Chris Sale & Anibal Sanchez. Getty Images.

Sale to face first real challenge vs. Sanchez and Tigers

Chris Sale faced Phil Hughes and the Minnesota Twins in his last start which was also his first start since coming off the disabled list, having fractured his foot during spring training.

Anibal Sanchez. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

Anibal Sanchez. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

While the Hughes and the Twins are worthy opponents, Sale now faces his first big test of 2015. Saturday the left-hander will take on right-hander Anibal Sanchez and the 9-1 Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers have the best record in baseball right now having barely hung on to beat the White Sox and starter Jeff Samardzija on Friday by a score of 2-1. Despite the close score, the Tigers proved once again that they are the team to beat in the American League and in all of baseaball.

Sanchez is one of the league’s most solid starters, being sometimes overlooked as a member of the Tigers due to the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Now the 10-year veteran is the team’s number two starter after David Price.

Unlike Sale, who’s been in the league for six years, Sanchez has never been an All-Star, but he led the league in ERA in 2013 and has a career 3.53 ERA.

Victor Martinez. Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Victor Martinez. Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Sale has the slight advantage here being younger, a three-time All-Star and having a career 2.75 ERA but that is no reason to underestimate what Sanchez can do especially when paired with the Tigers’ extremely potent lineup.

Even if slugger Victor Martinez, who has been being rested recently because he felt a “tweak” in his surgically repaired knee, remains out of the lineup the Tigers still have 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera**, J.D. Martinez who is leading the team in home runs (4) , Ian Kinsler and Yoenis Cespedes who are both batting over .300 and Jose Iglesias who is leading the team in on-base percentage (.529) and batting average (.484).

With or without Martinez, Sale’s second start of 2015 will be a true challenge for the southpaw, who I think could be the next A.L. Cy Young Award winner.

**Today is Miguel Cabrera’s 32nd birthday! Happy Birthday Miggy!! Sorry that I am rooting for you to lost but 9-1?? Come on it’s going to happen and it will be at the hands of someone like Chris Sale!

Mike Trout. Getty Images.

Mike Trout continues breaking records, surpasses A-Rod

Just when you thought the reigning American League MVP couldn’t get any better he does. He just does something even more incredible than before.

That’s what happened Friday night when the Los Angeles Angels took on the Houston Astros. Mike Trout became the youngest player to accumulate both 100 stolen bases and 100 home runs.

He surpassed the previous record holder, Alex Rodriguez, but there wil never be questions surrounding Trout’s accomplishments. Even though A-Rod says he never took steroids while on the Seattle Mariners (to his credit he looked like a skinny kid back then) all his lies have made him impossible to believe.

Trout on the other hand is as squeaky clean as they come and relatively quiet, except for his on the field actions which speak louder than most anything he could do off the field, unlike his predecessor in this case.

To read the rest of this post, please head over to Baseball Hot Corner using the link below:

Mike Trout sets new record, passes A-Rod

Brought to you by Baseball Hot Corner. @MLBHotCorner.

@OakAsSocksGrl. @bbst_mlb.

Bartolo Colon. Getty Images.

Bartolo Colon gets another RBI?

If you have ever read my blog you know I adore Bartolo Colon! He’ll be 42 on May 24 and wait for it …. he’s actually getting even better at playing the game he so loves!

in fact, he has beaten out three much younger and more hearalded pitchers than himself in his first three starts and defeated them all.

So far Colon has made three starts for the New York Mets and has won them all. He’s now sitting at 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA leading a pitching staff that also includes Matt Harvey and 2014 Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom.

In his first start seasonon Opening Day he faced off with the Washington Nationals’ $200 million man, Max Scherzer, and defeated him. Colon pitched 6.0 innings, allowing three hits, just one run and one walk. He stuck out eight Nationals hitters in the process.

In his second start against the Atlanta Braves, Colon also did something very unusual for a pitcher but even more unusal for him. He singled in a go-ahead run and got his first RBI in a decade.

Colon pitched a full 7.0 innings against Atlanta. He added five more strikeouts and walked just one batter. Colon allowed six hits and three runs, Not a bad outing for a 42-year-old who relies primarily on fastballs!

His opponent 24-year-old right-hander Alex Wood couldn’t keep up with the old man, pitching 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs.

This is where things get even more interesting. In his third start on Friday against Miami Marlins’ pitcher David Phelps, Colon got his third win. Phelps pitched just 4.2 innings, allowing one hit, one earned run, three walks and striking out just two batters.

Colon pitched a full 7.0 innings. He added five more strikeouts making his total on the year 18. He walked just one batter, allowed six hits and three runs, Not a bad outing for a 42-year-old who relies primarily on fastballs!

But here’s the real kicker. Colon got his second RBI on the year on a sacrifice fly. He has two RBI in as many games.  There are quite a few actual hitters out there in the major leagues who can’t claim that they have two RBI at this point in the season.

As I learned when Colon was a member of the Oakland Athletics, he’s a very happy guy who just wants to play baseball everyday for as long as he can. Obviously he still can play at an elite level and I say more power to him!

Bartolo Colon is awesome which is why everyone should jump on my little bandwagon (of sorts) and be part of #TeamBartolo!!! :-D

Giancarlo Stanton. Rob Foldy/Getty Images.

Stanton is new Marlins’ franchise HR leader

Giancarlo Stanton is already the highest paid player in the Miami Marlins‘ franchise history. He’s also likely the most well-known and most popular in franchise history. Need a good example of Stanton’s popularity? I love the guy and I’m not from Miami, nor am I a Marlins fan.

kris-bryant-billboard

Update: Kris Bryant goes 0-4 in MLB debut

UPDATE: April 18, 2915 6:00 am PT

In his Major League debut people expected home runs from 23-year-old Kris Bryant. What they got was him going 0-4 with three strikeouts. He left five men on base in the Chicago Cubs’ 5-4 loss to the San Diego Padres. Some fans were unhappy and one even shouted “you suck.”

However, Bryant made some brilliant defensive plays at third base. Not to mention that he had flown in Friday morning and arrived on the field once the rest of the team as already out there.

Plus, there was the build-up after his amazing spring performance, the controversy over him starting the season in the minor leagues and the pressure to perform in his first major league game. People were expecting the spring training Bryant, not the tired, likely overwhelmed Bryant.

When Jorge Soler and Javier Baez hit home runs in their first games in the big leagues there were no expectations. There was no real pressure, at least not the kind that Bryant was facing.

It’s only a matter of time until Bryant starts hitting for power the way we all know he can.

UPDATE: April 17, 2015 9:15 am PT

Just a little more information on Kris Bryant‘s debut. Accordingto reports he will be batting cleanup in his debut which is quite, sometimes one would say and honor, nervewracking for a rookie making his big league debut, especially among all the fan fare.

The baseball world has been waiting for Bryant’s debut since last summer but even moreso since he lead all players in home runs during spring training. The Cubs kept him in the minors for business reasons (that are explained in the original text) and now the time has come. 

Another interesting coincidence is that one of baseball’s most legendary athletes made his big league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates on this day in 1955. His name? Roberto Clemente. He was a great humanitarian and amazing ballplayer. That’s just another little fact that Bryant, doesn’t necessarily have to live up to – as no one can live up to the great Clemente – but one that will not go easily ignored. 

Bryant will take the field at Wrigley for the first time at 12:20 pm Eastern. 

Original Text:  April 16, 2015 7:20pm PT

Well the day everyone has been waiting for is nearly here. According to MLB Network and multiple other sources Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant will finally make his Major League Baseball debut on Friday at Wrigley Field when the Cubs take on the San Diego Padres.

Bryant-Kris-getty1

Kris Bryant. Getty Images.

If you are not familiar with the controvery over Bryant then here’s the short version. Bryant earned a spot on the Cubs’ roster this spring leading both the Cactus and Grapefruit League in home runs with nine. He played stellar defense at third and even began learning to play left field.

The Cubs however did not put Bryant on the Opening Day roster, much to the dismay of baseball fans everywhere. The reason? Well, it was all business and while I do not agree with the Cubs not putting Bryant on the roster, I do understand at the end of the day baseball is a business.

In this case the if the Cubs kept Bryant in the minors for just 12 days, it would keep him from becoming eligible for free agency for an entire extra year. He wouldn’t have enough service time. Understandably the Cubs want to keep the 23-year-old phenom as long as possible for as little money as possible. They made a business decision. We may not like it but it’s logical.

Kris  Bryant. Getty Images.

Kris Bryant. Getty Images.

The good news now is that those 12 days are now over. Bryant has been playing at Triple-A Iowa and he’s been playing quite well. Bryant is 9-28 with a .321 batting average, three home runs, 10 RBI and just nine strikeouts.

He’ll make his debut tomorrow against Padres’ ace James Shields. Jason Hammel will be on the mound for the Cubs. It should be an exciting game regardless of who wins, as long as Bryant goes deep off of Shields and for that to happen, the odds seem to be in Bryant’s favor!

Best of luck to Bryant tomorrow! It is about effing time he made his debut. The Cubs opted not to call him up last September when fellow prospects Jorge Soler and Javier Baez were up and hitting their first big league home runs. Now it’s Kris Bryants turn!

Billy Butler & Lorenzo Cain. Getty Images.

AL Wild Card Rematch Preview: A’s at Royals

Friday will be the first time that the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals will meet since the dramatic back and forth, that was the 12-inning 2014 American League Wild Card playoff game. It will be a Wild Card rematch with a few differences.

Once again the two teams will meet at the Royals’ home Kauffman Stadium but this time Billy “Country Breakfast” Butler will not be playing in his home stadium, the stadium he played in his entire career.  The Royals did not pick up Billy Butler’s $12.5 million 2015 option leaving him fair game for other teams to sign. That team ended up being Oakland who signed Butler to a three-year $30 million contract.

While the Royals may appear to have the advantage with the bat, plus the fact that their record is 7-1 while the A’s is 5-5, that may not exactly be so. The A’s have scored the most runs in the major leagues (tied with the Boston Red Sox) with 56.

Country Breakfast has come through for Oakland with his nine-game hitting streak ending Wednesday night against the Houston Astros.** Correction!!**

There will also be some tremedous pitching matchups this weekend between the two teams … to learn more go to Baseball Hot Corner using the link below:

Series Preview: Wild Card Rematch – A’s at Royals

Brought to you by Baseball Hot Corner. @MLBHotCorner.

@OakAsSocksGrl@bbst_mlb.

**Correction: Butler hit in the game against the Astros and continued his hitting streak. He has now hit again tonight against the Royals, extending his streak to 11.**

Scott Kazmir. Getty Images.

Off-day baseball fun facts from BBST!

Since all baseball fans (at least the ones I know) hate off-days … I mean it IS baseball season so how dare they take a day off, right? LOL!

Naw, we all know how hard the grind can be simply as fans so we know that our favorite players probably deserve more days off than they get.

That being said, OFF-DAYS SUCK! THEY SUCK! We wait through the looooong offseason, start getting comfortable with daily games and then – BOOM – it’s an off-day. Lame, right?

So this season each time the Oakland A’s have an off-day I’m going to bring you new Baseball Fun Facts!

All teams will be included with a few more A’s facts stuck in there of course, but everytime the A’s have a day off you will be able to find a new baseball fun fact on BBST, got it?! Ok, so here we go!

Up until Wednesday’s rather ugly 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros in which pitchers Collin McHugh (who racked up 11 K’s), Tony Sipp, Chad Qualls and former Athletic Luke Gregerson held the usually offensively potent (they lead the Majors in runs scored) A’s to a single run, the A’s had registered four shutouts on the season. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau the A’s became just the eighth team in major league history to record four shutouts in their first nine games and just the second American League team to do so. The only other A.L. team to do it? The 1910 Chicago White Sox!

April 6, 2015: Sonny Gray and Evan Scribner comined to shutout the Texas Rangers 8-0

April 8, 2015: Scott Kazmir, Dan Otero and R.J. Alvarez combined to shutout the Rangers 10-0.

April 10, 2015: Drew Pomeranz, Fernando Abad and Alvarez combined to shutout the Seattle Mariners 12-0.

April 14, 2015: Kendall Graveman, Eric O’Flaherty, Otero, Abad and Tyler Clippard combined to shutout the Astros 4-0.

That’s a fun fact right? Despite last night’s loss and an off-day today … I hope that my fun fact makes your day a little more, well, fun! Have a great day!! Let’s Go Oakland!!

Billy Butler & Sean Doolittle.

A’s love their Country Breakfast & his 9-game hitting streak!

The Oakland A’s are much better than their record makes them appear. According to MLB.com in the A’s five wins they’ve outscored their opponents 42-1.

A large part of that has been thanks to A’s newcomer Billy Butler, who going into Wednesday night’s game against the Houston Astros has a nine game hitting streak.

Billy Butler. Oakland Athletics.

Billy Butler. Oakland Athletics.

*side note (On a side not I have to say that I had a huge feeling during that crazy 2014 American League Wild Card game that Butler had the feel and the look of an Oakland player. I told my parents that night that I thought he’d one day be on the Athletics. I’m not psychic but I know what kind of players Oakland has had over the past 30 years, especially the past 15 and good old Country Breakfast completely fit the mold.)

Butler had spent his entire career with the Kansas City Royals, who did not pick up Butlers $12.5 million option for 2015 after the 2014 season.

They were willling to work with the 28-year-old Butler who they had drafted with the 17th pick in the 2004 draft. The Royals, however were worried about Bulter’s numbers which had been declining and hit an all time low in 2014.

Reportedly they were willing to offer Bulter $8 million for 2015, possibly making it a two year deal with a discount.

Butler himself said, right before signing with the Athletics, that he’d like to be a lifelong Royal but that it would only happen if,

 “Another team doesn’t come in and blow me out of the water with an offer.”

That was exactly what the Athletics did. They signed Butler to a three-year $30 million contract to be their designated hitter and part time first baseman. That’s a much better deal than $8 million plus possibly making it a two-year deal as long as their was a discount.

The Royals didn’t believe in Butler. Yes, 2014 was one of the worst of his career, statistically, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to bounce back. The guy is just 28 years old!

Craig Gentry, Billy Butler & Cody Ross. Getty Images.

Craig Gentry, Billy Butler & Cody Ross. Getty Images.

So far this season it appears that the A’s made the right choice and the Royals blew it big time.

Butler has hit in nine straight games, getting mostly doubles and hitting a three-run shot so far that it truly flew outside of Minute Maid Park.

As of Sunday, Butler was leading the American League Western Division in both batting average and on-base percentage.

You really can’t beat that, especially with the emphasis A’s general manager Billy Beane puts on getting on base.

Butler has been a huge assest for the Athletics and while it is still very early in the season he isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

Let’s just put it this way – Oakland sure LOVES their Country Breakfast!! :-D

Carlos Carrasco. Getty Images.

Indians’ pitcher Carrasco hit in face by line drive

It was a scary moment at Cleveland’s Progressive Field Tuesday night, a very scary moment.

Cleveland Indians‘ starter Carlos Carrasco lay flat on the mound, his face on the ground, legs spread wide after being hit in the face by a line drive.

Manager Terry Francona and a trainer ran out first and stood over Carrasco’s lifeless body. Outfielder Adam Eaton, who was on second base dropped to his knees, his batting helmet covering his face. Other teammates gathered around the mound.

Chicago White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera was there too, obviously very concerned. The ball had come off of his bat, just prior to bouncing off of Carrasco’s glove and into his jaw.

Carrasco was not responsive at first as the trainers checked on him but he came around and so did the cart that had emerged from behind the left field wall.

To find out more about what happened to Carrasco you can read this post in its entirety on Baseball Hot Corner using the link below:

Indians’ Carlos Carrasco hit in face by line drive

Brought to you by Baseball Hot Corner. @MLBHotCorner.

@OakAsSocksGrl. @bbst_mlb.

Chris Sale.Getty Images.

Chris Sale returns in top form, breathes new life into White Sox

Alright I admit it, I dig Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale as much as I dig Matt Harvey – well almost! It’s a close call between the two. It’s a good thing that they are in different leagues so I can predict Chris Sale as the AL Cy Young Award and Matt Harvey to beat out Clayton Kershaw for the National League Cy Young.

Jeff Samardzija. Getty Images.

Jeff Samardzija. Getty Images.

So you can imagine that I was quite excited that Chris Sale was back in action Sunday after having fractured his right foot early in spring training, Without Sale the White Sox were 0-4. They could have been 0-5 but Jeff Samardzija managed to get the win on Saturday.

With Sale back the club has a new found confidence and a better record now sitting at 2-4 and going into a road trip that will take them through Cleveland and then Detroit, who as of now is undefeated at 6-0.

They needed the confidence that Sale brings to the team and they needed the win on Sunday. Sale pitched six solid innings allowing just five hits, one run, one walk and striking out eight batters, leaving his ERA at a lovely 1.50.

I think it’s safe to say that my favorite southpaw is back in business and healthy again. He’s always dominate yet never makes a huge splash. He works quietly and efficiently and gets the job done.

Chris Sale. Getty Images.

Chris Sale. Getty Images.

While he’s greaty appreciated by the fans on the south side of Chicago, he never seems to be the subject of all the fanfare of say Matt Harvey or fellow left-hander Clayton Kershaw but I believe he’s just as good.

The Twins scored just one more run Sunday off of Zach Duke in the eighth inning. Meanwhile the White Sox offense was active against Minnesota starter Phil Hughes. Hughes allowed eight hits and three earned runs in six innings of work.

The White Sox other three runs in their 6-2 victory over the Twins came off of Blaine Boyer who came in to work with one out in the eigth but was unable to get an out. He allowed three runs on four hits and was replaced by Brian Duensing who closed out the inning without incident.

The White Sox David Robertson got the save as the White Sox had new life breathed into them with the return of Sale.