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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 01:57 am
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lobo316



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Sean Manaea won't get to claim a share of a no-hitter thanks to his bullpen, but his bid for a no-no was certainly one for the books.

Manaea was pulled by Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin after facing four batters to open the sixth inning and allowing two runs to score - despite the fact he hadn't allowed a hit to that point. After walking the bases loaded to open the sixth, two errors on the same play - shortstop Adam Rosales whiffed trying to catch Carlos Correa's line drive, then Jaff Decker overran the ball in center field - allowed both runs to score, ending Manaea's day.

Although the two runs scored as a result of the errors, one of them was charged to Manaea as an earned run because it reached base via a walk. Thus, the 25-year-old exited with a truly bizarre stat line beside his name: five innings, no hits, and two runs - one earned - to go along with six strikeouts and five walks.

Right-hander Ryan Dull replaced Manaea on the mound and loaded the bases again with another walk, but kept the combined no-hitter intact by getting pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez to ground into a double play. But that would be as far as the Athletics' attempt to finish what would have been the franchise's second combined no-hitter would get, as Astros outfielder Nori Aoki broke up the bid with a single off Liam Hendriks to lead off the seventh inning.

Since 1913, only three times has at least one earned run been allowed in an official nine-inning no-hitter. One of those instances was the famous combined no-hit loss thrown by Baltimore's Steve Barber and Stu Miller on April 30, 1967, while Minnesota's Dean Chance (1967) and Joe Cowley of the White Sox (1986) both allowed one earned run in their no-nos.

The A's franchise has 11 no-hitters since 1901, but none since Dallas Braden's perfect game in 2010.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 01:59 am
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lobo316



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Chris Sale keeps racking up strikeouts at a historic pace for the Boston Red Sox.

The elite left-hander, who recently struck out 10 batters in Boston's 2-1 loss to Detroit in his second start of the season, has more strikeouts through 150 career starts (1,149) than any pitcher in baseball history, according to ESPN's Scott Lauber, citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

Sale is also the youngest starter (28 years old) with the shortest service time (eight-year career) to accumulate 1,273 strikeouts, placing him 31st on the active all-time strikeout leaders list.

The southpaw's first three starts, including Saturday's 12 strikeout performance in which he limited the Tampa Bay Rays to one run over seven innings, have been everything the Red Sox could have dreamed of when they acquired him in the offseason. To date, Sale has combined for a 5-29 walk-to-strikeout ratio, 1.25 ERA, and 0.74 WHIP.

Unfortunately for Sale and Co., the Red Sox have failed to score more than two runs in each of his three starts. The team's offense has provided the lefty an average of one run of support per game - second-worst in baseball.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 01:59 am
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lobo316



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Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter has some interesting thoughts on Eric Gagne, the former closer and Cy Young winner whose 84 consecutive saves streak stands in the way of Zach Britton's pursuit of history.

Following the club's 6-4 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday that saw Showalter's All-Star closer notch his 54th straight save, tying Tom Gordon for second all time, the long-time manager said he believes Britton is already tied in first because Gagne admitted to taking human growth hormone.

"Gagne doesn't count," Showalter said, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. "So (really) Zach is tied for first, OK? Really, that doesn't have an asterisk next to it?"

The 41-year-old Gagne, who is seeking a return to the majors, was listed in the 2007 Mitchell Report linking him to performance-enhancing drugs. He later revealed in a 2010 interview that he used HGH to help him recover from a knee injury.

Britton, meanwhile, has been brilliant on the mound and one of the game's best dating back to 2014. He's coming off a year that saw him yield his first earned run in August, a season when he finished with a combined 0.54 ERA and a league-leading 47 saves, while placing fourth in American League Cy Young voting.

"He's set a standard that I don't think you'll see in your lifetime," Showalter said. "It just won't happen. I tend to try to enjoy it and watch it and realize how lucky I and we are to have a seat to watch it instead of trying to critique it every night. It's hard to do. If the fans and people think they have higher expectations of him, they're not higher than Zach Britton. I can tell you that."

That's high praise given by Showalter considering he opted against using Britton in the 11th inning of last year's AL wild-card game, leading to former Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off, three-run home run.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 08:02 pm
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SEATTLE - James Paxton extended his season-opening scoreless streak to 21 innings, Taylor Motter hit a three-run homer and the Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Saturday night.

Paxton (2-0) threw eight innings of two-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine. He hasn't allowed a run yet in three starts this year, and his scoreless stretch is a team record. He's the 10th pitcher in the majors ever to open a season with three scoreless starts of at least six innings.

Paxton walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the game, but he followed by getting Elvis Andrus to ground into a double play. That was the last baserunner Paxton allowed until Joey Gallo doubled with one out in the sixth inning. Gallo advanced to third on a wild pitch but was stranded when Gomez popped up a bunt to end the inning.

Kyle Seager added a two-run single as part of a five-run sixth inning for Seattle, which won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Andrew Cashner (0-1) made his first start for Texas and pitched into the sixth inning, giving up four runs and five hits. Cashner missed most of spring training and the start of the season with soreness in his right bicep. He was activated from the disabled list before the game and made his first start since signing as a free agent this winter.

Cashner held Seattle scoreless through the first five innings, but the Mariners broke through in the sixth with the help of an error. With one out and a runner on first, Robinson Cano hit a grounder to short that looked like a double-play ball, but Andrus bobbled it and rushed an off-target flip to second. Cashner then walked the bases loaded before Seager's two-run single.

Motter followed with his second home run of the season, a shot to right field off reliever Mike Hauschild to put Seattle five runs ahead.

Mitch Haniger singled twice, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Haniger also scored to give him 11 runs in Seattle's first 12 games, and he has reached base safely in each game.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 08:03 pm
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lobo316



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More like Cy Yuck.

One of the most highly anticipated pitching duels promptly escalated into a hitting clinic, and two former American League Cy Young winners got the worst of it.

Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber and Detroit Tigers staff leader Justin Verlander combined to surrender 15 earned runs on Saturday, which is the most ever allowed by opposing Cy Young winners, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Verlander (the AL's 2011 recipient) was shelled for 11 hits and nine earned runs, including three home runs - two coming from Jose Ramirez and the other from Lonnie Chisenhall.

Kluber, who earned the win thanks to his offense, allowed eight hits and six earned runs, but also struck out eight compared to Verlander's four. The 2014 AL Cy Young winner also allowed one home run off the bat of Justin Upton.

Both abysmal stat lines raised the typically savvy starters' ERAs to over five on the year. Verlander will enter his fourth start of the year sporting a 5.71 ERA, while Kluber, who's been hit hard in his first three starts, will proceed with a 6.38 ERA.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 08:04 pm
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A nagging blister on Aaron Sanchez's right middle finger has prompted the Toronto Blue Jays to place him on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday, the team announced Sunday.

The hard-throwing right-hander will become eligible to return to the Blue Jays' roster on April 25.

Sanchez said Sunday that the blister flares up when he uses his curveball and is affecting his mechanics, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani. The pitcher will see a hand specialist about the ailment.

Sanchez popped the nagging blister in his final spring training outing March 27 and manager John Gibbons said the skin in the area was still tender heading into the season. Though his first start of the new campaign went fine - he allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 8 - Sanchez was hit hard by the Baltimore Orioles in his latest start. He coughed up five earned runs - including three home runs - in 5 1/3 innings Friday.

In Sanchez's place, the team recalled southpaw Matt Dermody from Triple-A Buffalo.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 08:05 pm
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On the same day Aaron Sanchez was added to the 10-day disabled list, another starter for the Toronto Blue Jays went down as J.A. Happ was pulled after just 4 1/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

The left-handed Happ threw a pitch way inside against Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and appeared to be in some discomfort, prompting batterymate Russell Martin to meet with him on the mound. He was promptly removed from the game with what the team says is soreness in his left elbow.

Happ was replaced in the middle of the plate appearance after falling behind 1-0 by right-handed reliever Joe Biagini.

Happ has thrown 16 innings for the Blue Jays this season, posting a 4.50 ERA and 3.69 FIP. Happ threw 195 innings last season - second-most among Blue Jays starters - and finished as a 20-game winner. He has pitched at least 150 innings in each of his last three seasons.

The struggling Blue Jays are dead-last in the AL East and in all of baseball with a 2-9 record. Despite their struggles, the Blue Jays have had the sixth-best rotation in the MLB by park-adjusted FIP coming into Sunday's games.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 08:06 pm
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The New York Mets dropped their fifth game of the season on Saturday, thanks in large part to their struggling bullpen coughing up three runs in the eighth.

With Jeurys Familia making his way back from suspension, Mets manager Terry Collins told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com that Familia won't be used in the closer's role right away, despite their need for late-inning relief help.

Instead, Collins is mulling over using Familia in one or two lower-leverage outings to get back up to speed.

Familia pitched in 4 2/3 innings of spring training, but made his last appearance with the Mets on March 28. He had a 1-2-3 inning for High-A St. Lucie Saturday, and is slated to make an appearance for Double-A Binghamton on Monday.

Familia is finishing up a 15-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy, and can be activated by the Mets prior to Thursday's contest against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 09:50 pm
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Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini tied a major-league record by hitting his seventh home run in just the 12th game of his career.

Coming into Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the 25-year-old Mancini had already hit five home runs in 11 career contests. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Mancini homered twice in an 11-4 rout to tie the record for most home runs in a player's first 12 games.

The record was originally set in 1949 by Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Dino Restelli. After hitting his seventh home run, Restelli would go on to hit just six more in his career before retiring in 1951.

The record was tied just last season by Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. Story would go on to hit 27 homers in 415 plate appearances, having his rookie campaign shortened by injury.

Mancini has hit four home runs this season in just 24 plate appearances and is slashing an impressive .364/.417/.955.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 16th, 2017 09:51 pm
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The Baltimore Orioles are placing closer Zach Britton on the 10-day DL after the reliever began experiencing pain in his left forearm during his appearance Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Sportsnet's Arash Madani.

Britton apparently felt the discomfort while throwing his curveball, though manager Buck Showalter doesn't anticipate the 29-year-old being out for a lengthy period of time.

"It's too soon to know, but we're confident it shouldn't be long term," Showalter told The Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina.

In his outing Friday, Britton pitched one inning, picking up the save despite allowing an earned run and three hits.

He'll be replaced on the roster by Stefan Crichton, who the Orioles recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, according to Encina.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 17th, 2017 10:21 pm
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NEW YORK - Yadier Molina reached for a ball in the dirt the other day at Yankee Stadium, the sort of pitch he usually smothers with ease using his chest protector and a square set of shoulders.

This time, though, he tried to make a backhand stab with his mitt as the ball skipped by.

Poor technique, to be frank, from an eight-time Gold Glove winner widely considered one of the greatest defensive catchers in baseball history. Molina knew it, too, and slammed his mask to the ground as he chased toward the backstop.

It's just two weeks into the season, but something seems off about the St. Louis Cardinals.

Molina is only one example. Long known for winning The Cardinal Way, St. Louis entered Monday with the worst record (3-9) in the National League and its poorest start since 1988 courtesy of shoddy play all over the diamond.

"I think it's magnified when it happens this early," manager Mike Matheny said. "Rightfully so."

For an organization that takes immense pride in attention to detail and executing properly, all the ugly miscues have been startling.

St. Louis had committed 10 errors, plunked seven batters and thrown five wild pitches through Sunday. Not to mention the 44 walks issued by a pitching staff sporting an NL-high 4.98 ERA.

The 34-year-old Molina, recently signed to a $60 million contract covering 2018-20, has permitted a passed ball in each of the past two games.

And the bullpen thus far? Yikes.

"The answer is work right now," Matheny said. "We've got to work hard but work smart, making sure that we're attacking the little things that we're seeing that are keeping us from the results that we're looking for."

The hitters have hardly been immune.

The Cardinals were batting .212 with just 42 total runs, next-to-last in both categories among NL teams. Their slugging percentage of .332 was by far the lowest in the league.

"We all know that we're going to bounce out of this funk sooner than later," said Matt Adams, batting .174. "But it's believing in ourselves and believing in this team. We know that we're a good team."

Even in mid-April with 150 games to go, it's strange to see St. Louis at the bottom of the standings. After all, this is a club that made 12 playoff appearances in 16 seasons from 2000-15 - five straight before falling one game short last year at 86-76.

But this season, a walk-off win on opening night against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs has been about the only major highlight.

Swept this past weekend by the New York Yankees, the Cardinals hoped to find their footing back home. They took an overnight flight to St. Louis to begin a three-game series Monday evening against Pittsburgh.

"The thing that I like when you have a good start is it's something that you just, you go back to. You go back to, hey, remember, this is what we do," Matheny said. "We haven't seen it yet, and that's concerning. We will see it, and I think we'll see it for long periods of time. But at the beginning, especially when you have younger players, and we have some guys who haven't been around that long, they need to sense that winning expectation. ... It's amazing how powerful that is."

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 Posted: Mon Apr 17th, 2017 10:23 pm
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The Miami Marlins have locked down the National League Player of the Week a second straight time, while a starter from the American League West took home AL Player of the Week honors on Monday.

Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna hit .435/.481/1.000 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in six games to follow teammate and last week's winner J.T. Realmuto on the NL side. Ozuna homered twice and drove in six against the Braves on Tuesday, and picked up four more RBIs with a grand slam against the Mets on Thursday.

Mariners left-hander James Paxton picked up the win in both his starts, tossing 15 shutout innings while striking out 17 on the week. The 28-year-old tossed seven shutout innings last Monday against the Houston Astros, and followed by throwing eight innings of two-hit ball against the Texas Rangers on Saturday. He has yet to allow a run in 21 innings this season, which serves as a club record.

Paxton is the first Mariners lefty to win the award since Randy Johnson in 1997, according to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 17th, 2017 10:24 pm
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NEW YORK - The average time of a nine-inning game in the major leagues increased five minutes to 3:05 during the first two weeks of the season.

The figure, calculated by Major League Baseball on Monday, included 171 nine-inning games and was matched to a comparable period at the start of last year.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred proposed speedup initiatives, such as a pitch clock and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound, but the players' association did not agree to them. Management kept its proposals alive and can unilaterally change those rules for the 2018 season.

Last year's average for nine-inning games ended at exactly three hours, a four-minute increase over 2015.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 09:31 pm
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Baby. Bombers. pic.twitter.com/TejkhY4mkC

— MLB (@MLB) April 18, 2017
Aaron Judge joined some elite company during Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox by hitting his fourth home run of the season in just the 13th game of the year - a feat last accomplished by an under-25-year-old Yankees outfielder in 1956 by none other than Mickey Mantle.

Judge is off to a torrid start to his 2017 season, slashing .282/.364/.667 over 44 plate appearances. Also, he's posting exit velocities that rival that of Giancarlo Stanton.

Of course, Mantle went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the Bronx, playing in 18 seasons and posting an OPS above 1.000 in eight of those years.

It's worth noting that the division-rival Baltimore Orioles have a young player that tied an MLB record Sunday, as Trey Mancini became just the third player ever to hit seven home runs in the first 12 games of his career.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 09:32 pm
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If the Toronto Blue Jays are going to dig themselves out from their historically bad start this month, they'll have to do so without Josh Donaldson.

The three-time All-Star was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday after aggravating a nagging calf injury during an April 13 game against the Baltimore Orioles, and it's believed that he will likely miss the next two-to-four weeks, sources told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Donaldson missed a large chunk of spring training after tweaking his calf on the first day he reported to camp, but told reporters Friday that there wasn't as much swelling this time around.

"I am walking gingerly, and there is some soreness, but not as much swelling as there was (at spring training)," Donaldson said.

Losing Donaldson for a significant amount of time is a tough blow for a Toronto team that currently owns the worst record in the majors at 2-10 and an offense that's scored fewer runs than anyone.

It's expected that Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan, and Ryan Goins will see time at third base until Donaldson returns.

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