MLB In Full Bloom - James Shields Strikes Out 10 In Win - 7/8/2014

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James Shields sparkled in his return to the stadium where he earned a living for the first seven seasons of his career, limiting the Tampa Bay Rays to three hits and striking out 10 in seven innings to help the Royals beat his former team 6-0 on Monday night. Shields allowed singles to Ben Zobrist and James Loney in the first two innings, then worked through a jam in the third after giving up a one-out double. Shields retired 10 straight, six by strikeout, before hitting Evan Longoria with a pitch leading off the seventh. Going into this one, he had allowed 16 earned runs and struck out just 14 over 25 innings in his last four starts. Obviously, the Royals are hoping for many more outings like this in the second half of the season. The right-hander improved to 9-4.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Manny Machado went 5-for-6 with his eighth homer on Monday as the Orioles beat the Nationals 8-2 in 11 innings. The Orioles went homerless for 10 innings before Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Machado all went deep in the six-run 11th. It was Machado's first career five-hit game. He's 9-for-17 in three games since returning from a five-game suspension and he has four homers in his last seven games overall.
  • Jesse Chavez worked six shutout innings, in a 5-0 victory against the Giants on Monday night. The right-hander struck out nine scattered four hits and walked two to win his first outing since June 15, and just his third since May 19. Chavez owned a 2.78 ERA at the end of May, but he'd gone just 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA in six starts since the beginning of June prior to tonight. The A's are going to manage Chavez's innings over the second half of the season. He is scheduled to start Saturday in Seattle.
  • Jose Altuve went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored during Monday's 12-7 win over the Rangers. Altuve continues to impress as we approach the Midsummer Classic, leading MLB with 124 hits, while his .338 batting average and 39 steals rank first in the American League.
  • Joey Votto (quad) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 6, with a strained left quad. Votto went through infield drills Monday before the Reds faced the Cubs, but he's still feeling some soreness and will now get some extended rest. It's unclear how long he'll be out, but it's important that the Reds get him healthy for the second half. Fantasy owners can expect to see a combination of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Brayan Pena at first base during his absence.
  • Bronson Arroyo (elbow) will require Tommy John surgery, ending his 2014 season. This development comes out of nowhere, as Arroyo had resumed playing catch when an initial MRI revealed only a sprain of the UCL, but a re-evaluation of the elbow evidently showed something more severe. Considering that Arroyo isn't a hard thrower and had never been on the disabled list in his career prior to suffering the elbow injury in June, an ailment of this extent is an extreme surprise. He signed a two-year $23 million deal with the Diamondbacks this past offseason. Arroyo is expected to miss the next 12 to 18 months.
  • Brian McCann has gotten off to a slow start this season with the New York Yankees and Terry Pendleton is not surprised. Pendleton, who spent six seasons as McCann's hitting coach with the Atlanta Braves, said during an interview with the New York Post that the star catcher will "never be comfortable" playing in New York. McCann signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees this past offseason after spending his first nine seasons with the Braves. He is batting just .230, which is 44 points below his career average with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in 79 games this year. Pendleton believes that McCann is putting too much pressure on himself to produce ant that is when the 30-year old catcher gets into trouble.
  • A New York Yankees fan is hoping that a mid-game nap could net him $10 million. Andrew Rector, 26, fell asleep during the April 13 game between the Yankees and the rival Boston Red Sox. It was nationally televised on ESPN, and Rector was noticed by cameras and talked about by commentators John Kruk and Dan Shulman. The video of Rector titled "Tired fan naps in the stands" was then published to MLB.com and YouTube. People on the Internet made fun of Rector and now he's filed a defamation lawsuit against the Yankees, MLB, ESPN, Kruk and Shulman. Rector is seeking $10 million in damages after the "unending verbal crusade."

MLB In Full Bloom - Samardzija Shines in Athletics Debut - 7/7/2014

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Jeff Samardzija pitched seven strong innings to win his Oakland debut and the Athletics beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep. Samardzija, acquired on Saturday in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, received several standing ovations. He was cheered during pregame warmups and again after striking out the side in the seventh. Samardzija gave up one run and four hits. He struck out five and walked one while earning his first win since June 7. With the Cubs, Samardzija was 2-7 despite a 2.83 ERA. This is a trade that is a win-win situation for the Athletics and the Cubs. The Athletics sent a message to the rest of the American League that they are in it to win now by acquiring Samardzija and Jason Hammel. In return, the Cubs received the A's 2013 first-round pick, CF Billy McKinney and Dan Straily, but the big piece was shortstop Addison Russell. The 20-year old is ranked as the tenth-best prospect in baseball. The Cubs already have Starlin Castro playing short, plus stud shortstop prospect Javier Baez in the wings. Shift somebody to third, you say? Kris Bryant, slugging .707 between Double-A and Triple-A this season, disagrees. I have no clue how the Cubs will eventually navigate this backlog of awesome prospects, but I’m guessing Theo Epstein isn’t complaining right now. This is the kind of trade that benefits everybody involved. The A’s solidify themselves as World Series favorites and the Cubs fortify an already stacked farm system.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jacoby Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored as the Yankees beat the Twins 9-7 on Sunday. Ellsbury hit a three-run home run to cap the scoring against Twins starter Ricky Nolasco. He also doubled, had an RBI groundout and scored a run in the game. The outfielder is batting .284 in his first year in the Bronx.
  • Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in Sunday's 3-1 win over the Braves. Goldschmidt finished up a strong week by hitting his 16th home run of the season off Alex Wood. His two runs batted in gives him 58 RBI for the year, third-most in the National League. Goldschmidt was 11-for-22 (.500) with four doubles, a triple, the homer, five runs scored and five RBI to start July.
  • Corey Kluber struck out 10 while coming just two outs shy of a complete game in Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Royals. Kluber gave up just four hits and walked only one. Kluber has allowed just four runs over his previous four starts to lower his ERA to 2.86. He'll face the White Sox at home in his final start of the first half.
  • Santiago Casilla will serve as the Giants closer for now according to manager Bruce Bochy. Casilla picked up his third save of the season in Sunday's victory over the Giants and had been outstanding in his setup role. Bochy also said that he preferred to use Jeremy Affeldt in his seventh-inning role where he is able to go multiple innings. Casilla should be owned and started in all mixed leagues.
  • Alfonso Soriano was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees on Sunday. Soriano belted 17 home runs in 58 games after being picked up by the Yankees last season, but he's hit just .221 with six home runs in 67 games this year. Given his $18 million salary, he'll obviously clear waivers. However, he shouldn't have trouble finding a team willing to give him a shot at the league minimum
  • Jose Bautista finished as the top overall vote getter in the American League and will start in the outfield for the American League in the 2014 All-Star Game. He'll be joined by Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Josh Donaldson, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Salvador Perez and Nelson Cruz in the starting lineup for the American League. Perez was named as a replacement for Matt Wieters who was the leading vote getter behind the plate.
  • Troy Tulowitzki finished as the top overall vote getter in the National League and will start at shortstop in the 2014 All-Star Game. He'll be joined in the National League starting lineup by Paul Goldschmidt, Chase Utley, Aramis Ramirez, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig and Yadier Molina. Tulowitzki is very deserving of this tremendous fan support, as he leads the National League in OBP, slugging percentage, OPS and runs scored.
  • Clayton Kershaw extended his scoreless inning streak to 36 innings with eight shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. This is the 3rd longest streak since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. During this streak, there has been only been 9 runners in scoring position. Just for the record, if you take out Kershaw's one bad start (May 17), he has a 1.16 ERA this season. He owns a 1.85, which is an MLB best, and he will be the starting pitcher for the National League in this year's All Star Game.

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