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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Thu Sep 29th, 2016 05:56 pm
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lobo316



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NEW YORK - The Boston Red Sox won the AL East, clinching the division championship despite wasting a three-run, ninth-inning lead in a 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.

David Ortiz and the Red Sox, who last weekend secured at least a wild-card spot in the playoffs, were assured of the division title earlier in the ninth inning when the Baltimore Orioles rallied for a 3-2 win at Toronto. But New York came back against Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

After winning their eighth division title, and first since 2013, the Red Sox will open their postseason schedule Oct. 6 seeking a second World Series crown in four years. The team's first opponent has not been determined yet.

With Ortiz nearing retirement after the season, the Red Sox got to celebrate in the Bronx - the site of so much Boston heartache throughout its storied rivalry with the Yankees.

Of course, there was one glorious moment across the street, when Big Papi and his 2004 teammates overcame a 3-0 deficit to win the AL Championship Series at the old Yankee Stadium. Boston rejoiced and went on that year to capture its first World Series crown since 1918.

But this title will taste sweet as well, especially after the Red Sox completed a worst-to-first turnaround for the second time in five seasons. After winning the 2013 World Series, Boston finished last twice in a row.

This year has become much more than a farewell tour for Ortiz, though. The 40-year-old franchise icon is enjoying one of his biggest seasons at the plate, joined by steady veterans like Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez mixed with blossoming young stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

''This is a pretty dynamic team in terms of homegrown players at various stages of their career that are coming together to be a very successful team,'' manager John Farrell said.

Rick Porcello (22 wins) and free-agent prize David Price have solidified the front end of a suspect rotation, with new closer Kimbrel anchoring the bullpen.

Boston took control of a wide-open AL East with an 11-game winning streak - all against division foes - that ended with Tuesday's defeat.

''Above and beyond all, this is a team that cares for one another. And I don't say that loosely,'' Farrell said. ''They're tough, they're focused, they're talented, but, like I said, above all, they care for one another in an extraordinary way.''

Farrell, who took over as manager before the 2013 season, enjoyed a personal triumph with this division title as well: He missed the final 1 1/2 months of last season after he was diagnosed with stage 1 lymphoma.

''It's been a journey that makes you relish the good times a little bit more. They're more meaningful,'' Farrell said. ''There's so much to be fortunate or thankful for. ... Clearly, this puts you in a position to reflect on things differently.''

The only other time Boston clinched the AL East title away from Fenway Park was at Cleveland in 1988.

Now, the Red Sox hope to reach the World Series again - and set up a potential dream matchup against the Chicago Cubs and former Boston general manager Theo Epstein.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 03:06 am
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lobo316



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Toronto Blue Jays minor-league first baseman Jesus Montero has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for dimethylbutylamine, a banned stimulant in the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, MLB announced Thursday.

Montero's suspension will take effect beginning next season, as the 2016 minor-league season ended earlier in September.

The suspension is the second of Montero's career. The 26-year-old Venezuelan was previously disciplined in 2013 as part of the infamous Biogenesis investigation.

Montero had impressed with the Blue Jays organization since being claimed off waivers in March from the Seattle Mariners. He slashed .317/.349/.438 in 126 games with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, leading to him being named the club's MVP for the 2016 season.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:50 pm
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lobo316



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The St. Louis Cardinals walked out of Busch Stadium with a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday thanks to Yadier Molina's game-winning double, which created some controversy after the contest's completion.

Molina's double pulled the Cardinals within a half-game of the San Francisco Giants for the final wild-card spot in the National League. It became a point of discussion after the contest, however, as the hit should have been a ground-rule double, according to Busch Stadium guidelines. This would have meant base runner Matt Carpenter, who began the at-bat on first base, would have been sent back to third without scoring.

As the Cardinals celebrated and the umpires walked off the field, the Reds weren't judged to meet MLB's challenge requirements for a play that ends a game, which stipulate a challenge "must be invoked immediately upon the conclusion of the play."

Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters after the game that umpire crew chief Bill Miller said he had 10 seconds to challenge the game-ending play, which wasn't done in time.

''I'm not blaming the umpires. I'm blaming the system,'' Price said, according to The Associated Press.

The Reds skipper also said he had a hard time getting word from the team's video personnel on whether or not to challenge the call due to the noise from the Cardinals celebrating on the field.

"Because of the crowd noise, we couldn't hear the phone ring," he said, according to Chris Hrabe of KMOX.

Miller told reporters after the game umpires did take a look at the play in question.

"We did look at it. It appears that the ball hit above the fence. And hit the signage above the left-field fence."

The Reds do not believe they can appeal the game, but will seek clarification on Friday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's C. Trent Rosecrans.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:52 pm
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lobo316



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After finishing 0-for-4 on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman's hitting streak is now over at 30 games, the longest such streak in the majors this season.

It's the third-longest streak in Braves history since the club moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Freeman was on a tear during the 30-game stretch, batting .384/.485/.670 with seven home runs in 112 at-bats.

Though Freeman didn't record a hit, he can at least take solace in the fact his club won 5-2.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. previously held the longest hitting streak this season when he hit safely in 29 straight games.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:53 pm
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lobo316



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TORONTO - Ubaldo Jimenez is rounding into form at the right time for the Baltimore Orioles.

Jimenez and two relievers combined on a three-hitter and the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 4-0 on Thursday night, moving into a tie with Toronto in the AL wild card race with three games remaining.

''(Jimenez) was in command pretty much all night,'' Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said. ''In a big game like that, he really kept his emotions under control like I knew he would. He threw the ball great.''

When he last started at Toronto on June 12, Jimenez allowed five runs and six hits in 1/3 of an inning, the shortest start of his career.

''Whatever happened to me in the past, I don't even think about that,'' Jimenez said. ''If you get stuck in the past, you're not going to be able to move on. Whether it's good or bad, you have to find a way to look forward.''

The right-hander made his return a triumphant one, carving up the Blue Jays for 6 2/3 innings. The only hit he allowed was Ezequiel Carrera's single to begin the first. Josh Donaldson followed with a walk but Jimenez retired the next six batters in order.

''Boy, he was solid,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ''It was big to get a positive feeling early on. It was fun to watch him.''

The Orioles visit New York for the final weekend of the season, while the Blue Jays head to Boston to face the AL East champion Red Sox.

''This time of year, momentum is huge,'' Wieters said. ''Over 162 (games), momentum is going to come and go but once you start getting close to the playoffs, momentum is big. We're going to try and keep it going as long as we can.''

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:54 pm
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lobo316



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Kevin Kiermaier is vying hard for a second consecutive Gold Glove award.

The Tampa Bay Rays center fielder missed nearly two months after breaking his hand on a diving catch attempt in May, but the 26-year-old feels the performance he's put in when healthy should still be enough to see him contend for a fielding award at the end of the season.

"I would like to think so," Kiermaier told MLB.com's Bill Chastain on Thursday. "It's an award that means a lot to me. I feel like the time that I have been out on the field, I'm the best center fielder in the game. I firmly believe that.

"But at the same time, when I broke my hand, I know that missing an extended amount of time isn't going to help my chances by any means. I hope my name is at least mentioned."

Kiermaier's bold claim is backed up well by his numbers. According to Fangraphs, his 24 defensive runs saved is the second-best mark in the American League among outfielders with at least 800 innings this season, trailing only Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts.

With dozens of highlight-reel grabs and stats to back up his case, even Rays manager Kevin Cash feels Kiermaier deserves the silverware.

"I think he should win the Gold Glove, not could," Cash said, according to Chastain. "He's the best defensive player in baseball ... He's pretty special out there."

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:57 pm
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lobo316



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DETROIT - What Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona calls an "inconvenience" could be part of a major travel nightmare for the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit's game with Cleveland on Thursday was called off after more than six inches of rain fell on Comerica Park in less than 24 hours.

The two teams, in concert with the umpires and Major League Baseball, waited 4 hours, 13 minutes before postponing the game.

It will be made up Monday afternoon, if necessary.

It will be necessary if an American League wild card berth is at stake for Detroit or if Cleveland can claim the top seed in the league to get home-field advantage throughout the post-season.

He and Detroit manager Brad Ausmus toured the field with umpires right around the time of the scheduled 1:10 p.m. scheduled start, part of about a two-hour period where the rain was light or non-existent.

The same rain system that truncated Detroit's 6-3 victory over Cleveland after five innings Wednesday night was still in place Thursday and was slated to stick around through Saturday.

Detroit travels to Atlanta to close its regular season schedule with an inter-league series against the suddenly hot Braves, who are playing their last games at Turner Field. The Tigers will have to play all three games without designated hitter Victor Martinez, who bats cleanup, in their starting lineup.

The Tigers could play five games in five cities in five days. They will close the regular season Sunday in Atlanta and if there's a chance they could make one of the wild card berths (or Cleveland could qualify for best record in the league) they would return to Detroit to play the Indians in the makeup game.

There could be a wild card tie-breaker Tuesday, the wild card playoff game Wednesday and the first divisional game on Thursday.

"I'm aware of it," Ausmus said, "but one thing at a time. If that's the scenario, then that's a good thing. That's a good problem to have."

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 05:58 pm
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lobo316



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PITTSBURGH - The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates played to the first tie game in the major leagues since 2005 when rain forced the teams to stop in the sixth inning Thursday night with the score 1-all.

The Cubs and Pirates aren't scheduled to play again this season, and the game won't be made up because it doesn't affect postseason positioning. So instead of becoming a suspended game, the stats count and it was declared a tie - the first since Houston and Cincinnati went seven innings on June 30, 2005, before rain halted them.

Willson Contreras had two hits and scored for the NL Central champion Cubs, who have already clinched the best record in the majors. Josh Bell hit a sacrifice fly for the Pirates.

The game was called in the top of the sixth after a delay of 1 hour, 23 minutes.

Pittsburgh is 78-80 and needs to sweep its season-ending three-game series at St. Louis that starts Friday night in order to extend its streak of winning seasons to four. The Pirates had 20 straight losing seasons from 1993-2012, the record for major North American team professional sports.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 07:29 pm
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According to my Einstein brain, at 1.5 games back, the best my Tigers can hope for is to sweep the "lowly" Atl Braves (9-1 in their last 10), then hope either Toronto or Baltimore loses 2 out of 3. Doubtful.
Typing on a tablet on a train is difficult :-) :-) 

Last edited on Fri Sep 30th, 2016 07:41 pm by chrob61

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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 10:37 pm
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Giants have to win 2 out of three this weekend to guarantee at least a tie breaker game or have the Cards lose at least two games to Pirates. Maybe Philles can do them a favor and sweep the Mets.



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 Posted: Fri Sep 30th, 2016 11:10 pm
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lobo316



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Mother Nature has potentially turned the Detroit Tigers' postseason hopes and travel schedule into utter chaos.

Major League Baseball and the Tigers officially announced Friday that Thursday's rained-out game against the Cleveland Indians will be made up on Monday, Oct. 3, at 1:10 p.m ET if either team's playoff life is at stake.

Should the Tigers remain alive in the wild-card hunt after their weekend set in Atlanta, they'd fly home to face Cleveland on Monday. From there, depending on how the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners fare, the Tigers could either jump directly into the AL wild-card game or enter into a series of one-game playoffs - potentially as the road team - to settle the regular-season standings.

The game would still be played if it will impact the Indians' seeding in the AL playoffs, even if the Tigers are eliminated over the weekend. Cleveland still has a slim chance to capture the No. 1 seed in the Junior Circuit.

Should all playoff positions be decided by Sunday, the game will be canceled.

The Tigers announced that if the game is played, all tickets from Thursday's rain-out will be honored Monday. If the game is ultimately not made up, tickets from Thursday's game can be exchanged for those to a Tigers home game in 2017. Fans who can't use their tickets Monday will also be able to exchange them for a future game.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 1st, 2016 12:01 am
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chrob61 wrote: According to my Einstein brain, at 1.5 games back, the best my Tigers can hope for is to sweep the "lowly" Atl Braves (9-1 in their last 10), then hope either Toronto or Baltimore loses 2 out of 3. Doubtful.
Typing on a tablet on a train is difficult :-) :-) 

The Yankees have played Baltimore tough all year, you never know.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 1st, 2016 01:01 am
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nyhack56 wrote: chrob61 wrote: According to my Einstein brain, at 1.5 games back, the best my Tigers can hope for is to sweep the "lowly" Atl Braves (9-1 in their last 10), then hope either Toronto or Baltimore loses 2 out of 3. Doubtful.
Typing on a tablet on a train is difficult :-) :-) 

The Yankees have played Baltimore tough all year, you never know.

Would've been a lot more exciting if Baltimore had lost yesterday and the Yankees weren't mathematically eliminated from the postseason.  The last 3 games now will mostly be about giving the kids more at-bats and honoring Teixeira.  I also doubt Tanaka will start again this season now.



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 Posted: Sat Oct 1st, 2016 02:46 am
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lobo316



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The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Bryan Price has agreed to a one-year contract extension and a team option for 2018.

Price had previously signed a three-year deal through the 2016 season. The entire coaching staff has also been offered contracts.

"Bryan has been here seven seasons now," Reds president Bob Castellini said. "He's comfortable with the direction we are heading with our young players, and we are comfortable with him leading us in that direction."

In three seasons at the helm of the Reds, he's compiled a 207-276 record. Last season, Cincinnati finished last in the National League Central, and it appears they team is going to suffer the same fate this season.

After winning 32 games prior to the All-Star break, the Reds have gone 35-35 in the second half.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to come back and see this through, this vision of getting back to the much higher expectations that we've had here historically with this great franchise," Price said. "We can see the light at the end of the tunnel here, with the combination of young players and veterans and knowing we're starting to stockpile talent from within the system.

"I'm happy to be here to see this turnaround."

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 Posted: Sat Oct 1st, 2016 04:38 am
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chrob61



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Braves are waving bye-bye to Turner Field this weekend....I am getting so ooooold......I remember all the hoopla over that stadium and the '96 Olympics.

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