Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. 

The relentless Kansas City Royals of the past few years appear to be back. You know, the team that constantly strung out lengthy rallies that served to rip the heart and soul out of the opposing club? Yeah, those Royals are back.

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The team proved as much during a weekend series with the Chicago White Sox. After completing an incredible comeback down 7-1 in the ninth inning on Saturday, the Royals managed another tremendous comeback win against the White Sox bullpen on Sunday.

While this one wasn't as dramatic, it was still impressive. With Chicago up 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, White Sox manager turned to Nate Jones to hold the lead. After inducing a quick pop out to lead off the frame, things appeared to be going just fine. 

That changed quickly. Lorenzo Cain blasted a solo shot, cutting the lead to just one run. Eric Hosmer responded with double, putting the tying run on second. Jones then walked Kendrys Morales, and gave up a single to Paulo Orlando to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Jones walked in the tying run. He was removed from the game at that point.

Matt Albers was called upon to get out of the situation, but couldn't get the job done. Cheslor Cuthbert singled in the go-ahead run, giving the Royals the 5-4 lead. Albers would get out of the inning without giving up any more runs, but the damage had been done.

Kansas City went on to win the contest 5-4, sweeping the division-rival White Sox. After the weekend series, the Royals have now risen to first place in the American League Central. The White Sox fell to third. 

TOP PERFORMERS  

Hunter Pence: After spending much of last season on the disabled list, Hunter Pence is making up for lost time this year. He played a huge role in the San Francisco Giants 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, driving in three runs. Pence did so with three doubles, finishing the day 3-for-5. He also scored two runs during the contest. Pence now has a .304 batting average this season.

Rich Hill: When the year is over, Rich Hill may prove to be the best free-agent bargain of the offseason. Hill turned in another fantastic start Sunday, leading the Oakland Athletics to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Hill allowed two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked three, but also managed nine strikeouts during the contest. With the start, Hill now owns a 2.25 ERA. 

[Elsewhere: A-Rod's daughter reveals the craziest thing he's ever done]

Wilson Ramos: Ramos might not get a lot of attention with Bryce Harper doing Bryce Harper things and Daniel Murphy tearing it up, but Ramos has quietly put together a strong season with the Washington Nationals. That continued Sunday in a 10-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Ramos was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3. He managed two singles and a home run during the contest, diving in four runs. Ramos is hitting .336 following the game.

MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT  

Starlin Castro's two-run shot in the seventh inning of the New York Yankees game against the Tampa Bay Rays gets our nod here. It's not because the blast is particularly impressive compared to other home runs, though. It's because it broke up a no-hitter, gave the team a win and was the only hit the Yankees managed all game. It was the first time in over a century the Yankees managed to win a game despite only having one hit. Thanks to Castro's blast, the team won 2-1.

THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3: A late home run by Edwin Encarnacion tied the game, but the Blue Jays eventually lost after Gavin Floyd allowed two runs in the 11th inning.

Orioles 6, Indians 4: Hyun-Soo Kim's first major-league home run couldn't have come at a better time. His seventh inning blast gave the Orioles the go-ahead run in the eventual win.

Brewers 5, Reds 4: Jonathan Lucroy did most of the heavy lifting, knocking in a run on a sac fly, a single and a triple. He finished 3-for-5, with three RBI and a walk.

Cubs 7, Phillies 2: The Cubs offense led the way again, pounding Phillies pitcher Vincent Velasquez for seven runs over 4 2/3 innings. 

Rangers 6, Pirates 2: The Rangers pounced on Francisco Liriano, tagging the left for five earned runs in six innings. 

Astros 8, Angels 6: Carlos Correa's pinch-hit homer in the top of the 13th gave Houston a three-run lead. The Angels would threaten in the bottom of the frame, but came up short. 

Twins 5, Mariners 4: Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano all homered in the club's fourth-straight win.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3: Archie Bradley gave up three runs over 7 1/3 innings, striking out nine. Paul Goldschmidt added two hits, driving in two.

Marlins 7, Braves 3: Marcell Ozuna's breakout continues. The 25-year-old went 2-for-4, with his 10th home run of the season in the win.

Dodgers 4, Mets 2: Clayton Kershaw lost the win after Adam Liberatore gave up a run-scoring triple in the eighth, but the Dodgers rallied back for the win in the ninth.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 30, 2016, 5:05 am

Jennie Finch manages the Bridgeport Bluefish against Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yards on May 29, 2016 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Jennie Finch is the first woman to manages a men's independent league baseball game.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)For the first time ever, a woman has won a game as a professional baseball manager. Former Olympic Softball pitcher Jennie Finch accomplished the feat Sunday while acting as the guest manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish. 

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The Bluefish, an independent league team that plays in the Atlantic League, defeated the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, propelling Finch to the win. Since Finch was serving as the "guest" manager, it was a one-time deal. While she may have to wait a while to pick up her second professional victory, it's still one heck of an accomplishment. 

Finch was also involved in pregame activities, signing autographs for fans before the game and giving a speech on the field before her managerial debut.  

.@JennieFinch pregame speech! #GameOn pic.twitter.com/e7tckZx4xA

— Bridgeport Bluefish (@BPTBluefish) May 29, 2016

Finch is far from the first "guest" manager to take over the Bluefish for a game. Pete Rose managed a game with the club last year, and Roger Clemens is set to take over for a day in August.

Look, this is the independent leagues, so teams will do whatever they can in order to draw more fans to each contest. Having celebrities like Clemens, Finch and Rose come out to the park certainly helps in that regard.

Following Sunday's win, some of the Bluefish players wondered whether Finch would return to managing in the future.

Thank you @JennieFinch for managing us, @BPTBluefish, to a victory today! Are you going to retire undefeated and on top?

— Anthony Giansanti (@GianSanity) May 30, 2016

It's unclear whether Finch has any desire to manage professional baseball moving forward, but given her experience and skills, she's not a terrible choice to be the first full-time female manager. She already has a win under her belt. 

Women have risen within the baseball world in recent years. Jessica Mendoza now broadcasts Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, and Justine Siegel has coached with the Oakland Athletics.

[Elsewhere: The Yankees offense hasn't won a game like this in over a century]

The thought of the first female manager in the majors might be far off, but Finch's victory on Sunday could prove to be a significant step forward if that day ever comes. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 30, 2016, 3:12 am

With one swing of the bat, the New York Yankees' game completely turned. Things looked bleak early, as Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi had no-hit the club through six innings. In the seventh, one swing of the bat was all it took to turn the tides.

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That swing came courtesy of Starlin Castro. With a man on first, Castro belted a 91 mph fastball from Odorizzi out to left center, giving the Yankees the 2-1 lead. 

With a lead, manager Joe Girardi turned to his fearsome trio of relievers in the final three innings. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman would deliver, keeping the Rays off the board to secure the 2-1 victory. It was all due to Castro's blast.

That hit was even more special than it initially appeared. It was the only hit the Yankees managed the entire day. Despite that, they came away with the victory. That was a feat the team hadn't accomplished in over a century. 

First time since at least 1913 that Yankees have won a game of 9+ innings with 1 hit or fewer.

— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) May 29, 2016

While the above stat is correct, it's actually been 102 years since the Yankees managed to win despite one hit. But that came in a six-inning game. The contest was presumably shortened due to rain. Sunday marked the first time since 1913 the Yankees pulled off the feat in a nine-inning contest. 

Amazingly, this is not the first time this season a team has won a game with just one hit. It's already happened twice to the Seattle Mariners. The club lost on one hit to the Texas Rangers on opening day, and then again April 29. Felix Hernandez started both of the those games for Seattle.

[Elsewhere: A-Rod's daughter says this is the craziest thing he's ever done]

Mariners aside, what the Yankees managed Sunday is fairly rare, at least, for them. But given the club's offensive struggles (they rank 25th in runs scored) and lights out bullpen, this could become a much more common occurrence.

(BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 30, 2016, 1:16 am

If you believe his eight-year-old daughter, Alex Rodriguez's life really isn't that crazy. (AP)Alex Rodriguez's eight-year-old daughter Ella completed an assignment at school for Parent's Day, and in the process may have revealed some her father's biggest secrets.

Well, that's assuming her information is accurate. We have reason to question said accuracy after listing his age as 43. But what do we really know? She's been to more of his birthdays than we have.  

[Related: Alex Rodriguez has refined his mechanics and his bat flips]

Apparently, Rodriguez had no issue with this information, accurate or otherwise, getting out. In fact, he helped spread the word by tweeting a photo of her assignment on Saturday. There were several interesting answers included, but we can't help but focus on the craziest thing Alex Rodriguez has ever done through her eyes. 

Ella's Parents Day assignment! ❤️ it honey. Daddy isn't 43 yet but by then, I promise I'll know how to cut an 🍎. pic.twitter.com/mFJy2oj4pV

— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) May 28, 2016

What do you say, baseball fans? Cutting an apple is pretty crazy, right?

Right, well, what his daughter doesn't know about his baseball career is definitely for the best. She'll know the whole story soon enough anyway, so for now let's just respect the innocence of youth and her many other adorable responses.

Like the fact she believes her dad wears his suits well, that he doesn't cook, and that he's a fast typer. To be honest, the only thing that would have made this better is if she listed bat-flipping as the thing he's best at, or even the thing she loved most about him. 

Maybe that realization will come with age, too. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 7:53 pm

If you're a fan of the Minnesota Twins, then you're conditioned to expect the worst this season. That's how far the expectations have fallen with the team off to a highly disappointing 13-34 start entering play on Saturday.

We're sure that overwhelming sense of dread crept into their minds on Saturday night too when the Seattle Mariners threatened to rally in the ninth inning at Safeco Field. However, in a stunning twist, it was actually the first-place Mariners who managed to run themselves right out of the ballpark with the worst display of baserunning we've seen in a long time.

[Elsewhere: Chase Utley authors perfect responses to Mets 99-mph message]

To try explaining this play will undoubtedly lead to confusion and then failure. Even those involved couldn't possibly understand how Seattle went from first and third with one out, to game over despite the baseball never being put in play.

We'll just say this: Both Shawn O'Malley, who was on third, and Kyle Seager, who was on first, literally ran into absurd outs. What's most impressive though is how they did it in seamless succession, which made it look like the Twins had executed something spectacular.

In their own way, we guess they did simply by not screwing it up. In the scorebook, it'll go down as your every day 2-4-5-6 double play. More importantly, on the scoreboard, it secured a Twins 6-5 victory.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 6:55 pm

Max Scherzer has 33 career hits, but no home runs yet. (Getty Images)Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer has not only developed into one of MLB's most dominant pitchers, he's also a pretty decent hitter.

That seems to be the trend these days among the National League's top hurlers. It's well documented that pitchers like Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta and Clayton Kershaw are all capable of supporting themselves with important hits, and even the occasional home run.

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper cuts up batting gloves after mammoth home run]

The latter though is one thing that's missing from Scherzer's statsheet. In 198 career plate appearances, he has 33 hits, but none of those have left the ballpark. He has a knack for making contact — he's only struck out 53 times — and he's laid down 19 sacrifice bunts, but he's yet to square up a baseball Bartolo Colon style to get that first career homer under his belt. 

One young Nationals fan would like to see that change though, and in an effort to motivate and educate, he sent Scherzer this book that illustrates the best ways to hit a home run. 

Got a book from a big Nats fan.. I now realize in order to hit a home run I have to swing VERRRRY hard! #TurnNBurn pic.twitter.com/xkW6Rut1PB

— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) May 27, 2016

Here's a closer look at the fan's helpful suggestions.

(Max Scherzer on Twitter)

The young fan obviously drew this before Bryce Harper's mammoth third-deck home run on Thursday. Otherwise, he'd undoubtedly note that batting gloves are merely a hindrance when attempting to go yard.

Still, this is one of the cutest things we've seen all weekend.

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Now, the young fan just needs to come up with some advice on not allowing home runs. If Scherzer could stop doing that, he may just become the very best pitcher in baseball. 

Max Scherzer has allowed more home runs than any pitcher in baseball since the start of last season.

— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 27, 2016

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 5:29 pm

To say the Chicago White Sox have been in a tailspin lately would be putting it kindly.

After surprisingly keeping pace with the crosstown Cubs in April by posting a 17-8 record, they've since faltered in May, dropping 15 of 25 games. The six-game lead they built in the AL Central is completely gone now, and they've lost two straight this weekend to the Kansas City Royals that they should have won.

[Related: Comebacks and collisions have defined the Royals strange week]

(Yahoo Sports)On Friday, they blew a 5-1 lead in the sixth inning. On Saturday, it was far worse, as they coughed up a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning, allowing Kansas City to score seven runs.

Now they'll look to avoid a devastating sweep on Sunday in the MLB Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. You can stream the game at Yahoo's Sports Home, MLB index and video home beginning at 2:15 p.m. ET. 

If the White Sox lose again on Sunday with ace Chris Sale on the hill, it may be necessary to consider a change or two. We've already heard rumors they're in the market for San Diego Padres right-hander James Shields. Reports suggest the talks have gained momentum, so it's possible a deal will get done sometime soon. That would obviously be a big change, as it would no-doubt upgrade Chicago's rotation. 

Another change that White Sox fans seem to be pushing for is at manager, where Robin Ventura continues to struggle putting his stamp on the team. Many fans point to Saturday's ninth inning as an example of Ventura's shortcomings, as he essentially hung closer David Robertson (six runs) out to dry on a day he just didn't have it. Then he did the same to reliever Tommy Kanhle, who never recorded an out. 

Beyond that, there's a feeling that the White Sox have never maximized their talents under Ventura, despite some positive stretches. Baseball is about consistency, and that's where the White Sox have fallen short. Perhaps it's still too soon to expect a change of that magnitude, but if the White Sox have serious designs on contending it's one of the many considerations they'll have to process sooner than later. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 3:40 pm

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. 

The Texas Rangers rotation got a big boost on Saturday with the return of All-Star Yu Darvish.

Making his first start since Aug. 9, 2014, Darvish looked like he never missed a beat, let alone nearly 22 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery. In five innings of work, Darvish limited an impressive Pittsburgh Pirates offense to one run on three hits while striking out seven. That was good enough to earn the victory as the Rangers ultimately triumphed 5-2.  

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Yu Darvish appeared to be in excellent form during a victorious return to the Rangers rotation. (AP)Perhaps most encouraging to the Rangers is that Darvish's fastball had some serious zip on it. He registered in the 90s all night long, even hitting 98 a few times in the first two innings. He mostly settled in between 94-96 and featured good command, walking just one in the game. Sometimes control is the last thing that comes back to a pitcher following Tommy John surgery, so perhaps that's another encouraging sign.

Darvish was limited to 81 pitches as a precaution. He'll slowly be built back up in the coming weeks, and may even get some extra rest along the way. Still, just the idea that Darvish is available combined with the Rangers playing like a contending team is exciting news for their fans. Even if he's not his best this season, he's likely to play a key role in their bid to make the postseason. 

TOP PERFORMERS 

Buster Posey: It's not often the Giants need to score a bunch of runs in a Madison Bumgarner start. They needed to on Saturday at Coors Field, though only because their bullpen blew a late three run-lead. Not surprisingly, it was Buster Posey who provided the big blows. Posey smacked a three-run first-inning homer, then followed with a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth as San Francisco ultimately cruised to a 10-5 win.  

Cleveland Indians: Don't look now, but the Indians own sole possession of first place in the AL Central. Cleveland leapfrogged the Chicago White Sox, who lost in Kansas City, by defeating the Orioles 11-4. It was death by singles, as 12 of Cleveland's 13 hits went for one base. They also drew five walks, and pieced enough together to make Baltimore's day a miserable one. The teams will have a rubber match on Sunday. 

[Elsewhere: Comebacks and collisions have defined the Royals strange week]

Russell Martin: Toronto's catcher may be finally heating up. After hitting a pair of home runs in Wednesday's win against the Yankees, Martin collected three hits, including a homer, in Saturday's 10-9 come-from-behind win against the Red Sox. Martin's sixth-inning blast started the rally. He later added a run-scoring single in the eighth, then a game-tying double in the ninth, before scoring the winner on Devon Travis' infield single. 

Kyle Hendricks: The overlooked man in the Cubs rotation, Hendricks continued his strong start by pitching a complete game in their 5-1 win against the Phillies. Hendricks limited the Phillies to five hits without a walk, while striking out seven. It's only his third win, but he has a rock-solid 2.93 ERA. 

MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT 

Adam Duvall does it all. The Cincinnati Reds outfielder was making plays all over the place in Saturday's 7-6 win against the Brewers. That included the spectacular diving catch you see above. He also delivered a game-tying three-run homer in the seventh, before knocking home the winning run with an RBI ground out in the ninth.

THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD 

Royals 8, White Sox 7: Kansas City turned a six-run ninth-inning deficit into a thrilling walkoff win. Now they hope for good news on Salvador Perez

A's 12, Tigers 3: The swinging A's got home runs from Billy Butler, Danny Valencia and Khris Davis. For Davis, it was his 11th home run in May.  

Braves 7, Marlins 2: The Braves have now won two straight home games, upping their record at Turner Field to 4-20.  

Rays 9, Yankees 5: Six different Rays had at least two hits, including Evan Longoria, who homered and drove in four. Hank Conger had three hits and three RBIs, while Brad Miller doubled and tripled. 

Dodgers 9, Mets 1: The rivarly continues with an ejection and two huge responses from Chase Utley

Cardinals 9, Nationals 4: Washington hit three home runs against Adam Wainwright, including one from Bryce Harper, but it wasn't enough. 

Astros 4, Angels 2: Dallas Keuchel allowed first-inning homers to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, but was otherwise solid in seven innings. Jason Castro provided the difference with a two-run homer. 

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 7: San Diego scored three in the sixth and three more in the ninth to make it interesting, but Arizona held on to give Zack Greinke his sixth win. 

Twins 6, Mariners 5: The Twins make it two straight in Seattle thanks to a ridiculous 2-4-5-6 game-ending double play. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 5:49 am

If Noah Syndergaard thought he was going to rattle Chase Utley on Saturday, he and the New York Mets had another thing coming.

Two things, in fact. As in a solo home run and a grand slam that helped fuel a Dodgers 9-1 victory.

[Related: Noah Syndergaard ejected after throwing pitch behind Chase Utley]

Like he did in last year's World Series, Syndergaard attempted to send a message and set a tone with his intimidating fastball. In the third inning, he fired one 99-mph that fortunately sailed behind Utley to the backstop. Given Utley's history with the Mets, there was little question what the message was about. That's why home plate umpire Adam Harami wasted no time throwing Syndergaard out of the game, and then sent Terry Collins out right behind him for arguing the ejection.

On this night though, the entire approach backfired. Not only was Syndergaard immediately ejected, which cost New York arguably their best starter right now, Utley was hardly fazed by staring down the 99-mph pitch as it zipped behind him. Instead, it seemed to sharpen his focus even more, which is saying a lot given the circumstances and his career-long success against Mets pitching.

Entering Saturday's game, Utley had homered 36 times in his career against New York. That's six more than the next closest team, the Miami Marlins. Now that number is 38, as Utley dialed up not one, but two absolutely perfect responses to Syndergaard's heater. 

First, he launched a solo home run against Logan Verrett that opened the scoring in the sixth inning. Then, one inning later, he ripped a grand slam to right-center off lefty Hansel Robles that had Mets fans and even the Mets Twitter account fuming.

😡

— New York Mets (@Mets) May 29, 2016

That's when you know the feelings are real. 

It seems no matter what approach the Mets take with Utley, the 37-year-old second baseman remains one or two steps ahead. That's backed up by his eight RBIs through the first two games of this series, which includes his game-tying three-run double in the ninth inning on Friday. Only Curtis Granderson could save the day for New York then, and it wasn't with a 99-mph fastball. He hit a walk-off home run

[Report: Mets unhappy with Dodgers defensive positioning tactics]

It's also backed by the poise he's shown in the face of a hostile environment. You don't have to like Chase Utley or what happened last October, but you have to understand he's never going to back down from the challenges in front of him. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 3:43 am

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard was ejected in the third inning of Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers for throwing a pitch that sailed behind Chase Utley.

The 99-mph fastball was assumed to be retaliation for Utley's take-out slide on Ruben Tejada during last season's NLDS, the result of which broke Tejada's leg. Home plate umpire Adam Harami wasted no time signaling that Syndergaard's night was over. He also ejected Mets' manager Terry Collins, who vehemently argued his decision. 

[Related: Report: Mets unhappy with Dodgers defensive positioning tactics]

Syndergaard's complete intentions were unclear, but it is safe to assume he at least wanted to send a message. The league will now have to decide if he meant to hit Utley with that message, or if he simply wanted to make Utley uncomfortable.  

Based on his history, it was probably the latter. Syndergaard also famously buzzed Kansas City's Alcides Escobar with a head-high fastball on the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series. Syndergaard wanted to set the tone that night by ending the trend of Escobar swinging at the game's first pitch. The message was received, and that would be the only game New York won in the series. 

As for Saturday, Syndergaard flatly denied there was any intent behind his pitch, which comes as no big surprise.  

Syndergaard says the ball slipped. He was "dumbfounded" at ejection. It got away. Yep.

— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) May 29, 2016

Syndergaard isn't worried about discipline -- since he wasn't throwing at Utley.

— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) May 29, 2016

We're going to guess the league will disagree. It shouldn't be a steep punishment, but this is something baseball wants to clean up.

Also worth noting, Mets manager Terry Collins also refused to admit that Syndegaard's pitch was intentional. More telling though might be his comment that followed.  

TC walking the line. Won't say it was intentional. But talks about a time when teams in Mets' position "had a shot."

— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) May 29, 2016

That would indicate Collins and company may have thought was a freebie was due, but that wasn't the case on Saturday. 

Regardless of his intentions, Syndergaard still left the field to a hero's cheer form a raucous crowd at Citi Field. The fans were already hyped from celebrating the 30th anniversary of their 1986 World Series championship team. The animosity of baseball's newest and hottest rivalry only fueled them more.

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Unfortunately for the Mets, it also seemed to fuel Utley. It his next at-bat against Logan Verrett, he crushed a solo home run that opened the game's The next inning, Utley stepped up with the bases loaded and launched a grand slam. The Dodgers went on to win the game 9-1, so it's safe to say they got the final word on a volatile evening at Citi Field. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 29, 2016, 2:57 am

Take about a roller coaster of emotions. The Kansas City Royals have run the gamut this week between their comeback victories and vicious collisions. In fact, they ran the gamut in the ninth inning alone on Saturday, first losing catcher Salvador Perez to a quad injury, and then rallying to score seven runs in the final frame to knock off the Chicago White Sox, 8-7

The wild victory was Kansas City's second consecutive comeback win against Chicago, and it temporarily moved them into a first place tie in the AL Central. The Cleveland Indians still have a chance to leapfrog both with their own win on Saturday. 

[Elsewhere: Diamondbacks need Zack Greinke's best on the mound more than ever]

The Royals celebrate a wild come-from-behind win against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. (Getty Images)The Royals entered that ninth inning trailing 7-1, and appeared to have the wind taken from their sails when Perez went down. But the resilience that made them World Series champions last season quickly came to the forefront. Kansas City scored seven runs on six hits and four walks in the frame, with six runs being charged to White Sox closer David Robertson.  

Fittingly, it was Perez's replacement, Drew Butera, who had the biggest hit in the frame. He tied the game with a two-out double, then eventually scored the winning run on Brett Eibner's RBI single. 

That's the Royals for you. Everyone contributes, even the names you may not recognize. Now, those are the guys they'll be counting on with their roster currently depleted by injury. 

Speaking of which, Perez went down in a collision with Cheslor Cuthbert, who's currently replacing Mike Moustakas at third base. That's because Moustakas was lost for the season after colliding with Alex Gordon six days ago in Chicago. Moustakas suffered a torn ACL, while Gordon injured his wrist, sending him to the disabled list as well.  

There was definite concern for Perez, who appeared to take the impact directly on his left knee.  

However, it sounds like there's some encouraging news on his condition.

Salvador Pérez gets taken out by his own teammate. Left game with help of trainers. #Royals #WhiteSox pic.twitter.com/CNGeXZCoFP

— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) May 28, 2016

Per @Royals Manager Ned Yost, Salvador Perez has a quad contusion. He'll have an MRI tomorrow. No structural damage to knee

— KC Area Sports (@KcAreaSports) May 28, 2016

He's not completely out of the woods yet, but there were certainly visions of another season-ending injury going through Royals' fans minds.

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It's possible there's something more serious going on with his quad, but all fans can do right now is wait and hope that Perez can return soon. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 10:44 pm

As wonderful as baseball can be, sometimes the action on the field can be overshadowed by those who make up its audience.

That was the case on Friday in Cleveland, as a group of fans seated near the right-field foul pole stole the show with an epic creation.

[Elsewhere: There's a good explanation for Howie Kendrick's mysterious actions]

Behold, the beer-can pyramid, which many are also dubbing the beeramid.

Starting the #beeramid #TribeLive pic.twitter.com/QnvktcVasM

— Lisa (@RollTribe2016) May 28, 2016

According to the folks at SB Nation, the pyramid included 112 cans and stood over four feet tall at its peak.

Welp. We had to take it down. 😭 pic.twitter.com/yHXHIN21AL

— Betsy (@HeavensToBetsy_) May 28, 2016

As for who consumed all of that beer, that we don't know. What we do know though is that Friday night was $2 beer night at Progressive Field, so it's safe to assume fans were indulging a little heavier than they normally would at the ballpark.

It also means the beeramid cost $224 to construct. Under normal circumstances, the tab would have been $448, as the Indians charge only $4.00 a beer to begin with. That's the second cheapest beer price in the entire league. 

I have never been prouder to be a Cleveland fan than I am after seeing this. #OnlyHere @Indians pic.twitter.com/T6RqvHzO68

— McNeil (@Reflog_18) May 28, 2016

Unfortunately for those fans, they didn't have a lot to cheer for at Progressive Field aside from their own creativity. The Indians would go on to lose the game 6-4 to the Baltimore Orioles, failing to capitalize on an opportunity to draw even with the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central.

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However, it could be considered an early celebration for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as Lebron James and company clinched their second straight trip to the NBA Finals

Any way you look at it though, those fans have to be considered the winners of the night in Cleveland.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 8:59 pm

A typical baseball season produces thousands upon thousands of double plays. Still, we doubt we'll see another double play quite as strange as the one turned by the Oakland A's on Friday night.

Or perhaps we should say, we doubt we'll see another double play this season quite as strange as the one the Detroit Tigers served up to Oakland on a silver platter.

[Elsewhere: Report: Mets unhappy with Dodgers defensive positioning tactics]

If you're scoring at home, the official ruling was "3-2-batter's interference," which in this case meant Victor Martinez interfered with Yonder Alonso's throw to the plate. Martinez did so unknowingly, as he was simply wandering back to Detroit's dugout after popping out to Alonso in foul territory, but according to MLB's interference and obstruction rules it was still a violation.

Here the explanation under Rule 6.01 (5):

Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate.

The runner in this instance was Ian Kinsler. He was on third with one out and only bluffed coming home at first. However, it was deemed that his bluff made Alonso's throw into a play on the runner, which resulted in Kinsler being called out.

It was a judgement call made by home plate umpire Joe West. Honestly, it seemed like he got it right too, though not everyone agreed with his application.

Yonder Alonso didn't deserve the break he got on hitting Victor Martinez with a relay that never should have been made.

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) May 28, 2016

Victor Martinez did nothing wrong. Was right to have seen if play was made. Not his fault Alonso made an unnecessary throw home.

— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) May 28, 2016

There's no doubt it was an ill-advised throw given the situation. It just as easily could have short-hopped catcher Stephen Vogt and skipped away. But the rule is the rule. It doesn't matter if Martinez was expecting the throw or if he's done that a thousand times without incident, he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Was it a fluke? Absolutely.

Will it happen to Martinez again? Knowing baseball, it probably will again on Saturday.

In the end though, it's just one of those instances where you tip your cap to weirdness that is baseball. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 7:54 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke is nearly two full months into his first season with his new team and still trying to live up to the six-year, $206.5 million deal he signed in the offseason.

Greinke got off to a disastrous start to the season in April but so far in May has looked much more like the pitcher who finished second in the National League Cy Young voting a year ago and has routinely been among the best pitchers in baseball since 2009. He’s still looking for his first outing of the year without giving up a run after doing so 11 times in 2015. So there is plenty of room for improvement. (Yahoo Sports)

[Elsewhere: There's a good explanation for Howie Kendrick's mysterious actions]

The Diamondbacks were counting on Greinke to anchor the pitching staff this season and they need that even more than before going into Saturday’s game against San Diego in Yahoo’s Free Game of  the Day (10:10 p.m. ET). You can stream Greinke’s latest encounter with the Padres at Yahoo's Sports Home, MLB index and video home.

Arizona has lost four straight and 11 of its past 15 and needs Greinke to put a stop to that streak and help the club hit the reset button. The Diamondbacks have fallen to 21-29 nine games behind the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants in a season in which the franchise hoped to contend with the Giants and Dodgers for the division title, in part, because of the addition of Greinke.

[Elsewhere: Braves fan channels Ric Flair after snagging foul ball]

Arizona also just put fellow starters Shelby Miller and Rubby De La Rosa on the disabled list further exacerbating the need for Greinke to be a stopper with the losing streak. The Padres might be the perfect opponent for Greinke to get the job done. He’s 6-1 lifetime against San Diego with a 1.64 ERA.

If the Diamondbacks are going to get back in the race in the NL West, they're going to need to have some better luck with injuries than they have had to this point, but much more is required of their $34 million-a-year ace, too.

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo

Author: Kyle Ringo
Posted: May 28, 2016, 6:59 pm

According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the New York Mets are not happy about the lengths the Los Angeles Dodgers were willing to go to gain a defensive advantage before Friday's game. 

In a report filed Saturday afternoon, Rosenthal says the Mets immediately contacted Major League Baseball officials after learning that the Dodgers intended to mark prearranged defensive positions in the outfield grass at Citi Field. 

[Related: There's a good explanation for Howie Kendrick's mysterious actions]

This practice would be an extension of the Dodgers known use of a laser rangefinder to determine the best ways to position their fielders. In this case, the Mets were having none of it and essentially told the Dodgers to shut down the operation.

Here's more from Rosenthal's report: 

The Mets' grounds crew told club officials that the Dodgers informed them that if the markers were removed, Dodgers players would dig holes in the outfield with their cleats. The Mets then instructed their grounds crew to erase or obliterate anything they saw on the playing surface.

Well, this certainly adds another layer to the growing Dodgers-Mets rivalry.

It also adds another layer to our earlier story about Howie Kendrick, who was seen checking a notecard that reportedly told him where to play each batter. Apparently, this was a substitute method since the Mets weren't going for the markers, and also since using electronic devices is not allowed on the field.   

This is a matter the league will likely have to address now, since teams like the Dodgers are getting very serious about gaining that defensive edge.

Should the line be drawn where the Mets drew it Friday night? Should teams even be allowed to use an electronic device to determine positioning before games? And what about notecards? Are we comfortable with the idea that outfielders may soon resemble an NFL quarterback with the entire playbook on his wristband? That's the direction we're moving, and we're moving there faster than you think. 

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Of course, some will embrace the advancement of baseball's technology, while others will frown upon the idea that teams are taking "shortcuts" to gain an edge. Either way, this should definitely lead to some interesting discussion and debates among fans and MLB officials in the coming weeks. 

Feel free to tell us where you stand on this issue in the comments section. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 6:37 pm

You have to give Alex Rodriguez credit. Every time we think the end is getting near, he comes back to prove there's still some fuel left in his tank.

That's exactly what he's attempting to prove again after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, and so far anyway the results are encouraging.

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

In fact, on Wednesday we noted that Rodriguez was feeling especially good during his final rehab game. On that night, he launched a mammoth home run while playing for Double-A Trenton and punctuated it with a grand bat flip.

He was clearly feeling good again on Friday night too, because he launched another monstrous home run in his second game back with the Yankees, which helped lead them to a 4-1 victory. This time A-Rod went 440-feet at Tropicana Field against Rays starter Chris Archer for career home run No. 693. Though more subdued than in Trenton, that too was capped with a bat flip.

Stop, flip and roll. https://t.co/DhrZCmioBR pic.twitter.com/RJ1M4BxxC6

— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 28, 2016

It's not as if bat flipping is new to A-Rod, but there seems to be a renewed swagger attached to his latest offering. At least that's how it appears to some of us on the outside. To A-Rod, not so much.

"That’s my version of a bat flip, yeah," Rodriguez said after the game. "At 40, you don’t have too much cool style. All that has left me. I don’t know if I ever had it, actually."

He needs to give himself more credit than that.

Of course, of more importance to the Yankees is Rodriguez's production. In that regard, it appears he's found the solution to the issues that hampered him in April.

[Elsewhere: Curtis Granderson saves Mets after Chase Utley's clutch hit]

"If you look at my last 30-35 at-bats, I’ve felt pretty good, and I’ve been driving the ball a lot better than the first 100, probably," Rodriguez said. "If you look at my first 50 or 60 at-bats, there were some mechanical things going on with my swing that I wasn’t happy about. We actually talked about not driving the ball, doubles or home runs, putting crooked numbers up. I found something, and since I found that, even with the three-week break, I just felt a lot better. Even in the Trenton at-bats, I felt pretty good down there."

That sounds even more promising for the Yankees, and also for A-Rod's prospects of maintaining a regular role. The Yankees will always find room for A-Rod when they feel he has something to offer, even if it means sacrificing defense elsewhere. For now, it seems his place will be secure, meaning the bat flips should continue on his way to his 700th career home run.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 5:17 pm

We live in a world that's driven by information and curiosity, which in some instances is refreshing and in others can be a little scary. That's because sometimes the thrist for both can lead us down a path filled with assumptions and misguided conclusions.

[Related: Curtis Granderson saves Mets after Chase Utley's clutch hit]

That was the case on Friday night when a video surfaced that clearly showed Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Howie Kendrick reaching into his back pocket during Friday's 6-5 loss to the Mets for a handheld item. Kendrick is then seen studying the unknown object before quickly putting it away and readjusting his position.

Howie Kendrick casually checking his phone in the outfield pic.twitter.com/fK45d06LHj

— Austin Eich (@Eich_AJ) May 27, 2016

That video piqued the curiosity of many fans, perhaps in large part due to the accompanying message speculating that Kendrick was taking a look at his cell phone. To the untrained eye, Kendrick's mannerisms were certainly indicative of such a practice. But believing that to be fact would be making a poor assumption or, again, jumping to a misguided conclusion.

In this instance, we go from assuming Kendrick's attention was far away from where it needed to be, to the reality that Kendrick was simply studying the next batter due up for the New York Mets.

As others have added, Howie Kendrick is checking the card for where to shift the hitter(s). https://t.co/68DUXNqzgz

— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) May 28, 2016

The "shift card" is essentially a study guide that alerts fielders to where they should play each hitter. It eliminates any confusion that might go along with a coach sending in signals and should ensure the fielders are on the same page. 

Well, assuming they all read it correctly.

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It's a nifty little idea that's probably used more often than we think, so let's try to never again assume a fielder thinks he'll get away with checking his phone right on the field. In the clubhouse, maybe, but even that's not foolproof as Pablo Sandoval showed us last season

Beyond that though, what player is going to risk breaking his fancy phone if he has to make a sliding catch? The risks outweigh the rewards in every possible way. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 3:34 pm

Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. 

Josh Donaldson has been so locked in since joining the Toronto Blue Jays last year it almost feels like he can get any result he wants at the plate. That's not true, of course. The game is not that simple. But that's how Donaldson makes it look. 

That was the case again on Friday as Donaldson flirted with a cycle against the Boston Red Sox. Donaldson drilled a solo home run in the first. He followed with a run-scoring double in the third, and an RBI infield single in the fourth. That left him a triple shy of the cycle going into the final five innings.  

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now] 

Josh Donaldson celebrates his go-ahead home run against the Red Sox. (AP) In an upset, Donaldson actually struck out against Red Sox right-hander Matt Barnes in the sixth. However, after Boston rallied to tie the game, he had one last shot to make history with a runner on base in the eighth.

All Donaldson needed was a ball in the gap or down the line to give Toronto the lead, while giving himself a shot at three bases. Instead, Donaldson elected to round them all, forgoing the cycle by hitting a two-run homer against Koji Uehara that proved to be the difference in Toronto's 7-5 win.

There was actually a little more pressure on Donaldson than usual on Friday. Jose Bautista was out of the lineup while serving his one-game suspension (though he certainly found other ways to occupy his time). Elsewhere, a struggling Troy Tulowitzki returned from injury to go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. It was essentially Donaldson or bust, and he came through with his seventh career multi-homer game. It also marked the third five-RBI game of his career.

When people throw around the term beast, they're doing it wrong if it's not applied to Josh Donaldson. He's a force that can only be contained on rare occasions.

TOP PERFORMERS 

Stephen Piscotty: One big swing made the difference in the Cardinals 6-2 win against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. It was provided by Piscotty, who capped a five-run third-inning rally with a grand slam off the former Cy Young winner. The slam was Piscotty's first in 421 career at-bats, but he now has six hits and 12 RBIs in nine at-bats with the bases loaded. He fits in quite well with the typically clutch Cardinals. 

Masahiro Tanaka: The Yankees ace continues to be quietly brilliant this season. On Friday, he limited the Rays to two hits over seven scoreless innings in a Yankees 4-1 win. Tanaka improved to 3-0, while lowering his ERA to 2.89 and his WHIP to 0.96. He only struck out four, but was never threatened. He also had a nice cushion thanks to an Alex Rodriguez two-run homer. 

Jung-ho Kang: Pittsburgh got home runs from Kang, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco as they torched Cole Hamels and the Rangers 9-1. Though certainly capable of hitting home runs in bunches, these barrages haven't been the norm for Pittsburgh this season. However, it appears the dynamic is changing a bit with Kang back and playing every day.  His three-run homer was his sixth in 17 games played. He also has 17 RBIs, which is just five less than McCutchen's full season total. Kang is looking like a difference maker.  

Yangervis Solarte: The Padres offense also erupted for four home runs on Friday in a 10-3 win in Arizona. Solarte hit two of those, delivering a solo homer in the fifth and then a three-run shot in the sixth. Matt Kemp and Derek Norris added the other homers for San Diego. 

MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT 

When the Chicago Cubs added the giant videoboard in left field last season, we knew it would serve as target practice for their collection of right-handed sluggers. With that in mind, it had only been hit one time during a game. That happened last season when Kris Bryant squared one up and left a mark. He has some company now though Jorge Soler unloaded against Adam Morgan and made his own mark with this mammoth 461-foot blast.

The Cubs also got home runs from Bryant and David Ross, who connected for the 100th of his career, as they cruised to a 6-2 win against the Phillies

THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD 

Mets 6, Dodgers 5: One of the wildest games of the season ended on Curtis Granderson's walk-off homer. 

Orioles 6, Indians 4: Baltimore cranked out 13 hits, including four from Manny Machado and three from Adam Jones. 

Braves 4, Marlins 2: Veteran Nick Markakis delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth as the Braves finally win their third home game this season. 

Brewers 9, Reds 5: Aaron Hill homered twice, meaning five of his six home runs this season have come in two separate games against Cincinnati. 

Royals 7, White Sox 5: After Chicago scored five in the sixth, Kansas City rallied for six unanswered to move within one game of the White Sox in the AL Central. 

Rockies 5, Giants 2: Rookie Trevor Story knocked in two as the Rockies continue to hang around .500. They're 23-24 heading into Saturday. 

Tigers 4, A's 1: Detroit's Ian Kinsler finished a homer shy of the cycle. He had three of their 11 hits. 

Angels 7, Astros 2: The Angels ran away thanks to a six-run third inning. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols highlighted the frame with a bases-clearing double and two-run home run respectively. 

Twins 7, Mariners 2: Seattle continues to struggle at home, falling to 10-12. Meanwhile, Minnesota improved to 5-19 away from Target Field. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813 

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 5:16 am

We hope you took advantage of the Yahoo Sports Free Game of the Day on Friday. Otherwise you may have missed what was arguably the best game of the season to date. 

After the Dodgers rallied from a four-run ninth-inning deficit and tied the game on Chase Utley's two-out, bases-clearing double, the Mets still emerged victorious, 6-5, thanks to Curtis Granderson's dramatic walk-off home run.

[Related: Chase Utley expects hostile Mets fans still upset with playoff slide]

What a wild and crazy finish it was. A finish we'd say is befitting of the rivalry that is developing between these two talented clubs. 

Curtis Granderson celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk-off home run to beat the Dodgers at Citi Field. (AP)The Dodgers and Mets have plenty of built-in drama based on their history from last season's NLDS. Friday's matchup featured the added bonus of Julio Urias making his much-anticipated MLB debut. Though tempers remained calm and Urias ultimately faltered, the game still featured more thrills and fireworks than you could hope for in a regular season game in May. 

Of course, most of the drama leading in surrounded Utley. That's because of his aggressive and controversial October slide that left then Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada injured. That meant the spotlight was on Utley every time he hit Friday night, just because we were curious to see how he'd be received and how the Mets might go about pitching him. 

[Related: Julio Urias struggles in MLB debut, but better days are ahead]

The reception was what you'd expect — an endless chorus of boos. The Mets approach was more civil, as they handled Utley as they would any other hitter. But it was almost inevitable that regardless of reception and approach, sometime during this series Utley would bat in a game-changing situation. It also felt inevitable that Utley would somehow come through, further cementing a villainous persona in New York that was first established during his days with the Phillies. 

No wonder they hate the guy here. He's been doing this for years in this park.

— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) May 28, 2016

Mets fans have seen this story before, and they knew they needed a hero to make it right from their perspective. That's where Granderson comes in. He wasted no time hitting a towering home run off Pedro Baez that narrowly cleared the wall.

The home run not only secured a Mets win, it overshadowed Utley's moment and reduced it to a mere footnote. To Mets fans, that moment may have been more satisfying than the result itself. Sure, a win is a win under any circumstances, but ensuring Chase Utley played no role in their demise will no doubt gives it some extra meaning.  

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 3:22 am

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The eyes of the baseball world were focused on Citi Field on Friday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers paid a visit to the New York Mets.

There were several reasons for this added attention. It's the first time these two teams have met in New York since last October's contentious NLDS, which included Chase Utley injuring Ruben Tejada with an aggressive takeout slide. That was the main storyline coming in, at least until Thursday, when the Dodgers announced 19-year-old pitching phenom Julio Urias would make his anticipated MLB debut under the bright Friday night lights.

[Related: Chase Utley expects hostile Mets fans still upset with playoff slide]

It's a moment that's been years in the making, despite the fact that Urias is only 19 years old. In fact, Urias became the youngest player to make his MLB debut since a 19-year-old Felix Hernandez did so in 2005.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Julio Urias delivers a pitch during his MLB debut against the New York Mets. (AP)Unfortunately, when it came time to shine, the results didn't quite match the hype as Urias was never able to get on track. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings in the Dodgers eventual 6-5 loss, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks. The run total could have been worse, as Urias left with the bases loaded in the third. However, Chris Hatcher retired Jacob deGrom to end the inning. 

Urias' outing started out promising enough. He struck out Curtis Granderson to begin the game and then got David Wright swinging two batters later, but the patient Mets were able to get some favorable hitting counts and made Urias pay. The Mets ended up scoring three times in the first, while forcing Urias to throw 36 pitches. That made quite a dent, as manager Dave Roberts planned on limiting Urias to 90 pitches. He ended up throwing 81 pitches, with only 42 going for strikes. 

It's not the outing many fans envisioned from Urias in his debut. Especially considering he arrived as one of the hottest pitchers in the minors, having posted a 27-inning scoreless streak at Triple A. However, there were a couple encouraging signs mixed within a disappointing night. 

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First and foremost, his stuff is filthy. That was evident even as Urias struggled to find his release point. His command came and went throughout, but the moments he had it and the times he was able to get ahead confirmed he'll be extremely difficult on hitters on both sides of the plate. That will also come with experience. 

Despite the results, Urias never looked overwhelmed either. He bounced back with an impressive second inning and a good start to his third. It's just a matter of refining his mechanics, building endurance and attacking major league hitters with confidence. Considering he's 19 years old, it's amazing his to-do list isn't a lot longer in terms of development.

Julio Urias will never get another chance to make a first impression, but his foundation is as strong as they come. The Dodgers will be reaping the benefits sooner than later.  

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 28, 2016, 12:54 am

Just because Jose Bautista was serving a suspension Friday night doesn't mean he couldn't contribute for the Blue Jays. Sure, Bautista, whose one-game ban for his role in the Blue Jays-Rangers brawl was upheld by the league, wasn't allowed to play in Toronto's game against the Red Sox or even be in the dugout, but he found somewhere else in the stadium where he was welcome.

In the fourth inning, public address announcer Tim Langton briefly stepped aside and had a special guest call up the Blue Jays' next batter Kevin Pillar.

Guest announcer.

— Tim Langton (@TRLangton) May 28, 2016

Jose Bautista looks like he's enjoying his suspension, taking on the role of the PA announcer. #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/fRZBcmWKZw

— Andrew Hockridge (@drewhockridge) May 28, 2016

Pretty good for a PA rookie, though you can bet the Blue Jays would rather have Bautista in right field than in the booth.

Bautista also has big plans once the game is over, as he'll make his way down the street from the Rogers Centre to the Air Canada Centre to watch the Raptors host the Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals.

Soon as the boys get this W i will be sprinting over there 🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽💨💨💨 https://t.co/kWTlMTRSde

— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) May 28, 2016

Maybe being suspended isn't so bad after all.

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Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: May 28, 2016, 12:45 am

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Fans of the Chicago Cubs love Kris Bryant. It's not hard to figure out why that's the case. Combine his excellent production and prodigious power with those dreamy eyes, and you'll instantly fall in love with Bryant too. 

[Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

With that said, some fans may have taken their love of Bryant a little too far during Friday's game. After Bryant hit a mammoth home run out of the stadium and onto Waveland Ave., two fans got into a bit of a scuffle trying to get a piece of Kris Bryant memorabilia. 

Based on the video, it's tough to tell whether the collision was intentional or an accident. It's certainly possible the fans involved never meant to actually tackle a guy. It's also possible that fandom makes people do crazy things ... like resort to physical violence in order to grab a home run ball.

Look, we here at The Stew can understand how the excitement of catching a home run can cause a person to momentarily act like a maniac, we're just asking that you don't injure those around you. As Cubs play-by-play man Len Kasper says in the video, "be nice, everybody." That's a good mantra to have in all situations.

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper says goodbye to his batting gloves after hitting this blast]

Football doesn't begin for a couple months, so there's no need for baseball fans to start working on their tackling skills now. That's especially true in Chicago. With two first place teams in the city, how can any baseball fan be looking forward to football right now?

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 10:07 pm

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For many, celebrating Memorial Day involves grilling out and watching baseball. But the primary focus of the holiday, remembering those who have died while serving our country, cannot be forgotten.

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The Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team brings both of those together. There's nothing more American than serving in the United States military and playing America's pastime, right?

In honor of the upcoming holiday, MLB Network put together a video about the team. It explains how the club formed and shares some of the stories of the veterans who make up the team. 

The Wounded Warriors have been around for some time now, but in case you were unaware, the team is made up entirely of military veterans who lost a limb serving the country. They travel around the United States playing other softball teams comprised of able-bodied players.

Many veterans struggle to adjust to regular life after returning home, and the Wounded Warriors program helps in that sense. As some of the veterans explain in the MLB Network video, playing on the team gives them a purpose and allows them to be with people who have had similar experiences.

[Elsewhere: Chase Utley believes Mets fans will still be angry about his playoff slide]

The Wounded Warriors' stories are inspirational, and a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fight to keep our country safe. The fact that they play America's game makes the above video a fitting way to prepare for the upcoming holiday. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 8:14 pm

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Ruben Tejada doesn’t play for the New York Mets any more, but that isn’t likely to stop Mets fans from defending his honor Friday night when the Los Angeles Dodgers return to town for the first time since the 2015 National League Division Series.

During Game 2 of that playoff series, Tejada, the Mets’ former shortstop, suffered a fractured fibula of his lower right leg when Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley took him out with a slide into second base.

Utley is expected to be in the lineup Friday in New York for the first time since the incident and he told the Los Angeles Times this week, he is prepared for a hostile greeting from fans and maybe even a beanball from a Mets pitcher.Utley was with the Dodgers for Games 3 and 4 in the playoff series in New York last season, but he did not play. He said his family received death threats during the series in October.

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper crushes giant home run to third deck at Nats park]

The slide that injured Tejada (now with St. Louis), along with others of a similar nature that resulted in injuries, led MLB to adopt what is sometimes referred to as the Chase Utley rule during the offseason. The rule limits how base runners can slide into second base. It prohibits players from going out of their way to try to affect a throw by a second baseman or shortstop in an effort to thwart a double play, but it did not make making contact with fielders while sliding into second illegal. 

Utley always has said he never intended to injure Tejada, but that didn't stop MLB from suspending him for two games. Utley appealed the suspension, which was lifted in the offseason after the rule was changed.

[Elsewhere: Braves fan channels Ric Flair after snagging foul ball]

It would be a bit ridiculous for the Mets to try to take some measure of revenge against Utley now, considering Tejada is no longer on the roster and they had the opportunity to do it earlier this season when the teams met in Los Angeles and did not. Hopefully, the Mets allow the incident to fade into history instead of bringing it all back to the surface again.

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo

Author: Kyle Ringo
Posted: May 27, 2016, 7:44 pm

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Baseball players are creatures of habit. When things are going well, you change nothing about your routine. When things are going poorly, you have to find the one thing holding you back. When you're Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and you find the one thing holding you back, you cut it up into little pieces and throw it in the garbage.

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That's precisely what Harper did after hitting a mammoth home run to the third deck during Thursday's game. Almost immediately after rounding the bases, Harper was spotted in the dugout cutting up his batting gloves. 

Your browser does not support iframes. Harper, who was hitting just .194 in May coming into the contest, apparently decided his batting gloves were part of the problem. After striking out with them during his first at-bat of the game, Harper ditched the batting gloves later on. Based on how hard his sixth inning home run was hit, we're going to say he correctly identified the problem.

[Elsewhere: This college player executed the bat flip of the year]

As for cutting them up, well, it wasn't some weird ritual done to cleanse the evil baseball spirits haunting Harper during the month. Harper actually had a much more reasonable explanation for the complete destruction of his uniform accessories, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

"It's just so people don't sell them on eBay, to tell you the truth," Harper said. "I always cut the batting gloves up, and they're ripped on the top of the hand, and I had the bat boy come in and give me another pair, and I put them on and ripped them again. I guess the baseball gods don't want me to wear the batting gloves right now.

"I went up and hit a homer and came back and cut 'em up just so guys don't come out of the trash can and grab 'em and sell 'em. It's happened before, so cut 'em up now."

At least that explains his odd actions following the blast. We can't say the same for the people who dumpster dive for Harper's batting gloves just to sell them online. That's just weird.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 6:02 pm

 

There is a full slate of 15 games on the schedule in Major League Baseball on Friday, but it’s likely many of the players involved in those games would rather be home on the couch for a night, or, better yet, paying customers at Citi Field in New York.

Los Angeles Dodgers 19-year-old phenom Julio Urias is scheduled to make his long-awaited major league debut in the first game of a three-game set with the New York Mets. Major league scouts have been talking about this day for years, since the uncommonly gifted left-hander was first discovered in 2012 when he was 15. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias will make his major league debut Friday against the New York Mets. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The Dodgers signed him for $450,000 and have been cautious in bringing him along through the minor leagues. With a fastball regularly reaching into the upper 90s, some believed he could have pitched in the big leagues two years ago as a 17-year-old. He finally gets the chance to show his stuff to the world tonight and you can see it for free right here because it is the Yahoo Sports' Free Game of the Day! You can stream Urias’ debut at Yahoo's Sports Home, MLB index and video home.

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper crushes giant home run to third deck at Nats park]

Some have raved about Urias’ maturity. He will need it making his debut on such a big stage in the media mecca that is New York. But Urias seems to embrace the fact that he is young. For example, his Twitter handle is @theteenager7.

Here are five more things you need to know about the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball:

His heritage: Urias is a from Sinaloa, Mexico, a state on the Pacific coast, which has gained plenty of attention recently for ongoing violence between battling drug cartels. Urias’ success could be a welcome distraction and source of pride for his countrymen back home. Urias could also bring a fresh round of mania to Los Angeles 35 years after  his countryman, Fernando Valenzuela, won the 1981 Cy Young award pitching for the Dodgers.

His track record: Urias has been nothing short of dominant in the minor leagues, including his seven starts and one relief appearance this season. He hasn’t allowed a run in 27 consecutive innings and had a 1.10 ERA over 41 innings. He struck out 44 batters with only eight walks and has surrendered just five earned runs all season. It’s that history that has led multiple teams to try to trade for Urias the Dodgers to respond to all those trade offers with the Heisman stiff arm. (Yahoo Sports)

[Elsewhere: Braves fan channels Ric Flair after snagging foul ball]

His pitches: He commands three pitches. He breaks bats with regularity with a fastball that flirts with triple digits on the radar gun. He fools batters who are often trying to catch up with that heat by mixing in a change up and he has throws a devastating curveball that will buckle some knees.

His stamina: The Dodgers have been careful not to over-extend Urias at any level and that isn’t likely to change now that he’s pitching in the big leagues. He hasn’t thrown more than 82 pitches in a game or pitched more than six innings in a game this season. If he continues to be successful, his innings are likely to be limited and he might be moved to the bullpen so he can stay in the big leagues.

His eye: Urias has a droopy left eye caused by having surgery to remove a benign tumor discovered behind his eye when he was a child. That history might have scared off some major league franchises when he was first discovered but it didn’t worry the Dodgers who signed him and have watched him succeed at every step, including becoming the youngest player ever to play in a Futures Game in 2014 as part of the All-Star week festivities when he was just 17.

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo

Author: Kyle Ringo
Posted: May 27, 2016, 6:00 pm

For some, Memorial Day is a day to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for our country. For others, it's a day to barbecue, have fun and welcome summer. For baseball fans, it's a day to get angry about camo uniforms.

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Seriously, there's an entire subsection of baseball fans who HATE when baseball drapes itself in camo for Memorial Day. Trust me, they're all over my Twitter feed every year. This year, MLB has, once again, unveiled new camo jerseys by Majestic and caps by New Era. So get ready for the camo hate coming your way Monday.

(MLB)This isn't about hating the military or being anti-patriotic or anything like that. Baseball fans just really don't handle it well when uniforms get changed up. (Right, Arizona Diamondbacks?) So I'm tackling the camo hate in the latest installment of my Open Mike video series here.

Let me hit you with a few truths about baseball's marriage with camo:

• A lot of Americans actually like camo in a fashion sense. I'm not one of them, but I ain't mad at them either.

• Baseball's camo gear — especially the caps — is quite popular. They sell year-round and rank among the top alternate caps for each team.

• MLB donates it uniform royalties from Memorial Day jerseys and caps to Welcome Back Veterans. That seems worthwhile, even if you're 100 percent camo averse.

[Previously: MLB unveils holiday uniforms for 2016]

So if you're spending your Memorial Day getting upset about camo uniforms, remember this: There are 162 baseball games per year and one day of camo uniforms isn't hurting anything.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: May 27, 2016, 5:11 pm

If you were at a baseball game and managed to catch a foul ball, how would you celebrate? Would you cheer and jump up and down? Would you do the "Are you not entertained?" from Gladiator? Or maybe try dabbing, like the kids at the Scripps National Spelling Bee?

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Those are great answers, but one fan at Thursday's Milwaukee Brewers-Atlanta Braves game has all of them beat.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Braves catcher Tyler Flowers was facing Brewers reliever Jhan Marinez, and Flowers punched the 1-2 pitch foul. The ball bounded toward the stands on the third base side, but before it could be snatched up by one of the fans in the front row, it bounced off padding in front of the wall and shot up in the air. The ball sailed a few rows into the stands, where a Braves fan caught it. 

This Braves fan was insanely excited about his catch, and after high fiving everyone around him, he did the signature dance move of legendary wrestler Ric Flair. It wasn't brief, either. He Ric Flair'd all the way across an empty row of seats at Turner Field. Take a look at the original Ric Flair Strut below and you'll see he did a great job.

That wasn't the only dancing that happened at Turner Field on Thursday. These fans didn't care that it was raining, and they didn't care what music was playing. They were going to dance.

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And dance they did. The Braves may have lost 6-2 to the Brewers, but it looks like the fans at Turner Field had a marvelous time anyway.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 27, 2016, 3:30 pm

We all know about the greatest bat flip in recent memory, Jose Bautista flipping his bat with authority after he hit a home run for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 ALDS. Now all bat flips must be measured against that one, the mother of all bat flips. 

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You might think that all other potential bat-flippers would be scared to flip, knowing they wouldn't measure up. But the Univeristy of Miami baseball team, the Hurricanes, isn't scared. They have given the world a bat flip worthy of being measured against the Bautista bat flip.

Bat flip of the Year courtesy of @CanesBaseball... #ACCBASE https://t.co/MH0G8FLwo8

— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) May 27, 2016

Now that is a Bat Flip. After the player sends the baseball into the stratosphere, he watches it fly and holds the bat out in front of him. And he keeps holding it as he walks up the first base line, staring into his own dugout at his teammates. Then he gives the bat a mighty heave and it twirls away from him.

That epic flip was executed by Hurricanes player Edgar Michelangeli, who hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning of a very important game on Thursday. The Hurricanes are currently playing in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Baseball Championship, and Michelangeli's homer put the Hurricanes up 8-7 over the North Carolina State Wolfpack, and they'd hold on to the lead to win the game. That win brought the Hurricanes to 2-0 in the tournament, and on Saturday they face Florida State (also 2-0) before the final round of the championship on Sunday.

There are still more games to be played in the ACC Baseball Championship, but Edgar Michelangeli has already won the bat flip championship. Unless, of course, someone else in the tournament wants to try and outdo him. Any takers?

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 27, 2016, 1:47 pm

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Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. 

Houston Astros outfielder George Springer doesn't seem like the prototypical leadoff hitter, but he's definitely enjoying his time in the role. Springer's two home runs out of the No. 1 spot helped lead the Astros to victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

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Springer wasted no time getting to work. The 26-year-old led off the bottom of the first inning by smashing the second pitch he saw from Kevin Gausman deep to left for a solo home run. 

He would strike again in the fifth inning. This time, Springer worked Gausman for an eight-pitch at-bat before clobbering an 85 mph splitter. Springer finished the night 2-for-4, with two runs scored and two RBI in the 4-2 victory. Through 48 games, Springer is hitting .270/.364/.492.

Hitting out of the top spot in the lineup is a new development for Springer. He's started the club's last three contests hitting leadoff, with Jose Altuve moving to the second spot in the order. The move could stick, as the Astros have won all three of those games.

Following the win, Houston is 20-28 on the year.

TOP PERFORMERS

 

Carlos Gonzalez: Gonzalez got the Colorado Rockies offense going in Thursday's 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. In the fifth inning, Gonzalez put the Rockies on the board, smacking a two-run shot against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz. That hit seemed to open the flood gates, as Buchholz would allow four more runs the following inning. Gonzalez finished the game 2-for-4, with one run scored and two RBI.

Jose Fernandez: Fernandez turned in a vintage start for the Miami Marlins against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. The 23-year-old lasted seven innings, giving up just one run on six hits. Fernandez had some of his best swing-and-miss stuff, striking out 12 Rays during the contest. The Marlins offense did their part, scoring nine runs of support for their ace in the 9-1 victory. The Marlins have now won Fernandez's last six starts.

[Elsewhere: Jackie Bradley Jr.'s hitting streak was snapped at 29 games]

Gerrit Cole: Cole had just an average start on the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the club's 8-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but his all-around contributions stood out. Cole lasted five innings, giving up one unearned run on seven hits. His performance at the plate is what set him apart. Cole went 2-for-2 during the contest, including a three-run homer in the second inning that put the Pirates ahead early. 

MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT

 

Bryce Harper has been in a bit of a slump in May. Prior to Thursday's game, he was hitting .194 during the month. If he was frustrated by his recent performance, Harper seemed to take out all his aggression on a baseball during Thursday's contest. 

In the sixth inning, Harper channeled all that anger into one swing, sending a ball to the third deck in right field at Nationals Park. The ball traveled 434 feet officially, but it certainly seemed like a lot more to anyone watching. The hit lifted the Nationals over the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2-1 win.

THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD 

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1: J.A. Happ held New York to just one run on three hits over seven innings. Roberto Osuna worked a scoreless ninth for the save, and hasn't allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings.

Brewers 6, Braves 2: Ryan Braun hit his second home run in as many days as the Brewers completed a sweep of the Braves.

White Sox, Royals: PPD: This game was postponed. A makeup date has not been determined at this time.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 5:40 am

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Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s pursuit of Joe DiMaggio's all-time hitting streak has officially come to an end. Bradley went 0-4 during Thursday's game against the Colorado Rockies, ending his current streak at 29 games. 

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Bradley had been moved to the leadoff spot for the contest, but failed to collect a hit against Rockies starter Jon Gray. In his four at-bats, Bradley flew out to right, grounded out to the pitcher, flew out to center and grounded out to second. 

After leading off the eighth inning with a groundout, it seemed unlikely Bradley would receive another at-bat during the contest. The Red Sox made things interesting in the ninth inning, though.

With two outs, Chris Young doubled and Blake Swihart singled. That brought pinch-hitter Mookie Betts up to the plate. If Betts reached base, Bradley would get one more shot at extending the record. That didn't happen. Betts grounded out to first baseman Mark Reynolds, leaving Bradley standing in the on-deck circle as the Red Sox lost 8-2.

While Bradley's 29-game streak was fun, and worthy of coverage, it highlights just how impressive DiMaggio was over his 56 games. Getting close to 30 games feels significant, but that still puts hitters over 20 games away from the eventual record. Bradley did get more than halfway there, and that's no small feat.

Bradley came much closer to setting the Red Sox record for longest hit streak, but ultimately fell short of that goal as well. Dom DiMaggio holds that record for Boston, picking up a hit in 34 straight games in 1949. 

In recent years, no player has seriously challenged Joe DiMaggio's record. Jimmy Rollins came the closest, picking up a hit in 38 straight games across 2005 and 2006. Later during the 2006 season, Rollins' teammate, Chase Ultey had a 35-game hitting streak. Dan Uggla made it to 33 games in 2011. He's the most recent player to have a hit streak of at least 30 games. 

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper sent this home run to the third deck at Nationals Park]

Though Bradley couldn't set a new record, that shouldn't take away from his performance this year. The 26-year-old is hitting an incredible .341/.408/.610 in 46 games. Combine that with his exceptional defense, and Bradley has played like an MVP candidate thus far. 

One bad game won't ruin that narrative. As long as Bradley doesn't go into a lengthy slump following this game, everything will be fine. The best way to get over a hitless night is to start a new hitting streak the next day, right?

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 3:12 am

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Prior to Thursday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper was probably pretty frustrated with his recent performance. The 23-year-old came into the contest hitting just .194 during the month of May, and had only clubbed two home runs.

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That frustration likely intensified after Harper struck out swinging during the first inning. Instead of taking out his anger on the water cooler, Harper decided to channel that rage into a future at-bat.

In the sixth inning, it came to pass. Harper put all of his hatred into one swing. The only victim was a poor, helpless baseball. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Harper obliterated an 80 mph curveball from Mike Leake. The ball was launched so far that it hit off the facing of the third deck in right field at Nationals Park. 

While hitting the ball to the third deck is no easy task, Harper's blast won't threaten for the longest home run of the season. It traveled just 434 feet according to official measurements. Texas Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara's 491 foot moonshot is safe ... for now. 

We have no reason to doubt the official data, but that seems light. We would have bought at least 480 feet based on how hard that thing was hit.

It's not the first time Harper has driven a ball out to the upper deck, but it's still incredibly impressive every time he does it. That area is usually reserved for big, powerful veterans like Adam Dunn, not a 23-year-old kid.

[Elsewhere: One of the Pirates broadcasters explained his verbal feud with Tony La Russa]

Given Harper's ability to go on a tear at the plate, this home run might be just what he needed to break out of his slump. While that would make most players happy, Harper might want to stay angry. He tends to hit the ball a long way when he's angry.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 1:42 am

This is The StewPod, our baseball podcast with a dash of pop culture. If you dig the show, please subscribe and review us on iTunes.

Is Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds a jerk because he wouldn't take a picture with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson before a game? Or have athletes gotten too cozy with each other these days? 

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On this week's edition of the StewPod, Chris and Mike discuss the interaction between the two players, and determine whether Bonds had a good reason for snubbing the young outfielder. They also talk about what the New York Mets should do with Matt Harvey, and express their excitement for Julio Urias' call-up. As always, Bad News Ramen joins the program for his now infamous Three Strikes segment. 

Here's a rundown of this week's show:
• What are the Mets going to do with Matt Harvey?
• It's Julio Urias time
• Barry Bonds vs. Joc Pederson. Who ya got?
• Three Strikes with Bad News Ramen
• Important question: When were you snubbed by one of your idols?
• Brief TV talk

[Music"Butter" by Leyya]

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 27, 2016, 12:41 am

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Arizona Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa hasn’t managed a baseball game in more than four seasons, but he’s still willing to go to extraordinary lengths to defend his record in the job. 

La Russa entered the broadcast booth of the Pittsburgh Pirates television crew Tuesday during a game at PNC Park after hearing broadcaster Greg Brown characterize him as being a manager who always believed in retaliating for players being hit with pitches.

The topic was discussed during the broadcast because Pittsburgh pitcher Arquimedes Caminero had hit Arizona players Nick Ahmed and Jean Segura with pitches earlier in the game.

[Elsewhere: Is Wade Boggs throwing shade at Red Sox with Yankees ring?]

Brown described the confrontation during the broadcast. He said he purposely moved out of sight of cameras while arguing with La Russa in an effort to try to keep the disagreement between them. He said he had no plans to revisit the incident after it was over until he read comments from La Russa about it in an Arizona newspaper on Thursday.

Here is how La Russa explained his decision to enter the broadcast booth and confront Brown to the Arizona Republic newspaper.

"I never have stood for inaccuracies,” La Russa said, “so I corrected the inaccuracies.
"It’s about taking responsibility. If you’re going to speak untruths then you’re going to get challenged and you should be responsible for what you say. I am. I reacted."

[Elsewhere: Derek Jeter wants to own a team and help baseball grow]

Brown bristled at the suggestion that something he said in his orginal characterization of La Russa's history was inaccurate. He said the fact that La Russa chose to speak about it led to him needing to explain his side of things during Thursday's broadcast.

"Well, now I react. I didn’t speak any untruths. I spoke completely accurately, and I’ll stand by every word I said. Again, I didn’t want it to get to this point. I don’t want to get in any more squabbles, but I need to tell my side of the story. And that’s that."

It seems extremely thin-skinned and amateurish of La Russa to invade the broadcast booth of an opposing team on the road to refute comments being made about his record as a manager and how that approach might be currently affecting the thinking of the Arizona organization. First and foremost, the broadcasters work for the Pirates and are free to share their opinions on all things related to the game and the people and personalities on both sides.

Brown could have been much harsher in his assessment of La Russa and his history and how he was perceived in baseball. Brown's comments weren't intended insults or shots at La Russa.

La Russa may not agree with what he heard, but there is a time and place to address that with the broadcaster or journalist involved and disrupting the broadcast is not the time for it. It's simply unprofessional. If Brown had a bone to pick with La Russa, do you think La Russa would be OK with him choosing to walk into, say, a scouting meeting and make his points? Of course not.

You have to wonder how La Russa would have handled the situation if it was Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully reminding his audience of La Russa's history. It's doubtful he would have handled it the same way.

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo

Author: Kyle Ringo
Posted: May 26, 2016, 11:49 pm

Pitching coach Neil Allen #41 of the Minnesota Twins poses during Photo Day on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images)The Minnesota Twins have suspended pitching coach Neil Allen indefinitely following a DWI arrest. The team released a statement Thursday announcing the decision.

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That statement read:

"The Minnesota Twins are aware of the pending DWI charge against pitching coach Neil Allen. Mr. Allen has been suspended, with pay, indefinitely and the matter will be handled in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club.”

According to the Pioneer Press, Allen was arrested at 3:48 a.m. Thursday. He was released without bail at 10:32 a.m. 

Twins minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen will fill in for Allen during the suspension. He's currently listed as the team's interim pitching coach on its website.

Given the last line in the club's official statement, it's possible Allen will not return to the team in the future. Allen is in his second season as the team's pitching coach. The club declined to provide any other comment on the matter at this time. 

In 1990, Allen told the Chicago Tribune he battled alcoholism throughout his 11-year playing career. At that time, Allen had completed rehab, and was attending three to four AA meetings a week. In February of 2015, Allen told a columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had been sober since 1994. 

[Elsewhere: Rougned Odor had his suspension reduced to seven games following his appeal]

Under Allen, Twins pitchers ranked 19th with a 4.09 ERA in 2005. The club entered Thursday with a 5.07 ERA, good for second-worst in the majors. At 12-34, the Twins have the worst record in the American League. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 26, 2016, 10:45 pm

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Major League Baseball used two iconic symbols of America’s pastime Thursday to introduce an unprecedented effort with the National Baseball Hall of Fame to share the game’s rich history with its fans.

Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully narrated a video reading lines from “Field of Dreams” and commissioner Rob Manfred visited the house where much of the movie was made to announce a multiyear effort to bring Hall of Fame artifacts to hundreds of cities around the country.

Not everyone can travel to Cooperstown, N.Y., to visit the complete museum and see all of its offerings, but baseball fanatics at least will be able to experience some of its history and artifacts, which are leaving the museum for the first time in the "We Are Baseball" tour. It's the first time MLB has organized such a tour.

Commissioner Rob Manfred chats with Betty Boeckenstedt, born/raised in Field of Dreams house. Family 1st owners. pic.twitter.com/XDcZIOqKnn

— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) May 26, 2016

[Elsewhere: Is Wade Boggs throwing shade at Red Sox with Yankees ring?]

The traveling exhibit will visit six cities by the end of the World Series this season starting in Davenport, Iowa, July 3-10. The exhibit will include artifacts used in some of the most memorable and recognizable moments in the history of the game, including the bat used by Bobby Thomson when he hit a walk-off home run in the 1951 regular season playoff and the glove worn by Willie Mays when he made the famous catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.

MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Commish Rob Manfred, HOFer John Smoltz in front of FOD house in Dyersville, Iowa. pic.twitter.com/t5RtOMRhhN

— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) May 26, 2016

The exhibit will also travel to Milwaukee (July 15-31), Kansas City (Aug. 5-21), St. Louis (Aug. 26-Sept. 1), Minneapolis (Sept. 16-29) and Las Vegas (Oct. 7-23) before the end of the season. It will make stops in hundreds of other cities in the coming years.

[Elsewhere: Derek Jeter wants to own a team and help baseball grow]

Fans will be able to take in a new IMAX movie about the past, present and future of baseball as well as a variety of experiences using modern technology to experience the exhibit such as virtual reality and inserting yourself in some of baseball's famous moments for a "History Selfie."

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Kyle Ringo is a contributing writer to Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KyleRingo

Author: Kyle Ringo
Posted: May 26, 2016, 9:49 pm

Rougned Odor's suspension for clocking Jose Bautista is losing a small bit of its punch. According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, Odor's suspension will be reduced from eight games to seven after his appeal to the league office.

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Odor propelled the ugly brawl between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers on May 15 when he connected a punch to Bautista's face after a take-out slide at second base. The bad blood between these two teams had been brewing since last season's ALDS when Bautista homered to put the Blue Jays ahead and unleashed the most famous bat flip in the history of baseball.

(Getty Images)

Per MLB rules, players are allowed to appeal their suspension and continue to play while doing so. Odor's appeal was heard Tuesday and lasted three hours, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Now that his appeal has been heard, Odor's suspension must begin by Friday. During Odor's absence, the Rangers are expected to call up former top prospect Jurickson Profar from Triple-A. 

[Previously: Rougned Odor's punch has earned him free meals for life]

Bautista also appealed his one-game suspension for his role in the brawl. That hearing was held earlier this week as well. No word yet on whether his suspension will be adjusted.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: May 26, 2016, 9:27 pm

This booking photo provided by the Arlington County, Va., Police Department shows Atlanta Braves baseball outfielder Hector Olivera. Olivera was placed on paid administrative leave by Major League Baseball after he was arrested when a woman accused him of assault at a hotel in Arlington, Va. (Arlington County, Va., Police Department via AP)Atlanta Braves outfielder Hector Olivera has been suspended by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred through Aug. 1, a total of 82 games, under the league's domestic violence policy.

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Olivera was arrested in April following a domestic dispute at a hotel in Virginia. He was eventually charged with one misdemeanor count of assault and battery

At that time, Olivera was put on paid administrative leave by the league while Manfred and his team gathered information about Olivera's case. The league and the Players Association eventually agreed to extend Olivera's paid leave when it became clear the league needed more time to complete its investigation.

Manfred released the following statement regarding Olivera's suspension: 

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Hector Olivera violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy on April 13, 2016. Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Olivera violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on Aug. 1. Mr. Olivera has also agreed to make a significant charitable contribution to one or more charitable organizations focused on preventing and treating survivors of domestic violence.”

The suspension, which is backdated to include the games Olivera has already missed, will total 82 games, making it the longest suspension handed out by Manfred under the new policy. Olivera's suspension is retroactive to April 30. He will not appeal the punishment. 

Under the policy, Olivera is allowed to participate in extended spring training while he's suspended. He will become eligible to begin a rehab assignment July 15. 

[Elsewhere: Dodgers top prospect Julio Urias is finally getting the call to the majors]

Olivera becomes the third player to be suspended under the new policy, joining New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, who received 30 games, and Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes, who was suspended 52 games

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 26, 2016, 9:24 pm

No one would be surprised to see a baseball player dig into his pocket while on base and pull out a few sunflower seeds. They are, after all, a ballplayer's favorite snack. But the snack Buddy Reed of the University of Florida pulled out of his pocket Wednesday night might have caused a double take.

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Reed was standing on third base during Florida's SEC Tournament game against LSU, when he dug out a bag of Sour Patch Kids. Never seen that one before.

rpmsports18: Florida's Buddy Reed eats Sour Patch Kids on base. T… SEC Netwo… College Baseb… https://t.co/8vCY5YiYQT pic.twitter.com/f4CKU8l3XD

— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) May 26, 2016

Perhaps it was a wise strategy by Reed. His team's game against LSU last until 1:48 a.m. local time in Alabama, then they were back at it playing their next game Thursday at 12:55 p.m. local time.

Hope Buddy brought enough Sour Patch Kids to share with the team. They might all need a pick-me-up.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: May 26, 2016, 8:26 pm

A Major League Baseball investigation into the national anthem fiasco involving the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus has concluded the "regrettable situation was a product of human error" and had no malicious intent.

MLB launched its own investigation into the controversy after it hit the mainstream news cycle earlier this week. On Saturday, members of chorus were ready to sing the national anthem at Petco Park when a recorded version of the song played with a woman's voice. The chorus left the field embarrassed and said later they were being taunted with homophobic slurs by fans.

Afterward, the group called for an investigation to find out whether this was discriminatory or a "hate crime." The Padres and eventually MLB obliged, with separate investigations. Here's MLB's full statement on its findings, which indicate that some Padres employees were ill-prepared for the national anthem mix-up but there was no malice involved.

Major League Baseball announced today that it has completed its investigation into the unfortunate events of Saturday, May 21st, when members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus had been scheduled to perform the Star-Spangled Banner before the Padres’ “Pride Night” home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park.  The review, which was conducted by MLB’s Department of Investigations, included a dozen interviews with individuals who were involved in the situation.

The Department of Investigations has concluded that the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus has performed the Star-Spangled Banner multiple times before a Padres game; that Saturday’s regrettable situation was a product of human error; that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the lead entertainment supervisor was involved in a car accident on Friday night and thus was unable to work on Saturday and handle his typical responsibilities; that employees involved in the matter were handling new duties with which they were insufficiently familiar; and that the employees involved had no malicious intentions and, in fact, universally relayed contrition for how the incident unfolded and the adverse impression that it created.

MLB received the full cooperation of Padres management, which expressed its deepest apologies.  MLB believes that the Padres’ efforts to remedy the situation, including its invitation to the Chorus to return to a future game to perform the National Anthem, are appropriate and has every expectation that the Club’s longstanding record of inclusion will be evident in the future. 

As for the Padres' investigation, it resulted in the team's on-field DJ being terminated and another employee being disciplined. The DJ, DJ ArtForm, apologized and owned his mistake, but he was adamant that nothing discriminatory had happened. On Tuesday, the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus accepted his apology and said it wants DJ ArtForm to be rehired by the Padres. And on Thursday, the Padres announced they had offered DJ ArtForm a new position and he had accepted.

The San Diego Gay Men's Chorus issued this statement Thursday afternoon:

The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus expresses its appreciation to Major League Baseball, the San Diego Padres and President & CEO Mike Dee for their thorough review of the events that transpired in the broadcast booth during Saturday night’s game.

We have every confidence in their findings and we know Major League Baseball will use this experience to further reinforce its policies of LGBT inclusion and acceptance both on and off the playing field. It is our sincere hope that out of this incident comes good--and that’s to continue our national conversation about professional sports, professional athletes and the LGBT community.

We are already moving forward in a constructive and positive direction for both the San Diego Padres and the LGBT community. We want to thank Mike Dee personally for working so closely with San Diego Pride and our Chorus. With Mike’s leadership, we know the San Diego Padres will become a national model for LGBT inclusion among all professional sports organizations.

Our Chorus is greatly humbled and deeply touched by the outpouring of support we have received from around the world. The words of encouragement from so many people have been overwhelming and positive. We would like to thank all of the community leaders who have come together in support including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilman Todd Gloria.

We look forward to working together in partnership with the San Diego Padres.

So, it sounds like this controversy is over now.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: May 26, 2016, 7:25 pm

We know Wade Boggs isn't necessarily the type of guy to do things for the sake of keeping up appearances. The guy who supposedly drinks 107 beers in one day doesn't care too much about what people think, ya know?

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So there was Boggs on Wednesday, reassembled with members of the 1986 Boston Red Sox team at Fenway Park. The Red Sox were celebrating the 30-year anniversary of the '86 squad that won the AL pennant but famously lost to the New York Mets in the World Series. Boggs was there, as were Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans and many others. Even Bill Buckner.

It was all fun and nostalgia, but then the Internet noticed something peculiar. Boggs was wearing the World Series ring he won with the rival New York Yankees.

HAHA. In ceremony honoring '86 RedSox, Wade Boggs wore his Yankees championship ring! (via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/bqnOGHLv69

— Dr Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) May 26, 2016

As far as baseball controversies go, this isn't anything to throw a punch over. But at least a couple Red Sox fans were upset. If nothing else, it makes for an interesting wrinkle in baseball's most famous rivalry.

There are three answers that could explain all this:

• Boggs wears the World Series ring all the time and didn't even consider that he was wearing a Yankees ring to a Red Sox party. It's a World Series ring, after all, and Boggs has said he doesn't just put it in a drawer. Can't blame him for that.

• Boggs cares so little about keeping up appearances that he knew he wore the Yankees ring and just didn't care.

• Boggs, after years of getting dissed by the Red Sox, was throwing some subtle (and fantastic) shade their direction.

Option Three is the most intriguing, so let's dig into that a bit. The Red Sox and Boggs haven't exactly been friendly since Boggs' days at Fenway Park ended. In fact, only recently did the Red Sox decide to retire Boggs' No. 26. They made the announcement in December and the ceremony is happening Thursday. Boggs, at the time this was announced, was thrilled.

[Elsewhere: Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees]

Boggs was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 on the first ballot. Even the Tampa Bay Rays retired his number before the Red Sox — and he only played two seasons there. (It's also where he collected his 3,000th hit). But the Red Sox, with whom he played 11 seasons and collected 2,098 hits, waited more than 10 years after he got into Cooperstown before retiring his number. Ouch.

This is how Wade Boggs celebrated his Yankees World Series win? (AP)The Red Sox have said in the past that they don't retire the numbers of players who end their careers on other teams. Though, they've also broke that policy (with Carlton Fisk, for instance). So there are a number of theories about why the Red Sox snubbed Boggs all those years, including that the Red Sox weren't happy about Boggs' ugly affair with Margo Adams in the '80s or the way he celebrated the Yankees World Series win (on horseback!) Then there's the long-rumored agreement that Boggs made to wear a Rays cap on his Hall of Fame plaque. The Rays cap didn't happen and Boggs denies the agreement, but people still talk about it

Whatever the beef was between the Red Sox and Boggs, the Sox are over it enough to retire Boggs' number. So now we're left to wonder whether Boggs was getting his revenge during Wednesday's celebration. If he resents the Red Sox for making him wait all these years to get his number retired, wearing the Yankees ring in Fenway Park is a sly way to stick it to them.

Like most things in the Red Sox-Boggs relationship, it's hard to say for sure. But if Boggs wears the Yankees ring again during his Red Sox number-retirement ceremony Thursday night, it might get a few more people wondering.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Mike Oz
Posted: May 26, 2016, 6:16 pm

Retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took a break from not playing baseball to give an interview with CNBC's Squak Box on Wednesday, and he had a lot to say about the game of baseball. 

Not surprisingly, Jeter loves baseball. And because he loves it, he wants to help it grow, and owning a baseball team is how he believes he can do that. Sadly, he immediately crossed the Yankees off that list, because even he doesn't have that kind of money. 

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You can watch an excerpt of the interview here, which covers a very interesting comment that Jeter made about why he thinks that baseball isn't as popular as basketball and football.

"I think kids, nowadays they look at players playing in college and the next year they're in the NFL or the NBA. Baseball, you sort of get lost, because you have to play in the minor leagues for a little bit. Kids in this generation are into instant gratification."

Aside from his jab at kids today, Jeter is specifically taking a shot at the NFL and the NBA and their lack of required player development. He's saying that baseball is better for having the minor-league system, but because of that extra step, high school and college phenoms don't immediately make the transition to the majors.

But there's another force at work that Jeter only skirts, and that's the popularity of college sports. College basketball and football are insanely popular and profitable. For example, CBS shows NCAA Basketball Tournament games on their entire family of networks for at least three weeks, including ones that show zero sports during the other 49 weeks of the year. College baseball is simply not that popular, and without that popularity, there's less visibility for rising stars, even if they become "lost" (as Jeter put it) due to the minor league system.

MLB is working to fix some of that, though. They've been trying to make the draft more of an event, inviting young players in their sharp suits to sit with their families in a big room at MLB Network and wait for their names to be called. But not all cable companies carry MLB Network and it's often part of a higher-tier (i.e. more expensive) package. It's hard to make something into a must-watch event if the channel itself is hard to get.

And as far as keeping track of those players once they're drafted, MiLB.TV is the way to do that. It's MLB.TV's minor league sibling, featuring live minor league games every day. The fee is less than its big brother, but the selection is also limited, and it's not particularly well known (or well advertised).

MLB doesn't always make it easy for baseball evangelists like Jeter to spread the good word of the game. There are big issues to tackle to make the game more accessible to everyone. Jeter barely scratched the surface in his interview, but it will take big-name players, both current and former, with big ideas and big talent to push baseball into a new realm of popularity.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 26, 2016, 4:06 pm

Baseball's No. 2 prospect, pitcher Julio Urias, is getting the call so many prospects hope for. The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Thursday that they're purchasing his contract on Friday in advance of his major league debut. 

The Dodgers are expected to purchase on Friday the contract of LHP Julio Urias, who is scheduled to make his MLB debut Friday in New York.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 26, 2016

Urias is taking the place of Alex Wood, who is on rest due to soreness in his triceps. 

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Urias' stats with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers are stellar. He's made seven starts and one relief appearance, and allowed five earned runs total. That's good for a 1.10 ERA. He's struck out 44 batters in 41 innings while walking just eight and allowing two home runs. Oh, and he's also in the middle of a 27-inning scoreless streak. 

Urias, who is 19, was signed by the Dodgers in 2012 when he was just 16. Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider says that Urias is the youngest pitcher to make his major league debut since 19-year-old Felix Hernandez in 2005.

This is Urias' first call-up, but it may not be his last. Wood is scheduled to start on Monday, and injured pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy are nearing their return, so Urias' trip to the majors may not be permanent yet. It's no knock on his talent, of course. Even Clayton Kershaw was sent back to the minors after his original call-up. 

Urias will face the New York Mets on Friday night, which has the good fortune of being tomorrow's Yahoo Sports' Free Game of the Day! You'll be able to stream it for free on Yahoo's Sports HomeMLB index and video home. You won't want to miss it.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 26, 2016, 3:25 pm

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For some fans, baseball without Ichiro Suzuki just doesn’t make sense. He’s played for three teams in his 17-year MLB career, and most of those years were spent with the Seattle Mariners, with a two-and-a-half-year sojourn playing for the New York Yankees before he came to his current team, the Miami Marlins. No matter what team he plays for, knowing Ichiro is playing baseball, what he was clearly born to do, is comforting.

You can watch Ichiro and the Marlins take on the Tampa Bay Rays today in Yahoo Sports' Free Game of the Day. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. ET, and you can stream it on Yahoo's Sports HomeMLB index and video home. Local blackouts apply, according to MLB rules.  

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It wasn’t always a given that Ichiro would continue playing, or that he’d be as good as he’s been this season. His last two seasons with the Yankees weren’t his best, and his stats cratered in his first year with the Marlins. With Miami in 2015, he had the worst year of his career. He hit .229/.282/.279, his lowest marks in each category ever. And he did it in 438 plate appearances.

All of that makes his resurgence with the 2016 Marlins even more incredible. He’s not playing full time for the Fish, so he’s had 78 plate appearances in 36 games. But even with that small sample size, he’s batting .357/.416/.400. Due to Christian Yelich’s back problems, Ichiro has started the last five games the Marlins have played, and in those games he’s hit .435/.458/.478.

And thanks in part to his rebounding numbers, Ichiro’s reaching some significant career milestones. He currently has 2960 career MLB hits, so he needs just 40 more to reach 3000. He’s currently just four hits away from reaching the number 31 spot on the all-time MLB hit list. And he’s already the active leader in stolen bases with 500, which he hit last month.

With Ichiro’s records, it’s important to establish which league you’re talking about. Since he played nine years in Japan for Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), his MLB stats don’t tell the whole story. If you combine his MLB hits (2960) with his NPB hits (1278), Ichiro is getting incredibly close to Pete Rose’s all-time hit record. How close? Ichiro has 4238 professional hits, and Rose’s record is 4256. Ichiro needs just 18 more hits to tie it, and 19 to become the new reigning hit king.

There’s very little doubt that Ichiro, with his long career and sustained success, will be granted a spot in Cooperstown when the time comes. But to do that, he needs to retire first. And looking at his resurgence this year, Ichiro could put that off one more time because he might not be done yet. 

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 26, 2016, 1:49 pm

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Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we'll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about. 

The New York Mets are facing a conundrum of epic proportions thanks to the struggles of Matt Harvey. For now, the Mets say he's staying in the rotation, but there has been no shortage of debate concerning what the Mets are doing or should do to get Harvey back on track.

Fortunately for the Mets, a situation that's become a five-alarm fire in the media is producing more smoke than actual fire in terms of their starting rotation. That's because they not only have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom serving as legit aces every five days, but also because Steven Matz has essentially stepped right into the position everyone expected Harvey to occupy.

[Roundtable: What should the Mets do with Matt Harvey?]

Mets starter Steven Matz pitched up his seventh straight win in a 2-0 victory against the Nationals. (AP)That continued on Wednesday, as Matz handcuffed the same Washington Nationals lineup — sans Bryce Harper — that torched Harvey in his worst career outing last Thursday at Citi Field and again for three home runs on Tuesday. Matz limited Washington to four hits and one walk over eight scoreless innings to lead New York to a 2-0 victory and pick up his seventh straight winning decision.

Those are the results of a pitcher who is locked in, with Mike Puma of the New York Post even calling Matz the anti-Harvey.  

Matz, who brings high expectations with him as well, has given the Mets a needed pick-me-up by proving he's ready to be a bulldog right now. He even garnered some high praise from Pedro Martinez. 

Matz looks like a 20 game winner at the end of the year. He changes eye level on the hitters and makes them feel uncomfortable.

— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) May 26, 2016

Today Matz pitched a clinic on how to keep hitters looking like bobbleheads

— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) May 26, 2016

Matz's explosion is a positive development. Now just imagine if they can get Harvey on track, and even Zack Wheeler back healthy. 

TOP PERFORMERS 

Jackie Bradley Jr.: The streak lives on! Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games with a fourth-inning single in Boston's 10-3 win against the Rockies. If Bradley Jr. can make it 30 on Thursday, he'll join Dom DiMaggio (34 games), Nomar Garciaparra (30) and Tris Speaker (30) as the only players in club history to reach that mark. 

Adam Lind: This is how you know you're having a good night. 

Lind a triple shy of cycle, but if that ball were a couple feet higher, he'd be a grand slam shy of the homer cycle

— Larry Stone (@StoneLarry) May 26, 2016

Lind finished 4-for-4 with six RBIs. His night included a solo homer in the second and a three-run shot in the third. He later added a run-scoring single in the fifth,and an RBI double in the seventh. Seattle also got home runs from Robinson Cano (14th) and Nelson (10th) as they dismantled the A's 13-3

[Elsewhere: Alex Rodriguez is bat-flipping his way back to the Yankees]

Russell Martin: The veteran catcher entered play on Wednesday in a season-long slump, hitting just .172 without a home run in Toronto's first 47 games. Martin's power outage has been somewhat startling considering he hit a career-best 23 last season, but maybe he's finally turned the page. In Toronto's 8-4 win against the Yankees, Martin homered twice and drove in three runs to pace the Blue Jays attack.  

Jake Peavy: Aside from Matt Harvey, no starter needed a good outing more than San Francisco's Jake Peavy. He got it on Wednesday, limiting his former team, the San Diego Padres, to one run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings. Peavy lowered his ERA to 7.26, but remains stuck on one win after taking a no-decision. The Giants went on to win 4-3 on Brandon Crawford's walk-off single in the 10th, completing the three-game sweep. 

MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT 

The Rangers have some strong young men on their ballclub. In addition to Joey Gallo being back and Adrian Beltre still being awesome, they also have rookie Nomar Mazara. On Wednesday, he jacked this 491-foot blast in the Rangers 15-9 win against the Angels, which makes it the longest home run in MLB this season.  

THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD 

Indians 4, White Sox 3: The White Sox grip on first place is slipping away. They hold just a half-game lead over Cleveland after dropping their third straight to Cleveland on Wednesday. 

Phillies 8, Tigers 5: Philadelphia avoided a three-game sweep at Comerica Park thanks largely to Odubel Herrera's three-run homer in the fourth. Potential All-Star Jeanmar Gomez pitched the ninth to earn his 17th save. 

Twins 7, Royals 5: Minnesota picks up win No. 12 on the strength of home runs from Eduardo Nunez, Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano. 

Cubs 9, Cardinals 8: It wasn't pretty, but that's 23 straight regular season wins in games started by Jake Arrieta. That ties an MLB record

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 4: After a contentious game on Tuesday, things settled down into a well-played game here. Pittsburgh emerged victorious thanks to a four-run fifth highlighted by David Freese's two-run homer. 

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Marlins 4, Rays 3: With the slumping Giancarlo Stanton sitting, Miami rode the hot bat of Marcell Ozuna to victory. Ozuna picked up two hits, raising his average this month to .426, while knocking in two runs. 

Astros 4, Orioles 3: After being swept by Texas over the weekend, the Astros have bounce back with two one-run wins over the Orioles.  Luis Valbuena provided the difference maker with a solo homer in the sixth. 

Brewers 3, Braves 2 (13 innings): As the clock struck midnight in Atlanta, the Braves continued being the Braves. They are now 2-19 in their final season at Turner Field. 

Dodgers 3, Reds 1: Los Angeles completes the three-game sweep behind Scott Kazmir, who allowed one run on four hits, while striking out 12 over six innings. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 26, 2016, 5:53 am

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After missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, Alex Rodriguez is poised to rejoin the New York Yankees on Thursday after completing a successful rehab stint with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

Rodriguez, 40, went 3-for-6 during his brief two-game stop, including launching a monster home run over the 407 sign in center field at Arm & Hammer Park on Wednesday night. Rodriguez punctuated that home run against New Hampshire Fisher Cats hurler Casey Lawrence with a pretty exuberant bat flip, which many saw as his final proclamation that he's ready to return.

[Elsewhere: Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara crushes longest homer of the year]

"Whether you're playing in high school or playing in the Major Leagues, a home run feels good," Rodriguez told the assembled media. "The ball came off of the bat nicely; you have to walk before you run. That was a good start today."

You have to walk before you can run. And before you walk, you most certainly should bat flip. That is, if you can ever get the bat away from Trenton's fearless bat dog.

Hey, can I have my bat back? #SoMuchForTheBatBoy #BatDog #trentonthunder pic.twitter.com/GgBq5mlINF

— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) May 25, 2016

Rodriguez did not specifically discuss the prominent disposal of his lumber, but his previous quote seems to have summed up how he was feeling. As does this one.

"In all of my at-bats, I felt good," said Rodriguez. "I told the guys yesterday that I felt good, surprisingly. I saw the ball pretty well. I made good contact, and that last one felt good."

There's no doubt Rodriguez and his 692 career home runs are on the way. Now the question is: where do they all fit?

It's not like he was tearing it up before his injury, hitting just .194/.275/.444 across the board through 20 games. He did have five home runs, which at the time felt like an important number given the Yankees offensive struggles. However, Carlos Beltran has since settled in quite nicely at A-Rod's designated hitter spot, posting a .292/.329/.667 line with six homers and 20 RBIs during Rodriguez's absence.

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The Yankees have to realize putting Beltran back in the field on a regular basis isn't in their best interests. They need him healthy and they need his pop in the lineup. That could turn A-Rod into a part-time player, or even an ace-in-the-hole pinch hitter that Joe Girardi can play matchups with.

It's almost the dynamic many of us anticipated last season, not fully knowing what Rodriguez would be upon his return. It turns out he was great then, but right now the Yankees have to figure who their best players are and roll with them unflinchingly if they hope to rally in the AL East. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 26, 2016, 4:59 am

Softball legend Jennie Finch will serve as manager for a day for the Bridgeport Bluefish. (AP)For the first time in professional baseball history, a female will manage a men's team.

It will happen this Sunday, May 29, when the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League officially welcome softball legend Jennie Finch as their guest manager for one game when they take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.

[Elsewhere: Adam Wainwright thinks MLB proposal is a 'horrible idea']

According to a press release from March, Finch will also be involved in pregame activities, such as throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and participating in a pre-game meet-and-greet with fans. The attraction though is having a chance to witness history, as Finch will be in charge of managing the Bluefish from the dugout for the entire game.

“We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team,” Bluefish General Manager Jamie Toole said following the announcement. “She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day.”

If the Bluefish sound familiar, that's probably because they've done the guest manager promotion before with great success. In fact, last summer they had Pete Rose come in amidst his attempt to be reinstated to Major League Baseball. Since its an independent team, they don't have to adhere to MLB's rules. They have a lot more freedom to think outside the box in terms of promotions and attempts to create publicity.

Make no mistake about it, bringing in Finch is about garnering publicity too. But that's not to suggest it's not a cool gesture or that she's not qualified for a position in baseball.

Finch made her name playing Division-I softball for the University of Arizona Wildcats from 1999 to 2002. There, she helped lead the team to a national championship at the Women’s College World Series in 2001. After her college career, Finch played as a member of Team USA during the Summer Olympics in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, winning gold and silver medals, respectively.

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She's even matched her skills against MLB players in the past, often getting the best of them with her impressive arsenal. 

Just as important as her accomplishments and ability though, she has a passion for baseball and undeniable knowledge of the game that cement her qualifications.

This may be a one-day guest gig, but if Finch expressed interest in going into coaching or scouting on a serious level, teams would probably not hesitate to extend her an opportunity.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 26, 2016, 3:40 am

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Cleveland Indians slugger Mike Napoli is not the fastest guy around, nor is he the most graceful. But he can sure hit the baseball.

He proved that to Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale on Tuesday when he split the outfielders for a two-run triple. The triple was Napoli's first since April 15 of last season, and it couldn't have come at a better time as it helped Cleveland knock Sale from the ranks of the undefeated with a 6-2 victory.

[Elsewhere: Joc Pederson got dissed by Barry Bonds after simple request]

Unfortunately for Napoli, the triple also highlighted those two previously mentioned facts: He's not fast, and he's not graceful. That led to one of the most awkward and embarrassing slides we've seen in a long time as he arrived to third base only somewhat safely.

Better: Mike Napoli's triple or his slide? pic.twitter.com/4YmRtMdrZ8

— Baseball Is Fun (@flippingbats) May 25, 2016

Yeah, that's a faceplant of epic proportions. Fortunately, Napoli did not suffer any injuries other than those to his pride. Once that became clear though, you had to know his teammates wouldn't let him live it down, or let the fans soon forget the sight of Napoli eating dirt.

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Hanging the photographic evidence on the dugout wall might seem a little harsh, but at least they spared him the obligatory chalk outline. 

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To his credit, Napoli has been a good sport too, even donning a neck brace for a photo after the game. 

Then again, there's nothing Napoli can really do other than laugh at himself and rub a little dirt on it.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 26, 2016, 1:22 am

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Like many baseball players who grew up in the 90s, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson looked up to San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds. It's easy to see why. Bonds put up tremendous numbers on the field. It also helps that, like Pederson, he was a lefty with excellent power and plate discipline. 

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So, when Pederson had a chance to finally meet one of baseball idols, he was pretty excited. During a series against the Miami Marlins, Pederson introduced himself to Bonds and told him how much he enjoyed watching him play. 

What should have been a joyous occasion for Pederson quickly became awkward after the outfielder asked Bonds for a picture. According to Pederson, Bonds just turned away from him and didn't answer the question.

.@yungjoc650 was a huge @BarryBonds fan until this happened. More tonight, 11:30et on @FS1.https://t.co/RloqCuqSVT

— FSLive: #JayAndDan (@foxsportslive) May 25, 2016

Ouch! That's not only really harsh, but it had to make for an incredibly awkward situation. 

Eventually, Pederson says he just gave up and walked away. He did admit that the whole exchange briefly made him "flustered" and a "mental head case" during the game that night. 

While Bonds was spectacular on the field, he wasn't always considered the friendliest personality in the clubhouse. In that sense, maybe Pederson's exchange shouldn't come as a huge surprise.

Still, Bonds has quietly tried to remake his image in recent years. His Twitter account is generally pretty entertaining, and the fact that he's back in the majors as a hitting coach seemed to suggest that maybe he was putting the past behind him.

[Elsewhere: Roundtable: What should the Mets do with Matt Harvey?]

That's what makes this whole exchange puzzling. After months of getting back in the good graces of his fans, Bonds dissed a promising young player who made a simple request. If he took five seconds to take a picture with Pederson, this wouldn't even be a story. Instead, Bonds once again finds himself in a stupid controversy about his personality. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 26, 2016, 12:08 am

Adam Wainwright thinks changing the strike zone is a horrible idea. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)When the powers that be at Major League Baseball came up with the idea to alter the strike zone they didn't ask Adam Wainwright for his input.

There aren't many pitchers in baseball with a better grasp of the strike zone than the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander, who is best known for his pinpoint command and his ability to keep the ball down.

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Given Wainwright's bona fides, it isn't all that surprising he isn't in favor of the bottom of the strike zone being raised to the top of a batter's knees.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“It’s a horrible, horrible idea,” he said. “One, I’m a pitcher. And I’m a pitcher who likes to keep the ball low. Two, and mainly, all this talk about making the games shorter — what part of raising the strike zone up is going to do that? … They want more offense. I understand that. But taking 45 seconds off for an intentional walk one out of every three games isn’t going to make up for the added balls in the gap by raising the strike zone, in my opinion.”

If anything, Wainwright's opinion is indicative of the fine line MLB walks when it comes to implementing these kind of changes in the game. The revised strike zone could be put into place as early as next season, which wouldn't give pitchers much time to adjust. 

It appears, however, that Wainwright won't have much of a choice but to make those adjustments even through his objections. An upset pitcher or two is part of the price MLB is willing to pay as it continues to search for a formula that speeds up games and also enhances the entertainment value.

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Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: May 26, 2016, 12:00 am

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There's no such thing as an automatic win in baseball, but Jake Arrieta Day has essentially become that for the Chicago Cubs. 

That continued to be true on Wednesday, despite the fact that Arrieta posted his worst outing in over one year. 

[Roundtable: What should the Mets do with Matt Harvey?]

Arrieta allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits over five innings, but extended two remarkable streaks as the Cubs ultimately outslugged the Cardinals 9-8

Arrieta won his 20th straight decision, which in its own right is very impressive. Beyond that, the Cubs have now won the last 23 regular season games started by Arrieta, which ties the MLB record set by the Braves and Kris Medlen. 

The @Cubs have won each of Jake Arrieta's past 23 starts, tied for the longest such streak in MLB history (2010-12 Kris Medlen) @EliasSports

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2016

For further perspective, the Cubs have not lost an Arrieta regular season start since July 25, 2015, which happened to be the day they were no-hit by then Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels. Arrieta has since pitched two no-hitters of his own, while staking his claim as baseball's best pitcher. 

Jake Arrieta won his 20th straight decision on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. (AP) Roberson)As noted, for the first time in a long time, it wasn't pretty on Wednesday. But that only serves to put more focus on how great Arrieta has been over the last two seasons. Arrieta's Game Score (which is explained here) was a 40, which is his lowest total since May 7, 2015, when he posted a 38. The league average Game Score is 50, which indicates that Arrieta's "worst" is merely sub par when compared to other MLB pitchers. 

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Wednesday's result also shows how difficult it is to put together a run like the one Arrieta and the Cubs are currently enjoying. There has to be a blip on the radar every now and then, but even Wednesday's blip wasn't enough to deter the Cubs. Arrieta's teammates had his back, scoring six runs in the second and three more in the sixth inning. Now, together, they'll have a chance to rewrite history when Arrieta takes the hill against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. 

Will it be automatic? Far from it. But given all the factors in play, no wise person would bet against the Cubs on Jake Arrieta Day. 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

Author: Mark Townsend
Posted: May 25, 2016, 11:45 pm

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The New York Mets have reached the point where they have a Matt Harvey problem again. And the 2016 version of the Matt Harvey problem is unlike any the Mets have faced with their ace thus far in his career.

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It's not like last season when they were arguing about how many innings he'd pitch coming off Tommy John surgery. Or like when they clashed with him about his rehab plans after surgery. Nope, this one is all the way on the other side of the baseball spectrum. Matt Harvey is a mess and, so far, he hasn't been able to fix himself.

The Mets have to do something about Matt Harvey. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)He was roughed up again Tuesday night, giving up three homers and five runs in the Mets' 7-4 loss to the Washington Nationals. Harvey struck out only one batter, which is particularly troubling when you consider that in addition to his bloated 6.08 ERA, his velocity is down. As bad as his performance was Tuesday, it wasn't nearly as bad as his previous start (also against the Nats) when Harvey gave up nine runs in 2 2/3 innings and was actually booed by Mets fans.

Solutions from the Mets have ranged from the normal to the unusual. There's been talk for a week now about skipping one of Harvey's starts, which isn't uncommon for a struggling pitcher. On Wednesday, the Mets announced Harvey wouldn't be skipped. More interestingly, one recent proposal included burning everything in Harvey's locker. The symbolism is obvious — and the adherence to baseball's superstitious nature is to be applauded.

We here at The Stew have our own ideas about what the Mets should do with Harvey. Some are serious. Some are on the more outlandish side. No possessions will be burned, however.

SEND HIM TO THE MINORS
I think two things are pretty obvious. First, Harvey isn't physically or mentally equipped right now to face major league hitting. Second, and far more complicated, he's not going to be himself again by sitting on the sideline. He's far too competitive to accept that, so I'm of the belief a stint in the minors makes the most sense. Harvey will have to swallow his pride a bit, but sometimes that's exactly what a guy with his talent needs to do to take the next step. (Mark Townsend)

(Morgan Creek)THE EDDIE HARRIS PLAN
There aren't many reasonable comparisons to Matt Harvey and pitcher Eddie Harris from Major League. For one, Harris is fictional, and much older than Harvey. But maybe Harris' strategy can help Harvey out at this point. After losing his stuff due to age, Harris resorted to rubbing a number of ointments on his body in order to get more break on his curve. If the ump was too curious, he would just rub jalapeno in his nose and load up the ball with snot. 
Look, none of these things are technically legal, but pitchers have been getting away with this type of thing for a while now. And though Harvey is still pumping 94 mph fastballs, his velocity is down nearly two miles-per-hour. At 27, he's probably too young to resort to old pitcher methods at this point, but it's probably pretty tempting. As long as he doesn't insult Jobu, this might even work out for Harvey. (Chris Cwik)

GIVE HIM SOME TIME OFF
Harvey's struggles this season have given the Mets little choice in the matter: they must give him a week or two off. It's a move that will probably be met with criticism and doesn't fit with Harvey's macho persona, but getting whacked around every start isn't exactly doing much for his reputation, either. The Mets have enough pitching to get by during that short period of time and it's best for Harvey to get his mind and body right now, because they need him if they're going to make a run back to the World Series. (Israel Fehr)

Can Bartolo Colon cure Matt Harvey's woes? (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)SEND HIM TO LIVE WITH BARTOLO COLON
I'm not saying Matt Harvey's struggles are necessarily because he's one of the most famous bachelors in New York City, but when you're trying to fix yourself, a good strategy is to simplify. So I think a restructuring of his personal life my do the trick. Specifically, I think the Mets should send Harvey to go live with Bartolo Colon and his family (or families, whatever).

Bartolo can impart wisdom on Harvey, show him how a 19-year veteran stays focused and perhaps even treat Harvey like another of his kids. Maybe Harvey will get some fining Dominican home-cooking out of it too. If that doesn't work, my next suggestion is leave him on Jakku until his learns how to unlock The Force within his pitching arm. Colon's house seems like a better idea for all parties involved. (Mike Oz)

PUT HIM IN THE BULLPEN
It seems like there are only two options for the Mets at this point, option Harvey to the minors and let him figure it out there where wins and losses matter much less or stick him in the bullpen and allow him to rebuild his confidence, literally one batter at a time. He needs to get in and out of a game or two with positive results. That alone could do wonders.

[Elsewhere: Chris Sale viciously critiques himself after failing to go 10-0]

Harvey seems to be at a point where he has no confidence, which is why I would lean toward the bullpen option. No matter what the club does, it's going to have an effect on Harvey. Sending him to the minors could be seen more as abandoning the guy to figure it out on his own. A time might come for that, but the Mets could keep him on the roster, work him out of the bullpen and have all the resources available at the major league level to help him get over the hump. If it doesn't work and he eventually has to go to the minor leagues, at least manager Terry Collins can say he tried everything to help Harvey. (Kyle Ringo)

(Getty Images)THE ROY HALLADAY PLAN
What to do with Matt Harvey really depends on what his problem is. If he's not injured, then his issues go deeper than what a stint on the DL can heal. If Harvey can't get it together and figure out what's wrong, the Mets aren't left with a lot of options.

That's similar to the position the Toronto Blue Jays were in back in early 2001. They had a pitcher they believed in named Roy Halladay, and after carrying an ERA over 10 in 2000 they demoted him to Single-A. He rebuilt himself from the ground up and became one of the most feared pitchers in baseball.

If the Mets believe in Matt Harvey, and Harvey believes in himself and his abilities, they should give him the chance — and the resources — to do what Halladay did. If Harvey can figure things out, then problem solved. But if not, everyone involved should be willing to do whatever it takes to get Harvey back on track. (Liz Roscher)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Author: Big League Stew staff
Posted: May 25, 2016, 9:23 pm

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Talk about a long shot. If the Major League Baseball season ended today, Texas Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara would finish the year with the longest home run of the season.

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Mazara accomplished the feat Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels. In the top of the second inning, Mazara belted an 83 mph cutter from Angels starter Hector Santiago deep into the upper deck in right field for a solo shot. The ball traveled an incredible 491 feet, making Mazara's blast the longest hit this season.

It's early, of course, and Mazara could eventually lose this accomplishment. That said, hitting a ball 491 feet is no easy task. And while Mazara has proven himself to be a tremendous player thus far, the odds that he would hit the longest home run of the season had to be astronomical. 

That last point can't really be argued, at least, not in a world where Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton exists. Not to mention guys like Bryce Harper, Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion, who routinely send baseballs a long way. Though he might be a considered a reach, the fact that Mark Reynolds is playing half his games in Coors Field could have made him a dark horse for the feat.

Even if you had the audacity to pick a rookie who didn't even open the season in the majors, you would have probably picked Mazara's former teammate Joey Gallo. Gallo not only has major-league experience, but is well-known for having some of the best raw pop in the game. 

Mazara is more known for his well-rounded play as opposed to his power. He's known for making things look easy on the field, which has earned him the nickname "The Big Chill." That's not exactly the type of guy you might expect to see unleash a 491 foot bomb.

[Elsewhere: This Rangers minor-league manager lost his mind after getting ejected]

At the same time, Mazara's no stranger to surprising people with his play. The 21-year-old is hitting a strong .318/.364/.500 on the season, and has put himself in strong consideration for the Rookie of the Year award.

Whether or not Mazara finishes with the longest home run of the season won't impact that race, but it's another impressive accomplishment by one of the game's most promising players.  

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 25, 2016, 8:32 pm

Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully won't be at the All-Star game. (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP)To the chagrin of baseball fans everywhere, the Vin Scully farewell tour will not include the All-Star game.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated writes that Scully, who is in his 67th and final season calling Dodgers games, has declined an invitation from Fox to take part in their broadcast of the upcoming Midsummer Classic. The network made it clear to Scully they were willing to accommodate him and proposed a number of options to get him in the booth.

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With the game in San Diego, there was some hope Scully would be willing to come down from Los Angeles, but even a short trip wasn't enough to get him to change his answer.

Scully's reasoning lines up with his principles: he doesn't want to take any attention away from the players who will take the field July 12 at Petco Park representing their respective leagues.

While it's too bad for the fans watching at home that Scully won't be at the All-Star game and receive another deserved tribute, it's that same reverence for the game that's made him a beloved broadcaster.

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Israel Fehr is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at israelfehr@yahoo.ca or follow him on Twitter. Follow @israelfehr

Author: Israel Fehr
Posted: May 25, 2016, 8:25 pm

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It's still early, but the Philadelphia Phillies have easily been the most surprising team in baseball. Many projected the club to be among the worst teams in the majors prior to the start of the year. Instead, they are 25-21, and sit just three games out of first place in their division. 

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While the Phillies have shown they have more talent than most people expected, the club occasionally has to resort to clever tricks in order to get ahead. The team proved as much Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers, pulling off a rare steal of home.

Andres Blanco steaks home. pic.twitter.com/p57KJmJ5vO

— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 25, 2016

Anyone who has played Little League will understand what happened here. With men on first and third, the Phillies called for a steal of second base. In doing so, they decided to utilize one of the oldest tricks in the baseball book.

You see, technically, the Phillies called a double steal. But whether Andres Blanco would run home was dependent on the actions of Tigers catcher James McCann. If McCann got distracted by Peter Bourjos' steal of second and threw down to the bag, Blanco would furiously charge home hoping to beat the throw.

[Elsewhere: This Rangers minor-league manager completely lost it after getting ejected]

That's exactly what happened. McCann threw down to second hoping to nab Bourjos. In doing so, he may have forgotten about Blanco at third. Once McCann got rid of the ball, Blanco streaked home.

McCann's throw to second was off line, allowing Blanco to score pretty easily. Even if McCann produced a strong, accurate throw, it's possible Blanco still would have pulled off the steal of home. He got a great jump and seemed to catch McCann off guard. 

That produced the following graphic on MLB.com's Gameday, and we can all be pretty happy about that:

(MLB.com Screenshot of Andres Blanco's steal of home against the Tigers)

It's not often you see a steal of home, and if it took some trickery to make it happen, we're OK with that. It's not like this was some cheap ploy by the Phillies. They used one of the oldest baseball tricks in the book and got the Tigers to fall for it. 

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 25, 2016, 6:59 pm

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Any day now, Major League Baseball will reveal its first fan voting update for the 2016 All-Star game in San Diego. It might seem too early to consider who deserves to earn bids to the Midsummer Classic, but online fan voting commenced on April 24.

One can debate the merits of that starting point, but since the ballot boxes have been stuffed for more than a month now, it’s high time to discuss which players have matured into All-Star caliber performers this year.

Though Weekly Rotation, brought to you by PointAfter, usually ranks five baseball-related things, the format is being mixed up a bit this week. Like some clubs occasionally need to stretch out to a six-man rotation to cruise through particularly grueling sections of their schedule, Weekly Rotation will instead highlight six players who deserve All-Star calls: two pitchers and four batters.

Note: All statistics are accurate as of games played through May 24.

Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox OF

2016 Stats: .346/.415/.622 slash line, 54 hits, MLB-best four triples, 8 HRs in 44 games

Position competition: Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, Michael Saunders, Jose Bautista, Adam Eaton

Once considered somewhat of an “all glove, no bat” prospect, Bradley has turned that notion on its head during his third full season as a starter. He leads American League outfielders in OPS by 50 points over Mike Trout. Entering Wednesday, he had a clean sweep atop the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage leaderboards for May.

JBJ has reached base in over half of his plate appearances this month, and is the owner of the season’s longest hitting streak at 28 games (and counting). If he extends it to 35, it’ll break the Red Sox franchise record set by Dom DiMaggio in 1949.

With the way Bradley’s been raking at the plate, let alone the stellar defense he always provides, the 26-year-old could very well be patrolling center field for the first pitch of the Midsummer Classic — though Trout might claim seniority and push Bradley to a corner.

• • •

Eric Hosmer deserves at least the chance to back up Miguel Cabrera on the AL team. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)Eric Hosmer, Royals 1B

2016 Stats:.298/.353/.497, 51 hits, 8 HRs, 21 RBI in 45 games

Position competition: Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Hanley Ramirez

Hosmer’s sixth season is on pace to yield career highs in home runs (29) and OPS (.850), as he’s seemingly matured into a bona fide slugger with an ISO (slugging percentage minus batting average) of nearly .200.

And while defense typically doesn’t dictate All-Star selections (hence why Adam Eaton probably won’t make the trip to San Diego this summer), it should be noted Hosmer has taken home three straight Gold Gloves at first base.

Miguel Cabrera deserves to be voted a starter for the fourth consecutive year (once at third base in 2013), and almost certainly will be – not even Kansas City’s notorious ballot-box stuffing last summer could net Hosmer a starting nod. This time around, however, his fellow players and coaches should recognize that he’s the best all-around option to back up Cabrera.

• • •

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox SS

2016 Stats: .346/.397/.495 slash line, 63 hits, 15 doubles, 4 HRs in 43 games

Position competition: Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien

Truthfully, I wanted this column to feature one pitcher and two hitters from each league. But I didn’t want to choose two Boston position players, and I couldn’t leave out one of Bogaerts and Bradley, who have combined with David Ortiz and Co. to transform the Red Sox into the highest-scoring offense in the majors.

Though Bradley, Ortiz and David Price have been stealing most of the spotlight in Boston this year, Bogaerts probably has a better chance to start the All-Star Game than Bradley or Price. His competition at shortstop is so meager, and his bat has been so dominant, that he might already have the honor locked up.

The Aruba native won the Silver Slugger at shortstop last year at age 22, and has blown past the numbers he put up then. He leads the American League in hits (63) and batting average (.346), has the second-longest active hitting streak in baseball (behind Bradley) at 17 games, and has tallied at least two hits in 13 of his last 21 games.

• • •

Wilson Ramos, Nationals C

2016 Stats: .336/.381/.528, 42 hits, 5 HR, 9 BB, 17 K in 35 games

Position competition: Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, Jonathan Lucroy, Welington Castillo

One year after crashing to career lows across the board, Wilson Ramos is back to exhibiting the offensive potential that led Washington to acquired him for Matt Capps in 2010 — a trade that looks quite one-sided now. The 28-year-old leads all Major League catchers in OPS (.909) by a hefty margin (Castillo is the closest, at .833).

When you’re the only catcher with at least 100 at-bats who’s batting at least .300 and slugging at least .450, and clearing those marks rather easily while leading all catchers in range factor, you deserve a spot on the All-Star team.

• • •
Rich Hill: From indy league to All-Star game? (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Rich Hill, Athletics SP

2016 Stats: 7-3, 2.18 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 21 BB, 65 K in 57.2 IP

You probably know Rich Hill’s story by now. After toiling in independent leagues as recently as last year, the veteran lefty caught on with Boston near the end of 2015 and revived his MLB career with four dominant starts. Oakland took a flier on him via a one-year, $6 million contract, and all Hill’s done is keep the A’s out of the AL West cellar with 10 more dynamite outings.

Though wins are a flawed stat, it’s telling that Hill has earned seven of Oakland’s 20 wins. The 36-year-old ranks fifth in the Junior Circuit in strikeouts per nine innings (10.1) and second in ERA (2.18) through 10 starts (Jose Quintana, another eminently deserving first-time All-Star, leads the AL with a 1.98 ERA).

Hill is the only qualified AL pitcher with an ERA under 2.00 in May, and he’s also third in the league with a .170 batting average against this month.

Hill’s chances are helped by the fact that he’s the only seriously deserving Athletic in consideration for the All-Star Game, barring a torrid run from Marcus Semien or a token closer bid to Ryan Madson. It’d be quite a story to see him go from being a member of the Long Island Ducks in July 2015 to an American League All-Star in July 2016.

• • •

Noah Syndergaard, Mets SP

2016 Stats: 5-2, 1.94 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 9 BB, 76 K in 60.1 IP

Noah Syndergaard might have earned his “Thor” nickname due to his striking resemblance to Chris Hemsworth. However, it’s not an exaggeration to say watching the fireballing Texan pitch in person truly does feel like observing a superhero at work. At least, that’s how I felt when I witnessed his relief cameo in Game 5 of last year’s NLDS.

I can only imagine, then, what it’s felt like to face down Syndergaard in the batter’s box this year. The 23-year-old has somehow ramped up his velocity in 2016, and is regularly touching 100 mph with both fastballs and sinkers.

Unsurprisingly, hitters have had a tough time making good contact against Syndergaard. ESPN’s Mark Simon reports that he boasts the lowest hard-hit rate in the majors.

Lowest Hard-Hit Rate - Starting Pitchers
Noah Syndergaard 7.7%
Clayton Kershaw 8.0%
Kenta Maeda 8.3%

— Mark Simon (@msimonespn) May 25, 2016

As a guy who ranks fourth in the Majors in strikeouts per nine innings (11.3) and ERA (1.94), Syndergaard not only deserves All-Star consideration, but Cy Young votes as well. That’s a tall task in a league that boasts Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. But more evidence keeps on rising to indicate Thor is no mere mortal.

Close calls: Welington Castillo (Diamondbacks), Dexter Fowler (Cubs), Odubel Herrera (Phillies), Drew Pomeranz (Padres), Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals), Jose Quintana (White Sox), Danny Salazar (Indians), Trevor Story (Rockies), Neil Walker (Mets).

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Will Laws is a writer for PointAfter, a sports data aggregation and visualization website that's part of the Graphiq network. PointAfter is a platform for shot charts, scatter plots and other data visualizations about NBA players, NFL teams and dozens of other topics. Follow him on Twitter

Author: Will Laws, PointAfter
Posted: May 25, 2016, 6:48 pm

(Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik signals his runner was safe during a post-ejection tirade/Youtube Screenshot)Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik is known for one thing. No, it's not his 11-year minor-league baseball career, or the fact that he has a .520 winning percentage in 18 seasons as a minor-league manager. Anyone would be proud of those accomplishments.

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Instead, the manager of the Texas Rangers Double-A affiliate is defined by something far more sinister. Any time he's ejected from a game, he completely loses his mind.

Mikulik was at it again Tuesday. In a game against the Tulsa Drillers, Mikulik went on a three-minute tirade after being ejected from the contest. 

The whole thing started after the umps enforced the new slide rule at second base. The umps ruled double-play, and that sent Mikulik into a rage. There's a lot going on during this tirade, so we figured it might be easier if we just broke it down by event.

This ejection features the following: 

  • One helmet being forcefully thrown at second base
  • Two overly-dramatic slides into second base
  • One furiously untucked jersey
  • One demonstrative call of "safe"
  • One kick of the dirt
  • One removal of a base
  • One kicking of that base
  • One kicking of the previously tossed helmet
  • Three umpires being verbally berated 
  • One kicking of a rosin bag
  • Two kicks of the chalk line on the third-base line
  • Too many swear words to count
  • One sad walk back to the clubhouse

This was, of course, not the first time Mikulik went crazy following an ejection. One doesn't simply do all the thing listed above during his first post-ejection tirade. One has to work up to those things.

Mikulik has certainly had practice in that regard. He put on a similar show in 2006, when he was managing in Asheville.

He also went off during a game last season, losing his shoes in the process.

Which post-ejection tirade was the best? That's not for us to say. Mikulik certainly puts Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to shame, but Mikulik can get away with a lot more in the minors. 

[Elsewhere: This unique Padres shift did not work out in their favor]

We're just glad Mikulik continues to be employed. It's not often you get to see a tremendous tantrum like this, and Mikulik always delivers as far as that's concerned.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

Author: Chris Cwik
Posted: May 25, 2016, 5:10 pm

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Shifts are the best or worst thing in baseball, depending on which side you're on. They're great when your favorite team uses them, but less so when they stop your favorite team from getting on base.

Regardless, they're a useful weapon for teams to employ against batters who routinely hit to a certain area. The San Diego Padres, who need every bit of help they can get, tried an outfield shift on Tuesday night during their game against the San Francisco Giants. It didn't go so well.

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In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Padres decided to try an outfield shift against Giants third baseman Matt Duffy. They moved center fielder John Jay into right center field, moved right fielder Matt Kemp into far right field, and had left fielder Melvin Upton Jr. move to left center.

If you're wondering who is actually covering center in this setup, that's a good question. And the answer is: no one. Center field was completely empty.

So when Matt Duffy made contact with a 2-2 pitch and it flew into the air, where do you think it landed? It landed in center, where it dropped untouched with both Jay and Upton Jr. running after it. Duffy got a double out of it, and that put a big inning in motion. The Giants were leading 3-1 when the inning began, and the game was theoretically in reach for the Padres. By the end the Giants had scored five runs, and that gap in center field is what started it all.

Shifts can be great tool, but this one backfired really, really hard for the Padres. 

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 25, 2016, 4:34 pm

This past offseason, the San Francisco Giants made two big free agent signings to replenish their starting rotation. They snatched up Johnny Cueto, who had spent 2015 with the Kansas City Royals and the Cincinnati Reds, and Jeff Samardzija, who pitched for the Chicago White Sox in 2015. They joined Giants' rotation mainstays Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, and Jake Peavy.

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Signing Cueto and Samardzija wasn't without risk. Their 2015 seasons had been less-than-ideal — Cueto had a 4.76 ERA with the Royals, and Samardzija a 4.96 ERA with the White Sox — and bounce-back years were far from a sure thing. But a quarter into the 2016 season, and in the middle of a stretch of games where they've won 12 of 13, the Giants' free agent pitchers are their greatest strength, while Cain and Peavy have struggled, and struggled mightily.

You can watch Peavy try to get his season back on track against the San Diego Padres today in Yahoo Sports' Free Game of the Day. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m. ET, and you can stream it on Yahoo's Sports HomeMLB index and video home. Local blackouts apply, according to MLB rules.  

Peavy, who was traded to the Giants in 2014, is having a nightmarish season. Nine starts in, he's carrying an 8.21 ERA. He's averaging just 4.2 innings per start, and he's walking a ton of batters (17 in 9 starts). He's made it to the seventh inning just once, back on April 23, and not since. If there's one positive, it's that his strikeouts are actually up. His rate of strikeouts per nine innings is at 7.8, higher than it's been in a few years.

As for Cain, he's just trying to put a full season of starts together without getting hurt. His last two seasons have been shortened by injury, leading to just 26 starts over those two years. He started 2016 free of elbow and forearm issues, but he couldn't stop giving up runs. Cain's 5.37 ERA doesn't tell the whole story though, and he might be emerging from the darkness. His last three starts have been his best of the season, giving up just four runs total and notching 17 strikeouts. 

[Elsewhere: Padres find embarrassing new way to lose]

Meanwhile, Cueto and Samardzija, along with Bumgarner, have been absolutely killing it on the mound. Cueto looks like the pitcher he was in his best years with Cincinnati, with a 2.38 ERA in 10 starts and 75.2 innings. Samardzija, who's had great seasons sprinkled in with mediocre ones, is pitching like the starter the Chicago Cubs wanted to keep, with a 2.54 ERA in 71 innings. And Bumgarner, of course, is an absolute machine.

It's not hard to believe that both of the Giants' free agent pitcher signings would work out — 2016 is an even year, and the Giants have been an unstoppable force of nature in even years. Remember, the Giants have won three World Series' in the last six years, all of them even numbered. Is this even-year magic, or is it smart signings and talented pitchers? It could quite possibly be both.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 25, 2016, 3:22 pm

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When a baseball is pitched and it comes off the bat, a player isn't always sure where it's going to land. Sometimes it hangs up there just long enough for a fielder to get to it. Or it looks like it's going to be a fly ball, and instead it hits the cheering crowd. But sometimes the opposite happens, and a no-doubt homer hits the wall and the player is left scrambling for safety. That's what happened to Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig on Tuesday, and he paid the price.

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(Getty Images)In the bottom of the sixth inning of Tuesday night's Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds game, Puig came up to bat with one out and men on the corners. Puig sent the first pitch from Reds reliever Daniel Wright high in the air, sailing toward the right field wall. It looked like it might be out of the park, and Puig certainly thought so too, as he took an extra second after he swung to watch it.

But Dodger Stadium was able to contain the ball, which knocked off the center of the wall and bounded into the field. One man scored, and Puig ended up on first with a long single. If he hadn't stopped to watch the ball, he very well could have been on second.

That didn't end up mattering quite so much a few batters later. Puig, who had advanced to second on a fielder's choice, had the chance to score when Reds first baseman Joey Votto couldn't cleanly pick a single off the bat of Howie Kendrick. He had the chance and he took it, sliding in belly-first and just getting his hand on home plate.

[Previously: Yasiel Puig's braincramp on the bases frustrates A.J. Ellis]

That hustle didn't matter to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, though. He benched Puig before the seventh inning for failing to run out of the box, which resulted in a long single instead of a double. Puig was asked about it after the game, and he had a very Puig response.

Quote of the night -- Puig was asked if this was 1st time he'd been pulled from a game: "I don't remember. You'd have to ask Don Mattingly"

— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) May 25, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we've reached Peak Puig.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

Author: Liz Roscher
Posted: May 25, 2016, 1:30 pm

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