Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cleveland Tops Twins, 8-1, On Carlos Santana's 2 HR; Reds Top Cubs As Luis Castillo Throws 6 Shoutout Innings

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Santana: 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
American League

A crucial series began Tuesday in Minnesota as the Twins hosted the Indians in the first of three.

Cleveland starter, Danny Salazar, allowed a run in the second, but that was equalled in the fourth when Carlos Santana belted the first of his two home runs.

As Salazar steadied and continued to dominate, allowing the lone run over seven innings, the Indians continued to tack on runs, culminating in Santana's second homer of the game, a two-run belt in the ninth for the 8-1 victory and a six game lead over the Twins and Royals in the AL Central division.

Santana was on base all five times he appeared at the plate. He walked in the second and fifth innings, and singled in the seventh, scoring on Austin Jackson's three-run homer. Santana has 18 home runs and 63 RBI.

Minnesota will try to even the series on Wednesday when the teams take the field at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Castillo: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
If the Chicago Cubs wish to defend their World Series title, they'll have to start winning games in bunches, because the Cardinals and Brewers don't seem to be going away in the contentious NL Central.

Cincinnati got six innings of two-hit, shutout ball from starter, Luis Castillo, who took the win, as the Reds downed the Cubs, 2-1, in game two of their four-game series at Wrigley Field.

Castillo, a rookie, surrendered just two singles and a pair of walks, striking out seven for his second win against five losses. A trio of relievers finished up for the Reds, who are out of contention in both the division and the wild card.

The Cubs remained 1 1/2 in front of the Cardinals and Brewers in the division as St. Louis took a 10-4 loss at Boston and Milwaukee defeated Pittsburgh, 3-1, tying the Cardinals for second place.

Game three of the series is Wednesday, at 8:05 pm ET in Chicago.

STREAKING: Giancarlo Stanton homered in his sixth straight game, but the Miami Marlins fell to the San Francisco Giants, 9-4. Stanton's third inning solo shot off Madison Bumgarner was his 44th of the season, leading the majors. Stanton has 11 homers in his last 12 games, and 23 in the last 35 and is two games shy of tying the major league record, homering in eight straight games, held jointly by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987), and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).

Stanton has 94 RBI on the year, second in the NL to Colorado's Nolan Arenado (101).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Anthony Rizzo's 5 RBI Power Cubs, 15-5, Over Reds; Indians Down Red Sox On Edwin Encarnacion's Two HR

Players of the Day for Monday, August 14, 2017

American League
Encarnacion: 2HR, 4RBI

Cleveland continues to look like the team to beat in the American League.

Winning a makeup (from August 2) game in Boston, 7-3, the Indians won their fourth straight and hold a five game lead over Minnesota and Kansas City in the AL Central.

Edwin Encarnacion belted a pair of two run homers - in the fifth and sixth innings - the first breaking as 3-3 tie, the second producing the final, winning score.

Encarnacion's home runs were his 25th and 26th of the season and fourth in the past four games.

The game was a one-off, in the middle of a 10-game road trip for the Indians, which is now an 11-game tour. Cleveland will have ample opportunity to expand upon their lead in the division, as they travel to Minnesota and Kansas City in back-to-back three-game series this week.

The opener of their series in Minnesota is slated for an 8:10 pm ET start on Tuesday.

National League

Rizzo: HR, 5 RBI
Anthony Rizzo socked his 27th home run, singled twice and drove in five runs as the Cubs routed the Cincinnati Reds, 15-5, in the opener of a four game series at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

Rizzo and the Cubs banged out 17 hits, getting an early 2-0 lead on Rizzo's two-run single in the first. In the fourth, Chicago broke the game open, scoring five runs, concluded by Rizzo's solo homer.

With the bases loaded in the seventh, Rizzo delivered another two-run single as part of the Cubs' six run inning.

The win gave Chicago a little breathing room in the NL Central. They lead the Cardinals by 1 1/2 and the Brewers by 2 1/2 games. Both St. Louis and Milwaukee were idle on Monday.

Game two of the series is Tuesday, 8:05 pm ET.

STREAKING: In the Marlins' 8-3 win over the Giants Monday, Giancarlo Stanton broke the Miami club mark of 42 homers set by Gary Sheffield in 1996, doing it in the Marlins' 117th game of the season.

Stanton has homered in five straight games, and 22 times in his past 34 games. Since July 17 he has 17 home runs and he has 10 home runs in August. He has 93 RBI, second in the National League.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Howie Kendrick Grand Slam Lifts Nationals in 11th; White Merrifield Cashes 5 RBI As Royals Trounce White Sox, 14-6

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 13, 2017

American League

Merrifield: 3-6, HR, 5 RBI
Whit Merrifield singled, tripled and socked his 14th home run, helping the Kansas City Royals to a 14-6 win over the White Sox with five RBI.

Merrifield was starting as the leadoff hitter for the Royals, and for good reason. The second-year second baseman has shown vast improvement over his rookie season. In 2016, Merrifield batted .283 in 81 games, with two home runs, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases. This year, in 100 games, he's at .299, with 14 homers, 56 RBI and 19 swipes.

Merrifield socked a three-run homer in the third inning, putting the Royals up, 8-0, adding two more RBI with his sixth-inning triple.

The game was the third of the series at Chicago, Kansas City taking two of three. Kansas City got off to a poor start for the month of August, losing eight of 10, but their back-to-back wins over the White Sox leave them in third place in the AL Central, five games behind Cleveland. Minnesota is in second place, 1/2 game better than the Royals. Both the Twins and Royals have legitimate shots at either the division or a wild card. They're 1/2 and one game behind the Angels for the second wild card. The Yankees lead, but only by 1 1/2 games after dropping two of three to the Red Sox over the weekend.

The Royals conclude their road trip with three games at Oakland beginning Monday. Game time is 7:10 pm PT.

National League

Kendrick: Walk-off slam
No Bryce Harper? No problem, judging by the standings and the time left in the season.

Washington's Bryce Harper suffered a bone bruise in his knee, but no ligament or tendon tears, the results of an injury caused by slipping on a wet first base in Washington's 3-1 win over the Giants on Saturday.

Initially, it was feared the injury would be season-ending, but Harper and Washington's front office believe he'll return to the team before the end of the season. He's been placed on the 10-day disabled list.

Meanwhile, the Giants and Nationals had unfinished business on Sunday, a day-night doubleheader, with the Giants taking the opener, 4-2, before Washington came back with a 6-2, 11th-inning victory in the nightcap.

Matt Moore and Max Scherzer dueled through seven innings in a 2-2 tie, and the relief staffs took the game into extra innings before Howie Kendrick racked a grand slam with nobody out in the bottom of the 11th for the walk-off win.

Giants' reliever, Albert Suarez, didn't retire a batting in the winning inning. Murphy singled to center to lead off the frame, followed by Ryan Zimmerman's single to shallow center, sending Murphy to third. Anthony Rendon was intentionally walked, setting up Kendrick with the bases chock full.

Kendrick's homer was just his fourth of the season. The 34-year-old utility player spent most of the season with Philadelphia, acquired by the Nationals in late July. He spent half the season on the DL, but, he's batting .375 (15-for-40) since joining the Washington squad.

The Nationals should be all right without Harper, their star player. They have a 14 game lead over the Marlins in the NL East, and even though Miami has won three straight, there's almost no chance of them - or anybody else - catching the Nationals. Washington is 70-46, which is the second-best record in the league, after the Dodgers. The Cubs (61-55) have a one-game lead in the NL Central, so Washington is probably not in any danger of losing their position for the playoffs.

The Nationals get a day off Monday, and host the Angels for two games, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Red Sox Even Up With Yankees On Andrew Benintendi's 2 HR; Giancarlo Stanton Homers Again For Miami; St. Louis Streak at 8

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 12, 2017

American League

After blowing a 3-0 lead Friday night and eventually losing, 5-4, to the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York, the Boston Red Sox came back to even things up with a 10-5 shellacking of the Yankees on Saturday.

Benintendi: 2 HR, 6 RBI
Boston scored all of its runs in the third and fifth innings, scoring five times in each. Both bursts were highlighted by three-run homers from Andrew Benintendi, both home runs and all six RBI credited against Yankee starter (and supposed new "ace" according to radio announcer John Sterling) Luis Severino.

In what was likely his worst outing of the season, Severino lasted only 4 1/3 innings, allowing all 10 runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks. Benintendi's homers were his 15th and 16th of the season, to go with 65 RBI and a .280 batting average.

Thus, the Red Sox recovered their 4 1/2 game lead in the AL East with the rubber game in New York Sunday at 8:00 pm ET, broadcast nationally on ESPN.

The Yankees still appear to be Boston's only challenger, but they are also holding a slim, 2 1/2 game lead in the wild card race over the Angles, but the Rays, Royals, Mariners, Twins, and Orioles are all within 4 1/2 of the Yanks, making for what looks to be a spirited run to the playoffs the remainder of the season.

National League

Stanton: 41 HR leads MLB
Giancarlo Stanton is having an August that may end up in the record books.

In Miami's 4-3 win over the Rockies at Marlins Park, Stanton, singled, doubled, scored his major league-leading 41st home run and drove in three of the Marlins four runs. It was Stanton's third straight game with a home run and eight time he's homered in his last nine.

The slugger's August stats are already imposing: a .366 batting average (15-for-41), eight homers, and 16 RBI. With August not even half done, Stanton could be challenging the record for most home runs in any month (Sammy Sosa, Chicago, 20, June, 1998) or most home runs in August (also held by Sammy Sosa, 17, 2001, with Willie Mays, 1965).

Miami continues to make progress tow being competitive in the wild card race though they are still 9 1/2 back, but beating the Rockies two straight has produced a tie between Colorado and Arizona for the top wild card slot.

The Marlins will be looking for a sweep of the series Sunday afternoon. Game time is 1:10 pm in Miami.

Streaking: Suddenly becoming the hottest team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals won their eighth straight on Saturday, besting the Braves, 6-5, in St. Louis.

Coupled with Chicago's 6-2 loss at Arizona, St. Louis is now tied for first place in the NL Central with the Cubs, though they are by no means clear of the rest of the division. Milwaukee is a mere two games out; Pittsburgh, three back. Only the Reds are out of it, 12 games behind.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2-Hit Effort By Carlos Carrasco Leads Indians Over Rays; Giancarlo Stanton Belts 40th HR In Miami Win

Players of the Day for Friday, August 11, 2017

American League

Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco took a no-hitter into the seventh inning helping the Indians to a 5-0 victory at Tampa Bay.

Carrasco: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
Carrasco's bid for the record books was shattered when Logan Morrison singled with two down in the seventh. Carrasco finished with eight innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits and a pair of walks, striking out 10.

Perfect through four innings, Carrasco issued walks in the fifth and seventh, improving to 11-5 off the effort.

Tyler Olson worked the ninth for Cleveland to close out the shutout, the Indians maintaining their 3 1/2 game lead over the Twins in the AL Central. Minnesota has won six straight, including Friday's 9-4 win at Detroit.

The Indians evened their series with the Rays at a game apiece and will be looking to go one up when they play game three of four, Saturday, at Tropicana Field. Game time is 6:10 pm ET.

National League

Stanton: 40 HR Leads MLB
Giancarlo Stanton socked his major league-leading 40th home run as the Miami Marlins took the first of three from the visiting Rockies, 6-3.

Stanton's sixth inning solo blast measured 433 feet and got the Marlins to within a run of the Rockies, who were leading 3-1 entering the bottom of the frame. Miami eventually tied the game in the inning adding three more runs in the eighth to secure the victory.

Stanton has outpaced all contenders for the home run title, leading the National League by seven over the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger. In the AL, Aaron Judge has 35 to lead the league, with Kansas City's Mike Moustakas right behind, at 34.

Stanton's 86 RBI is sixth-best in the NL. Colorado's Nolan Arenado leads with 100. Arenado reached the century mark with his 26th home run, a two-run blast in the third inning.

Desperate to stay in the hunt for the wild card, the Marlins are 9 1/2 behind Arizona for the second spot, but trail the Nationals in the NL East by 14 1/2 games. Colorado is the leader in the wild card race and will look to keep it that way when they take the field in Miami, Saturday at 7:10 pm ET.