Having read the words "cow milking contest," there is no possible way that you, a human being who appreciates joy, aren't already dying from anticipation, so we'll just get right to it: Prior to Friday's Red Sox-Rangers game, Boston starter Wade Miley and Texas reliever Ross Ohlendorf engaged in a milk-off, a time-honoredtradition passed down by gladiators of yore.
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was still dealing with a bad cold on Friday afternoon before his second home game with the Rangers. Asked if he was feeling any better, Hamilton said simply, "no." Asked about the possibility of not playing, Hamilton shook his head, smacked his name on the posted lineup card and said, "There I am, baby."
Hamilton wasn't bothered by his ailment or Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright's knuckleball. Hamilton took Wright deep twice for his first two home runs of the season that helped lead the Rangers to a 7-4 victory.
CINCINNATI -- Stephen Strasburg exited Friday's series opener vs. the Reds, a 5-2 Nationals loss, in the bottom of the second inning with what the team says is a tight muscle in his neck.
After the right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to Brayan Pena, manager Matt Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and the team's head athletic trainer went to the mound. Strasburg did not throw another pitch; he was removed by Williams and replaced by Taylor Jordan, who was in the restroom when he received word that he would be entering the game.
PHILADELPHIA -- If Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis is awful in warmups, look out.
An awful bullpen before Sunday's start against the Giants preceded a performance in which he took a shutout into the ninth. Of Friday night's pregame bullpen, Bettis said, "This was by tenfold worse. Coming into the game, there was nothing that was working for me."
PHILADELPHIA -- The problem with breaking down Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's season-long slump and home run drought is he has the power to change things quickly.
Tulowitzki entered Friday with a .266 batting average and no homers in 91 at-bats, 96 plate appearances. By the third inning, he had hit two solo homers, and he finished 4-for-5 in the Rockies' 4-1 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
NEW YORK -- In an attempt to silence the alarms and call off the hounds before Friday's 4-3 loss to the Marlins, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson amended a description of the scary-sounding term that ace Matt Harvey has spent the last week semi-diagnosed and maybe unfairly labeled with -- "dead arm."
"It's another way of explaining a bad outing," Alderson said.
CINCINNATI -- Bryce Harper is one of the game's best players right now, so one could understand his feelings after he was hit in the back by a pitch thrown by the Reds' Tony Cingrani during the Nationals' 5-2 loss on Friday.
In the seventh inning, with Denard Span on second, Cingrani replaced right-hander Jumbo Diaz to face Harper. On the first pitch, Cingrani hit Harper, who was clearly upset. Harper threw his bat near the Nationals' dugout and slowly walked to first, where he exchanged words with first baseman Joey Votto.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Reds beat reporter Mark Sheldon contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Now, realize that not a single one of the players named own the title of "baseball's most valuable shortstop" dating back to the beginning of 2014. That crown belongs to a player generally best known for the nearly two full seasons he spent being moved off of shortstop to third, or a PED suspension, or maybe even just the unusual way in which he spells his first name. You might not think of Jhonny Peralta, who turned 33 on Thursday, as among baseball's best at shortstop. But as he keeps proving, like when he was playing a central role in St. Louis' 3-0 win over the Dodgers on Friday night, it's where he belongs.
Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
MLB.TV unveils new media player, price drop
By Mark Newman
Along with the new Web-based media player (version 5.0) that was introduced this week by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, there is another new reason to sign up now to watch live out-of-market games. The cost of a yearly subscription was lowered on Friday to $99.99 for MLB.TV Premium and $79.99 for MLB.TV.
This is the final weekend of May, and the price drop for MLB.TV reflects the fact that nearly a third of the regular season is in the books. The new HD media player has an in-page layout, so it all happens in your browser with no need for an additional download, and the new game scoreboard will make it easier to track games.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants' scoreless-innings streak at AT&T Park ended Friday night, but their run of overall success at home remained very much alive.
Tim Hudson pitched seven stingy innings to gain his first career victory over the Atlanta Braves and benefited from Buster Posey's three RBIs as the Giants prevailed, 4-2. The outcome lengthened the Giants' home winning streak to six games and their overall winning streak to five as they climbed atop the National League West standings, a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
What to watch for in today's games
By Spencer Fordin
The Dodgers have seen this arm before, but in more dramatic circumstances.
St. Louis will send Michael Wacha for his first regular-season start against Los Angeles on Saturday, but the Dodgers remember him well from the 2013 National League Championship Series. Wacha, then a rookie, was named the NLCS MVP after going 2-0 in that series.
ANAHEIM -- Jose Iglesias sometimes bypasses the highlight play in favor of getting rid of the ball as quickly as possible when there's a fast runner headed down the line. His play in Friday night's 2-0 loss to the Angels fulfilled both objectives.
Though Angels shortstop Taylor Featherston was hoping for his second Major League hit when his ground ball took Iglesias deep into the hole, Iglesias had other ideas. The Tigers shortstop and early American League Gold Glove Award candidate unleashed a strong throw across his body that one-hopped the infield dirt and reached Miguel Cabrera at first base in time for a big third-inning out.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
A look inside new Top 200 Draft Prospects list
With less than two weeks remaining, rankings shift to highlight premier talent
By Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo
MLBPipeline.com has just unveiled an updated and expanded First-Year Player Draft Top 200 Prospects list. While Lake Mary (Fla.) High shortstop Brendan Rodgers remains the top-rated talent, much has changed since our previous installment last month.
Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi has made the biggest move up the list, going from No. 63 in April to No. 8 with less than two weeks remaining before the Draft. The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Benintendi is one of two NCAA Division I players with at least 15 homers and 20 stolen bases. The other is North Florida outfielder Donnie Dewees, who is also trending upward from No. 51 to 35.
OAKLAND -- Masahiro Tanaka will be activated from the disabled list and has been scheduled to start against the Mariners in Seattle on Wednesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday.
Tanaka flew to join the club following his second Minor League rehabilitation start Wednesday at Pawtucket for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and said that he feels healthy after spending the last month on the disabled list.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
On Their Game: Randy Johnson and Geddy Lee
Base to bass: Hall of Famers are friends, and Big Unit rocks as a photographer
By Alyson Footer
AUSTIN, Texas -- Amid the lights, video boards, shooting sparklers and other elaborate props that are commonplace on stage at a rock concert stands a quiet and very tall figure, dressed in blue jeans and an unassuming T-shirt, holding a camera.
He needs to be close to action, but he also has to stay out of the way of the main attraction, all the while capturing the poignant moments that will eventually document this particular moment in the band's history.
ST. LOUIS -- Meeting the Dodgers for the first time since sending them home in the 2014 postseason, the Cardinals ran their winning streak to five games with a 3-0 win in front of 44,223 at Busch Stadium on Friday. The two teams entered the night boasting the National League's best records.
After retiring the final 23 hitters he faced in his last start, Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger allowed the first three Cardinals batters he saw to reach. St. Louis scored a first-inning run on a double play with the bases loaded, snapping Bolsinger's scoreless innings streak at 18 2/3. Randal Grichuk's RBI double in the third gave the Cardinals as many runs in Bolsinger's six-inning start Friday as four other teams had in 25 1/3 innings against him previously this year.
MINNESOTA -- Chris Colabello's past year has been full of highs and lows. Friday night, the outfielder might've reached his highest point thus far in the Blue Jays' 6-4 victory over his former team, the Twins.
After two years with the Twins, Colabello was claimed off waivers by Toronto in the offseason. Shortly after, the outfielder was designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A. Colabello was called up earlier this month, and got revenge against his former team Friday, breaking open a tie game with a two-run home run in the ninth inning.
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's arm certainly isn't dead, but the right-hander may be in a bit of a slump. Harvey was throwing in the upper 90s after dealing with a bout of "dead arm" following his last start, and he struck out 11 over eight innings Friday night. But one bad pitch to Justin Bour was enough to hand Harvey his second straight loss as the Marlins topped the Mets, 4-3, at Citi Field.
"He made a couple mistakes and we weren't able to give him much support," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Other than that, he threw the ball fine."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
The First-Year Player Draft is rapidly approaching, with just 10 days before the three-day event begins on June 8 and the world hears who the D-backs will take at No. 1 overall.
Last week, Jim Callis took a crack at predicting the first 26 picks. Now it's time for us to up the ante as the clock is ticking, so we're expanding out to 36 picks, the entirety of what is officially called the first round.
Jon Stewart's guest on Thursday night's episode of "The Daily Show" was someone that he, a noted Mets fan, was clearly thrilled to speak with: Matt Harvey. Or, as Stewart described him, "the most exciting pitcher in the game today."
By Bryan Hoch and Jane Lee
MLB.com |@BryanHoch |
OAKLAND -- A four-run third inning backed A's ace Sonny Gray, who did his part by completing eight solid innings in a 6-2 victory over the Yankees at the Coliseum on Friday night, securing Oakland its second straight win.
Gray fired four no-hit innings, before Yankees catcher Brian McCann hit his fourth home run in as many games to lead off the fifth. Shortstop Didi Gregorius doubled off Gray and scored in the sixth, but that's all the right-hander would allow, while maintaining the American League's best ERA, at 1.82.
HOUSTON -- Geovany Soto hit a two-run double off the right-field wall to break a tie in the 11th inning, and Adam LaRoche added an RBI single to lead the White Sox to a 6-3 win over the Astros in the series opener Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
"It was a nice win," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "These guys battled, and I think you look at the team wins you'll have and this is a big one, because it was a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit, knowing we were limited. Just a lot of big contributions from everybody."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's
Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Brandon Curry, Steve Gilbert and Adam McCalvy
MILWAUKEE -- The D-backs hit four home runs, including shortstop Nick Ahmed's go-ahead solo shot in the eighth with two outs off reliever Jonathan Broxton for a 7-5 win over the Brewers on Friday night at Miller Park.
Two of the other three homers came off the bats of right fielder Ender Inciarte and left fielder David Peralta in Arizona's two-run third inning. Both left the park on the first pitch of the at-bat against Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson. Center fielder A.J. Pollock added insurance runs in the ninth with a two-run shot. Brewers' pitchers have now allowed 64 homers this season, second to only the San Diego Padres, who surrendered 66 entering Friday's game.
PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis took a perfect game into the seventh and no-hitter into the eighth as the Rockies defeated the Phillies, 4-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.
Bettis (2-0), who took a shutout into the ninth inning Sunday, but gave up two runs in a win over the Giants was even more special Friday -- allowing two hits in eight scoreless innings, with seven strikeouts. For a while, he was bidding to join ex-Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez as the only Rockies members of the no-hit club. Jimenez threw his on the road against the Braves on April 17, 2010. Bettis finished with 66 strikes in 104 pitches.