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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 03:34 am
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Wally Backman, manager for the New York Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, is no longer with the organization.

Though early reports state the former MLB second baseman voluntarily stepped down from the position, the New York Post's Mike Puma reports Backman was pushed out by Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.

Backman was reportedly let go for not obeying the club's wishes, electing not to use Brandon Nimmo as a leadoff hitter and benching Michael Conforto against left-handers, a source told Puma.

“I will have plenty to say later,” Backman told Puma regarding his resignation.

Backman, a member of the club's 1986 World Series-winning team, has reportedly long been at odds with the Mets, though he was adamant he wasn't fired.

Backman's job was also under threat three years ago, but was saved due to the intervention of New York's chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, Puma reports.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 06:46 pm
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St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker smashed a dramatic home run to spoil Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks' no-hit bid with no outs in the ninth inning Monday.

Hendricks entered the ninth staked to a 4-0 lead with seven strikeouts and two walks in his bid to become the second Cubs pitcher this season to throw a no-hitter.

Jake Arrieta tossed his second career no-no on April 21 against the Reds.

Hendricks, the majors' ERA leader, retired 18 straight batters between walks issued in the second and eighth innings, and completed his first eight frames having only thrown 93 pitches.

Following Hazelbaker's homer, Hendricks struck out Tommy Pham and got Kolten Wong to fly out before walking Stephen Piscotty, his final batter of the game.

In a bizarre sequence to follow, home-plate umpire Joe West denied Cubs infielders from approaching Hendricks on the mound, triggering an irate Joe Maddon to be tossed from the game after a heated argument.

The Cubs held on for the 4-1 win, reducing their magic number to win the NL Central to three.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 06:48 pm
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Chicago Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks lost a no-hitter in the worst way Monday, but home plate umpire Joe West wasn't about to let his teammates try to make him feel better about it.

With the St. Louis Cardinals still searching for their first hit of the game, outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the ninth inning with a home run to end Hendrick's no-hit bid at eight complete innings.

West then took issue with the Cubs surrounding the mound to both congratulate and console Hendricks before he was to be removed from the game, as he told players to return to their position immediately. Maddon didn't appreciate West's hurried attitude, and was promptly ejected for voicing his opinion.

"It was inappropriate when it happened, so I was not going to be very honorable at that particular moment," Maddon told reporters postgame regarding West's mound visit denial. "It was inappropriate. He knew it."

Maddon later explained his infielders gathered to help Hendricks regroup after losing his no-hit bid and give closer Aroldis Chapman a few more pitches to warmup.

"We needed a little more time to get the pitcher ready based on the situation," he said. "And I needed the catcher to go out to the mound. We were denied. I didn’t like that. I made my stand."

Joe Maddon asks Joe West what so many of us have often wondered? https://t.co/yPkYZk3nLt

— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) September 13, 2016
It was Maddon's third ejection of the season, but he'll at least be happy his team won out in the end, downing the Cardinals 4-1.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 06:50 pm
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David Ortiz continued his unprecedented farewell season with yet another memorable moment during the sixth inning of Monday's game against Baltimore, launching the 536th home run of his career to tie Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle for 17th on the all-time list.

The big blast was Ortiz's second in as many days, and extended Boston's lead to 10-2 in the series opener of a pivotal three-game set against the Orioles. Following the milestone blast, the Red Sox slugger was greeted to a curtain call from the Fenway faithful.

Big Papi, meet The Mick.

They’re tied for 17th on the all-time HR list with 536 apiece. #LloveTheGame pic.twitter.com/6KYIEa2B8z

— MLB (@MLB) September 13, 2016
Ortiz's 33 homers and 111 RBIs are the most in major-league history for a player 40 years or older.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 06:59 pm
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With an RBI single in the fourth inning Monday against the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki passed Lou Brock for 25th spot on MLB's all-time hits list with his 3,024th hit.

Facing Braves pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, Ichiro pulled a line drive into left field to score J.T. Realmuto from third on an 0-1 count.

Suzuki sits 29 hits behind Rod Carew for 24th on the all-time list.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 07:04 pm
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Brian Dozier slugged his way into the record books with his 40th blast of the season Monday, setting a new American League record for home runs by a second baseman.

Dozier's blast broke a tie with Alfonso Soriano, who clubbed 39 homers in 2002 as a member of the New York Yankees. He's now just three shy of passing Davey Johnson's major-league record at the position with 43, set in 1973.

An All-Star for the first time last season, Dozier's the first Twins player since Harmon Killebrew in 1970 to reach the 40-homer plateau.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 08:05 pm
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New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi believes the performance by his young catching phenom Gary Sanchez could be worthy of some hardware when the season ends.

Girardi told reporters Monday that he believes Sanchez "should be considered" for the American League Rookie of the Year despite the 23-year-old having only played 35 games this season.

Though his time in the majors has been brief, Sanchez has made an enormous impact. He's hitting .333/.411/.697 with 13 home runs, nine doubles, and 24 RBIs while throwing out 39 percent of potential base stealers. He was named the AL Rookie and Player of the Month for August, and helped the Yankees go 23-14 since being called up on Aug. 3.

Girardi does acknowledge that Sanchez's late arrival to the majors will work against him heavily in the eyes of the voters, and he'll need to duplicate his record performance down the stretch to stand a chance.

"It's going to be hard for him to win, in a sense, because he hasn't been here the whole year," Girardi said. "But if he puts up 20 days like he did the other 20-day period, he's going to be in real consideration."

Sanchez currently leads all AL rookie position players with 2.4 WAR and is fifth in home runs despite only receiving only 132 at-bats. Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is the current front-runner for the award. He's 10-6 with a 2.76 ERA in 23 starts.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2016 08:06 pm
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The Cleveland Indians are probably glad Monday's game was played in Chicago, otherwise the White Sox would have had another inning to score in.

During their 11-4 thrashing of Cleveland on Monday night, the White Sox accomplished the rare feat of scoring a run in every inning they batted. The first run scored on an RBI groundout by Jose Abreu, before Todd Frazier wrapped up the historic night with a two-run homer in the eighth. Since the White Sox were leading at home, they didn't bat in the ninth.

Avisail Garcia and Adam Eaton also homered to help the South Siders pull off the upset over the division-leading Indians. Eaton had a pair of RBIs, as did Abreu thanks to his groundout and an RBI double, while Tyler Saladino added an RBI double for himself. Chicago only scored multiple runs in three innings at the plate.

A career-high 36th homer? Mercy, @FlavaFraz21! pic.twitter.com/uU7azrUhEQ

— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) September 13, 2016
It's the 20th time since 1900 that a team has scored a run in every inning, and amazingly, the second time it's happened this season. The Milwaukee Brewers ran the table during an 11-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in August.

"I didn't know we scored in every inning, to be honest with you," Frazier told reporters, including CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes. "Only 20 times (ever)? Wow, that's pretty cool. You would think there would be a lot more than that, but we are in the record books again. That's nice."

The early damage was done off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, who allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Every Indians pitcher was on the mound for at least one of the 11 runs allowed; reliever Kyle Crockett wasn't charged with a run - earned or unearned - but an inherited runner did score after he struck out his only batter of the night, thanks to a passed ball.

This was the second time a White Sox team has scored in every inning. The 1949 edition also pulled it off during a game at Comiskey Park against Boston.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 01:31 am
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The Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers apparently came very close to a trade that would have shaken up the baseball world.

A deal which would have sent former NL MVP Ryan Braun to Hollywood for outfielder Yasiel Puig, pitcher Brandon McCarthy, and prospects was about 20 minutes from completion ahead of the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline, several anonymous executives told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. While the Dodgers and Brewers were trying to hammer out some of the trade's finer details, they apparently ran out of time.

Now, the two teams will likely revisit these talks in the offseason, according to Nightengale.

Braun has the Dodgers listed as one of six teams on his limited no-trade clause, according to Cot's Contracts.

Despite the no-trade clause hurdle, as well as that of money - the Dodgers would have taken on all of the $76 million remaining on Braun's contract, which runs through 2021 - the deal was close enough to completion on the evening of Aug. 31 that the Brewers told their franchise icon not to leave the clubhouse after their game due to the imminent trade.

Braun refused to get into details about the proposed trade, but the 32-year-old Los Angeles resident reiterated his happiness with life in Wisconsin's largest city.

"I think it would be inappropriate for me to get into any detail about any of that stuff," Braun told Nightengale. "Obviously, I live in Los Angeles in the offseason. I grew up a Dodger fan. When those conversations started, I think it was an interesting position for me to be in.

"But I love Milwaukee. I’m happy being a Brewer. And if those conversations were to continue, we’ll see where they lead."

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 01:32 am
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The Pittsburgh Pirates are taking no chances with starter Gerrit Cole, as general manager Neal Huntington announced Tuesday the club is shutting down the right-hander for the remainder of the season.

Pittsburgh also placed the 26-year-old on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow posterior inflammation.

"I'm disappointed," Cole told reporters Tuesday regarding the move. "There's just not enough time to recover. I'm disappointed I'm not out there to help the team. That's the one thing I've been fighting for all year, to try to be able to contribute to our ultimate goal.

"It's unfortunate we ran out of time."

Cole made his first start Monday since being activated from the 15-day disabled list with the elbow ailment, but struggled in his return. He lasted just two innings, allowing five earned runs on four hits while walking four in his first appearance since Aug. 24.

The former first overall pick has had difficulty staying healthy this year, being sidelined with a triceps strain in June after missing the season-opening series with inflammation in his rib cage.

Cole will finish 2016 with a career-worst 3.88 ERA in 21 starts.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 03:32 am
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Tune your televisions to the Los Angeles Dodgers game on Oct. 2, 2016. It's the last time you'll get to hear the great Vin Scully call an MLB game.

Scully announced Tuesday he won't be calling any of the Dodgers' playoff games this season, and will instead end his career calling the team's Oct. 2 regular-season finale against the rival San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

"I'm going to say goodbye at Dodger Stadium the last game with Colorado. I will say goodbye in San Francisco. And then that will be it," Scully told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

"Otherwise, I'd be saying goodbye like in grand opera, where you say goodbye 12 different times."

Though the 88-year-old has worked a reduced schedule in recent seasons, only traveling to locations near to Los Angeles such as San Diego and Anaheim, he's shared playoff broadcast duties on radio during some of the Dodgers' recent October runs. Scully didn't call the team's 2015 NLDS series as he was recuperating from surgery.

Scully is looking forward to his last broadcast in San Francisco, though, as the New York native grew up a fan of the then-New York Giants. When he found out "those poor Giants" had lost Game 2 of the 1936 World Series by a score of 18-4, the 8-year-old Scully immediately became a Giants fan.

"As things turn out, the last game of the season, and my last broadcast, will be against the Giants, in San Francisco, Oct. 2, 2016 - exactly 80 years to the day that I saw that Giant-Yankee scorecard," Scully said.

"That is a fitting conclusion, I think, to my career."

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 03:33 am
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The Oakland Athletics reportedly have no plans to let go of Danny Valencia before the end of the season.

After the club released designated hitter Billy Butler on Sunday with a year remaining on his contract, Valencia seemed to be next on the chopping block due to a clubhouse fight between the two players in August. However, sources told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday that Valencia's spot on the team is safe until the end of the season.

Though he isn't expected to be cut early, Slusser reports it's unlikely Valencia returns to Oakland in 2017 as the club aims to focus on the team's younger players going forward.

The 31-year-old utility man is eligible for arbitration this winter, but the Athletics may opt to cash in on his offensive production in the offseason instead. Valencia is slashing .291/.347/.461 with 16 home runs in 412 at-bats this season, and is also able to play in the corner infield and outfield positions.

Butler and Valencia were both fined for their locker room brawl that resulted in the former suffering a concussion. The reported cause of the fight stemmed from Butler telling an equipment rep that Valencia was not wearing the required shoes for his endorsement deal.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 03:35 am
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have picked up another arm for the stretch drive in a rare September trade, acquiring left-hander Wade LeBlanc from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Pittsburgh will be LeBlanc's third organization of 2016. The 32-year-old began this season with the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo before being sent to the Mariners in a June trade. LeBlanc was outrighted off the Mariners' 40-man roster Sept. 5.

LeBlanc appeared in 11 games for the Mariners and started eight, crafting a 4.50 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 50 innings.

The Pirates are in need of pitching depth thanks to lackluster performances from their starting pitchers and the uncertain status of ace Gerrit Cole. Should the Pirates - who sit six games out of a playoff spot - return to the postseason, LeBlanc would not be eligible due to the trade occurring in September.

LeBlanc owns a 4.48 career ERA with 343 strikeouts and a 1.399 WHIP across eight big-league seasons with six teams.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 03:36 am
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Boston Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada, ranked by many as baseball's top prospect, has been named the 2016 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Moncada is the first Red Sox player to be given the honor.

The 21-year-old Cuban has fast-tracked through the Red Sox system since signing a $31.5-million contract with the team in 2015. In just his second season playing in the United States, Moncada jumped from High-A to the major leagues and skipped over Triple-A in the process. He posted a .294/.407/.511 slash line with 15 home runs, 31 doubles, and 45 stolen bases across 106 minor-league games before joining the Red Sox earlier this month.

Although his first taste of major-league ball hasn't gone as expected - he's been plagued by base-running miscues and record-strikeout pace - Moncada did record his first big-league hit during his debut start Sept. 3.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 14th, 2016 08:08 pm
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Although Seattle Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker gave up two hits in the seventh inning, effectively ending his no-hit bid, he lost his perfect game in a tough-to-stomach way.

Pitching with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels, Walker induced a routine ground ball to shortstop Ketel Marte.

With time to spare, Marte instead picked up the grounder, and short-hopped first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, who couldn't make the play, allowing Kaleb Cowart to reach base.

Walker still had the no-hitter intact, but it was a tough way for the 24-year-old to miss out on a chance at history.

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