Junior Lake wears the wrong jersey

Junior Lake wears the wrong jersey

After a 5 hour and 55 minute game that ended at 1:00AM, you can’t blame Junior Lake for being a little sleepy for their 12:35PM start later that day. At least his teammates were awake enough to put on the correct uniform and beat the Pirates 3-2 for their first win of the 2014 Season.

 

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/10724274/cubs-junior-lake-picks-wrong-uniform

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Cubs vs Pirates Opening Series Recap

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Pirates win series 2-1.
Monday: Pirates 1 Cubs 0 (10 innings)
Wednesday: Pirates 4 Cubs 3 (16 innings)
Thursday: Cubs 3 Pirates 2

35 innings of baseball were played in this 3-game series to open up the 2014 Season. The Pirates won the first two games in extra innings and the Cubs took game three in the standard 9-innings to avoid being swept by the Buccos.

3/31

Pirates 1, Cubs 0

W: B. Morris (1-0), L: C. Villanueva (0-1)

Opening Day festivities included an on-field ceremony where the Pirates welcomed back the team’s former N.L. Most Valuable Players–Dick Groat and Barry Bonds–to present Andrew McCutchen with his 2013 MVP award. Pirates two-time N.L. Manager-of-the-Year Jim Leyland presented Clint Hurdle his 2013 Manager-of-the-Year award. And former Louisville Silver Slugger award winner Jack Wilson presented Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez with their 2013 Silver Slugger awards.

More from Opening Day: A professional parachute team, “Fastrax”, landed at PNC Park to deliver the American flag and the Jolly Roger. The Pirates and Cubs took part in player introductions followed by the National Anthem performed by Petrina McCutchen, mother of center fielder Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates are 3-0 when Petrina McCutchen sings the national anthem. Scott Kiner, son of Pirates Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

As for the game, Bonifacio went 4 for 5 for Chicago, but the Cubs were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and wasted a fine start by Samardzija.

Travis Ishikawa had two of the six hits by Pittsburgh. Starter Francisco Liriano was sharp when he needed to be and Pittsburgh’s bullpen did the rest.

Pittsburgh’s hometown hero, Neil Walker, put an end to the game with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. The largest regular season crowd in PNC Park’s 14-season history (39,833) roared its approval.

4/02:
Pirates 4, Cubs 3
W: Pimentel (1-0) L: Villanueva (0-2)

Wednesday’s game was one for the books. With the game lasting 5 hours and 55 minutes, it became the longest Pirates home game in Pittsburgh’s 128-year history.

Taking his walk up song quite literally, Tony Sanchez “Let it Go” when he was called upon to pinch-hit in the bottom of the 16th inning. His RBI, game winning single gave the Pirates back-to-back walk-off wins.

Reliever Carlos Villanueva (0-2) took the loss once again after also giving up second baseman Neil Walker‘s game-winning homer in Monday’s opener. Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton allowed four hits in six innings with six strikeouts and one walk in his first start of the season. Cubs’ starter Edwin Jackson gave up just two runs — one earned — and two hits in 5 1/3 innings but issued four walks while striking out five. Both starters got a no decision. Rookie reliever Stolmy Pimentel (1-0) pitched four scoreless extra innings for his first major league victory.

The Cubs left 19 runners on base and the Pirates stranded 15.

4/03:
Cubs 3, Pirates 2
W: Hammel (1-0) L: Rodríguez, W (0-1)
SV: Strop (1)

It was a game of firsts for the Cubs. Manager Rick Renteria earned his first win, Mike Olt hit his first Major League home run, and Jason Hammel earned his first victory as a Cub.

Jason Hammel held the Pirates to two hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five. Emilio Bonifacio continued his dominant performance as he led off the game with a single; he later doubled, stole second and scored two of the three Cub runs.

The Pirates made it interesting in the seventh as Hammel walked Neil Walker. Pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez doubled off James Russell and Tony Sanchez singled to drive in both runners and make the score 3-2. Pedro Strop picked up the save but not before colliding with John Baker on a popup by Gaby Sanchez in the ninth.

 

These teams will meet again next week (April 8-10) for a 3-game series in Chicago.

SERIES RECAP: Milwaukee Brewers Drop Opening Series to the Atlanta Braves

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            Prior to the Milwaukee Brewers’ first series of the 2014 season, the general manager claimed that this season was an entire new book for the team.  They are moving on from their problems from last season and do not plan on looking back.  Their first series of 2014, played against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park in Milwaukee, is only the beginning of their 162 chapter story. 

            The first game of the series against the Braves was played on March 31 and ended in a 2-0 win for the home team.  Yovani Gallardo was the starting pitcher for the Brewers, coming back onto the field after issues that he had last season both on and off of the diamond.  He pitched six scoreless innings with only four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts.  This was Gallardo’s first Opening Day win in five attempts.  While Gallardo was providing the pitching, two other questions at the beginning of the season provided the runs.  In the fourth inning, Ryan Braun stole a base while Aramis Ramirez was up to bat.  Ramirez then doubled, batting in Jean Segura and Braun.  Prior to the start of the season there were questions surrounding both Braun and his suspension and Ramirez and his knee.  Braun was welcomed back onto the field to a standing ovation from the fans which continued at various points during the game.  So, it seems as if the questions surrounding both players have been answered. 

            The second game of the series did not end as the Brewers would have liked with the Braves winning 5-2.  Braves starting pitcher Alex Wood was difficult for the Brewers to hit as they scored only one run on four hits through the seven innings that Wood pitched.  The Brewers starting pitcher was Kyle Lohse, would also did not have a bad outing.  He pitched seven innings and allowed three runs.  It was not until the fifth inning that the Braves got on the board when right-fielder Jason Heyward hit a two-run homerun.  Those runs were the first two runs scored by the Braves in the previous 22 innings played against the Brewers.  The Brewers also got a homerun in the game, coming off the bat of Carlos Gomez in the first inning of the game. 

            The third and final game of the series for the Brewers ended poorly for the home team as well with a 1-0 loss.  This game turned out to be a pitching duel between Brewers’ Matt Garza, in his debut with the team, and Braves’ Aaron Harang who were both working with no-hitters into the seventh inning.  In the seventh, Braves’ Chris Johnson hit a two-out homerun, ruining Garza’s bid for a no-hitter.  After eight innings pitched with only two hits, Garza was replaces with a pinch-hitter as the Brewers needed the offense.  Eventually, the Brewers managed three hits against the pitching of the Braves but failed to score any runs.  

            Going into the season, the questions surrounding the Brewers had very little to do with their offense ability.  Coming out of the first series of the 2014 season, that seems to be one of the only questions.  As the season progresses, those questions will be answered.  Until then, the next game for the Brewers is Friday, April 4 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.  

Video: A Walk-Off Win for the Buccos

5 hours and 55 minutes after the first pitch the Pirates claimed the win at PNC Park vs the Cubs. Tony Sanchez hit a walk-off single to bring home Jose Tabata and give the Pirates a 4-3 victory in the 16th inning. Recap of the Cubs & Pirates opening series coming soon…

April 2nd Daily Links: Around the NL Central

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New goals motivate Pirates CF McCutchen after winning NL MVP

McCutchen said this Opening Day felt different.

http://triblive.com/sports/pirates/5864167-74/mccutchen-mvp-pirates#ixzz2xjmnKedE

Barry Bonds returns to Pittsburgh

“It feels good to be back where it all started,” Bonds said. “We had some great times here.”

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10703692/barry-bonds-gets-mixed-reaction-pittsburgh-pirates-fans

MLB’s First Instant Replay Challenge

First MLB challenge occurs during Cubs vs Pirates game at PNC Park

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/03/31/first-regular-season-instant-replay-challenge-cubs-pirates–jeff-samardzija/7121825/

Brewers fans give Ryan Braun ‘special’ reception

Braun, who mortified this town last summer with his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs, nervously awaited this moment, wondering how he would be received for his first game since his 65-game suspension last July.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2014/03/31/ryan-braun-receives-standing-ovation-in-milwaukee/7143345/

Price ready for new challenge: Reds manager

Price was too pumped over managing his first game to have nightmares before his debut. But he didn’t exactly have sweet dreams, either.

http://msn.foxsports.com/ohio/story/price-ready-for-new-challenge-reds-manager-033114

Opening Day is Here!!

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March 31st – NL Central Games

#Cubs vs #Pirates

Start Time: 1:05 ET
Guide for Opening Day: http://goo.gl/teYCZK

Braves vs #Brewers

Start Time: 2:10 ET
Guide for Opening Day: http://goo.gl/nD2doh

#Cardinals vs #Reds

Start Time: 4:10 ET
Guide for Opening Day: http://goo.gl/v00Byz

Keep up with the MLB players and teams tweets about opening day: http://mlb.mlb.com/twitter/index.jsp?partnerId=as_mlb_20140331_20996824#s=opening-day

PREVIEW: Chicago Cubs

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                For years the Chicago Cubs have been one of the worst teams in baseball.  This season, the team is continuing to rebuild, adding a few stars to their lineup.  However, it seems as if this season will be much of the same for the Cubs and their fans. 

                One of the bright spots for the future of the Cubs is that their minor-league system is one of the best in the game.  It is likely that a few of those top prospects will make it to the big team at some point this season and there is an argument that they will be able to make an impact.  Young players such as Javier Baez and Kris Bryant are thought to be making their debuts this year while young stars Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo are hoping to come back from lackluster 2013 seasons under their new manager, Rick Renteria. 

                Unfortunately for the Cubs, with the exception of their stars, most of the players are acting as placeholders until somebody from their minor-league team can replace them or they sign somebody else.  There has been recent talk of trading a top starter, Jeff Samardzija, as his contract extension talks have stopped.  While there are replacements waiting in the minors to take his spot, Samardzija is going to prove to be difficult to replace. 

                The Cubs are projected to finish the season at the bottom of the Central Division, but with some improvement over their record from last year (66-96).  One thing is said to be known for sure and that is that the Cubs will extend their championship drought to 107 years.  The Cubs open their season in Pittsburgh on Monday, March 31 when they take on the Pirates.   

PREVIEW: Milwaukee Brewers

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            With multiple injuries, suspensions, off-field issues, and a losing record in the 2013 season, the Milwaukee Brewers are looking towards this upcoming season to right the ship.  This season, the team is regaining some of their star players with hopes that it will bring them some luck.

            What could possibly be the biggest weakness for the Brewers this season is the depth of their bullpen.  The main closer for the team, right-hander Henderson, was a career minor-league player until 2012 and could be too old to have the arm strength to continue pitching effectively.  Right-hander Francisco Rodriguez is a bullpen guy who is carrying a lot of baggage into this season and is not necessarily young enough to carry much of the workload.  Other than those two, most of the bullpen has limited experience and could crumble at any time during the season.  Luckily for the Brewers, they do have offensive power to counteract their weaknesses in pitching.    

            One of the main questions for the Brewers going into the 2014 season will be Ryan Braun.  Braun is just coming off of a lengthy ban for substance abuse and nobody is quite sure what his production level will be.  There have been cases with other athletes where the level of conditioning is lower due to a lengthy absence from the game.  It is possible that this will be the case with Braun and if it is the case, then the Brewers could be in trouble.  Braun was one of the best players on the diamond before he was suspended and the Brewers need him to be in top form.  The only thing that is set in stone for the Brewers going into the season is that Braun will bat third in the lineup. 

            Overall, the Brewers are expected to finish the regular season out of the playoffs and in the fourth seed in the National League Central behind the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals.   The Brewers open their season at home on Monday, March 31 against the Atlanta Braves.  

PREVIEW: Cincinnati Reds

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                For the third time in the past four years, the Cincinnati Reds won 90 games during the regular season and went into the playoffs.  Also for the third time in the past four years, the reds failed to leave the first round of the playoffs.  Many changes took place within the organization after last season ended and many hope that those changes will help the Reds get past the first round

                After 19 years with the team, the Reds parted way with manager Dusty Baker and replaced him with former pitching coach Bryan Price.  Price is thought to bring a new life to a team that had had not been changed much in the past couple decades. 

                The Reds also lost several notable players including left-fielder Shin-Soo Choo and catcher Ryan Hanigan.  Last season, Choo had a .285 batting average with 21 homeruns and 54 runner batted in in 154 games.  Ryan Hanigan batted a .198 with two homeruns and 21 runners batted in in 75 games.  Neither player was properly replaced during the offseason. 

                One of the main questions around the Reds this season will be the production of first baseman Joey Votto and right-fielder Jay Bruce.  Both players are fantastic hitters but there could be problems with the lack of talent batting before them.  If Votto and Bruce make it onto base but the batters before them do not, the productivity levels of both star players will decrease. 

                There might be too many questions for the Reds to overcome this season with the offseason departures and the current line-up.  It is believed that the Reds will finish the regular season in third place in the National League Central behind the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.  The Reds open their season at home on Wednesday, April 2 against the Cardinals.  

Cardinals most profitable MLB franchise

ImageForbes has released its MLB franchise valuations for 2014 and the St. Louis Cardinals were the most profitable MLB franchise in 2013 with an operating income of $65.2.

Cardinals franchise by the numbers:
• The team’s estimated franchise value increased 15 percent to $820 million. Not bad considering that Cardinals’ chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and partners paid $150 million to purchase the team from Anheuser-Busch in late 1995.
• The Cardinals’ $820 million franchise value ranks 8th in the majors behind the NY Yankees ($2.5 billion), Los Angeles Dodgers ($2 billion), Boston ($1.5 billion), Chicago Cubs ($1.2 billion), San Francisco ($1 billion), Philadelphia ($975 million) and Texas ($825 million.)
• The Cards’ one-year 15 percent increase in franchise value was the sixth-highest among MLB franchises.
• The 2013 Cardinals ranked 5th among MLB teams with revenues of $283 million. That put them ahead of several large-market franchises including the two Chicago teams, Philadelphia, Texas, the Los Angeles Angels, and the NY Mets.

Among the NL Central:
• The Cardinals ranked second in franchise value (to the Cubs) but led the division in revenue and operating income.
• Here’s the list of operating income (earnings) for NL Central teams: St. Louis $65.2 million, Chicago $27.3 million, Pittsburgh $21.8 million, Milwaukee $6.8 million … and Cincinnati, which lost $11.6 million in 2013.

• The Cardinals’ estimated 2014 payroll of $111 million ranks 13th in MLB according to the Associated Press.

Full article can be found: http://m.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/daily-bits-cards-most-profitable-mlb-franchise/article_e03af693-9c46-56d4-9775-e87e7390f605.html?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed?mobile_touch=true