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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tigers fans see sparks fly on foul tip, but catcher Alex Avila does not

Just when you think you’ve seen it all- this is pretty cool.

When Avila was asked about it after the game, he had no idea what media members were talking about. Avila said he never saw the sparks, which shot in several directions as a foul ball slammed into his mask…

It is unclear whether the ball hitting the mask or the ball forcing two parts of the mask to rub caused the sparks to fly.

Guapo Posted: September 14, 2011 at 07:06 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers

Leskanic arrested on DUI charge

Leskanic, 44, who lives on Alaqua Drive in west Seminole County, had a blood-alcohol level of .331, more than four times the legal limit of .08, according to an arrest affidavit. The level was so high that he had to be checked out at a hospital before being booked into the Seminole County Jail.

.331 is higher than his career worst BABIP! Also:

He was found passed out at the wheel of his pickup truck on State Road 436 at Ronald Regan Boulevard with his 5-year-old daughter asleep, and unrestrained, in the truck, according to the report.

TAKE HIS CHILDREN AWAY!

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:47 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Big 2012 RNC-opening party will be at Tropicana Field, Rays’ schedule confirms

Will be odd to see people in the seats of Tropicana Field….

A few weeks ago we told you there was Buzz that organizers of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa are planning to hold the big, opening media party at Tropicana Field.

Today the news is confirmed by—the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2012 schedule— which includes a rare Sunday off day on Aug. 26—to accomodate a Republican National Convention event. Our colleague Marc Topkin broke the news on The Heater blog.

The Rays will play a series with Oakland on Thursday-Saturday, then head out of town for a seven-game trip to Texas and Toronto.

“Venues throughout Tampa Bay have made themselves available to the Tampa Bay Host Committee in connection with potential events for the 2012 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:59 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

MLB.com: Castrovince: 2012 Baseball Schedule Makes Avoiding November Baseball Problematic

The No. 1 takeaway from the schedule release, from my perspective, is that it ends on Oct. 3, with an intent again on wrapping up postseason play before the calendar flips to November. But it’s going to take either a five-game World Series or further condensing of the postseason schedule to make that intent a reality.

Thanks to the elimination of some unnecessary off-days, this season’s postseason schedule, which begins on Friday, Sept. 30, can last up to four weeks total, if the World Series goes the full seven games. Given that the 2012 regular season will, like this year, end on a Wednesday, one would assume the postseason would again begin on a Friday—Oct. 5. So a full, four-week postseason slate would mean Games 6 and 7 of the World ...

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Don Malcolm Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:52 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: general

International Baseball Update: Rosters for Baseball World Cup start arriving

The Baseball World Cup, the second most prestigious tournament in international baseball competition, will be later this year in Panama. Some (at least preliminary) rosters are starting to be released.


Japan’s is made up of players from the Industrial and College leagues. NPB players generally only play in the WBC, (formerly) the Olympics, and maybe the Asian Games.

Australia’s includes former big leaguers, and all of the roster has at least some professional experience, either in North America or in Australia’s new pro league.

While Team USA doesn’t have a full roster out yet, it has been confirmed that Cubs prospect Brett Jackson will be playing for Team USA in both the World Cup and the PanAm games.

Cuba released their preliminary ...

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Gamingboy Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:40 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: international, japan

NYT: In the Belly of the East

The glass case in the lobby of the Toronto Blue Jays’ executive office holds World Series trophies from 1992 and 1993. Between them is a small stand, just a few inches high, with a $1 coin. Cito Gaston, the manager of those teams, gave the coin to the receptionist for good luck when he retired two years ago. She displays it as a placeholder for the next trophy, because the coin is dated 1993.

Oh, for those days at the SkyDome, when every night was a party. The Blue Jays averaged more than 50,000 fans a game in 1993, the third consecutive season with four million customers. Today’s team can hardly imagine.

The Baltimore Orioles had the next-best record in the American League East during Toronto’s seasons of glory. They had their ...

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Paul D(uda) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:14 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, orioles

Keith Law: Moneyball

I’m sorta reminded of the time Effin’ Stink Lad (non-LOSH) cruised a dump on D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage because he was too close to the action.

Moneyball, the movie, is an absolute mess of a film, the type of muddled end product you’d expect from a project that took several years and went through multiple writers and directors. Even good performances by a cast of big names and some clever makeup work couldn’t save this movie, and if I hadnt been planning to review it, I would have walked out.

...Then there’s the baseball stuff, which is not good. For starters, the lampooning of scouts, which draws from the book, isn’t any more welcome on screen (where some of the scouts are played by actual scouts) than it was on the page; they ...

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Repoz Posted: September 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM | 326 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, books, media, reviews, site news

Salisbury: Manuel airs out Phils after loss to lowly Astros

Leapin’ Lamabe’s! Have the Astros officially changed their name to Lowly Astros?

Manuel had strong words for his team during a clubhouse meeting after it played another sloppy game in a 5-2 loss to the lowly Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

“We had a little talk,” Manuel admitted. “Not a big talk.”

The message:

“Just be more alert and play the game how we can,” he said.

Manuel was soft-selling the meeting. Word from the clubhouse was he rattled some cages pretty soundly.

...Afterward, he acknowledged that the Phils haven’t played with their usual zip against the lowly Astros.

“We’re human,” he said. “It’s a grind. You just have to grind your way through it. They’re playing with a lot of motivation and ...

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Repoz Posted: September 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-14-2011

AP, September 14, 1986:

Bo Jackson will no doubt remember his first major-league home run.  The way he hit it, others will remember it, too.

“That ball was hit well over 500 feet,” said Royals interim manager Mike Ferraro after Jackson’s prodigious homer Sunday triggered the Royals to a 10-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.  “I was in awe.  It was simply amazing.”

Officials said that Jackson’s 475-foot drive high onto a grassy knoll in left-center field was the longest hit at Royals Stadium.

Bo knows hanging sliders.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 09:59 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

MLB.com: Enter 600-man: Mo marks milestone

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th save on Tuesday, preserving a 3-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field and becoming just the second pitcher in history to reach that plateau.

Rivera joins Trevor Hoffman in the 600-save club as the 41-year-old right-hander inches closer to the all-time record. He needs just one more to tie Hoffman, who retired after last season.
...
“It’s a good number. There’s only one guy that has that, and that’s Trevor,” Rivera said. “It’s a good number to achieve, but at the same time, it’s not all about that, you know what I mean?

“I don’t think like that. I’m a team player and that’s what I do. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I depend on God and then my teammates.”

MLB.com: ...

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NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:34 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, history, yankees

AL West race: September 13, 2011

TEX 84-64 [7-4 in SEPT]
LAA 81-67 [8-4 in SEPT] (3 GB)

MLB.com: Slugging Rangers keep pressure on Angels

David Murphy hit two home runs and Josh Hamilton smashed his 20th of the season in leading the Rangers to a 10-4 victory over the Indians on Tuesday.


MLB.com: Kendrick homers twice as Angels keep pace

Looking for an elixir after a pair of demoralizing losses, the Angels turned to Howard Kendrick, and he delivered a pair of two-run homers on Tuesday night to power a 6-3 victory over the A’s.

NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:32 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

MLB.com: Verlander’s 23rd win cuts magic number to four

Justin Verlander won his 11th straight start to lead the Tigers to a 5-0 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday, the club’s 11th straight win overall. The 11-game team winning streak is the longest for the Tigers since an identical run from Sept. 9-21, 1968, and lowered the Tigers’ magic number for clinching the division to four.

Verlander (23-5) became the first Tigers starter to win 11 straight starts since at least 1919, holding the White Sox scoreless in his seven innings of work.

NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 03:49 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, tigers

Tim Wakefield wins #200

It took a Major League-record nine tries, but Wakefield is now part of an elite group of 108 who have done it all-time. Only 89 have reached the mark since 1900, and just 69 have done it since 1920.

In a game that swung back-and-forth early, Wakefield went six innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks. He fanned six and allowed a pair of home runs.

Jose is an Absurd Kahuna Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:42 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

AL Wildcard race: September 13, 2011

So the Red Sox are now 3-1 this month when they score in double digits, 0-8 otherwise.

BOS 86-61 [3-9 in SEPT]
TBR 82-65 [8-4 in SEPT] (4 GB)

MLB.com: Pedroia, Ellsbury help Wake get win No. 200

Led by Pedroia and the scorching hot Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox cruised to an 18-6 win over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Tuesday, lifting the Major League’s oldest player to his 200th career win.

MLB.com: Rays miss chance to keep pressure on Sox

The Rays couldn’t hold a late one-run lead as the Orioles tied it in the seventh, and Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer off J.P. Howell in the bottom of the eighth for a 4-2 final Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:22 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, rays, red sox

NL Wildcard race: September 13, 2011

ATL 85-64 [5-9 in SEPT]
STL 80-68 [8-4 in SEPT] (4.5 GB)

MLB.com: McCann’s clutch dinger sparks Braves’ rout

With one mighty swing of his bat at Turner Field on Tuesday night, McCann erased doubts concerning his health and once again proved capable of putting his team on his shoulders when necessary. His three-run, sixth-inning homer off Brad Hand sparked a sputtering offense and allowed the Braves to snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Marlins.

MLB.com: Punto delivers another late RBI to lift Cardinals

For the second time in five days, Punto drove in the game-winning run for the Cardinals. This time it was a one-out RBI double in the ninth inning against Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan, helping send St. Louis to a 6-4 win ...

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NTNgod Posted: September 14, 2011 at 02:15 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cardinals, game recaps

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Griffin: AL’s most valuable has to be Verlander

Whitfield/Strong ~ Witless/Weak

I was discussing with my wildly worldly colleague Cathal Kelly, as we often do when we get together, the state of the global economy, of fashion, shoes, sports, the newspaper biz and the importance of good hygiene and social networking, when the topic of AL MVP arose.

Now, as regular readers know, I am a baseball traditionalist from way back, while Cathal is more of a VORP, WAR, WHIP, OPS guy. Thus it was no surprise to hear him preach confidently about how the MVP this year should be a mortal lock for Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. It got me thinking.

In all of team professional sports, there are no three letters in combination that form an image in one’s mind’s eye of a fabulous, unmatched year of ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 11:04 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, tigers

Bob Costas narrates the evolution of statistics in Behind the Seams: The Stat Story

Fluck…I just noticed my ‘68 Mantle card is smeared with some weird Costasian assgrease smeglemmer!

From awarding a player a base hit to the rise of sabermetrics, the evolution of statistics in Major League Baseball is the focus of Behind the Seams: The Stat Story, a special produced for MLB Network by MLB Productions, premiering Sunday, September 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Behind the Seams: The Stat Story will feature statisticians and experts, including Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt, MLB’s official historian John Thorn, Baseball-Reference.com’s Sean Forman, Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheehan, Fangraphs.com contributor Jonah Keri, New York Times writer Alan Schwarz, Rotisserie League Baseball creator Dan Okrent and SB Nation’s Rob Neyer ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:21 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, history, media, projections, sabermetrics, television

ESPN: Baseball in Europe is about to take off

The unmistakable crack of a Louisville Slugger rings out over the Danube, that bluest of European rivers, snaking east from here all the way to the Black Sea after splicing up Vienna and Budapest and Belgrade and Bucharest. On the other bank lies Regensburg, a town of 130,000 that was founded in A.D. 90 as a Roman fort on the very edge of civilization, where the empire ended and barbarian wilderness began. The city is situated in the heart of the southeastern German state of Bavaria, tucked up against the Czech and Austrian borders. The old town teems with tourists, filling up beer gardens and artisanal bratwurst joints or sauntering through cobblestone alleys so narrow that you can touch both walls if you stick your arms out. They snap ...

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Gamingboy Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:11 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: international

MSC: Baseball Greats Cruise

Boat

image

Enjoy interactive question-and-answer session with the players, player-hosted trivia games, a lively story-telling session in which the players share candid revelations about some of the “characters” of the game. There are also pitching, hitting, and defense strategy clinics and a lively passenger pitching contest. The host and MC for all of the onboard activities on each cruise is former Yankee star Stan Bahnsen. At the finale of the cruise there is also a COMPLIMENTARY AUTOGRAPH session.

November 19, 2011
Ferguson Jenkins-Hall of Fame pitcher (Chicago Cubs & Texas Rangers)
Glenn Beckert-All Star and Gold Glove 2nd baseman (Chicago Cubs)
Frank Howard-Two time American League Homerun King
Bill Russell-Star shortstop for the Los ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 09:49 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: business, fantasy baseball, media, memorabilia

SI.com: Verducci: Rivera’s Career a Study of Poetry in Motion

BBTF needs Mo’ poetry:

Like the stillness of a deep mountain lake under moonlight or the rustle of a breeze through treetops, there is a natural harmony to Mariano Rivera that is so quiet as to be easily missed. What distinguishes the great Rivera is as much the absence of features as it is what he possesses. Absence of effort, absence of ego, absence of extraneous motion, even absence of facial hair and the accoutrements of fending off fear used by the modern, highly-caffeinated, highly-pampered closer.

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” Those are the words of Plato but the ways of Mariano.
. . .
There are numbers on Rivera that border on artistry themselves. They do help tell the story of his ...

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The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:58 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, yankees

Seamheads.com Negro League Database

Welcome to the Seamheads.com Negro Leagues Database, powered by The Baseball Gauge. We are creating the first comprehensive statistical encyclopedia of the great black baseball teams and leagues that operated behind the color line in the days of Jim Crow segregation.  The database also collects a vast amount of biographical information about these players, much of it previously unpublished.

Among the injustices visited upon the ballplayers of the Negro leagues, the lack of a statistical record of their accomplishments might not leap out as one of the worst; but it has proved one of the most lasting. The Negro National League was founded in 1920; it has taken 91 years to find out for sure that Cristóbal Torriente was the batting champion, ...

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Dan Hirsch Posted: September 13, 2011 at 07:34 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: history

HardballTalk: Gleeman at the movies: “Moneyball” review

A Gleebert-length review.

As a hardcore baseball fan who paid close attention to Billy Beane and the A’s during the period portrayed in the film there were a lot of specifics that stood out as questionable, particularly in terms of the movie’s time lines and exaggerated portrayals of certain characters (although the book is guilty of the latter as well).

However, what the movie lacked in historical accuracy it made up for in witty dialogue, likable characters, and a surprising amount of humor. I saw the movie in a packed theater and there were at least 8-10 moments where the entire audience laughed out loud, which certainly isn’t what I expected. ...

While creative license was taken with plenty of time lines and specifics, the ...

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Greg Franklin Posted: September 13, 2011 at 04:43 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, baseball geeks, books, business, media, reviews

La Russa hates losing, loves overmanaging

Now Dotel is murder on right-handers, but struggles against lefties. So La Russa is setting himself up for a multiple-pitcher inning, no matter how Dotel fared against right-handers Andrew McCutchen and Derek Lee. Dotel got McCutchen, but walked Lee. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski was brought in to face switch-hitting Ryan Doumit. Like Dotel, Rzepczynski has a big platoon split (.491 OPS against lefties, .717 against righties). Doumit doubled into the right-field corner to tie the score.

Now came the interesting part. The Pirates, of course, have plenty of options on the bench as well. Lefty Garrett Jones was due up, but Ryan Ludwick pinch-hit; La Russa walked him intentionally to bring up lefty-hitting Pedro Alvarez. Except the Pirates don’t ...

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ColonelTom Posted: September 13, 2011 at 02:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: general

McCarron: Experts debate meaning of save No. 600 - Mariano Rivera

Experts, yes…but then they bring in Mitch Williams.

Some, however, believe that saves are an overvalued, overhyped stat that has created a class of wealthy relievers, pitchers who maybe wouldn’t have been as successful had they been starting pitchers.

...But one study, by Dave Smith of the website retrosheet.org, shows that winning percentages for teams carrying a lead into the ninth inning have not changed much over the years, including in one-run games. In other words, using a closer has not really enhanced teams’ chances of holding those leads.

...“I started looking at what are your chances of winning after eight innings, if you are winning by 1 run, 2 runs, 3 runs,” Smith says. “Go through the pattern through years and it hasn’t ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 01:23 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics, yankees

McCoy: Francisco’s 502-footer, four Reds homers not enough

The Real McCoy – Accept No Limitations!

When they designed and built Great American Ball Park, they had no idea they were building a comedy stage.

But they did. And the place is a joke. Balls fly out GABP like exploding atoms. They probably need a humidor here, too, like the one in which they place baseballs before games at Colorado’s Coors Field.

...SO NOW THE Reds have a league-leading 169 home runs. What good does it do? They are in third place and they are one loss or one Milwaukee win away from being eliminated, with 15 games to play.

...Of Francisco’s home run, Baker said, “The kid has tremendous power. That’s what we’ve always liked about him. That’s one of the longest home runs I’ve seen hit in a very long time. ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 01:11 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: reds, sabermetrics

Puma: Selig: Mets never threatened over cap flap

A red-faced Bud Selig called the Mets on Sunday night, the commissioner of baseball irate that the organization had thrown his office “under the bus” in divulging MLB was responsible for the decision that banned players from wearing caps honoring emergency services workers during the 9/11 game at Citi Field.

“[Selig] got embarrassed by it,” a Mets official said before last night’s 3-2 loss to the Nationals. “The game got moved into prime time because of 9/11, and [MLB] ended up getting embarrassed.” . . .

In an interview with Sirius XM radio, MLB disciplinary czar Joe Torre denied the Mets were threatened with a fine if they didn’t comply with the uniform code. The Mets were allowed to wear the caps honoring first responders during ...

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Stormy JE Posted: September 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Sullivan: Felix Hernandez Silences Yankees Trade Chatter By Getting Blasted By Yankees

You’ll laugh so hard your fantasy ERA/WHIP sides will ache…

And we built some narratives around it. Felix became a big-game pitcher. He became a guy who reached back for something extra whenever he went up against pinstripes. He became the Evil Empire’s worst enemy, an ace for whom they just didn’t have an answer.

Well, Felix might still be a big-game pitcher. I think he is still a big-game pitcher. And he might still reach back for something extra whenever he goes up against pinstripes. But most constructed narratives begin to collapse under the weight of a growing sample size, and tonight, Felix faced the Yankees and got hit.

...But still, six runs and nine hits in six innings. Tonight, the Yankees treated Felix Hernandez the way ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:31 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mariners, sabermetrics, yankees

Haudricourt: Brewers have built record by beating lesser teams

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin noted there are many caveats to the presumption that his club can only beat bad teams. First of all, there are only six winning records among the 16 NL clubs, meaning you’re likely to be playing a losing team much of the time.

“So, there’s only five other teams because we’re one of them,” said Melvin. “The other (first-place) teams are doing the same thing. We’ve won the games you have to win.”

Melvin also pointed out that some teams the Brewers beat earlier in the season had winning records at the time. Florida was 31-23 when the Brewers showed up in Miami in early June and swept a four-game series, starting a Marlins collapse that later led to a change of managers.

Pittsburgh also played well ...

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Repoz Posted: September 13, 2011 at 10:22 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, projections

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-13-2011

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, September 13, 1911:

James R. McAleer, manager of the Washington American League baseball team, has gone to Youngstown, O., to complete financial arrangements that will enable him to close the deal for the Boston American league team at his conference with Owner John I. Taylor in Boston, next Thursday.

...

Everything has been arranged for the transfer from Mr. Taylor to Manager McAleer excepting the minor details, it was said here today.

McAleer owned the Sox for less that two years, allegedly being forced out mostly because Ban Johnson was grumpy that McAleer forced manager Jake Stahl to resign.

There’s another version of the story of McAleer’s ouster that Ban Johnson sold the team out from under him after an ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 13, 2011 at 09:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, red sox

MLB.com: Tigers thump White Sox for 10th straight win

Detroit routed the White Sox for the second time in eight days on Monday, beating Chicago, 14-4, to extend its winning streak to 10 games and its division lead to a season-best 11 1/2 over both the White Sox and Indians. The 10-game run, which started with a three-game sweep of the White Sox in Detroit, is the team’s longest since an 11-game streak from Sept. 9-21, 1968.

“I don’t even think about stuff like that,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “That’s nice to read in the newspaper and for people to talk about, but I don’t think about that stuff. We’re just playing good baseball right now and getting some timely hits.”

NTNgod Posted: September 13, 2011 at 05:28 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, tigers

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