MLB In Full Bloom - Kershaw Wins 11th Straight Decision - 8/11/2014

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Clayton Kershaw pitched eight innings of one-run ball to earn his 14th win of the year, and the Dodgers topped the Brewers 5-1 on Sunday. The two-time Cy Young Award winner raised his career-high win streak to 11, upped his bid for a second Gold Glove Award with a ridiculous diving catch to start a double play, singled home a run and scored another as the Dodgers avoided a series sweep with a 5-1 win over the Brewers on Sunday at Miller Park. Kershaw gave up a run in the first inning, just his fourth first-inning run allowed this year, but he bounced back to hold the Brewers scoreless over the next seven innings. He gave up six hits and two walks, striking out six in the outing. He moved to 14-2 with a 1.78 ERA with the win, and he'll get a shot at repeating the feat when he takes on the Brewers again on Friday.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Alex Wood delivered an outstanding performance in Sunday night's victory over the Nationals as the Braves won 3-1. Wood matched his career-high with 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Wood surrendered just one run on five hits and three walks last night. The only damage came on a solo homer from Ian Desmond in the fourth inning. Wood owns a 3.08 ERA over 117 innings on the season. He'll look to carry over this dominant effort when he faces the Athletics on Friday.
  • Austin Jackson drove in all four of the Mariners' runs on Sunday in a 4-2 win over the White Sox. Jackson went 3-for-4 with four RBI and is now 10-for-36 (.278) atop the Mariners lineup. Jackson delivered a three-run double in the second inning and added an RBI single in the seventh. He'd driven in just one run in his first eight games as a member of the Mariners.
  • Anthony Rizzo hit a walk-off single in the 12th inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 win over the Rays on Sunday. Rizzo hit a single off left-hander Cesar Ramos to give the Cubs the victory. He finished 2-for-6, and is hitting .280 in a breakout season for him.
  • Phil Hughes limited the A's to one run over seven innings as the Twins earned a 6-1 victory on Sunday in Oakland. Hughes gave up just four hits and a walk, striking out seven on the afternoon. Hughes has now won two straight decisions after a three-game losing streak and he improved to 12-8 with a 3.88 ERA in 150 2/3 innings this season. Hughes will try to keep going Saturday against the Royals.
  • Devin Mesoraco homered twice and had six RBI in the Reds' win over the Marlins on Sunday. The second homer was a grand slam off Brad Hand that put the game out of hand. The other home run was a two-run shot in the first inning. Mesoraco now has three grand slams during his breakout season and 20 home runs overall with 61 RBI over 79 games.
  • Rymer Liriano will be recalled today from Triple-A El Paso by the San Diego Padres. Liriano has torn the cover off the ball in 15 games since being promoted to El Paso, hitting .467 with 13 RBI and three stolen bases. With his combination of power and speed, he's immediately worth a look in all mixed leagues.
  • Tyler Skaggs will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. Unlike Matt Harvey and several other pitchers who have suffered late-season UCL tears and required Tommy John surgery, Skaggs has already closed the door on pitching next year.
  • The Kansas City Royals season has resembled a roller coaster this year. On Sunday, it was Alex Gordon Bobblehead Day at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday and so, naturally, the man himself belted a two-run homer to help the Royals to a 7-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. The Royals have won seven straight games the 15th win in the last 18 games for the Royals. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers lost a 19-inning marathon in Toronto and the Royals trail the Tigers by just a 1/2 game. One week ago, the Royals trailed the Tigers by 4.5 games.

MLB In Full Bloom - Javier Baez Fuels Cubs Victory - 8/8/2014

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Javier Baez hit the game-winning homer in extra innings in his major league debut on Tuesday night as he continued to impress yesterday in hitter-friendly Coors Field. Baez fueled the hype leading up to his home debut today by smacking two home runs to cap a three-hit, four-RBI performance that enabled the Cubs to coast to a 6-2 victory over the Rockies. Strikeouts are going to be an issue for Baez as he fanned nearly 30 percent of the time between Double- and Triple-A, but we're already getting a look at the power he can provide from a middle infield position. It's exciting to see some of the pieces begin to fall into place with the Cubs after four years of losing. Baez doesn't know where he is going to live for the duration of the season, but Cubs fans can look forward to seeing their 21-year-old phenom settle in the batter's box today when he makes his Wrigley Field debut.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jon Lester threw a three-hit shutout against the Twins as the Athletics won 3-0 on Thursday night in Oakland. Lester racked up eight strikeouts and had a perfect game through five innings. He found himself in trouble in the sixth, when Brian Dozier very nearly tied the game with a three-run homer that hooked foul. Outside of that inning, the Twins were helpless against the left-hander. Lester will look to keep it going against the Royals in Kansas City in his next start.
  • Giancarlo Stanton belted his 27th home run of the season in a losing effort Thursday against the Pirates. The Marlins' offense was held in check by Edinson Volquez and the Pirates bullpen until Stanton put the Marlins on the board with a two-run shot in the ninth. Stanton continues to post a .289 BA over 114 games with 27 home runs and 76 RBI.
  • Angel Pagan (back) went 2-for-5 in his return from the disabled list on Thursday. Pagan returned to his usual role as the Giants' leadoff hitter after missing seven weeks with a back injury. He will hit for average and be a good source of runs and stolen bases. Pagan is definitely worth a pick up if he was dropped due to his injury.
  • Jake Lamb went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in his major league debut in the Diamondbacks' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Thursday. Lamb, a sixth round pick in 2012, batted .318 with 14 home runs and 79 RBI in 103 games at Double-A. He figures to get regular playing  for the starting spot at third. The rookie should be picked up in NL-Only leagues and deeper mixed league formats.
  • Wily Peralta collected his MLB-leading 14th win Thursday against the Giants, allowing one run on seven hits and a walk over 6.2 innings and he struck out nine. Big strikeout numbers like this have been rare for Peralta, who entered Thursday's action with just 99 strikeouts in 138 innings. But even if he hasn't been totally dominant, he's been steady and the Brewers offense has been very supportive. He'll try to make it 15 wins Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley.
  • Kyle Hendricks completed eight innings and held the Rockies to two runs in Thursday's win. Hendricks doesn't miss a whole lot of bats, but in his last three starts, he's walked a total of two batters and given up just one solo home run. Overall, he's 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA, with the lone loss coming in a 1-0 game. His peripherals say he's been lucky so far, but if he keeps getting grounders and avoiding walks, he won't fall far.
  • The Chicago Cubs claimed Cole Hamels off waivers earlier this week, but it appears unlikely that the Cubs and the Phillies will make a trade for the left-hander. Hamels has more than four years left on his $144 million, six-year Phillies deal. It was reported that Hamels was claimed Wednesday, so the 48-hour window to complete a trade would close Friday.

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