MLB In Full Bloom - Tanaka's Takes 3rd Loss of 4 Starts - 7/9/2014

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Masahiro Tanaka (12-4) gave up season highs of five runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Yankees lost 5-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday. With the loss, the right-hander missed a chance to become the major league's first 13-game winner. Tanaka has anchored a shaky Yankees rotation missing CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.  The Yankees are 13-5 in Tanaka's 18 starts, but he has lost three of his last four outings. In his last start on Thursday, Tanaka allowed four runs for the first time in his major league career. On Tuesday, Tanaka allowed five for the first time. The right-hander surrendered two home runs (Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley) while allowing ten hits, walked one, and striking out five. Tanaka still owns an impressive 12-4 record with a 2.51 ERA. He'll try to get back in the final game before the All-Star break and get back into the win column in Sunday's start against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jose Reyes was batting just .227 over his previous 10 games before Tuesday's 4-for-5 outburst that included a home run in a Blue Jays victory over the Los Angeles Angels. Reyes admitted before Tuesday's game that he's been playing with a right shoulder injury for the past month. Reyes is not sure what triggered the injury and it appears to bother him one day, but not necessarily the next. The injury has caused Reyes to make a several throwing errors of late.
  • Chris Carter hit two home runs as the Astros defeated the Rangers 8-3 on Tuesday. The two home runs give him four bombs in his last four games, and he's 7-for-20 with six runs scored and seven RBI in his last five. Carter has 17 home runs this year and that is about all he does well. He's batting just .194 this season, but in AL-only leagues where power is tough to find, Carter is a decent source of power.
  • Phil Hughes struck out eight while throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings in Tuesday's 2-0 victory over the Mariners. Hughes scattered eight hits and did not walk anyone as he looked more like the elite May pitcher (3-0, 1.62 ERA). Hughes needed a positive outing after going 1-2 with an 8.05 ERA in his past three starts, a stretch that probably cost him a chance to pitch in his home ballpark in next week's All-Star Game. Hughes improved to 9-5 with a 3.70 ERA and he will pitch in Colorado on Sunday to close out a first half renaissance.
  • Kolten Wong hit a walk-off home run, the second in as many nights for the Cardinals, to defeat the Pirates 5-4 on Tuesday. Those sort of theatrics expected from Matt Adams, who hit a two-run walk-off shot on Monday, but it's more surprising from Wong, who had two career home runs in 223 at-bats heading into Tuesday's game. Wong has struggled to a .238  in an injury-plagued first half, and he'll look for better days after the All-Star break.
  • Arismendy Alcantara will be recalled by the Chicago Cubs from Triple-A Iowa today because Darwin Barney was placed on paternity leave. While it will be nice to get a look at Alcantara, he will be sent right back to the minors on Friday was Barney is activated from the paternity list. Alcantara entered play Tuesday batting .308 with 10 homers, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases at Triple-A Iowa. Alcantara is certainly a guy fantasy owners need to keep an eye on as we move into the second half of the season. The Cubs could certainly recall him and take a longer look as he is part of the rebuilding process as Barney is not.
  • The Oakland Athletics and O.co Coliseum and local officials have been discussing a new 10-year contract that will keep the A's in Oakland. It is also public information that the negotiations have not gone smoothly and according to Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, he doesn't believe the A's are bluffing in their threat to leave the city if they don't get a 10-year lease extension at the Coliseum, and he pointed to a pair of possible destinations — Montreal and San Antonio, Texas. There are certainly questions about both cities and whether or not they could support the Athletics, but at the end of the day the A's have options.
  • A Colorado Rockies fan, Michael Ferguson took his family to a game on July 4, and he was treated to the Rockies bad play as they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-0. Ferguson was disappointed by the experience, so he decided to fill out a feedback form and left it in a comments drop-box. He comments reached the owner, chairman, and CEO of the Colorado Rockies Dick Monfort. Monfort responded to Ferguson by saying, "“If product and experience that bad don't come!” Nice job Monfort with the customer relations. The Rockies won on Tuesday night for just the 4th time in their past 22 games and sit 15 games under .500 in the NL West. Fans have every right to voice their disappointment to management especially if comment cards are there for fans to complete and submit.

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."

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