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 Posted: Thu Sep 28th, 2017 02:22 am
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lobo316
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RLINGTON, Texas (AP) Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reached 200 hits for the fourth season in a row.

With his single in the first inning of Wednesday's game at Texas, Altuve became only the fourth right-handed hitter in major league history with four consecutive 200-hit seasons.

The last right-handed hitter with at least four consecutive 200-hit seasons was Michael Young, with five in a row for Texas from 2003-07. The others to do it were Kirby Puckett for Minnesota from 1986-89 and Al Simons from 1929-32 (Philadelphia Athletics) and 1933 (Chicago White Sox).

If Altuve finishes the season as the AL hits leader, he will be the first player ever to lead the AL or NL in hits outright in four consecutive seasons.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 28th, 2017 02:23 am
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Brad Ausmus is on his way out as manager of the Detroit Tigers - and he's going to make sure his team has some fun before he leaves.

Ausmus announced to Jason Beck of MLB.com on Wednesday that "barring something strange," utility man Andrew Romine will become only the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in one game in Detroit's season finale at Minnesota this coming Sunday.

The possibility of Romine playing every position was first brought up by Ausmus earlier this month. The manager said at the time he wanted it to happen against a fellow non-contender rather than versus the Twins, but with Minnesota expected to clinch the second AL wild-card spot as early as Wednesday, it's likely the finale won't mean anything for either side.

Romine, a shortstop by trade, has appeared in 119 games for the Tigers this season, with at least one appearance at every position but catcher - the only position he's never played during his professional career. He's made over 20 appearances at second base (25), center field (22), first base (21), and third base (21) this year, and made his fourth career mound appearance in July when he tossed two-thirds of an inning and didn't allow a run.

Andrew Romine just walked by wearing catcher's equipment heading to the bullpen. The dream of playing 9 positions in 1 game lives on.

— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneFSD) September 27, 2017
Assuming Ausmus follows through on Sunday, the 31-year-old Romine will join Bert Campaneris (1965), Cesar Tovar (1968), Scott Sheldon (2000), and Shane Halter (2000) as the only five men to have played every position in the same nine-inning game.

In some incredible twists of coincidence, Romine is now scheduled to play all nine positions exactly 17 years to the day that Halter played every position for the Tigers on Oct. 1, 2000, also against the Twins. And the Tigers' starting catcher for Halter's multi-positional performance 17 years ago was none other than Ausmus, who went 1-for-4 in that game and ended up playing four positions (catcher, third, second, first) himself as part of the defensive maneuvering that moved Halter around the diamond.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 28th, 2017 02:24 am
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Japanese dual sensation Shohei Otani has begun interviewing prospective major-league representatives in preparation for his transfer from the Japan Pacific League, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

It's been reported that Otani intends to play in the majors in 2018, though nothing has been made official. Agents interested in representing Otani have flown to Japan in recent weeks, and one person with knowledge of the situation said that a decision should come down soon.

Unsurprisingly, the Scott Boras Corporation is reported to be in the mix and is considered an early favorite among several notable sports agencies. Because Otani is planning on transferring before his 25th birthday, he can only sign with a team on a minor-league deal due to the CBA's international spending rule.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have reportedly been allocated the most international bonus pool money - approximately $8 million, minus what has already been used on other international free agents.

As a hitter this year in the JPL, Otani has slashed .333/.403/.554 across 59 games. He's only made four starts as a pitcher (4.96 ERA with 19 strikeouts) but has performed better as of late with MLB scouts in attendance.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:02 am
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Say what you will about Dellin Betances, but there's no denying the man is a strikeout machine.
The New York Yankees All-Star reliever recorded his 100th strikeout of the season Wednesday night and etched his name onto an exclusive list in the process. By surpassing the century mark yet again, Betances became only the fourth relief pitcher in history to record five consecutive seasons with 100 or more strikeouts.

RELIEVER              TEAM(S)        YEARS
Dick Radatz           Red Sox       1962-65
Rob Dibble            Reds            1989-92
Duane Ward          Blue Jays      1989-92
Aroldis Chapman   Reds             2012-15
Dellin Betances    Yankees         2014-17






During his current four-year run, Betances has twice struck out over 130 batters in a single season; his 135 strikeouts in 2014 still ranks 17th all time among relievers. Over the last four years, Betances has averaged 123 strikeouts per season, and 14.5 per nine innings pitched.
This season's total of 100 is lower than Betances' other recent tallies, but his production has still remained solid in a loaded Yankees bullpen. Although he's shuffled between the eighth and ninth innings as needed due to Aroldis Chapman's up-and-down season, the 29-year-old New York native still earned his fourth straight All-Star appearance and has added a 2.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 10 saves to his excellent strikeout total.
Betances has struck out a total of 504 batters during his six-year major-league career, for a career average of 14.4 per nine.

Last edited on Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:05 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:06 am
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Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has been shut down for the remainder of the season - including the playoffs - after experiencing back tightness during Tuesday's game, manager Dave Roberts announced Wednesday.

Gonzalez won't fly with the team to Colorado for the final three regular-season games this weekend, reports Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet Los Angeles.

Roberts did leave open the slim possibility of Gonzalez returning to action in the playoffs in the event of an injury, telling The Associated Press that Los Angeles would only consider activating him in October "if something unforeseen does happen to the active guys right now.''

One of Gonzalez's trademarks throughout his stellar career has been his durability, having appeared in at least 156 games for 11 consecutive seasons from 2006-16. This year has been a struggle, though, as Gonzalez has played in just 71 contests due to back issues while posting a career-worst .242/.287/.355 slash line and just three home runs. Although he returned to active duty in August, the emergence of rookie Cody Bellinger moved Gonzalez to the bench for the first time in his career.

In June, Gonzalez stated that he would consider retirement after the 2018 season - when his current contract expires - if his troublesome back is not restored to full health.

The five-time All-Star has been a member of the Dodgers since 2012.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:07 am
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#JustDingers isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a way of life.

No. 45 for @JDMartinez14. pic.twitter.com/UoTDUXx63d

— MLB (@MLB) September 27, 2017
At this point, it'd be more surprising if J.D. Martinez didn't hit a home run.

The Arizona Diamondbacks slugger brought his team to within a run when he blasted a ninth-inning homer in Wednesday's game against the San Francisco Giants. It was the 16th time he's gone deep this month, tying the National League record for homers in September with Ralph Kiner who did it in 1949, according to Baseball-Almanac.

If Martinez can manage one more long ball in the Diamondbacks' final three games, he'll move into a tie for the MLB record in September alongside Albert Belle (1995) and Babe Ruth (1927).

Since being acquired from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline, Martinez has hit 29 home runs in only 59 games.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:08 am
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The Chicago Cubs clinched their second straight National League Central Division title with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night.

Stymied by Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, the Cubs failed to plate a single run through six innings. This changed when the onslaught began in the seventh, as Wacha was chased without even recording an out. Addison Russell's three-run home run was responsible for the bulk of the damage.

The Cubs are heading to the postseason for the third straight year for the first time since 1906-08. Incidentally, that was also the last time the Cubs managed to win back-to-back World Series championships.

What Wrigley Field looked like the last time the Cubs made the playoffs 3 years in a row. pic.twitter.com/RXtC8CjicJ

— Wrigley Field (@WrigleyBlog) September 28, 2017
Despite the game taking place at St. Louis' Busch Stadium, the crowd could be heard chanting “Let’s go Cubs” as closer Wade Davis went to work in the ninth inning. After allowing a two-out double to shortstop Paul DeJong, Davis induced a deep fly ball from Randal Grichuk to end the game.

The defeat complicates things greatly for the Cardinals, who sit 3 1/2 games back of an NL wild-card spot. Not only that, but the Milwaukee Brewers can now officially only make the playoffs by usurping the Colorado Rockies for the second wild-card position.

The Cubs had a losing record at the All-Star break (43-45) in mid-July before closing out the month on a 13-3 run, inching into first place in the division and never looking back.

With most of the playoff picture fully formed, the Cubs are now locked in to face the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:09 am
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The postseason picture is finally taking shape.

Thanks to the Chicago Cubs' clinching of the NL Central on Wednesday, the first postseason series has been determined, with Chicago set to square off against the Washington Nationals in a five-game series beginning in the nation's capital Oct. 6.

Cubs pitcher John Lackey, meanwhile, said his side isn't too preoccupied thinking about its playoff opponent just yet.

"I think we're going to have a good time tonight," he told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat as the Cubs celebrated their division title in the visiting clubhouse at Busch Stadium. "I don't think we care about the Nationals."

In the other NLDS matchup, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who clinched the NL West earlier this month, will face the winner of the NL wild-card game - a matchup that's not yet determined.

The two NL wild-card spots are currently occupied by the Arizona Diamondbacks - who've clinched a berth into the one-game playoff - and the Colorado Rockies.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:10 am
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For the first time in seven years the Minnesota Twins are headed to October. The Twins officially clinched a postseason berth as the second American League wild-card team thanks to the Los Angeles Angels' 6-4 walk-off loss to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night.

Minnesota, who will likely face the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game on Oct. 3, is the first team in baseball history to make the playoffs after losing over 100 games the year before. They finished the 2016 season with a 59-103 record.

Earlier in the day, Minnesota lost 4-2 to the Cleveland Indians, but still only needed an Angels loss to solidify its spot in the postseason. That eventually happened in the 10th inning of Los Angeles' contest against Chicago, when White Sox outfielder Nicky Delmonico crushed a two-run home run to right field to walk it off and simultaneously eliminate the Angels from the wild-card race.

"Nicky Delmonico is my favorite player," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said during the club's celebrations, according to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger.

Prior to the Twins, the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks held the record for most losses in a season prior to making the playoffs the following year. In 1990, the Braves racked up 97 losses in a single campaign, while the Diamondbacks did the same twice in 1998 and 2010.

Coincidentally, the 1991 Braves would go on to make it all the way to the World Series, though they lost in seven games in the Fall Classic to the Twins.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:11 am
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Major League Baseball hitters have once again swung - and missed - into the record book.

For the 10th straight year, MLB batters have set the mark for most strikeouts in a season. They did it Wednesday, raising the whiff total to 39,168. That topped the 38,982 who fanned in 2016.

The final game of the day was at Dodger Stadium and, fittingly, the last out came when Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen got San Diego's Jabari Blash to swing at strike three.

New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has fanned the most often, 204 times. He's also hit 50 home runs, helping MLB set a record for the highest homer total in a season.

Boston ace Chris Sale leads all pitchers with 308 strikeouts.

With four days left in the regular season, the Milwaukee Brewers top the majors with 1,537 strikeouts. The AL West champion Houston Astros have the fewest at 1,050.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:13 am
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With Thursday's victory over the Minnesota Twins, the Cleveland Indians have broken the century mark in wins for only the third time in franchise history, and the first time in 21 years.

The Indians also surpassed the 100-win threshold in 1995 and 1954 - going on to lose the World Series in both years.

They join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the only teams to reach the triple-digit plateau this season. However, if the Houston Astros can pull out two more victories in their final four games, 2017 will become the first season since 2003 with three clubs to make it to 100 wins - and just the sixth such season in MLB history.

Sealing the 100th victory, Carlos Carrasco pitched 8 1/3 innings of shutout baseball before turning it over to the bullpen for the 5-2 win.

The Indians still have a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox in the final regular-season series. While the 2017 version of the Indians can't catch the 111 wins by the 1954 team, this year's team can surpass the 1995 club with one more victory.

Perhaps more amazing than actually achieving 100 wins is the fact that Cleveland has underperformed, according to Baseball Prospectus' Third-Order Win Percentage. Instead of the .629 win percentage the team actually boasts, the Indians should be closer to .671 and, subsequently, much closer to 107 wins.

With home-field advantage clinched through the ALDS, the Indians will carry home-field advantage through the ALCS with any combination of two wins or Astros losses.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:14 am
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The Oakland Athletics have inked longtime manager Bob Melvin to a one-year contract extension that will keep him in the East Bay through the 2019 season.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Melvin had been working on a two-year deal that would have expired at the end of the 2018 season.

The 55-year-old native of nearby Palo Alto, Calif., is completing his sixth full season as the Athletics' skipper. Over his tenure in Oakland, which began in the middle of the 2011 season, he led the A's to three consecutive playoff appearances from 2012-14, a run that included two AL West division titles and a pair of 90-win campaigns.

Melvin was named American League Manager of the Year in 2012 after guiding the Athletics to a surprising 94-win season and playoff berth.

The A's have finished below .500 in each of the last three campaigns, as they're currently in the midst of a rebuild.

Melvin owns a career record of 1,028-1,040 (.497) over his 14 seasons as a big-league manager with the Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 29th, 2017 01:15 am
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Ervin Santana took the hill to face the Cleveland Indians on Thursday after the Minnesota Twins clinched a postseason berth the previous evening. The 34-year-old's next scheduled outing will be do-or-die.

The right-hander will get the start in Tuesday's American League wild-card game, according to Tom Withers of the Associated Press.


The Twins will face either the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. With the Twins six games back of the Yankees for the top wild-card spot, there's no mathematical way Minnesota can host.

However, the Yankees could still plausibly overtake the Red Sox for the top spot in the AL East. Boston's magic number to clinch the division is down to two with four games remaining for each team.

Santana has been impressive across his 33 starts with the Twins this season, posting a 3.28 ERA over 211 1/3 innings. While advanced stats (4.46 FIP, 4.78 xFIP) are decidedly less optimistic, Santana has been a workhorse, throwing five complete games, including three shutouts.

If the Twins make it through to the next round to face either the Cleveland Indians or Houston Astros, they'd likely give the ball to Jose Berrios for Game 1.

The 23-year-old owns a 3.93 ERA and 3.86 FIP, although he's pitched nearly 70 fewer innings than Santana.

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 Posted: Sat Sep 30th, 2017 01:32 am
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NEW YORK (AP) Derek Jeter has about a 4 percent stake in the group buying the Miami Marlins and retired NBA great Michael Jordan approximately half of one percent, part of a $1.2 billion purchase from Jeffrey Loria that includes $800 million in cash.

Bruce Sherman, who will become the controlling owner, has the highest equity stake in the group, about 46 percent according to details obtained by The Associated Press. The figures were provided by a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been announced.

Jeter, the former New York Yankees captain who led the team to five World Series titles, will head the team's baseball and business operations.

''He understands that people are watching and he understands that he's not being judged by the fact that he can play shortstop for the New York Yankees and get world championships that way,'' outgoing Marlins president David Samson said Thursday. ''It's a whole new game and he knew it from day one.''

The incoming group, unanimously approved by baseball owners on Wednesday, will assume $100 million in the team's debt and is restructuring an additional $300 million of the club's debt. The sale is scheduled to close Monday, the day after the regular season ends.

''Are people happy for a change? They may be. And I hope they're much happier,'' Samson said. ''I guess my wish would be that Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman get every benefit of the doubt and that every fan and every person in South Florida looks at this as a new beginning.''

The new ownership committed a $50 million reserve fund to the franchise, which also will receive about $50 million more for reserves as the Marlins' share of money The Walt Disney Co. is paying to acquire additional equity in BAM Tech, which was spun off from Major League Baseball's digital company.

Sherman was co-founder of Private Capital Management, based in Naples, Florida.

Among others in the ownership group (and their approximate stakes) are Viking Global co-founder David Ott (10 percent), Energy Capital Partners senior partner Doug Kimmelman (8 percent), Sigma Group founder Jaime Montealegre (7 percent) and The Beekman Group managing partner John Troiano (5 percent).

Sherman, Jeter, Kimmelman, Ott and Troiano will serve on the team's board.

As part of the $800 million being paid by the incoming group, $90 million is preferred equity.

Loria bought the franchise for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, who became part of the Boston Red Sox ownership group. Samson joined the Marlins along with Loria, his stepfather.

The Marlins won the World Series in 2003 but have not been to the postseason since, the second-longest postseason drought behind Seattle (2001). Samson said the team operated at a loss this year, when it had a $116 million payroll for its roster as of Aug. 31, according to MLB figures.

''A lot of things have happened over the years when it comes to losing money,'' Samson said. ''Jeffrey funded this team by himself for 16 seasons. There were several seasons where he didn't have to but way, way more when he did have to. Some years our payroll was too high, some years our payroll was just right - and then we'd get in the race and our payroll would get too high again.''

Samson met with team employees at Marlins Park, a stadium built with public financing that opened in 2012.

''It's with a definite heavy heart and it is with an amount of emotion that I don't often show or feel that I say goodbye to this organization,'' he said. ''But I will never say good-bye to this community.''

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 Posted: Sat Sep 30th, 2017 01:33 am
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Fred Wilpon made sure Terry Collins would see out his contract with the New York Mets.

Though general manager Sandy Alderson and chief executive officer Jeff Wilpon - the son of Fred - reportedly attempted to dismiss Collins on multiple occasions during his time with the Mets, the senior Wilpon is said to have repeatedly thwarted those efforts, over a dozen team sources told Newsday's Marc Carig.

"He got too chummy with him," one team official told Carig about Wilpon's amicable relationship with Collins.

It's not the first time this season Wilpon is said to have jumped to Collins' defense.

Back in May, as the Mets struggled to stay afloat in the NL East and Matt Harvey's infamous team-issued suspension dominated headlines, general manager Sandy Alderson had allegedly grown frustrated with Collins' recent in-game decisions. Collins' job as Mets skipper, however, was not under threat due to strong support from Wilpon in the front office.

Collins' contract with the club will come to an end following the 2017 season, to which the Mets reportedly expect the 68-year-old to retire from baseball. The skipper, however, spurned those assumptions earlier this week, adamantly stating he "will be in baseball, somewhere."

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