KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bret Saberhagen was just 21 years old when the Kansas City Royals were last in the World Series. He pitched a Game 7 shutout to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 22nd, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jon Jay will undergo left wrist surgery later this week, the lone major medical issue facing the St. Louis Cardinals coming off a fourth straight NL Championship Series.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 20th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Madison Bumgarner has thrown 249 innings since Opening Day. Bruce Bochy did not check on him before deciding to hand him the baseball for Game 1 of the World Series. “I think I would insult him if I did,” Bochy said. The Giants are making very few changes as they prepare to play Missouri’s other team, the Kansas City Royals, in Game 1 on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. Bumgarner, the NLCS MVP, will oppose right-hander James Shields and Jake Peavy will follow in Game 2 against right-hander Yordano Ventura. Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong would remain in the rotation for Games 3-4, with Yusmeiro Petit revising his role as a swingman. And yes, Tim Lincecum will remain on the roster as well, Bochy said. “I’m pretty sure at some point he’ll be in a game,” Bochy said of Lincecum, who wasn’t used in the wild card game at Pittsburgh, the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals or the NLCS triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.  Bochy didn’t comment on his lineup or options at designated hitter for the first two games in Kansas City, where the Giants were swept in August by scores or 4-2, 5-0 and 7-4. But it’s expected Michael Morse’s dramatic, tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 5 against the Cardinals makes him an obvious candidate to DH. [RELATED: Giants' experience may not be enough to beat Royals ] Why stick with 12 pitchers and keep Lincecum, when perhaps the Giants could use an extra pair of legs (Gary Brown or Ehire Adrianza) to pinch run for Morse? Especially when the Royals swiped five bases against Lincecum in a train wreck of a start in August? “Well, Timmy’s done a lot for us,” Bochy said. “I’ll start with that. You get in a playoff series and there’s always a guy or two who doesn’t get a lot of work. But it doesn’t mean Timmy won’t play a big role.”  Bochy pointed out that Lincecum would’ve pitched the 18 th inning of Game 2 at Washington if the Giants hadn’t taken a lead. No, it’s not at all likely the Giants will face that situation again. But left unsaid by the manager: Peavy and Vogelsong are coming off short starts, while Hudson is 39 years old and pitching past the first round for the first time in his career. It’s not as if they can just plug in three or four innings from Petit every day. The additional coverage on the innings side might be more valuable, potentially, than another pinch runner. “You can’t ever have enough pitching or experience,” Bochy said. “I think about Timmy, trust me, the fact he hasn’t been in there, because I know what he’s done for us and what he could do for us, and I want him to be a part of this.” As for going with Vogelsong as the No.4 starter over Petit, Bochy cited Vogelsong’s strong start in the NLDS and Petit’s value and versatility in his current role. There “wasn’t a thought” of switching the two, he said. – Andrew Baggarly, CSN Bay Area

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 20th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After San Francisco Giants left fielder Travis Ishikawa connected for a historic three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning of NLCS Game 5, not everybody at AT&T Park knew where the ball ended up. They just knew St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras didn’t catch it, and that meant the Giants were headed back to the World Series for the third time since 2010. Even Giants pitcher Jake Peavy was unaware as he ran on to the field. As Ishikawa neared third base, Peavy nearly terminated his home run trot with a bear hug because he’d thought the ball ricocheted off the wall for a double.  One person who did know though was long-time Giants fan Frank Burke. That’s because he was the lucky fan who caught the ball as it skimmed over the top of the high brick wall in right field, making Ishikawa only the fourth player in MLB history to hit a postseason pennant-clinching home run.  “It’s coming to me, it’s coming to me,  oh,  it’s here!” That’s how Burke described those split seconds to MLB.com’s Cut 4 . The ball left the park in a hurry, so he truly didn’t have much time to think. He just reacted, and there it was.  Afterward, though, Burke did have time to think before he was escorted down to the Giants clubhouse where he would meet Ishikawa and other Giants players. He had time to think about whether he wanted to hold on to what would obviously be a valuable baseball to collectors, or hand it over to Ishikawa and the Giants for potentially nothing at all. After admittedly floating the idea of trading it in for World Series tickets, Burke says he backed off when the team seemed hesitant. Instead, he turned it over no strings attached, because he felt the moment and the baseball both belonged to Ishikawa. Travis Ishikawa did get to take home a souvenir #SFGiants #OctoberTogether (Photo @bradmangin ) pic.twitter.com/g7jK8Xw6og — #OctoberTogether (@SFGiants) October 17, 2014 From the San Jose Mercury News :  “Ishikawa is the guy who hit the ball,” Burke said Friday. “I’m just the lucky guy who caught it. “Knowing Travis and his history and what it’s taken for him to get here? I wanted him to have the ball,” Burke said. As it turned out, Burke wound up with an Ishikawa-autographed bat — hand-delivered with a personal thank you from the October hero himself. That makes for a pretty cool story on it’s own, but another chapter was added on Friday after Burke told his story  on KNBR radio. Shortly after his interview with Gary Radnich, Larry Krueger and Kate Scott, the Giants got in touch with Burke and reconsidered on those World Series tickets.  When the series moves to San Francisco for Game 3 on Friday, Burke will have four tickets waiting for him.    Burke, who owns a transmission repair business and lives about two hours east of San Francisco in Oakdale, attended the game w ith his friend Greg Luetza, who is battling cancer. According to NBC Bay Area , it was Burke’s idea to track down the NLCS tickets so he could enjoy the experience with his friend, and it definitely turned into a night neither will forget. Now there’s a chance for more memories to be made on Friday thanks to his own good hands, Ishikawa’s heroics and the Giants generosity.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 18th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Larry Fine (Reuters) – Travis Ishikawa, mired in a slump in the minors, nearly gave up his Major League Baseball career this summer before adding his name to Giants’ lore with a home run that put his club in the World Series. Ishikawa’s three-run homer Thursday in the bottom of the ninth gave San Francisco a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League pennant, and his euphoric trip around the bases recalled one of baseball’s most famed playoff moments. …

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 18th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The nearly three decades of frustration and disappointment that have relentlessly engulfed the Kansas City Royals organization were finally lifted on Wednesday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. With a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles, the Royals completed a surprising sweep and clinched their first trip to the World Series since George Brett manned the hot corner, Bret Saberhagen toed the rubber and Dick Howser sat in the dugout perch back in 1985. It was a moment 29 years in the making, and it couldn’t have been any sweeter for those who have represented and supported the organization through the lean years that immediately followed their greatest season. The process hasn’t been an easy one, but along the way it’s presented years of hope, only for hope to fade just as quickly. The 2014 team was different though, because this team didn’t wilt under expectations. Instead, they built on 86 wins in 2013, they competed head-to-head with the heavily favored Detroit Tigers right until the regular season’s final day in the American League Central. And along the way they earned a spot in the AL wild card game. Once there, they refused to be denied of their opportunity to rewrite history and bring postseason joy back to Kansas City. It’s a great story that still awaits its perfect ending. But before that ending can be written, we’re going to take a look at some of the key moments and contributors that have helped them arrive at the cusp of immortality. The comeback The great story nearly ended before it could truly pick up steam. In the American League wild card game, Kansas City trailed the Oakland A’s 7-3 in the eighth inning and 8-7 in the 12th, but managed to come out ahead thanks to their fearless, resilient and relentless approach to the game. They haven’t slowed down since, and with the ALCS sweep over Baltimore, Kansas City became the first team in MLB history to begin a postseason with eight straight victories.  A world-class bullpen Every winning team has a strong foundation. For the Royals, it figuratively begins and literally ends with a world-class bullpen that consistently shortens the game to six innings. Closer Greg Holland, set up man Wade Davis, and seventh inning stalwart Kelvin Herrera are all workhorses that have embraced and excelled in their 2014 roles, which has made manager Ned Yost’s job a little easier. Together, they allowed just 29 earned runs in 204 1/3 innings during the regular season, good for a 1.27 ERA. That’s a half-run better than Clayton Kershaw’s 1.77 ERA in 198 1/3 innings, and we know no one wants to face Kershaw with the game on the line. In the postseason, the trio has been even better, posting a 1.05 ERA in 25 2/3 innings. They are nightmare fuel for opposing managers, and they change the way each game is shaped. Speed never slumps During the regular season, the Royals stole an MLB leading 153 bases. That’s 15 more than the second-place Dodgers and 40 more than the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants combined. But it’s not just about a stat, it’s about applying pressure and forcing the issue, which Kansas City does better than anyone by a wide margin. Yost uses his speedsters in a way that opponents can’t gameplan to keep them off the bases, and once they’re on base, any lapse on defense can lead to chaos. Just ask the Chicago White Sox.  Defensive wizardry Another trait that has yet to let Kansas City down is its defense. Their 104 errors were ninth in baseball, but they’re an aggressive team that’s willing and able to sell out on plays most teams would never have been in position to make. We’ve seen their excellence on display time and time again, especially from their outfield during this postseason run. Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon and Nori Aoki have all made multiple spectacular catches that were difference makers in tightly contested games. In other words, hitting it where the Royals ain’t is almost impossible. Postseason home runs While speed and defense has carried them throughout, only recently has Kansas City flexed its muscles. They were the only team to hit under 100 home runs (95) during the regular season, yet they’ve already hit eight in eight postseason games. That includes four in extra-innings. Mike Moustakas hit an 11th-inning game-winner in ALDS Game 1 against the Los Angeles Angels. Eric Hosmer hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the 11th inning of Game 2. In the ALDS, Alex Gordon and Moustakas each homered in the tenth inning of Game 1. It’s worth noting all four came on the road. Timing is everything, and the Royals have shown that their timing is impeccable. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 18th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mike Matheny has led the Cardinals deep into October all three seasons since replacing Tony La Russa as manager. When St. Louis falls short each year, he bears the weight of expectations.

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 17th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Adds quotes, detail) * Victory is 15th in 17 post-season games for Giants * San Francisco advance to third World Series in five years * Royals await Giants in MLB title showdown SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Travis Ishikawa blasted a walk-off three-run home run in the ninth inning as the San Francisco Giants beat the St Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Thursday to clinch the National League Championship series and return to the World Series. …

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 17th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The champagne had not yet been flung about the clubhouse. The players hadn’t even reached the clubhouse, but general manager Brian Sabean put the Giants’ third trip to the World Series in five years in crystalline perspective. “Luck, eh?” he said with equal parts maniacal glee and metaphorical middle finger-y as he basked under the “Giants 6, Cardinals 3” line score on the center field scoreboard. “We’re a bunch of lucky bastards!” So that, finally, is who these Giants are. After 172 hell-shrieker games and a season that was purest madness from start to end, from Angel Pagan’s strikeout to start Game 1 exactly 200 days to Travis Ishikawa’s three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. A bunch of lucky bastards, to a man. Then again, taking that sentence out of context robs it of its meaning, because for these Giants more than even the 2010 and 2012 champions, luck is the residue of plain ornery pigheaded refusal to stop when there is still some job left uncompleted. [INSTANT REPLAY:  Ishikawa's home run sends Giants to World Series ] And so it was Thursday night, when Ishikawa turned with malice on a 96-mph fastball from St. Louis reliever Michael Wacha and drove a 2-0 pitch into the front row of the right field promenade to score Joaquin Arias, Brandon Belt and himself. Madison Bumgarner, who slogged his way through eight innings to be named Most Valuable Player on a team that had at least six other candidates, had to restrain himself as Ishikawa rounded first base. “I think a lot of us forgot that we had to let him touch home plate,” Bumgarner said. “We wanted to run and tackle him around second base.” Or maybe it was Jeremy Affeldt, who was already running on fumes when he was brought into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth to face Oscar Taveras. Affeldt eschewed cute, and just threw three 91-mph fastballs, the third of which one-hopped into his glove and caused him to run the 60 feet from the mound to first to record a vital third out. “There was no way I was going throw it to first,” he said. “I wasn’t even going to underhand it. I probably would airmailed it into the stands. I just ran as fast as I can and got to the bag and I kept going (down the right field line, another good 50 feet), and then I walked back to the dugout real slow. I wanted the moment to last a little.” Or maybe it was Michael Morse, the odd man out in left due to oblique problems similar to those that took St. Louis’ Yadier Molina out of this series. Morse batted for Bumgarner to lead off the bottom of the eighth with the Cardinals up, 3-2, in hopes of creating a baserunner (who probably would have been Matt Duffy). Instead, he got a 1-1 fastball from St. Louis’ most effective reliever, Pat Neshek, and drove it into the tunnel near the left field line to tie the game at 3. “That guy’s incredible, man,” Morse said of Neshek. “He’s such a good pitcher. If there was one guy in the bullpen I didn’t want to face, it was him. I had gone into the cage and had our BP guys throw a little sidearm kind of like what he does, to simulate it . . . I got up there, and I just tried to touch the ball. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run, that’s for sure.” But he did, and sprinted around the bases like a racehorse, just as his replacement, Ishikawa, did in the bottom of the ninth, with the added flourish of spiking his helmet, Bill Mazeroski style. And so it went, throughout the night, throughout the postseason. The Giants’ total victory margin in the division and championship series was a robust 12, or barely a run and a half per game. The bullpen, which defines this team to an almost absurd degree at this time of year, has allowed a .161 batting average, an 0.82 WHIP, a .559 OPS and a .220 on-base percentage. They don’t hit home runs and then they hit three in a game. They score 12 of their first 22 runs without a hit as impetus, and then score all their runs in the deciding game on homers by the unlikely Joe Panik, the improbable Morse and the otherworldly Ishikawa. They cheat logic, they put fingers up to conventional wisdom, and they combine continuity with impetuous roster and lineup decisions that seem to disadvantage them but in fact never seem to do so. They forced the Cardinals and before them the Washington Nationals before them into a series of mistakes while making only two egregious ones themselves – Bumgarner’s game-ending throw-away in Game 3 of the LCS, and Ishikawa’s misjudgment on a Jon Jay fly ball in the third that led to St. Louis’ first run So maybe they ARE lucky bastards after all, as Brian Sabean said. But maybe the key isn’t so much that they’re lucky as much as they are bastards . . . to pitch to, to face as hitters, to enter into jams against, to avoid jams at the other end. Maybe they’re just bastards to play, period. They now head for Kansas City and their third World Series in five years, while the Royals have reached only three in their history. Kansas City runs and fields and has a bullpen that creates fear. Kansas City is, if you’ll accept Sabean’s characterization yet again, a bastard to play again, as Oakland, Detroit and Baltimore have found in succession. Kansas City still hasn’t lost a game in the postseason, and only four times in the last month. And yes, Royals general manager Dayton Moore might have said in an equally sardonic way at one point that his team was a bunch of lucky bastards too. And maybe we can all get our heads around the fact that both words are high compliments for both these teams in what might be the least likely World Series since Marlins-Indians in 1997, or A’s-Mets in ’73. They are wild cards of the purest kind, and in their own way, lucky bastards of the first quality. We know this much. The Giants surely do. – Ray Ratto, CSN Bay Area

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 17th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Madison Bumgarner’s spiffy pitching line Thursday does not paint the true picture of his night. It was a battle for the Giants left-hander, who had lots of Cardinal base runners keeping him company throughout the early innings of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Bumgarner endured through eight innings of three-run ball, keeping St. Louis at bay and allowing his teammates to work some more October magic in pulling out a series-clinching 6-3 victory. [RELATED: Ishikawa's home run sends Giants to World Series ] As the postgame celebration unfolded, Bumgarner found himself holding the NLCS Most Valuable Player trophy. He is the sixth Giant to win the award, but the franchise’s first pitcher to do so. In a series where so many players came through in so many different situations, Bumgarner was surprised he was singled out. “I’m truly thankful and honored for that,” he said. “You can pick anybody. We had so many guys play a big part in every game. I don’t know that I’m 100 percent deserving of it. We’re just excited to be moving on.” Bumgarner surrendered just five hits and two walks. But it was the danger he avoided, the jams that didn’t mushroom into disaster, that was most impressive. The Cardinals broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third on Jon Jay’s RBI double. But with runners on second and third with one out, Bumgarner retired Matt Holliday on a fly that was too shallow to score Matt Carpenter from third, then got Jhonny Peralta on a fly out to left to keep it a 1-0 game. In the fourth, Matt Adams hit a 1-2 breaking ball for a homer and Tony Cruz cleared the left field wall for another solo shot that gave St. Louis a 3-2 lead. But after Cruz’s homer, Bumgarner retired his final 13 hitters from the fourth through the eighth. Watching from the home dugout, teammate and fellow starter Tim Hudson couldn’t help but be impressed. “He’s an ace,” the 16-year veteran said of Bumgarner. “He’s a front-line starter you depend on in any situation. He stepped up to the plate tonight. It was a close ballgame. And you gotta give Adam Wainwright credit. He pitched a heck of a ballgame too.” Very true. The Cardinals right-hander, a 20-game winner in the regular season, came in having posted five consecutive winless starts in the playoffs. In two starts this postseason, he’d been touched for eight earned runs over nine innings. But Wainwright did his part to give the Cardinals a chance to force the series back to the Midwest. [RATTO: Wild Card Giants refuse to quit until job complete ] Joe Panik’s two-run homer in the third was the only damage the Giants did against Wainwright, who went seven innings, gave up just four hits and struck out seven. “Once he got out of the game we found a way to score,” Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said. “Not to say anything about the other (Cardinal pitchers), but Wainwright was just special tonight.” But it was Bumgarner whose effort on the mound helped pave the way to victory for his team. “Just being out there, you start to find a rhythm,” he said. “You start getting a good feel for what you need to do and how the game’s going. We knew it was gonna be a dogfight tonight.” — Joe Stiglich, CSNBayArea.com

View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – St. Louis Cardinals News

Post info: By HotStoveCardinals on October 17th, 2014
Comments: Be the First to Comment »
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next Page »