their spring at-bats?

It’s no secret the Braves would love to move one or both of these guys. So they are destined to receive a steady dose of Grapefruit League at-bats as the Braves try to garner enough interest for a salary dump swap. With Freddie Freeman working his way back from a wrist injury, perhaps Swisher will see some time at first base.

Phillies: Is Tyler Goeddel the next Odubel Herrera?

Last year, Herrera arrived as a Rule 5 Draft pickup and wound up leading the Phillies in WAR (and yes, that says as much about the Phils as it does Herrera). Now, Goeddel is the marquee Rule 5 Draft addition (the first overall pick). That he’ll make the big league club is a foregone conclusion, because the Phillies have nothing to lose by keeping him. The question is how much the athletic but unpolished Goeddel will separate himself from Aaron Altherr, Peter Bourjos and Cody Asche in the battle for playing time in Pete Mackanin’s lineup.

AL East

Blue Jays: Will Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion agree to extensions?

In the lead-up to Opening Day, the new-look front office will have to weigh the attraction of satiating the fan base and ensuring stability in the long-term lineup against the obvious risks that come with power hitters in their mid-to-late-30s. These discussions will take place when all parties arrive in Dunedin, Fla., later this month.

Yankees: CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova?

The last rotation spot is the lone source of genuine positional intrigue in Yankees camp. (That said, Starlin Castro’s continued immersion at second base and first-ever trial at third base, where the Yanks might need him as a Chase Headley backup, is interesting). Sabathia is the former Cy Young Award winner coming off a homer-prone year that ended in alcohol rehab. Nova is the Tommy John alum the Yanks tried to trade. General manager Brian Cashman has said Sabathia’s $25 million salary wouldn’t preclude the Yanks from sticking CC in the bullpen if somebody else (Nova is the obvious candidate, though Bryan Mitchell is another) wins the job outright.

Orioles: What’s the outlook for the outfield?

They’re reportedly making progress with Yovani Gallardo to fill a big hole in the rotation, so let’s focus on the outfield here. Big-bodied Hyun-soo Kim, fresh off signing a two-year contract with the O’s, will arrive from South Korea and try to prove he has the range and athleticism to handle the everyday left-field assignment. Adam Jones was tasked with covering a ton of outfield ground last year, and his performance tailed off in the last two months of the season. At the moment, right field likely belongs to Nolan Reimold, though an O’s team familiar with in-spring splashes could still sign somebody to support or replace him.

Rays: Will James Loney, Desmond Jennings or Brandon Guyer be moved?

It’s a question that presumes a healthy camp, of course, but it would solve a logjam. Dealing Loney would allow Logan Morrison and Steve Pearce to share first, Corey Dickerson to spend the bulk of his time at DH and Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier and Steven Souza Jr. to provide dependable defense in the outfield, with Guyer as a bench option vs. lefties. Or the Rays could move Jennings or Guyer and open up more at-bats for Pearce and Morrison. Whatever the case, one presumes the Rays would be seeking relief help in any deal involving their position player depth.

Red Sox: Can Hanley Ramirez handle first base?

The Red Sox don’t have any position battles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have position issues. Hanley’s position switch last year — from shortstop to left field — wasn’t subjected to any truly challenging plays during the spring schedule, but obviously the ball is going to find him at first. Because they’re paying Ramirez a ton of money, the Red Sox have no choice but to hope this works — and the same goes for Pablo Sandoval at third. The Panda’s physical condition will, naturally, be a spring storyline all its own.

NL Central

Cardinals: What is Yadier Molina’s timetable?

Molina will spend camp’s early days not swinging the bat or catching bullpen sessions, but building strength back up in his left thumb after having a second surgery this winter. Because there’s no telling how long that process will take and how much it will affect his season preparation, it’s hard to know if Molina will be ready by Opening Day. To say getting him back in a timely matter is important for the Cards is, of course, an understatement.

Pirates: How well is Jung Ho Kang progressing?

Because of the division’s demands, the decisions to deal Neil Walker and non-tender Pedro Alvarez, and the lack of additions of bankable depth options, the Pirates can ill-afford any medical setbacks for Kang, who suffered a fractured tibial plateau and torn lateral meniscus on an ugly takeout slide by Chris Coghlan last September. The move to third base (with Jordy Mercer at short and Josh Harrison replacing Walker at second) will limit Kang’s lateral movement when he returns. As of now, the Pirates are expecting him back in April, with Sean Rodriguez (last seen assaulting a water cooler) filling in and Minor League free agent Cole Figueroa competing for a bench job.

Cubs: Can Kyle Schwarber improve in left field?

As much as we love this Cubs lineup, there’s no denying there are defensive concerns in the outfield, where Jorge Soler had some surprising struggles in ’15, Jason Heyward is moving from right to center and, most importantly, Schwarber was a mess during the NLCS. Schwarber has been working on his first step and flexibility this winter, and that work will be put to the test in Arizona. But his efforts in left coincide with his work behind the plate, where he still hopes to remain an option long-term. Combine all of this with Schwarber’s bid for more at-bats against left-handed pitching, and the kid’s got a lot on his plate.

Brewers: How’s Ryan Braun feeling?

Not that the Brewers are making an earnest effort to contend in 2016, but Braun could stillpotentially play himself into a viable trade chip (provided the Brew Crew is willing to eat some cash, of course) if he’s healthy and producing the way he did for much of ’15. Braun had surgery for a herniated disc in the offseason, but he won’t have a clear idea of how well his back is responding until the regular swings that come in the Cactus League.

Reds: Will a market develop for Jay Bruce?

He only remains in Cincinnati as a function of the unusually deep and late-developing free-agent outfield market this winter, because the Reds, now in full-on rebuild mode, were motivated to move him. Most likely, Bruce will start the season with the Reds and try to piece together enough of a bounce-back campaign to become July trade bait. But all it takes is one spring injury elsewhere to suddenly make the idea of dealing for Bruce more palatable for a contending club. The Reds also have to hope Zack Cozart’s grisly knee injury last year hasn’t affected his defense at short, because he, too, could play himself into trade-chip status.

AL Central

Royals: Can Christian Colon steal playing time from Omar Infante?

In the third year of a four-year deal, Infante will make $7.75 million, and there was a time when that fact alone would settle him into a starting spot for this small-market club. But you might have noticed things are a little different in the realm of the Royals these days, and they’re calling this a legitimate position battle between Infante and Colon, who drove in the winning run in the World Series Game 5 clincher. (Top prospect Raul A. Mondesi will also get consideration but is far more likely to start the season in the Minors). Sure, the Royals are paying Infante a good amount of money, but, hey, they took Colon ahead of Matt Harvey in the 2010 Draft! One way or another, they’ll look for better returns on both of these investments.

Twins: Will Miguel Sano stick in right?

Byung Ho Park’s transition to the bigs is also a major matter in Minnesota, but Sano’s defensive work — directly related to Park’s arrival — will be a more pressing spring concern. Torii Hunter will be in camp as a special assistant to work with the 6-foot-4 Sano in the outfield, and the Twins’ lineup alignment demands that this experiment be successful. Sano was tasked with dropping 20 pounds this winter. Citing a desire to maintain his power, he dropped just five. He’s agile for his size, but this is undoubtedly a big test for him.

Indians: Will Michael Brantley continue his rapid recovery?

He’s the key to the whole darn thing for an Indians team projected by FanGraphs to have the best record in the division despite a less-than-dynamic winter. Brantley didn’t have surgery on his lead shoulder until early November, which means you can count him out for Opening Day and likely all or most of April. But because his recovery has progressed so well so far, Brantley must avoid the temptation to do too much too soon, lest he suffer a setback that crushes a Tribe club already prone toward slow starts.

White Sox: What’s up at short?

Tyler Saladino played terrific defense at third base for the Sox down the stretch last season, but his 68 OPS+ detracted from his value. So it’s an open question whether he’s ready for prime time at a prime spot, and he could be pushed in camp by top prospect Tim Anderson. The other, still-lingering question here is whether the Sox will wind up too tempted by Ian Desmond’s reduced price tag to pass him up. With a protected top-10 Draft pick, the White Sox are better positioned to sign Desmond than many others in the market.

Tigers: Can Bruce Rondon work his way into the bullpen plans?

Well, obviously we’ll be playing close attention to the statuses of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. But they’ve both had a healthy offseason, so, at this point, there’s little reason to doubt they’ll be in the Opening Day lineup and, hopefully, ready to produce. But Rondon’s dismissal from the club due to a lack of effort makes him an interesting figure in camp. The Tigers’ bullpen has a new closer in Francisco Rodriguez and better balance overall, but there’s always room for a motivated flamethrower. We’ll soon learn for sure if Rondon is committed to winning the respect of his teammates.

NL West

Dodgers: Will Hyun-Jin Ryu be ready by Opening Day?

And if so, what does that mean for fellow lefty Alex Wood? The Dodgers have assembled rotation depth to allow Ryu to ease into action, rather than rush back from labrum surgery. So the most likely outcome is that he starts the season in extended Spring Training or on a rehab assignment. But the Dodgers could also be tempted to take advantage of Wood’s ability to be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Giants: How is Joe Panik’s back?

He’s 25 years old and coming off an All-Star season. But that season was cut short by back woes. Doctors have not discovered any structural damage, so Panik did not have surgery. But only time and performance will dictate whether this will be a persistent problem for a club all too familiar with back issues involving their second basemen (see: Sanchez, Freddy and Scutaro, Marco).

D-backs: Can Yasmany Tomas acquit himself in the outfield?

In their bold bid to take a major competitive step forward, there’s no denying the D-backs sacrificed defense by involving Ender Inciarte in the Shelby Miller swap. The question is how much. Tomas enters the year as an everyday corner outfielder (Arizona is still unsure whether he’ll remain in right or swap spots with left fielder David Peralta) after proving he can’t handle the hot corner. Tomas has indicated he’s more comfortable in right field, though the D-backs might prefer to have the better defender there and use this spring to get Tomas acclimated to left. And oh by the way, Tomas, who had a .707 OPS last season, needs to hit, too.

Padres: Can Andrew Cashner limit walks and neutralize lefties?

Yeah, yeah, the spring results don’t matter. But scouts are in the stands for a reason. Cashner is a guy with ace-quality potential when he’s right — and that’s a big deal for a Padres team either hoping to surprise some people in the NL West or use Cashner as a valuable trade piece midseason (or even sooner). Last year, Cashner’s effectiveness against left-handed hitters spiraled (.383 wOBA vs. a .294 mark a year earlier), and his overall walk rate jumped to 8.2 percent.

Rockies: What will Jose Reyes’ punishment be?

In invoking punishments under the sports’ domestic violence policy for the first time, Commissioner Rob Manfred has big decisions to make with Reyes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman. But Reyes is the only member of that group who is facing a criminal procedure. He has pleaded not guilty to domestic abuse charges, and his trial is slated to begin April 4 (Opening Day, of course). Manfred can make his decision independent of those proceedings, and there’s no telling how stiff the penalty will be. Reyes is the Rockies’ highest-paid player and a guy they hoped would rebuild his offensive value (and, ergo, his trade value) at Coors Field. Right now, there’s no way of knowing when or if he’ll be on the field in 2016.

AL West

Rangers: Can Jurickson Profar get back in baseball shape?

We’ll venture away from the obvious intrigue surrounding Yu Darvish’s timetable, because, by all accounts, he’s still on track for a May return. Profar provides intrigue of his own. This is a guy who was once considered the top prospect in the game, but hasn’t played a single inning in the field the last two years because of shoulder issues that eventually required surgery. Profar’s bat action as a designated hitter in the Arizona Fall League caught the attention of scouts, and several teams contacted the Rangers in an attempt to buy low on the middle infielder. The Rangers wisely held onto him, and they’ll ease him back into action in the field this spring. His odds of making the big league club are slim to none, barring injury to somebody else. But the Rangers are about to see if Profar can emerge as an important depth piece in their bid to win the AL West again.

Astros: Will Evan Gattis be ready for Opening Day?

It was revealed this week that Gattis required surgery for a sports hernia, sidelining him for four to six weeks. That’s going to hurt his ability to get his timing back before the end of Grapefruit League play, so the Astros will dole out more playing time to Jon Singleton, Matt Duffy, A.J. Reed, Tyler White and Preston Tucker. While the Astros, in letting Chris Carter walk, might generally be trying to get away from the all-or-nothing approach that was one of their calling cards in ’15, Gattis is still clearly a key cog in this offense. He was also hopeful of increasing his value to the team beyond his DH duties, losing weight and doing catching drills in the offseason.

Angels: What’s Albert Pujols’ timetable?

The Angels are getting crushed in many corners for not doing more to improve their production potential around Mike Trout, opting instead for a more contact-heavy approach. Maybe the Halos have it right, but there’s little denying that their lineup look demands healthy and productivity from Pujols, who is working his way back from November surgery on the plantar plate of his right foot. Pujols is already hitting off a tee but is not expected to resume full baseball activities until March, putting Opening Day in jeopardy. Pujols rushed back to action too quickly in 2013, to the point that it affected his performance, and the Angels don’t want that to happen again.

Mariners: Can James Paxton win a rotation spot?

Technically, it’s Taijuan Walker, Nate Karns and Paxton for two spots, though you’d have to imagine the 29 starts and the progress Walker made as ’15 evolved give him the inside edge on one of those. Karns was Dipoto’s first addition in a busy offseason, but Paxton is the guy who was long lauded as one of the M’s prominent prospects. Injury issues have limited Paxton to 30 career starts over parts of three Major League seasons, but the left-hander has dropped some pounds and will come to camp intent on proving he’s ready to turn his potential into production. Other guys potentially in the mix for that last spot are Mike Montgomery, Joe Wieland and Vidal Nuno. Paxton seemingly has the most upside of those options, but he’s got to earn it.

Athletics: What is the rotation beyond Sonny Gray?

Oakland has probably one of the most — if not the most — unsettled rotation situations in the big leagues. The A’s signed Rich Hill with the intent of inserting him into the rotation, though he hasn’t been a regular starter at this level since 2009. After Gray and Hill, it’s a wide-open competition involving Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn, Chris Bassitt, Sean Nolin and possibly even Jarrod Parker (who is attempting to come back from two elbow surgeries) and Sean Manaea (a promising trade acquisition who hasn’t pitched above Double-A but who manager Bob Melvin has called a “wild card” in the rotation battle). Should be fun to watch this evolve.

Source: A Spring Training question for all 30 MLB teams.

Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training:

SchwarberPanikRamirez

 

Rejoice! Spring training is almost upon us, bringing to an end what has been a hectic offseason, one that saw a slew of starting pitchers change uniforms, whether via free agency or trade. Keeping up with what your favorite team’s rotation looks like, much less the competition’s, has been challenging at times.

Read: Power Ranking All 30 MLB Starting Rotations Entering 2016 Spring Training

What You Need to Know to #win Tuesday Night, #DraftKings #FantasyBaseball

…But First…

The Jets had five takeaways in their 20-7 win in Indianapolis on Monday, three of which were by Darrelle Revis, who recovered two Colts fumbles and intercepted an Andrew Luck pass. Revis had never before had three takeaways in one game. This is after last week when the Browns had five turnovers in the season opener. The Jets are the first team since the 1992 Steelers to have five takeaways in each of their first two games of a season. The Steelers did that in Bill Cowher’s first two games as their head coach – is history repeating with Todd Bowles?

Aside from the Jets looking legit – Indy NEEDS an offensive line.  Luck looked uncomfortable all night and made weird mistakes – some of that has to be attributed to the Jets, but I’m going with the hot-mess upfront.  For those freaking out about Andrew, let’s breathe for a moment – this is not a Drew Brees situation – this is a QB with what was and still is a suspect line that played two quality defenses, back-to-back.  Next up is Tennessee, I’m prettay, prettaaay sure all will be normal for Luck after week 3.  If not, then we can have a full-blown freakout.

As for Gang Green, the D appears to be strong and with Chan Gailey dialing up plays for the Denver Jets, this game could have been a lot worse – Decker and Marshall, each with a touchdown and almost 200yds receiving between them.  Revis Island seems to be a non-vacation spot again and Sheldon Richardson comes back soon to join an already impressive front line.


#NFL week 2 is in the books and it was another successful week and also for those that follow us.  We are still continuing to update+add features to our site – so check it out and join us at theDiRTCanon.com – let us teach you how to #win!!!

Here are week 2’s Perfect Lineups:

Fanduel

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DraftKings

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It’s almost post-season baseball time and with a full-slab of games on tap tonight, it seems like “Revenge of the Lefties” –  we got a lot to get to with SEA+CHC stack ideas and TAM RHB+BOS LHB  – so let’s get it on!

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

Logan Verrett vs. Atlanta Braves (-261) – Raise your hand if you saw this one…Verrett has become a spot start extraordinaire, as his one mission in life is to preserve the innings of Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom.  A tall task indeed, but something that Verrett thus far, has done successfully. Coming into tonight, Verrett owns a 2.89 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP in just two starts. Verrett has pitched only 37 innings this season, but he looks like he’s locked in. Getting a matchup tonight against the Braves is about as good as you could ask for with Verrett. He’s going to cost you next to nothing, priced at just $4,500. Even if Verrett only goes five solid innings, he will certainly be worth the price of admission. Verrett has only allowed two runs in his two starts this season and his looked great in doing so. Without much to go on in the majors, Verrett is someone who’s shown in a short amount of time that he can be a viable option for you tonight. I mean really, can you complain about a pitcher that is just above the minimum?cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png

John Lackey vs. Cincinnati Reds (-210) – We’ve seen plenty of this, this season, as Lackey gets a start against the Reds. Lackey enters tonight with a 2.79 ERA to go with a 1.22 WHIP and a K/9 of 7. Going against a team that owns a .316 wOBA in the second half of the season with a K% of 20.8%, Lackey looks primed for another solid start. Owning a career best ERA at this time, Lackey goes against a Reds team who he dominated two starts ago. In that matchup, Lackey went seven innings, giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out 10, scoring 25.8 in that start. His price tag certainly matches his production, as I think this is the highest I’ve seen it for Lackey at $10,300.  As the fourth most expensive pitcher on the night, I think Lackey would need some serious consideration to be in your lineup tonight. If you’re thinking about rostering Verrett, you have no excuse to not fit ANY pitcher going tonight, seeing as how much you’ll be saving with his $4,500 price tag.

Lance McCullers vs. LA Angels (-170) – I’ve been a big fan of McCullers since he’s got the call to the big leagues. Coming into tonight, McCullers owns a 3.18 ERA to go with a 1.22 WHIP and a K/9 of 8.9. McCullers gets matched up with a truly weak Angels lineup, a lineup that owns a .291 wOBA in the second half of the season, good for the lowest in the league besides the Braves. A truly baffling stat if you think about the amount of talent this team possesses. They’ve kept the strikeouts down, which of course is disappointing to hear if you’re rostering an opposing pitcher like McCullers. Their 19.5 K% ranks 22nd in the league. However, at this point, the Angels are entering a territory where no matter who is starting against them, you should at least give them a look. Out of sheer curiosity, I looked up what the Angels have done over the past week, and things don’t get much better. The Angels own a .310 wOBA over the last seven day with a 20.6 K%. Things aren’t looking up for the Halos. With a nice price of $9,400, McCullers should be another pitcher you should look at.

Top Overall Game per O/U

Pittsburgh Pirates at Colorado Rockies 11 Over/Under – The Rockies remain at home, so we’re lucky enough to talk about how they’re the highest projected run total of the day, again. This matchup intrigues me. We have a leftie on leftie matchup, with both teams not exactly hitting LHP all that well. On the season, the Pirates own a .306 wOBA against lefties, which ranks 20th in the league. The Rockies are at .283 which is LAST in the league for wOBA. Soooooo, what should we do here? If this game was at Pittsburgh, I would be loading up on Happ like he was shotgun shells during a zombie-apocalypse. But we have to give some respect to Coors Field here. Can the Rockies overcome their woes against lefties with their home field advantage? It truly brings up a tough question. Overall, I don’t think Happ is someone that should scare you off too much. He has his stretches which he pitches great, but also can do the complete opposite in a heartbeat, evident by his 3.84 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. I think if anything, if you want to play it safe tonight, the Pirates will be the way to go. Rusin owns a 5.11 ERA with a 1.56 WHIP. This will be quite the strange game in Coors tonight, one that you might want to watch.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Jake Arrieta CHC (LwOBA .213)
    • Lance McCullers HOU (LwOBA .265)
    • Martin Perez TEX (LwOBA .266)
  • Right handed batters
    • Jake Arrieta CHC (RwOBA .248)
    • Marco Estrada TOR (RwOBA .264)
    • Sean Nolin OAK (RwOBA .269)

Easiest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Tyler Cravy MIL (LwOBA .403)
    • Henry Owens BOS (LwOBA .403)
  • Right handed batters
    • Matt Moore TAM (RwOBA .396)
    • Tyler Cravy MIL (RwOBA .369)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Jorge Soler CHC – DiRT Canon Value127.44
  • Dioner Navarro TOR – DiRT Canon Value117.31
  • Franklin Gutierrez SEA – DiRT Canon Value111.10
  • Omar Infante KC – DiRT Canon Value108.40
  • Deven Marrero BOS – DiRT Canon Value108.20
  • Drew Stubbs TEX – DiRT Canon Value107.34

Other notables:  Tommy Pham: 12-22, 4HRs, 9 RBI, 10 runs scored – Anthony Rizzo: 12-28, HR, 7RBI, 2SB, 6 runs scored – Xander Bogaerts: 9-24, 2HRs, 7 RBI, 1SB, 7 runs scored

Best BvP matchup Tonight

David Ortiz vs. Matt Moore- Ortiz will always remember Moore, the man who gave up his 500th home run. The reason alone, Ortiz will always crush Moore when he’s on the mound. What stats back that up? Zero. That was just a hot take. Good one, eh? Ok, Ortiz is 8-18 against Moore with five extra base hits, three of them being home runs (including a 500th) and a 1.529 OPS.

Brian Dozier vs. Danny Salazar-  Dozier has seen Salazar in a small sample, but he’s done quite well for himself in that time. Dozier is 8-15 against Salazar with five extra base hits, two of them being home runs, and a 1.722 OPS.

Miguel Cabrera vs. Jose Quintana- I was talking about this the other day.  He never seems to take advantage of his superior matchups anymore.  Everytime I put him here, or take him, he does not justify his salary. If it wasn’t for the high batting average for Cabrera, could you consider this season a bust for him? I’m leaning towards yes.  At the least, he has a good matchup tonight against Quintana, who he’s 11-30 against with five extra base hits, one of them being a home run, and a 1.041 OPS.  Which he could duplicate if you did not take him, so….you’re move Miggy.


Weather

We seem to be getting the ALL CLEAR sign tonight


Top 4 by Position – in no particular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Danny Salazar ($11,100) – Salazar has two things I look for when picking my starting pitching for the night. A weak offense, and a high strike out ceiling. Check and check. Facing the Twins tonight, Salazar is certainly in line for a quality start in this one. The Twins own a .307 wOBA in the second half of the season, good for 26th in the league. Add on the fact that they also have the 3rd highest K% in that same time span at 22.7 and you suddenly have a good start lined up. Salazar comes into tonight with a 9.7 K/9 on the season, which has me licking my chops for this one. After a couple of disaster starts for Salazar against Detroit, which saw him give up nine runs in nine innings, he bounced back nicely against the Royals. In that start, Salazar went seven innings giving up one run on four hits while striking out six, which is impressive, as the Royals are the toughest team in the league to strikeout. Even with the expensive price tag, Salazar is certainly worth the price of admission with this start tonight. I mean, you can always pair him with Logan Verrett.

Worth Considering

Matt Carpenter ($4900) –Carpenter, going against Keyvius Sampson, batting leadoff. I could end it right here if I wanted to. But, I’ll give you my reasons. Carpenter batting leadoff against a pitcher who’s allowing a .430 wOBA to left handed batters is a huge reason in itself. Carpenter hits right handed pitching well, with a .328 wOBA and an ISO of .233. In a game that should provide plenty of offense for the Cardinals, Carpenter is in a perfect positon tonight to be a table setter. He’s been hitting extremely well lately and I don’t see that slowing down tonight.

Save $$$…

Mikie Mahtook ($3100) –Mahtook (LSU) has been fantastic since his callup. Batting .289 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his short stint in the majors is about as much as you can ask for (unless your Tommy Pham.) Mahtook hit left handed pitching really well and faces Henry Owens tonight. Owens does fairly well against righties, with a .303 wOBA. However, it’s the .403 wOBA against lefties for Mahtook that really entices me. He’s dirt cheap and his some pop in his bat, something I like to target with my low tiered priced guys. I think you could find a way to squeeze Mahtook into your lineup


The Rest by Position

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Logo_Snap#1

What You Need to Know for Tuesday Night #Baseball

Clemente

Today would have been Roberto Clemente’s 81st birthday – so let’s all toast a legend of the game while we watch StrikeZone!

Heavy Favorites – according to Vegas

Clayton Kershaw vs. Oakland A’s (-221) – Ànother fifth day, another start for Kershaw as the favorite on the night. It’s becoming  routine, so surely on Sunday, Kershaw will be here. Tonight, Kershaw gets the Oakland Athletics, a team that is really struggling to find their groove – ask Stella. Since the second half of the season, the A’s have the lowest wOBA out of ANY team in the league. Think about that for a moment, worse than Atlanta, Miami, crazy to think about, right? So other than the fact that the A’s can’t hit, they’re at least a tough team to strikeout. They maintained that in the second half, as their strikeout percentage stands at 18%, one of the best in both leagues. But truly, with Kershaw entering tonight with a K/9 of 11.3, what does that mean? Maybe he ends up with eight strikeouts on the night? Kershaw has just been that good. Since the All Star break, Kerhsaw owns a 0.92 ERA giving up only four runs in 39 innings and striking out 45. As usual though, he’s going to cost you a fortune to roster. Priced at $15,000, you better get damn creative building the rest of your roster – thankfully I can help with that.
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Francisco Liriano vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-215)- We were arguing recently, if the Diamondbacks were getting the respect they deserve when it comes to being a good offensive club. They gave Gerrit Cole a run for his money last night. Tonight, Liriano is the second highest favored pitcher of the night. Like Cole, Liriano hasn’t exactly had a stellar month of August. He’s pitched nine innings giving up seven runs on 13 hits with a 9:6 K:BB ratio. Not exactly great numbers when you’re going to face a team that owns the ninth highest wOBA on the month at .331. Overall, Liriano comes into tonight with a 3.19 ERA with a 1.13WHIP and a K/9 of 9.9. Once again, we’re not sure we’re all giddy to throw Liriano on a roster tonight against this D-Backs team. Are they as good as we’re making them out to be? Maybe not, but I can’t feel great about putting pitcher in tonight that hasn’t exactly shown much as of late. At $10,300, it certainly is risky.

RA Dickey vs. Philadelphia Phillies (-190) – We’ll give credit when it’s due, Dickey has been solid as of late. Dickey has given up only four runs in his last three starts on 14 hits and a K:BB ratio of 13:6. For a knuckleballer, that’s pretty good. Tonight, he gets those Phillies that Vegas loves to hate on. After starting off the second half on fire, the Phillies have seen their wOBA slip to the middle of the league at .312, good for 16th. Dickey is of course, one of the toughest pitchers to predict because, quite frankly, even he doesn’t know what the knuckler will do on a particular day, Dickey has had his struggles on the road this season, with his wOBA against is over 60 points higher compared to at home. His price tonight just might make him a serious consideration, as he’s only going to run you for $7000.

Top Overall Game per O/U

Washington Nationals vs. Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 11 Over/Under- Vegas is expecting some fireworks in this one. Jordan Zimmermann takes on David Hale in this one. Zimmermann has looked like his old self lately in his past two starts, scoring 22.6 and 30 points against the Rockies and Dodgers. However, of course, pitching in Coors Field adds a whole different dynamic to the equation. As for Hale, he’s coming off the disabled list to return to the rotation, proving how bad their rotation really is. Hale owns a 5.69 ERA on the season with a 1.39 WHIPand a K/9 of 6.6. The Nationals have really been struggling at the plate, owning a .296 wOBA this month, good for 24th in the league. Nothing a little Coors Field can’t fix, right? As always, find a way to work a couple of these hitters into your lineup tonight.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Felix Doubront OAK (LwOBA .218)
    • CC Sabathia NYY (LwOBA .222)
    • John Danks CWS (LwOBA .253)
  • Right handed batters
    • Jacob DeGrom NYM (RwOBA .197)
    • Clayton Kershaw LAD (RwOBA .238)
    • Jordan Zimmermann WAS (RwOBA .256)

Easiest L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Matt Wisler ATL (LwOBA .436)
    • Tyler Cravy MIL (LwOBA .424)
  • Right handed batters
    • CC Sabathia NYY (RwOBA .385)
    • Felix Dubront OAK (RwOBA .373)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • Chase Utley PHI – DiRT Canon Value 106.66
  • Carl Crawford LADDiRT Canon Value – 101.06
  • Pedro Alvarez PITDiRT Canon Value – 98.37
  • Jackie Bradley Jr BOS  – DiRT Canon Value – 93.63
  • Alejandro De Aza BOSDiRT Canon Value – 90.90
  • Matt Kemp SDP – DiRT Canon Value – 88.86

Other notables:  Joey Votto is 11-for-23 with 2 HR’s, 7 RBI and 6 runs scored.  Miguel Sano is 10-for-24 with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI, a stolen base and 4 runs scored.

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Brian McCann vs. Mike Pelfrey – All is right in the world once again! McCann is 19-40 against Pelfrey with 10 extra base hits, two of them going for home runs, and a 1.368 OPS.

Adrian Beltre vs. Hisashi Iwakuma- If Iwakuma is thinking he’s going to pull out another no hitter, Beltre is here to stop him dead in his tracks. Beltre is 11-33 against Iwakuma with four extra base hits, three of those going for home runs and a 1.008 OPS.

Nick Markakis vs. James Shields- These two have seen a lot of each other back in their AL East days. Tonight, they matchup once again with Markakis 23-74 against Shields with seven extra base hits, two of them being home runs and a .859 OPS.


Weather

Looks like it might be a clear night of baseball!


Top 4 by Position – in no partciular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Garrett Richards ($9,800) –Raise your hand if you made a weird face when you saw Richards here. I’ll admit, I did, and I’m the one writing this. I have a few reasons to go this route so hear me about before you close this article in disgust and un follow me on Twitter. First off, Kershaw is just too expensive. $15,000. Putting Kershaw on your roster leaves you with $35,000 to work with, or $3,888 on average for each remaining player. Even if you went with Adam Conley, who’s the cheapest pitcher on the night, that leaves you with an average of $3,862 per player. Doable, but tough for sure. Then we have deGrom. Do I like the matchup against Baltimore? I don’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t hate if you draft deGrom tonight. His WHIP is a ridiculous 0.83 and he doesn’t give up a lot of home runs, only 11 on the year, but at Camden Yards scares me a bit. I have no doubt that deGrom will most likely have a solid start, but at $11,600, I’d at least want to like the matchup a bit more. Baltimore does own the best wOBA against RHP this season. So, with all that being said, here we are with Richards.

After starting off the month hitting way more to the potential people thought the White Sox have, they’ve fallen all the way down to 15th in wOBA in the month of August. Their power is decent, as they’re 10th in ISO this month, but a matchup in LA makes me feel a lot better about dealing with that. The White Sox are also in the middle of the pack in terms of strikeout % sitting at 20.5 on the month, or 14th in the league. I’m ok with that since Richards has a K/9 of 7.1, which I feel as if that’s obtainable tonight or close to it. Overall, for his price tag of $9800, it gives you a good chunk of flexibility that you wouldn’t necessarily get with deGrom and certainly not with Kershaw. Richards certainly isn’t the same caliber pitcher as those two, but matchup wise, I’m feeling good about this one.

Worth Considering

Anthony Rizzo($4900) – Rizzo gets a matchup tonight with the home run happy Anibal Sanchez. The majority of the home runs Sanchez has let up as come from RHB, but Rizzo does such a good job against righties, I like this chances tonight. Rizzo owns a .392 wOBA against righties this season with an ISO of .262. Big numbers for sure against someone who struggles to keep the ball on the park. Sanchez is given up an astonishing 28 home runs on the season. If someone can take him deep, Rizzo is certainly fitting the mold tonight.

Save $$$…

Abraham Almonte ($2000) – Honestly, I’m riding the hot streak right now. Almonte doesn’t have impressive overall numbers, but he’s been hitting well since taking over the every day outfield role in Cleveland. In the month of August, Almonte is batting .286 with two home runs, and eight RBIs. Again, nothing overly impressive, but at just $2000, you have nothing to lose here. Tonight he faces Eduardo Rodriguez, who has an wOBA over .300 against both RHBand LHB. Almonte, being a switch hitter, can take advantage of either side. He’s not a great hitter and don’t expect a ton, but even a 5-7 point night exceeds what you could ask for from someone who’s an everyday starter costing you the minimum price possible.


The Rest by Position

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Randomly Generated Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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What You Need to Know for Friday Night #Baseball

On Tuesday, for the first time since Major League Baseball went to 30 teams, all 15 Home Teams won!  On top of that, Hisashi Iwakuma threw a no hitter at the age of 34, and was the first no-hitter thrown on August 12th.  That is also the 4th no hitter thrown at SafeCo Field, since it opened in 1999 – the most of any ballpark since.  This Link has some good info on all things no-hit related in baseball history.

Heaviest Favorites – according to Vegas

David Price vs. New York Yankees (-230) – A true powerhouse of a matchup today, has the Blue Jays taking on the Yankees. Even with both ball clubs getting it done offensively this year, Price is still your favorite on the day. The Yankess have actually done quite well against leftie pitching this season. On the season, they own a .334 wOBA, good for third in the league. Their strikeout percentage is also one of the lowest in the league against lefties at 18.8. Price has done well in his two stars with his new club, owning a 0.60 ERA with an over wOBA against at .191, but keep in mind this is just two starts, but one of those teams was the Yankees that he faced. In that start, Price went seven innings giving up no runs on three hits and striking out seven. Both parties have good stats against one another, so it’s a matter of who do you trust more tonight?cropped-logo_1260147_print-1-e14180934753933.png

Dallas Keuchel vs. Detroit Tigers (-215)- Keuchel has been fantastic all season long. Coming into tonight, Keuchel owns a 2.41 ERA to go with a 1.01 WHIP and a K/9 of 7.8. Tonight, Keuchel gets a matchup against the Tigers, a team who has the second best wOBA against left handed pitching this season at .339. They do strikeout a bit against them as well, owning the 9th worst in the league at 22.2%. Overall, the Tigers have been stumbling a bit since the Trade Deadline, owning an overall wOBA of .295 since then and a .148 ISO, good for 16th in the league. Like the Tornoto New York game, this is another tough one to predict which side to lean toward. At least in the eyes of Vegas, they like Price and Keuchel in these ones.

Jaime Garcia vs. Miami Marlins (-200) – At least this game is easier to distinguish which side I’m going to be going for. Garcia comes into tonight with a 1.77 ERA to go along with a 0.91 WHIP and a K/9 of 6.2. Garcia is been money since returning from the disabled list, and quite frankly all season, when he’s not injured. His last start against the Brewers saw Garcia go seven innings, giving up no runs on two hits and striking out five. He should have a very similiar result tonight, going up against a weak Marlins team. The Marlins are 16th in wOBA since the trade deadline at .310, but it’s their power that’s been non existent. Coming in at second to last in the league, the Marlins own a .098 ISO since the deadline. Only the Angels are worse in that time span. It’s almost getting to the point where any pither going up against the Marlins has to be considered at least somewhat. Garcia is certainly in that conversation today.

Top Overall Game per O/U

San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) – 10 Over/Under- Well, get ready for about a week of a Rockies takeover in this section here. We start a homestand at Coors so it’s time to pile on the runs. Tyson Ross gets the start for the Padres going up against Yohan Flande. Ross has had it easy his last few starts, drawing the Mets, Brewers and Phillies his last three, but tonight is a whole new entity. The Rockies come into tonight stumbling a bit since the beginning of August, owning a .292 wOBA on the month and the highest strikeout percentage in the league during that span at 24.5%. As I mentioned, Ross has had a good stretch as of late, but those were against relatively easy teams. Even with the Rockies scuffling a bit, you’d have to be a brave man to start him at Coors tonight. As for Flande, he’s yet to make it past the fifth inning in any of his starts, but that’s more of a precaution measure and not because he’s been pitching poorly. But again, starting him isn’t a wise move, even with the Padres struggling offensively, with a .291 wOBA this month. Try and get some exposure to this one.

Toughest Pitcher L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Dallas Keuchel HOU (LwOBA .163)
    • Alex Wood LAD (LwOBA .234)
    • David Price TOR (LwOBA .277)
  • Right handed batters
    • Max Scherzer WAS (RwOBA .201)
    • Jaime Garcia STL (RwOBA .219)
    • Corey Kluber CLE (RwOBA .227)

Easiest L/R matchup

  • Left handed batters
    • Matt Cain SFG (LwOBA .421)
    • Alfredo Simon DET (LwOBA .387)
  • Right handed batters
    • Joe Kelly BOS (RwOBA .383)
    • Phil Hughes (RwOBA .372)

All Pitcher Stats

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Hottest Hitters – last 7 days

  • David Ortiz BOS – DiRT Canon Value 115.83
  • Lorenzo Cain KC – DiRT Canon Value – 96.86
  • David Peralta AZ – DiRT Canon Value – 94.79
  • Trayce Thompson CWS – DiRT Canon Value – 94.79
  • Aaron Hill AZ – DiRT Canon Value – 89.75
  • Carl Crawford LAD – DiRT Canon Value – 89.75

Other notables:  Andrew McCutchen is 10-24 with 2 HR’s, 9 RBI, 8 runs scored and DiRT Canon Value of 80.56.  David Ortiz has been on fire, going 10-19 with 4 HR’s, 8 RBI and 7 runs scored.  It has been a while since he stole a base – maybe he’s due?!

Best BvP matchup Tonight

Brian McCann vs David Price – McCann has really had some huge success against Price in his career. I was honestly surprised by the numbers. McCann is 9-19 against Price with three extra base hits, all of them being home runs, and a 1.447 OPS. Let me go roster McCann now.

Kendrys Morales vs. Jered Weaver  – Morales has only seen Weaver in a small sample, but he doesn’t seem to mind getting on base when he faces him. Morales is 8-12 against Weaver with a two extra base hits, one of them being a home run, and a 1.714 OPS.


Weather

We have a threat of rain for the Padres Rockies game. Before going crazy with your Coors stack, keep an eye on the weather.


Top 4 by Position – in no partciular order

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A Pitcher To Consider

Corey Kluber ($10,600) – The majority of the top pitchers going tonight have tough/fairly tough matchups. Then we have Kluber at 10,600, the 4th most expensive pitcher on the night, against the Twins. Bingo. The Twins haven’t done much against RHP this season, with a .302 wOBA, ranked 24th in the league. Then, they rank 8th in strikeout percentage against RHP, at 20.7. It also doesn’t help that they aren’t very patient either, ranking 23rd in BB% at 6.7. The Twins continue to struggle offensively, and they were a mess the last time out against Kluber, who pitched a complete game, giving up one run on three hits and striking out 10. Granted, you can’t anticipate another start like that, but Kluber was in control that entire start and should be again tonight.

Worth Considering

Nelson Cruz ($5800) – Cruz is expensive tonight, but he SHOULD be good to go tonight against Joe Kelly. Kelly has been a mess this season, giving up a .383 wOBA to RHB on the year. He’s also given up 12 home runs, with 8 of those coming against righties. Cruz has been mashingRHP, owning a .402 wOBA with an ISO of .266. Add on the fact that this game is in the hitter friendly Fenway Park, and I feel like we have a lot to love here. If you can afford the high price tag, throw Cruz into that lineup. Just make sure he is indeed starting.

Save $$$…

Chris Young ($2800) – Want to separate yourself from the crowd tonight? How about taking Chris Young against David Price. On the surface, not the best idea. But I’m in Vegas right now and we’re going to go mix it up a bit. It’s been well documented that Young crushes LHP. On the season, he owns a .446 wOBA against them with an ISO of .304. .304! It will certainly be tough against Price tonight, but the ceiling is high for Young.


The Rest by Position

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Lineup Combinations – Ideas

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Back-to-Back World Champs

1. Hats Off!

How is that for irony?!  It was 70yrs ago that the United State of America beat Germany, then Japan – and after Sunday, the Women’s Soccer team did the same thing.  First beating Germany to get to the Final and then defeating Japan to win it all.

Stunningly, it was Carli Lloyd 3, Japan 2.  It’s one thing to score a hat-trick and completely another to do it in 16 minutes – the third a midfield strike.  It was an exclamation that punctuated the National weekend perfectly – just like this call…

2. Car-toon

NASCAR proved this weekend that time is a circle.  Towards the end of the Coca-Cola 400 at Daytona – this happened.  It is not the first time Austin Dillon has been airborne, (last time in 2013 at Talladega, just like Ricky Bobby) but it is eery.  Eery because he drives the #3 car, AND crashed at Daytona, AND Dale Earnhardt Jr ended up winning the race…

3. Stars At Night…

The Rosters have been announced!

Reminder, the starting position players are selected by the fans while the rest of the rosters are voted on by players and selected by managers Bruce Bochy (Giants) and Ned Yost (Royals) – Last year’s World Series participants.

The All-Star rosters are 34 players deep, but only 33 players for each team were announced. The final spot, for each league, is up for grabs via the Final Vote fan voting. Any starting pitchers who pitch Sunday, July 12, are not eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game itself, which will be played at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14. The Home Run Derby will be played the day before, and the Futures Game the day before that.

All 30 teams get at least one representative in the All-Star Game. Keep in mind that injured players will be replaced on the rosters between now and then. Here are the full rosters – funny the politics of it when you consider, at least stats-wise, no Braun or A-Rod:

AL Starters (fan vote)

AL Reserves

AL Pitchers

AL Final Vote Candidates

NL Starters (fan vote)

NL Reserves

NL Pitchers

NL Final Vote Candidates

4. The Times they are a changing…

Funny how several big names never really went anywhere.  LeMarcus left for the Spurs and it appears that David West has joined him – it makes Beckwith wonder how or when Duncan, Aldridge, and West are gonna play – but I digress.  Between the Cavaliers spending $200+million to keep Love, Thompson and Shumpert and other head-scratching signings – there is little doubt how much Ca$h this league has to spend – remember when those same owners cried poverty during the 2011 lockout?  Here are 11 notable signings and the what they signed for:

  1. Paul Millsap
    Atlanta Hawks – 3 years, $58 million
  2. Dwyane Wade
    Miami Heat – 1 year, $20 million
  3. Draymond Green
    Golden State Warriors – 5 years, $85 million
  4. Greg Monroe
    Milwaukee Bucks – 3 years, $50 million
  5. Tobias Harris
    Orlando Magic – 4 years, $64 million
  6. DeAndre Jordan
    Dallas Mavericks – 4 years, $80 million
  7. Kevin Love
    Cleveland Cavaliers – 5 years, $110 million
  8. Goran Dragic
    Miami Heat – 5 years, $90 million
  9. Jimmy Butler
    Chicago Bulls – 5 years, $90 million
  10. DeMarre Carroll
    Toronto Raptors – 4 years, $60 million
  11. LaMarcus Aldridge
    San Antonio Spurs – 4 years, $80 million

 

DiRTy Thursday

Toews scores 10th goal, Chicago ties series

Jonathan Toews scored his 10th goal of the playoffs, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead, in Chicago’s 2-1, series-tying win over the Lightning on Wednesday. The only other playoffs in which the Blackhawks had more than one 10-goal scorer were 1971 (Bobby Hull 11, Jim Pappin 10) and 2010 (Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp 11 each, Kane 10).

The first four games of this year’s Stanley Cup Final have been decided by the minimum margin. There have been just two other Finals in which the first four or more games were decided by one goal: all five games of the Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs series in 1951 and all four of the Canadiens vs. Blues series in 1968.

Brandon Saad‘s tiebreaking goal in the third period was the game-winner for the Blackhawks. Saad has scored seven goals in the Blackhawks’ 10 playoff games at United Center this year, which ties him with his teammate, Patrick Kane, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Anaheim’sCorey Perry for the most goals in home games in the 2015 playoffs. Going back to the second round of last year’s playoffs, Saad has scored 12 goals in his last 16 postseason games in Chicago.

Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig returned to the Dodgers’ lineup, and last night against the Diamondbacks he was a triple away from the cycle after the fourth inning. It was a very Puig game, complete with a opposite-field homer.

Cardinals have a pair of young aces

Carlos Martinez improved to 7-2 with a win over the Rockies on Wednesday; his fellow 23-year old teammate Michael Wacha is 8-2. The Cardinals are the first team to have two pitchers age 23 or younger win at least seven of their first 12 starts of a season since Dwight Gooden (8-2) and Sid Fernandez (7-2) did so for the Mets in 1986.

A surprising start by Morton

Charlie Morton, who had a 36-61 career won-lost record in the major leagues prior to this season, improved to 4-0 in four starts this year with a win over the Brewers on Wednesday. He’s the first pitcher to win his first four games of a season after entering the year at least 25 games under .500 since Red Ruffing for the Yankees in 1934. Ruffing, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1967, had spent the 1920s with some poor Red Sox teams, before being acquired by the Ruth-and-Gehrig Yankees.

Nationals stun Yankees with late comeback

The Yankees led the Nationals, 4-2 in the eighth inning on Wednesday, but Washington scored twice in the eighth and once in the eleventh to win, 5-4. It was the Yankees’ first loss after leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later since August 27, 2012 against Toronto.

The Yankees’ streak of 164 consecutive wins when leading by two or more runs in the eighth inning or later was the longest for any major-league team since the Twins’ 207-game streak from 2004 to 2007. The only longer regular-season streaks for the Yankees were a 183-game streak from 2004 to 2006 and a 174-game streak from 1998 to 2000.

Washington took three of the four meetings between the teams this season, despite trailing by multiple runs in all four games. The Yankees are 28-4 against all other teams this season when they have had a lead of at least two runs.

Hunter loses his mind

Royals return to throne

The Royals finished off their sweep of the Twins and moved two games ahead of Minnesota in the A.L. Central with a 7-2 win on Wednesday. It’s the first time since 1982 that Kansas City has swept a series from a division rival to move into first place, and force their opponent out of first place, at least 50 games into a season. The Royals won three games from the Angels from July 2-4 to move past California into first place in the A.L. West. California wound up winning the division by three games over Kansas City.

Hit the DiRT

We live in a country where “The Pursuit of Happiness” is written into the Declaration of Independence – the pursuit of, not a guarantee.  So the pursuit of one man, who at one point, was the epitome of masculinity, decided to change genders.  I do not  have a problem with it – I do have a problem with the righteous police ordering me how I’m supposed to feel about it.  The world is hard enough.  More than ever, tragedy, violence, mayhem and injustice seem to be the order of the day.  It gets to be impossible to enjoy with a clear conscience whatever little piece of tranquility you’ve carved out for yourself, without being told how to feel about something that is medically possible.  Just because it is possible does not make it natural and just because it is unnatural does not make it unethical – or maybe to some, it does…

What makes us happy anyway?  Maybe the conclusion is that most people are only really happy when something bad doesn’t happen to them – schadenfreude.  Like when the Broncos get blown out of the Superbowl.  Maybe the next time we feel shitty for not feeling shitty about someone feeling shitty is to remember that schadenfreude cancels itself out – because other people feel the same way about our problems.  It’s human nature, it’s our DNA and maybe we aren’t in the first class cabin – we can still take a little joy in knowing those in steerage have to wait for us to get into our lifeboat, before they are even allowed up on the deck of the Titanic.  So who cares how someone chooses to pee.  Let’s stop politicizing everything all the time (ESPN) – happiness is not settling for less, just not being miserable with what is – learn to love the simple things – maybe the point is, happiness does not always require a resolution.


Joey Votto Walked On Three Balls; Everything Is A Lie

Joey Votto Walked On Three Balls; Everything Is A Lie

Yup, that’s a three-ball walk in the 7th inning yesterday – Is there no justice?  Is everything a lie?

Holliday’s continues streak

Matt Holliday, walked and singled in four plate-appearances Monday night.  He has reached base (by hit, walk or HBP) in in all 45 games he’s played this year, the fifth-longest streak to start a season by any major-league player since 1900. The four longer season-starting streaks of that kind in the modern era were fashioned by Derek Jeter (53 games in 1999), Frank Thomas (52 in 1996), Mark McGwire (48 in 1996) and Alvin Davis (47 in 1984).

Brewers side-step Cardinals, 1-0

The Brewers’ victory over the Cardinals Monday night, is only the third time in the expansion era (1961 to present) that a team with the outright worst record in the major leagues had a 1-0 win over the club with the majors’ outright best record entering that game. The other two decisions of that kind were earned by Tampa Bay in September 2007 at Fenway Park (Scott Kazmir struck out 10 Red Sox batters in seven innings) and the Marlins in October 1999 at Atlanta (Cliff Floyd‘s solo homer accounted for the game’s only run.)

nullCashner strikes out 12 on 11 hits

Andrew Cashner struck out 12 batters but allowed 11 hits while pitching only 4 2/3 innings on Monday. No other pitcher in the modern era (1900 to date) allowed at least 10 hits and struck out 10 or more batters while throwing fewer than five innings in one game.

 

nulldeGrom-ming

Jacob deGrom has struck out at least eight batters without allowing a walk in each of his last three games, including Monday’s win over the Padres. The only other pitchers in the modern era (1900 to date) with eight or more strikeouts and no walks in three straight appearances are Cliff Lee (2013) and Ferguson Jenkins (1976, including a four-inning relief stint).

nullDodgers blow up in the 6th vs Rockies

Clayton Kershaw stroked a double and two singles in the Dodgers’ 11-4 victory over the Rockies, becoming the fourth pitcher this season to record a win and three hits in the same game. (The others were Josh Collmenter, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.) That equals the total number of such performances in the majors all of last season.

If you think the reigning Cy Young Award recipient is a certain winner when he gets at least 10 runs of support….well you’re almost correct. Those pitchers are now 140-1 all-time in that situation, with the lone defeat suffered by the Blue Jays’ Pat Hentgen in 1997 – thanks Pat. Hentgen allowed 11 runs in eight innings in a 13-12 loss to the Red Sox.

Springer + Gattis = Astros rally

The Astros had their major-league leading 16th comeback win of the season on Monday against the Orioles. George Springer‘s single on a 3-0 pitch tied the game at 2-2, and after Jose Altuve‘s sacrifice fly, Evan Gattis singled on an 0-2 pitch to drive in the final two runs. No other major-league team has had RBI hits on 3-0 and 0-2 pitches in the same inning this season.

Yung’ns lead Chicago to win

The Cubs beat the Marlins on Monday, 5-1, with all five runs being driven in by players age 25 or younger: Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler. The Cubs hadn’t had five different players age 25 or younger drive in runs in the same game since September 14, 1974 (Ron Dunn, Jerry Morales, Rob Sperring, Andre Thornton, Jim Tyrone).

Pujols and Trout slug it out

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout each homered for the Angels on Monday, for the 20th time since they became teammates in 2012 – but Pujols sez the Angels are still more than just Trout. The only other major-league teammates to homer in the same game 20 times over that span are Chris Davis and Adam Jones (also 20).

nullTeixeira slams King Felix

The Yankees scored all seven of their runs off Felix Hernandez in Monday night’s win, highlighted by Mark Teixeira‘s grand slam. It’s was only the fifth home game for Hernandez in which he found himself facing a deficit of seven or more runs.

Teixeira has now hit six home runs off Hernandez, the highest total for any player, now one more than Hernandez’s current teammate, Nelson Cruz.

nullWood helps himself

Alex Wood‘s two-run single gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead and Atlanta went on to defeat the Diamondbacks, 8-1. Braves pitchers have driven in eight runs this season, the most for any team’s pitching staff in 2015.

Weekend Sediment

Before we get to the weekend recap – there is a tragic news story coming out of Florida – It seems an owner of a major-league-fantasy sports team decided to hold his wedding during the baseball season and subsequently neglected his team for a honeymoon destination without wifi.  His reckless decisions have placed his teams chances for a title in serious jeopardy that they may never recover from.  If this sounds like something you might do, then stop and think of your players.  Of course you can avoid any of these scenarios by playing Daily Fantasy with us and never have to worry about taking a vacation and ruining your teams chances, because each day is a new chance to earn some fresh lettuce.  We have developed a baseball solution based on avoiding zeroes and increasing your chances to cash 75% of the lineups you enter.  So, look for our information by 2p each day based on the amount of games being played in our BASEBALL page.  Now on with the recap!


Lightning strikes

From Elias: Ben Bishop became the first goaltender in NHL history to send his team into the Stanley Cup Final with a road shutout in a Game Seven, as he lifted the Lightning into the Final by blanking the Rangers, 2-0. For Bishop, it was his second Game Seven shutout of the 2015 playoffs; he had blanked the Red Wings, 2-0, in the seventh game of Tampa Bay’s first-round series. Bishop is the third goaltender in NHL history to earn a pair of Game Seven shutouts in one playoff year. The others were Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles and San Jose) and Boston’s Tim Thomas in 2011 (vs. Tampa Bay and Vancouver). (For Bishop, unlike Roy and Thomas, the shutouts came in the first two Game Sevens of his NHL career.)

Bishop, who recorded an assist in his Game Seven win versus Detroit, did the same in Friday’s victory against the Rangers. The only other NHL goaltenders with even one career assist in a Game Seven shutout are Pittsburgh’s Frank Pietrangelo in 1991 (vs. New Jersey) and Colorado’s Patrick Roy in 2002 (vs. Los Angeles).

Bishop shut out the Rangers not only in Game Seven, but also in Game Five. No other goaltender had ever pitched a road shutout in a winner-take-all road game after also having earned a shutout in his previous game on the same ice.

The Lightning’s victory, on the heels of a 7-3 loss in Game Six on Tuesday, marked the first time in NHL history that a team had won a series by means of a Game Seven road shutout after having allowed at least five goals in the previous game.

Toews puts Chicago on path to victory

From Elias: The Blackhawks, on a pair of goals by Jonathan Toews, outscored the Ducks, 2-0, in the first period of Game 7 in the Western Conference Final at Anaheim. Toews is the third player in NHL history to score two first-period goals for the road team in the seventh game of a playoff series. The other players to do that were the Maple Leafs’ Dave Keon at Montreal in a 1964 Semi-Final series, and the Kings’ Ted Irvine at Oakland in a first-round series in 1969. The last NHL player to score two first-period goals for the home side in Game 7 was the Bruins’ Milan Lucic in a second-round matchup versus the Flyers in 2010.

Kane helps on three goals

From Elias: Patrick Kane assisted on three of the Blackhawks five goals in their win over the Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. In the NHL’s expansion era (1968 to date) the only other players to record three assists in the seventh game of a Semi-Final or Conference Final series are Boston’s Jean Ratelle at Montreal in 1979 and Toronto’s Doug Gilmour versus Los Angeles in 1993, though each of them did so in a game their team lost.

Blackhawks offense comes alive in last two games of Conference Final

From Elias: The Blackhawks won 5-3 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, after posting a 5-2 victory in Game 6. It’s the seventh time in NHL history that a team won Game 6 and Game 7 of a playoff series while scoring at least five goals in each game, but it’s only the second time it has happened after the first round. The only previous instance of an NHL team winning a series in that fashion after the opening round was when Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings posted 5-4 wins over the Maple Leafs in Games 6 and 7 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Final.


Think of the Central time zone and the 4 teams that are .600 or better as the dog days begin – St. Louis Cardinals (33-17), Minnesota Twins (30-19), Houston Fir-stros (31-20) and the Kansas City Royals (29-19).  Maybe the Royals and the Cardinals are so much as a surprise as the Twins and Astros are – but no one saw this…

FRIDAY

Norris caps one-of-a-kind night with walk-off grand-slam

From Elias: Derek Norris, who had struck out in each of his four previous trips to the plate, hit a two-out, grand-slam walkoff homer in the ninth inning to propel the Padres to a 6-2 victory over the Pirates. It was the first game-ending grand-slam homer in the majors this season and the sixth such blow in Padres history, the last coming off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez five years ago. But fans at Petco Park on Friday night saw something never previously done in the history of major-league baseball: Norris became the first player to hit a walkoff grand-slam home run in a game in which he has previously struck out as many as four times.

Dodgers bring drought on the road with them

From Elias: When the Dodgers play in Los Angeles, they have to deal with water restrictions necessitated by the California drought. But now on the road, the Dodgers have experienced a scoring drought, one that reached a remarkable total of 37 consecutive road innings without a run as they fell, 3-0, to John Lackey and the Cardinals on Friday night. That total represents the second-longest streak of consecutive scoreless innings in road games since the Dodgers joined the National League in 1890. The one longer streak was fashioned during the Roosevelt administrationthat’s Teddy Rooseveltin August of 1908. In the midst of a 22-game road trip through six National League cities, the Dodgers went 41 straight innings without scoring in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The 2015 Dodgers had lost three straight shutouts at San Francisco, May 19 to May 21, in their last road games before Friday’s contest in St. Louis. They have been shut out in four straight road games for the first time in franchise history.

Buehrle’s 204th win is unlike any of the others

From Elias: The Twins ended Mark Buehrle‘s streak of 35 consecutive innings without allowing Minnesota an earned run early and with emphasis, scoring four runs, all earned, in the first inning. But then Buehrle slipped back into form, the Blue Jays pecked away and the veteran left-hander wound up going the distance to earn a 6-4 victory. Only two major-league pitchers over the last 30 years have earned a complete-game win, going nine or more innings, after having allowed four or more runs in the first inningand even they were long ago. In 1995, Seattle’s Tim Belcher downed Cleveland, 11-5, after allowing four in the first, and in 1986, Fernando Valenzuela went the route after yielding four in the first to help the Dodgers top the Phillies, 11-4.

Buehrle’s streak, crafted over five games dating back to 2011, was the longest by any big-league pitcher against an opposing team since Zack Greinke held Seattle without an earned run over 38 innings from 2008 to 2010. It was the longest such streak crafted by a starting pitcher against the Twins since Sudden Sam McDowell sailed through 48 innings without allowing the Twins an earned run over 1968 and 1969.

Hamilton hits two in second home game of season

From Elias: Josh Hamilton homered on each of his first two trips to the plate off Boston’s Steven Wright and the Rangers took it from there, repelling the Red Sox, 7-4. Each of Hamilton’s home runs gave the Rangers a lead (1-0 and then 3-2), and they came in his second home game after re-joining the Rangers while the team was on the road earlier this week. The home runs were the 84th and 85th that Hamilton has hit in a Rangers uniform in what is now known as Globe Life Park in Arlington. He hit only one home run there in 62 at-bats over 16 games while with the Angels over the past two seasons.

Bettis and Tulo have their way in Philly

From Elias: Chad Bettis threw seven and one-third hitless inningsthe second-longest no-hit effort in the 3,548-game history of the Rockies, second only toUbaldo Jimenez‘s complete-game no-hitter at Atlanta five years agoonly to see his bid spoiled when Cody Asche‘s soft grounder to the shortstop position rolled through to the outfield because Troy Tulowitzki was overshifted onto the right side of the infield. Bettis, against whom opponents had fashioned a collective .320 batting average in his 40 previous major-league games, allowed another hit later in the inning and earned credit for Colorado’s 4-1 victory at Philadelphia.

Tulowitzki did his best work with the stick in his hands, going 4-for-4, and reaching Cole Hamels for a pair of home runs. It was the second game in his career in which Tulowitzki produced at least four hits, including multiple homers, while batting 1.000; he went 5-for-5 with two circuit clouts in a game at Cincinnati two years back. Hamels is the fourth pitcher against whom Tolo has homered twice in a game; he had previously homered twice in the same game off Sean O’SullivanBronson Arroyo and John Ely.

Bettis, by the way, did keep a couple of other no-hit streaks intact: He went 0-for-2 at the plate, and is now 0-for-23 in his big-league career. Rockies pitchers as a whole are now hitless in their last 34 at-bats.

Another short start for Strasburg

From Elias: Stephen Strasburg left the mound due to an apparent stiff neck in the second inning of the Nationals’ game at Cincinnati, and the Reds later came from behind to take a 5-2 decision. Strasburg has had major problems with length in recent weeks: including his one-inning effort on Friday night, he has now thrown a total of 16 innings over his last five starts combined. That matches the fewest innings that any big-leaguer accumulated over a five-start span (with no relief appearances sprinkled in) all of last season; the Angels’ Cory Rasmus was the lone pitcher last season who amassed just 16 innings over five straight starts.

SATURDAY

Dodgers finally score on the road

From Elias: Howie Kendrick‘s sixth-inning single scored Justin Turner and ended the Dodgers’ road scoreless streak at 42 innings. That surpassed by one inning the franchise record streak of 41, set in August 1908. No major-league team had failed to score in 42 consecutive innings in road games in 30 years, since the Braves posted a 46-inning streak in May 1985.

Grandal shows power with runners on

From Elias: Yasmani Grandal‘s three-run home run gave the Dodgers the lead for good in their 5-1 win at St. Louis. Grandal’s last two home runs were also of the three-run variety, both on May 7 at Milwaukee. The last Dodgers player to drive in at least three runs on three straight homers within one season was Adrian Beltre in 2003.

Keuchel White-washes Sox

From Elias: Dallas Keuchel struck out 11 without walking a batter in a complete-game 3-0 home win for the Astros over the White Sox. No Houston pitcher had struck out more than 10 batters without issuing a walk in a complete-game shutout since Randy Johnson fanned 16 Pirates at the Astrodome on August 28, 1998.

Stanton feels at home in Queens

From Elias: Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in the Marlins’ 9-5 win over the Mets in New York. It was Stanton’s third career-multi-homer game at Citi Field. That’s the third-highest total by any player behind current Mets slugger Lucas Duda(6), and former New York first baseman Ike Davis (4).

Paulsen homers off Garcia again

From Elias: For the second straight day, Ben Paulsen homered off Luis Garcia as the Rockies won at Philadelphia. Only two other rookies in the last 20 years have hit home runs in two consecutive games off the same pitcher: the Phillies’ Pat Burrell against the Mets’ Armando Benitez in June 2000, and the Braves’ Brooks Conrad off the Brewers’ Carlos Villanueva in May 2010.

Goldschmidt homers off Lohse in two straight innings

From Elias: Paul Goldschmidt hit two home runs, a solo shot off Kyle Lohse in the third inning and a two-run blast off Lohse in the fourth, in the Diamondbacks’ 7-3 win it Milwaukee. It was the third time that Goldschmidt has homered in consecutive innings, having done so against the Reds in 2013 and versus the Dodgers in 2014. But the last Arizona player to go deep in consecutive innings off the same pitcher was Aaron Hill against Madison Bumgarner at Chase Field on April 7, 2012.

SUNDAY

Hamilton gives the Rangers a dramatic win

Josh Hamilton‘s pinch-hit, two-run double off Koji Uehara with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Rangers’ a 4-3 triumph over the Red Sox. It was the eighth game of Hamilton’s major-league career in which he produced a walkoff RBI, and in four of those games (all for the Rangers) his game-ender turned a deficit into a victory, three of which came in two-out situations. Sunday’s walkoff by Hamilton was the first for a Rangers pinch-hitter with the team trailing and down to its final out since June 2, 1995, when Rusty Greer‘s pinch-hit, two-run homer off Rick Aguilera with two outs in the bottom of the ninth gave Texas a 6-5 win over the Twins.

Colorado bullpen bails out injured Lyles for Philly sweep

Jordan Lyles lasted only 1.1 innings before his reoccurring toe injury forced him out of the game, but none of the four Colorado relievers who followed him to the mound was charged with a run in the Rockies’ 4-1 triumph in Philadelphia. Chris Rusin, who relieved Lyles in the second inning, tossed 4.2 innings and was credited with the victory. It was the 38th game in franchise history in which the Rockies’ starting pitcher recorded fewer than five outs, but it was the first of those games in which Colorado’s bullpen was not charged with a run.

Ten-hit shutout for Danks

John Danks answered Saturday’s shutout by Dallas Keuchel with one of his own on Sunday, as he scattered ten hits while the White Sox downed the Astros, 6-0. Danks became the first major-league pitcher since Minnesota’s Carlos Silva (11 hits) blanked the Angels on August 3, 2004 to toss a shutout in a game in which he allowed ten or more hits. The only other White Sox pitcher who did that in the post-WWII era is Stan Bahnsen, with a 12-hit shutout of the Athletics on June 21, 1973.

Frazier leads Reds in sweep of Nationals

Todd Frazier went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs as the Reds completed their three-game series sweep of the Nationals. It capped a four-game span for Frazier during which time he went 10-for-15 with four doubles and three home runs. In baseball’s modern era (1900 to date), the only other Reds players who produced ten or more hits over a four-game period, including seven for extra bases and a batting average as high as Frazier’s (.667) are George Crowe in 1957, George Foster in 1980, Kevin Mitchell in 1993 (two overlapping four-game spans) and Barry Larkin in 1995.

Maldonado had enough

After playing the entire game behind the plate, Martin Maldonado put an end to his long day of squatting with a game-ending home run that gave the Brewers a 7-6 victory over the Diamondbacks in 17 innings. Maldonado is the first player in major-league history who ended a game of at least 17 innings with a home run after playing a complete game in the field as a catcher.

A late comeback for the Braves

The Braves erased a two-run deficit with a four-run ninth inning that was capped by Jace Peterson‘s bases-loaded triple in their 7-5 victory at San Francisco. The Braves had lost the previous 70 games in which they trailed in the eighth inning or later (since a come-from-behind win against the Mets on June 30, 2014). That was the longest current losing streak of its kind for any major-league team entering play on Sunday (a distinction that now belongs to the Marlins, who have lost the last 40 games in which they were in that predicament) and it was the longest losing streak of that nature for the Braves since the Boston version of the franchise lost 108 consecutive games in which it trailed in the eighth inning or later from 1904 to 1905.

Kipnis reached base more often than not during May

Jason Kipnis went 2-for-5 with a walk in the Indians’ 12-inning win at Seattle and he posted an on-base percentage of .511 during May, with 51 hits, 16 walks and five hit-by-pitches. Kipnis is the first Indians player to reach base safely at least 70 times in one calendar month (via hits, walks and HBP) since Earl Averill did it 74 times in July 1934 (38 hits, 35 walks, one hit-by-pitch).

Angels win four against the mighty Tigers

Johnny Giavotella‘s infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning plated two runs to snap a 2-2 tie in the Angels’ 4-2 win that completed their four-game series sweep of the Tigers. It was the fourth time in franchise history that the Angels swept a four-game series from a team that entered the series with a winning percentage as high as Detroit’s (.583 at the time of Thursday’s series opener). The Angels’ previous sweeps of that kind came against the Indians in both 1965 and 1967 and versus the Athletics last August.

Flores takes his place among young power-hitting shortstops

Wilmer Flores, at age 23, slammed his eighth home run of the season to help Bartolo Colon and the Mets defeat the Marlins in New York. Flores’s eight homers match the major-leagues’ fourth-highest single-season total by the end of May for a shortstop under the age of 24. The only higher totals belong to Alex Rodriguez, who did it twice (ten in 1996 at age 20; 20 in 1998 at age 22), and Cal Ripken (11 in 1984 at age 23). Four other under-24 players had exactly eight homers form the shortstop position by the end of May: Arky Vaughan (1935 Pirates), Rico Petrocelli (1966 Red Sox), A-

Rod (1999 Mariners) and Jean Segura (2013 Brewers).

Rookie home-run streaks

Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza (at Baltimore) and Miami’s Justin Bour (at New York) each homered for a third consecutive game on Sunday, tying them with the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson (April 29-May 2) for the longest home-run streaks by major-league rookies this season. Souza became the third Tampa Bay rookie to homer in three consecutive games, joining Evan Longoria (two such streaks in 2008) and Kevin Kiermaier (last season). Bour joined a surprisingly long list of Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks, including Kurt Abbott (1994), who is the only one of them who homered in four straight games. The other Marlins rookies with three-game home-run streaks are Charles Johnson (1995), Derrek Lee (1998), Hanley Ramirez (2006), Josh Willingham (twice in 2006) and Giancarlo Stanton (twice in 2010).

Martinez extends his streak of scoreless innings

Carlos Martinez allowed only one hit during seven shutout innings as he and the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, 3-1. Martinez extended his scoreless streak to 20.1 consecutive innings, which is the longest for any major-league starting pitcher this season. The only other Cardinals starter who fashioned a streak of consecutive shutout innings as long as Martinez’s in any of the last four seasons is Adam Wainwright, who had two such streaks last year (25 innings and 21 innings).

Game 7’s are DiRTy

NHL

Two Game 7s in the NHL Conference Finals

The Blackhawks forced a decisive seventh game in the Western Conference Final with their 5-2 win over the Ducks in Game 6 on Wednesday, after the Rangers did the same in the Eastern Conference Final with their Game 6 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. This will be the third time in NHL history that both Semi-Final or Conference Final series in one playoff year went seven games, It happened first in 1964, when Toronto beat Montreal and Detroit topped Chicago in seven-game Semi-Finals, and again in 2000 when New Jersey edged Philadelphia and Dallas got by Colorado in the Conference Finals.

nullKeith notches three assists in the second period

Duncan Keith assisted on all three of the Blackhawks’ second-period goals in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final. Keith is the fourth player in Blackhawks history to register three assists in one period of a playoff game. The other Chicago players to do that are Pat Stapleton in 1973 (Game 1 of the Stanly Cup Final at Montreal, first period), Chris Chelios in 1992 (Game 2 of Conference Final vs. Edmonton, third period) and Patrick Kane in 2014 (Game 5 of Conference Final vs. Los Angeles, first period). Kane was the last player on any NHL team to accomplish that feat before Keith.


 

NBA

40 year Drought is over

Stephen Curry registered 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals in the Warriors’ series clinching win over the Rockets on Wednesday night. The only other players to produce at least 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals in a playoff series clinching win are Michael Jordan (1990 vs. Philadelphia),Hersey Hawkins (1991 vs. Milwaukee) and Scottie Pippen (1991 vs. the Lakers).

Both NBA Conference Finals end in five or less

The Warriors ended the Western Conference Final series in five games with a win over the Rockets on Wednesday night, a day after the Cavaliers completed a sweep of the Eastern Conference Finals with a victory over the Hawks. This marks only the second time in the last 29 years that both NBA Conference Finals series ended in five or fewer games. The only other time that happened over that span was in 2011.


 

MLB

nullThor and the Mets

Noah Syndergaard did not allow a run while pitching one out into the eighth inning and had a big day at the plate going 3-for-3 with a home run in the Mets’ 7-0 blanking of the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. The only other rookies to hurl at least seven shutout innings while lashing out three or more hits including a home run are Colorado’s Jason Jennings, who pitched a shutout and had three hits and a homer against the Mets on August 23, 2001 and the Dodgers’ Larry Sherry, who did not allow a run over 8.2 innings and recorded three hits and a long ball against the Cardinals on August 15, 1959.

nullThe Yankee nightmare continues as A-Rod passes Gehrig…..and Thome

Alex Rodriguez hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth inning in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Royals on Wednesday afternoon. Rodriguez’s blast, the 50th of his career against Kansas City, not only allowed him to break Lou Gehrig’s American League record for career RBIs, it also set the mark for most career home runs hit against the Royals, a record he shared with Jim Thome entering Wednesday’s action.

nullCruz goes the dynamite

Nelson Cruz broke a scoreless tie with a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning in Seattle’s 3-0 win over the Rays in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon. Cruz became only the second player in Mariners’ history to break a scoreless with a two-out home run in the ninth inning or later, joining Logan Morrison who went deep with two out and two-men on in the top of the ninth against the Angels in a 3-1 Seattle win on September 18, 2014.

Pirate pitching stifle another opponent

The Pirates defeated the Marlins by a score of 5-2 on Wednesday extending their winning streak to six games. Pittsburgh has allowed two or fewer runs in each of the six wins during its streak. The only other time the Pirates have won six consecutive games, while allowing two or fewer runs in each game, over the last 38 seasons was in 1992, when Pittsburgh had a nine-game streak of that kind.

nullKipnis loves batting first

Jason Kipnis went 3-for-5 in the Indians’ 12-3 win over the Rangers on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the eighth time that Kipnis has had three hits in a game in this month. Prior to Kipnis, the last Indians player to record at least eight three-hit games in a calendar month was Kenny Lofton, who had eight in August of 1995. It is also the highest total in a calendar month by a second baseman since San Francisco’s Jeff Kent had eight games with at least three hits in June 2002.

nullLaRoche in extra innings

Adam LaRoche singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning leading the White Sox to a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon. LaRoche’s 855 career RBIs ranks 20th among active major league players, but his 26 RBIs in extra-innings are tied with Carlos Beltran for the fifth most among current players behind Albert Pujols (35), Alex Rodriguez (33), Ryan Howard (29) and Matt Kemp(27).

nullAnother Arenado

Nolan Arenado drove in three runs in the Rockies’ 6-4 win over the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the sixth time that Arenado has had at least three RBIs in a game this season, tied with Paul Goldschmidt for the major-league lead in that category. Prior to this season, Arenado drove in at least three runs in a game only five times in the 244 major-league games he had played in during his career.

nullPanik at the Disco

Joe Panik hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning giving the Giants a 2-1 lead in a game they would go on to win 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first time Panik had multiple RBIs in a game this season. He entered Wednesday’s action with the most games played (44) among players that did not have a multiple-RBI game this season.

nullFinally Hicks

Aaron Hicks hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning in the Twins’ 6-4 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon. Hicks entered the contest on a streak of 71 consecutive plate appearances without driving in a run, which was the third longest current streak for any major-league position player entering Wednesday’s action, behind Mike Baxter (103) and Coco Crisp (72).

A’s struggle in close game again at home

The A’s dropped a 3-2 decision to the Tigers in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon. Oakland has now lost each of its last 12 home games that were decided by one run dating back to last season. It’s the longest such streak since 1894, when the Cubs had a 12-game streak of that kind and the National League Louisville club (spanning 1893-1894) had a 13-game streak.

nullScherzer loves the Nat’l League

Max Scherzer hurled seven shutout innings and struck out 13 in the Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Wednesday. The only other visiting pitchers to not allow a run while registering at least 13 strikeouts at Wrigley Field are Cincinnati’s Ewell Blackwell (1948), the Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax (1961), Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney (1963), Atlanta’s John Smoltz (1996), San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt(2004) and Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers (2014).

nullHeyward homers

Jason Heyward led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a game-tying home run and the Cardinals scored another run later in the inning to defeat the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night. It was Heyward’s 89th career home run but only the third of which came in the ninth inning or later with his team trailing and either tied the game or put his team ahead. The only other times he did that were on April 20, 2010 and August 17, 2013.

Tuesday Dregs

Did you know LeBron James finished with 37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists, and scored game 3’s last five points over the final 40 seconds as the Cavaliers moved out to a three-games-to none series lead with a 114-111 overtime win over the Hawks on Sunday? No other player has ever reached all of those totals (37 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists) in an NBA playoff game.

James earned the 12th triple-double of his playoff career, surpassing Jason Kidd’s total of 11 and moving into second place all-time, behind Magic Johnson, who had 30. James achieved the triple-double with his tenth assist with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. No NBA player had produced a triple-double within the first three quarters of a playoff game since Chris Paul, playing for the New Orleans Hornets against the Lakers, did that in 2011. No NBA player had earned a triple-double so early in a game since 2009, when Rajon Rondo achieved it with 6:15 to play in the third quarter, playing for the Celtics against the Bulls.

James finished with 37 field-goal attempts, the most he has ever taken in any NBA game, during either the regular season or the playoffs. He missed all nine of his first-quarter field-goal attempts, becoming the first player to take that many shots in the first quarter of a playoff game and to miss them all since Tim Duncan went 0-for-10 from the field in the first quarter of Game 1 of a Western Conference Semifinal series against the Lakers in 2002. LeBron also missed his first shot in the second quarter, becoming the second player in this year’s playoffs to miss his first 10 field-goal attempts of a game. (Isaiah Thomas missed his first 10 shots from the floor in Game 4 of a first-round series against Cleveland.) Among other players who have started past playoff games with double-digit streak of misses: Duncan (twice), Carmelo Anthony (twice), Ray Allen and Tony Parker.

James Harden scored 45 points, grabbed nine rebounds and handed out five assists as the Rockets avoided a sweep with a 128-112 victory over the Warriors. The 45 points is the third-most ever scored by a player for a team that was down, three-games-to-none, in a playoff series, behind the 51 points scored by the Warriors’ Sleepy Floyd in 1987 against the Lakers and the 46 points scored by Miami’s Dwyane Wade against the Celtics in 2010.

Only one other player scored at least 40 points, grabbed at least nine rebounds and handed out at least five assists in a game for a team that was down, three-games-to-none, in a playoff series: Tom Chambers for the Suns against the Lakers in 1989 (41 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists).

The Warriors (20-for-46) and Rockets (17-for-32) combined for 37 three-point field goals made and 78 three-pointers attempted. The 37 three-pointers made were the most ever in an NBA playoff game, breaking the record of 33 set by the Seattle (20) and Houston (13) in Game 2 in 1996; and the 78 shots from beyond the arc were also the most ever in an NBA playoff game, breaking the mark of 70 by Oklahoma City (35) and Houston (35) in Game 2 in 2013.

The Warriors are only the second team, regular season or playoffs, to lose a game in which they made 20 three-pointers. The Nets lost to the Nuggets on Jan. 11, 2012 despite making 20 shots from beyond the arc. NBA teams that made 20 or more three-pointers are 15-1 in the regular season and now 2-1 in the playoffs.


Ben Bishop posted a 2-0 win over the Rangers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, after giving up five goals in both Game 3 (a 6-5 overtime victory) and Game 4 (a 5-1 loss). Bishop is the only the third goaltender in NHL history to record a playoff shutout after allowing at least five goals in each of the previous two games of the same series. The other goaltenders to do that were the Quebec Nordiques’ Dan Bouchard against the Flyers in 1981 (Game 3) and the Canadiens’Carey Price versus the Bruins in 2008 (Game 7).

Toews heroics are not enough

Jonathan Toews scored a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the third period to tie the score at 4-4 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final, but the Blackhawks’ late comeback proved to be in vain as Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into overtime to win the game for the Ducks. It was the fifth time in NHL playoff history that a team tied a game after trailing by two goals in the last two minutes of regulation time, and Toews is the first player to score both the tying goal and the one before that. The last team before Chicago to stage a two-goal tying rally in the final two minutes of the third period was the Bruins in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Maple Leafs in 2013. Milan Lucic scored to get the Bruins within one goal, and Patrice Bergeron netted both the tying goal in regulation and the series-winner in overtime.


Never Before

Francisco Liriano struck out 12 batters and earned the win as the Pirates completed their three-game series sweep of the Mets. Gerrit Cole struck out ten batters in his series-opening win on Friday, as did A.J. Burnett in his victory on Saturday. It is the only time in modern major-league history (1900 to date) that a team’s starting pitchers won three straight games within one series while recording a double-digit strikeout total in each game.

Big Game James? 

The Padres averted being swept in their three-game series at Dodger Stadium behind the pitching of James Shields, who improved his record to 6-0 this season. Shields is the only pitcher who has won as many as six games for his new club after switching major-league teams during the past offseason. Since 2010, spanning his time with the Rays, Royals and Padres, Shields is 7-0 in 11 regular-season starts in games in which his team was in danger of being swept in a series, and each of those seven wins came on the road.

Historic Failure

Jeremy Guthrie gave up four homers and allowed 11 runs while getting only three outs against the Yankees on Monday. Guthrie is the first starting pitcher in major league history to give up at least four homers and allow 11 or more runs in a game in which he recorded no more than three outs.

Still doesn’t play on Sundays

Andre Ethier‘s solo home run in the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and the Dodgers went on to beat the Braves, 6-3, on Monday night. It was career home run #151 for Ethier, 14 of which have been go-ahead homers in the eighth inning or later (9.3 percent).

The only active players with more go-ahead homers than Ethier in the eighth inning or later since 2006 are Albert Pujols (17), Miguel Cabrera (16), Prince Fielder(16) and Chris Young (15). Jose BautistaJustin Morneau and David Ortiz also have 14 such homers since 2006.

Not since…

Prince Fielder went 3-for-5 with a home run in the Rangers’ win over the Indians. Fielder is now batting .365 with nine home runs in 45 games this season. The last Rangers player to have at least nine homers and a batting average of .360 or better over his first 45 games of a season was Josh Hamilton in 2012 (.368 with 20 homers).

Fielder has 11 hits and 12 runs batted in over his last four games. The only other player in Rangers franchise history with that many hits and RBIs over a four-game span is Ivan Rodriguez from July 30 to August 2, 1999. Pudge had 13 hits and 12 RBIs over that four-game span.

Miss me Milwaukee?

Giants’ leadoff batter, Nori Aoki, went 4-for-4 with a home run in their win over the Brewers. Aoki is the fourth Giants player over the last 60 years to go 4-for-4 or better with a home run from the leadoff spot in the batting order. Bobby Bonds, who did it three times (once each in 1971, 1972 and 1973), Marvin Benard (1998) and Randy Winn (twice in 2005) were the other Giants players to do it over that span.

Arenado times two

Nolan Arenado has seven hits and knocked in seven runs over his last two games. Arenado is the first major-league player this season to have that many hits and RBIs over a two-game span and he’s the first Rockies player to do it since Carlos Gonzalez had exactly seven hits and seven RBIs over two games in May 2012.  That is about how long it has been since we have seen anything from CarGo.

Elias Sports Bureau with the assist…