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Cal Ripken Jr. picks World Series winner


Cal Ripken Jr. picks World Series winner

BALTIMORE—Cal Ripken watched the New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series and then saw the Mets sweep the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, and he liked what he saw from New York.

The Mets’ good play could carry into the World Series when it begins on Tuesday in Kansas City.

“I’m an American League guy, so you always want to look at the American League and give a little bit of an edge to them, but we covered the National League this year, and I can’t tell you how impressive the Mets’ young ‘Big Three’ were,” Ripken said.

Ripken, who covered both Mets’ series for TBS as an analyst, spoke at the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation “College Season Tip-off” on Monday.

New York will throw Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndegaard at the Royals in the first three games of the World Series.

“Not only do they have real big arms, they throw 100 miles an hour or in the upper 90’s. You watch the radar gun all the time as a hitter, and you kind of think: ‘Do they ever come down below 95?’

“They pitched. They mix in their changeups. They mixed in their breaking balls really well. When you have that level fastball with the secondary pitches that are working, any offensive team that’s going to struggle,” Ripken said.

It took New York five games to beat the Dodgers, but they bested Chicago, which beat St. Louis in four, without losing a game.


“You took a Cubs team that was hot, swinging the bats really well and hitting home runs. All of a sudden you took that away from them, and they didn’t have the ability to really score runs,” Ripken said.

The Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.

“Kansas City, in their run, it seems like they learned a lot from being in the playoffs last year. They got more confident each round, and they played with sort of a freedom that few teams have a chance to play for in the postseason,” Ripken said.

“A lot of times, you get uptight, you don’t have the experience. If you’ve been there a little bit before, and you’ve had success, then all of a sudden you realize it’s the same game, and there’s a freedom. I saw that freedom open up for the Mets.”

Ripken pointed out that New York’s 51 stolen bases were last in the National League. The Orioles trailed the majors with just 44.

“They were running wild in the postseason. They had the guts and the courage to put it to them. They were manufacturing runs, and they were still scoring runs. Their offense had improved when [Yoenis] Cespedes came over, but the Mets are on some kind of roll right now,” Ripken said.

A year ago, Ripken analyzed the ALCS between the Orioles and the Royals, and he liked what he saw from K.C.

“Their players have developed nicely from their last run in the postseason, and they ran through the league this year. I imagine it should be a real competitive series, but I’d give the edge, personally right now to the Mets,” Ripken said.

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Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7


Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.