When MLB instituted the Wild Card, many baseball purists gasped and wagged fingers. It will diminish the excitement that’s earned from teams trying to win the pennant during six months of baseball and 162 games, they said.
In some ways – and in some cities – they might have a point. But don’t try to make that argument in Chicago or San Francisco right about now.
The Wild Card is presenting the Cubs and the Giants with both sides of what proponents of the expanded playoff system argue makes the system so great.
The Cubs are third in the extremely tough N.L. Central but, barring a... Read More
The Giants won their third World Series in five years in 2014 but entered this season with some serious questions as to whether they could do it again.
Who would replace Pablo Sandoval at third base? Who’s going to turn double plays with shortstop Brandon Crawford? Will former ace Tim Lincecum ever be the same? Will Matt Cain, for that matter? They even lost outfielder Hunter Pence at the start of the season.
The answers to some of these questions came in the form of third baseman Matt Duffy, second baseman Joe Panik, both of whom were unheralded prospects but have more than made up for the... Read More
Part of the reason for the Yankees lack of movement before the deadline was their unwillingness to part with phenom Luis Severino, who is expected to make his major league debut Wednesday in the Bronx against the Red Sox. The Yankees are betting that he’s as much an answer to their starting pitching woes as Cole Hamels, David Price or... Read More
This team has been hit hard by injuries to ace Adam Wainwright and sluggers Matt Adams and Matt Holliday, among many others, and yet here they are nearing the All-Star break with the best record in baseball, 53-28, which is also good for the best record after 81 games since 1944.
The Cardinals play three times this week on Sling TV, twice against the division rival Chicago Cubs. Entering Monday’s games, St. Louis has an 8.5-game lead over Chicago in the N.L. Central.
The Cardinals lost Wainwright after just four starts but the pitching staff is talented... Read More
Entering the season, both the south and north sides of Chicago had reasons to be excited.
The White Sox spent a lot of money on free agent arms in starter Jeff Samardzija, closer David Robertson and setup man Zach Duke. They also bolstered the lineup with the bats of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. They even drafted a major-league ready arm in N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon.
The Cubs also spent big, reuniting Jon Lester and G.M. Theo Epstein to give them a World Series-tested ace. They added Miguel Montero behind the plate, and brought back free agent starter Jason Hammel after having packaged him with Samardzija in a deal... Read More
The A.L. East has worn the de facto label of the toughest division in baseball for many years and, from the top to the bottom, it is tough once again this year.
But is it the best? Some would eagerly say no but ask anyone in Boston or the Bronx and you could get a different answer.
For example, Wednesday’s game on ESPN between the Red Sox and Orioles. As of this writing, both teams are under .500, and in the cellar of the division. Yet they are still very much in the race, just 5.5 games off the lead.
This week’s other game on ESPN is Sunday’s contest... Read More
There are several amazing pitchers taking the mound this week on Sling TV, but seeing the Metropolitans’ Matt Harvey smoke an inside fastball past hitters might not surprise you quite as much as a pitch the Tigers’ Alfredo Simon has hidden up his sleeve.
The Eephus pitch might sound like baseball’s equivalent of the Yeti or Big Foot because not many fans have ever actually seen it live in a game. But every few years a video will surface of the pitch freezing a batter for a strikeout on a toss that usually doesn’t register more than 60 m.p.h. or so.
The Cardinals have had so much success in recent years that the phrase “The Cardinal Way” is now a thing. It’s a thing most people had never heard of until a book by that name was published.
But there is no disputing the truth: the Cardinals really do have a “way.”
This provides important context for Sunday’s MLB season-opener, context that was not lost on whoever makes the schedule.
The Cubs have never had a “way,” unless you count disappointing fans decade after decade—until now. Sure, that may sound premature. The Cubs still haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and last made the playoffs in 2008.
But GM Theo Epstein has given Chicago fans more hope than they have ever had thanks to a heap... Read More