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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Fri Sep 16th, 2016 05:49 pm
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lobo316



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Billy Butler made a strong first impression Thursday, both at the plate and in front of the mirror.

Making his first appearance as a Yankee since signing a major-league deal this week, an unusually clean-shaven Butler delivered RBIs in each of his first two at-bats during New York's series opener with Boston.

Butler, who was released by Oakland last week with a year left on his contract, belted a sacrifice fly in the first inning and followed it up with a RBI single in the second to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

The 30-year-old veteran told YES Network's Meredith Marakovits prior to Thursday's game he was considering shutting it down for the season before he was contacted by the Yankees. Butler, who isn't eligible for the postseason, is expected to be used exclusively down the stretch against left-handers, who he owns a career .872 OPS against over 10 seasons.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 16th, 2016 06:42 pm
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The Chicago Cubs celebrated their first division title since 2008 in anticlimactic fashion.

Hours after the Brewers spoiled Chicago's chance to clinch in front of its fans at Wrigley Field, the best team in the majors still secured its first National League Central crown in eight seasons with some help from the San Francisco Giants, who defeated the St. Louis Cardinals late Thursday at AT&T Park.

It's just the fourth time - and first since 2007-08 - the Cubs (93-53) have advanced to the playoffs in consecutive seasons. Chicago was swept by the New York Mets in last year's NLCS after winning 97 regular-season games.

"This is just the first step," Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after Thursday's 5-4 loss, in lieu of a late-night clinch. "We have much larger baseball fish to fry in our skillet."

Looks good on you. #FlyTheW pic.twitter.com/IZefuh0nNP

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 16, 2016
Cubs players said they wouldn't wait around for the conclusion of the Giants-Cardinals game because of Friday's 1:20 p.m. CST start time.

"The reality is I don’t care what happens (to the Cardinals)," said catcher Miguel Montero. "I want to come back tomorrow and win a game and celebrate on our own."

With more than two weeks and 16 games to play in the regular season, the Cubs became the quickest to clinch (146 games) since the 2008 Angels wrapped up their division in 145 games.

The Giants' 6-2 victory, meanwhile, moved them within four games of first place in the NL West after the Dodgers lost to the Diamondbacks.

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 Posted: Sat Sep 17th, 2016 02:34 am
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Atlanta Braves reliever Jose Ramirez has been suspended three games after intentionally throwing at Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, according to multiple reports.

Ramirez is planning to appeal the decision.

Related: Benches clear after Ramirez throws at Fernandez

In Wednesday's game, Fernandez drilled Braves outfielder Nick Markakis with a fastball to the back in the sixth inning after he squared up a few balls against him in previous at-bats.

Though Ramirez never spoke to the media about it, it appeared as though in retaliation, he threw a fastball high and in on Fernandez as he squared to bunt.

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 Posted: Sat Sep 17th, 2016 09:51 am
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Albert Pujols is one of the greatest hitters of all time.

In Friday's game between the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays, Pujols became the 16th player in MLB history with 600 doubles.

With the feat, he also joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players in history with 600 doubles and 575 home runs.

Though his numbers have dipped slightly with age, over the course of his 16-year career, Pujols has continued to be one of the more prolific hitters in the game.

Despite only having 17 doubles this season, a career low, he's still crushed 29 home runs to go with a .262/.317/.450 slash line coming into Friday's game.

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 Posted: Sat Sep 17th, 2016 09:52 am
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In the midst of a hotly contested American League playoff race, the Houston Astros received some bad news Friday.

Third baseman Alex Bregman has been diagnosed with a hamstring strain, which manager A.J. Hinch said could threaten the remainder of his season.

"Bregman is in Houston. He won't be traveling with us. He's not coming on this trip," Hinch told reporters. "The diagnosis for him is a little disheartening. He's got a hamstring injury that would normally require a DL stint right away, which means we think it's at least 15 days if not more."

The 22-year-old Bregman, who was listed as the top prospect in baseball before getting called up July 25, appeared to injure his hamstring Wednesday against the Texas Rangers.

"It's a hamstring strain," Hinch said when asked of the severity of the injury. "It obviously threatens his season."

After getting off to an 0-for-20 start to begin his big-league career, Bregman has become a crucial part of Houston's everyday lineup, with a .260/.311/.480 slash line to go with eight home runs, 13 doubles, three triples, and 32 RBIs in 47 games.

Yulieski Gurriel will start at third base for the Astros on Friday against the Seattle Mariners.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 07:08 am
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New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom has been scratched from his start Sunday and may not pitch again this season as general manager Sandy Alderson revealed Saturday the right-hander is likely to undergo surgery to relieve lingering pain in the ulnar nerve in his throwing elbow.

Gabriel Ynoa will start Sunday in his place against the Minnesota Twins.

"I think it's unlikely that he will pitch the rest of the season," Alderson told reporters Saturday. "We'll see. It's likely that this will require a surgical repair, not a significant surgical procedure at least with respect to risk going forward. But it's something that will have to take place at some point.

"He was hoping to be able to pitch through it, but given the fact that this thing flares up at unpredictable times, and unpredictable circumstances, I think it's unlikely that he'll pitch again this season."

DeGrom had been throwing bullpen sessions with increasing intensity in the past week which seemed to point to a return in the near future. However, after Friday's session, deGrom admitted to manager Terry Collins that something was wrong.

"I actually watched Jake's bullpen yesterday and it was outstanding," Collins said Saturday, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. "Fifteen minutes later he said 'I can't pitch.'"

The Mets announced earlier this month that deGrom had been battling inflammation in his right forearm since a Sept. 1 start against the Miami Marlins. He went five innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits while striking out six, but was then seen calling for a trainer in the dugout.

Though surgery could be on the horizon for the pitcher, Alderson said the procedure is not significant, and deGrom himself expects to be back for spring training.

"I've been through Tommy John before and wouldn't want to go through that again. So this is good news (in comparison)," deGrom said.

The 28-year-old will finish the season with a 3.04 ERA in 24 starts, second best on the team only to ace Noah Syndergaard (2.43 ERA).

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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 07:09 am
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If the Cleveland Indians are going to win their first World Series championship since 1948, they'll have to do it without Carlos Carrasco.

The right-hander will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his right hand when he was hit with a line drive just two pitches into his start against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.

Manager Terry Francona confirmed the 29-year-old's season is over following the Indians' 1-0 walk-off victory.

The 29-year-old was hit in the hand by Ian Kinsler's liner on just his second pitch of the game. He was escorted off the field by Indians trainers and immediately left Progressive Field to undergo X-rays, which revealed the fracture near his pinky finger.

Carrasco is the second Indians starter to suffer a serious injury this week, joining fellow right-hander Danny Salazar, who was shut down because of a forearm strain on Monday and will miss at least the remainder of the regular season.

With both Carrasco and Salazar now sidelined, only Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer remain as regulars in the Indians' rotation as they near an AL Central title. Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger - both of whom are likely to see time as starters going forward - have bounced between the bullpen and rotation during the second half.

Francona remains confident that his pitchers will be able to pick up the load for the rest of the season, and into October, in spite of the loss of his No. 2 starter. As soon as Carrasco left Saturday's game, the veteran skipper called down to the bullpen with an important message for his relief corps.

"Tell them to put their seatbelts on. They're all gonna pitch and we're gonna win," Francona told his relievers, who then picked up Carrasco by combining to throw 10 shutout innings.

Carrasco, who also missed time early in 2016 due to a hamstring injury, finishes his season with a 3.32 ERA, 150 strikeouts, and a 1.14 WHIP over 24 starts.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 07:11 am
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Matt Joyce knows his role on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he's quite good at it.

Joyce, who primarily serves as a pinch hitter for the Pirates, etched his name into baseball's record books during the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds. The 32-year-old hit for pitcher Juan Nicasio in the sixth inning and walked for the 21st time as a pinch-hitter this season, setting a new major-league record.

Joyce grabbed the record from former New York Mets first baseman Matt Franco, who walked 20 times off the bench in 1999.

Joyce owns a .252/.410/.490 slash line with 12 homers and 52 walks in 126 games this season, and most of that work has come off the bench, as he's started just 43 contests.

For his career, Joyce owns a .726 OPS with five homers, 32 hits, and 39 walks in a pinch-hit role.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 08:54 am
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Jon Gray took the mound at Coors Field on Saturday and didn't leave until he was finished rewriting the Colorado Rockies' record books.

The right-hander put on a show at high altitude against the San Diego Padres that will go down as one of the most dominant performances in the history of the notoriously hitter-friendly park. Gray struck out 16 Padres hitters to set a new Rockies franchise record, breaking Darryl Kile's mark of 14 that was set against the Montreal Expos in 1998.

But Gray wasn't satisfied with just grabbing the team's strikeout record. The 24-year-old's performance also gave him the most strikeouts ever in a game at Coors Field, breaking Randy Johnson's record set in April 2001. Gray's six consecutive strikeouts in the second and third innings was also good enough for another franchise record.

Gray finished his outing with 16 strikeouts, no walks, and just four hits allowed over nine innings of work. All told, he recorded a Game Score of 102, the highest ever recorded at Coors Field, and the highest in the majors this year. He's also just the 14th pitcher since 1913 to achieve a Game Score of over 100, putting his name on a list that includes Clayton Kershaw, Nolan Ryan, and Sandy Koufax.

He also became just the second Rockies pitcher - Bruce Ruffin was the other - to record four strikeouts in one inning. It marked the 80th four-strikeout inning in baseball history, and the sixth this season.

Gray came into Saturday's game with a team-high 156 strikeouts on the season. When it ended, his total was up to 172, tied for sixth on the Rockies' single-season strikeouts list.

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 Posted: Sun Sep 18th, 2016 08:55 am
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Albert Pujols can still mash.

The Los Angeles Angels designated hitter belted his 30th home run of the season against Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano in the second inning of Saturday's game.

.@PujolsFive hits 30th HR of '16, becomes 4th player in history with 14 seasons of 30+ homers (A-Rod, Aaron, Bonds). pic.twitter.com/GghUEiMMta

— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) September 18, 2016
With the blast, Pujols joined Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in MLB history with 14 30-home run seasons.

.@PujolsFive sends one into the #Angels bullpen! 🔼3️⃣ Halos on top 1-0. pic.twitter.com/fOYMSb5J8J

— Angels (@Angels) September 18, 2016
Pujols, who hit the 600th double of his career a night prior, now has 590 home runs for his career, sitting ninth all time.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 05:45 pm
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#MLBtalk #ScoreAlert #Yankees (2) vs #RedSox (0) en la 3ra entrada (NYY Gary Sanchez🇩🇴 su HR #16) pic.twitter.com/hLCCg3ZIMz

— MeGustanLosDeportes (@GustanDeportes) September 19, 2016
Another day, another addition to Gary Sanchez's growing Rookie of the Year case.

The New York Yankees catcher continued his rapid ascent to stardom Sunday night at Fenway Park by taking Drew Pomeranz well over the Green Monster for his 16th home run of the season, giving New York an early 1-0 lead on the rival Boston Red Sox.

The home run was also yet another milestone in one of the more incredible rookie seasons ever. The 23-year-old Sanchez became the second-fastest player since 1900 to hit 16 career home runs, reaching the mark in just 158 at-bats. Only Boston Braves outfielder Wally Berger - who needed 148 at-bats to reach the mark in his 1930 debut season - did it faster, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Sanchez is now just two homers behind Texas Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara for the American League rookie lead, despite Mazara having 329 more plate appearances coming into Sunday.

Sanchez's 16 big flies are also the most by a Yankees rookie since Hideki Matsui smacked 16 of his own in 2003. Only three Yankees rookies - Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, and Kevin Maas - have surpassed the 20-homer mark in the franchise's storied history.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 05:46 pm
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Colorado Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his left hand Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

The 33-year-old left in the fifth inning after being hit in the hand by a 96-mph fastball from Padres right-hander Jose Dominguez.

Reynolds smacked the dirt in pain and was immediately attended to by a team trainer.

The veteran had previously returned to the Rockies' lineup on Aug. 31, after making a remarkable recovery from hamate bone surgery on the same hand. He was initially expected to miss four-to-eight weeks, but returned in just over two.

Reynolds slashed .281/.354/.442 with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs this season, his first in Colorado.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 05:47 pm
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PHOENIX - The Arizona Diamondbacks are parting with senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson, and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said he and general manager Dave Stewart may also be fired after the season.

La Russa announced Watson's departure after a 10-9 win over the Dodgers on Sunday.

La Russa said he will meet with owner Ken Kendrick and president and CEO Derrick Hall eventually about his status.

''If it gets turned over the next person, you gladly turn it over,'' La Russa said. ''When we're 20 games under .500, I felt if you're looking at the front office, the most responsible person, it would be me.''

Arizona made an aggressive push to compete in the offseason by giving Zack Greinke a $206.5 million, six-year free agent contract and trading a bevy of young players to the Atlanta Braves for right-hander Shelby Miller. Greinke is having his worst season in years and Miller pitched poorly enough to get a midseason demotion to Triple-A, part of why the Diamondbacks are just a game out of last place in the NL West at 63-86.

''When you have this kind of year, I've never had a problem taking responsibility and evidently, stuff that I've been taught hasn't contributed enough,'' La Russa said. ''We'll wait and see how the decision comes. I'm ready to go forward if they've seen enough.''

Watson was in his second season with the club and oversaw the franchise's player development and professional, amateur and international scouting departments.

La Russa said the team decided not to renew Watson's contract and let him walk before the end of the season so he can pursue other opportunities.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2016 09:02 pm
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BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez couldn't hold back a smile when asked if he's hot yet.

Ramirez homered twice and drove in four runs to rally the Boston Red Sox over New York 5-4 on Sunday night, completing a four-game sweep that severely diminished the Yankees' chances of winning the AL East.

''I think we all are, our whole team,'' Ramirez said. ''We've been able to create some rallies when we needed to and continued to fight.''

Jackie Bradley Jr. had a tying RBI single for the East-leading Red Sox, who overcame a rough start by Drew Pomeranz to post their ninth win in 12 games. Boston remained three games ahead of second-place Baltimore, which beat Tampa Bay 2-1 on Sunday.

The Red Sox open a 10-game trip at Baltimore with the first of four games on Monday night.

Gary Sanchez belted his 16th homer since Aug. 3 for the Yankees, who dropped eight back in the division and remained four behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot.

The Yankees were without second baseman Starlin Castro and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who were both injured Saturday. Castro strained his right hamstring running out a double and Ellsbury bruised his right knee sliding into a bullpen wall trying to make a catch.

The Red Sox overcame deficits three times in the series, including the opener, when they scored five in the ninth and Ramirez hit a game-ending three-run homer.

''This team's amazing,'' Pomeranz said. ''It seems like we're never out of reach. It's fun to watch.''

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 Posted: Tue Sep 20th, 2016 02:17 am
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As the voice of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball for 67 years, Vin Scully has told his fair share of amazing stories.

With the legendary broadcaster set to retire after the Dodgers' final game of the regular season, Scully reflected on some special in-game moments throughout his impressive career, which included his self-described "worst pun" when he called Joe Torre "Chicken Catcher-Torre."

Presumably, Scully was well-aware of Torre's heritage when likening him to the famous Italian dish, chicken cacciatore. In any case, the nickname would stick with Torre for years.

As for his final game in the booth - scheduled for October 2, the last day of the season - Scully said he would prefer the attention to be on the Dodgers' finale and not his.

"I want to be remembered as a good man, an honest man, a man who lived up to his beliefs," he said, according to MLB.com's Richard Justice.

"Once I call it an end, I’ll try very hard to just stay back and be the normal guy that I am."

Scully's final week includes six games at home beginning Monday against the division rival Giants, before he wraps up his legendary career on the road in San Diego and San Francisco.

"I think I've got (emotions) in check, but you never really know. I'll do the (last) game and hope the game carries me along with it," he said.

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