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Rays Fan

Grant Balfour posted by Rays Fan

Born December 30, 1977 in Australia, Grant Balfour plays MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays as their relief pitcher. Amongst Australian pitchers in MLB, he currently holds the record for maximum strikeouts and all-time saves. Balfour made his debut in MLB in 2001, when he was drafted by Minnesota Twins. He remained with the Twins until 2004, and spent most of 2005 recovering from an injury. In 2006, Cincinnati Reds signed him, and he played for them for about a year.

Balfour was absent from the MLB scene for three years and returned in July 2007 to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In the eighth inning against the Diamondbacks, he struck out the first hitter, and relieved Chris Capuano to end it with a tie 2-2. Later he walked a batter, hit one, and allowed a home run, which gave a 5-2 win to the Diamondbacks. In 2007, Balfour was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and was in their bullpen for the rest of the season. He finished the 2008 season with 82 strikeouts, 6-2 record, and 1.54 ERA. In January 2011, Balfour signed a two-year contract with Oakland Athletics, and he was named to be their closer. In July 2013, Balfour made a record of highest consecutive saves in his franchise.

In December 2013, agreed to a $15 million deal with Baltimore Orioles for two years. However, in December the deal was jeopardized, as the Orioles had issues with his physical and did not want to sign him. Balfour wanted to file a grievance challenging the Orioles decision, but later agreed to a contract with Tampa Bay Rays for two years. In 2014, during the start of the season, after pitching in 24 games, Balfour's ERA was 6.46, which was quite poor. Subsequently in June, Balfour was removed from the role of a closer.

Continue reading "Grant Balfour"


aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays recap posted by aj wilbur

On a cool April day with snow in the air the Tigers again railed in late innings to beat the Rays and improve to 4-0 on the season. Rick Porcello gave a strong quality start of 7 innings with 2 earned runs, 7 hits, and a walk. The sinker was working well for Porcello when he saw the rays lineup for the second and third time. The only mishap in Porcello's day was a bases loaded walk in the 3rd inning but was able to limit any more damage when he got Matt Joyce to ground out. Matt Moore went 6 2/3 innings with 2 earned runs, 4 hits, and 5 walks. Moore pitched strong with a solid fastball but was a little erratic.

The Tigers big 2 of Cabrera and Fielder once again came through in the clutch. Cabrera led off the 8th inning with a long double of the right field wall and Fielder did what he is paid to do and hit a sharp line drive single up the center to drive in Cabrera standing up for what would be the game winning run. Austin Jackson again looked strong going 1 for 2 with two walks, two runs scored and a clutch home run in the 7th inning.

The Tigers play the Rays again tomorrow at 1.05 with Justin Verlander facing James Shields

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays recap"

aj wilbur

Tigers vs Rays Preview posted by aj wilbur

The Tigers will take on the Rays today at 1:05 in Comerica park

Tampa bay comes in with an undefeated record after sweeping the Yankees.

The Rays phenom Matt Moore will take on Rick Porcello. Matt Moore looked dominating at the end of last year when he was called up. Moore features a lot of different pitches but mosty relies on a mid 90's fastball with some movement. Porcello is facing a little more pressure then we thought he would on opening day with Fister now on the DL. Porcello must stick to what has gotten him mild success, which is forcing ground balls. When Porcello is on the sinker is down in the zone and hopefully the defence is on there toes and can turn a couple double plays.

Keys to the game:

Make Moore works to get his outs. The Tigers need to be patient and make Moore throw a lot of pitches. The Rays bullpen is not as strong as the Tigers and if we can knock him out in the 5th or the 6th we should be in good shape.

My prediction:

Matt Moore looks good today and goes 6 six solid innings only giving up 2 runs but has to work hard to get through 6. I think Porcello will pitch well and keep the game close, final line 6 1/3 pitched with 3 earned runs.

I see the tigers pulling away with a big hit in the 8th or 9th in a lower scoring game winning 4-3

Continue reading "Tigers vs Rays Preview"


Joe Halstead

The Detroit TIgers Must Approach This April Like the Playoffs posted by Joe Halstead

It is said- and correctly so- that while a pennant may not be won in April, a pennant may be lost in April.

On this note, the Detroit Tigers have immediate cause for concern. Their early schedule- in the month of April alone- includes two more games against Boston, a three-game home series with the Tampa Bay Rays (April 10-12), a four-game home series against the American League Champion Texas Rangers (April 19-22) and, just to pour a bucket of salt water over the wounds incurred, a three-game series in the Bronx Apr. 27-29.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland is known for using his entire roster liberally. OFers Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, and 2Bmen Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and, eventually, Brandon Inge, might see significant playing time.

But, should they?

The Tigers made substitutions in the 2011 post-season out of necessity. They were beat up, and running out of players. Luckily, some of those substitutes stepped up in a big way, such as UT Don Kelly and Santiago.

However, the Tigers are at nearly 100% health, and they need their front line to do battle with the American League's best. 

So, here's hoping that Leyland doesn't tinker with his team too much. Obviously, he wants OF Delmon Young to continue what he's been doing for the Tigers since last August, which is to drive in runs. Surely, Leyland would also like to see one of his second basemen grab the brass ring. So far, all we have are multiple second basemen who play competently enough to hit .250 and turn the double play when necessary.

Ah, maybe, that is, until now. 2B/OF Ryan Raburn had the Spring Training of his life, batting over .400 for a stretch, eventually cooling a bit to a .268 average. However, he still slugged .661, having hit 6 HRs, 2 2Bs and a 3B. That accounts for nine of his 15 hits in the spring.

Continue reading "The Detroit TIgers Must Approach ..."


David

A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day posted by David

If you’re looking for a baseball book that will keep you entertained until Opening Day, check out Dirk Hayhurst’s The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran.  The book details Hayhurst’s 2007 season at three different levels of the minors.  He describes long bus rides, living with host families, Kangaroo Court, and battling the urge to give up on a dream.  It’s an honest story about the arduous journey it takes so many ballplayers to reach their ultimate goal, knowing they may never achieve it.

Hayhurst has since made it to the majors, pitching in 25 games, making three starts, and compiling a 0-2 record and a 5.72 ERA for the Padres and Blue Jays.  The Kent State University graduate’s book received rave reviews from Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Tom Verducci and Tim Kurkjian, and made The New York Times Bestseller list.

Hayhurst also played for my hometown’s college summer league team, the Bethesda Big Train, back in 2001.  After missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he signed a minor league contract with the Rays and will hope to spend this season in Tampa Bay.  Dirk Hayhurst, best of luck.

A big step in my career

After spending last season working for the Toledo Mud Hens, I’ll start a new job next month in the Research Department at MLB Network.  I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with baseball people who love the game as much as I do.  The researchers support the on-air personalities by providing statistical and analytical information for each broadcast.  In addition to Bob Costas and Peter Gammons, MLB Network on-air personalities include retired ballplayers Sean Casey, Bill Ripken, Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Harold Reynolds, and John Smoltz.  Since I’ll be living so close to New York City, hopefully I’ll make it to Citi Field and New Yankee Stadium this year for the first time.

Continue reading "A baseball read to hold you over until Opening Day"


David

A new champion is crowned posted by David

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, who are World Champions for the first time since moving to the west coast more than 50 years ago.  Their last title in New York came in 1954, when Willie Mays made “the catch” that will be played on highlight reels forever.  The Giants came unbelievably close to not even making the playoffs this year, but the fans who claimed that watching their team was “torture” are now the happiest fans in baseball.

How ‘bout that?

How about Matt Cain?  The San Francisco hurler was nearly untouchable throughout the playoffs, outshining staff ace Tim Lincecum, who had a bad outing in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.  In three postseason starts, Cain allowed only an unearned run over 21.1 innings of work, going at least 6.2 innings in each outing and providing a huge boost to his team’s hunt for glory.  He might be the best #2 starter in the majors, but Matt Cain looked like the second coming of Cy Young when it mattered most for the Giants.

How about Brian Wilson?  The flamethrower’s postseason numbers included six saves (in seven chances) and a win in 11.2 innings pitched, allowing just an unearned run.  Additionally, Wilson allowed no more than one hit per appearance while anchoring the San Francisco bullpen.  Wilson gave Bruce Bochy the confidence this postseason usually reserved for Mariano Rivera’s manager when handing his closer the ball in October (or November).

How about the fantastic class of rookies in the postseason?  Stephen Strasburg wasn’t among them, but Jason Heyward (Braves), Buster Posey (Giants), Aroldis Chapman (Reds), Danny Valencia (Twins), Wade Davis (Rays), Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland (both Rangers) would make an incredible young team if they all played together.  In fact, even top prospect Domonic Brown, who compiled just 62 regular-season at-bats, was on the Phillies’ playoff roster.  Expectations will be high for this talented group, and here’s hoping none of them experiences too much of a sophomore slump.

Continue reading "A new champion is crowned"


David

Will Chipper hang 'em up? posted by David

Chipper Jones is out for the year with a torn ACL, but let’s hope this isn’t it for the man who has played his entire major league career for manager Bobby Cox.  Chipper has made it known since last season that retirement could be around the corner, but like Baseball Tonight’s Eduardo Perez, I don’t see Chipper calling it quits now that his season has ended unexpectedly.  He wants to go out on his own terms, and these aren’t them.  At 38, his career is nearing the end, but I find it hard to believe that he will be able to say good-bye after watching from the bench as his team battles for the National League crown.

If he’s truly done, Chipper’s numbers speak for themselves: a .306 career batting average and .405 On-Base Percentage, 436 home runs, 147 stolen bases, 2,490 hits, two Silver Sluggers and an MVP award.  The six-time All-Star won a batting title at the age of 36, hitting a staggering .364 to edge Albert Pujols, who hit .357.  He is also tied for the most home runs in a season by a switch-hitter (45 in 1999; Lance Berkman accomplished the feat in 2006).  A little known fact about Chipper is that he and Paul Waner hold the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (14).  Chipper will join Waner in Cooperstown as soon as he is eligible.

How ‘bout that?

How about Jered Weaver?  The 27-year-old righty leads the majors with 182 strikeouts and is having his best season (11-7, 2.87 Earned Run Average) since his rookie year (2006), when he went 11-2 with a 2.56 ERA.  Since the All-Star break, Weaver has been even better, posting a 1.93 ERA, limiting opponents to a .204 batting average, and averaging seven innings per outing over six starts.  With the Rangers playing so well in the AL West, the Angels are unlikely to win the division for the fourth straight year and may even finish under .500 for the first time since 2003, but they have to be pleased with how their ace has pitched this season.

Continue reading "Will Chipper hang 'em up?"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Beltre's bombs were by themselves enough to win the final game of this set. The one he literally hit from one knee was easily in the top 5 most impressive home runs I've seen from a Sox player, ever. It was like he was down on one knee, proposing to Sox Nation, hoping we'll finally accept him as a worthy replacement for our beloved Mike Lowell. Beltre, on behalf of Red Sox Nation, I can happily say, "Yes!"

 Ortiz's homerun was great simply because the Remdawg called it. "They don't want to pitch him up and in..." next pitch, up and in, and then up and out of the park. Forget drinking the kool-aid. I'm all about the new peach-mango salsa.

 Lackey... well, you didn't look like Slackey, so that's a good sign. 2 runs over 6 and 1/3 innings is good, but it still wasn't the dominant performance folks are waiting for. You got the win, that was a nice change of pace. I'll leave your performance at that for now.

 Pedroia, you're still the heart of this team. That head's up baserunning on the Ortiz groundout was indescribably excellent. As my father commented last night, your uniform is dirty every game. Aside from winning, there's not much else we fans could ask of a player.

 So the Sox swept the Rays, and my only complaint is that we didn't have 4 games this series. I don't think the Rays have an answer for the Sox right now, and I'd love to pay them back for their 4 game sweep of us back in April. Ah well. We might not be able to catch the Rays or the Yankees just yet, but at least we've finally clawed past the Blue Jays by half a game...

Continue reading "Sox sweep Rays, NBA Officials should be Ashamed"


Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Real men don't need Brooms posted by Joe Franciosa, Jr.

Give the Magic credit, they didn't lay down, roll over, or get swept out of Boston.

 J.J. Redick redeemed himself in game 4. Without his three pointers the Magic never would have had a second chance in OT. Jameer Nelson also found his three-point stroke. Howard played to his strengths. He scores more points by being in position for offensive rebounds, and it seemed as though he was there to dunk with authority immediately after every missed shot. Just once I'd like to see Perkins gather a rebound and throw down with that type of authority.

 Now folks are going to be all over Pierce for losing his dribble in the final seconds of the game. Sadly, this is the problem with the Celtics team. If Pierce had been in the same position at the end of regulation I would have trusted him more to get to the basket or to draw a foul. In OT, I think Pierce's age and past injuries catch up with him, and he simply does not have the stamina to take on a team by himself. Ray Allen should have taken the final shot. Ah well.

 So now the series moves back to Orlando, and I'm willing to bet that Rondo is going to have a bounce-back game, and he will carry the team to the Finals. That is, assuming the SI cover curse doesn't smite him. Damn you SI!!!

 Red Sox! The Red Sox took two out of three from the Phillies (made Doc look like he was a Blue Jay again) and then Buckholz dominated the Rays last night at the Trop. It's a damn shame that the Rays are in 1st place in the most competitive division in the major leagues, and there are still more Sox fans at the field than Rays. For Shame Tampa Bay! For Shame for St. Pete!

Continue reading "Real men don't need Brooms"


Ed West

Sox Begin 2010 posted by Ed West

I have folded up the Tom Brady jersey and put it away.  I have set aside the Kevin Garnett jersey until i take it out for the Celtics playoff push.  It is time now to don the jersey of your favorite Red Sox players and get ready for another exciting Major League Baseball season.  Spring is finally here.  I have to hand it to Major League Baseball.  I think that this year they got it right.  They didn't ship the World Series winners overseas to play in Japan or China or somewhere and they didn't open the season with Royals vs Tigers or some other match-up without much appeal.  This year the season began on Easter Sunday with a match-up between the defending World Series champion New York Yankees and their arch rival the Boston Red Sox.  This is, hands down, the best rivalry in sports.  The series didn't go the way I wanted it to, but we did get our first win against the Yankees under our belt and the games were well played for the most part.  Hey, when you think about it last year the Sox won the first 8 games against the Yankees only to lose 9 out of the next 10 so maybe losing 2 out of the first 3 ain't bad.

All I can say is that I watched 3 very entertaining games to start this year and I am looking to watch 159 more throughout the regular season.  And I have a feeling that there will be meaningful baseball played in Fenway Park well into October.  The Red Sox have an exciting mix of young players and veterans both in the field and on the mound.  You have to like your team when your 3rd starter is John Lackey and your 4th or 5th starter has thrown a no-hitter.  It's also nice when your back-up catcher is Jason Varitek and the first bat off your bench is in the very capable hands of Mike Lowell.  I know that the "experts" picked the Red Sox to finish 3rd in the East behind both the Yankees and the Rays, but I think those experts are underestimating the heart this Sox team has.  We have seen 3 great games against the Yankees and get to look forward to 15 more.  We also have 18 games against the Rays and that equals one great season.

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Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Sept 2 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's Major League Baseball games: - - - Rays 11, Orioles 2 J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run homer and drove in six runs while starter Drew Smyly threw seven shutout innings as the Tampa Bay Rays rolled to an 11-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. The Rays (66-66) won their third straight game while the Orioles (63-69) dropped their sixth in a row. Baltimore now has lost 12 out of its last 13 games thanks to a pair of these six-game losing skids. ... [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Toronto completes late comeback, reclaiming AL East lead (Big League Stew)

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats. It looks like the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be involved in quite the fight with the New York Yankees for the American League East division. The club responded to that competition by picking up a late 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday. [ On this week's StewPod: Angels pitcher Hector Santiago talks about his huge autograph collection. ] Things looked bleak in the ninth inning, but Toronto kept fighting. The team entered the frame down by one run, and exited with the lead. Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson came on for the save, but struggled with his command. Tolleson walked Russell Martin to lead things off. After getting a quick out, Tolleson walked the second batter of the inning, putting the potential go-ahead run on base. Tolleson was able to notch another out, bringing Troy Tulowitzki to the plate with two outs. On the sixth pitch of Tulo's at-bat, he singled to left, tying things up.  Josh Donaldson came up with a chance to give his team a lead, and, not surprisingly, that's what happened. Donaldson hit a ground ball to third baseman Adrian Beltre, but ran full speed out of the box. Beltre made a throwing error on the play, allowing the go-ahead run to cross the plate. Roberto Osuna entered in the bottom of the frame, and was able to work around a one out single, shutting the door. With the win, Toronto now leads the AL East by one game over the Yankees. METS GET SYNDERGAARD HIS FIRST ROAD WIN New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard managed his first road win of the season Tuesday, but it came with some help from his hitters. The Mets' bats helped the rookie quite a bit during the team's 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Syndergaard looked excellent at the start of the contest. Through the first two innings, he had already notched four strikeouts. Things started to unravel in the third. A leadoff double put Syndergaard in a tough spot. He would rebound, however, striking out the next two hitters. With two outs, though, things fell apart. Syndergaard allowed a two-run shot against Freddy Galvis, bringing the Phillies within one run. He should have been out of the inning after getting Odubel Herrera to ground to second, but Kelly Johnson's throwing error put Herrera on base. Ryan Howard took advantage of that error, hitting his own two-run blast and giving his club the 4-3 lead. After letting Syndergaard down earlier in the game, the Mets would pick him up a few innings later. The team rallied for three runs in the sixth, actually putting Syndergaard in line for the win. They would hold on to that lead, eventually pulling off a 6-5 win. With the victory, the club improved to 69-56 on the year.  STRASBURG'S STRONG START LEADS TO WIN For much of the season, Stephen Strasburg's struggles have baffled Washington Nationals' fans. If Tuesday's 8-3 win over the San Diego Padres is any indication, he might be over those issues. Strasburg turned in a strong performance, allowing two runs over six strong innings. He gave up just two hits while striking out seven during the game.  Since returning from the disabled list, it looks like Strasburg has regained his vintage form. Strasburg in four starts since returning from the DL: 1.73 ERA over 26 innings, 32 Ks and three walks. — James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) August 26, 2015 With the win, the Nationals improved to 63-61 on the year. They remain 5.5 games behind the Mets in the National League East. MIGUEL SANO CAN'T BE STOPPED The Minnesota Twins are still a big contender for the wild card in the American League, but they are already showing why next year might be even scarier. Rookie Miguel Sano continued his assault on baseballs during Tuesday's 11-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Sano wasted no time getting to work, blasting a three-run homer in the first inning of the contest. Sano has played in just 45 major-league games, but already has 12 home runs. That's quite the accomplishment. Most HRin first 45 career games (Twins): Miguel Sano 12 Kennys Vargas 9 Josmil Pinto 9 Kent Hrbek 9 Marty Cordova 9 Tom Brunansky 9 — Ace of MLB Stats (@AceballStats) August 25, 2015 While Sano was called up fairly late in the season, he's quickly moving into Rookie of the Year territory. He'll have to fend off Houston Astros superstar Carlos Correa for the hardware, which may prove difficult, but it's clear that Sano has talent. After suffering through some poor seasons, that's really all the Twins can ask for right now. [ Check out Big League Stew on Tumblr for even more baseball awesomeness. ] With the win, Minnesota improved to 64-61 on the year. Want to see more from Tuesday's slate of games? Check out our  scoreboard .  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Rays-Astros Preview (The Associated Press)

Despite a rough start to a 10-game road trip, the Tampa Bay Rays appear poised to continue their success in Houston. Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Asdrubal Cabrera also drove in three runs as Tampa Bay (59-59) beat the Astros 9-2 on Monday. The Rays scored one fewer run than they did while being swept in a three-game series at Texas over the weekend. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Rays-Rangers Preview (The Associated Press)

Struggles at home were costing the Texas Rangers dearly in the playoff race but their recent reversal has them back in the thick of it. The Rangers look to extend their season high home win streak to seven games in Sunday's series finale with the Tampa Bay Rays. Texas (58-57) was 16-28 at home after a 1-12 stretch was punctuated by a 21-5 defeat to the New York Yankees on July 28. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Angels-White Sox Preview (The Associated Press)

Chris Sale may need to be very good Monday night to end his team's free fall as well as his own. The Chicago White Sox left-hander carries back-to-back lousy starts into the opener of a three-game set against surging Matt Shoemaker and the Los Angeles Angles at U.S. Cellular Field. In losses to the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, Sale surrendered 18 hits in 10 1-3 innings while walking four and striking out 16. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

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