Archive for April, 2014

Nationals Burst out of Funk; LaRoche with the Walkoff

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Nationals could only collect seven hits through the first eight innings, two of those were bunt singles and one was a half swing punch single by pitcher Gio Gonzalez that just sailed over the shortstop to drive in the first run.  Jayson Werth tied the game with a 2-run double in the ninth and Adam LaRoche won it with a single to left center to finish off their 5-4 win over the Angels.

Gio Gonzalez pitched well despite being pulled in the sixth with no one out and the score tied 1-1 after he gave up an RBI double.  He got out of a bases loaded one out jam in the first when Eric Aybar lined one to Ian Desmond, who caught it and flipped to second for a double play, Albert Pujols straying too far off the bag.

Gio Gonzalez helped himself with the bat in the bottom of the second inning.  Danny Espinosa started the rally with a one out bunt single past the pitcher Jered Weaver.  He stole second and advanced to third on a ground out.  Gio got behind in the count 1-2, took what looked to be a protective half swing at a pitch and punched it over the head of the shortstop for an RBI single.

Jered Weaver had the National bats mystified with his under 90 mile per hour junk.  Jose Lobaton struck out with a runner on third and one out.  The Nationals had runners in scoring position in four of the six innings he pitched but could only get one run across courtesy to the fluke single by Gonzalez.

Gio began unraveling in the sixth.  He walked Mike Trout to begin the inning, his third walk of the game.  He ran the count full to Albert Pujols, who pulled one down the left field line.  By the time Harper retrieved the ball and winged his long throw home, Mike Trout had already rounded third to score the Angels first run.  Aaron Barrett, just called up from the minors was called on to replace Gio.  He gave up an RBI single to one of the hottest hitters in this series Eric Aybar to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.

The Angels extended that lead in the seventh.  David Freese started the inning with a double and moved to third on a ground out.  Aaron bore down and struck out pinch hitter Ian Stewart for the second out.  His next pitch to Collin Cowgill was thrown in the dirt for a wild pitch to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.

The Angels added on an insurance run in the ninth, helped by the transfer rule after Adam LaRoche snagged a liner off the bat of Raul Ibanez and in the process of taking the ball out of his glove to throw to second for the deuce dropped the ball.  The Nats were fortunate when a ball got just past the catcher that David Freese broke for third.  He was gunned down by Jose Lobaton.  A walk to Collin Cowgill brought in Drew Storen.  He gave up an RBI single to Mike Trout to make it 4-1.

The Nationals started the bottom of the ninth innocuously enough with a leadoff homerun into the right field bullpen by Jose Lobaton off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to pull within two.  That was the same scenario Monday when Ian Desmond unloaded a solo shot in the bottom of the ninth to make it 4-2.  Denard Span grounded a one out single up the middle.  Anthony Rendon walked to put two runners on.  Jayson Werth ran the count to 3-0, swing at the pitch and bounced it past the diving David Freese.  It ricocheted off the wall and by the time J.B. Shuck could retrieve the ball Rendon had scored the tying run.  Adam LaRoche went against the shift and stroked a single to left center to drive in Werth from second to give the Nationals a win.

Game Notes:  Bryce Harper needs to get his head back in the game or go down to the minors to learn the fundamentals.  He attempted a bunt on two strikes and fouled out.  On a single to left center he was caught looking at Denard Span chase the ball before he decided it might also be a good idea not to just stare and watch.  He also jogged on a grounder to first, then had to go into a full fledged sprint when Albert Pujols had the ball bounce off his glove.  Harper just barely beat the toss by Pujols to pitcher Joe Smith…There was a tribute prior to the game today to honor the life of Conrad Marrero, who died today after living 103 years.  He played baseball with the Washington Senators…Angel fans did the wiggle of the hand like a trout swimming in water when Mike Trout came up to bat.  Must be the big thing in Los Angeles…Pujols swing very late on a 93 mile per hour fastball from Gio Gonzalez.  He was able to pull the next pitch down the right field line for an RBI double…Aaron Barrett was only throwing his fastball at 91-92, two to three miles per hour slower than before his demotion to the minor leagues.  Now instead of throwing 94-95 he is throwing 91-92…

2014 Middle Infielders Raking in Minor Leagues

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

It was tougher finding middle infielders that were hitting well in the minor leagues.  Myworld only looked at AAA and AA for brevity’s sake.  Below is the list of middle infield minor leaguers that are hot in the minor leagues, but first we need to give kudos to a couple outfielders, a group we talked about last week.

J.D. Martinez OF (Tigers) - The Astros recently released J.D. Martinez because he didn’t meet their future plans.  Myworld liked him early in his minor league career, but his last couple years were disappointments and could not disagree with the decision.  The Tigers picked him up and he has slugged five homeruns in the last three games to give him an International League lead 10 homeruns with 22 RBIs.  He is not a strong defensive player but the Tigers could use a left fielder.

Donald Lutz OF (Reds) - A couple days ago Donald hit for the cycle going 5 for 6.  It is not the first time the German has hit for the cycle.  He is now hitting .349 with four homeruns and nine RBIs.  He is a player to watch.

International League

Tommy LaStella 2B (Braves) - He has a 9/3 walk to whiff ratio, the exact opposite of Dan Uggla, who goes on strikeout binges.  The eighth round 2011 pick recently went 9 for 16 to raise his average to .339, though only two of his 19 hits have gone for extra bases.

Tyler Saladino SS (White Sox) - The last game Tyler played he went 3 for 4 with two homeruns.  He is now hitting .359 with a .609 slugging percentage and a 1.026 OPS.  At 25 years of age he is not really considered a prospect, but those numbers are hard to ignore.  A utility role could be in the future if his bat continues to blister the ball.

Pacific Coast League

Alex Guerrero 2B (Dodgers) - He does not have enough at bats to appear on a league leader board, but in 9 games the Cuban is hitting .467 with a .900 slugging percentage and a 1.468 OPS.  In four of his nine games he has three hits and is hitting .750 against lefthanders.  The Dodgers are concerned with his defense at second base, but those offensive numbers are sure impressive.  They will find room for him if he stays in the .400 neighborhood.

Chris Taylor SS (Mariners) - In his last two games Chris is 5 for 8, with a double and two homeruns in his last game.  The fifth round 2012 pick is hitting .364 and his 8 doubles are second in the Pacific Coast League.

Eastern League

Mookie Betts 2B (Red Sox) - Mookie is on another planet, leading the Eastern League in batting average at .452 with 20 runs scored.  The fifth rounder in the 2011 draft is 7 for 8 in stolen bases and is hitting .632 against lefthanders.  No way he will replace Dustin Pedroia at second so they may need to find him an outfield glove.

Texas League

Taylor Featherston 2B (Rockies) - Not really considered a prospect but a 4 for 4 and 3 for 3 day has put his average up to .333.  His .410 OBA is sixth in the league.  That could open some Rocky eyes.

Southern League

Ketel Marte SS (Mariners) - The Dominican leads the Southern League with a .378 average.  His history does not show that he can keep this pace but it is putting his name on the prospect map.

Micah Johnson 2b (White Sox) - He is second in the Southern League in hitting with a .356 average.  Last year he stole 84 bases, but this year he is only 7 for 10.  Micah was selected in the ninth round of the 2012 draft.

Ranking MLB Team Salaries for 2014

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The Yankees have been replaced by the Dodgers for the team with the most salary.  The Miami Marlins are the cheapest franchise.  Below is the list of major league salaries based on 25-man roster that includes players on the disabled list.

1. Los Angels Dodgers ($241 million)

2.  New York Yankees ($209 million)

3. Philadelphia Phillies ($180 million)

4. Detroit Tigers ($163 million)

5. Boston Red Sox ($154 million)

6. San Francisco Giants ($148 million)

7. Washington Nationals ($134 million)

8. Texas Rangers ($132 million)

9. Toronto Blue Jays ($129 million)

10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ($128 million)

11. Cincinnati Reds ($112.3 million)

12. Arizona Diamondbacks ($111.7 million)

13. St. Louis Cardinals ($108 million)

14. Baltimore Orioles ($105 million)

15. Milwaukee Brewers ($103 million)

16. Colorado Rockies ($100 million)

17. Atlanta Braves ($98 million)

18. Kansas City Royals ($90 million)

19. San Diego Padres ($89.8 million)

20. Chicago White Sox ($89.55 million)

21. Seattle Mariners ($89.54 million)

22. Minnesota Twins ($85 million)

23. New York Mets ($84 million)

24. Cleveland Indians ($82.5 million)

25. Tampa Bay Rays ($82 million)

26. Pittsburgh Pirates ($78 million)

27. Oakland Athletics ($77 million)

28. Chicago Cubs ($75 million)

29. Houston Astros ($45 million)

30. Miami Marlins ($42 million)

Nationals Caught in Ground Hog Day Continuim

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Many of the Nationals are feeling a bit like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.  Bill Murray played a character who had to repeat yesterday with the ringing of the alarm clock to start the new day that was a repeat of the same day.  The Nationals 2014 season is looking pretty similar to their 2013 season.  The Nationals win one, lose one, except when they play the Braves when they win one and lose five.  They can beat the Mets and Marlins.  They will not beat the Dodgers.  They will play at this mediocre pace until mid-May when they will crash into a losing streak.  The Braves will keep winning, running their first place lead into double digits.  The Nationals will turn things around in August like a race horse in the last corner, galloping towards the finish line, only by then it’s too late.  All we need is for someone on the team comment, “The season is still early.  There is no reason to panic.”  Fortunately, no one on the team has uttered those words yet.

It was another night flawed by a critical fielding error, a poor performance from the bullpen and a lack of clutch hitting that led to another loss, this one 4-2 to the Angels.  The error was made by Ian Desmond in the top of the eighth on a lead off grounder by Albert Pujols.  The groan from the crowd did not need to be translated.  It was a ‘here we go again”, groan snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory.

With runners on first and third and one out Tyler Clippard appeared to have escaped the inning with a popup to short by Brennan Boesch.  The first pitch he threw to Eric Aybar was slapped into the gaping hole on the right side where LaRoche was standing on first base holding the runner and Espinosa was cheating towards the second base bag.  That tied the game at 1-1.

With Chris Iannetta up and Raul Ibanez standing in the on deck circle Matt Williams did not have a lefthander warming up in the bullpen.  Clippard walked Ianetta  on five pitches to load the bases for Ibanez.  Clippard threw him a strike but Ibanez went the other way, powering the ball over the head of a shallow Bryce Harper for a double.  Ian Desmond made another error in the eighth inning, making a poor throw home to allow Ibanez to advance to third.  Matt Williams brought in the lefthander Xavier Cedeno to face J.B. Shuck and he got him to ground to first.

Ian Desmond hit a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the ninth to make it 4-2.  He was still three runs in the hole, having given up four to the one run he produced.  Three Nationals struck out in the bottom of the ninth off closer Ernesto Frieri, Nate McLouth drawing a two out walk to represent the tying run for Denard Span.

Tanner Roark pitched a stellar game but was denied the victory because of an impotent offense, sloppy defense and poor bullpen results.  He worked six plus shutout innings., loading the bases in the second and stranded a runner on third in the third.  He was removed after a two out single in the seventh by J.B. Shuck.

Garrett Richards was a puppet on a string with the Nationals bats.  No hitter could get the barrel of the bat on the ball.  Jose Lobaton got the first hit off Garrett in the third, deep into the left centerfield gap.  Most humans could turn that into a double, but Lobaton does not carry a lot of speed and was easily gunned down at second base by Shuck.

The Nationals finally scored on Richards in the fourth when he got a little wild.  He walked his first two hitters, Denard Span and Bryce Harper.  He hit Jayson Werth on a 0-2 pitch to load the bases.  The Nationals could not take advantage of the charitable nature of Richards.  Adam LaRoche grounded out to second, but the Nationals scored their first run.  Anthony Rendon grounded one to first where Albert Pujols made a terrific barehand pick-up and rifled the ball home to retire Bryce Harper, who tried to slide past the ball.  Ian Desmond grounded to second to end the inning.

Game Notes: Garret Richards was throwing the ball at 96-97, pretty good for a right handed starter.  His breaking ball did not seem to have great bite.  He struck out six Nats, but other than Lobaton’s single nothing was hit hard…It does appear with all the high tense players on this team the Nationals need a Michael Morse to loosen up the team…Tanner Roark seems to be working in the low 90s.  Myworld remembers when his pitches hit the mid 90s last year…Anthony Rendon made a nice diving play at third.  He was able to get up and gun the guy out at first…Albert Pujols got a critical jump off Clippard after his single in the eighth.  The throw from Lobaton was slow and Pujols easily slide into second with the steal.

2014 White Sox Domestic Draft Team

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Myworld is taking a look at all the major league teams to see what kind of 25-man roster they could field if they only relied on the players selected from the domestic draft and nothing else to stock their team. Only current major leaguers are considered for the 25 man roster. Realistically, some players would extend their career because without foreign players a job could still be available and others who never were called up could fill the empty positions. The White Sox are not a complete team based on their domestic drafts.  Below is what their 25 man roster would look like based on active players they have drafted.

Catcher: They have a young catcher Josh Phegley (2009 - first round) and a back up catcher Chris Stewart (2001 - 12th round) to fill their catching roles.  There is no one to back them up in case of injury.

First Base - Mike Morse (2000 - 3rd round) was drafted as a shortstop, but the best position he can play now is first base.

Second Base - Gordon Beckham (2008 - first round) has been a disappointment for a first round pick, but at least he plays a position.

Shortstop - Marcus Semien (2011 - sixth) could play third, but that would leave a hole at shortstop.

Third Base - They have no one to play here based on the players they have drafted domestically.

Outfield - The outfield looks pretty empty as well with Scott Hairston (1999 - 18th round) the only player to patrol it.  Nowadays he is relegated to a pinch hitting role.  He did not sign with the White Sox when drafted.

Starting Pitching - They have a pretty solid pitching rotation with youngsters Chris Sale (2010 - first round) and Erik Johnson (2011 - second round) to mix with veterans Mark Buehrele (1998 - 38th round) and Gio Gonzalez (2004 - first round).  Hector Santiago (2006 - 30th round) can be squeezed in as the fifth starter with recently designated Lucas Harrell (2004 - 4th round) in reserve.  Tom Gorzelanny (2000 - 38th round not signed) will fit in the bullpen as a lefthanded specialist.

Relief - Addison Reed (2010 - 3rd round) can be the closer, though J.J. Putz (1995 - 3rd round not signed) and Nathan Jones (2007 - 5th round) can be called on to close or set up if Reed is struggling.  Boone Logan (2002 - 20th round), Kevin Chapman (2009 50th round not signed) and David Holmberg (2009 - second round) can join Gorzelanny as lefthanders out of the pen, with one of them acting as a long reliever.  The recently released Jon Rauch (1999 - 3rd round) is what is left.

Balentein Slugging at Record Pace

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Wladimir Balentein continues to slug the homeruns in Japan.  Last year he started the season on the disabled list so his homerun pace started slow.  He ended the year with 60 despite missing more than two weeks to the season.  This year he got have to a sluggish start, but now the balls are flying out of the park.  He hit his 10th and 11th homeruns in the Swallows first 19 games, nine of them coming in the last ten games.

The homeruns are not leading to victories.  The Swallows are next to last in the standings with a 6-13 record.  The big issue with Balentien is staying healthy.  Leg problems made him a defensive liability in the outfield last year.  The Swallows tried to move him to first base, but he did not take to the position well so he is back in left field.  The Central League does not have a designated hitter, which may now be his best position.

The fact that Balentien only has 19 RBIs is evidence that most of his homeruns are of the solo variety.  That is only third in the Central League behind Matt Murton (29) and Mauro Gomez (25).

Twenty Making Twenty Million

Monday, April 21st, 2014

A-Rod got the first twenty million dollar contract.  Many thought the Rangers were insane for signing him for that amount.  His suspension does not put him on this $20 million list for 2014, though his suspension still pays for his off days putting his salary over the million mark.  Wouldn’t it be nice for getting paid over a million dollars for taking a day off?  It took awhile for another team to sign a player to a $20 million a year contract, but now for the 2014 season we have twenty players earning $20 million.  Below is a list of those players with the salaries obtained via Sports Weekly.

1. Zack Greinke (Dodgers) $28 million - Has the honor of being the highest paid player for 2014.

2. Cliff Lee (Phillies) $25 million - Money does not always buy championships

3. Ryan Howard (Phillies) $25 million - see above

4. Robinson Cano (Mariners) $24 million - The Mariners are hoping the above is not true.

5. Prince Fielder (Rangers) $24 million - The Tigers sigh with relief after dumping this huge contract on the Rangers.

6. Cole Hamels (Phillies) $23.5 million - Phillies with three players on this list and won’t finish over .500

7. Mark Teixeira (Yankees) $23.1 million - Imagine what his salary would be if he had to prorate money back for each day he spent on the disabled list.

8. C.C. Sabathia (Yankees) $23 million - At least he is thinner which has trimmed down his food budget.

9. Albert Pujols (Angels) $23 million - Cardinals have gotten to the World Series without him but he has yet to lead the Angels there.

10. Joe Mauer (Twins) $23 million - Would the Twins be paying him this much as a first baseman?

11. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) $22.8 million - He and Cano can compete for best wardrobe.

12. Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees) $22 million - Probably will be a record salary for a rookie of the year

13. Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) $21.9 million - Did the Tigers open first base for him by trading Fielder to keep him healthy?

14. Adrian Gonzalez (Dodgers) $21.8 million - Despite all the money and the hype he has still not led a team to the World Series or deep into the playoffs.

15. Matt Kemp (Dodgers) $21.2 million - This is a lot to pay for a part time player.

16. Carl Crawford (Dodgers) $21.1 million - Two Dodger outfielders make $20 million plus and neither player is the best outfielder on the team.

17. Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees) $21.1 million - Yankees hope he spends his days off the disabled list.

18. Matt Cain (Giants) $20.8 million - Pulling a Lincecum now that he is getting paid to do it.

19. Jayson Werth (Nationals) $20.5 million - Is he really worth it?

20. Justin Verlander (Tigers) $20 million - Probably the second best pitcher on his team.

The Red Sox used to have three players on this list. They traded two (Gonzalez and Crawford) and allowed one to leave via free agency (Ellsbury). The Brewers also used to have three players on this list (Sabathia, Fielder and Greinke).

2014 Top Ten South and Latin America

Sunday, April 20th, 2014 is the top ten from the list last year.  Julio Teheran has graduated from that list to become the ace pitcher for the Braves.  Three Colombians are on this year’s list.

1. Jorge Alfaro (C) Colombia/Rangers - Injuries limited him to just 74 games in 2012, but he had a relatively healthy season last year, slugging 18 homeruns and rising all the way to High A.  He did miss the month of July with a broken hand, but still got over 400 at bats.  He still needs to prevent the ball from hitting the backstop, allowing 28 passed balls last year.  If he can get that under control he has the arm to throw out base stealers.  Jorge also stole 18 bases in 21 attempts showing some speed not normally associated with a catcher.  Expect him to reach the Rangers in 2015 after half a season in AA.

2. Luiz Gohara (LHP) Brazil/Mariners - Andre Rienzo set the stage for him.  Luiz has a nice mid-90s fastball, good velocity to see from a lefthander.  He pitched for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic qualifier as a 16 year old.  At 6′3″ 210 he should increase that velocity as he develops.  His biggest challenge will be keeping the weight off so he doesn’t get too big.  Last year was his first year pitching in the United States where he was 1-2, 4.15, working only 22 innings, a sore shoulder limiting his work load.  Currently, the only pitch in his arsenal is the fast ball.  He will work in extended spring training to develop consistency on his breaking pitchers and improve his change up and giving short season ball another shot.

3. Christian Bethancourt (C) Panama/Braves - Christian is a solid defensive catcher.  The two biggest challenges for him is improving the bat and staying up tempo.  He has been criticized for a lack of hustle in the past.  Last year Christian hit a solid .277 with 12 homeruns.  He is a much better defensive catcher than Evan Gattis so if Evan struggles defensively and Christian shows ability with the bat he will be promoted before the year is out.  Last year Betancourt made 12 errors and committed 13 passed balls, numbers he will have to work on to reduce.

4. Harold Ramirez (OF) Colombia/Pirates - Harold is a talented outfielder on a team with a plethora of talented outfielders.  Whether he can squeeze into the Marte/McCutchen/Polanco trio will be a challenge.  The 2014 season will be his first in full season ball so the Pirates have some time before making a decision on his status.  He has all the tools except for a below average arm that will restrict him to either center or left field.  Last year he stole 23 bases in 34 attempts, an area he will have to improve if he wants to be a base stealing threat.

5. Severino Gonzalez (RHP) Panama/Phillies - In three seasons his ERA is 1.88 and he has only walked 31 hitters in 239 innings.  Severino has also limited the opposition to a .208 average, striking out 8.8 hitters per nine innings.  The fastball sits in the low 90s and he is slight of frame standing only 6′1″, 153 pounds.  Lefthanders last year hit him at a .309 clip so he needs to develop a pitch to retire them.  While his command is excellent his stuff is lacking and as he rises up the minor league chain the hitters will only get better.  He will start the 2014 season in AA.

6. Dilson Herrera (2B) Colombia/Mets - Dilson was originally signed by the Pirates but the Mets acquired Herrera and Vic Black in the trade for Marlon Byrd.  The Mets do need a second baseman, but Dilson is still a couple years away from competing for the job.  His defense is not stellar but he has a .300 bat with some speed to steal bases.  He had enough sock in his bat to hit 11 homeruns and rip 27 doubles.  Dilson will start the 2014 in High A and could see a promotion to AA if he impresses there.

7. Cheslor Cuthbert (3B) Nicaragua/Royals - Cheslor was a big international signing for the Royals, with an expectation that he would be a power hitting third baseman.  That power has yet to materialize.  He has yet to hit for double figures in homeruns and his career slugging percentage is only .370.  His defense needs to improve on his 25 errors.  Cheslor will repeat AA where he only hit .215, but he did stroke 16 doubles.  Cheslor will begin the 2014 season at 22 years of age so he is still young for his level.

8. Johan Camargo (SS) Panama/Braves - The Braves have Nicaraguan Elmer Reyes and Camargo at shortstop, but Andrelton Simmons is not going anywhere.  Both will have to settle for second or get traded to another team if they have ambitions to stay at short.  Johan was signed in 2010 and played rookie ball the last two years.  He will be a solid shortstop, but a lack of speed may make second base a better alternative.  His bat has hit for a .317 average so he will see a full season league for the first time in 2014.

9. Javier Guerra (SS) Panama/Red Sox - Panama and Curacao are replacing San Pedro de Macoris as the avenue for finding shortstops.  Like Johan, Javier has Xander Bogaerts and Tzu-Wei Lin ahead of him.  Last year only nine of his 52 hits went for extra bases, all of them doubles.  He lacks speed and arm strength to stay at short so he may need to develop the power to move to third.  Expect another season of short season ball for Javier with a possible promotion to Low A.

10. Jesus Lopez (SS) Nicaragua/Athletics - The Athletics spent $950,000 last year for the Nicaraguan.  He is a switch hitter who many felt was one of the top hitters on the international market.  He has gap power with the possibility of being a double digit homerun hitter.  Like the others below him Jesus has below average speed and arm that will make it hard for him to stick at short, but his bat could make a move to third possible.  He will start the season in extended spring and play short season ball for the 2014 season.

Cardinals Nip Nats; Harper Pulled

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Every time the Nationals make an error it seems to cost them.  Anthony Rendon made a poor throw to second base, pulling Danny Espinosa from second base.  After a ground out moved the runners to second and third Matt Williams chose to pitch to Tony Cruz rather than walk him to face the pitcher with the bases loaded.  Thursday Mike Matheny was faced with the same situation and chose to walk Jose Lobaton to face the pitcher Taylor Jordan.  Jordan struck out to end the inning.  Tony Cruz lined a single into right field to score two.  To add to the insult Lance Lynn blooped a double to right.  The ball skirted by Jayson Werth, rolling to the wall, allowing the slow footed Cruz to race home.  The Cardinals went on to beat the Nats 4-3.

Bryce Harper was taken out of the game for a lack of hustle in the sixth.  The free program issued to fans entering the stadium has a picture of Harper running with bases with the title “Nothing but Hustle”.  In his third at bat he batted one back to the pitcher and jogged to first base.  Kevin Fransden replaced him in left field.

In the seventh inning the Cardinals began a one out rally with a hit by pitch to Mark EllisJon Jay singled to move Ellis to second.  Matt Holiday lined a single to left field.  Ellis was waved home, a move that may not have been made if Harper was still playing left field.  Fransden does not have the arm of Harper and his throw home was too late and off the mark.  Sandy Leon bobbled the ball, Jay tried to advance to third but Leon was able to recover to throw him out.

In the bottom of the ninth Kevin Fransden came up with runners on second and third with just one out.  He grounded out to third to score one run to make the score 4-3.  Perhaps Bryce could have gotten the hit to tie the score.  But then again, maybe he would have struck out.  There is no way of knowing.  Jayson Werth swung at and missed on a Trevor Rosenthal 99 mile per hour fastball, finishing the whiff on three pitches.

Danny Espinosa had a solo shot in the fifth inning.  In the eighth Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon hit back to back doubles to score the second run.

Game Notes: While the error by Anthony Rendon was the key in the second inning, Jordan Zimmerman walked leadoff hitter Allan Craig to get the inning started.  If he was not on first Rendon would have made the throw to first instead of second.  Jordan also hit Ellis in the seventh, which eventually scored the fourth run…Matt Adams hit a ground ball to right field where Danny Espinosa was playing.  Danny rifled a throw to first to nip Adams.  In his next at bat Adams was able to line a single over the head of Espinosa in shallow right…Ross Detwiler was throwing at 94 in relief, striking out two in his two innings of work…Denard Span hit the ball hard in two of his outs.  Craig robbed him of a hit with a diving catch in the fifth.  He lined one back to the mound in the ninth that hit off the leg of Rosenthal.  Trevor chose to go to second but was late with the throw.  The play was ruled as a fielder’s choice…In the sixth the Nationals had loaded the bases with two out.  Danny Espinosa ran the count to 2-0.  Danny swung at the next pitch and drove a ball deep to center field for the third out…Carlos Martinez hit 100 miles per hour on one of his pitches and was throwing 97-99…When Trevor Rosenthal came in to close he started out at 94.  After the sixth or seventh pitch he got his fastball up to 98-99.  Trevor walked a batter, threw to second too late in an attempt to get a force and balked to move the runners over, but still got the save when he struck out Jayson Werth on three fastballs hitting 98 plus.

MLB Launches Reality Show in China

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

In an attempt to increase the interest for baseball in China, major league baseball will launch a reality show teaming with a Chinese internet site (Letv) in an attempt to spread the baseball culture to China.  It appears a number of people will show their batting and pitching skills.  Perhaps scouts can watch the show in an attempt to find the first China superstar for baseball.

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