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Roy Halladay Finally Gets a Shot at Pitching in October

There has never been a pitcher in Major League Baseball history that deserves a shot at taking the mound in the postseason more than Roy Hallday.  For years, Halladay was one of the best arms in the American League.  As luck would have it, he was stuck pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays have not been to the playoffs since 1993.  The last time they were there, they went on to win a title by defeating — get this — the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.  For almost 20 years, Toronto has been stuck behind the Red Sox, Yankees, and more recently the Rays.  They’re a franchise that just hasn’t managed to get back on track since winning back-to-back titles in the early 90s.

Yet, Halladay never complained.  Anyone who knows anything about baseball saw a perennial Cy Young contender wasting away in a city where baseball fans have become an endangered species.  All Toronto’s ace did during his 12-year stay was take the mound and pitch.  More often than not, he did his job better than any other starter in the AL during that tenure.

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Video: Cardinals Reliever Blake Hawksworth Hit in Face With Line Drive

With the amount of comeback line drives that are hit in the direction of pitchers, it’s amazing there are so few serious injuries.  Unfortunately, scares like this have become part of the game.  St. Louis Cardinals reliever Blake Hawksworth was taken to the hospital Saturday after he was drilled in the face with a line drive off the bat of Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld.  Hawksworth suffered severe lacerations to his face and lip but somehow seems to have avoided a concussion.  He walked off the field under his own power and will reportedly be kept overnight in the hospital.

The video is tough to watch, so I’d only check it out if you have the stomach to watch a baseball hitting someone in the face.  You can also see blood collecting pretty rapidly on his jersey right after he goes down.  Here’s the Blake Hawksworth line drive to the face video:

Between this and Dan Mason’s dislocated knee, it’s been a pretty gruesome few days for the sports world.

Video Credit: YouTube user ggarro6

Tim Lincecum Complains About Juiced Ball B.S. at Coors Field

Giants broadcaster Jon Miller caused a stir when he said the Rockies stopped using humidor baseballs late in innings to give themselves an advantage if they were losing. Tim Lincecum apparently agrees.

The Giants ace was perfect through five innings at Coors Field and wound up going eight innings of two-hit ball for the win on Friday night. Colorado’s only run came in the 6th, the same inning in which Lincecum complained about getting a juiced ball from the umpire.

After getting a ball from the umpire, Timmy threw it back, asking for a new ball. Then, he muttered to himself, “****in juiced ball bull****.”

We don’t know if the Rockies really were juicing their balls, but we do know that Lincecum isn’t headed for the bullpen anytime soon despite what a scout said.

Mark Reynolds Drops Below Mendoza Line, on Verge of Record Worst Year

mark-reynoldsArizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds went 0-for-3 on Friday night in a loss to the Dodgers and is now batting just .199 on the season. The notorious whiff king, who’s already been fitted with a golden sombrero, is also on the verge of setting another embarrassing mark. On top of posting the three highest strikeout totals for a hitter in a single-season, Reynolds may be become the first player ever to have a higher strikeout total than batting average.

Yes it’s true.

Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic cites baseball-reference saying that Reynolds can become the first non-pitcher to accomplish this dubious distinction, as Rotoworld shared with us. Reynolds started off the year strongly, cracking seven home runs and driving in 21 runs in April while posting a .909 OPS. Although the power numbers have been steady, Reynolds’ batting average has been low each month since the start of the season.

Unfortunately for Mark and the Diamondbacks, it’s just been a brutal September. Reynolds has slumped going 4-for-57 with only one RBI. The low average is to be expected, but as long as it comes with his usual dose of home runs it’s somewhat excusable. But this slump is as bad as it gets and it now has Mark’s average at .199. If he keeps it up, he could become the first player with at least 500 at-bats in a season to hit below .200 since Tom Tresh in 1968 (from what I can tell).

This season obviously being at the low end of things, would you want a guy like Reynolds on your team? Are his 30 home runs on average worth the 200 strikeouts and career .243 average? Is the power worth the whiffs?

Aroldis Chapman Hits 105MPH Again, This Time in the Big Leagues

This just in: Aroldis Chapman throws hard.  There have been plenty of stories about the Cincinnati Reds’ freak of nature blowing up radar guns and throwing upwards of 100mph.  Back in march, we heard that Chapman regularly hit 102mph on the gun.  Impressive?  Yes, but guys like Joel Zumaya and Daniel Bard have been there and done that.  Then we heard he hit 105mph during a Triple-A game.  That’s insanely fast and would have qualified for the fastest pitch ever recorded if it were thrown during a big league game.  Everyone knows those minor league guns are juiced though, right?

Apparently that’s not the case.  Aroldis Chapman hit 105mph again, this time against the San Diego Padres on Friday night, to give him the record for the fastest pitch ever thrown in a Major League Game.  The previous record was 104.8mph, held by Joel Zumaya.  Chapman’s pitch was actually a 105.1 mph fastball. 

If this kid’s arm doesn’t fall off, I’ll be shocked.

Villanova Baseball Player Solicits Steroids Advice on Message Board

A person claiming to be a Villanova baseball player recently posted a series of questions on a steroid.com message board asking for advice on managing his cycle. Let’s put aside the legal and ethical issues at hand for a second. How about focusing on how dumb someone can be to post incriminating information like that on the internet for public viewing? I know we’ve seen players kicked off their teams for saying things on facebook and criticizing coaches on twitter, but those comments don’t exactly have legal ramifications.

Here’s the thing: if you’re going to solicit advice regarding illegal activities, don’t be so darn conspicuous while you’re doing it. As Deadspin pointed out, the player in question titled his thread “Villanova baseball player 1st cycle.” He then went on to say he plays college baseball, gave his measurements, and said he was looking to bulk up to get drafted. He asked for advice on how to modify his current steroids cycle. No joke.

The steroid.com poster’s username is “ultimatepr27,” (as you can see above) and the dimensions listed in the post description matches up closely with the only player on the roster whose initials are P.R. Let’s just hope Paul Rambaud (or whomever it was) really wasn’t that stupid. If he really wanted everyone to know his business why didn’t he just tweet Jose Canseco for the advice? Dummy.

NL Playoff Preview and Players to Watch

Also check out Alan Hull’s AL Playoff Preview

As the season wraps up and the National League contenders begin to separate themselves from one another, here is a look at some key players to watch down the stretch and through October.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Derrek Lee: There is no better way to add zeroes to the back of your next contract than to perform in the post-season when the stakes are the highest and all of baseball is watching. Lee will be looking to sign one last lucrative contract after this season. He had an opportunity to reinvent himself upon being traded to Atlanta, with the hopes he would replace some of the production lost when Chipper Jones went down. Lee responded by hitting a decent .289/.375/.433 since the trade. He will get another chance to start over in October and a few big hits will go a long way for his financial future.

Tommy Hanson: Tim Hudson has had a big season for the Braves, but has faded a bit down the stretch. Hanson, however, is the Braves most talented pitcher and has flown under the radar due to a mediocre win-loss record. This post-season may be a coming-out party for the 23-year-old future ace.

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