Category: MLB JERSEYS

Boston’s ‘Cora Four’ has the stuff dynasties are made of

10

Led by 32-year-old player-manager Jake Stahl, the 1912 Red Sox won the American League by 14 games. They relied on a young roster that included future Hall of Famers Tris Speaker and Harry Hopper, both 24, and a 22-year-old “Smoky” Joe Wood. They went on to stun the New York Giants in a seven-game World Series showdown that crowned the inaugural first season at Fenway Park. That was also the year Speaker cemented his superstar status, hitting .383, stealing 52 bags and hitting 10 home runs.

The 2018 edition of the Red Sox have an 11½-game lead in the AL East over the New York Yankees, with a magic number of two to clinch the division with 12 games left this season. This seems to be the year that 25-year-old Mookie Betts will cement his superstar status. He’s a front-runner for AL MVP, leading the majors in batting average (.337) and WAR (10.0), ranking second in runs scored (118), OBP (.431) and OPS (1.049), and third in slugging (.619).nfl cheap jerseys nike

But that’s where comparisons should end. The 1912 Red Sox hit a team total of 29 home runs in the dead ball era and scored a total of 799 runs over their 154-game season. Their competition was also limited to the seven other AL teams in the American League, long before baseball’s integration.10

The 2018 Red Sox have dominated with a formidable offense, leading the majors in almost every single category, helped by home-run-powerhouse J.D. Martinez. But with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers in the infield, and Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi in the outfield, the Sox are doing it with something few playoff-bound Red Sox teams have had: a core of young, homegrown talent. A platform for success not just this year, but for years to come. And those four players might have a long future ahead of them playing for rookie manager Alex Cora.

“The next couple of years we’re going to be good due to the fact we’re kind of young, team-controlled, type of things. And you definitely sometimes think about the possibilities [in the] next couple of years,” Betts said.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The 2018 Red Sox have had more than 500 games played by homegrown position players age 25-and-under this season. The most games they got from players that age or younger in any of their prior three World Series years (2004, 2007 and 2013) was the 257 games played by homegrown players 25-and-under in 2007. And while the current group of four shared little time together throughout the Red Sox affiliates, they have all dreamt of the special brand of success that comes from being part of a homegrown core.

Cubs show off playoff formula in beating Diamondbacks

9

And it was a thing of beauty on Monday night, thanks mostly to starter Kyle Hendricks. He’s likely to get the ball in Game 3 of a postseason series, but as he has done many times in his career, he threw like an ace in shutting down the fading Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1, while just missing out on a complete game.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“You see bad swings by good hitters” is how manager Joe Maddon described it afterward.

Hendricks had it going, as he induced a swing rate of 58 percent, the highest in two seasons for him. Also, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information, his 25 first-pitch strikes were the second most of his career. And his changeup was devastating, as he struck out seven Diamondbacks on that pitch alone. Imagine that Kyle Hendricks in a playoff series, following Jon Lester and Cole Hamels.9

Cubs fans can begin to dream that dream, as the team reduced its magic number to win the NL Central to 10.

“We’ve been waiting for a little roll to happen,” Hendricks said. “It’s nice for us to be coming all together.”

Though it was a magnificent performance, a well-pitched game by the Cubs isn’t exactly headline material these days. The real narrative on Monday — and what might have meaning next month — is that some of the Cubs’ bigger stars showed up in the box score, namely former MVP Kris Bryant. He was 2-for-3 with two opposite-field hits, including his first home run since July 20. The majority of his time between then and now was spent on the disabled list with a bum shoulder. Bryant could just now be starting to feel like his old self again.

“We all know what KB can do here,” teammate Javier Baez said. “It’s not the way he’s used to swinging. He’s still getting used to it. I know he’s going to hit. Having him in the lineup, it changes how the other team pitches to us. They have to pitch to him, [Anthony] Rizzo or me, or whoever is in between.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Bryant is adjusting, but as the at-bats have piled up in his return, he’s looking more and more like the dangerous hitter and on-base threat the league knows him to be. With an offense that has struggled throughout the second half, a productive Bryant can make the Cubs that much better.

Jon Lester’s departure leads to Brewers closing gap on Cubs

10

it was Jon Lester’s back, then it was Josh Hader’s arm. Both contributed to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Monday, drawing them to within one game of the two-time defending National League Central Division champions.

Lester had to leave after 5⅔ innings due to back spasms, handing the ball to much maligned reliever CJ Edwards, who promptly threw a wild one on his first pitch, allowing the winning run to score. Lester thought he might have hurt his back on a swing earlier in the game.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“I think it will be fine,” he said afterward. “It’s not anything painful, just kind of uncomfortable.”

Painful was watching Edwards enter a tie game with men on second and third and two outs. It’s a decision by Cubs manager Joe Maddon worthy of second guessing: Over his past 15 appearances, Edwards had walked 10 and given up eight hits. With a rested bullpen — the Cubs were rained out Sunday — Maddon could have chosen any number of arms, but instead, called upon the least reliable of his top relievers.10

“I just wanted to reduce his outing tonight to one out,” Maddon explained. “Once Jon was in the situation he was in, I thought, ‘Get Carl out there, get one out, let him walk off the field, feel good about himself, and then you have the other guys for the rest of the game.’

“We need to get Carl straightened out. The symmetry of the bullpen is different without him out there. His skill set is really important to us. We have to get him right.“china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The Cubs do, indeed, need a good Edwards for October, but they might not get there by pitching him in a high-leverage situation right now. To add insult to injury, Edwards didn’t exactly hustle to cover home on the wild pitch. And so after taking the lead, Brewers manager Craig Counsell called on Hader, the dynamic lefty, for the next two innings. He struck out all six batters he faced, the first time that has happened (facing at least six and striking them all out) for a pitcher since 2013, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

“What are you going to do with that?” Lester said rhetorically. “The guy is throwing 97 mph. He’s basically Chris Sale from a relief standpoint, with his angle and everything.”

Cubs have nothing to regret as Quintana delivers on crosstown swap

8

It’s one of those conversations that Chicago baseball fans will be having for years to come: Did the White Sox rip off the Cubs in stealing prospect phenom Eloy Jimenez and pitcher Dylan Cease or did the Cubs come out on the better end in grabbing steady lefty Jose Quintana?

Common thinking on sports talk radio and bars around Chicago is that the Sox will reap the benefits for years to come, as Jimenez looks like a once-in-a-generation player. But here’s the thing: The Cubs are receiving the benefits right now, and their window for winning is in the present.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Quintana came up with the biggest win to date this season for the team he has played on since July 2017, following years of pitching for the non-contending White Sox. Quintana threw 6⅔ innings, giving up just three hits and no runs on Tuesday. It lowered his ERA to less than 4.00 for the first time since July 22 and his pitching line as a Cub to 20-12 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.24 WHIP8

He’s pitching his best baseball exactly when his team needs it most. The win kept the Brewers from tying the Cubs for first place in the National League Central. It was that big.

“There is a very confident look about him,” Maddon said. “He’s a very humble man, so you have to really look in there.”

Maddon is right. There isn’t a lot of flair to Quintana’s game — which could be the opposite to that of Jimenez, who hit .355 with a .597 slugging percentage at Triple-A this season. Jimenez already has penned a Player’s Tribune article, and he might very well be destined for greatness at the major league level.

But when the Cubs traded for Quintana, they had a big need in their rotation. No matter what Jimenez or Cease accomplish, no one can take away what Quintana already has meant to the Cubs. He might very well contribute to two postseason appearances with his new team before those two prospects even sniff the majors. That’s no small thing. In fact, that’s everything.

“I don’t worry about the trade,” Quintana said as he put on his shoes after Tuesday’s game. “If I do good or bad, I try to be focused on my job.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

That doesn’t mean he’s not aware of the enormity of it. After all, the Cubs and White Sox pulling off a midseason blockbuster isn’t exactly an annual occurrence.

Happy camper: An 87-year-old Cardinals fan helped remind Hall of Famers ‘why we love this game’

8

The sign above the portal to the stadium says “Doubleday Field,” but on this gray, pre-church bell Sunday morning in Cooperstown, New York, in late June, it might as well say, “Once upon a time …”

For one thing, the old ballpark looks pretty much the same as it did when the field was first used following the induction of the inaugural Hall of Fame class in June 1939. For another, the two teams playing for the championship of the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals Cooperstown Fantasy Camp are being managed by Dave LaPoint and John Stuper, who were rookie pitchers and roommates on the 1982 world champion Cardinals. As for the gnomish man sitting in the home dugout? That’s Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who literally saved that series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In fact, that game is the reason why Anagnost, now 87, has been wearing the birds on the bat for the past three days. As he tells it, “My dad owned a candy store in Sherburne, The Sweet Shoppe. He was from the old country, but he knew enough to expose his kids to American sports. nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap Early in the game — first inning, as I recall — one of the Cardinal players hit the ball to the wall and started running around the bases trying for an inside-the-park home run. Well, he skidded coming around third base, then dove back into third. This was an exhibition game, mind you. Some guy in the stands asked, ‘Who was that guy?’ and somebody else answered, ‘That was Enos Slaughter.’ Well, that was enough for me. From then on, I was a Cardinals fan.

“That was the Alpha. I guess you could say this is the Omega. Except I’m not quite done yet,” he says.8

Down the block from Doubleday Field, in one of the folders in the Hall of Fame Library, there’s an old account in The Sporting News that confirms Anagnost’s recollection: “In the first inning, Country Slaughter pummeled a fastball to the center field fence for a triple. Slaughter would have tallied ahead of the relay, but fell rounding third. [Dick] Fowler then made Musial bound out, Pete Suder to Dick Siebert.” That’s right, Stan Musial, then barely a man at 21 and not yet The Man, ended the inning. Later in the game, Musial hit an inside-the-park homer to help the Cardinals win 5-2.

Other details further dated Anagnost’s first game: 79-year-old A’s manager Connie Mack gave a speech beforehand; ticket prices ranged from 50 cents (bleachers) to $1.50 (along the baselines); and the crowd of 6,720 might have been even larger had the wartime gas and tire rationing not been in effect.

“Sherburne was only about an hour away from Cooperstown,” Anagnost says. “But that day opened up a whole new world to me. I was hooked for life.”

And a remarkable life it has been. Anagnost returned to Doubleday Field four years later, for the state high school championships.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“I was a sophomore, played right field and catcher,” he says. “Sherburne lost the championship game to Binghamton Central 5-4 in the ninth inning. I remember that one of our guys, Bill Quinn, looked at the second-place certificate they gave us, then ripped it up right there.”

After high school, Anagnost went to Cornell, graduating in 1952 with a degree in economics. During the Korean War, he became a first lieutenant in the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, specializing in automatic weapons.

Inside the Cubs’ position-player pitching experience

7

It’s not just a fad anymore, or something to laugh about later. Major league managers are using their position players on the mound as a strategy — instead of a novelty — to save their bullpen. And as you might imagine, Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is at the forefront of the trend. He’s more unorthodox than most.

This year alone, the Cubs have used a position player in six different instances — the most times in baseball — including in two games in four days recently. In one, against the St. Louis Cardinals, Maddon used three different position players to get through innings seven through nine. Three days later, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he used two more to finish the game, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has been begging his various managers over the years to get his chance. It finally came with two outs in the ninth inning.

“Was good theatre,” Maddon said. “I’ve heard from more fans walking around how much they enjoyed that moment.“nfl cheap jerseys nike

Rizzo threw two pitches, getting A.J. Pollock to fly out to center field. Those in attendance went crazy, giving him a standing ovation, despite the 7-1 loss.

“It was crazy,” Pollock said. “Fans going nuts. I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Then you’re trying to figure out how hard he’s going to throw. You know he can probably throw in the 80s or is he going to just go with 40 mph?”7

Rizzo made sure to throw on the softer side, as an injury would have been a monumental public relations disaster for the Cubs, let alone one that could have dashed their World Series hopes.

“I take my side sessions during my pregame routine a little more serious, actually,” Rizzo said. “But I’m not going to the mound and blow out my arm.”

No matter what the final score is, position players pitching almost always elicit entertaining moments, such as when Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini took the mound to face Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt last Monday. Caratini already had an inning under his belt, logged a few days prior against the Cardinals, but that didn’t settle his nerves.

“Honestly, I was a little bit scared,” Caratini recalled through an interpreter. “He’s a great hitter. I was just waiting for a line drive right back at me. I didn’t know how I would be able to react to it.”

Before Goldschmidt stepped in, Caratini got some sage advice from his backstop mate, Willson Contreras.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Caratini told me he might quick-pitch Paul Goldschmidt because he didn’t want to get hit by a line drive,” Contreras said. “I told him to throw really soft and start running back. Then you’ll have time to react.”

Trade talk we’re hearing: Who wants Hamels, what’s next for Orioles

7

Under typical circumstances, Texas Rangers starter Cole Hamels might be the prize of the trade deadline. He’s a tested veteran with four All-Star appearances and a 2008 World Series MVP Award on his resume.

Hamels has a 4.72 ERA this season and he’s allowed 23 home runs — tied for second most in the majors behind Kansas City’s Jakob Junis. After getting shelled by Oakland in a 15-3 loss Monday, Hamels is 1-3 with an ERA of 11.12 in June. Those numbers are reminiscent of Yu Darvish’s implosion during his 2017 pre-deadline showcase before Texas traded him to the Dodgers.

As a result, things are strangely quiet on the Hamels front. An executive for one team in the starting-pitching market said the Rangers have “nothing” going on with Hamels at the moment. Another club recently discussed Hamels on a conference call and came away with reservations that he can be an impact addition down the stretch.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

So what’s the problem? Hamels’ velocity is down a tick from two years ago, and some scouts think that’s enough to reduce the effectiveness of his changeup. But Hamels averaged 92.7 mph against Oakland and touched 94 on the gun, and he still got lit up by the A’s. The bigger concern: He consistently fell behind in the count and threw only 55 strikes among his 92 pitches.

“It’s all delivery and command,” said an evaluator. “He’s just making mistakes.”7

Some Rangers officials think Hamels has been stressed out by all the trade speculation, and that it’s weighing on him personally. Hamels and his wife, Heidi, have four children, and it was a major adjustment for them to leave Philadelphia for Texas at the 2015 trade deadline. It doesn’t help that the Rangers are 23½ games out in the AL West and playing out the string.

If the July 31 deadline passes with no trade, that doesn’t necessarily spell the end of Hamels-related speculation. If the fog clears, the pressure lifts and Hamels starts pitching to his historical levels, he’s a prime candidate to be traded in August.

Hamels’ contract allows him to veto trades to 20 clubs, and he would almost certainly want his $20 million option for 2019 exercised before he signs off on any deal. But the Rangers have made it clear they’re willing to eat some of Hamels’ money, and he shouldn’t have any trouble clearing waivers.

Now that the Phillies-related buzz has dissipated, Hamels’ best bet might be a relocation to the National League Central. The Brewers’ starting pitching was middling even before Brent Suter blew out his elbow, and the Cubs are looking for a rotation upgrade. Seattle, the Yankees and several other clubs might be only one injury away from jumping in the mix.

In the interim, Texas isn’t having much luck with its other trade chips. Shin-Soo Choo has been terrific, but he’s elicited nothing more than a couple of nibbles. Beyond that, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela and Matt Moore are available amid a glut of relief options.cheap nike jerseys nfl

The Rangers are one of several teams sitting on a starting pitcher that they value more than other clubs do. Toronto’s J.A. Happ, like Hamels, was mentioned prominently in trade speculation a few weeks ago. But the Happ rumors have cooled considerably of late.

“Everybody is looking for bullpen help, because the relievers out there are better,” said a general manager. “What starter out there is really a must-have for a contender?”

Yankees GM: Catcher Gary Sanchez out until at least late August

5

The New York Yankees are expecting injured catcher Gary Sanchez to be shelved until late August or early September, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

“Thankfully what Gary has is a solvable health issue; it’s a timing one,” Cashman said Wednesday. “We’ll just have to wait on it and hopefully be in a better position when he returns from the DL.”

Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday after an MRI that morning revealed he had aggravated a groin injury that he had just returned from last week. The right groin strain was initially suffered in a late June game at Tropicana Field, where he was trying to beat out a ground ball in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.nike cheap nfl jerseys

Sanchez said he began feeling tightness in the same spot when he got out of his crouch to chase after a passed ball that got away in Monday night’s 7-6 loss to the Rays. As he seemingly took his time getting to the baseball, a Rays baserunner scored all the way from second base.5

Later in that game, Sanchez came out of the batter’s box slowly on a ninth-inning ground ball before trying to speed up far too late to beat a putout throw. Had he reached base, he would have driven in a crucial game-tying run. Instead, he was thrown out, ending the game.

After being criticized for the lackadaisical effort, Sanchez later expressed remorse for having let his teammates and fans down.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“When the other team scores runs and you have the game on the line and you end up basically losing the game because it’s your fault, you feel really bad about that,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “You feel bad for your teammates, you feel bad for the fans, because you want to give them the maximum effort.

“You have a responsibility as a player, and when you don’t give them the best you can, of course you’re going to feel that you let them down.”

It was during a conference call with reporters following Tuesday night’s trade with the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Zach Britton when Cashman also was asked about Sanchez. He said he would explore the options of adding another catcher by the trade deadline, but he wasn’t optimistic that would happen.

“We’ll see,” Cashman said. “We’re a little more vulnerable in the event that we have another issue at the catching position. Where do we turn to next?

Yanks’ manager Aaron Boone has noticed Red Sox winning

9

As the Boston Red Sox keep piling up wins entering the All-Star Break, one of their rivals has been paying attention.

Although New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone hasn’t been on the hunt for daily updates about the recently hot Red Sox, it still has been hard for him to escape news about how well they have been playing.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Asked before Sunday’s first-half finale against the Cleveland Indians if he did any scoreboard-watching as far as the American League East-leading Red Sox were concerned, Boone smiled and said: “I see that they win every day.”

The response elicited laughter from reporters in the Yankees’ dugout.9

Boone contends that despite being familiar with how successful the Red Sox have been lately, his focus remains on his squad.

“I don’t worry about it that much. At this point, I just kind of smile at it,” Boone said.

Since losing two of three to the Yankees in a series in the Bronx two weeks ago, the Red Sox have rattled off 11 wins in their past 12 games entering Sunday’s series finale with the Blue Jays. That stretch includes a 10-game winning streak that was snapped Friday.

New York has gone 8-5 since that Boston series, ahead of play Sunday. After being tied for the division lead with Boston following the rivals’ last meeting, the Yankees came into Sunday’s action trailing the Red Sox by 3½ games.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“The bottom line is we don’t control anything, and it’s July,” Boone said. “There’s a long way and a lot of baseball left to play, and there’s nothing you can do to worry about it. We’re so uber-focused on us, and in the end, if we take care of business and play to our capabilities, we’ll put ourselves in a great position.

“I’m worried about us going out and playing our best. If we do that, hopefully we’ll get to where we want to go.”

Futures Game a showcase of potential Manny Machado trade chips

7

Before Manny Machado arrived for the All-Star Game, the Futures Game on Sunday was a who’s who of prospects bandied about in trade talks for the Baltimore Orioles shortstop and others expected to be moved before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. New York Mets prospect Peter Alonso hit one of eight home runs in the game as the United States beat the World 10-6 in a three-hour respite from the rumors.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“There’s definitely a lot of talk going around with trades and all that,” said Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, who has been mentioned as a possible trade chip for Machado. “There’s always questions of who’s getting moved and all that. … Whatever happens talking-wise or behind the scenes, that’s out of our control.”

A couple players in this game already know what these guys are going through. Luis Basabe went to the Chicago White Sox in the trade that netted the Red Sox lefty starter Chris Sale, and Dawel Lugo was part of the haul the Detroit Tigers got from the Arizona Diamondbacks for J.D. Martinez.

Alonso’s seventh-inning home run came off Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Adonis Medina, whose wild pitch on a strikeout allowed the go-ahead run to score. Medina has also been linked to Machado, with the Phillies showing serious interest.7

New York Yankees pitching prospect Justus Sheffield allowed a home run and had a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings of work. Sheffield is considered untouchable, even with the Yankees trying to catch the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have plenty of prospect ammunition to get in on the Machado sweepstakes, including catcher Keibert Ruiz and outfielder Yusniel Diaz. Ruiz and the Dodgers got a scare when he injured his right hand on a foul tip in the seventh inning, but he said X-rays showed that it was not broken.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“I was very worried,” said Diaz, who hit two home runs for the World. “He’s a good teammate, and at this point, we’re almost like brothers, so I was very concerned.”

Injuries are reason for concern, but Brewers pitching prospect Luis Ortiz doesn’t worry about being traded after going from Texas to Milwaukee at the deadline two years ago.

“Being traded the first time caught me really off-guard, especially when I was with Texas, 19, 20 years old in Double-A,” said Ortiz, who got the final out for the U.S. on Sunday. “But now that [there’s] another trade talk, and my name’s getting brought up more and more in trades and Keston, it’s more like you want to keep an eye on it, but then at the same time, you’ve got to let it go, do your thing.”