Playoff Reset: The American League Wild Card Game

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

source: Getty Images

Each day throughout the playoffs we’re going to be doing what I’ll call a reset. Not always a preview, not always a recap, but a generalized summary of where we stand at the moment and what we have to look forward tonight. Today, of course, is Day One of the playoffs so we can really only look ahead, so let’s look ahead to what’s on tap in tonight’s one and only game.

The Game: Oakland Athletics vs. Kansas City Royals, American League Wild Card Game
The Time: 8:07 PM Eastern
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Jon Lester vs. James Shields

The Upshot:

  • James Shields’ nom de guerre is “Big Game James,” but it’s probably worth noting that in six postseason starts, he’s 2-4 with a 4.98 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 34 innings. There are other big…

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Adrian Beltre hates having his head touched, but made the mistake of hitting a walk-off homer

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Derek Jeter wasn’t the only Hall of Fame-caliber player to deliver a walk-off hit last night.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre went opposite field for a walk-off homer against the A’s. And my favorite part is that Beltre absolutely hates having anyone touch his head–as documented many times over the years–but was basically forced into letting the entire team touch his head as he crossed home plate.

It’s funny to watch as Beltre comes to the realization his head is going to be touched as he rounds third base.

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What we talk about when we talk to Derek Jeter at second base

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

David Waldstein of the New York Times has a good story up today about the conversations ballplayers have had with Derek Jeter at second base over the years. You know, the little bits of smalltalk after you pull into the bag following a walk and your teammate’s shallow single to right field. Everyone has them, but they are often different when Jeter is involved.

Like this one, involving Gordon Beckham, not long after he came into the league. He got to second base and said hello to Jeter, who said hello back. Beckham was star-stuck:

The next batter hit a ground ball to Jeter, who threw to first for the second out. Beckham, still distracted from the conversation with Jeter, thought it was the final out. He wandered off third and handed his helmet to the third-base coach. Mark Teixeira saw that and threw to Alex Rodriguez, who tagged an…

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Thirteen-year minor league veteran gets his first big league hit

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

source: AP

We see a story much like this every September, but they never stop making us smile.

Guilder Rodriguez got the start for the Rangers in their game against the Astros last night. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI. No biggie, right? Well, it was for him, as those two hits were his first-ever big league hits. And given that Rodriguez spent 13 years and 1095 games in the minor leagues before getting them. He was called up when rosters expanded. He had played in five games before last night, all but one of which were pinch hitting appearances.

Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas has his story. It’s pretty heartwarming. No matter what happens to him for the rest of his life, he can say he was a major leaguer.

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Mako Torq 2015. New Technology!

Just got a first look at the 2015 Easton Mako Torq, at first I was like what can be so different about this bat. The bat companies always say there is new technology, but its usually just minor changes. This bat is DIFFERENT, the 2015 Mako Torq bat isn’t your standard composite bat. But first lets take a look back, the 2014 Mako exploded onto the scene as the “bat” to have. Even with its obscene price in my opinion of over 400$ dollars, people still bought this bat with no remorse. Here’s a look at the 2014 model.

Mako1

The 2014 model is a pretty sweet looking bat. Ill give it that, it has the stand out neon orange with sharp edges etc.

Enough of talking about the past, lets look at the NOW. * Drum roll please* Introducing your new 2015 Mako Torq.

Easton-Mako-Torq-Rotating-Bat-4item-ea15-bb15mktxx-1l

(Images via. What Pros Wear, Just Bats)

There she is the new Mako Torq. They still are keeping the same color schemes of neon colors. But whats different you may ask? Look at the bottom of the handle. That black tape covers the new technology, the torq. This bat features revolutionary 360 Torq Handle technology that rotates with your hands, allowing you to get to the zone faster and stay in the zone longer, allowing you to get to more pitches more often. Bamn! How about that, I think that is pretty cool and as a ball player myself it makes sense. Yea it’s a new technology, a new feel but it could be very helpful. Heres a video further explaining the bat.

Well there ya go, pretty cool. So whats the price you may ask? For a Youth bat its $349.99 and for an Adult size its $549.99, yes that’s right 550 dollars. If your lucky enough to try it out and swing it im sure it will be a new experience. Thats all!

VIDEO: Jacob deGrom begins game with eight straight strikeouts to tie MLB record

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Jacob deGrom has made a strong case for the National League Rookie of the Year Award and he’s adding to his resume so far tonight.

DeGrom began tonight’s game against the Marlins with eight straight strikeouts to tie the modern MLB record. Jim Deshaies previously did it with the Astros in a start against the Dodgers on September 23, 1986.

DeGrom’s streak was ultimately snapped when, of course, the opposing pitcher Jarred Cosart hit a clean single to right field. The 26-year-old right-hander ultimately fell two strikeouts short of the all-time record for consecutive strikeouts at any point in a game, held by Mets great Tom Seaver (April 22, 1970). Still, not bad for a rookie.

Watch deGrom set the record below:

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Combatting the Sun Monster

Originally posted on Nats Insider:

When the MLB calendar reaches its final weeks and the season transitions from summer to fall, Nationals Park can sometimes present a surprise for whoever is playing in the outfield.

During day games in September, the sun can make it very difficult to see flyballs, particularly ones that travel low to right and right-center field. Nationals players call it the Sun Monster, and though they joke about it and wear t-shirts with its likeness, the effects are serious.

On Sunday, in the Nationals’ 3-2 win over the Phillies, the Sun Monster struck twice. It got Phillies center fielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. on a ball hit by Ian Desmond in the bottom of the second inning, and it got Nats center fielder Denard Span in the top of the fourth.

Span has now played in the Nationals’ outfield for nearly two full seasons. Sunday, however, was like nothing he’s ever seen.

“Out of all the day…

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“Wake me up when September ends” because playoffs

Originally posted on Sheed Sports:

It’s that time of year. And I’m not talking about football.

I’m talkin’ baseball. (And for those of you who are over baseball thanks to the start of football season, cut me some slack.)

It’s the time of year when suddenly you’re cheering for a lot more baseball teams than just your own. Justin just thanked me for the Giants’ win today over the Detroit Tigers (his Mariners are currently one wild card game back in the American League with the Tigers hot on their heels), and I’m religiously cheering for pretty much anyone who plays the Brewers and Pirates. And of course the Dodgers.

So before I get into it, I’ll list the leaders of each division and the wild card standings:

National League East leader: Washington Nationals

National League Central leader: St. Louis Cardinals

National League West leader: LA Dodgers

National League wild card leaders: San Francisco Giants…

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