Today’s Lineup: Kevin Frandsen at first base (Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia)

The Phillies will play their final game at Citizens Bank Park this season when they take on the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon. Ryne Sandberg has made just one change to his lineup card for the Phils’ series finale against the Mets. Kevin Frandsen has been re-inserted into the lineup at first base and will bat eighth. With Frandsen taking over duties at first, Darin Ruf has been moved to left field in place of John Mayberry. Cliff Lee gets the start for the Phils, who have lost their last three games. Lee (14-6, 2.95 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2. …

Posted under Mlb

Baseball-Highlights of Saturday’s MLB games (Reuters)

Aug 24 (The Sports XChange) – Highlights of Saturday’s Major League Baseball games – - – - Athletics 2, Orioles 1 Coco Crisp led off the ninth inning with a solo home run and Jarrod Parker pitched eight strong innings to win his eighth straight decision as the Oakland Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1. Oakland (72-56) snapped a three-game losing streak and moved three games ahead of the Orioles (69-59) for the second American League wild card spot. Crisp has hit home runs in three straight games while Jed Lowrie added an run-scoring double and a single for the A’s. …

Posted under Mlb

The Juice: Ryan Raburn delivers walkoff homer as Indians down the Rangers in 11 (Big League Stew)

The Juice returns for season No. 6! It’s almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

The main reason the Cleveland Indians are holding strong three games behind the Detroit Tigers is their performance at Progressive Field. On Friday night, they improved to 31-19 on their home turf with an 11-8 victory in 11 innings over the Texas Rangers, and the hero this time around was Ryan Raburn. With two runners on base, Raburn was twice asked to show bunt to either advance the runners or hopefully work the count in his favor. Once that was taken off, Raburn swung away, and the result was a three-run walkoff homer.
From the Associated Press:
”The bunt was on for the first two pitches, then they took it off,” Raburn said. ”I was happy they did. The way I feel at the plate, I like my chances better swinging away. I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. He left a slider up and I was fortunate enough to hit it over the wall.”
Good call, Terry Francona. Without it, maybe the Indians don’t get their seventh walkoff victory of the season.
Rays rise to first in AL East: For the first time since June 10, 2012, the Tampa Bay Rays own sole possession of first place in the American League East. The Rays leapfrogged the Boston Red Sox on Friday night after trouncing C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees 10-6 behind two hits and four RBIs from James Loney. Jeremy Hellickson was also solid on the hill, holding New York to one run over six innings before the bullpen made it somewhat interesting.
On the Yankees side, Alfonso Soriano made his return to the Bronx hitting out of the clean up spot. He ended up going 0 for 5 with an RBI fielder’s choice and a run scored. In the loss, New York also extended their homerless streak to eight games.

Posted under Mlb

Five Questions the New York Mets Must Answer After the All-Star Break (Yahoo! Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | The 2013 All-Star Game festivities are set to start in New York City. With three games left against the Pittsburgh Pirates before the break, the New York Mets are currently 40-48 on the season. Once the last out is made in this year’s All-Star Game, the Mets will have five questions they’ll need to answer in the second half.

Posted under Mlb

The Juice: Marathon Mets outlast Giants 4-3 in 16 (Big League Stew)

Your browser does not support iframes.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It’s almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

The New York Mets finally won a marathon ballgame, beating the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in 16 innings — taking 5 hours, 26 minutes — after Brandon Crawford booted a grounder to short that allowed the go-ahead run to score. The Mets had lost three games earlier this season that lasted at least 15 innings. This was the 18th game in Major League Baseball to go at least 14 innings this season, says STATS. That’s two shy of last season’s total.
Home Recker: Crawford, who made a fantastic diving play at short to rob Marlon Byrd and keep the Mets from scoring in the 11th, couldn’t handle a hard-hit grounder by Anthony Recker in the 16th, allowing Eric Young Jr. to score. Recker just couldn’t believe the Mets were playing another game with so many extras:
“As soon as the 10th inning started, we were like, ‘Are we really going to do this again?’ ”
Good starts: Matt Harvey allowed three runs over seven innings, throwing 121 pitches in what might be his final start before the All-Star Game next week at Citi Field. Harvey is dealing with a blister on his “pointing finger” but says it’s no biggie. Giants’ righty Tim Lincecum also went seven innings and allowed three runs, striking out 11.
Giant extremes: Buster Posey, who caught all 16 innings, went 5 for 8 with a two-run home run and two doubles. Brandon Belt, batting No. 3 in the order for the first time, went 0 for 8 with five strikeouts (dubbed the “Platinum Sombrero” by Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen). The Giants went 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 18 men overall, including 13 in the final six innings. They’ve also lost 12 of 14 to dip a season-worst eight games below .500.

Posted under Mlb

A’s dismantle Darvish to stretch AL West lead (Reuters)

(Reuters) – The Oakland Athletics overcame Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to record a 6-2 road victory on Tuesday to stretch their lead at the top of the American League West division. Brandon Moss and John Jaso each homered against the Japanese starter to provide an early 3-0 lead for the Athletics (43-30), who added more runs after the Rangers had threatened a comeback to extend their advantage to three games over Texas (39-32). Darvish (7-3) struck out 10 batters but allowed five runs in six innings to absorb the loss. …

Posted under Mlb

Baseball-A’s dismantle Darvish to stretch AL West lead (Reuters)

June 18 (Reuters) – The Oakland Athletics overcame Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish to record a 6-2 road victory on Tuesday to stretch their lead at the top of the American League West division. Brandon Moss and John Jaso each homered against the Japanese starter to provide an early 3-0 lead for the Athletics (43-30), who added more runs after the Rangers had threatened a comeback to extend their advantage to three games over Texas (39-32). Darvish (7-3) struck out 10 batters but allowed five runs in six innings to absorb the loss. …

Posted under Mlb

TKO! New York Yankees now burdened with ‘Glass Joe Title’ after series loss to Angels (Big League Stew)

We have our first title change since The Stew introduced its Glass Joe Title a few weeks back. Named for lovable loser Glass Joe of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” fame, the titles — one for each league — belong to the losingest losers in baseball. But not by record, in head-to-head series.
The Los Angeles Angels had been saddled with the Glass Joe Title since getting swept by the Houston Astros. But the Angels fared well enough over the weekend to break free from their Glass Joe-ness.
Now it belongs to the New York Yankees, who lost two of three games in Anaheim. George Steinbrenner must be turning over in his grave — or trying to sign Chipper Jones.

Posted under Mlb

Have The Mets Turned the Corner?

New York- A four-game winning streak for the New York Mets and you ask, does that provide a legitimate reason of contention that they are beginning to turn things around? For the moment, especially with a win against Atlanta, and three wins over the Yankees, there is optimism.

Added to the equation, the Mets go for a four-game series sweep, or two consecutive two game sweeps tomorrow night in the Bronx. Then, it is three games down in Miami with the Marlins, a team that continues to tumble with the second worst record in baseball.

The mood in the visitor’s clubhouse Wednesday evening, after the Mets third straight win over the Yankees, to say the least exhibited optimism.  The tide has changed from a week ago when a timely hit, scoring runs and good pitching was hard to find.

“We’ve won three very important ballgames in a row,” said Collins. “There is a different attitude in the clubhouse.” Because the Mets have put a string of wins together and doing it against the Yankees made it more fun in that clubhouse.

It could be the start of the summer for the Mets, according to Collins, alluding to how important it was to win these games against the Yankees.

And with Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis, a part of their infield on thin ice, it was so important for them to be a part of that five-run first inning that quickly put the Mets ahead.  Tejada led off the game with a single and would score on a Daniel Murphy double.

“Nice to get some runs early especially against this team,” commented Davis. He drove the ball the other way in that first inning.

He said, “If I can keep getting better at bats, I can turn this around. We have a better team than we have showed and we can turn this around.” And it has to be Davis and the bat to turn the season around.

Collins said, David Wright referred to Davis as the guy who can turn it around.  There is some type of optimism because Davis struck out once after 24 strikeouts in his last 16- games.

Tejada did get hurt in the ninth inning, so he is staying put for the moment.  He may miss a few games pending an X-Ray to a quad injury he sustained sliding for a ball down the third base line with two outs in the Yankees ninth inning.

“If we have any chance to win here, Ike Davis has to be hitting in the lineup,” said Collins. Lucas Duda and John Buck also got hits going the other way. Again, Collins said this was a big series.

Perhaps, a bigger part of this being an important series is because the Mets have started to hit the ball with more authority. “And they are doing it against the Yankees.

Later in the inning, Davis, with that .152 average would single to left center and drive in two of those five runs. Davis got some batting tips from manager Terry Collins before the game.  Mets fans can’t remember the last game when he drove in two important runs, even if it was early in the game.

Jermey Hefner, with that 0-5 record coming in, had runs to work with and finally got a win. And to him that must have been, as they say, a gift from heaven,

“Important to win, more importantly to keep our team winning,” said Hefner who broke the streak of not getting a win a day after the ace Matt Harvey gets the ball.

What it means is, the Mets will in all probability continue to struggle. The important thing is to continue this renewed momentum with three games down in Miami. But, as the captain David Wright said Tuesday night, at Citi Field in Flushing Queens, “We have a hard time capitalizing on games like this.”

Meaning, as Wright insinuated, the two Mets come from behind wins against the Yankees, Monday and Tuesday in their home park had to continue some type of momentum.

Wednesday night, the Mets continued that brand of good baseball with good pitching, timely hitting, and hitting quality pitches. They did not swing for the fences. They hit at the right time, and it meant another win against a Yankees team that has not resembled the Bronx Bombers they have faced in the past.

Davis handled the sinker much better thrown by David Phelps, and was more comfortable at the plate. Tejada started the onslaught in that first inning. Perhaps, the private meeting with Collins had with Davis and Tejada earlier in the day, where he reportedly told them, they were close to being demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas was the beginning of a remedy?

After all, who wants to play baseball in Las Vegas with the famed strip in the background instead of the Empire State Building and other New York City landmarks?

It went down as a two-game series sweep in Queens and a revival of sorts for the Mets in Queens. They go for another two-game series sweep tomorrow night in the Bronx

And, doing it against the mighty cross- town Yankees does not necessarily mean it won’t be as gloomy in Flushing as we have seen. But, time will tell.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Ballgames, Bats, Clubhouse, Contention, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Game Series, Game Sweeps, Game Winning Streak, Legitimate Reason, Marlins, New York Mets, Optimism, Rich Mancuso, Ruben, Tejada, Thin Ice, Three Games, Tomorrow Night, Top Story, Wednesday Evening