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Strikeouts Are Sexy And Max Scherzer Knows It

ALEX BRANDON/AP

ALEX BRANDON/AP

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – bbstmlb.com) 

Strikeouts are sexy. Well at least according to the Washington Nationals’ star pitcher Max Scherzer. He would know too. On Wednesday night Scherzer struck out 20 Detroit Tigers during a nine-inning game.

“Tonight, at the end of the night, was a special night,” Scherzer said. “Because, I mean, the strikeouts are sexy. And to be able to punch out 20 — it’s sexy.”

He tied the MLB record for most K’s in a nine-inning game. The only other people to do so are Roger “The Rocket” Clemens, who accomplished the feat twice in 1986 and again in 1996 while playing for the Boston Red Sox and Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs, who struck out 20 Houston Astros batters in 1998.

Of course there is everyone’s hero and beloved 6’10” right-hander Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson. On May 8, 2001, while a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Johnson struck out 20 Cincinnati Reds batters within nine innings.If you want to get technical about it – two others have done it as well but their records are differently labeled.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the game went into extra innings. Johnson didn’t need more than nine innings to accrue his 20 K’s, but since the went into extra innings the game is not considered an “official” 20-strikeout game by MLB.

Still it is considered by almost everyone else as the same record that Wood, Clemens and Scherzer now hold.

There was one other man that struck out over 20 batters in one game and there is a good chance that you’ve never heard his name before. Tom Cheney struck out 21 batters once on September 12, 1962 while playing for the Washington Senators but that’s a record of it’s own too because it took extra innings for him to accomplish that feat.

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The Oakland A’s Call Up Top Pitching Prospect Sean Manaea

Sean Manaea

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – bbstmlb.com) 

The Oakland Athletics had a choice to make. They had options for who would be their fifth starter this week and it’s not the more obvious of choices. It’s 24-year-old Sean Manaea, the A’s number two overall prospect and top pitching prospect.

According to multiple sources, including Sports Illustrated, MLB.com and the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s will call up Manaea to start Friday against the Houston Astros.

Manaea has barely spent time in the minors but vice president of baseball operations for the A’s Billy Beane has said that he wouldn’t bring him up unless he thought he was ready.

The A’s are likely just testing the waters, seeing if Manaea transition his unbelievable number of strike outs effectively in the majors.

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Felix Doubront To Have Tommy John Surgery Apr.12, 2016

Felix Doubront. Getty Images.

Doubront to have Tommy John surgery on Tuesday

You’ve already heard this news I’m sure and we all (at least I did) completely saw it coming. Felix Doubront, who was named the Oakland A’s fifth starter in late March, couldn’t even make it through his first exhibition game against the Giants. 

The now-interim fifth starter (perhaps permanent, we don’t know!)  Eric Surkamp came into the game, pitching seven scoreless innings and helped the A’s win that ballgame. 

It was an exhibition game but to hold that San Francisco Giants’ potent offense, keep them from scoring and secure an Athletics’ victory over a despised rival is a pretty big deal.

This post is supposed to be around Doubront. If you’d like to know more about Surkamp just CLICK HERE to read my column on Today’s Knuckleball.

TOMMY JOHN SURGERIES – 2016 (6)

Tim Collins, KC (TJ is coming this month, for his 2nd TJ Surgery)

Felix Doubront, OAK – Apr  12

Jairo Diaz, COL – Mar.18

Jarrod Parker, OAK – Mar.17 (TJ Watch List, would be his 3rd surgery)

Andrew McKirahan, ATL – Mar.10

Carter Capps, MIA – Mar.8

It was pretty obvious, the outcome off Felix Doubront’s injury. He left the game with forearm soreness ( Tommy John surgery sign number one). He had an MRI (sign number two). Got the doctor’s opinion and decided to seek a second opinion (sign number three and the nail in the coffin of the diagnosis of a torn ulnar collateral ligament and the inevitable, Tommy John surgery).

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All time TJ Surgery List on mlbreports.com

How Do You Define A Sports Dynasty In Baseball History And Now?

Z REAL DYNASTIES

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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I’ve been wanting to write this piece for forever – I’ve started and I’ve stopped but this picture is an inspiration to finally write the story I need to write.

The “even year” San Francisco Giants are NOT a dynasty and the above picture illustrates that, but I have examples beyond that, that help prove my point.

DEFINITION OF A DYNASTY:

According to the dictionary this is the definition of a dynasty:

  • a succession of rulers who are members of the same family
  • the period during which a certain family reigns

That can be applied to sports teams …. I define a sports dynasty as follows:

Dynasties are teams that are DOMINANT over a significant period of time.

For further examples and information on sports dynasties and why they qualify as dynasties ….

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Loss Of Pollock Wont End The D’Backs Chances In 2016

Arizona Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock, left, slaps hands with Paul Goldschmidt (44) after Pollock scored a run against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock, left, slaps hands with Paul Goldschmidt (44) after Pollock scored a run against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – bbstmlb.com)  

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Now, the fact that I have a second favorite team may surprise many of you. Sometimes when I really think about it – it’s surprising to me as well. That team would be the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Over the years, I’ve had known players traded there, been friends with some and am still friends with others. I’ve watched the team prosper but mostly flounder and this was looking like a year where they could beat the San Francisco Giants and even the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be beatable in 2016.

The DBacks beat out two of their division rivals to get the great  Zack Greinke. They’ve got one of the classiest, not to mention best players in the league in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. And until yesterday they had an up and coming star center fielder, an All-Star last year, in A.J. Pollock.

Now Pollock is out for an unknown amount of time with a broken elbow that will require surgery. That’s a big loss to the Diamondbacks, but it shouldn’t kill their postseason chances ….

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Bartolo Colon’s Legend Grows Like Him: He Is The Last Montreal Expos Player On The Field

Montreal Expos starter Bartolo Colon delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets, Tuesday, July 23, 2002 at Shea Stadium in New York. Colon gave up four runs on five hits in the Expos 4-3 loss to the Mets. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm) ORG XMIT: NYS108

Montreal Expos starter Bartolo Colon delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets, Tuesday, July 23, 2002 at Shea Stadium in New York. Colon gave up four runs on five hits in the Expos 4-3 loss to the Mets. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm) ORG XMIT: NYS108

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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It’s miraculous that Bartolo Colon is still dominant at 42. It’s miraculous that he’s still playing at 42. It’s insane that he had eight hits for the New York Mets last season at age 41 (and having always been on the chubby side) – a couple were actually doubles! I mean does it get better than that?

Maybe not exactly better but, with the retirement of 35-year-old Maicer Izturis this week, Bartolo Colon met another new milestone. He became the last active player who played for the Montreal Expos. 

He played for the team in 2002, not long before the Expos became the Washington Nationals after the 2004 season.

Like the majority of Colon’s seasons he pitched well going 10-4 in 17 starts, throwing four complete games, one of which was a shut out, and posting a 3.31 ERA.

He was just 29 years old. My how far we have traveled with Colon since then.

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Cardinals Extend Kolten Wong

kolton-wong

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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In an offseason where the St. Louis Cardinals tried to sell their city to every free agent out there – including outfielder Jason Heyward

Heyward spurned the Cardinals, who acquired him before the 2015 season from the Atlanta Braves.

The team and its players immediately began talking the team, the city and the fans up to Heyward in hopes that the soon to be free agent would want to re-sign with the team.

In the end Heyward decided to take less money to go to the Chicago Cubs. A lot of MLB free agents did the same this year including super utility man Ben Zobrist and most recently outfielder Dexter Fowler.

Perhaps it’s the Cubs’ young talented core and their good chance to finally win a World Series or two after a century-long drought. Perhaps it is that they like manager Joe Maddon‘s style.

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Mending Ties With Cuba Begins With Baseball

Angel Franco - New York Times

Angel Franco – New York Times

Jen Rainwater (Featured BBBA Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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The Tampa Bay Rays and even President Obama will be in Cuba later this month while the Rays take on the Cuban National team.  Something of this magnitude that has not occurred in almost 20 years, when the Baltimore Orioles played an exciting two-games series there in 1999. And even then President Clinton was not in attendance.

It is believed by many that the love and passion that the two countries share for the game of baseball will help bring them together. In part of a statement issued by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred he shared this sentiment saying that during this time of historic change,

“We appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba’s storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans.”

The Rays will fly into Cuba on March 20, hold an exhibition clinic on the 21st and play the Cuban National Team at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana on the 22nd before returning home to the United States.

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A’s Constant Competitive Ambition Is Admirable

an a's logo

Jen Rainwater (Featured Baseball Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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Alright, you may have to bear with me a little bit here, as I am not 100% sure how I want to present this except to say this is what I say about the A’s A LOT of the time and ESPN’s Buster Olney said it in his “Insiders Only” piece on Saturday called,

The Athletics drive to contend is admirable in today’s times.

It IS admirable and using both Olney’s statistics and my own, I intend to show you exactly why their drive to contend has not only been successful but beyond that, that most team’s in their situation would not or choose not to try to compete. Instead they tank and have a long stretch of terrible years – only to reemerge with a lot of high draft picks who are ready for the big leagues.

It reminded me a lot of a similar piece that I wrote for Today’s Knuckleball that talked about how the A’s had their own unique way of “rebuilding.” It went on to explore how they’ve been able to maintain a high level of competitiveness despite having one of the league’s lowest payrolls and having to be creative in creating platoons that will put up similar numbers to those exhibited by the big name free agents that they cannot afford.

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Mark Ellis And Mark Kotsay Together Again At A’s camp

Ellis, still a fan favorite to this day, came up with the team as a rookie in 2002 and was a big part of the Athletics 2002 20-game win streak, which set an AL record. He was the A’s second baseman from 2002 until 2011 when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. During his tenure with Oakland, Ellis hit .266/.331/.337. He was most impressive on defense however and he has been brought in to work with the middle infielders.

Ellis, still a fan favorite to this day, came up with the team as a rookie in 2002 and was a big part of the Athletics 2002 20-game win streak, which set an AL record. He was the A’s second baseman from 2002 until 2011 when he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. During his tenure with Oakland, Ellis hit .266/.331/.337. He was most impressive on defense however and he has been brought in to work with the middle infielders. Photo courtesy of GETTY IMAGES

Jen Rainwater (Featured Baseball Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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This is exciting news! My favorite Marks are back together again, for spring training at least, and that is good enough for me because it means I will likely be able to catch a glimpse or two or more of both Mark Kotsay the A’s new bench coach and Mark Ellis who will be a guest instructor for the team during the spring.

Ellis and Kotsay’s careers with the Athletics overlapped from 2004 (although Ellis was injured for the entire season) to 2007.

They were part of the team that defeated the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series in 2006, taking the A’s to the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

They lost of course as almost everyone knows the A’s can’t seem to get past the Tigers in the postseason. Yet that 2006 team broke the curse of the first round and took the A’s farther than they had been in the postseason since 1992.

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3 Lessons We Learned During The First Week Of MLB Spring Training

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Jen Rainwater (Featured Baseball Writer/Owner – www.bbstmlb.com) 

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With one week of spring training in the books, here are the top three things we learned.

It’s’ the beginning of a new season. Spring Training began as pitchers and catchers reported late last week and position players started to arrive early on this week.

Of course there are going to be at least a few interesting situations that will go down in this first week or two of Spring Training.

It happens every year beginning with almost every player declaring “I’m in the best shape of my life” to there being so many new faces on some of the teams that the players literally need  to meet one another for the first time.

That was the case for the Oakland Athletics last year after many offseason trades and it appears to be the case in Seattle this season with the Mariners.

New GM Jerry Dipoto turned over more than 40% of the Mariners roster in hopes to improve the team enough that they can compete in what is going to be a very competitive race to win the AL West or at least slide in as one of the two AL Wild Card teams.

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