Brewers, Pirates trade blows in Easter brawl

The Brewers and Pirates don’t like eachother. This is nothing new — the two sides have had their fair share of fights in the past. The latest incident came this afternoon, when Carlos Gomez stared at what he thought was a home run and flipped his bat for what ended up being a triple off the wall. Gerrit Cole took exception, and Gomez — who has a history of not taking pitcher confrontation well — started jawing back. The benches cleared in a hurry, with Travis Snider taking Gomez down before getting blasted with a closed fist from Martin Maldonado and getting taken down by Rickie Weeks. Gomez, Snider and Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron were ejected. Cole remained in the game.

Jose Valverde

Mets make another closer change

We’re only through three weeks of the season, and the New York Mets are already on their third closer of the year. After yet another meltdown from Jose Valverde Saturday night, the Mets

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – same ol’ Astros

You know, Jeff Luhnow and company in Houston can talk all about “the plan” and their path towards success in the future…but let’s be honest here: the Houston Astros still aren’t a good baseball team. Houston had a 3-1 lead going into the ninth inning in Oakland on Saturday afternoon, and Chad Qualls had an […]

Matt Williams benches Bryce Harper for not hustling

“We made an agreement. He and I made an agreement. This team made an agreement that when we play the game, that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and the willingness to win. As it turned out, his spot came up. Kevin Frandsen put on a nice at-bat against [Trevor] Rosenthal. But his spot came up with the ability to win the game. That’s a shame for his teammates.”

[...]

“It’s the way we set out to do it. Regardless of situation, regardless of what’s happening to you personally, we have to play the game a certain way to give ourselves the best chance to win. And it’s too bad that it came down to that situation in the ninth inning, when he could have been at the plate. For the sake of his teammates, and the sake of the organization, he needs to play with aggression and the way he plays.”

[...]

“He’s an exciting player. People come to pay money and watch him play, and watch him play the way he can play. And it’s pretty exciting. It’s pretty dynamic. But there’s another side to it. The other side is, regardless of how the ball comes off the bat or regardless of how he’s feeling about an at-bat, he must maintain that intensity and that aggressiveness. And that means running all the way to first base and touching the base.”

“There’s a million reasons why. The transfer rules that we’ve seen lately. What if that guy bobbles the ball as he’s throwing it around? If he doesn’t touch the base, he’s out. If he’s in the dugout, he’s automatically out. Beyond the all the just-run-90-feet stuff, there’s a real, tangible rule behind it now. So we must do that. And he understands that.”

-Nationals manager Matt Williams explains his decision to bench Bryce Harper for not hustling on the below play. (via Washington Post)

Sean Doolittle

Oakland gives Sean Doolittle five-year extension

Most teams don’t sign relievers to five-year extensions. The Oakland A’s are not most teams. While their closer situation is still in flux, the A’s are locking up one of the relievers looking to replace Jim Johnson in the 9th inning. Oakland inked lefty Sean Doolittle to an extension

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – poundings

A tweet by ESPN’s Keith Law summed up Friday night thusly: “If you enjoy watching one baseball team beat the absolute crap out of another team, this is your night.” It wasn’t a pretty evening for those who love pitching duels – seven of the 15 games on the slate were decided by five or […]

Martin Maldonado actually hits the cover off the ball

Announcers like to say that guys “hit the cover off the ball” all the time, but how often is that literally what happened? Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado did just that against Charlie Morton and the Pirates. While he didn’t exactly hit it hard — he pounded it into the ground — the ball fell apart as it reached poor Pedro Alvarez, who had to try to throw a ball that was in pieces. Maldonado reached first safely on what was ruled an infield hit, because you can’t charge an error to Rawlings in the box score.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets trade Ike Davis to Pittsburgh Pirates

This one was only a matter of time, though it’s surprising to see a notable name dealt this early. The Pittsburgh Pirates, in need of some help at first base, have acquired Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for pitching prospect Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. Davis finally ends up dealt after having […]

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The longest homers for the week ending April 17th

Who wants to see more dingers? Well, I hope you all like Giancarlo Stanton, because he’s once again the man this week. Going forward with this series, the only question is “will there be a week where Stanton isn’t featured?” 1. Giancarlo Stanton vs Jonathan Pettibone, 469 feet (April 12th) The bad news – this […]

MLB is digitally inserting Bryce Harper into vintage footage

I like Bryce Harper. I think players like him are the future of the game. Tying him in to baseball history by inserting him into vintage MLB footage is a pretty innovative ad campaign by MLB, even if Harper is a player that already gets a lot of scorn thrown his way by MLB fans. The ad campaign will continue throughout the season, featuring star players like Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, and David Price in addition to Harper, and I really am interested to see how they work all of these players in to some iconic moments in baseball history.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dugout Digest – ace-level performances

There was a lot of good pitching yesterday – like, too much to even cover in the “pitching lines of the day” segment later on. There were no fewer than 13 starters who notched quality starts on Thursday – more than half of the 24 who started games. 11 pitchers threw at least seven innings […]

Yankees turn triple play on Tampa Bay

Yangervis Solarte helped bail CC Sabathia out of trouble in the 2nd inning of New York’s game against the Rays tonight, starting off a classic around-the-horn triple play. As it turns out, Sabathia is no stranger to triple plays while he’s on the mound:

Mike Trout is promoting Marlon Wayans movies, for some reason

When it comes to baseball, Mike Trout is great at just about everything. Sure, you can quibble about his arm strength, but that’s about it. Off the field, however, Trout has a lot of work to do. By all accounts he is a genial, upstanding fellow, but it turns out that he isn’t exactly a […]

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