The Tigers and Royals have staged a summer-long battle for the American League Central, and it’s a fair bet their three-game set this weekend will go a long way toward determining the outcome. If that’s the case, Detroit made quite the opening statement Friday night, with a 10-1 win.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny not only had two relievers up and throwing as closer Trevor Rosenthal entered the game on Friday, but also went to both in helping him get through the final inning.
After recording four hits already and having had just one other multihit game in September, it was hard for Mets third baseman Daniel Murphy to be too disappointed when his ninth-inning line drive found Atlanta Braves second baseman Tommy La Stella’s glove in New York’s 5-0 win Friday night.
When David Ortiz’s 33rd home run of the season soared over the right-field wall at Camden Yards on Friday night, it gave him RBI No. 100, meaning the slugger had achieved yet another milestone.
Paul Konerko hasn’t played since Sept. 2 because of a fractured left hand, but No. 14 was penciled into the White Sox lineup, batting sixth and playing first base, for Friday’s night’s series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
After beating out an errant throw from Jose Reyes with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the bag in some pain. He remained in to run the bases, but manager Joe Girardi pulled Ellsbury before the fifth inning with a strained right hamstring and the center fielder underwent an MRI soon after.
Several MLB clubs have dabbled with neurological training in a bid to improve their hitters’ pitch recognition, as Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes. The Red Sox, Cubs, and Rays have already initiated programs, but more could be on the way. As Boston GM Ben Cherington explains, the purpose of taking this approach is to help young batters develop a stronger mental connection between seeing a pitch and deciding whether or not to swing. Quick reactions — physical and mental — are all the more important given rising fastball velocities around the league. One mark of that: at least 52 minor league hurlers have been clocked at or above 100 mph this year, according to the count of Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper. Here are a few notes of interest from around the league: Twins center fielder Jordan Schafer has had an up and down time since becoming a professional, as Mike Berardino of the St.
Phil Hughes of the Twins has capped off one of the game’s best turnarounds by topping 200 innings on the year after today’s outing. As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes on Twitter, Hughes picked up a $250K bonus after passing the 195 IP threshold. Needless to say, Minnesota is thrilled that it not only landed Hughes, who just turned 28, but that it did so on a three-year deal that promises him just $24MM in total. As Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register observes (Twitter link), Hughes has struck out 181 batters while issuing a mere 16 walks this year, meaning that he owns an absurd 11.3 K/BB ratio. That is a historically significant mark, and one that would surely have made the righty one of the offseason’s most interesting free agents had he elected to take a one-year pillow contract last year. You can count the Yankees among the teams taking a hard look at Yasmani Tomas, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. Of course, they will be far from the only team doing so. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez provides an interesting look at the much-hyped young slugger, who is preparing for an important showcase on Sunday.
There’s no swimming pool at Wrigley Field and Lake Michigan is too cold, even in summer, so whatever celebrating the Dodgers did Friday probably didn’t require goggles or fins.
Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke provided top-of-the rotation excellence, while a settled outfield and shortstop Dee Gordon provided a huge spark for the Dodgers this season.