Joe Torre – former Brave, former Braves manager – is MLB’s chief baseball officer. He’s the guy who metes out penalties. Before he decides what to do with Jose Urena (although I expect he has a pretty good idea already), I’d suggest Torre watch the video, but not so much the video of the Urena pitch that hit Ronald Acuna; watch instead the tape of Brian Snitker’s postgame address. Continue reading by Mark Bradley
Nearly three hours later, Braves manager Brian Snitker was still seething and Marlins manager Don Mattingly was placed in the uncomfortable position of weighing in after Jose Urena hit the red-hot Ronald Acuna Jr. with the first pitch he threw during Atlanta’s 5-2 win on Wednesday night at SunTrust Park.
“To get hit like that when all he’s doing is playing the game, he’s not doing anything to show anybody up,” Snitker said. “He’s just playing the game. He’s a young, talented kid. That’s a shame that happened. What happens if they hit him there and it breaks his elbow and he’s done for the year? With what we’re trying to accomplish here and where we’re at, there’s no reason for that. I mean, this is a game.” Continue reading by Mark Bowman
Thompson, who covered major sports for 20 years as a writer and columnist before joining SportsLine as a senior writer and handicapper, cites deeply-researched stats and trends you haven’t considered to build his astonishing streak. For Thursday, we can tell you he’s going with the Pirates (-108) at home against the Cubs at 7:05 p.m. ET. He is 12-4 on picks involving the Cubbies this season.
Thompson knows the Cubs lead the NL in runs scored and batting average (.264), but have tallied only 27 runs their last eight games, and starting pitcher Jon Lester (12-5, 3.89) has lost his edge since the All-Star break. The lefty has a 10.32 ERA in five starts in that span, and opponents are hitting a whopping .383 against him.
Lester has faced the Pirates four times this season already. One of the outings was a seven-inning, no-run gem, but in the other three he was tagged for four runs each time.
He’ll face off against Ivan Nova (7-6, 4.42), who has allowed four runs with 14 strikeouts over 12.2 innings in two outings against the Cubs.
Coming into Thursday’s game, the Pirates are nine games behind Chicago in the NL Central and six games out of the wild card. This is the start of a critical series for Pittsburgh, which is averaging 5.9 runs over its last eight games.
Thompson also has picks locked in for the Blue Jays-Royals and Diamondbacks-Padres. Those who follow his advice Thursday could cash big — as many have this season. By CBS Staff
The courtship of Shohei Ohtani captivated Major League Baseball last offseason, as numerous teams’ plans remained in suspense until the two-way phenom announced that he would sign with the Angels on Dec. 8.
MLB team executives don’t expect a star of Ohtani’s profile to move from Nippon Professional Baseball to North America this offseason, but many within the industry believe Saitama Seibu Lions left-hander Yusei Kikuchi will be available through the posting system.
Multiple MLB scouts believe Kikuchi’s ceiling is as a No. 2 starter in the Major Leagues, thanks to a fastball that averages between 92 and 94 mph while reaching 96, an uncommonly high velocity among left-handers in NPB.
One source cautioned that Kikuchi could elect to remain in Japan for the 2019 season if the Lions win this year’s Japan Series, in order to help with the team’s title defense. Continue reading by Jon Paul Morosi
New York Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said at the time of the injury that it was “pretty realistic” to expect that Aaron Judge could return in three weeks’ time, but he sustained the fracture 20 days ago, so that estimate appears to have been considerably on the optimistic side. Newsday’s David Lennon tweets that Judge did run the bases and field balls in right field recently, but there’s still no time frame for when he’ll even be cleared to swing a bat — let alone return to a game setting.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have activated left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu from the 60-day disabled list after an absence of nearly three months, the team announced this afternoon. Roster space for Ryu was created by placing Ross Stripling on the 10-day DL due to inflammation in his lower back and by transferring Tony Cingrani from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. The L.A. relief corps has been nothing short of disastrous lately, with multiple relievers struggling since Kenley Jansen hit the disabled list due to an irregular heartbeat.