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Archive for July, 2017

Indians bring Joe Smith ‘back home’ to further strengthen bullpen

Joe Smith pitching plateward 2017 photo By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, https

The Cleveland Indians re-acquired a familiar face to strengthen their bullpen with the addition of veteran right-hander Joe Smith.

Smith, 33, returns to the Indians organization after spending five seasons with the club from 2009-13, posting a combined ERA of 2.76 in 303 relief outings with the Indians (271.0IP, 219H, 83ER, 106BB, 214SO). He owns a career Major League record of 44-28 with 29 saves and a 2.95 ERA in 677 relief appearances (606.1IP, 504H, 199ER, 220BB, 527SO, .226avg) since debuting with the New York Mets in 2007. He is seventh among active Major League pitchers in appearances. Following his tenure with Cleveland he spent over two and a half seasons with the LA Angels prior to finishing the 2016 season with the Chicago Cubs.

The Dayton, Ohio native has posted a mark of 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 38 relief appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 after signing a one-year contract as a free agent in February (35.2IP, 30H, 13ER, 10BB, 51SO, 3HR, .229 AVG, 1.12WHIP, 2.31FIP). His 12.9 strikeouts per 9.0IP and 5.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio are the highest marks of his career and his 13 holds are tied for 14th in the American League despite missing a month due to right shoulder soreness (June 19-July 21). He has allowed 1 run and 2 hits in 4.0IP since being activated (2.25 ERA).




With strong bullpen full of quality arms, Reds trade lefty Tony Cingrani to LA Dodgers

Tony Cingrani 2013 photo By NewJack984 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https



Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations, General Manager Dick Williams today announced the acquisitions of OF Scott Van Slyke and C Hendrik Clementina from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for LHP Tony Cingrani.

Van Slyke will join Class AAA Louisville, while Clementina will report to Rookie Billings. The 25-man roster move to fill Cingrani’s spot will be announced tomorrow.

Van Slyke, 31, has spent most of this season at Class AAA Oklahoma City, where in 55 appearances he hit .242 with 5 HR and 20 RBI. He appeared in 29 games for the Dodgers.
Selected by the Dodgers in the 14th Round of the 2005 first-year player draft out of Burroughs High School in Ladue, Missouri, in his Major League career Van Slyke has played LF (158g), RF (71g), CF (26g) and 1B (67g).

Clementina, 20, in 24 appearances this season at Rookie Ogden hit .370 with 4 HR, 25 RBI and a .994 OPS. The native of Willemstad, Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles was signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent in December 2013. In 143 games over 4 minor league seasons, he has hit .275 with 12 HR, 76 RBI and a .737 OPS.

Cingrani, 28, in 25 relief appearances this season for the Reds posted a 5.40 ERA. From April 21 through June 6 he was disabled with a strained right oblique. Cingrani was selected by the Reds in the third round of the June 2011 first-year player draft.



Last week’s AL Player of the Week, Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop


Jonathan Schoop running bases 2017 photo By Keith Allison - Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https


Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending July 23rd.

Jonathan’s teammate Adam Jones (.419, 11 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI) also produced a strong week for the Orioles. With his 1,548th hit as an Oriole on Sunday afternoon against Houston, the 12-year-veteran moved into sole possession of sixth place on the Orioles’ all-time hit list. Other noteworthy performances last week included All-Star first baseman Justin Smoak (.417, 5 R, 5 XBH, 6 RBI) and starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (14.1 IP, 0.63 ERA, 12 SO) of the Toronto Blue Jays; shortstop Didi Gregorius (.462, 4 R, 12 H, 4 XBH) of the New York Yankees; and All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve (.464, 13 H, 5 RBI, 2 SB) of the Astros.

In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Jonathan Schoop will be awarded a watch courtesy of Rockwell.

Schoop batted .433 (13-for-30) with eight runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and 16 RBI over seven games played to earn his first career AL Player of the Week Award. Among AL leaders, Jonathan finished the period first in RBI; tied for first in hits, home runs and total bases (24); second in runs scored; tied for third in extra-base hits (5); and fourth in slugging percentage (.800). This is Baltimore’s first weekly award of the season, and the first since Schoop’s teammate Chris Davis took home weekly honors last season on June 13th.

On Friday night against the Houston Astros at Camden Yards, the 25-year-old recorded his 20th home run on the season, reaching the 20-homer plateau for the second consecutive season.   During his breakout campaign in 2016, Schoop played in all 162 games, tallying 38 doubles, 25 home runs and 82 RBI. Schoop, who earned the first All-Star appearance of his career this season, blasted home runs in three consecutive games from July 20th-22nd, accomplishing the feat for the first time this season, and the second time in his career (also September 2-4, 2014). Having recorded an RBI in seven consecutive contests during his award-winning week, the Curaçao native enters play today tied for the third-longest streak in the Majors this season for consecutive games with an RBI (also Miami’s Christian Yelich: April 13th-19th). Gerardo Parra of the Colorado Rockies (July 7th-18th) and Marwin Gonzalez of the Houston Astros (July 2nd-14th) each produced streaks of eight such games to hold the current mark. In addition, Schoop logged multi-RBI efforts in five consecutive games from July 18th-22nd, matching Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt (April 21st-26th) and Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (April 21st-25th) for the longest multi-RBI streak in the Majors this season. Entering play today, Schoop paces all AL second basemen with 21 round-trippers and 70 RBI. Prior to the 2017 campaign, Schoop, who became the 14th player to reach the Majors from Curaçao when he debuted in 2013, played for the Kingdom of the Netherlands during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, helping the team to its second consecutive trip to the Championship Round.





Last week’s NL Player of the Week, Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado



Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending July 23rd.

In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Nolan Arenado will be awarded a watch courtesy of Rockwell.

Arenado posted a slash line of .458/.480/1.000 with nine runs scored, a double, four home runs and 13 RBI over five games to claim his fourth career NL Player of the Week Award, and first since April 18th of last season. Among his NL counterparts, Nolan finished his strong week first in RBI; tied for first in home runs; second in runs scored; tied for third in total bases (24) and slugging percentage; tied for fifth in hits (11); and tied for eighth in on-base percentage (.480). This is Colorado’s second Player of the Week Award this season, following Nolan’s fellow All-Star teammate Charlie Blackmon, who took home weekly honors for the period ending May 28th.

In Wednesday night’s home tilt against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field, Arenado went 5-for-6 with four runs scored, three home runs and seven RBI. The three-time NL All-Star established new career bests in home runs and hits, while matching his career highs in RBI (also April 13, 2016 vs. San Francisco) and runs scored (also June 5, 2016 at San Diego). The three-time All-Star became the 12thplayer in Rockies history (16th time) to blast three homers in a game, and the first since Blackmon accomplished the feat on August 12th of last season at Philadelphia. In addition, the Newport Beach, California native became the first player in franchise history to record five hits and three home runs in a single game. Arenado, who homered in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, became the second player in club history to homer in three consecutive innings (also Andres Galarraga on June 25, 1995 vs. San Diego), and the first active Major Leaguer since Baltimore’s Manny Machado last season on August 7th. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that, coupled with his cycle on June 18th, the 26-year-old is the fourth player in the past 25 years to record a three-homer game and hit for the cycle in a single season, joining Miguel Tejada (2001), José Reyes (2006) and Adrian Beltre (2012). Arenado, who participated in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Team USA, followed up his historic game with three consecutive multi-hit efforts (July 21st-23rd) to conclude his award-winning week. Since the 2017 Midsummer Classic in Miami, the two-time Silver Slugger Award winner is slashing .444/.459/.944 with 11 runs scored, 16 hits, three doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI.

Blackmon (.500, 12 R, 6 XBH, 5 RBI) was also impressive for Colorado this past week. With his 14-game hitting streak coming to an end on Friday, Colorado’s electric outfielder is the only player in the Majors this season to post three different hitting streaks of 10-or-more games. Other noteworthy performances last week included starting pitcher Jon Lester (2-0, 1.80 ERA, 15.0 IP, 16 SO) of the Chicago Cubs; outfielder Michael Conforto (.429, 3 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI) of the New York Mets; and infielder/outfielder Chris Taylor (.542, 6 R, 6 XBH, 9 RBI) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.




Newgarden wins at Mid-Ohio to take over points lead in IndyCar; second straight win

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, July 30, 2017) – Josef Newgarden finally completed what he started at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, bursting into the Verizon IndyCar Series championship lead after winning the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio in dominant fashion.

Newgarden led 73 of 90 laps on the 2.258-mile permanent road course, taking the checkered flag 5.1556 seconds ahead of Team Penske teammate Will Power. It gave the Tennessean back-to-back wins, following his triumph July 16 at the Honda Indy Toronto.

Josef Newgarden (courtesy IndyCar)

Newgarden also vaulted atop the season standings for the first time in his six-year Verizon IndyCar Series career. He is the first American-born driver to lead the championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay won the title in 2014 and holds a seven-point lead over another Team Penske driver, Helio Castroneves, after 13 of 17 races.

“I feel like no one can take anything away from this win,” Newgarden said. “With this team on the (No.) 2 car side, I feel like we really did a great job today. There was no luck involved in that. We went out and won the race.”


Driving the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, Newgarden started second and made a daring pass of pole sitter Power for first place on Lap 13. He surrendered the lead for just four laps the rest of the way as pit stops cycled through.

Newgarden has contended for the win at Mid-Ohio each of the past three seasons, but various incidents prevented the rising INDYCAR star from sealing the deal. Today, in his first season with Team Penske, the 26-year-old did just that.

“We’ve been close before here,” he said. “I feel like we’ve always found speed. … It’s just nice to get something at a track I haven’t had a previous history of winning the race. That was nice.”

The second-place finish continued a frustrating run for Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. The 2014 series champion has started in the top four at Mid-Ohio for eight straight years – including pole positions in 2010, ’11 and this year – but he has yet to win at the track.

“I know we started on the pole and finished second, and that could be viewed as coming up short in some way,” Power said, “but it was a very good finish for the Verizon Chevrolet.  We really weren’t on the pace all weekend and really got the most out of qualifying.

“So second (place), for the pace of my car, that was as good as we could get today. We’ve had too many seconds in this place, though.”

Local favorite Graham Rahal finished third in the No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda. It was the fourth top-five finish at Mid-Ohio in as many years for the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver and New Albany, Ohio, native. Rahal was the last driver to win consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series races, sweeping both ends of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear doubleheader weekend in early June.

“Our car had great pace today, we just could never quite get in clear air,” Rahal said. “I’m really proud of everyone on the Steak ‘n Shake team. … We’re going to keep our heads down, keep working hard.”

Castroneves finished seventh in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet to retain second place in the championship. Newgarden has scored 453 points to 446 for the Brazilian driving in his 20th Indy car season. Four-time series champion Scott Dixon finished ninth in the race and slipped from first to third in the season standings with 445 points. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud finished fourth in the race and is fourth in points with 436. Power is fifth with 401 points and Rahal sixth with 395.

The race ran caution-free until Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones spun into the grass in Turn 9 on Lap 67, bringing out the race’s only yellow flag after Newgarden had built a 10-second advantage. Newgarden quickly sped away on the Lap 71 restart and wasn’t challenged the rest of the way.

The next race on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule is the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 20. The 500-mile race on the “Tricky Triangle” oval airs live at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Mazda Road to Indy recap

Nico Jamin of Andretti Autosport completed the Mazda Road to Indy hat trick, winning today’s Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race to make him victorious at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in all three MRTI levels. The 21-year-old Frenchman won three Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda races at the track in 2015 and collected a pair of Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires last year.

Jamin won by 0.5026 of a second over Santi Urrutia, the Belardi Auto Racing driver who won the first race of the weekend doubleheader on Saturday. Despite finishing 12th today, Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) retains a 42-point lead in the championship over Urrutia and Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing) with two Indy Lights races remaining.

In the third Pro Mazda race of the Mid-Ohio weekend, Anthony Martin made a statement, racing away to victory by 13.9957 seconds over championship rival Victor Franzoni. Martin (Cape Motorsports), the 2016 USF2000 champion, moved four points ahead of Franzoni (Juncos Racing) in the standings with three races to go.

The Pro Mazda results remain unofficial, however. The cars of Martin, Franzoni and TJ Fischer were impounded for further evaluation this week in Indianapolis – an extension of the current inspection process.




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