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Postautor: hongwei28 » 18 paź 2018, 04:22

The Arizona Diamondbacks hoped to have A.J. Pollock back before the All-Star break. The center fielder’s thumb was in good shape Ryan O'Reilly Jersey , but he wanted to get his legs under him before returning.

Pollock came back earlier than expected, coming off the 10-day disabled list on Monday and putting a key bat back in Arizona’s lineup as it tries to hold onto the NL West lead.

Pollock was slated to hit fourth against St. Louis in his first game back since breaking his left thumb while diving for a ball in the outfield against Milwaukee on May 14.

”I’m thankful that the guys here trusted me and allowed me to play a couple games and get back,” Pollock said.

Pollock got off to a strong start this season, hitting.293 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 40 games before the injury. Arizona’s division lead, once at six games with Pollock in the lineup, was down to 2 1/2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers after a three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.

”Swing feels good, everything feels good,” Pollock said.

Arizona also purchased the contract of right-hander Joey Krehbiel from Triple-A Reno and released right-hander Troy Scribner. Right-hander Silvino Bracho and utilityman Christian Walker were optioned to Reno.

The 25-year-old Krehbiel went 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 29 games with the Aces. He is looking for his big league debut.

Bracho went 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA in five stints with the Diamondbacks this season.

Walker hit .208 with a homer and two RBIs over four stints with Arizona.

Paul Goldschmidt struck out his first two at-bats against Jack Flaherty, once on a slider. With two on in the fifth inning, Goldschmidt fell behind against the St. Louis right-hander and laid off two sliders like the one he chased earlier.

Another slider found too much of the plate and the reigning NL player of the month sent it over the wall in right.

Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer, Zack Greinke pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks ended a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

”Paul’s gifted,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”You can’t make mistakes like that. He’s going to make you pay.”

Greinke (9-5) gave up two runs in the second inning to end his 13-inning scoreless streak but was otherwise sharp in winning his fourth straight game. Yoshihisa Hirano needed one pitch to get a groundout with the bases loaded in the seventh and extend his team record with a 26th straight scoreless appearance.

Brad Boxberger worked around a walk in the ninth for his 20th save in 24 chances.

Goldschmidt had the big blow, following a four-hit night Monday with a three-run homer off Flaherty (3-4) in the fifth inning. The NL player of the month for June Sam Reinhart Jersey , Goldschmidt is hitting .413 with 11 homers and 28 RBIs his past 26 games.

”It wasn’t the best slider I had thrown all night and you get a guy like that, who is red hot like that, he put a good swing on it,” Flaherty said.

Greinke entered Tuesday’s game with the 13-inning scoreless streak after tossing seven scoreless innings against Miami his last start. His streak lasted one more inning; the Cardinals scored two runs in the second inning on Yairo Munoz’s single and Kolten Wong’s sacrifice fly.

Greinke shook off the shaky second by mixing his pitches well, keeping the Cardinals off-balance with low-90s fastballs and looping curves that dipped to 63 mph. He was lifted with two outs in the seventh inning after giving up consecutive hits, allowing two runs on seven hits and four strikeouts.

”I felt good, there was good defense behind me and we scored some runs,” Greinke said.

Flaherty allowed four runs on six hits in six innings in a loss to Cleveland his last start. He was sharp after giving up David Peralta’s run-scoring single in the first inning, retiring 10 straight batters.

Flaherty ran into trouble in the fifth inning, giving up a double and hitting a batter before Goldschmidt lifted a three-run homer just over the wall in right to put Arizona up 4-2.

Flaherty allowed four runs on four hits and struck out seven in six innings.

”He threw the ball well,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”(He) got into a tough situation with a good hitter, got to two strikes, the guy got the best of that matchup Zemgus Girgensons Jersey , but overall his stuff was very good today.”

TRANLATOR BOOTED

Lovullo brought Hirano’s translator, Kelvin Kondo, with him to the mound after making a pitching change in the seventh inning, just to make sure the Japanese right-hander was clear on what he wanted. The mound meeting turned a bit chaotic when Lovullo left the mound and Kondo was still talking to Hirano.

Under big-league rules, a translator has to stay next to the manager while on the mound, so when Lovullo started to walk away, plate umpire Bill Welke started shouting and told Kondo to leave the field.

”I didn’t even know what was going on up there. It was crazy, chaotic,” Lovullo said. ”There’s a clear rule and it’s so new to us having the interpreter and exchanging information. I just left the mound too soon, the dirt area too soon and that was my responsibility to stay there until all the instructions were made.”

TRAINER’S TABLE

Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (broken left hand) went 0 for 4 for Triple-A Memphis on Monday night, his third rehab game with the Redbirds.

Diamondbacks: RHP Randall Delgado (strained left oblique) allowed a run on three hits in an inning for Triple-A Reno Monday night in a rehab appearance. … OF Steven Souza Jr. went 1 for 4 with a solo homer for the Aces as he works back from a strained right pectoral.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin has allowed a run in 13 innings his past two starts heading into Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals. St. Louis sends out RHP Miles Mikolas, who lost his last start despite allowing a run in 6 2/3 innings against Atlanta.

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Postautor: hongwei28 » 18 paź 2018, 04:29

The Fritz Pollard Alliance called Wednesday for the NFL to investigate whether the Oakland Raiders violated the ”Rooney Rule” when they hired Jon Gruden as coach.

Fritz Pollard Alliance counsel Cyrus Mehri and N. Jeremi Duru said they were concerned that Raiders owner Mark Davis came to an agreement with Gruden before the team interviewed any minority candidates as required by the NFL since 2003.

”As soon as we learned of the reports Authentic Oscar Fantenberg Jersey , we formally requested that the NFL thoroughly investigate the matter to conclusively determine whether the Rooney Rule was violated – and if it was violated, to impose an appropriate punishment,” they said.

The Fritz Pollard Alliance is dedicated to promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of NFL teams.

Davis said Tuesday at the news conference introducing Gruden as the team’s new coach that he had been trying to make the move for six years and finally believed it would happen after a meeting in Philadelphia on Christmas Eve, the day before Gruden worked a game between the Raiders and Eagles on ESPN.

”I felt pretty confident that he was all-in,” Davis said. ”And that’s the term that we were using in our discussions and everything, are you all-in? And I never wavered from all-in. And this time he didn’t waver, either.”

Davis fired Jack Del Rio a week later and the team officially hired Gruden on Jan. 6. Davis also said he wouldn’t have fired Del Rio if he didn’t believe Gruden would sign on as coach.

”I believe that I would’ve sat down with Jack and we would’ve figured out coordinators and assistant coaches and things like that and try to figure out how to re-invigorate the franchise through Jack,” he said.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Tuesday he interviewed two minority candidates before Gruden’s hiring was announced. Those candidates were Oakland tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and Southern California offensive coordinator Tee Martin.

The Raiders and the NFL had no immediate comment Wednesday night on the request from the Fritz Pollard Alliance.



Shin-Soo Choo changed up his swing going into this season with a modified leg kick. Maybe more significant was a return to some of the mental focus he had lost along the way.

”Every pitch, each pitch, is the last pitch of my baseball career … I think that way,” Choo said.

After a slow start to this season, Choo realized he had gotten away from what he refers to as the ”sniper focus” he wants to have every time he goes to the plate for the Texas Rangers.

Choo now has a 38-game on-base streak. It is the longest of his 14-year big league career, and the second-longest this season behind a 40-gamer by Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera.

”The physical side of it is a byproduct of him making a conscious effort to get back to who he is Tanner Pearson Jersey , what his foundation has been as a hitter, an on-base guy first,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ”When he’s doing that and he’s seeing pitches, he’s focused in more on driving the ball, that he gets to hit his pitch. He’s really good at it.”

With three singles on Monday night, including the tiebreaking RBI hit in a 7-4 win over San Diego, Choo has the longest on-base streak for Texas since Otis Nixon’s 44 games in a row in 1995. Julio Franco’s 46-gamer in 1993 is the franchise record.

Choo was hitting .239 after going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts May 12 at Houston, along with a .316 on-base percentage.

Since then, the outfielder and designated hitter has 48 hits and 37 walks in 38 games – reaching base an average of 2.2 times each game during his streak. That has raised his batting average to .285 and increased his on-base percentage 79 points.

”He sticks to his approach more than anything. He doesn’t really care who is on the mound,” said Delino DeShields, the young center fielder whose locker is next to Choo’s. ”He knows himself, he’s done it for a long time. He knows when he’s getting away from that and it’s an easy adjustment for him to make.”

DeShields said Choo keeps things ”really simple” and sticks to his routine.

For Choo, that includes almost always being the first player in the clubhouse – whether before sunrise at spring training or around lunchtime before night games during the season.

Banister remembers showing up at the team’s complex around 5 a.m. one day early during the manager’s first spring with the team in 2015. Choo was already there.

”Next few days we got there at the same time and then one day I got up earlier for some reason and beat him to the ballpark,” Banister said. ”I didn’t beat him to the ballpark the next day.”

Choo http://www.officialblackhawksproshop.com/authentic-adidas-artem-anisimov-jersey , in his fifth season with Texas after playing for Seattle, Cleveland and Cincinnati, is also tidy. The two stalls he occupies in the home clubhouse are organized, including the array of batting gloves stacked neatly and organized by color. He knows where everything is because it all has a specific spot – and says it’s the same at his house.

”He’s real particular,” DeShields said. ”He packs his own bag. … He always looks nice. It’s just how he is. He’s a professional. Whatever you define a professional to be, that’s him.”

Choo will turn 36 on July 13, four days before the All-Star Game. He has never been an All-Star before but is a strong candidate to represent the Rangers as a first-timer.

Banister said Choo certainly has played to a level to be considered for the American League squad in Washington next month.

”This is a great teammate. He really is. This is a guy who cares about every player in that locker room. He cares about the game. A lot,” Banister said. ”The respect for the game of baseball, how it’s played, the look of it, the players, the style of play, the way you should play the game.”

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Postautor: hongwei28 » 18 paź 2018, 04:36

SAN FRANCISCO — Two teams that looked a bit more like they hoped to look all season Thursday night will go head-to-head for the second straight game when the San Diego Padres take on the San Francisco Giants on Friday.

On the same night when the Padres were able to put Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer in the lineup together for just the ninth time this season Joe Montana Jersey , the Giants had their 1-2 pitching combination of Madison Bumgarner and Mark Melancon going strong in a 3-0 victory in the opener of a four-game series.

The Giants’ third straight victory was more than just a streak-extender, catcher Buster Posey insisted afterward.

“Bum is such a presence,” he said of the left-handed ace. “Even when he’s not pitching that night, he’s lurking. The other team knows he’s there. It’s a nice advantage for us to have.”

Bumgarner recorded his first win of the season Thursday in the same game in which Melancon notched his first save of the year.

The duo, who were viewed as a potential high-powered tag-team act when Melancon was signed as a free agent before the start of the 2017 season, worked the win/save thing for the first time as teammates.

Melancon was pressed into ninth-inning duties because of the broken finger sustained by closer Hunter Strickland earlier in the week.

If all goes well, the Giants might be afforded the luxury of moving Strickland back to a set-up role when he returns in August, presuming Melancon can continue to display the stuff that overpowered the top of the San Diego order on just 13 pitches to complete Thursday’s shutout.

Among the guys Melancon set down were Myers, who grounded out, and Hosmer, who struck out.

They combined to go 0-for-7 in their new setting — atop the San Diego order.

Myers, who suffered arm and oblique injuries in spring training and the first month of the season, was playing Thursday for the first time since April 28.

“They’re our guys,” Padres manager Andy Green assured. “Every single team has a couple guys you look to rely on offensively to anchor you. They’re our guys. They are the two guys that we expect to anchor us, and when you’re missing part of that anchor it can be tough.”

The anchor looked a bit rusty against Bumgarner, who worked eight three-hit innings, but they will get a shot at Giants right-hander Chris Stratton (8-4, 4.22 ERA) in the second game of the series.

With Myers out of the lineup, Stratton threw seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit, in a 7-0 win over the Padres in April. It improved his career numbers to 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA against them in three games, including two starts.

Stratton enters the game on a nice roll, having lost just once in his last seven starts dating back to May 9.

He will be opposed by Padres left-hander Clayton Richard (6-6, 4.31), who has won three in a row, allowing just six earned runs in 20 innings.

But the 34-year-old has struggled in his career against the Giants, going 6-8 with a 4.58 ERA in 22 games, including 19 starts.

He has pitched 13 times (10 starts) in San Francisco, going 4-4 with a 5.75 ERA.

Among those who have teed off on Richard are Posey, who has gone 12-for-32 (.375) with two home runs, and Andrew McCutchen Deion Sanders Jersey , who also has homered twice in just 12 at-bats.

The Seattle Mariners signed general manager Jerry Dipoto to a multiyear contract extension on Friday, a reward for the club being on track to end the longest playoff drought in the four major professional sports in the U.S.

The agreement comes with the Mariners 24 games above .500, and striving to make the postseason for the first time since 2001.

”We’re obviously happy with the work he’s done so far and look forward to the next several years as well,” team president and CEO Kevin Mather said. ”We are having some success on the field, but when I said the work he has done so far, I’m referring to day one. We hired him Sept. 28, 2015 and he hasn’t stopped since the day he got here.”

Since the start of the 2016 season, Dipoto’s first full year, the Mariners have the eighth-best record in the majors at 220-192. Seattle’s 56-32 start through 88 games is tied for the second-best mark in franchise history. Only the 2001 team that tied the major league mark for most wins in a season with 116 victories surpassed the start of the 2018 Mariners.

”This is a no-brainer for me,” Dipoto said. ”I told you all when I got here that this was a dream job for me. It’s a great market in a city that is starved to win, with an opportunity to be creative.”

While there are still issues in the farm system, Dipoto has succeeded in making the major league product better. He has turned over a roster that had gotten old and added key younger pieces like Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Dee Gordon, who are major contributors in Seattle’s start to this season.

Dipoto also has locked up key parts of Seattle’s core for the next several seasons, either through club control through arbitration or long-term extensions. Seattle’s current starting rotation is under contract through the 2019 season and the only everyday player without club control beyond this season is designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

When Dipoto took over in 2015, the Mariners were looking for stability after a tough finish to Jack Zduriencik’s tenure with the club. Dipoto himself was trying to rebuild his own career after a less than amicable departure from the Los Angeles Angels amid conflict with manager Mike Scioscia.

Dipoto made numerous moves in his first year with Seattle, starting the roster churn that added more youth to the club. Seattle won 86 games in 2016 before backsliding to 78-84 last year amid numerous injuries to the pitching staff.

Seattle was thought to be a fringe playoff contender this year but is in the thick of the hunt nearing the All-Star break.

”My time here – the 2 1/2 years – has, I think, gone just as well as I hoped it could go, provided we finish strong,” Dipoto said.

”It takes a village to build a baseball organization, and we’ve got a pretty good village. This is a new day to move forward. The Mariners are playing very well. I’m thrilled for this group, but I’m more thrilled that this group has an opportunity to continue to do what they’re doing.”

With Dipoto locked up, the focus turns to manager Scott Servais, whose contract is up at the end of the 2018 season.

”Scott has been my partner for far longer than we’ve been here,” Dipoto said. ”Whether it be dreaming about what we wanted to create as a franchise, whether it be in player development and what we are doing in scouting, or now culminating with how to build a major league roster and how to guide it, I don’t envision a time where I’m doing my job without him doing his job.”

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Postautor: hongwei28 » 18 paź 2018, 04:42

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been traded – from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees.

The MLB’s Rangers selected Wilson in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft during the winter meetings in December 2013 Anton Stralman Jersey , about two months before he led the Seahawks to a win over Denver in the Super Bowl.

On Wednesday, Texas traded Wilson to the Yankees for future considerations.

Wilson spent a day in uniform with the Rangers at spring training in Surprise, Arizona, in 2014 without appearing in a game, and made another cameo appearance at camp the following spring. An infielder, Wilson hit .229 in two seasons in the low minor leagues in Colorado’s system in 2010-11.

The 29-year-old Wilson is expected to be in the Yankees major league camp in March, where he will participate in pregame workouts and watch games from the Yankees dugout while in Florida. He will be assigned to the Double-A Trenton roster.

”We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

”This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp.”

Wilson issued a statement thanking the Rangers for giving him the chance to experience professional baseball again.

”Growing up taking grounders, hitting BP, and throwing deep post routes early in the mornings with my dad and brother is where my love of sports came from, and those memories stick with me every morning I wake up,” Wilson said.

”I remember how excited I was when Texas selected me in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013. During my two springs in Arizona with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game of baseball.”

A two-sport athlete in college, Wilson graduated from North Carolina State University in 2010. In 2011, he left the Rockies organization for football to be a graduate transfer at Wisconsin Womens Brayden Point Jersey , leading to the Badgers to a share of the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl appearance before the Seahawks took him in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft.

”While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today,” Wilson said.

”I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing quarterback in the NFL. … While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to have been a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.”



More MLB baseball:

WASHINGTON — Their winning streak against the Baltimore Orioles ended, the Washington Nationals will turn to Max Scherzer on Thursday night as they look to win the three-game series against the team with the worst record in baseball.

Scherzer (10-3, 2.06 ERA), seeking to avoid losing three starts in a row for the first time since 2015, will be opposed by Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48).

In each of his last two outings, Scherzer has made one mistake and the Washington bats haven’t been able to overcome it. On June 10, he allowed a two-run homer to Brandon Crawford in a 2-0 home loss to the San Francisco Giants, and last Saturday he was touched for a two-run shot by Toronto’s Devon Travis, also in a 2-0 loss.

“This is major league baseball. One pitch can cost you a game. Now I’ve had it happen back-to-back starts,” Scherzer told the Washington Post. “… You can get beat like that.”

Scherzer allowed a combined eight hits in the two losses while striking out 19 in his first back-to-back defeats since 2015.

He leads the NL in wins, strikeouts (152) and opponents’ batting average (.171) and ranks second in ERA.

Scherzer is 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Orioles. He beat them on May 30, throwing eight shutout innings and giving up just two hits.

Adam Jones is 13-for-32 (.406) with three doubles and four home runs against Scherzer Braydon Coburn Jersey , while Manny Machado is 2-for-25 and Mark Trumbo is 1-for-16.

On Wednesday night, the Orioles got a two-run homer from Trumbo and five pitchers combined for a 3-0 win, snapping a six-game losing streak against Washington that dated to last season.

Baltimore (21-51) won for only the fourth time in 21 games and improved the majors’ worst road record to 10-28 after the teams endured a 2-hour, 43-minute rain delay.

“It’s never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark,” Trumbo said. “Then you have to restart. It’s almost two games in one, so great job by our guys tonight.”

One night after pounding out 14 hits, the Nationals (39-33) were held to five and were shut out for the fourth time in their last nine games.

“We’ve got some pretty good hitters,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “We’ve just got to keep pushing and keep going. The runs will come. I know they’ll come and when they do come they’ll come in bunches.”

Gausman has not won since May 11, though in his last two starts it had as much to do with the Baltimore bats as his pitching. On June 9, he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays. Then on June 15, he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins as he allowed five hits and threw 107 pitches.

“Kevin gave us a really good chance to win,” manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. “I’m sure he’d like to take back some of the 0-2 hits he gave up, but two runs … I can’t fault him for that. It just gets magnified any runs our pitchers give up because we’re struggling so much to score runs.”

Gausman is 3-1 with a 4.70 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. Bryce Harper is 3-for-7 against him and Anthony Rendon is 3-for-9.
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Postautor: hongwei28 » 18 paź 2018, 04:48

At age 36 Adidas Tuukka Rask Jersey , James Shields is not in the picture of the future for the rebuilding Chicago White Sox.

Still, he remains a big part of the present.

Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia homered and Shields limited Minnesota to four hits over seven innings, leading the White Sox to a 6-1 victory over the Twins on Wednesday night.

Shields (3-9) struck out five and walked just two in his only scoreless start of the season. The veteran right-hander lasted just 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Oakland on Friday. Before that, he had worked at least six innings in 11 straight turns and has gone at least seven innings five times. After struggling through the last two years following his arrival in a trade with San Diego, Shields has begun to settle in.

”He’s a guy that kind of balances out our rotation,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. ”He shows these guys how to grind through an inning, get through certain situations, remain calm, understand that no matter how much havoc occurs around you, the best thing is to try to execute pitches.”

Tim Anderson and Charlie Tilson each had two hits and an RBI for Chicago, which has won three straight games and four of five.

”The pitching and the defense were really good,” Shields said, ”and the hitting was phenomenal.”

Ehire Adrianza had four hits and an RBI for Minnesota, which has dropped two straight games and five of six. Twins starter Kyle Gibson (2-6) allowed five runs on 11 hits in seven innings.

The White Sox took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Abreu and Garcia led off with singles. One out later, Leury Garcia doubled to drive in Abreu. Anderson followed with a run-scoring single, and Omar Narvaez drove in a run with a ground out. Abreu’s solo homer in the fifth stretched the lead to 4-0.

Avisail Garcia’s solo homer in the eighth made it 6-0. The Twins tacked on a run in the ninth, but they fell to 34-42 to match their season high of eight games below the .500 mark after another night of chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone.

”Lefties had a hard time laying off the slider, especially down and in,” manager Paul Molitor said. ”We really didn’t hit too many balls hard.”

BALK TALK

With two outs in the sixth, Eddie Rosario walked and Brian Dozier singled to put runners on first and third and give Minnesota a chance to close the gap. But then the game took a bizarre turn. With Max Kepler stepping to the plate, Twins third base coach Gene Glynn suddenly was ejected by third base umpire Gerry Davis.

”He had wanted a balk the inning before,” Davis said to a pool reporter. ”I explained to him it was not a balk, told him I wasn’t sure he knew the definition of what a balk was for a stop. The next half inning he came out, brought it up again … and I ejected him.”

BALK TALK II

Later in the at-bat, Shields faked a pickoff throw to first and then spun around to throw to third baseman Yolmer Sanchez. Shields was called for a balk, which allowed Rosario to score and Dozier to move up to second.

Renteria argued, claiming Shields stepped off before faking to first, which is within the rules. After huddling, the umpires overturned the balk, sending the runners back. Molitor came out to protest and was quickly ejected.

”It was suspicious in the fact that we couldn’t tell if he disengaged with the rubber at all Adidas Brad Marchand Jersey ,” Molitor said. ”There’s a lot of things about the move that are suspect to me.”

Shields then struck out Kepler looking on a 71-mph curveball to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins CF Byron Buxton (broken left big toe) is scheduled to play both games of a doubleheader with Triple-A Rochester on Thursday. He’ll DH one game and play the field in the other.

UP NEXT

RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.97 ERA) pitches the final game of the three-game series for the Twins, looking to bounce back a rough outing. He gave up for six runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings against Texas on Saturday.

RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7, 7.01 ERA) takes the mound for the White Sox, aiming to win a second straight start.

Just who was that guy sitting on the Seattle Mariners bench, the odd fellow with the bushy mustache, shades and a hoodie?

Wait a second – it was Ichiro!

Now a team executive, Ichiro Suzuki donned a Bobby Valentine-style disguise and sneaked into the Seattle dugout Thursday to watch a bit of the action at Yankee Stadium.

Exactly as he hinted, in fact.

”He was perfect. I never would have known it was him,” Valentine texted to The Associated Press.

Officially, Suzuki isn’t allowed to be in the dugout during games under Major League Baseball rules. The 44-year-old outfielder with 3,089 career hits came off the Seattle roster in early May and moved into the team’s front office as a special assistant to the chairman.

Suzuki has been taking part in pregame drills and batting practice in a role similar to a coach. But he’s required to leave the bench when games begin, and that’s when he takes his place in the clubhouse – usually, anyway.

This time, in a ballpark where he played for parts of three seasons, Suzuki got a much closer look.

AP photographer Bill Kostroun spotted Suzuki with his face nearly covered by a fake mustache, sunglasses and a gray hoodie drawn tight over his head during in the first inning as the Yankees hit a pair of two-run homers.

Suzuki sat in the middle of the dugout, in the back row, in his shorts and occasionally crouched down while the Yankees swung away. He was gone by the second inning of Seattle’s 4-3 loss that completed a New York sweep.

The 10-time All-Star hasn’t officially retired, and there’s speculation the Japanese great might play when the Mariners open the 2019 season in Tokyo with a two-game series against Oakland.

This was Seattle’s only trip to Yankee Stadium this year, and maybe Suzuki wanted a final look at the ballpark. Or perhaps he was just showing off his playful side.

On the day it was announced Suzuki was moving into his new position, he predicted this might happen.

”During the game I will be doing the same preparations I’ve been doing the entire time. Nothing is going to change for me that I did as a player,” Suzuki said at the time. ”But I can’t say for certain that maybe I won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout.”

In 1999, the excitable Valentine was ejected from a game he was managing for the New York Mets. He was tossed in the 12th inning, but soon put on a fake mustache and sunglasses and returned to the dugout in disguise.

Valentine was later suspended for two games and fined $5,000.

The longtime manager liked Suzuki’s creativity.

”One of the biggest honors of my life,” Valentine said. ”I was going to send him a set, but he didn’t need it.”



AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

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Postautor: hongwei28 » 25 paź 2018, 03:14

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs waited and waited and waited Monday night. When the lights malfunctioned again and the forecast called for more rain Orlando Brown Jr. Jersey , they finally said enough.

The rematch of the last two NL Championship Series was postponed by a mixture of poor weather and a limited power outage at Wrigley Field. It will be made up Tuesday afternoon as part of a day-night doubleheader.

It was sunny and hot in Chicago for most of Monday, but clouds began to roll into the area about two hours before the scheduled first pitch. An initial downpour stopped at one point and the grounds crew pulled the tarp off the field, only to put it back on after a short stretch.

There was also trouble with three banks of lights on the first-base side of the iconic 104-year-old ballpark that went on and off a couple times, in addition to some lights in the stands on the third-base side that were out when the game was called after a nearly 3-hour delay.

”It appears to be a limited power outage in the ballpark which is impacting the right-field light operation,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said. ”Obviously can’t play baseball without a full bank of lights in the ballpark. Notwithstanding the lights, we’re also dealing with a pretty heavy storm system in the area, which we’re projected to get more rain here.”

Green said they don’t know the root cause of the power outage, but it appears to be in the ballpark itself and not in the surrounding neighborhood. He said the plan is to have ballpark fully operational by the start of the first game on Tuesday.

”But a lot of work needs to happen tonight to make sure we can do that,” Green said.

This is Los Angeles’ only scheduled trip to Chicago this season.

”It’s out of our control,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”It’s one of those times when we spent a lot of time here, but there’s nothing else we could have done.”

Kenta Maeda, Monday night’s scheduled starter for Los Angeles, will get the ball for the opener of the doubleheader. Rich Hill will come off the disabled list to start Game 2.

Hill was placed on the DL on May 20 with a blister on his left middle finger, a recurring problem for the veteran left-hander.

The Cubs employed the same plan, with Tyler Chatwood going in the opener and Mike Montgomery staying in place for the previously scheduled game. Montgomery is 2-1 with a 1.14 ERA in four starts since he was inserted into the rotation after Yu Darvish was sidelined by right triceps tendinitis.

The Dodgers are making their first appearance at Wrigley since they advanced to the World Series with an 11-1 victory over the Cubs in Game 5 of the NLCS on Oct. 19. The same teams also met in the 2016 NLCS, with Chicago advancing on its way to its first championship since 1908.



Jay Cohen can be reached at Don Martindale wondered if he would ever get a second chance to be an NFL defensive coordinator after his one-and-done disaster with the Denver Broncos in 2010.

The Broncos went 4-12 that season and gave up more points (29.4 per game) and yards (390.8) than any team in the league. Those miserable numbers, not surprisingly, cost Martindale his job.

He latched on with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 as linebackers coach. After working diligently with several stars, including Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley, the 54-year-old Martindale last week was promoted to defensive coordinator.

To say he’s pleased to be in charge of an NFL defense again would be a profound understatement.

”Without a doubt,” Martindale said Thursday. ”My family knows it. Everybody knows it. My players know it. I can’t wait.”

His performance in Denver eight years ago is hardly worth putting on a resume, but Martindale believes it was a worthwhile experience.

”Even though the stats were what they were Kenny Young Jersey , I was really proud with how we played,” he said. ”I’m glad I went through that process because I think that makes me a better coach today. It’s like I tell my guys: You either win or you learn.”

Martindale’s new job with the Ravens carries the responsibility of overseeing a unit that has long been among the best in the NFL, thriving under notable leaders such as Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees, who retired on Jan. 1.

”I’ve been preparing for this job all my life,” Martindale said. ”It’s very humbling, but I understand the pressure and I look forward to the challenge.”

Martindale takes over a defense that this season ranked 12th in net yards allowed, first in takeaways (34) and sixth in fewest points allowed (18.9). He has no plans to revamp the unit or change the philosophy, especially since head coach John Harbaugh stressed the need to retain continuity before launching his search for Pees’ replacement.

Martindale will, however, put his own stamp on the unit.

”I think personality-wise, and just calls, there’s going to be some things that are the same. And then there are going to be sometimes where I’m going to pressure more,” Martindale said. ”I just think I have a more aggressive personality in calling the game. Sometimes, too aggressive. That’s some of the things I’ve learned from the past.”

His most daunting task will be finding a way to make the defense to come up big late in the game. In 2016, a fourth-quarter collapse in Pittsburgh cost Baltimore a playoff berth. This season, a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minute by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton bounced the Ravens from the postseason chase.

”Our mantra has always been to finish,” Martindale said. ”We’re close. Obviously, the last two years, it’s been the last play that’s knocked us out of it. We are going to work diligently – all of us – with our package and situational football.

”That’s going to be the next step, I think, that will skyrocket us. That’s the big thing that I see. We were really good. Let’s make it great.”

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Postautor: hongwei28 » 25 paź 2018, 03:21

Pitcher Wade LeBlanc is guaranteed $2.75 million under a new contract with the Seattle Mariners covering 2019 Womens Luke Kuechly Jersey , a deal with three options that would be worth $31.3 million over four years if he pitches 180 innings or more each season.

A left-hander who turns 34 next month, LeBlanc gets a $300,000 signing bonus and a $2 million salary next year under the deal announced Tuesday. Seattle has $5 million options for 2020, 2021 and 2022 that could become guaranteed, each with a $450,000 buyout.

His 2020 salary would become guaranteed if he pitches 160 innings in 2019, and the 2021 and `22 options would become guaranteed if he pitches 160 innings in the previous season or 310 innings in the two previous seasons combined. The options would become guaranteed only if he does not have an injury to his left arm.

LeBlanc could earn $2 million annually in performance bonuses based on innings: $100,000 each for 90 and 100, $150,000 apiece for 110 and 120, $200,000 each for 130 and 140, $250,000 apiece for 150 and 160, and $300,000 each for 170 and 180. His following season’s salary would escalate by the total of any performance bonuses earned.

He would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2020 World Series.

LeBlanc is 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in 12 starts and five relief appearances this season, leaving his career record at 34-35 in 10 big league seasons. He is with his eight big league organization, signing with Seattle late in spring training following his release by the New York Yankees.

LeBlanc has a $650,000 base salary this year and a provision for $25,000 bonuses for 10 and 20 starts. He also earned $96 Youth Cam Newton Jersey ,000 in termination pay with the Yankees.




CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs‘ starting pitchers may not be performing as consistent as they would like, but Joe Maddon’s offense is finding ways to make up for it.

Addison Russell’s grand slam helped bail out starter Mike Montgomery in Friday’s series opener against the Minnesota Twins. Now, as Tyler Chatwood takes the mound in Saturday’s matinee interleague game at Wrigley Field, the Cubs will push for their third straight victory after they rallied for their second consecutive come-from-behind win Friday at Wrigley Field.

Russell’s blast erased a three-run deficit en route to a 10-6 victory that included home runs by Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Kyle Schwarber. The win came a day after the Cubs scored seven runs in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The run support could be big for Chatwood, who has struggled throughout the season and will make his first start after being activated off the paternity list earlier this week. Chatwood told reporters Friday that he feels good and that he was able to come in and throw a bullpen session as he prepared for Saturday’s start.

He admitted the uncertainty of when his wife would give birth weighed on him in his last start. Chatwood (3-5, 3.95 ERA) has taken no-decisions in four of his past five starts but was effective in his most recent outing. Chatwood allowed a run and two hits in five innings against the Dodgers when he threw 101 pitches. He is 0-2 in three career starts against the Twins with a 6.91 ERA.

“Luckily, everything worked out,” Chatwood said Friday of the week’s events, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Everybody’s good.”

Chatwood will start after the Cubs hoped Yu Darvish could return from a right triceps injury on Saturday. Darvish, who experienced pain in a bullpen session on Thursday, flew to Dallas for a second opinion. Tests showed he has a right elbow impingement and inflammation and will be re-evaluated in three to five days.

The Twins, who have lost six of their last eight games despite Joe Mauer’s five RBIs in Friday’s loss, will attempt to get back on track when left-hander Adalberto Mejia makes his first start of the season. Mejia, who went 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 21 starts last year, has spent the entire season in the minor leagues.

Mejia pitched well at Triple-A Rochester and struck out 50 and registered a 2.74 ERA in 49 1/3 innings. He has posted a 4-1 record in June with a 1.41 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 32 innings. Mejia will face the Cubs for the first time in his career.

The Twins announced this week that they would recall Mejia at a time that manager Paul Molitor said makes sense for everyone involved.

“The reports have been his command has been much better,” Molitor told reporters earlier this week, according to the team’s official website. “More efficient. His off-speed seems to be working. His changeup is the only pitch that’s been hot and cold. His fastball-slider command has been really good. He’s had a handful of good outings in a row. Efficient is good.”
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Postautor: hongwei28 » 25 paź 2018, 03:29

The massive football stadium complex at Hollywood Park is currently a bustling construction site. The $2.6 billion project won’t welcome fans through its doors for another two years.

But the Rams and the Chargers are eager to show you to your seat.

Los Angeles’ two NFL teams will begin selling season ticket memberships for their new stadium for the first time next week. Both will start with only their premium seating Mike Reilly Jersey , offering an array of privileges and amenities befitting the sizable price tags for the best 13,000-odd seats in what could be the most expensive arena in the world.

With relocation fading into memory after a pair of winning seasons in LA, both franchises are eager to move into the bright future promised by the palatial project rising in Inglewood. The 70,240-seat arena will also host the Super Bowl, the College Football Playoff title game and Olympic events in its first decade of existence after it opens in 2020.

”This has been a long time coming,” said A.G. Spanos, the Chargers’ president of business operations. ”When I was at USC, we were talking about a new stadium in LA back then. This has been a slow pot to boil in Los Angeles, but the future is here. This venue is incredibly exciting.”

In an office building in coastal Playa Vista, the teams will begin showing off the project to their fans on Tuesday, starting with visits from many current season ticket holders for both clubs. The sleek LA Stadium Premiere Center features detailed scale models, video hype reels and a staff with carefully curated sales pitches for the privately financed project spearheaded by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

”It’s exciting when you fly in and you see the steel coming out of the ground Victor Mete Jersey , or when you drive up and you see the stadium starting to take shape,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said. ”And now this is the first chance the fans really get to participate in being part of the stadium and seeing Stan’s vision come to life.”

The Rams and Chargers have also unveiled the first prices for tickets – and the prices for the stadium seat licenses that provide the opportunity to buy tickets.

Instead of selling the now-ubiquitous personal seat licenses, with which fans pay a sometimes-hefty fee for the opportunity to buy their tickets, the Chargers and Rams are selling a similar concept with a similar name, but one big difference: For the first time in NFL stadium history, that money will be returned to the fans – albeit in 50 years.

Instead of the naked cash grab of a PSL, the SSL is essentially an interest-free loan to finance the stadium construction. The structure also allows both the teams and the fans to avoid paying taxes on the licenses.

”We really feel like they are making an investment, and they’re a shareholder in the team and the stadium project,” Demoff said. ”For us, rather than fan money going to taxes, it can go directly to the construction of the building. It builds a better building, and it requires no taxpayer money to do so. It’s a unique concept that we expect will be replicated from here on out.”

The Rams’ stadium seat licenses will begin at $100 Craig Smith Jersey ,000 for the stadium’s 500 ”all-access” seats, located in two sections on either end of the 50-yard line. The Chargers’ SSLs will be $75,000 for the same seats, which include food and beverages, access to clubs, special parking and the guaranteed opportunity to buy tickets to the Super Bowl and every other event controlled by the stadium owners.

Those prices are higher than the most top PSLs for many recent NFL stadiums, but significantly lower than the reported $150,000 charged by the Dallas Cowboys for their top seats at AT&T Stadium, which opened in 2009. The 49ers charged $80,000 for the PSLs for the top 1,000 seats at Levis Stadium, which opened in 2014.

The Rams’ remaining SSLs for the premium seats range from $80 Juuse Saros Jersey ,000 to $15,000, with most falling in the lower category for club seats. The Chargers’ other SSLs range from $50,000 to $10,000.

The Rams and Chargers are confident the structure will help as they persuade fans to pay for the licenses while knowing they’ll get all the money back in 2068 – or at least their heirs will.

Once the SSL is purchased, the Rams’ tickets for those premium seats are $375 per game, and the Chargers’ are $350.

Both teams obviously will sell the other three-quarters of the stadium at much lower prices, and the ticket prices won’t change during the stadium’s first three years.

”It’s very hard to compete at the highest level if you don’t have a first-class facility, and that’s something that our family has been working toward for a long time,” said John Spanos, the Chargers’ president of football operations. ”We’re excited that it’s here soon.”



The Ohio Supreme Court has heard arguments in a dispute over promotions including bobbleheads and other items offered by the Cincinnati Reds to ticket buyers.

At issue is whether the Reds are exempt from paying tax on the purchase of the promotional items.

Attorneys for the Reds argue they don’t have to pay tax because they resell the promotional items as part of the ticket package.

Ohio law exempts companies from paying tax on items they buy to resell.

The state tax commissioner says the promotional items should be taxed because the Reds bought the items as giveaways and they aren’t selling them with the tickets.

The state Supreme Court held oral arguments Wednesday morning. A decision is not expected for several weeks.
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Postautor: hongwei28 » 25 paź 2018, 03:36

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays needed a solid outing by their bullpen Tuesday night and a not-so-good performance by the New York Mets relievers to eke out an 8-6 victory.

The Blue Jays (40-45) will try to complete a sweep of the two-game interleague set Wednesday when they send out right-hander Marcus Stroman (1-5 Authentic Rasheem Green Jersey , 6.02 ERA) at the Rogers Centre. The struggling Mets (33-49) will start right-hander Corey Oswalt (0-1, 9.82), who will be making his second career major league start.

The teams split two games at Citi Field on May 15 and 16.

After trailing 5-0 and 6-1 on Tuesday, the Blue Jays rallied to tie on a three-run homer by Yangervis Solarte in a five-run seventh and won it on a two-run homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the eighth.

The Blue Jays will need a solid start from Stroman, who will be making his third start since returning from the disabled list after being sidelined with inflammation of the right shoulder. It would help a well-used bullpen if he could pitch deep into the game.

They lost their starter Tuesday, right-hander Marco Estrada, after one-third of an inning. After giving up a two-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera, Estrada made two pitches to the next batter before leaving with a sore left hip. X-rays were negative, but the extent of the injury was not known.

The Blue Jays needed seven relievers to work through the game. There likely will be a roster move before the game on Wednesday. Seunghwan Oh was the only reliever not to pitch for the Blue Jays.

The victory spoiled the return of former Blue Jays star Jose Bautista, who was playing in Toronto for the first time since last season. He received a standing ovation and in five plate appearances, he had three walks and a single. He also committed a two-base error in right field, letting a single get past him in the seventh inning.

The Mets, who have lost 11 of their last 13 games, also had an injury Tuesday. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, who hit a two-run homer in the second inning, left the game in the bottom of the seventh after being hit on the helmet by an errant pitch and by a backswing in consecutive innings. Manager Mickey Callaway said that he had passed concussion protocol so far. Kevin Plawecki took over behind the plate.

Stroman, who experienced shoulder problems in spring training, has come on strong after being on the disabled list from May 9-June 22.

He pitched five runless innings on his return June 23, allowing six hits against the Los Angeles Angels. He came back Friday to hold the Detroit Tigers to two runs (one earned) and four hits over seven innings to earn his first win of the season.

“I’m just back to being myself,” Stroman said. “That wasn’t me earlier in the year, so I’m just happy to be back. Body feels good, I feel in sync. Everything’s coming out very easily.”

Stroman has never faced the Mets. He will, however, be facing a former teammate in Bautista.

“It will be fun,” Bautista said.

They have faced each other in one game.

Stroman, pitching for the United States, faced Bautista, who was playing for the Dominican Republic, in March, 2017, during the World Baseball Classic. Bautista fouled out and struck out. It was the only time they have faced each other competitively.

“I think I’ve given him too many secrets over the years Authentic Will Dissly Jersey , it will be interesting,” Bautista said.

Oswalt, in his first career start Friday, allowed six runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings in an 8-2 loss to the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.

He was starting on short notice.

Callaway said he was having trouble with his breaking pitches.

“I think that even in the first two innings he didn’t have any of his breaking stuff,” Callaway said after the game. “So, I think they kind of figured out he was struggling with getting that stuff over, so they were just sitting on fastballs and they put a few in play.”

The 24-year-old made 10 starts at Triple-A Las Vegas, going 4-4 with a 5.32 ERA. In four stints with the Mets, he has made two appearances. He made his major league debut April 26 in St. Louis against the Cardinals, allowing two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The Mets are 6-9 in Toronto all time.

Not much has gone right for Texas in the past week, but three things that the Rangers have been lacking aligned on Saturday to allow them to earn a 5-2 victory over Colorado that snapped a season-long seven-game losing streak.

First the Rangers got excellent starting pitching from Mike Minor. Then they forged a five-run rally in the seventh and eighth inning — with Adrian Beltre’s triple in the latter the coup de gras — to sweep to the lead. And lastly, Texas closer Keone Kela earned his 15th save in 15 chances to cement the win for the Rangers.

It was Texas first home win since June 6 against Oakland and the Rangers’ 12th come-from-behind victory of the season, nine of which have come in their final at-bat.

Both teams have a chance to garner a much-needed series win when they conclude the three-game interleague set on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

The Rockies will send right-hander Jon Gray (6-7, 5.68 ERA) to the hill while Texas will counter with right-hander Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 30.86 in three games with Cincinnati), who is expected to have his contract purchased in time to make his first start of 2018.

Minor matched his season high with seven innings pitched, posting his second consecutive quality start after having none in his previous five outings. Minor didn’t get the win as he left trailing in the middle of the seventh before the Rangers rallied and snapped their seven-game losing streak.

“We needed a really good start from our starter,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “We got that from Mike. Exceptional — probably one of the best starts he has had all year.”

Colorado has lost seven of its past nine games and 11 of its last 15. The loss on Saturday was the Rockies’ 20th this year when holding a lead at some point in the game. Up 2-0 in the seventh on Saturday, they had a chance to play add on with runners on second and third and no out and got nothing out of it.

“You try to keep pushing and keep telling yourself that you will still win the game,” right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said of the change in momentum. “But in baseball, it’s sometimes going to go that way when you don’t make them pay.”

Gray will make his 15th start of the season, his eighth on the road and his second on the current trip. He has a 2-3 record with a 7.98 ERA in his past six starts after a 5-4 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday. He will make his first career start against Texas.

Gallardo, a 12-year veteran and a 13-game winner for the Rangers in 2015, was signed to a minor league contract by Texas on April 13. He was 2-1 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Round Rock and will be making his first MLB start since Sept. 2, 2017.

Gallardo could have opted to enter free agency if he was not called up by Friday.

“Through all the reports (Gallardo) was commanding the baseball and controlling the strike zone, competing, getting hitters out,” Banister said. “All those factors allow him to come up and compete for us.”

Gallardo was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA over his last three starts with the Express. He is winless in 11 career starts versus the Rockies, going 0-6 with 6.14 ERA.
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Over five seasons as ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates Troy Apke Color Rush Jersey , Gerrit Cole threw one of the game’s hardest, heaviest fastballs, and he threw it often. The pitch helped him make millions of dollars. It put him in contention for major awards. Hitters swung through it again and again, and Cole seemed content not to mess with a good thing.

But when Cole was traded to the Houston Astros this offseason, a funny thing happened. He became more frugal with his fastball and ended up more overpowering than ever.

Cole has joined some of the game’s best pitchers – including Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw – in benefiting from a puzzling baseball paradox: In an era when pitchers are throwing harder than ever, they’re maximizing success by using fewer fastballs.

Pitchers – even ones with blazing fastballs like Luis Severino and Chris Archer – are using more offspeed than ever recorded, and while many aces think the downturn is a trend, some believe baseball could be entering a new age dominated not by 100 mph heaters, but by a steady stream of breaking balls and changeups.

So why is the hardest-throwing generation of pitchers ever going the way of the junk-baller?

Depends who you ask, but one culprit stands out to Cole, Kluber and Kershaw: baseball’s swing-changing batters.

”You can call it launch angle, or you can call it the upper cuts,” Cole said. ”There are a lot of swings that are dictating breaking balls.”

Cole’s move away from a fastball-first approach is striking given the reputation of his hardest pitch. He topped out at 99 mph as an ace at UCLA, and his fastball was the headliner on a resume that earned him an $8 million signing bonus as the first overall draft pick in 2011 by Pittsburgh. Under the guidance of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Cole pounded the bottom of the strike zone with that heater, and for years, it worked. He was an All-Star and finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2015, and was considered among the game’s most overpowering starting pitchers.

Then baseball’s flyball revolution took flight – a movement of hitters using upper-cut swings designed to crush exactly the kinds of sinking fastballs Cole was delivering. After never allowing more than 11 home runs in a season, Cole was tagged for 31 last year.

So it was time to change things up.

From 2013-17, Cole threw his fastball 65 percent of the time – well above the league average. But this year, he’s cut that fastball rate by about 10 points, replacing those heaters with sliders and curveballs. The new look is working. Cole is 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA through 15 starts and leads the American League with 138 strikeouts.

”I think you’re just continually trying to mess timing up, especially when guys are trying to slug,” Cole said. ”When they’re trying to hit it out of the park every time, you have an easier time changing speeds.”

Kluber and Kershaw have made similar adjustments in the past couple years. Both Cy Young winners rank among the league leaders in fewest fastballs thrown this season.

”Guys are geared up to swing for a fastball Michael Gallup Color Rush Jersey ,” Kluber said. ”I guess it’s almost rare now to see somebody actually, like, go the other way with the breaking ball.”

Kluber has set a career low with a fastball rate of 41.8 percent this season. Same for Kershaw, who has dropped from a 72-percent fastball clip in 2010 all the way to 42.8 percent in an injury-hampered 2018.

”The hitters tell you what you need to do,” Kershaw said. ”And for me, I guess it’s been throwing a lot more breaking balls.”

Cole, Kluber and Kershaw suspect the tide will turn back, perhaps soon, once hitters recalibrate to the number of four-seam fastballs pitchers are throwing up in the strike zone.

But Trevor Bauer, Kluber’s analytically-minded teammate in Cleveland, thinks the offspeed uptick is only going to spread.

Two years ago, Bauer and Indians closer Cody Allen watched as 6-foot-8 Yankees fireballer Dellin Betances carved up Cleveland’s hitters with a fastball that averaged 98 mph. Allen – no slouch himself with a fastball around 94 mph – told Bauer that if he could throw hard like Betances, he wouldn’t even bother with a breaking ball.

”No,” Bauer recalled telling Allen. ”He should never throw a fastball.”

Bauer’s theory is that the threat of a 100 mph fastball might be more dangerous to hitters than the fastballs themselves.

”As guys throw harder, guys have less and less time to hit that offering,” Bauer said. ”So they have to speed up in order to catch up to it, which, that makes the breaking ball more effective.”

Hitters are left picking between two nasty poisons – risk being behind on triple-digit fastballs, or jeopardize taking ugly swings on breaking pitches as they dart out of the strike zone.

Veteran slugger Todd Frazier was with the Yankees last year when New York’s hard-throwing bullpen led by Betances, Aroldis Chapman and Chad Green overpowered hitters while also posting the lowest fastball rate in the majors.

”I have to set my feet for 98 mph, and understand I might get 84-88 mph slider,” said Frazier, now with the New York Mets. ”It makes it tougher on you.”

And yet, Frazier and his fellow hitters aren’t close to jumping off their fastball-first approach.

”The baseline of hitting is the fastball,” Mets teammate Jay Bruce said. ”You have to stay on the fastball. For me personally Dorance Armstrong Jr. Color Rush Jersey , that’s what my timing of th

Teams from opposite ends of Pennsylvania and heading in opposite directions face off this weekend when the Philadelphia Phillies visit the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Philadelphia (47-37) has won four games in a row and six of its past seven to sit 10 games above .500 for the first time since late 2011.

“I think it’s a nice milestone and one that we can celebrate. We’ll use it as fuel and motivation,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

The Phillies have put themselves in solid contention in the National League East. The series opener Friday against Pittsburgh launches a four-city, 11-game road trip that leads into the All-Star break.

“We never really doubted ourselves,” said starter Aaron Nola, who picked up the win Wednesday in a 4-1 victory over Baltimore. “Other people thought we were in a rebuilding year this year. We got good additions to the team.

“We have veteran guys who have been on winning teams and won championships. They know what it takes to win, and I think we’re following them.”

The Pirates (40-46), meanwhile, sit at a season-low six games below .500 and are in danger of being caught by last-place Cincinnati in the NL Central. They are opening an 11-game homestand leading into the All-Star break.

Pittsburgh is coming off a 2-4 West Coast trip, the final three games of which it was swept in Los Angeles by a combined score of 31-8. The Dodgers had 10 homers among 41 hits in those games.

“I think we definitely could have played better, but we also ran into a really hot team too,” Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer told MLB.com. “In the whole grand scheme of things, we haven’t played very well and we’re six games under .500 right now. Things could be a lot worse.

“That’s one of the bright spots that you can look at. … We need to put four or five games in a row, and win four or five good games in a row, then see what happens after that.”

The Phillies qualify as another hot team. They also swept a four-game series against the Pirates in April.

“We’ve just got to keep working,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The game shows you where you need to improve. It gives you immediate feedback. We got a lot of immediate feedback.”

Two Pittsburgh starters, Chad Kuhl and Joe Musgrove, were hurt during the road trip.

On Friday, Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (6-6, 4.22 ERA) is scheduled to start against Philadelphia righty Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.66).

Williams has lost two straight starts since a June 18 win when he pitched seven scoreless, one-hit innings in a 1-0 game against Milwaukee. That was his first victory in more than a month.

He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies, including a no-decision April 22 when he gave up two runs in six innings of an 11-inning Pirates loss.

Pivetta’s last outing wasn’t a start. He came in to pitch a scoreless 13th inning Sunday when the Phillies had to go deep into their pitching staff in a 4-3 win over Washington. It was his first relief appearance since 2015 when he was in Class A.

Pivetta has one no-decision in his career against Pittsburgh.
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