All posts by phnseo

New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

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Bartolo Colon isn’t too old to try new things.

The big right-hander tossed five-hit ball and struck out eight in seven sharp innings, Michael Cuddyer hit a long homer and the NL East-leading New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-4 on Wednesday night. Colon (11-11) bounced back from a rough outing in Colorado, helping the Mets improve to 18-6 since July 31. They took a 6 1-2 game lead over second-place Washington, which lost 6-5 to San Diego.

The Mets have dominated the Phillies, winning eight straight, 11 of 12 this season and 23 of the last 28 meetings. They will go for a four-game sweep Thursday night with plenty of visiting fans

New York (70-56) leads the East by 6 1/2 games over second-place Washington and is on the verge of its second seven-game winning streak this month after beating the Phillies 9-4 on Wednesday.

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The Mets’ current run includes three wins each over Colorado and Philadelphia (50-77), occupants of last place in the West and East. Following the conclusion of this four-game series, New York’s next nine games come against last-place Boston, the Phillies and Miami before a series with the Nationals that may lose its importance to the division race.

The Mets have won 28 of the last 35 matchups with Philadelphia, including eight straight for their longest winning streak in the series since a 10-game stretch from 1971-72. New York is making itself at home at Citizens Bank Park, winning 17 of the last 20.

The Phillies have dropped six of seven at home and are turning to Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.67), who’s tied with Milwaukee’s Matt Garza for the most losses in the majors. The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA in his past four starts

OFFENSIVE OUTBURSTS

The Mets have scored 64 runs during a six-game winning streak. They have 84 hits and are batting .347 in those games.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: LHP Steven Matz (lat muscle) allowed one hit over six scoreless innings in a rehab outing for Double-A Binghamton against Erie. He struck out six and walked none, throwing 41 of 56 pitches for strikes. The promising rookie could return to the major league rotation by next week. … 3B David Wright had a scheduled day off. He was 2 for 9 with a homer in his first two games back after missing four months because of a back issue.

Phillies: 3B Maikel Franco (left wrist fracture), on the DL since Aug. 12, is expected to return this season, according to interim manager Pete Mackanin.

UP NEXT

Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (8-9, 3.80) faces Phillies RHP Aaron Harang (5-14, 4.67) in the series finale. Niese is 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 21 career starts vs. Philadelphia. The Mets are 7-0 in his last seven starts against the Phillies. Harang is 6-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 15 starts vs. New York.

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Base Stealing Technique

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A good base stealer can still give his team an advantage, especially in close games. The downside, of course, is that getting caught stealing can end a rally and cost a team an out.

Base Stealing – Technique

 Get A Good Jump – A good base stealer gets a jump on a pitcher by studying their moves. As soon as a pitcher makes a move towards the plate, a base runner should be off and running.
 Judgement – Good judgement is as important to base stealers as speed. Knowing which catchers and pitchers are easy to steal against is an essential part of a base stealer’s technique.
 When To Steal – It is generally easier to steal third base than second because a runner can get a better lead off second base. But because a player is already in a scoring position at second base, most runners won’t steal third unless they have a success rate of at least 90 percent.

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Three important things to know before stealing second base. If you know these three things, you will know whether you should challenge the pitcher and catcher and go for the steal.

  1.  How fast are you?

What is your time from 1st to 2nd base?  Once you have taken a lead,  if you can get to 2nd base (or 3rd) in 3.2 to 3.8 seconds, then you have a good shot at stealing bases.  I’ll explain more below.

  1.  What is the pitcher’s time to home plate?

In order to know the pitchers time to home plate, start your stop watch when the pitcher makes his first movement towards home plate and the time stops when the catcher catches the ball.

Depending on your speed and your reaction time usually runners will want the pitcher to be at least 1.35 and usually over 1.40 seconds in order to try to steal second.

A quick pitcher will usually have a consistent time of 1.1 – 1.29 seconds.

  1.  What is the catcher’s time to second base?

The catchers time starts when he catches the ball and stops when the infielder standing on second catches the ball.An average catcher throw to 2nd base is 2.0 seconds.

After making these quick calculations you will know whether or not to challenge the pitcher and catcher and try stealing second base (or third).

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Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers

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The Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers are two of the hottest teams in the American League and both are pushing their way toward postseason spots.

A night after Troy Tulowitzki’s late hit helped put Toronto alone atop the AL East, David Price looks to guide the Blue Jays to a fifth straight victory when he faces the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night in Arlington.

Toronto (70-55) has won 20 of 24 since Anthopoulos traded for Tulowitzki on July 28, and the club moved a game ahead of the New York Yankees with Tuesday’s 6-5 victory in the opener of this three-game series.

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Tulowitzki’s two-out RBI single in the ninth tied it before Josh Donaldson, a front-runner for the AL MVP after being acquired from Oakland in the offseason, hit a high chopper to Adrian Beltre. The Rangers’ third baseman made a wide throw to first, and his error allowed Ben Revere to score the go-ahead run.

“(Tulowitzki is) one of the best players in baseball, has been for a number of years,” manager John Gibbons said. “Right guy, right time.”

Chris Colabello, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion homered for the Blue Jays, who are poised to make their first postseason appearance since winning the second of back-to-back World Series titles in 1993.

Price (12-4, 2.40 ERA) has been doing his part, going 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in four starts since coming over from Detroit at the non-waiver deadline. He gave up two runs and struck out nine in eight innings of Friday’s 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

The left-hander received three runs of support combined in his final three starts with the Tigers, the same amount he got before he even took the mound against the Angels. The majors’ top offense has provided him with an average of 6.82 runs per nine innings.

“When you have your go-to guy on the mound and you get three early runs, he was in cruise mode from there,” said Revere, who was acquired from Philadelphia at the trade deadline. “(Price) gets that edge. You look in his eyes, and he’s all about his game.”

Price is 2-2 with a 7.36 ERA in five career starts in Arlington, but he pitched a complete game the last time he was there to lead Tampa Bay over the Rangers 5-2 on Sept. 30, 2013, in a wild-card tiebreaker.

Elvis Andrus is 10 for 23 lifetime against Price and went 2 for 4 on Tuesday. Rougned Odor homered and had an RBI double, but he left with a finger injury suffered warming up before the start of the seventh inning.

The Rangers (64-60) had their three-game winning streak snapped and their lead for the second wild card trimmed to one-half game over the Angels and Minnesota.

“It’s not fun to lose, and it’s not fun to lose like this,” said closer Shawn Tolleson, who blew his second save in 27 chances

Texas has lost seven of the last eight home meetings with the Blue Jays and sends Colby Lewis (14-5, 4.29) to the hill looking to get back on track.

Lewis’ 6.95 run-support average – ranked fourth in baseball – is part of the reason he’s looking to become the AL’s second 15-game winner after Houston’s Dallas Keuchel beat the Yankees on Tuesday.

The right-hander hasn’t needed much offense lately, though. He gave up one run in a 12-4 win over Tampa Bay on Aug. 15 before giving up six hits over seven innings of a 2-0 win over Detroit in his first scoreless outing since May 1.

Lewis, though, has a 7.12 ERA in nine career starts against Toronto.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: foxsports.com

How To Play Small Ball Baseball

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Small ball is a term used by baseball announcers and managers to describe a reliance on advancing runners and manufacturing runs without needing consistent home run production. Bunting, intelligent base running, and fundamental hitting, such as hitting behind the runner, are key elements of playing small ball. Teams who use small ball often do not have the deepest offensive lineup and will look to produce a run in almost any way possible.

An offensive baseball strategy that favors situational hitting and baserunning tactics over pure hitting in an effort to make efficient use of scoring opportunities in any given inning

Small ball strategy in baseball focus on higher percentage ways of getting runners on base (singles and walks) and advancing them into scoring position (bunts, steals, hit-and-runs, etc) and manufacturing runs (sacrifice flys, squeezes, etc) . It requires precision, methodical execution and ultimately discipline.

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Teams may incorporate a small-ball strategy for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. They are confident that their pitching staff will allow very few runs, thus one or two runs may win the game.
  2. The opposing pitching staff allows few hits, especially extra-base hits, and small ball may be the best way to score runs at all.
  3. The team lacks consistent hitters and must find a way to score runs with few base hits.
  4. The team has several members who are very quick and are likely to steal bases, or go from first base to third base on a single.
  5. The team is in the late innings of a close game and a single run will tie the game, break a tie, or extend a narrow lead.

Most commonly, managers will switch to small-ball tactics while a game is in progress, doing so upon the convergence of a variety of factors including having appropriate hitters coming up next in the batting order and, often, having fast runners already on base. A team could also start the game with the intention of playing small ball but then change from this strategy at some point during a game, depending on circumstances, such as when the opposing pitcher is struggling or has left the game or when the team is ahead or behind by several runs.

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Boston Red Sox at Chicago White Sox

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The Chicago White Sox squandered an early lead and fell 5-4 to the Boston Red Sox on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.

White Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija could not contain the Red Sox’s Rusney Castillo, who had five RBIs in the first six innings. Jose Abreuhit a home run for the second consecutive game, a first-inning shot that was his 24th of the season. Red Sox starter Joe Kelly gave up two runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings to win his fifth consecutive start. The White Sox rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the comeback fell just short. 

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The White Sox hoped to make up ground with some sub-.500 teams on the schedule, but they are just 2-2 over the first four games of the 10-game stretch. The White Sox fell to 58-64 on the season and need to go 23-17 the rest of the way in order to finish at least a .500 on the season, which would be a eight-game improvement from last season.

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline continues to be the turning point in Samardzija’s season. He had delivered 10-consecutive starts of at least seven innings at that point, but since then he has lost all five of his August starts. In a rough month, the right-hander has pitched 28 innings and given up 28 earned runs, with seven home runs allowed.

It doesn’t take long for a game to get away from you as Samardzija showed in the second inning. After hitting Hanley Ramirez with a pitch in the left kidney area, Samardzija than gave up a single to Brock Holt. Castillo followed with what appeared to be a wind-aided three-run home run to center field and the White Sox never led again. Just how many pitches did the sequence take? The Red Sox went from trailing 1-0, with nobody on base, into the lead for good in a mere six pitches.

The White Sox will send LH Jose Quintana (7-10, 3.60 ERA) to the mound Tuesday in the middle game of the three-game series. The Red Sox will counter with left-hander Wade Miley (10-9, 4.41) in the 7:10 p.m. CT start from U.S. Cellular Field.

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Colorado Rockies at Atlanta Braves

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Where: Turner Field

When: 7:10 p.m.

Probable starting pitchers:

 Monday, August 24, 5:10 pm
Jorge De La Rosa (7-5, 4.50) vs.  Julio Teheran (8-6, 4.32)

Tuesday, August 25, 5:10 pm
Yohan Flande (3-1, 3.94) vs.  Mike Foltynewicz (4-5, 6.06)

Wednesday, August 26, 5:10 pm
Jon Gray (0-0, 5.94) vs. Shelby Miller (5-10, 2.50)

The Braves slump home after an 0-7 trip to San Diego and Chicago, having lost 22 of their past 24 road games.

They begin a nine-game homestand Monday night with a manageable opponent in the Colorado Rockies, but even those meetings have gone poorly for the free-falling Braves this summer.

The Colorado Rockies are now done with a long home stand — one where they didn’t find a ton of success while facing three good-to-decent teams in the Padres, Nationals, and Mets.

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Now, they’ll get the opportunity to go back on the road, facing an ice-cold Atlanta Braves team this week before heading to Pittsburgh this weekend to face a very good ball club that’ll almost surely be in the playoffs come October.

Atlanta (53-71) completed a 0-7 trip with Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, recording its longest overall slide of the season while falling to an MLB-worst 11-29 dating to July 8. The rotation has posted a 7.57 ERA on the skid and the staff as a whole has allowed 18 home runs – nine coming in the last two games at Wrigley Field.

The Rockies (49-73), who swept the Braves in four games July 9-12 in Colorado, are coming off being swept in three games at home by the New York Mets. Sunday’s 5-1 loss was their 11th in 13 games, and another would put them 25 games under .500 for the sixth season in franchise history and third time in the last four years.

The road, however, hasn’t provided a refuge. The Rockies have dropped four straight away games, and their 16-37 record since opening the season with six straight road wins is second-worst in baseball to the Braves (18-47).

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Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Time: 8:30pm Eastern Time

Where: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Florida)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to town Monday night as the two face off in the final game of week 2 preseason action on Monday Night Football.

Highlighted by some stellar offensive efficiency, the Bengals are coming off an impressive 23-10 victory over the New York Giants, while Tampa Bay looks for more consistency from rookie quarterback Jameis Winston after last week’s 26-16 loss to Minnesota. 

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The Jameis Winston era in Tampa Bay got off to a slow start. While there were a few bright spots, Winston struggled overall in his NFL debut. Tonight, Jameis has the opportunity to improve on his performance in front of the bright lights of Monday Night Football

The Bucs will look a little different than they did in their initial preseason outing against the Minnesota Vikings. Since the 26-16 loss last Saturday night the Bucs have promoted rookie Kwon Alexander to the starting MLB position and moved Bruce Carter to the strong side. Carter will compete with Danny Lansanah for the starting spot there.

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San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates

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The Pittsburgh Pirates blanked the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on Thursday night on the back of a fantastic start by Charlie Morton. The Pirates were able to get to Jake Peavyearly and give Morton the lead as he cruised to his ninth win of the season. After he exited the reinforcements from the bullpen did not let up and the Pirates took the first game of the four-game series.

The Pirates got one run off of Peavy in the first inning when Aramis Ramirez blasted a ground rule double to score Starling Marte, who was hit by a pitch for the 14th time this season. Peavy was tagged for a second run in the third inning off of a double byJung Ho Kang that brought in Marte and moved Ramirez to third. During Ramirez’s at-bat, Marte stole his first of two bases on the evening, giving him 24 in total on the season.

Pittsburgh padded its lead in the sixth inning when Neil Walker connected for his 13th home run of the season, a two-run blast that gave the Pirates a 4-0 lead. This would prove to be all the Pirates would need as the Giants were not able to get anything going against Morton.

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Madison Bumgarner is in position to become the first pitcher since 2011 to throw three consecutive complete games in part because of his dazzling stuff on the mound, but also because his hitting has been strong enough for manager Bruce Bochy to save pinch hitters.

The San Francisco ace returns to the mound Friday night in Pittsburgh as the Giants try to slow the streaking Pirates, and that’s exactly what Bumgarner did in last year’s wild-card game.

Cliff Lee was the last pitcher to throw three straight complete games, and he did so with a shutout in each. Bumgarner (14-6, 2.98 ERA) hasn’t been quite on that level, but the latest was the fourth shutout of his career after he gave up three hits with 14 strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-0 home win over Washington.

On a three-start winning streak, he’s posted a 0.73 ERA and 0.63 WHIP with 35 strikeouts in 25 1-3 innings.

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Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets

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Date
Friday, August 21st, 2015

Time
7:30pm Eastern Time

Where
MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, New Jersey)

In Preseason Week 2 action, the Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets game will take place on Friday, August 21st, 2015. The Falcons beat the Tennessee Titans last week and are looking to build on that momentum as they head to battle the Jets.

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The Jets are looking to bounce back from their loss last week against the Detroit Lions and keep their ship sailing into clearer waters. With all the string of controversies from Sheldon RichardsonGeno Smith and most recently the one-game suspension of offensive lineman Oday Aboushi, the Jets would like to bring the focus back to football. It all starts by bringing in a victory in front of their home crowd.

The Jets, much like the Falcons, are looking to rebuild with a new head coach in Todd Bowles. Whereas Atlanta is aiming to strengthen the league’s worst defense to help out one of the premier passing games in the NFL, New York is looking to do the opposite. The Jets’ passing game ranked dead last in 2014, but their defense is among the best in the league.

The first regular season game is just three weeks away, and it’s time for the second of four exhibition games.

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Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees

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Where: Yankee Stadium.

Who: The Indians vs. the Yankees, Thursday through Sunday.

Pitching matchups:
RHP Josh Tomlin (0-1, 2.84) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.57) Thursday at 7:05 p.m.;
RHP Carlos Carrasco (11-9, 3.63) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-5, 3.56) Friday at 7:05 p.m.;
RHP Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.16) vs. RHP Luis Severino (0-2, 3.18) Saturday at 1:05 p.m.
RHP Trevor Bauer(9-10, 4.62) vs. CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.24) Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Season Series: The Indians lead, 2-1. The Yankees lead overall, 1,090-857.

Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.57 ERA) and Josh Tomlin (0-1, 2.84 ERA) start in the first of a four-game series between the New York Yankees (67-52) and the Cleveland Indians (55-64) at Yankee Stadium. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Thursday, Aug. 20

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New York is a -155 favorite against Cleveland and the Over/Under (O/U) for this game is sitting at eight runs. The Yankees have recorded an overall money line of +512 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 42-26. New York is an impressive 4-1 as the favorite over its last 10 games.

Cleveland is coming in with an overall money line of -2,055 and a disappointing record of 16-24 as the underdog. They have been on a bit of a dry streak over their last 10 games. They managed a 0-3 record when playing as the underdog. Offensively, the Indians have really picked up the pace in the last 10 games. They have exceeded their season average of 4.0 runs per game by averaging 5.5 during that stretch. Cleveland is excellent at drawing walks with an AL-best 3.4 per game. When it comes to preventing batters from getting on base, the Indians are one of the best in the league with a WHIP of 1.20 for the season. The Indians have established a reputation of overwhelming hitters with an AL-best 8.8 strikeouts per game.

Injuries:
Indians 
INF Chris Johnson (infected left hand), RHP Cody Anderson (left oblique), LHP TJ House (left shoulder), LHP Nick Hagadone (left elbow) and RHP Gavin Floyd (right elbow) are on the disabled list.

Yankees
OF Dustin Ackley (back), RHP Bryan Mitchell (concussion, broken nose), RHP Diego Moreno (right elbow), RHP Michael Pineda (right forearm), RHP Sergio Santos (right elbow) and CF Chase Whitley (right shoulder) are out. 1B Teixeira (right leg) is day to day.

The Indians lead the season series, 2-1. The Yankees have a 45-39 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they’ll be facing when Tomlin takes the mound. Nova (RHP) will be on the hill against the Indians, who have a 41-37 record against right-handed starting pitchers.

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