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 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2017 05:04 am
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lobo316
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The Boston Red Sox called upon former Cy Young winner David Price to pitch out of the bullpen during Sunday's contest against the Tampa Bay Rays - the very team Price last made a relief appearance for in the regular season.

Price emerged to take over in the seventh inning. While pitching the remaining two frames, the 32-year-old struck out a pair without allowing a single baserunner.

.@DAVIDprice24 is back on the hill for his second inning of work.

A glimpse of his 7-pitch 7th: pic.twitter.com/nfDxm2acyq

— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 17, 2017
It's the first time Price has made a regular-season relief appearance since October 2, 2010, when, as a member of the Rays, he entered the fifth inning to face the Kansas City Royals. Price went on to finish second in American League Cy Young voting that year.

Price also acted as a reliever in the 2015 postseason as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Price's relief appearance Sunday was his first outing since a five-inning start back on July 22. Since then, the left-hander had been sidelined with a recurring elbow injury that limited him earlier in the season as well.

Following the game, Price said he wasn't surprised by his ability out of the pen, telling Scott Lauber of ESPN that he's "been doing this a long time."

With Sunday's outing, Price's 2017 ERA was lowered to 3.71 over 68 total innings of work.

Following the 2015 season, the Red Sox signed Price to a seven-year contract worth $217 million. While he was signed as a starter, the veteran southpaw could become a potent weapon for Boston as the club sets its sights on October baseball.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2017 05:05 am
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lobo316
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Houston, we have a division title.

Behind another masterful start from newly acquired Justin Verlander, the Astros sunk the Seattle Mariners, 7-1, Sunday at Minute Maid Park to clinch their first-ever American League West championship, and their first division title since winning the National League Central in 2001.

"Number one priority is to win the division, and we set out that goal right away from the beginning of spring training. We did that," Astros' manager A.J. Hinch told reporters, including MLB.com's Brian McTaggart, from the suds-soaked clubhouse. "You need 11 wins in October to make it even more special. The fact that we could clinch it at home, in front of our home fans - really special feeling for a really special group of guys."

That group of guys slugged four homers in Sunday's series finale - Derek Fisher, Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, and Carlos Correa each went deep - to provide ample support for Verlander, who allowed just one run, while striking out 10 over seven sublime innings in his Minute Maid Park debut. In three starts with the Astros, Verlander boasts a 0.86 ERA.

"Would you expect anything less? I mean, the story is almost too good to be true," Hinch said of Verlander. "We trade(d) for him for this exact reason."

The Astros, alone atop the division since April 14, are now the first team in history to win three different divisions, having earned the National League West title in both 1980 and 1986 before being bumped to the NL Central in 1994. Nearly two decades after that, in 2013, with the commissioner's office keen to have an equal number of teams in each league and more geographically sensible divisions, the Astros joined the AL West.

With 13 games left on their regular-season schedule, the Astros, 91-58, have to go 11-2 to tie the franchise record for wins set in 1998, when the club - led by Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Moises Alou, and bolstered by the late-season addition of Randy Johnson - finished 102-60 and won the NL Central by 12 1/2 games. That year, despite a dominant regular season, the Astros were dispatched in the NLDS in four games by the San Diego Padres.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 18th, 2017 06:56 am
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lobo316
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When Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg came off the disabled list for an Aug. 19 start, he allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning. He hadn't allowed another until Sunday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was a heartbreaking end that was avoidable. With two outs in the top of the second inning, Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe drilled a deep fly ball to the center-field wall.

Nothing like a little #SundaySausage to get the #Dodgers on the board and snap Stephen Strasburg's scoreless inning streak. pic.twitter.com/mqfQdToG5p

— CautiouslyOptimistic (@CautiouslyPod) September 18, 2017
The ball bounced out of Michael Taylor's glove, easily scoring Yasiel Puig from third. No error was charged, and it was scored as an earned run, giving the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.

As the team points out, Strasburg's scoreless streak of 35 innings was the longest in baseball this season while also setting a new franchise record in the process.

Strasburg struck out opposing pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu on four pitches immediately after.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:45 am
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While the Oakland Athletics have been eliminated from postseason contention, that hasn't stopped rookie first baseman/outfielder Matt Olson from putting on a show.

The 23-year-old Olson clubbed his 21st home run Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies, tying a relatively obscure record for dingers by a rookie in a season of 80 games or fewer.

It's an impressive company of players who were brilliant, but not for long enough to capture a rookie of the year award. To their credit, Kevin Maas and Gary Sanchez came close by finishing second in their respective seasons.

With the existence of Aaron Judge and his extremely probable rookie-of-the-year victory, Olson is likely to continue the trend of not winning, though the Athletics rookie has 13 games remaining to surpass Maas.

Even more impressive though, is that one of Olson's Sunday opponents has a legitimate chance to meet him at the top of that stat sheet.

Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins has waved an unfathomably-hot bat in the first 37 games of his career, collecting 18 home runs with a .736 slugging percentage. Whether he can catch and surpass Olson is certainly a storyline to watch, as the rise of rookies has already been a captivating narrative of the 2017 season.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:46 am
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While Stephen Strasburg's historic shutout streak was snapped in Sunday's contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a streak for Dusty Baker lived on.

In just his second season with the Washington Nationals, Baker became the 12th skipper in MLB history to manage his club to at least 90 wins in 10 different seasons.

Including Sunday's victory, Baker has a 1,856-1,630 record over his 22-year career as a manager, which began with the San Francisco Giants in 1993. After a decade with the Giants, Baker spent four years with the Chicago Cubs - the only team he never managed to 90 games - and six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before his tenure with the Nationals began in 2016.

Despite an overall win percentage of .532 as a manager, a World Series championship has eluded Baker. He's only made it to the Fall Classic once - in 2002 with the Giants.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:47 am
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Chase Utley's days of celebrating at Citizens Bank Park may not be over.

After spending the first 13 years of his career with the Phillies, Utley has a more-than-realistic chance of helping the Los Angeles Dodgers clinch the NL West title while in Philadelphia, as the teams open a four-game series there on Monday evening.

"Initially, it would probably be a little weird because I spent so many years there, winning divisions and celebrating," Utley told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "To do it in the other clubhouse, initially, would probably feel a little weird."

Ahead of Monday's game against the Phillies, the Dodgers can clinch the division with any combination of four victories or Arizona Diamondbacks losses - a distinct possibility over the next four days.

The second baseman had a storied career as a member of the Phillies, slashing .282/.366/.481 over 1,551 games and winning the World Series in 2008.

Meanwhile, Utley's contributed 1.1 WAR to the Dodgers this year in a role that's diminished with the addition of Logan Forsythe. Over 117 games, the veteran has a .730 OPS with eight home runs and five stolen bases.

The Dodgers' upcoming series against the Phillies will be the second time Utley has returned to Philadelphia since being traded to Los Angeles during the 2015 season. In his first game back on Aug. 16 of last year, he hit a pair of home runs including a grand slam.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:48 am
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J.D Martinez has been an absolute monster for the Arizona Diamondbacks since arriving in the desert from the Detroit Tigers in a July trade, and his his fine work was recognized once again Monday.

The 30-year-old earned the National League Player of the Week award for the fourth time this season, becoming the first player to ever do so.

Martinez, who also earned the honor in the NL last week, hit .435 with three home runs, six RBIs, and a 1.437 OPS for a Diamondbacks club vying to make a postseason appearance.

In the American League, Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians took home the honor after helping his team clinch their second consecutive division title.

The "Klubot" won both of his starts - one a complete-game shutout - while striking out 17 hitters.

Kluber is an impressive 17-4 this season with an AL-leading 2.35 ERA.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:49 am
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Baltimore Orioles minor leaguer Miguel Gonzalez died Monday, the team announced, two days after the 21-year-old right-hander was badly injured in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.

"Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Miguel Gonzalez," Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said in a statement. "Miguel was beloved by his teammates and coaches in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time."

Signed by the Orioles in 2014, Gonzalez spent the last three seasons pitching for the club's affiliate in the Dominican Summer League, putting up a 7.65 ERA while notching 60 strikeouts in 13 starts and 25 relief appearances.

The Orioles will hold a moment of silence in Gonzalez's honor prior to Monday's game at Camden Yards against the Boston Red Sox.

Gonzalez, who grew up in Bani, is the fourth professional baseball player to be killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in the past three years. In October 2014, Oscar Taveras, then a promising St. Louis Cardinals prospect, died along with his girlfriend after his Chevrolet Camaro ran off the road and into a tree in Puerto Plata. This past January, Kansas City Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura and former Cleveland Indians infielder Andy Marte were killed in separate crashes in the Dominican Republic on the same day.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 19th, 2017 02:50 am
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Corey Seager will likely have to deal with elbow discomfort for the remainder of the season, according to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who told reporters Monday that his star shortstop isn't 100 percent healthy.

Seager, who was given the day off Monday, has discomfort when he throws, Roberts said, though the issue doesn't affect him when he swings and won't keep him out of the lineup. In fact, the 23-year-old likely won't get another day off for the rest of the season, Roberts said ahead of his club's series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"I know from the medical staff that it's not 100 percent," Roberts said, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "But it's playable obviously."

Roberts didn't specify exactly what the issue is, however, or divulge when Seager first started experiencing discomfort in his elbow, which he's been guarding when he throws of late.

His recent elbow trouble notwithstanding, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year has put up another monster season in 2017, managing 5.6 WAR while hitting .303/.383/.488 (132 wRC+) with 20 homers and 32 doubles through 133 games.

Utilityman Kike Hernandez will start at shortstop Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 20th, 2017 12:46 am
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Clayton Kershaw crossed another first off his career list Monday, though it's unlikely he'll remember this one fondly.

The Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander surrendered a grand slam to Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr in the sixth inning. It was the first grand slam the 29-year-old has allowed in his 10-year career, coming in his 288th regular-season start.

Deep into the Philadelphia night: https://t.co/u0OKQIi4A4 #PapaSlam pic.twitter.com/dC04eqLwK9

— MLB (@MLB) September 19, 2017
Kershaw entered the game holding opposing hitters to a .193/.233/.250 slash line with the bases loaded in 103 career opportunities.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 20th, 2017 12:48 am
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Well, there's something you don't see every day.

A large group of fans dressed as 1980's television character Magnum P.I. were ejected from a game last Saturday between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

Forty-five men were dressed as the famous Tom Selleck character for a friend's bachelor party and were removed from the ballpark for smoking and catcalling, according to Dave Herndon of the News Herald.

There was no sign of Higgins during the kerfuffle.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 20th, 2017 12:51 am
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The Boston Red Sox will begin showing an anti-racism public service announcement during games at Fenway Park later in September.

As part of their "Take The Lead" initiative, the Red Sox, along with other Boston teams, will play a video of athletes calling on fans to take a stand against racism and hate speech, according to Adrian Walker of the Boston Globe.

The New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and New England Revolution will also take part. According to Walker, executives from each team began meeting in May to devise a plan for dealing with rampant racism in the city.

The report surfaces in the wake of a banner with the words "Racism Is As American As Baseball" being draped in front of the Green Monster just last week.

Back in May, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones spoke up about racism at Fenway after fans "threw a bag of peanuts" at him and called him "the N-word a handful of times."

The next evening, a fan was permanently banned from attending Fenway Park after hurling racial slurs at a fellow patron.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 21st, 2017 01:25 am
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Jung Ho Kang hasn't stepped foot on a major league baseball diamond in 2017, nor has he swung a bat in his home of South Korea. A troubled offseason featuring his third drunk driving arrest since 2009 helped lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates infielder being denied a US visa.

He's had to watch his former Pirates teammates struggle through a mediocre season and a terrible September (5-12) forcing a slow slide out of postseason contention. Kang expressed his regret to Yonhap News Agency's Yoo Jee-ho on Tuesday.

"I don't know how much of a difference I would have made, but still, it's been frustrating to watch the club lose," Kang said. "Even when you lose, it's always better to do it as a team. I wished I could have helped the team. I am sorry to my teammates and fans (for the drunk driving incident)."

The 30-year-old fled the scene of the accident that precipitated his arrest, for which he later apologized. In addition, Kang was under police investigation in July 2016 on allegations of sexual assault stemming from a road trip in Chicago that season.

The Pirates have apparently contributed to Kang's training regimen, shipping him a pitching machine that throws a combination of fastballs and breaking balls. The gesture hasn't been lost on him.

"I am really thankful that they tell me they still need me," he said. "I want to become a better person and a better player."

Currently on the Pirates' restricted list, he plans to play in the Dominican Winter League beginning in October in the hopes of returning to the majors down the road.

In 229 games with the Pirates over two seasons, Kang has batted .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs and eight stolen bases.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 21st, 2017 01:27 am
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BALTIMORE (AP) Though they rank last in the AL in home runs, the Boston Red Sox have found plenty of other ways to win - especially in extra innings.

Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game's lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and Boston used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles' bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.

Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games - tying a franchise record for extra-inning wins set in 1943.

In this one, pitching and defense proved to be the winning formula. After Drew Pomeranz allowed five hits over 6 1/3 innings, five relievers held the Orioles hitless the rest of the way.

''They've been able, to a man, hand it off to the next guy and continue to build a bridge until we can scratch out a run - tonight not even with an RBI,'' manager John Farrell said. ''We find a way to push a run across.''

With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw.

Joe Kelly (4-1) worked the 10th and Matt Barnes got three outs for his first save.

''They've been unbelievable,'' Boston's Brock Holt said of the bullpen. ''That's why our record is what is in extra-inning games, because of those guys.''

The game stretched into extra innings in part because Bradley made a sensational catch to rob Baltimore slugger Chris Davis of a home run in the fifth inning. Bradley quickly judged the trajectory of the ball while running to his left, then left his feet and stretched his arm over the 7-foot wall in center field.

The finish came after Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman locked up in a scoreless duel that was essentially the exact opposite of Monday night's 10-8 slugfest.

Although he didn't get his 17th win, Pomeranz lowered his ERA to 3.15 and set a career high by pitching at least six innings for the 17th time (in 30 starts).

Gausman was even sharper, giving up just three hits over eight innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

The right-hander retired the first 14 batters he faced before Rafael Devers singled off the right-field wall.

Baltimore threatened in the third inning when Manny Machado hit a two-out double, but he was thrown out by Benintendi trying to score on Jonathan Schoop's single to left field.

No one else got to third base until the sixth, when Baltimore had runners at the corners with two outs before Pomeranz struck out Mark Trumbo with a high, outside fastball.

The Orioles have lost 11 of 13 to fall out of contention.

''They're very frustrated right now,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''You can imagine grinding as our guys have since February and not being able to push a run like that across in some of these games when we pitch well. That's been a challenge for us. I feel for them because I know how much it means to them.''

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 Posted: Thu Sep 21st, 2017 01:27 am
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The Boston Red Sox are looking far into the future with their latest signing.

The team has signed 16-year-old catcher Qiang Ba Ren Zeng, according to the Boston Globe's Pete Abraham. He is the first Tibetan to be signed to a MLB team, though his path to the majors will be a long one.

Zeng was selected to China's under-18 team when he was 15 after taking part in a MLB-sponsored academy. He will apparently take part in MLB's Instructional League this fall.

A little bit more on Qiang Ba Ren Zeng: 6-foot, 185. Good arm, former pitcher and shortstop. First Tibetan to sign with a MLB team. pic.twitter.com/FRujEeutSW

— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) September 20, 2017

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