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Indians Fan

Scott Atchison posted by Indians Fan

Born March 29, 1976, Scott Atchison is pitcher for Cleveland Indians since January 2014. Atchison played college baseball initially, and was named All-Western Athletic Conference and All-Southwest Conference. He started his professional baseball career in May 1999, when he signed with the Seattle Mariners, and started playing minor league. In July 2004, he made his MLB debut, and spent the two seasons of 2004 and 2005 playing both major and minor league for Mariners. However, the 2006 season, he played only the minor league. Atchison has a range of 90 to 93 mph for four-seam fastball, and his speed is in the 70s for the curveball. Occasionally he can also throw changeup for left-handed batters.

In 2007, Atchison joined the San Francisco Giants and played 22 games. However, by the end of the season he had become a free agent when he refused Giants assignment to Fresno Grizzlies. At the end of 2007, he signed a contract to play minor league with the Boston Red Sox. However, he was soon released, and his contract was sold to the Hanshin Tigers by Red Sox. Again in December 2009, Atchison as back with the Red Sox when he signed a contract with them that was full of incentives. Due to injuries, he was on the disabled list from July to September 2012, and by November, he had become a free agent.  

In January 2013, Scott Atchison signed a contract with New York Mets to play minor league, but he remained on the disabled list. In June, he was activated, as his help was needed in the bullpen. He remained non-tendered, which made him a free agent in December 2013. In January 2014, Atchison has signed a deal with the Cleveland Indians for playing minor league, and in August, he has signed an extension for a year with an option to play for the team.

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Richard Kagan

Hit Parade On for ChiSox posted by Richard Kagan

Well, I've been waiting for this.  Finally, the Sox broke out with the hits and out-slugged and swept the Division leading Cleveland Indians.  Today's score was 12-6.  Yesterday's tally was 14-7.  Did Jay Cutler throw a TD pass?

The Sox have hit the tar out of the ball.  Today's hit total was 15.  Saturday it was 17.  Paul Konerko is on a 13 game hitting streak.  He hit his 11th HR to break a 4--4 tie and sent the Sox rolling to its 5th win in a row.  The Sox are now a half-game behind the Indians.  Hitting doesn't win Division titles, but it brings fans to the park, and it is exciting.  Plus it makes up for mediocre pitching.  Yesterday Jake Peavy didn't have his best stuff but he got the win.  Today Gavin Floyd was rocked early but lasted 5 frames to notch his 4th win of the season.  Konerko is currently batting .399 for the year, the leader in the majors.  Someone please recognize him as an outstanding White Sox who is playing himself onto the AL All-star team.  A couple of solid weeks of play and he will clinch it.  But that's a month away. 

Alex Rios and Dayan Viciendo have both really hit the ball well.  Viciendo looks like Carlos Lee, and hits like a young Manny Ramirez.  He has a great upside and can knock the ball.  It's good to see guys getting hits, and driving in runs.  Adam Dunn has 15 HR's, 4 more than last season's total.  Dunn, who seems to either hit a HR or strike out, at least is hitting the ball fair.  It would be nice to see him hit a few singles to add to his profile.  The Sox don't need another Dave Kingman in their lineup. He was a power hitter who either hit a blast or KO'd.  The Sox have this potential.  They have hitters.  They can score runs. This hot streak will eventually fade.  The staring pitching needs to come around. 

Continue reading "Hit Parade On for ChiSox"


Richard Kagan

Sox Still Alive After Seattle Sweep posted by Richard Kagan

There is good news an bad news if you are a long-time Chicago White Sox fan.  The good news, the White Sox moved into 2nd place ahead of the Cleveland Indians by a half game when the Sox won and the Indians lost on Sunday.  Now, the bad news, the Sox face Minnesota Twins, who have the Sox's number in recent years.  The last time they played, the Sox swept the Twins in Minnesota.  The Twins will be seeking to return the favor.

The ChicSox got strong piching from Gavid Floyd who pitched into the 8th inning and left the game with a 9-2 lead.  Chicago got that lead courtesy of Dayan Viciendo's three-run blast, his first home runs as a member of the Sox.  Ty Flowers, the backup catcher to A.J. Pryzienski, hit his first grand slam over the walll in left field.  Chicago scored 6 runs in the inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead.  When you get good pitching and a productive offense, you will win games.  The problem is can the White Sox get enough run production against good teams? 

If they can, this may be a memorable September run.  If not, start looking for golf dates.  The Sox trail Detroit by 6 games and will face them 6 timed before the season ends.

Continue reading "Sox Still Alive After Seattle Sweep"


David

Shin-Soo Choo: one of a kind posted by David

Shin-Soo Choo likely earned an exemption from South Korea’s two-year military service requirement, as his country won this year’s just-completed Asian Games.  Led by none other than Choo, who hit .571 (8-for-14) with three home runs, six walks, eight runs scored and 11 RBIs during the tournament, South Korea defeated Taiwan, 9-3, in the final game earlier today.

In addition to becoming the first Asian to join the 20-20 club in 2009, Choo is the first player in Indians franchise history (bear in mind the Tribe is more than a century old) to hit .300 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in consecutive seasons.  Joe Carter, who played in Cleveland for six years, accomplished the feat in 1986 and even went 30-30 the next season, but saw his average fall from .302 to .264.  Roberto Alomar almost did it three years in a row (1999-2001 – coincidentally his only seasons with the Indians), but fell one home run short in 2000 – the middle year of the would-be-streak.

Besides his offensive production, Choo also led all American League rightfielders with 14 assists this past season.  Shin-Soo Choo not having to miss two years in the prime of his career is Good for Ball.

And then there were 10

The last 16 postseasons have featured eight teams with a chance to be crowned World Series champions, but 2012 could be the first year with four rounds of playoff ball.  (Game 163 – sometimes called a one-game playoff – counts as part of the regular season, so there have never been more than three rounds of postseason play in the Big Leagues.)  How could this be?  Bud Selig announced this week a proposal to expand the playoffs to 10 teams – three division winners and TWO Wild Card teams in each league.  It is rumored that the extra round – played between the two Wild Card teams – would be either a best-of-three series or a one-game winner-take-all.

Continue reading "Shin-Soo Choo: one of a kind"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Sox get Spanked posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Well, when I was looking at the pitching matchup the other day, I really thought Wednesday's game against the Indians was a guarenteed win. Hah! I don't know if Masterson was bitter about facing his old team ( though I kinda doubt that, since he always speaks glowingly of the Sox organization when he's interviewed about them)...or if it was a matter of probability and Masterson simply had to win a game sooner or later. Much in the same manner that Buckholz was due for a rough outing (if 3 runs over 7 innings can be considered rough)...

Clay didn't have his best stuff. That was obvious in the first inning. Still, he had a quality outing, and if the offense could have picked him up then this was still a game the Sox could have won. That all went out the window when a man with the most...uh, interesting name in the Major Leagues took the mound.

Enter: Boof Bonser.

 Boof, the only games I've seen you pitch were in the Metrodome with the Twins, and you weren't a particularly impressive pitcher then. If you've been brought to the Sox bull pen to eat up innings in which the game is already lost, Fine. However, being down 0-3 in the 8th is hardly a foregone conclusion. Boof proceeds to load bases, give up many runs, and the final score is 11-0.

 Now this obviously wasn't all Boof's fault. The offense forgot there was a game last night. Stacking the lineup with lefty's against Masterson did not work out.

 All things considered. Good for Masterson. He was great in the middle relief role here in Boston, and its unfortunate that he was traded to a team in the rebuilding phase, and asked to assume a role he was unfamiliar with. I'm glad he finally got a win, I'm just sorry it came against the Sox. Masterson, best of luck to you.

Continue reading "Sox get Spanked"


Brad VanFossan

State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address posted by Brad VanFossan

State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address

Cleveland Indians Edition

By Brad VanFossan

Dear Cleveland Indians,

I have assessed the performance of your ball club both on and off the field over the past few years. You seemed to have your stuff together for awhile there, but even being the Indians in name, it is not ok for your ownership and front office to continue to blow smoke up your fans hind ends.

Your acts of frugalness are similar to those of other elder statesmen who have held this office. They took a little extra cash to their grave, but not a World Series ring. I think you get my drift Mr. Dolan. Your continued signings of stiffs, oops, no disrespect to said elder statesmen, but your continued signings of the likes of Jason Johnson, David Dellucci, Trot Nixon, Jake Westbrook, and Travis Hafner show a sign of fiscal irresponsibility that only the national debt could also stake claim to. The monies saved from making smarter business decisions could all have been put in a kitty to help fairly compensate the likes of Carsten Charles Sabathia, Clifton Lee, and Victor Martinez.

You have alienated your fan base to the point that they would rather drive to Youngstown and watch Elton John in concert. Heck, they would rather watch him in concert on HBO then tune into STO. Another problem we found, yes this list was almost as long as Mike Brown’s face Monday night, but I digress. Another problem with your ball club, Mr. Dolan, and Mr. Shapiro (and by the way Mr. Shapiro, I thought you played a good role as the main character in the new Nightmare on Elm St.), you own the network your games are broadcasted on. Most of your employers are afraid to criticize your horrendous decisions, and yes, even you Mr. Drennan, although you do more than most, you still walk a fine line.

Continue reading "State of the (Cleveland Sports) Union Address"


David

Oh, what a night! posted by David

As if Ubaldo Jimenez’s no-hitter was not enough excitement for one day, the Mets and Cardinals took part in a marathon contest, playing a 20-inning game Saturday in St. Louis.  If that does not…, the most remarkable part of the monumental occasion was that the two teams went scoreless through the first 18 frames!  That’s like back-to-back shutouts being thrown by both teams!  In a game that took nearly seven hours and featured an astounding 18 pitchers (two of whom were actually position players that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sent to the hill), three Met hitters – Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur – went a combined 0 for 21.  That is an ugly line in the box score for three of the team’s four best offensive players.

How ‘bout that?

How about Roy Halladay?  In his first four starts, Halladay is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and a 0.879 WHIP.  He has thrown two complete games – including one shutout – and in 33 innings pitched, has struck out 28 while walking three.  The ace of the Philadelphia pitching staff has more wins than walks, and has collected as many hits (three) in the batter’s box as he has allowed earned runs.  With a strong team playing behind him, Halladay has a real chance to become baseball’s first 25-game winner since Bob Welch, who in 1990 won 27 of his 35 starts.

How about Jorge Cantu?  The Marlins infielder had a hit and an RBI in the first 10 games of 2010 to set a new record to begin a season.  It is worth noting that Cantu also collected a hit and RBI in the last four games he played in 2009 and dating back to last year, he has a 20-game hitting streak.  Cantu’s consistency has helped Florida to a 9-7 record thus far – just a game and a half behind the division-leading Phillies.  To put into perspective how impressive Cantu’s hit-and-RBI streak is, consider this: during Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, the longest RBI streak he put together was seven consecutive games; in fact, The Yankee Clipper even went seven games straight

Continue reading "Oh, what a night!"


David

The most promising time of the year posted by David

Today’s post is brought to you from Toledo, Ohio.  With Spring Training wrapping up in just over a week, every team has reason to be hopeful that this will be their year.  Though it is widely accepted that exhibition games are meaningless, the Giants should feel good about their 18-7 record this spring, and the Indians are certainly pleased that they have won 13 of their first 19 games.  The reigning World Series champion Yankees, meanwhile, can shake off their 9-12 record as rustiness.  It may not have the excitement of October, but April is when everyone’s glass is half full; no one has ground to make up or nagging injuries to play through.  Every team has a share of first place, and that’s what makes it the most promising time of the year.

How ‘bout that?

How about Joe Nathan?  Coming off a strong 2009 (47 saves, 2.10 E.R.A and 0.932 WHIP), the Twins closer will miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery.  The back end of the Twins bullpen is now up for grabs, and the AL Central is anyone’s for the taking.  Three different teams (Twins, White Sox, and Indians) have won the division the last three years, and each of the last two has been decided by a one-game playoff.  Detroit and Chicago, the Twins’ main competition in 2009, will benefit most from Minnesota’s loss.

How about John Smoltz?  The veteran right-hander will begin the season in the broadcast booth rather than on the mound, working as a color analyst for TBS.  Smoltz did some commentating back in 2008 while on Atlanta’s Disabled List.  If Smoltz is truly finished as a player, he combines with former teammates (and fellow retirees) Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine for 873 career wins and 154 saves.  Not surprisingly, both Maddux and Glavine will remain in the game in some capacity, the former serving as an assistant to Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and the latter as a special assistant to Braves President John Schuerholz.

Continue reading "The most promising time of the year"


David

Next stop in my baseball career – the Toledo Mud Hens! posted by David

In my life I have attended many more major league games than minor league ones, but 2010 will be a chance for me to experience the minors like never before.  I will be working in media relations for the Toledo Mud Hens of the International League.  The Mud Hens are the Triple-A affiliate of the Tigers and play at Fifth Third Field, just an hour from Detroit, which means that Tigers on rehab assignments will likely make cameo appearances throughout the season.

Those who have worn the Mud Hen uniform include Hall of Famers Kirby Puckett (the team was affiliated with the Twins from 1978 through 1986) and manager Casey Stengel, as well as longtime Tigers Travis Fryman and Kirk Gibson, and active players Curtis Granderson of the Yankees and Carlos Peña of the Red Sox.  Scott Sizemore, who will replace Placido Polanco as Detroit’s 2nd baseman this season, spent the better part of 2009 in Toledo.

Toledo, Ohio is a place I had never been until recently, but I am very happy to become a part of the Mud Hens staff and thrilled to work a full season in professional baseball.

Two more notable retirements

The 2009-2010 offseason has already seen the end of the brilliant careers of Randy Johnson, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas, but two other players with solid resumes announced their retirements this past week.

Nomar Garciaparra played for the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Athletics, collected 1,747 hits, 229 home runs, 95 stolen bases, and a batting line of .313/.361/.521, and made six-time All-Star teams.  He was unanimously selected as the 1997 American League Rookie of the Year, and won back-to-back batting titles with very impressive averages – .357 and .372 – in 1999 and 2000.  In those years, Garciaparra also set career OPS highs at 1.022 (second to Manny Ramirez in the AL) and 1.033.  In seven postseason series, he hit .321 with seven home runs.  Nomar guaranteed himself a spot in the record books on May 10, 1999, when he became the 11th player in major league history to hit two grand slams in a single game.

Continue reading "Next stop in my baseball career – ..."


Brad VanFossan

Golden Effort Falls Just Short posted by Brad VanFossan

A Golden Effort Falls Just Short By Brad VanFossan I know it’s more than just a hockey game when my 63 year old father is looking forward to watching, and has been watching most of the hockey games during this Olympics. I know it’s more than just a game when patrons at bars ask to turn the hockey game on, both the men’s and women’s games, as I have seen happen over the last couple weeks. This is about reliving nostalgia for those who were around for the 1980 Gold Medal team‘s “Miracle“ run. And it’s about wanting to experience that same feeling for those of us who were too young or weren’t around then. This is the kind of thing the brings generations of sons and fathers together creating memories that become part of family lore. More importantly, this is a message to the world that hockey isn’t a secondary sport in the United States anymore, but one we can excel at, and even be the best.  It’s almost time for the opening face off, winning twice on enemy territory won’t be easy, but I think if anyone can, it’s this group of relentless young men. No matter what the outcome, they will put forth an effort to be proud of.My in game thoughts from the penalty box: -In the first U.S./Canada match up the U.S. was able to score first, taking the crowd out of things for a bit, today Canada scored first, it’s the first time the U.S. has trailed all Olympics. -Jonathan Toews goal was off of a rebound, not too much cause for concern yet. The U.S. is still playing pretty well, theyContinue reading "Golden Effort Falls Just Short"

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Weekly Rotation: David Ortiz and the five best farewell seasons (Big League Stew)

Though David Ortiz regrets disclosing that 2016 will be his final year in the major leagues, fans should be thankful he gave us ample time to appreciate his greatness. Big Papi is treating us to one of the finest farewell seasons by a hitter in MLB history. With 3.2 wins above replacement already accumulated, he’s on pace to set a career high in WAR at 40 years old. That’s absurd, but as this week’s Weekly Rotation will show, it somehow understates how legendary his final campaign could be compared to other “farewell seasons.”Using WAR as the decisive statistic and visualizations from PointAfter , I’ll rank the five best seasons since 1945 by hitters during the final year of their MLB careers. For the record, if the pre-World War II era was included, players who either had untimely deaths or participated in the infamous Black Sox scandal would comprise most of the top five. Ortiz’s 2016 campaign will then be examined in the context of the legendary goodbyes before his own. A heads-up to Red Sox fans: You should make sure to visit Fenway Park this year to catch a glimpse of a franchise icon before he retires. Somehow, he’s playing just as well as he did when he helped break the Curse of the Bambino more than a decade ago. 5. Hank Greenberg (1947), Pittsburgh Pirates Stats: 3.4 WAR, .249/.408/.478 slash line, 25 HR, 74 RBI, 104 BB in 125 games Hank Greenberg: American Renaissance Man | PointAfter A two-time MVP who had his career cut short by injury, military service and a relatively early retirement, the original "Hammerin' Hank" is one of baseball’s most underappreciated figures. Among his numerous accomplishments on the field, Greenberg was the first MLB player to volunteer for service in the Air Force. He was also the first player to return from war in 1945, and he promptly homered during his first game back with the Tigers, later accounting for two of the three total dingers hit in that year’s World Series to bring a championship to Detroit. Before the 1947 season, however, penny-pinching owners sold Greenberg to Pittsburgh. He adapted quickly to his new digs, leading the National League in walks –drawing a free pass in more than 20 percent of his plate appearances –and mashing 25 home runs for the Pirates. Greenberg retired after his age-36 season with plenty of baseball left in him –no player had previously retired directly after hitting 25 homers –to become the Cleveland Indians’farm system director. He’d proceed to build a successful post-playing career in the front office of both the Indians and Chicago White Sox before becoming an investment banker. 4. Barry Bonds (2007), San Francisco Giants Stats: 3.4 WAR, .276/.480/.565 slash line, 28 HR, 66 RBI, 132 BB in 126 games Bonds’victory lap was one for the ages, as the polarizing slugger overtook Hank Aaron on the all-time home run leaderboard, setting a new hallowed benchmark: 762. MLB All-Time Home Run Leaders | PointAfter That Bonds could still muster enough power and bat speed at age 42 to crush 28 home runs is remarkable, but perhaps even more notable is how much pitchers still feared him. Bonds led the Majors in walks, and paced the majors in on-base percentage for the sixth time in seven seasons, with the only exception being his injury-plagued 2005 campaign. Bonds certainly could have provided some value in 2008, but teams were scared away by the omnipresent cloud of performance-enhancing drugs surrounding the newly crowned home run king. After remaining unsigned for more than two full years, Bonds officially retired in December 2009. 3. Will Clark (2000), Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Cardinals Stats: 4.0 WAR, .319/.418/.546 slash line, 21 HR, 70 RBI, 136 hits in 130 games A vastly underrated lefty who notched three top-five finishes in MVP voting early in his career, Clark functioned as the ideal midseason acquisition for the Cardinals in 2000. After a crumbling Mark McGwire was lost for the season due to a knee injury, St. Louis found itself in the unenviable position of replacing a franchise icon in the middle of a playoff race. Clark was brought in following a resurgence in Baltimore during the first half, and “The Thrill”didn’t disappoint. Clark served up a pinch-hit homer in his first at-bat for the Cards, then homered in his first four starts. He ended up recording a career-high .964 OPS over the course of the regular season before going 10-for-29 with two homers and a 1.062 OPS in eight playoff games. Will Clark Career Batting Triple Slash | PointAfter St. Louisfell to the Mets in the NLCS, and the 36-year-old Clark announced his retirement that November, surprising many in the game. He told the New York Times, “The first part of my life was based on being a baseball player. The second part of my life is going to be based on being a daddy and a husband.”2. Roy Cullenbine (1947), Detroit Tigers Stats: 4.3 WAR, .224/.401/.422 slash line, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 137 BB in 142 games Cullenbine was unfortunate to play in an era when batting average was the predominant offensive statistic of the time and OPS was just a twinkle in some statistician’s eye. He was one of MLB's best all-time walk drawers –his 22 game walk-streak, set during his “farewell season,”is the longest of all time –when walks were considered “lazy”by many of Cullenbine’s contemporaries. The er, underappreciated Joe DiMaggio of walks ranked second in free passes, third in on-base percentage, fourth in home runs and eighth in OPS in the American League during his final go-round in the bigs. Nevertheless, after a year when he set a career high for home runs and a still-standing Tiger record for walks, he was gone from the Majors. Roy Cullenbine Deserved Better | PointAfter It’s kind of crazy someone with those counting stats couldn’t find a roster spot somewhere the following spring. Though Cullenbine’s defense was panned at the time, he only finished fifth in errors among AL first basemen while creating the most assists among the peers at his position. Perhaps he just wasn’t well liked? [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Today, Cullenbine’s strong on-base and power numbers would make him a valuable commodity. In that era, however, patience was apparently not the most popular of virtues. The Tigers would be the last team Cullenbine, a Detroit native, would play for. He was released by his hometown team the following offseason, and never appeared in a MLB contest again. 1. Jackie Robinson (1956), Brooklyn Dodgers Stats: 4.5 WAR, .275/.382/.412 slash line, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 12 SB in 117 games Though Robinson’s entrance into the Major Leagues was far more significant than his exit, his final season currently stands as the best “farewell tour”by a hitter in baseball history. The legendary athlete was one of the fastest players on the field until the very end, ranking third in defensive WAR (2.0), sixth in stolen bases and 16th in MVP voting. Jackie Robinson WAR by Season | PointAfter However, fans didn’t know of Robinson’s imminent retirement in 1956. Despite Robinson performing his best during his final World Series appearance (.796 OPS, 10 total bases), the Dodgers lost the 1956 title to the Yankees for the fifth time in Robinson’s 10-year MLB career. Brooklyn tried to trade the 37-year-old to the New York Giants during the offseason, but Robinson elected to retire due to an increasingly bothersome list of ailments that would eventually be diagnosed as diabetes. The disease would steal most of Robinson’s sight by middle age and likely contributed to his fatal heart attack in 1972, just more than 25 years after the iconic No. 42 broke the color barrier and changed baseball forever. Note: Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash after his age-37 season in 1972, was not included in this ranking due to the circumstances surrounding his final season. If he was included, he would rank No. 1 with 4.8 WAR. David Ortiz (2016), Boston Red Sox Stats: 3.2 WAR, .339/.421/.699 slash line, 18 HR, 59 RBI in 64 games According to some personal Baseball Reference research, Ortiz would smash the record for WAR by a hitter in his final season during the post-World War II era if he maintains his current pace. Even if we include batters from before 1945, the only hitter who’s previously equaled Ortiz’s current WAR path (pun intended) is Shoeless Joe Jackson, who totaled 7.6 WAR in 1920 at age 32 before being bannedfrom the game for his role in the Black Sox betting scandal. David Ortiz Wins Above Replacement (WAR) by Season | PointAfter All baseball fans should be wishing Ortiz’s ailing feet good health, because his revival is a rare relic of a sport that has seen the aging curve pessimistically bend for players of Ortiz’s age over the course of Big Papi’s career. The sport is more exciting when iconic veterans such as himself call back days of yore. Nearly halfway through this season, however, Ortiz isn’t just equaling his old self –he’s bettering it. This story was published in conjunction with Yahoo Sports and PointAfter , a sports visualization site that's part of the Graphiq network. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


White Sox-Indians preview (The Associated Press)

The rejuvenated Cleveland Indians will conclude their three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field. The first-place Indians are hot again, having won the first two games of the series, including a 13-2 blowout win on Saturday. The Indians came home having lost four of the last five games on a 10-game homestand. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


The Walk Off: Victor Martinez puts on power show in Tigers win (Big League Stew)

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. Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers flexed their muscle in a big way on Thursday night. Martinez smashed three of the Tigers’ six home runs as Detroit thumped the Kansas City Royals 10-4 . A sore right knee kept Martinez out of the starting lineup for the past the three games and he had a cortisone shot before coming back for the series opener against the Royals. His return was certainly welcome. Kansas City jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning and Martinez cut it to 2-1 with a solo shot in the second. After the Royals made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning, Martinez responded with another solo shot in the fourth. Martinez’s third and final homer, also of the one-run variety, came in the ninth and confirmed the final score. Nick Castellanos, James McCann and Miguel Cabrera also went deep for Detroit and Justin Verlander went seven innings in the win. But it was Martinez who was undoubtedly the star of the show. It’s the second time the 37-year-old Martinez has had a three-homer game in his career. Adding to his impressive feat is that he did it from both sides of the plate. His first two were as a right-handed batter against Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy and No. 3 was off right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. Detroit is now 1 1/2 games back of the first-place Cleveland Indians in the American League Central and just 1/2 game behind the Royals. It wasn’t all good news for the Tigers, though, as J.D. Martinez leftthe game in the second inning with a fractured elbow he suffered crashing into the outfield wall and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. TOP PERFORMERS Colby Lewis: The Rangers’ right-hander came within four outs of a perfect game and three outs of a no-hitter, but instead settled for a complete game in Texas’ 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics. Lewis’ final line: nine innings pitched, two hits, one run, one walk and four strikeouts as he improves to 6-0 on the season. Tyler Wilson : Eight shutout innings against the best offense in baseball. That’s what left-hander Tyler Wilson did as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 . Wilson allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out six. [ Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now ] Jonathan Villar: Villar’s ninth inning home run was the difference as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 . The game was tied 6-6 when Villar sent a Pedro Baez offering beyond the wall in centerfield to cash himself and Ramon Flores. The Brewers’ shortstop has been exceptional this season and is now hitting .302/.390/.442 out of the leadoff spot. MUST-SEE HIGHLIGHT The annual Edwin Encarnacion hot-streak is here. This monster two-run home run off Aaron Nola in the first inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 13-2 dismantling of the Philadelphia Phillies made it three straight games he’s gone deep and gives him six homers in the last six games. Encarnacion added a two-RBI single in the fourth to raise his league-leading RBI total to 61. It happens every year, and it’s always a treat to watch when Encarnacion gets into these absurd grooves. THE REST OF THE SCOREBOARD Braves 7, Reds 2 : Freddie Freeman had three hits, including a two-run home run, while Nick Markakis and Jace Peterson also drove in two runs. Mariners 6, Rays 4 : Dae-Ho Lee led the way for Seattle with three RBIs, helping recently called-up left-hander James Paxton earn his first win of the season. Mets 6, Pirates 4 : Bartolo Colon gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings and also smacked a double and Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Michael Conforto all homered. Yankees 4, Twins 1 : C.C. Sabathia pitched six innings of one-run ball to earn the win and Didi Gregorius had a home run and three RBIs to pace the offense. Nationals 8, Padres 5 : Bryce Harperhit a home run on a three-RBI night for Washington and Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon went deep, too. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - 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 [read full article]

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Twins-Angels preview (The Associated Press)

The upcoming three-game series between the Los Angeles Angels and the Minnesota Twins, which starts Monday night, is the latest engagement in each team's campaign to salvage their respective seasons. After Sunday's 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, the Angels are only one-half game out of last place in the American League West. Los Angeles not only has lost seven of its past nine games but members of the Angels' patchwork rotation have failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning in eight of the previous 10. [read full article]

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Indians-Angels preview (The Associated Press)

One of the major leagues' best yet underrated pitchers will start for the Cleveland Indians against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. Right-hander Danny Salazar, 26, enters the game second in the American League with a 2.24 earned-run average. Salazar, who missed his last start Wednesday because of shoulder fatigue, is pitching on nine days' rest. [read full article]

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