Tonights Game:

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 14th, 2014
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The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds split their first 16 meetings a season ago. It’s the last four that Pittsburgh captured that changed the fortunes for both. The Pirates and Reds will meet for the first time since last year’s wild-card game when they open a three-game set Monday night in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh (6-6) swept that series by outscoring Cincinnati 16-6, and then went on to post a 6-2 victory in the Pirates’ first playoff game since 1992.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 13th, 2014
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If every game had a storybook ending, the Los Angeles Angels would have defeated the New York Mets on Saturday night. It all set up so perfectly. 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, who has established a reputation in recent years as one of baseball’s great clutch hitters in the late innings, stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning with the Angels down three runs, the tying runs on base and two outs. The ultimate clutch situation, and to add to the drama Ibanez was sitting on 1,999 career hits.
Naturally, Ibanez delivered a game-tying home run off Jose Valverde, because he always seems to hold up his end of the bargain. Just ask the 2012 Yankees during the postseason.
His 2,000th hit – a game-tying home run in the ninth. The Angels are destined to win that game. Only they didn’t. When the dust finally settled in the 13th inning, the Mets were victorious 7-6 on Anthony Recker’s solo home run.
Former starter John Lannan picked up his first win as a reliever, though starter Jonathan Niese probably deserved it after throwing seven and one-third innings of three run ball. Meanwhile, a struggling Jered Weaver got off the hook after allowing four runs in six and two-thirds innings. He walked four.
YANKEES SMACK FIVE BIG FLIES: The New York Yankees are making up for lost time after going without a home run in their first five games. On Saturday, the team muscled up for five round trippers in their 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox , including the first two of the season from free agent acquisition Brian McCann.
McCann’s first blast came on a first pitch fastball from John Lackey leading off the fourth. The no doubt moonshot reached the second deck in right field at Yankee Stadium and broke a 2-2 tie. Two innings later, McCann connected for another solo homer that provided an important insurance run for New York. Carlos Beltran, who started the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson also contributed to the breakout game.
Interesting to note: The Yankees did it with a lineup that featured only one holdover from April 2013. That player being Brett Gardner.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH: The beat rolls on for the Milwaukee Brewers, who topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 at Miller Park to secure their eighth consecutive victory. The Brewers improved upon their major league best record, which now sits at 9-2. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team with eight wins (to go with four losses), so Milwaukee is guaranteed to carry that mark beyond the weekend.
And it’s no fluke either. Milwaukee’s +25 run differential is also the best in MLB.
All-star center fielder Carlos Gomez got the scoring started on Saturday with a leadoff homer in the first, but it wasn’t until Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single in the eighth that they were able to put the game away. Starter Yovani Gallardo, who entered with 12 and two-thirds scoreless innings to begin the season, allowed two runs over six innings but ended up with a no-decision.
RED-LIGHTED AGAIN: The Cincinnati Reds offense is having all kinds of trouble getting out of the blocks this season, and that continued in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays .
According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer , the Reds were involved in four 1-0 games last season at the Great American Ballpark and won three of those. In five home games this season, there have already been three 1-0 games, and the Reds have lost two of those.
It’s likely a temporary power outage with guys like Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce sure to break out on any given day. But give credit where it’s due on Saturday to Rays starter Alex Cobb. In seven innings, he allowed four hits and struck out five.
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!
Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 13th, 2014
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The Boston Red Sox want to wait until closer Koji Uehara’s long toss session on Sunday before possibly sending him back to Boston for tests on his stiff right shoulder. “He’s unavailable today,” manager John Farrell said before Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Edward Mujica, who had 37 saves for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, closed out the Red Sox’s 4-2 victory Friday. The Red Sox are off Monday and begin a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 12th, 2014
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So far, so good for Grady Sizemore in his comeback bid with the Boston Red Sox. The 31-year-old outfielder has been among Boston’s most consistent players early in the season, and on Friday night was its most valuable. His three-run sixth inning homer off former teammate CC Sabathia capped a four-run inning and led the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees .
The home run came in support of Jon Lester, who allowed two earned runs over six and two-thirds innings to notch his first victory of the season despite a solid 2.57 ERA. Afterward, it seemed Sizemore’s focus was on just that, supporting Lester and delivering that one key hit he needed to finally find some breathing room on the hill.

“Good to have a rally there in that inning,” Sizemore said. ”We’ve kind of struggled with Jon on the mound. It’s nice to pick him up and get some runs for him.”

With that attitude and some decent production to go with it, Sizemore won’t have any trouble winning over his new teammates. In fact, it seems he’s already well on his way.
David Ross on Grady Sizemore: “He’s been a big pickup for us, … and he’s easy on the eyes.” — Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) April 12, 2014
Sizemore concluded the night hitting 333/.394/.600 with two homers over nine games. Numbers that won’t be easy to sustain, but well beyond what Boston could have hoped for early on.
The only downside for Boston: Edward Mujica picked up the save as manager John Farrell reports regular closer Koji Uehara experienced minor stiffness during pregame warm ups. He’s considered day-to-day.
PHILLIES BREAK OUT AGAINST JOSE FERNANDEZ: Facing Miami’s 21-year-old phenom isn’t the best recipe for breaking a four-game losing streak, but that’s exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies did in their 6-3 win on Friday night . Philadelphia was able to strike quickly, which is always important against baseball’s best hurlers. A two-spot in the first inning keyed by Marlon Byrd’s RBI double got the offense rolling and Fernandez’s pitch count up. They continued wearing him down in the third, scoring one more on Ryan Howard’s bases loaded walk. Then they applied the finishing touches in the fifth, breaking through for three more.
It was an unlikely but noteworthy outburst because it was the first time Fernandez has allowed more than three earned runs in a start since last May 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays, a stretch covering 22 starts. It had been since July 7 that he allowed more than two earned runs. Both quite impressive. It was also the first time in 17 starts that Fernandez has allowed more than five hits. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark , that’s the longest such streak over the last 100 years.
The kid is special, but the Phillies obviously had his number Friday.
ONE-HIT WONDER: Andrew Cashner was a popular pick for a true breakout season in 2014. You’ll have a difficult time convincing the Detroit Tigers it’s not in the cards after the 27-year-old right-hander shut them out on one hit in the Padres 6-0 victory . It’s actually the second one-hitter in Cashner’s 35 career starts, which should deeply concern San Diego’s foes in the NL West. The other came last Sept 16. against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The only blemish keeping Cashner from history was Rajai Davis’ bloop single just out of the reach of second baseman Jedd Gyorko with one-out in the sixth. That snapped a string of 14 straight batters retired after Miguel Cabrera reached on a Chase Headley error in the first inning. Cashner capped the outstanding effort with a career-high 11 strikeouts.
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MADISON BUMGARNER SLAMS HIS WAY TO VICTORY: San Francisco’s opening day starter took charge on both sides of the field in leading the Giants to a 6-5 victory at AT&T Park .
After spotting the Colorado Rockies an early three run lead, Bumgarner got San Francisco on the board with a third inning sacrifice fly that fell just a few feet shy of being a two-run homer. In his next at-bat two innings later, Bumgarner found the extra few feet and then some, clearing the wall by plenty for his third career home. And to make things even better, this time the bases were loaded, giving Bumgarner five RBIs on the night and the Giants a three run lead of their own.
That would prove important later as Colorado chipped away against the Giants bullpen. However, in the ninth, Sergio Romo shut things down quickly to preserve the win.
With the win, Bumgarner improves to 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA. And with the slam, he may move himself into consideration for pinch-hitting duties. His swing looked that good.
By the way, this was the first grand slam by a pitcher since Travis Wood hit one for the Chicago Cubs last May, so probably not as long ago as you thought.
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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!
Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 12th, 2014
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The Rays make an alteration to their starting rotation sans Matt Moore and add a veteran to their bullpen.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 11th, 2014
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Jim Johnson, off to a rocky start with the Oakland As, no longer is their closer. Manager Bob Melvin said Thursday that Johnson, acquired from the Orioles in the offseason, is taking a break from the role. This happened most recently in 2012, with Oakland eventually locking in on Grant Balfour (who As fans probably wish hadnt left for the Tampa Bay Rays via free agency).

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Washington and Bryce Harper are sitting pretty atop the Power Rankings.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on April 10th, 2014
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We’ve got another one. As was feared , left-hander Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays has a torn UCL. Rays manager Joe Maddon says in the Tampa Tribune , from his understanding of Moore’s test results with Dr. James Andrews, that the ligament is not completely torn. The Rays and Moore are discussing options, which include rehab that would force him out of action for about a month.
More likely: Moore will have Tommy John surgery and will miss at least a year of action. Moore would be the 12th major leaguer to undergo Tommy John this year. There are several more in the minors, perhaps nine or 10, who have had the surgery as well.
“I’m sure there’ll be some stewing over this, the severity as far as if I think it’s something I can pitch with … we’ll have to weigh the options,” Moore said Wednesday before leaving for the examination.
Moore has been a huge part of the Rays’ success since 2011, going 29-17 with a 3.53 ERA and 339 strikeouts in 347 innings. He turns 25 in June.
A few other pitchers, such as Adam Wainwright of numberswiki.com

the Cardinals, have pitched with a partially torn UCL for years before undergoing surgery. Matt Harvey of the Mets was considering that route in 2013 but ultimately opted for surgery. His rehab is going well.
Moore apparently tore his UCL on Monday during his start at Kansas City. He saw Andrews on Wednesday afternoon, getting a second MRI that included an injection of contrast dye into Moore’s body to better see the image of the ligament.
Something to consider for Moore and the Rays: They’re in a position to win the World Series this season. If the tear in Moore’s arm can hold — like it did in Wainwright’s case — they might opt to do rehab so he can finish the season.
The issue: The ligament eventually will tear, and Moore will bear the brunt of another emotional moment of injuring his elbow, plus a year of rehab. It’s all a lot to consider.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Tampa Bay Rays don’t know who will start Sunday’s game in Cincinnati in place of left-hander Matt Moore, and they don’t know how long a rotation replacement will be needed. Moore visited Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday for an examination on his ailing left elbow, but the results of a dye-injection MRI exam weren’t immediately known. “They did more tests, but we’re still waiting for a final analysis on the whole thing,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday after Tampa Bay’s 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

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