Ace pitcher Tim Lincecum let up just two hits through nine innings, striking out 14 for the San Francisco Giants to win over the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS last night at AT&T Park. “As far as shutouts go, I think that was up there with my better ones,” said Lincecum after completing his outing on seven days’ rest. “I was pretty anxious to get out there a couple days ago. You just have to deal with those extra days.” The two-time Cy Young Award winner joined Roger Clemens (2000 Yankees) as the only pitchers to strike out 14 or more and allow two hits or fewer in a postseason shutout.
The Giants lone run came in the fourth inning when Cody Ross singled in Buster Posey following a controversial call at second base. “I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay right now,” said Posey. “It was a beautiful slide, wasn’t it?” Veteran right-hander Derek Lowe scattered four hits during his time on the mound before making his exit in the sixth inning. Game 2 is scheduled for tonight at 9:37 PM ET.
The San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves earned their place in post-season play last Sunday during the final regular season MLB contests. The Giants clinched the NL West Division title after a 3-0 victory over the San Diego Padres as the Braves captured the Wild Card following their 8-7 win against the 2009 NL champion Philadelphia Phillies. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will start on the hill for San Francisco. This season he was 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts against the Braves.
Derek Lowe was just recently announced as the other Game 1 starter in light of his successful September streak. The National League Pitcher of the Month earned his rank after going 5-0 with 29 strikeouts while producing a 1.17 ERA. “All that is stuff you look back at in the offseason and go, that was a good run,” said Lowe. “But clearly you want to pitch like this in the postseason. People will remember that more than what you do in September.”
The Philadelphia Phillies were able to cruise to another NL East Division title, finishing their 2010 regular season campaign at 97-65. They will matchup with the NL Central winning Cincinnati Reds, a team that hasn’t seen the NLDS in fifteen years. Edinson Volquez will start in the opening game for the Reds. The five-year veteran right-hander has been working hard to regain his strength since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August of 2009. “It’s an honor for me,” said Volquez. “For me it’s big, because I was out for one year and came back from Tommy John. This is the first game of the playoffs. It’s big-time.” Ace pitcher Roy Halladay will get the start for the Phillies. Check back for 2010 MLB playoff updates.
Giants vs. Braves NLDS Schedule:
Game 1: Braves @ Giants Thursday, Oct. 7
Game 2: Braves @ Giants Friday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Giants @ Braves Sunday, Oct. 10
Game 4*: Giants @ Braves Monday, Oct. 11
Game 5*: Braves @ Giants Wednesday, Oct. 13
Phillies vs. Reds NLDS Schedule:
Game 1: Reds @ Phillies Wednesday, Oct. 6
Game 2: Reds @ Phillies Friday, Oct. 8
Game 3: Phillies @ Reds Sunday, Oct. 10
Game 4*: Phillies @ Reds Monday, Oct. 11
Game 5*: Reds @ Phillies Wednesday, Oct. 13
2x All-Star first baseman Derrek Lee is set to join the Atlanta Braves lineup after the Chicago Cubs struck a deal to land three minor league pitchers with hopes to build for the future. The young talent consists of right-handers Robinson Lopez, 19, and Tyrelle Harris, 23, and lefty Jeffrey Lorick, 22. The Cubs are currently five games out of the AL Central behind the Minnesota Twins.
Lee, a 13-year veteran will look to contribute immediately in Atlanta to help the organization remain atop the NL East Division with post-season play just around the corner. Dealing for the 34-year old allows Troy Glaus to re-locate to third base as Chipper Jones remains sidelined with a torn ACL.
“It doesn’t get any better,” said Jones when asked about Lee joining the club. “Outstanding character guy. Outstanding player. Defensively at first base, he’s top-notch. And he gives us another right-handed presence in the middle of our lineup.” Lee has earned a .251 batting average with 16 home runs and 56 RBI’s so far this season. His travels will be easier than expected as the Cubs are next set to host the Braves at Wrigley for three games starting Friday, August 20th.
Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann doubled in the seventh inning to bring in three runs for the National League to claim victory in the 2010 All-Star Game last night in Anaheim, CA. The six year veteran gave the NL their first win in 13 years, rightfully earning MVP rights through just one swing of the bat in yesterday’s defensive battle. The American League found the board once in the fifth when Yankees Robinson Cano hit a sacrifice fly to score Rays Evan Longoria.
National League players and coaches are looking forward to fighting against eachother for the chance at home advantage in this year’s World Series. “It’s a big deal. I think home teams play better at home,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “It feels good, it feels real good. I talked to our guys before the game and told them how important home-field advantage was.”
The 2010 events were highlighted with tributes to longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and announcer Bob Sheppard. One of the more special moments came in the first inning when a recording of Sheppard introduced shortstop Derek Jeter as he stepped up to the plate. The Yankees currently lead the AL East standings at 56-32 with Tampa Bay trailing by two games. The Boston Red Sox find themselves five games back with a number of players hoping to return from injury within the next couple of weeks.
The Atlanta Braves just recently offered free agent and 2X World Champion Johnny Damon a one-year $4.5 million contract. Damon’s agent Scott Boras previously made clear that they’re looking for a two-year deal, but Atlanta players and coaches alike would certainly be excited to welcome the longtime veteran into their clubhouse. “I think he’d be a good addition,” said Braves third basemen Chipper Jones. “He’s a guy with experience and he provides us depth at the outfield position.”
Damon batted .282 with 24 homers and 82 RBI’s last season with the New York Yankees. After a successful title run in the Bronx, it looks as though New York has chosen to take away his pinstripes. The organization previously offered Damon a one-year contract but he refused. The Yanks then acquired Curtis Granderson and Randy Winn to solidify the outfield spots. More MLB hot stove updates to come!
Going for a series sweep, the Boston Red Sox were hoping flu-like symptoms would keep Braves rookie sensation Tommy Hanson from pitching. However, Hanson fought through the illness impressively. Allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, Hanson dominated the Sox lineup. With just one run for the Sox in the entire game (from Jason Varitek in the 9th), the Sox seemed ready to put interleague play behind them. Though the Sox finished 11-7 versus the NL, both Sox pitchers and DH David Ortiz can get back into normal playing routines.
Prior to last night, the Sox collected victories with Beckett and Wakefield at the mound. Only allowing 4 runs in the 3 games played this series, the Sox starting rotation looked unstoppable. David Ortiz hit his 8th homer of the season this weekend, continuing to fix his batting average and stats.
With the orthodox schedule back, the Sox start a series at Baltimore and then have a 10 game home trip leading into the all star break. With 1 day off and 13 games until the break, the Red Sox are looking to keep their AL East lead and to further gain control of the American League.
Boston Red Sox tickets are available now!
Wednesday night was not so lucky for the Atlanta Braves. Former .400 average hopeful Chipper Jones strained his left hamstring trying to run out a grounder in the 4th inning. Just two innings later, Tim Hudson left with right elbow tightness after 6 shutout innings. Hudson has tossed only 68 total pitches. Hudson said the large number of splitters he threw may have led to the tightness.
“I don’t foresee it being that big of a deal,” Hudson said. “It doesn’t feel too bad. It just feels like tight muscles.”
Jones will miss a few games, but will most likely not be going on the DL. The Braves will miss Chipper’s offensive production as they open up a series against the NL East co-leading Philadelphia Phillies.
Hiroki Kuroda’s first year in the MLB has been a rollercoaster ride. His solid perfomances were generally bookended by abysmal ones. Kuroda’s June started and ended with 6-run, 2.2 inning outings… with a 4-hit complete-game shutout in between.
Kuroda did not seem to be fazed by giving up the hit, his focus was on the score of the game.
“My main concern was that he was the leadoff hitter in that inning, it was a 2-2 count and I didn’t want to walk him because I didn’t have that big of a lead,” Kuroda said through a translator. “I was concentrating more on not allowing any runs. I wasn’t really nervous, but I felt the pressure from the fans because they were expecting something big.”
Kuroda settled down, not allowing any more baserunners on the night. With the win, the Dodgers moved into a tie for first in the NL West with Arizona.
Kuroda spent 11 years playing for the Hiroshima Carp of the Japanese Central League before signing with the Dodgers in December of 2007.
After making it through the top of the 3rd inning, the rains came and washed out the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals in their season opener. The defending NL Champions were trailing 5-1 at the time the game was called but it will all be erased and replayed at a later date.
The Arizona Diamondbacks still have a bitter taste in their mouth after being swept last October in the NLCS by the Colorado Rockies. Taking the field for the first time since that playoff series, the defending NL West Champions looked very solid in a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Webb picked up right where the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner left off pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in route to his first victory of the year. The offensive attack was led by three solo bombs hit by Chris Young and Eric Byrnes in the 3rd inning and the other hit by Jeff Salazar in a PH at bat in the 7th that gave the D-Backs some breathing room with a 2 run cushion. Brandon Lyon recorded the save pitching a perfect 9th inning.
It was a pitchers duel for 8 innings in Chicago at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers before both teams came to life for 3 run 9th inning performances, but it was the Brewers who would prevail with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings. Corey Hart lifted the Brewers with a 2 RBI double in the ninth that put them ahead 3-0. Closer Eric Gagne came in and suffered his first blown save of the season (surprise, surprise) by allowing a three-run home run to Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome, the first of his major league career, which knotted the game at 3-3. In the 10th inning, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a sac-fly that plated Craig Counsell for the game winning run for the Brewers. David Riske pitched a perfect 10th frame and recorded the save.
With 5 runs on 5 hits in the top of the 9th inning, the Washington Nationals turned a close game into a statement win in their 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Johnson’s RBI double opened the flood gates for National bats, and the hits just kept on coming as the team chased out Phillies closer Tom Gordon after allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits and only recording 1 out. Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge each produced 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Nationals in the win. The Phillies were led by SS Jimmy Rollins who went 2-4 on the game with a pair of RBI’s and a HR.
Behind the arm of Johan Santana, the New York Mets captured their first victory of the 2008 season over the Florida Marlins with a 7-2 win. Santana struck out 8 and allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings. The one mistake he made came in the 4th inning when he allowed a two-run homer to Josh Willingham. After the HR, Santana would only allow two runners to reach base. The Mets scored 6 of their 7 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, led by a bases clearing double by 3B David Wright. Wright went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the game. New York’s bullpen worked a scoreless 8th and 9th to preserve the win for Santana, Mark Hendrickson suffered the loss for Florida.
Brad Penny pitched 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers back it up with some early runs that would be hold up for a 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Barry Zito struggled for the Giants allowing 3 runs in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd. He last only 5 innings and was pulled after 87 pitches and allowing 8 hits. The Dodgers runs in the 1st came on a Matt Kemp RBI single, followed by a Jeff Kent two-run blast to deep left-center field. SS Rafael Furcal also added three hits in the winning effort.
The Atlanta Braves came up just short, twice, in a thrilling 12-11 twelve innings game that ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates on top. The Braves mustered up a 5 run 9th inning to tie the game at 9-9 and left the winning run on base. After a few scoreless innings, the Pirates were able to score three runs in the 12th on Xavier Nady three-run homer to dead center field. The Braves made things interesting scoring 2 in the bottom of the 12th on a Jeff Francoeur solo shot and an RBI single by Matt Diaz but stranded the tying run on base to suffer their second loss of the season. Tom Glavine pitched well for the Braves but took a no decision with 5 innings pitched, 7 hits and 1 earned run allowed. Pirates relief pitcher, Franquelis Osoria, pitched from the 10th inning on, and finished the game for the win.
Jake Peavy helped his own cause by going 1-1 at the plate with 2 RBI’s and then made those runs stand up by pitching 7 scoreless innings in San Diego’s 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros. 2B Tadahito Iguchi paced a balanced offensive attack for the Padres with 3 hits on the night. The Astros looked rusty at the plate only collecting 4 hits in the contest, 2 of them coming from newly acquired SS Miguel Tejada. Row Oswalt took the loss for Houston, scattering 11 hits and 3 strike outs over 5 and 1/3 innings worked.