Rockies in a tight race in the NL West

Rockies in a tight race in the NL West

Breaking down game-changing tools in NL West | MLB.com

The NL West is in the middle of tight race for the division title. Every game, pitch, play, and at-bat is crucial and can make or break a teams chance to win. Whether it is a monster throw from Yasiel Puig to tag out a runner, or pitching a gem of a game from Zack Greinke, these tools and the players that hone them are making the NL West one of most competitive divisions in all of baseball.

The Rockies have a weapon of their own in Nolan Arenado. From his defense to his power, Arenado is a tool bench of a player. Although, he is known more for his defense, Arenado is making a huge impact with his bat. That may not be a surprise to Rockies fans who have seen him come up huge in clutch spots year after year. So far this season, Arenado has given the Rockies a lead 11 time because of his home runs.

Colorado Rockies: Comparing 2017 and 2018 at the third quarter | Rox Pile

We’re in the final quarter of the 2018 season. Given that they made it to the playoffs last year, it can be worthwhile to compare where we are now with where we were then. The numbers are relatively similar. We’ve lost a few more games at Coors Field this year, but the record is pretty close. Run differential is the most significant difference, which is really not surprising given the offensive hardships this year. The Rockies have had some luck, getting hits late in the game, as well as pitching well. It’s going to be an exciting six weeks as we get to the end of the season, and if the Rockies can find success at home as well as get some offense together, they just might find a way back to Rocktober.

Rockies’ top prospect Brendan Rodgers remains intent on proving he’s “ready and deserving” for potential September call-up | Denver Post ($)

Brendan Rodgers has had a minor setback as he tweaked his hamstring while playing in Albuquerque, but the prospect is already looking forward to getting back to the field. He has continued to prove himself as the season goes on, and he might make his goal of playing in the majors by the end of 2018. Confidence has been key for him, and he’s been able to gain crucial experience playing in the minors. He’s not cocky, just doing his best to show everyone what he can do.

The baseball world remembered and honored Aretha Franklin after her death | SB Nation

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away Thursday morning at the age of 76. She was important in many ways, some of which occurred in the world of sports. Several teams paused Thursday to pay their respects to the icon, including the Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, as well as several individual players who had fond memories with Aretha Franklin. She was an incredible part of American culture, and she will be missed.

70 years after Babe Ruth's death, New York Yankees and MLB fans still flock to his grave

70 years after Babe Ruth's death, New York Yankees and MLB fans still flock to his grave

HAWTHORNE, N.Y.  — Amid the serene graves at Gate of Heaven Cemetery sits the one where visitors leave baseballs and bats instead of bouquets, tributes to a baseball superstar who still outshines others seven decades after his death.

It’s the resting place of Babe Ruth, the indelible slugger and larger-than-life personality who died Aug. 16, 1948.

Considered by many the greatest player in baseball history, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox legend set home run records — 60 in one season, 714 in his career — that stood for decades. He remains one of the sport’s defining figures.

More: Who died on August 16? Aretha Franklin, Elvis, Babe Ruth, Bela Lugosi and others

More: Aretha Franklin among the last of pioneers of soul who changed the course of popular music

If someone knows one name in baseball, it’s likely his: the Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, the Babe, or, officially, George Herman (Babe) Ruth.

Ruth began as a left-handed pitcher and became a slugging outfielder, playing for 22 major league seasons before retiring in 1935. In his prime, he would hit more home runs than some entire teams, and he was known for his flair on and off the field.

Former President George H.W. Bush once wrote that although he got to attend many enjoyable events as president and vice president, meeting Ruth at Yale University while Bush was a student and baseball team captain there “topped them all.”

After Ruth died of throat cancer at 53, tens of thousands of fans came to pay respects as his body laid in state for two days at the original Yankee Stadium, dubbed “The House That Ruth Built.” People jammed the streets around St. Patrick’s Cathedral during his funeral.

At his grave at the suburban cemetery owned by St. Patrick’s trustees, visitors over the years have left countless bats, balls, caps and T-shirts, as well as beer, whiskey, cigars and hot dogs. Someone delivered an entire sausage-pepper-and-onion pizza to honor a man known for his prodigious appetites, field superintendent John Garro said.

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Another time, he said, someone asked — unsuccessfully — to sleep over in the cemetery in the run-up to Boston’s 2004 World Series win. It ended an 86-year drought that fans called “the curse of the Bambino,” supposedly cast upon the Red Sox for sending Ruth to the Yankees. The grave was so heavily visited during Boston’s 2004 World Series run that two cemetery workers were assigned specifically to watch over it, Garro said.

The tributes proliferate quickly enough that workers tidy up every other week and do a more thorough clear-out every couple of months.

Still, “we like to keep some stuff there,” Garro said, “because it keeps the whole thing going.”

The Detroit Tigers found a great way to honor Aretha Franklin

The Detroit Tigers found a great way to honor Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was an icon in Detroit, and the Tigers found the perfect way to pay tribute to the Queen of Soul. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The death of Aretha Franklin on Thursday has spurred an outpouring of love and tributes for the legendary Queen of Soul. She wasn’t just a singer, but a musician, a composer, a businesswoman, an activist, and that’s only a few out of a very long list. And while she graced baseball with her glorious renditions of the national anthem several times, it’s hard to think of a way for baseball teams to pay tribute to such an icon, since she really had nothing to do with baseball at all.

But the Detroit Tigers found a way. Franklin made her home in Detroit, and the Tigers did her proud. They incorporated some of Aretha’s greatest hits into their game notes, and even kept each one thematically appropriate for the section.

As Jason Beck, MLB.com’s Tigers beat writer, said in his tweet, the everyone in the Tigers’ PR department outdid themselves on this. They paid tribute to the Queen of Soul without even mentioning her name! Here are a few highlights:

  • “You Send Me” heads a section about putting pitcher Artie Lewicki on the disabled list.
  • “Rock Steady” is about the consistency of Nick Castellanos.
  • “Respect” leads the section about Victor Martinez’s recent hot streak.
  • “Until You Come Back to Me” is the title they used for a section about Daniel Norris’ rehab start.

The best one? “It Hurts Like Hell” for the section about players on the disabled list.

It’s such a sweet yet smart way to pay tribute to a music legend and a Detroit legend. But there is one other thing they could have done, though. They could have cued up this video to play during the seventh-inning stretch.

In the early 1990s, Aretha Franklin did a TV promo with Tigers players, and blessed the world with her own version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It remains unparalleled to this day.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Ranking suspect saves sources with more than half the league's closer roles in flux

Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Ranking suspect saves sources with more than half the league's closer roles in flux

Looking to get ready for Fantasy football season? Check out SportsLine.com’s Optimal Rankings Cheat Sheets.   

The last three weeks have done a number on the closer landscape.

From the tumult of the trade deadline to the August deals involving Jeurys Familia and Fernando Rodney to the injuries to Sean Doolittle and Brandon Morrow to the meltdowns for Wade Davis and Corey Knebel, we don’t have a great sense right now of who’s closing where.

In fact, I’d say that’s the case for more than half the league. A full 16 teams, by my count, have instability in the ninth inning, offering little assurance who’s getting the save from one week to the next — or even one day to the next.

I’m here to make sense of it. Following are my assessments of each of those 16 situations, listed by how likely I am to roster the current front-runner for saves.

Be forewarned: It gets ugly fast.

Front-runners for 16 shaky closer situations
Nats broadcast reacts to walk-off HR with silence

Nats broadcast reacts to walk-off HR with silence

It’s been a rough few days for the Washington Nationals. One night after they were on the wrong side of a walk-off grand slam by the Cubs, the Nationals again relived the misery of losing on a walk-off home run – this time, against the Cardinals.

The Nationals MASN broadcast of Bob Carpenter and F. P. Santangelo could not have made a call more indicative of how Nationals fans are feeling right now. That’s because when Paul DeJong launched a 3-1 pitch into the left-field bullpen, the Nationals broadcast went silent.

We hear, “3-1 pitch to a guy with power,” followed by the crack of the bat. The Nationals announcers did not say another word for nearly a full minute. Instead, viewers were treated to the raw stadium noise. It was surreal, and the crew reacted to Matt Carpenter’s three-run homer in the eighth inning with a similar silent treatment.

The loss had the Nationals trailing the first-place Braves by seven games in the NL East standings.

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Royals place Duffy on disabled list, recall Sparkman

Royals place Duffy on disabled list, recall Sparkman

Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter in the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals have placed left-hander Danny Duffy on the 10-day disabled list with a shoulder impingement.

The 29-year-old Duffy received an anti-inflammatory shot after allowing six runs in 5 1/3 innings in Saturday’s 8-3 loss to St. Louis. He has lost three of his last four starts.

Kansas City also recalled rookie right-hander Glenn Sparkman from Triple-A Omaha on Monday. He will make his first major league start in Duffy’s spot Thursday against Toronto.

Sparkman is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA in eight appearances with the Royals this year. He pitched 4 1/3 innings of two-run ball in Friday’s loss to the Cardinals, and then was sent down on Sunday.

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports