MLB In Full Bloom - MLB History Made in Grand Style - 7/14/2014

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Madison Bumgarner became the first pitcher in 48 years to hit two grand slams in a season, and Buster Posey also hit a slam Sunday that boosted the San Francisco Giants over the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4. Never before Sunday afternoon had a starting pitcher-catcher tandem each hit a grand slam in the same game, but that's precisely the history Bumgarner and Posey made with their twin slams at AT&T Park. The last pitcher to launch two slams in a season was Tony Cloninger, who hit both in the same game for Atlanta on July 3, 1966, against the Giants at Candlestick Park. The Giants lost 22 of their last 32 games to close the first half, but enter the break on a high note and just one game behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Thanks to a torrid start to the season, they're among a pack of eight NL teams separated by just four games atop the league standings.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Brock Holt went 5-for-6 with a home run and two runs scored against the Astros on Sunday. Holt put an exclamation point on a breakout first half, hitting his third home run of the season to go with four singles. The 26-year-old has been tremendous for the Red Sox this season, batting .327 and serving as the team's primary leadoff hitter. Look for him to continue his strong season in the second half.
  • Todd Frazier finished the first half of the season the way he started it as he hit his 19th home run of the season. It was a two-run homer as the Reds defeated the Pirates 6-3 on Sunday. His 19 home runs are fourth-most in the National League at the break, and he's also among the league leaders in runs scored (57) and slugging percentage. Perhaps no player had a bigger breakout in the first half than Frazier who will take a .290 BA with 14 stolen bases and 53 RBI into the second half.
  • Sonny Gray allowed one unearned run over 7 2/3 innings in the Athletics' 4-1 victory over the Mariners on Sunday. Gray gave up six hits and struck out five. Gray has now won four straight to improve his record to 10-3. The right-hander is emerging as a front-of-the-rotation pitcher this season. He owns a 2.79 ERA in 19 starts and he should continue to pitch well in the season's second half.
  • Dan Uggla's future in Atlanta was in question Sunday after the Atlanta Braves suspended the struggling second baseman for their final game before the All-Star break. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez would only say it's an internal matter, however it was reported that he arrived at the ballpark to close to the start of a game on Saturday. Uggla is making $13 million this season and another $13 million next year in the final season of his deal. It would not be surprising for the Braves to cut the struggling second baseman right now even though Uggla has another year remaining on his contract. He has not been productive and has only two starts in the last 40 game.
  • All eyes will be on the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby tonight as the event will kick off the All-Star Week extravaganza back to the Twin Cities where it first began 29 years ago. The American League team is led by Jose Bautista (captain), Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Adam Jones, and Yoenis Cespedes. The National League team is led by Troy Tulowitzki (captain), Todd Frazier, Yasiel Puig, Justin Morneau, and Giancarlo Stanton. Cespedes is the defending champion of the derby and he will be tested tonight. The favorite to win is Stanton who should be on a show! MLB is offering fans the chance to predict the winners of the derby and if you complete the perfect bracket, you can win $25,000! The odds to predicting the perfect bracket is slightly less than 500,000 to 1.
  • Carlos Gomez did not enjoy striking out against Adam Wainwright during Saturday's game. In frustration, Gomez tried to break his bat over his knee multiple times, but couldn't accomplish his goal and he eventually just smashing it on the ground.
  • Babe Ruth's contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1918 was for only $5,000, but at an auction Saturday night, the document itself sold for $1.02 million. The contract was signed by Ruth, American League president Ban Johnson and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, who famously agreed to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees in December 1919. The contract is in perfect condition and it sold the highest price ever paid for a sports contract, surpassing the record previously held by the document that sent Ruth to the Yankees, which sold for $996,000 in 2005.

MLB In Full Bloom - Will Tanaka Need Tommy John Surgery? - 7/11/2014

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Masahiro Tanaka has been a great story in baseball during the first half, but it's that story has taken a turn for the worst. The Yankees are now faced with the very real possibility that they will have to make do without their new ace for the rest of this season and the majority of 2015. That's the major takeaway after Thursday's update from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Tanaka was seen by three doctors, all of whom agreed that he's dealing with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. A decision on surgery will wait, as he will go the rest and rehab route for now. Tanaka will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow before he will begin a throwing program. If there are no setbacks, Tanaka could return to game action within six weeks. However, if the elbow fails to respond, Tommy John surgery is possible. Tanaka's tear is considered small, but there haven't been many success stories with pitchers attempting to rehab.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Clayton Kershaw's scoreless streak ended at 41 2/3 innings when he gave up a home run to Chase Headley, but the Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitched a complete game three hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Dodgers over the Padres 2-1 on Thursday night. Kershaw's scoreless streak was the longest single-season scoreless streak since Brandon Webb hurled 42 straight in 2007. Orel Hershiser has the most in the major league divisional era with 59. Kershaw is on his way to another Cy Young award with a 10-2 record and 1.83 ERA in 14 outings.
  • Steve Pearce singled and hit a solo home run in four at-bats as the Orioles defeated the Nationals on Thursday. Pearce has been unstoppable this season. He singled in the Orioles' first run in the third inning, doubled in another run in the fifth, and stole two bags on the evening just for good measure. Pearce, 31, is slashing .322 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, and four stolen bases. Fantasy owners should enjoy the ride that seems to have no end in sight for Pearce.
  • Mike Trout went 4-for-5 with a home run, four RBI, and three runs scored as the Angels routed the Rangers on Thursday. Trout singled in a run in the second, then blasted a three-run home run in the third inning. Shortly into the season's fourth month, Trout has been making a strong case to win his first career AL MVP award. Trout has 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 10 stolen bases, and a .310 batting average.
  • Torii Hunter went 3-for-6 with two RBI singles and a solo home run as the Tigers blew out the Royals in a win on Thursday. Hunter has turned his season around with a hot start to July. Thursday's three-hit performance marked his sixth multi-hit game in nine games this month. The outfielder now has 12 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .276 batting average.
  • Brandon Phillips (thumb) has been diagnosed with a torn left thumb ligament and will undergo surgery today. He's expected to miss the next 8-to-12 weeks as a result. While X-rays after Wednesday's game cleared Phillips of a fracture, he wasn't able to escape without any ligament damage, and is now facing a long-term absence. Cincinnati will try to get by with Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago at the keystone in the interim, but neither player provides anywhere close to the offensive upside that Phillips does. With Phillips' long-term DL stint and  with first baseman Joey Votto (quadriceps) also facing an uncertain return timetable.
  • Yadier Molina (thumb) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb injury. Molina has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his thumb and will undergo surgery today. He's expected to miss 8-12 weeks, which could put him out of the mix for the rest of the regular season. Tony Cruz will receive the playing time for now, but the Cardinals will need to figure out other options for the second half.
  • On this date in 1914, Babe Ruth made his major league debut as a 19-year-old pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. Ruth held the Cleveland Naps to three runs (two earned) in seven innings to earn the win at Fenway Park. Ruth made two more starts and one relief appearance with the Red Sox the rest of the 1914 season, finishing with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings.

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