Tagged in: MLB

Atlanta Braves’ Brian McCann to retire after 15-year career

After a decade and a half in the major leagues, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann is calling it quits.

The former All-Star told reporters after the Braves’ NLDS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that he is retiring. Thanks to a one-year contract signed last offseason, McCann’s career will end with the same team with which he spent his first nine seasons in MLB.

“This is it for me,” McCann said. “I’m going to go home and be a dad, and play with my kids … It’s time to go. Fifteen years. It’s done.”

In 15 years as a major leaguer, McCann racked up a .262/.337/.452 career line with 1,590 hits and 282 home runs, all while directing pitching game plans behind the plate. McCann was a perennial All-Star during his first tenure with the Braves, delivering one of the most dangerous bats from the catching position in the league and accruing seven All-Star nods.

From 2008 to 2016, McCann posted at least 20 homers in every season

A nine-year streak bested only by Mike Piazza and Yogi Berra at the catching position.

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After hitting free agency following the 2014 season, McCann signed a five-year deal with the New York Yankees, where he saw less accomplishment until he was traded to the Houston Astros. There, he won his first career World Series ring in 2017.

McCann later returned to the Braves for one last ride, the perfect setting for a man who was born in Atlanta, grew up in Georgia and was drafted by the Braves back in 2002.

“I went to high school here. I grew up here. I got to play nine years to start my career here,” McCann said. “I grew up with some of my heroes growing up, and got to come back and play with the new generation. I’d say that’s a success.” Of course, McCann’s legacy is also described by who he was as a teammate, and the reviews there are quite positive.

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Rays chase Verlander early, beat Astros to even ALDS

The Tampa Bay Rays never disbelieved themselves, even with Justin Verlander looking to end their season.

Willy Adames homered and made a extraordinary relay throw from shortstop, and the Rays chased the Houston ace early in beating the Astros 4-1 Tuesday night to even their AL Division Series at two games apiece.

With their second victory in two days over one of baseball’s best pitchers, the Rays believe the rest of the country is finally getting a taste of what they’re capable of achieving.

”Hey, I hate to say it: About time, because we have a really good team over here,” Tommy Pham said.

”To win 96 games in this division (the AL East) with New York and Boston is an impressive feat,” he added. ”All year, we’ve been getting talked down. And now, with the last two games, the way we played, the whole world has seen how good of a team we are and how well-rounded we are.”

The series shifts back to Houston for a decisive Game 5 on Thursday night.

Astros star Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch for the heavily favored AL West champs, who led the majors with 107 wins this season and have one more chance to close out the feisty Rays. Tyler Glasnow is expected to start for Tampa Bay.

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The winner plays the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

Verlander, starting on short rest after dominating the wild-card Rays in Game 1, looked uncomfortable on the mound at Tropicana Field and was pulled in the fourth after giving up four runs.

Verlander, whose eight career ALDS victories are a major league record, yielded three runs in the first. Adames homered leading off the fourth to make it 4-0, and the eight-time All-Star didn’t make it through the inning.

”A good approach for those guys in the first, and then honestly, I need those infield singles to be caught. When you don’t have it, you need the balls that are put in play to go your way, and they didn’t,” said Verlander, who only started on short rest three other times during his career, including the 2011 ALDS, when he started Games 1 and 3 after Game 1 was suspended in the second inning.

The Rays helped themselves by playing stellar defense, especially with the Astros threatening to cut into their three-run deficit in the fourth.

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Astros turn to Verlander, looking to close out Rays

After getting walloped by the Rays 10-3 Monday in Game 3 of the ALDS at Tropicana Field, Hinch flipped the win switch to on, announcing the Astros will be going with Verlander on short rest Tuesday to try to close out the Rays. The Astros lead the series, 2-1.

Hinch made the right move because he has the best insurance policy right behind Verlander in Gerrit Cole, who has won 17 straight games.

Cy Old will go Tuesday and, if needed, Cy Young will pitch Game 5 in Houston on Thursday. Hinch is betting on Verlander so there will be no need for a Game 5 starter, and Cole would be good to go in Game 1 of the ALCS. That would put Verlander in line to be on regular rest for Game 2.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the world,’’ Hinch said. “No more complicated than that. He’s ready, and it’s his game.’’

Remember, after Verlander defeated the Rays in Game 1, Kevin Cash said, “We got Verlander-ed.’’ It is simple and it’s also a testimony to how good the Rays are because Hinch is saying, “If you are going to beat us, you are going to have to do it in five games and go through Verlander and Cole.”

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Verlander acknowledged he has not been used in a situation like this in the last few years, saying, “Closest we came was out of the bullpen a couple years ago in Boston. I mean, the thought process is five-game series are pretty crazy and we’ve got to win. Never know what can happen. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket and say, ‘If we lose [Tuesday], we’ve got Justin and Gerrit on Game 5.’ It’s a crazy game.

“The last couple days, I’ve felt pretty good. A.J. and I have been discussing it. He made the call.’’ This series is all about Big Game starters. The Astros got it in their first two starts with Verlander and Cole throwing 14 ²/₃ innings of shutout baseball and the Rays got it Tuesday from Mr. Elimination Game, Charlie Morton, who did his winning thing once again through five innings.

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Buehler, Muncy lead Dodgers past Nats in NLDS opener

The Dodgers crushed the Nationals on the mound and at the plate, extending the supremacy that led to a franchise-record 106 victories in the regular season right on into the playoffs.

Walker Buehler allowed one hit over six innings, Max Muncy drove in three runs and Los Angeles capitalized on mistakes to beat Washington 6-0 in Game 1 of their NL Division Series on Thursday night.

”Oh, they’re good. They’re really good,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”That’s why they have been in the postseason so many years in a row.”

Buehler struck out eight, walked three and retired his final seven batters after earning the start over veterans Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose 2.32 ERA was lowest in the majors this season. ”Walker, time and time again, just knows how to temper, control his emotions and transfer that into the delivery, the execution of pitches,” expressed Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

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Washington’s Patrick Corbin stumbled through a rocky first inning.

He issued four walks, joining Art Reinhart of the St. Louis Cardinals as the only pitchers to walk that many in the first inning they ever pitched in the postseason.

Reinhart walked four – including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig – in the fifth inning of Game 4 of the 1926 World Series against the Yankees.

”That first inning was the game,” Roberts said. ”That really set the tone.”

Corbin walked three in a row with two outs in the 31-pitch inning. Yan Gomes was charged with a passed ball, too, and Muncy drew a free pass with the bases loaded to put the Dodgers in front.

”Walked a lot of guys, chased a lot of bad pitches,” Martinez said. ”When you’re walking guys and not hitting, it’s tough to win ballgames.” Corbin gave up two runs – one earned – and three hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out nine and finished with five walks.

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Dodgers to start Walker Buehler in Game 1 over Clayton Kershaw

Buehler was selected over Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to start for the Dodgers on Thursday in Game 1 of the National League Division Series versus the Washington Nationals.

Nothing Buehler said could opaque the magnitude of news that was announced by manager Dave Roberts on the eve of the series opener.

This was more than a simple reshuffling of the rotation. This was a change of the guard. This was a shift in franchise doctrine.

The designation monopolized by Kershaw over the last decade now belongs to the slight-but-brash 25-year-old right-hander born and raised in Kentucky.

If any confusion over that remained in the wake of Buehler being named the Game 1 starter, clarity was provided by Roberts’ explanation of how the decision was made.

“We just felt that with Walker getting an opportunity to pitch the first game, also potentially a Game 5, gives us the best chance to win,” Roberts said, “regardless of opponent.” Ryu started instead of Kershaw last year in Game 1 of a NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, but that was more of a case of the front office wanting to show off its creativity. The pitchers’ rest and Kershaw’s availability to start in a potential Game 5 were contemplated.

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The decision has symbolic importance to a franchise that’s foundation is drafting and developing its own players. Selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, Buehler was the first player selected by the Dodgers under current scouting director Billy Gasparino.

Of course, that by itself doesn’t make the decision to start Buehler in Game 1 the right one. Symbolism won’t win the Dodgers a World Series. Buehler, Kershaw and Ryu pitching well might. Roberts still hasn’t revealed the order in which Kershaw and Ryu will follow Buehler in the rotation.

Starting pitching could very well determine this series.

The most dominant stretches of their 106-win season concurred with periods in which Buehler, Kershaw and Ryu routinely made six-plus- or seven-inning starts.

If they are pitching into the seventh or eighth innings of games, they should win handily.

Their recent track records could be a source of worry.

Buehler finished the season with a 14-4 record and 3.26 earned-run average, but he failed to pitch more than five innings in three of his last five starts. He posted a 4.50 ERA in September.

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Brewers look to wrap up playoff berth vs. Reds

The Milwaukee Brewers aim to punch their ticket to the postseason for the second straight year on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series against the host Cincinnati Reds.

Milwaukee (87-70) posted its fifth straight win and 16th in 18 outings with a 4-2 victory over Cincinnati (73-84) on Tuesday. The Brewers moved five games ahead of the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets for the final wild-card spot in the National League.

A Milwaukee win on Wednesday or losses by Chicago (versus Pittsburgh) and New York (against Miami) would clinch a playoff berth for the Brewers, although manager Craig Counsell admitted he has an eye on the NL Central title as well. The Brewers reside 2 1/2 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals, who fell 3-2 in a 19-inning marathon at Arizona on Tuesday.

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“I think we’re scoreboard-watching now, and we’re seeing what goes on in those other games,” Counsell said. “We’ll see what goes on in Pittsburgh and see what goes on in Arizona, too.”

Another stellar September has paved the way for Milwaukee, which rode a sizzling final month of the season in 2018 all the way to within one win of a World Series appearance.

“They’ve recognized what’s at stake,” Counsell said. “I think the common theme in both cases is we were chasing something, and that’s lent some urgency to everything we’ve done. And I think our players have responded really well to that sense of urgency.”

The Reds are dealing with a number of illnesses, with infielder Freddy Galvis, utility man Josh VanMeter and right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson and Keury Mella under the weather. “I think mine was just like a cold,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said after he fell ill last month. “I don’t think I had it as bad as those guys.”

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Boston Red Sox vs Oakland Athletics

Boston Red Sox vs Oakland Athletics

Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox battle the Oakland Athletics in Wednesday night action.

The Boston Red Sox offense is having its way with the Oakland Athletics pitching staff from every spot in the batting order. The Athletics will try to hold the Red Sox to single digits in runs and avoid a sweep when they visit Fenway Park for the finale of a three-game series on Wednesday.

Oakland Athletics (14-20) at Boston Red Sox (20-13)
MLB Baseball: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 7:10 pm (Fenway Park)
E Surkamp (0-2) (5.58) vs. R Porcello (5-1) (2.95)

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The Boston bats got the best of the Oakland Athletics for the second straight night with a 13-5 decision on Tuesday night. Athletics Sean Manaea was hit hard with eight runs allowed on ten hits over 2.2 frames with Daniel Coulombe giving up three more. The A’s totaled 15 hits and walked once with Coco Crisp driving in a pair while Marcus Semien went 2-4 with an RBI and run. Overall every starter recorded at least one hit. Eric Surkamp will be on the mound to oppose the Red Sox in Wednesday action.  Surkamp has four starts under his belt and has gone 2-2 with a 5.59 ERA over 19.1 innings.
The Boston Red Sox have been crushing the ball and were at their best Tuesday, which overcame some average starting pitching. Red Sox starter Sean O’Sullivan was charged with four runs on 12 hits through six innings which was good enough to pick up the win. The Boston bats amassed 16 hits and a trio of base on balls with Travis Shaw going 3-5 with a homer, five RBI’s and two runs while Hanley Ramirez was 3-4 with a homer, two RBI’s and three runs. Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each scored two times each. And every starter but one scored or drove in a run. Rick Porcello toes the rubber against the Athletics looking for his 6th victory. Porcello hopes to bounce back from a 3-2 loss at the Yankees with all three runs plated on six hits and a pair of BB in seven frames.

Oakland is 1-7 in their last 8 overall and are 1-7 in their last 8 games on grass while the over is 15-5-2 in their last 22 Wednesday games. The over is 7-1 in Boston’s last 8 vs. American League West and the Red Sox are 11-4 in their last 15 overall while going  11-4 in their last 15 games on grass. Oakland are 16-40 in the last 56 meetings in Boston and the under is 12-5 in the last 17 meetings.

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Pitching Matchups

Monday, May 9 @ 7:10 PM: Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.71 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (3-3, 4.84 ERA)

Tuesday, May 10 @ 7:10 PM: Sean O’Sullivan (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs Sean Manaea (0-0, 7.20 ERA)

Wednesday, May 11 @ 7:10 PM: Rick Porcello (5-1, 2.95 ERA) vs Eric Surkamp (0-2, 5.59 ERA)

 

Key Hitters

Red Sox: Brock Holt

2016 Season (25 Games): .282/.354/.388, 2 HR, 17 RBI
Career vs A’s (12 Games): .302/.375/.326, 4 RBI

The Brock Star has recovered from a slump to collect 5 hits in his last 14 at-bats (.357). Holt’s batting average plummeted to as low as .246 during his recent slide, but has now bounced back to the range he has been at in his two previous seasons with the Red Sox.

Athletics: Josh Reddick

2016 Season (31 Games): .319/.375/.474, 4 HR, 15 RBI
Career vs Red Sox (24 Games): .294/.354/.506, 4 HR, 17 RBI

The former Red Sox outfielder is having a career year so far. While he hasn’t quite displayed the type of power he has in the past, his AVG, OBP and SLG are all at career levels. He’s done some damage against his former team in the past, so Red Sox pitchers will need to be wary of Reddick when he steps to the plate in this series.

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New York Mets vs Kansas City Royals

 New York Mets vs Kansas City RoyalsThe World Series has arrived and the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets battle for the title.

Game 1 of the best-of-seven series will be played at Kauffman Stadium and will be on October 27, 2015.

The match will start at 8:07 PM ET.

Those two teams will be the Kansas City Royals making their second straight World Series appearance as the American Leaguerepresentative and the New York Mets representing the National League for the first time since 2000. The Mets haven’t won a championship since 1986 while the Royals haven’t won since 1985.

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These two teams had some different routes to this Fall Classic, however. The Mets made quick work of the Cubs in the NLCScompleting the four-game sweep, while the Royals had a little bit more work to do disposing of the Blue Jays, but ultimately got it done in six-games.

This is the first World Series ever that at least one of the teams is not one of the original 16 franchises.

Both of these teams have a significant amount of time off before this series gets going on Tuesday, so it will be interesting to see how these teams respond. Most of the champagne should have worn off by Tuesday. The Mets last played on Wednesday while the Royals last played Friday.

With the American League winning the All Star Game, they will have home field advantage which means games one, two, six* and seven* will be played in Kansas City while games three, four, and five* will be played at Citi Field in New York. (* if necessary). All games start at 8:00 p.m. EST

Game 1, Oct. 27: New York at Kansas City
Game 2, Oct. 28: New York at Kansas City
Game 3, Oct. 30: Kansas City at New York
Game 4, Oct. 31: Kansas City at New York
Game 5, Nov. 1: Kansas City at New York
Game 6, Nov. 3: New York at Kansas City
Game 7, Nov. 4: New York at Kansas City

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Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals – Game 5

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 4:07 pm (Rogers Centre)

E Volquez (14-10) (3.52) vs. M Estrada (14-9) (3.13)

The Line: Toronto Blue Jays -152 / Kansas City Royals +130

The Jays, who were blown out by the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 of the American League, now need to win three straight games to make it to the World Series. That battle starts today at the Rogers Centre at 4 p.m. ET.

Great pitching and a potent offense led the Kansas City Royals to a 14-2 win at the Rogers Centre and a 3-2 lead in the ALCS. Starter Chris Young gave up both runs on three hits over 4.2 frames before four relievers held the Blue Jays off the scoreboard. The KC offense did the rest with a 15 hit, five walk attack that saw Alex Rios go solo with Ben Zobrist going deep and driving in two and scoring twice. Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain combined for seven RBI’s as every starter drove in runs or scored. Edinson Volquez shoots for his second win of the ALCS against the Blue Jays Wednesday. Volquez defeated Toronto 5-0 on two hits and four BB over six innings pitched.

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The Toronto Blue Jays had their offense going in game three’s victory but  couldn’t carry over the momentum in Tuesday’s one sided defeat. Neither the arms or bats came through with starter RA Dickey charged with five runs on two homers through 1.2 innings. Three of the next five relievers were tagged for nine runs and that was  far too much for the Toronto offense to overcome. The Blue Jays mustered seven hits and walked twice with Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson driving in runs while Ben Revere and Ryan Goins scored. The Blue Jays hope to keep their season alive when they send Marco Estrada to the mound. Estrada dropped a 5-0 decision to Kansas City in the ALCS with three runs scored on six hits over 5.1 frames.

Kansas City are 7-2 in their last 9 road games and are 7-3 in their last 10 games following a win while going  21-9 in Volquezs last 30 starts. The over is 7-0-4 in Toronto’s last 11 on astroturf and the over is 5-0-3 in their last 8 home games while going 6-1-1 in their last 8 games following a loss. Kansas City are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings in Toronto.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: Sports Chat Place

Chicago Cubs vs New York Mets

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The National League Championship Series is set: the Chicago Cubs v the Chicago Cubs of New York.

The Cubs were the only team to win their division series, and even better, they beat their hated rivals, the Cardinals, who were the only 100-win team in baseball this year. They bashed their way to their first NLCS berth since 2003, hitting 10 home runs in the final three games of their series, including a postseason-record six in their 8-6 game three win, after being shut out in game one.

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After finishing third in the National League Central, the Cubs had the privilege of eliminating both of the two teams that finished ahead of them, the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. With their game-four win at Wrigley Field, the Cubs clinched a postseason series on their home turf for the first time in the franchise’s history, which is incredible considering they’ve been playing since 1876.

 

Both the Cubs and the Mets enter the NLCS on a wave of momentum, overcoming opponents previous editions of themselves would have been easily bested by. The Cubs put away the St Louis Cardinals, their longtime nemesis, in four games and did it in style. They won a game in St Louis to put the fear of God into (the already wholesome and God-fearing!) Cardinals fans, and then didn’t even let the series return to St Louis.

 

The Mets’ NLDS victory was no less perception-busting. New York’s lesser-loved baseball franchise was a nice story this season, but a team whose success felt as much a function of the NL East’s malfunction as it was their own talent at hitting, catching and throwing orbs.

 

So now we have Cubs-Mets for the National League championship. It’s a dream series for MLB.

Here is the complete schedule for the NLCS:

  • Game 1: Saturday, October 17th, at Citi Field
  • Game 2: Sunday, October 18th, at Citi Field
  • Game 3: Tuesday, October 20th, at Wrigley Field
  • Game 4: Wednesday, October 21st, at Wrigley Field
  • Game 5: Thursday, October 22nd, at Wrigley Field (if necessary)
  • Game 6: Saturday, October 24th, at Citi Field (if necessary)
  • Game 7: Sunday, October 25th, at Citi Field (if necessary)

 

 

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