Tagged: Yankees

D’backs win forces decisive Game 5 at Miller Park

Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke saw Arizona's offense explode to the tune of 10 runs in Game 4, including a grand slam for the second consecutive night. Milwaukee will face the Diamondbacks at Miller Park Friday at 4pm for the right to move on to the NLCS.

After leaving Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead in their NLDS clash with the Diamondbacks, the Brewers promptly dropped games 3 and 4 in Arizona.  With back-to-back losses by Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf, the Brewers will put their entire season on the line Friday evening at Miller Park, where they own a Major League-best 59 wins in 2011 (including the postseason).  Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo will once again face Arizona’s 21-game winner, Ian Kennedy.  There’s not much more to say –a trip to the League Championship Series is on the line.  The same goes for the Yankees-Tigers series as well as Cardinals-Phillies.

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A Night to Remember

Rays walk-off to AL Wild Card birth

Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays earned SportsCenter's Highlight of the Night on one of the craziest days in baseball history.

Today was just about the craziest day in baseball that I can remember. So many things were on the line going into the final day of the 2011 season. In some scenarios we would have had the pleasure of watching two one-game playoffs on the same day; that didn’t happen, but here’s some stuff that did:

The Brewers capped their best season in franchise history, becoming the first Brewers squad to earn 96 victories. Their win versus the Pirates also earned them home field for their NLDS match-up against the NL West-Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Yovani Gallardo will start game 1 for Milwaukee at home on Saturday.

Zack Greinke surpassed 200 strikeouts while earning his 16th win of the season Wednesday night; he improved his record at Miller Park this season to 11-0 (the Brewers are 15-0 in Greinke starts at home). Greinke and Yovani Gallardo are the only two teammates in Brewers history to have 200 punch-outs in the same season.

Prince Fielder earned a walk in his final at-bat of 2011. That walk left his batting average for the season at .299, leaving the quest for his first .300 season short once again. The base-on-balls did however give Fielder more walks (107) than strikeouts (106) for the season. Pretty neat.

Ryan Braun did not win the batting title, going 0-for-4 while Jose Reyes got on base via a bunt single in the first and was subsequently pinch-ran for per his request so that his average would remain higher than Braun’s. Bush. League. Braun finished the year at .332, Reyes at .337.

Albert Pujols recorded the first season in his career in which he failed to hit .300 and drive in 100 runs. Pujols finished with a .299 average and 99 RBI.

The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp hit his 39th home run Wednesay; however that left him one short of becoming the fifth player in MLB history to record a 40/40 season.

Following Boston’s knack for collapsing, Adrian Gonzalez (.338) lost the AL batting title to Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (.344) after leading the race for almost every single day throughout the year.

Detroit closer Jose Valverde finished the season a perfect 49/49 in saves.

Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox were literally one strike away from a victory, yet the Boston closer ended up blowing the save and allowing Baltimore to win. Three minutes later the Tampa Bay Rays, who had just gotten out of a first and third nobody out situation in the eighth, walked-off with an Evan Longoria homer that squeaked inside the left field foul pole. Tampa Bay was down 7-0 to the Yankees going into the eighth inning, but thanks to sound baseball and a three-run Longoria bomb, the Rays pulled within one going into the ninth. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon pinch-hit Dan Johnson for Sam Fuld with two outs and the bases empty. Johnson was hitting .105 with one home run on the sesason. On a 2-2 pitch, Johnson crushed a home run deep into right field which barely snuck fair for a home run. The Rays were literally one strike away from losing, yet they scratched and clawed their way to an improbable AL Wild Card birth.

And lastly one more word about the NL batting title race I’ve been covering for quite some time… I think this excerpt from Tim Kurkjian’s ESPN.com article titled “Remembering the Amazing Ted Williams” says it best, and keep in mind how Reyes asked to be removed after a first inning bunt single…

“When he got to the final day of the season, a doubleheader at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Williams was hitting .3996, which rounded off to .400. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin gave Williams the option to play that day. Williams said if he couldn’t hit .400 from the beginning to the end of a season, he didn’t deserve it.

“I asked him about that final day,” Gwynn said, “and he said, ‘Hell yeah was I going to play.”’

Williams went 4-for-5 in the first game, the Red Sox overcame an 11-3 deficit to beat the A’s, 12-11, and Williams raised his average to .404. He insisted on playing the second game, and he went 2-for-3 to finish the season at .406. In the doubleheader, with all the pressure of .400, he went 6-for-8. “

Yanks hit 3 grand slams in demolition of A’s

New York's Curtis Granderson is all smiles after his 8th inning grand slam, and deservedly so -- his 36 homers, 103 RBI, 24 steals, and 119 runs scored have him at the front of the AL MVP race.

The New York Yankees became the first team in Major League Baseball history to hit three grand slams in a single game as they took the Oakland Athletics to the woodshed in a 22-9 romp. Robinson Cano started the onslaught with a slam in the fifth. Russell Martin followed with a grand salami of his own the next inning. Finally, Curtis Granderson padded his AL MVP resume with a bases loaded bomb in the eighth. Granderson’s five runs batted in gave him a season total of 103 — the most in all of baseball. His grand slam was his 36th long ball of the year, one shy of Toronto’s Jose Bautista for the Major League lead. The slick center fielder also boasts 20 doubles, 10 triples, and 24 stolen bases; he also has a monstrous lead in runs scored (119), with the next closest competitor, Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, trailing by a whopping 26 runs (93).

While Milwaukee’s fearsome duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder battle it out for the NL MVP, Granderson seems to be the AL favorite — but Ellsbury, Bautista, and Adrian Gonzalez all have legitimate shots as well.

All-Star Break Power Rankings (July 14)

The 82nd All-Star game has come and passed and Thursday brings MLB’s second half – which never fails to stir up drama. The NL has clinched home field advantage in World Series with a 5-1 victory over the AL All-Stars. The Milwaukee Brewers had three starters voted in, however, Ryan Braun sat out due to an ailing hamstring. Rickie Weeks hit lead-off and went hitless, but did steal a base and score a run. Fielder, starting at first base and hitting clean-up, delivered the big hit of the night – a three-run jack off of Texas starter C.J. Wilson – and was named the All-Star game MVP. At the end of the contest the Brewers made a drastic roster move. Milwaukee now has K-Rod and the Ax-Man at the back end of their pen. With Rickie Weeks playing like his hair is on fire, if Braun and Fielder keep mashing, the Brewers could be in line for a deep postseason run. Here are the top ten teams in baseball right now…

Even though Ryan Braun pulled out of the game, Milwaukee still had two All-Star starters in first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks. The former minor league roommates also participated in the Home Run Derby together and batted in their normal clean-up and lead-off spots in the NL starting lineup.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (57-34, 1st in NL East by 3.5 games)

Roy Halladay: (11-3) 2.45 ERA, 138 SO, 1.02 WHIP

Ryan Howard: (.257 BA/.353 OBP/.475 SLG) 18 HR, 72 RBI

2. Atlanta Braves (54-38, 2nd in NL East, 3.5 GB)

Jair Jurrjens: (12-3) 1.87 ERA, 65 SO, 1.07 WHIP

Brian McCann: (.310 BA/.381 OBP/.514 SLG) 15 HR, 50 RBI

3. Boston Red Sox (55-35, 1st in AL East by 1.0 game)

Josh Beckett: (8-3) 2.27 ERA, 94 SO, 0.95 WHIP

Adrian Gonzalez: (.354 BA/.414 OBP/.591 SLG) 17 HR, 77 RBI

4. New York Yankees (53-35, 2nd in AL East, 1.0 GB)

CC Sabathia: (13-4) 2.72 ERA, 126 SO, 1.16 WHIP

Curtis Granderson: (.269 BA/.361 OBP/.575 SLG) 25 HR, 63 RBI

5. San Francisco Giants (52-40, 1st in NL West by 3.0 games)

Matt Cain: (8-5) 3.06 ERA, 105 SO, 1.10 WHIP

Aubrey Huff: (.236 BA/.290 OBP/.361 SLG) 8 HR, 44 RBI

6. Milwaukee Brewers (49-43, 1st in NL Central, tied with STL)

Yovani Gallardo: (10-5) 3.76 ERA, 104 SO, 1.36 WHIP

Ryan Braun: (.320 BA/ .402 OBP/ .559 SLG) 16 HR, 62 RBI

Prince Fielder: (.297 BA/ .415 OBP/ .575 SLG) 22 HR, 72 RBI

7. Texas Rangers (51-41, 1st in AL West by 1.0 game)

Alexi Ogando: (9-3) 2.92 ERA, 78 SO, 1.01 WHIP

Adrian Beltre: (.273 BA/ .314 OBP/ .499 SLG) 19 HR, 71 RBI

8. St. Louis Cardinals (49-43, 1st in NL Central, tied with MIL)

Jaime Garcia: (9-3) 3.22 ERA, 100 SO, 1.25 WHIP

Lance Berkman: (.290 BA/.404 OBP/ .602 SLG) 24 HR, 63 RBI

9. Detroit Tigers (49-43, 1st in AL Central by 0.5 game)

Justin Verlander: (12-4) 2.15 ERA, 147 SO, 0.87 WHIP

Miguel Cabrera: (.311 BA/ .430 OBP/ .549 SLG) 18 HR, 59 RBI

10. Arizona Diamondbacks (49-43, 2nd in NL West, 2.0 GB)

Ian Kennedy: (9-3) 3.44 ERA, 106 SO, 1.15 WHIP

Justin Upton: (.293 BA/ .375 OBP/ .506 SLG) 15 HR, 46 RBI

Fielder's three-run bomb was the first home run hit by a Brewer in All-Star game history and earned him MVP honors, also a Brewers first.

If the season ended today:

AL MVP

1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox

2. Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays

3. Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees

NL MVP

1. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers

2. Jose Reyes, SS, Mets

3. Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers

AL Cy Young

1. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers

2. CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees

3. Jered Weaver, SP, Angels

NL Cy Young

1. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves

2. Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies

3. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies

Major League Power Rankings (June 27)

Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder looks like the NL MVP, but LA’s Matt Kemp is a close second.

1. Philadelphia Phillies (49-30, 1st in NL East by 5.0 games)

No team has more wins than Philly, now imagine if Chase Utley starts to hit…

2. New York Yankees (45-31, 1st in AL East by 0.5 game)

The Yankees own baseball’s best run differential (+97), having scored 399 runs and given up only 302.

3. Boston Red Sox (45-32, 2nd in AL East, 0.5 GB)

The BoSox lead all of MLB in runs (405), batting average (.278), on base percentage (.353), and slugging (.450).

4. Milwaukee Brewers (44-35, 1st in NL Central by 3.0 games)

Ryan Braun (.308 avg, 16 hr, 59 rbi, 17 steals) and Prince Fielder (.305 avg, 21 hr, 68 rbi, 51 walks) are both on pace to have career years.

5. San Francisco Giants (44-34, 1st in NL West by 1.5 games)

The reigning champs continue to get outstanding pitching performances from their starters, and closer Brian Wilson is a legitimate contender for NL Cy Young (5-1, 2.50 ERA, 23/25 saves).

6. Tampa Bay Rays (44-34, 3rd in AL East, 2.0 GB)

Behind James Shields’ stellar season (6 complete games, 3 shutouts), the resurgent Rays find themselves 2 games back in the division, having won 8 of their last 10 contests.

7. Detroit Tigers (42-36, 1st in AL Central by 1.0 game)

Brennan Boesch has given the Tigers ample production out of left field, batting .299 with 10 homers and 38 runs batted in.

8. Cleveland Indians (40-36, 2nd in AL Central, 1.0 GB)

The Tribe seems to be treading water as of late, but continue to find ways to win thanks to breakout star Asdrubal Cabrera (.293 avg, 12 hr, 44 rbi).

9. Atlanta Braves (44-35, 2nd in NL East, 5.0 GB)

Jair Jurrjens is turning out to be yet another Atlanta ace, boasting a 10-3 record with a scintillating 2.07 ERA.

10. Texas Rangers (41-38, 1st in AL West by 2.0 games)

Despite losing three straight decisions, Rangers rookie Alexi Ogando (7-3) still boasts a 2.87 ERA and an even better 1.03 WHIP.

If the season ended today:

AL MVP

1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox

2. Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays

3. Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees

NL MVP

1. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers

3. Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers

AL Cy Young

1. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, SP, Angels

3. James Shields, SP, Rays

NL Cy Young

1. Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies

2. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves

3. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies

Major League Power Rankings (June 20)

Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver have been two of the best pitchers in baseball and are in a battle for the American League Cy Young Award this season.

1. Boston Red Sox (43-28; 1st AL East)

Adrian Gonzalez has Boston fans thinking Triple Crown with a .348 average (1st in MLB), 64 runs batted in (1st in MLB) and 15 home runs (six shy of league leaders).

2. Philadelphia Phillies (45-28; 1st NL East)

Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 103 K, 104 innings) has the slightest of edges over teammate Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 114 K, 112.1 innings) for NL Cy Young.

3. Milwaukee Brewers (40-33; 1st NL Central)

Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks have combined for 49 homers, 144 runs batted in, and a .299 batting average.

4.  New York Yankees (41-29; 2nd AL East)

The Bronx Bombers are living up to their nickname, leading the majors with 105 home runs.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (40-33; 1st NL Central)

The Cards snapped their seven game skid Saturday win a win over Kansas City, but lost Albert Pujols to a wrist injury Sunday.

6. Cleveland Indians (39-31; 1st AL Central)

The Tribe seems to be back on track after a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh, putting them one game ahead of the Tigers for 1st place in the division.

7. Detroit Tigers (39-33; 2nd AL Central)

Justin Verlander has gone 7-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last ten starts (May 2-June 19); his WHIP on the season is a microscopic 0.85.

8. San Francisco Giants (39-33; 1st NL West)

After a rough start to the year, Madison Bumgarner has lowered his ERA to 3.21 (better than Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez), but still has a dismal 3-8 record.

9. Texas Rangers (38-35; 1st AL West)

Texas remains atop the AL West despite a 3-7 road trip.

10. Minnesota Twins (31-39; 4th AL Central)

Putting the Twins in the top 10 seems a bit absurd – but they’re hot – white hot.

If the season ended today:

AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – BOS

NL MVP: Prince Fielder – 1B – MIL

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander – SP – DET

NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels – SP – PHI

Brewers begin key Interleague stretch tomorrow

The next fifteen games on the dock for the Milwaukee Brewers will distinguish them as contenders or pretenders. The Brewers begin their Interleague schedule tomorrow with a three-game series in Boston against the 1st place Red Sox, the start of five consecutive three-game sets against American League foes. After a trip down nostalgia lane at Fenway Park, Milwaukee will then return home to the friendly confines of Miller Park to square off against the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays. The last time the Brew Crew faced off against the Rays was in 2005 when a young Prince made his big league debut. The Twins, who have suddenly become one of baseball’s hottest teams winning 11 of their last 13 games, will then come into town seeking blood versus their next-door-neighbor rival. The Brewers will then make their first ever trip to the new Yankee Stadium, playing three games against the powerhouse Yanks, also for the first time since 2005. Finally, Milwaukee will end it’s long Interleague stretch at Target Field for three more games versus the Twins. Without a doubt, this upcoming stretch will test the Brewers physical and mental make-up. It’ll be grueling, but if the Brewers come out alive and still in first place, their bandwagon will have reached capacity. The following pitching matchups against Boston are set in stone, while the rest are all projections – subject to change due to rain outs, injuries, etc.

Brewers @ Boston Red Sox

6/17 – Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.68 ERA) @ John Lackey (4-5, 7.41 ERA)

6/18 – Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.20 ERA) @ Jon Lester (9-2, 3.73 ERA)

6/19 – Yovani Gallardo (8-3, 3.76 ERA) @ Tim Wakefield (3-2, 4.39 ERA)

Brewers vs. Tampa Bay Rays

6/20 – Chris Narveson (4-4, 4.48 ERA) vs. Jeff Niemann (1-4, 5.74 ERA)

6/21 – Zack Greinke (6-2, 5.23 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (7-5, 3.09 ERA)

6/22 – Shaun Marcum vs. David Price (7-5, 3.51 ERA)

Brewers vs. Minnesota Twins

6/24 – Randy Wolf vs. Scott Baker (4-4, 3.55 ERA)

6/25 – Yovani Gallardo vs. Francisco Liriano (4-6, 4.67 ERA)

6/26 – Chris Narveson vs. Carl Pavano (4-5, 4.20 ERA)

Brewers @ New York Yankees

6/28 – Zack Greinke @ Brian Gordon (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

6/29 – Shaun Marcum @ Freddy Garcia (5-5, 3.60 ERA)

6/30 – Randy Wolf @ A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.09 ERA)

Brewers @ Minnesota Twins

7/1 – Yovani Gallardo @ Francisco Liriano

7/2 – Chris Narveson @ Carl Pavano

7/3 – Zack Greinke @ Nick Blackburn (5-4, 3.47 ERA)

After this 15-game run of AL opponents the Brewers will play seven home games (a three-game set against the contending Diamondbacks and a four-game series versus the surging Reds) before reaching the All-Star break.