October 25, 2014

Bullpen and defense lead the way as Royals top Giants; take 2-1 World Series lead



A solid bullpen and strong defense have the Royals within two victories of a World Series championship.

Kelvin Herrera, Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to throw four no-hit innings of relief, as Kansas City edged the San Francisco Giants, 3-2, in Game 3 of the Fall Classic.

Run-scoring hits from Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer in the sixth inning provided the visitors with a 3-0 lead, and the Royals held on after the Giants broke through with two runs against Jeremy Guthrie in the home sixth.

Holland closed the door by retiring the side in order to give Kansas City a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

It was Holland’s seventh save of this year’s playoffs, tying a single-season mark that is shared by John Wetteland (1996), Troy Percival (2002, Angels), Robb Nen (2002, Giants), Brad Lidge (2008, Phillies) and Koji Uehara (2013, Red Sox).

Game 4 is Saturday, again at AT&T Park. Jason Vargas starts for the Royals, and Ryan Vogelsong toes the rubber for the Giants.

There was a thought that the Giants would go with Madison Bumgarner on Saturday instead of Vogelsong.

“It’s our confidence in the guy we have going tomorrow,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of staying with Vogelsong. “We’re keeping things in order because of how well all our starters have thrown.”

Guthrie (1-0) allowed four hits, while Giants starter Tim Hudson (0-1) was charged with four hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Hudson said. “They just did the little things to beat us.”

The Royals won Friday’s game with timely hitting, a stellar bullpen and sharp glove work. [Read more...]

Wainwright has elbow surgery; should be ready to go for 2015

Adam Wainwright joined the 20 win club Monday night at Wrigley Field. (photo/MLB)

Adam Wainwright joined the 20 win club Monday night at Wrigley Field. (photo/MLB)

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright underwent surgery on his right elbow on Friday.

The club revealed that the 33-year-old submitted to a procedure which trimmed cartilage from his pitching elbow. After an initial MRI failed to reveal any significant issue, Wainwright pushed for a second MRI and the results spurred the decision to go under the knife.

Wainwright finished the 2013 season with a 20-9 record and 2.38 earned run average in 227 innings over 32 starts for the NL Central champions.

He missed a turn in the rotation in mid-June due to trouble with the elbow, though an MRI taken then revealed no structural damage to the ligament which was replaced with Tommy John surgery in 2011.

Royals get set to host Game 1 of the World Series against the Giants tonight

The Royals celebrate their wild card win over Oakland (photo/MLB)

The Royals celebrate their wild card win over Oakland (photo/MLB)

The Kansas City Royals are back in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. If they want to nail down their first title since that 1985 season, though, they’ll have to get past a team in the San Francisco Giants who will be vying for their third World Series championship in five years.

Kansas City kicks off the 110th edition of the Fall Classic against the Giants starting on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

A matchup nobody envisioned at the beginning of the playoffs, let alone the start of the season, the Royals and Giants become the first World Series matchup between wild card teams since the Los Angeles Angels beat San Francisco in 2002.

This also marks the first World Series in a non-shortened season to feature two teams with fewer than 90 wins in the regular season.

Kansas City’s run in October has been nothing short of spectacular, as it has become the first team in major league history to start its postseason with eight consecutive wins.

It didn’t look good for the Royals in their wild card game against the Oakland Athletics, as a curious pitching change by manager Ned Yost triggered a five- run inning for the A’s. Kansas City, though, started to show the resiliency that has been its trademark in these playoffs and rallied for a 9-8 win in 12 innings. [Read more...]

St. Louis Rams release wide receiver Austin Pettis

St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams have released wide receiver Austin Pettis.

Head coach Jeff Fisher confirmed the news on Monday, adding: “We appreciate Austin Pettis’ contribution to us.”

Multiple reports, including one from FoxSports.com, indicate one of the reasons for the move was his lateness for a team meeting on Saturday. Pettis was inactive for the Rams’ 28-26 win over Seattle on Sunday. In addition, the Post-Dispatch revealed that a glut of players at the position could have been a contributing factor.

The fourth-year pro out of Boise State totaled 12 receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown in five games. Since arriving in the Gateway City in 2011, Pettis has compiled 107 catches for 1,034 yards and nine scores.

Murphy and Ray collect weekly honors from Southeastern Conference

New Mizzou football helmet?

New Mizzou football helmet?

To the victor go the spoils, and the University of Missouri football team has collected two-fold from its 42-13 road win at Florida last Saturday, as senior TB/KR Marcus Murphy and junior DE Shane Ray were named the league’s Special Teams Player of the Week and Defensive Lineman of the Week, respectively, as announced on the SEC Network tonight.

Murphy was spectacular against the Gators, as he became the first player in Mizzou history to score a touchdown via kickoff return, punt return and rushing as he keyed the big Tiger victory. Murphy electrified the Swamp crowd with a 96-yard kickoff return to open the game, marking only the third time in Tiger history that MU has run back the game-opening kick for a score (Gahn McGaffie in 2010 vs. Oklahoma and Roger Wehrli in 1967 at Iowa State were the others). Murphy would later score on a 5-yard run to stake the Tigers to a 14-0 first-quarter lead, and he followed with an 82-yard punt return score on a punt safe formation (where MU had its normal defense in to guard against a fake punt, instead of having the punt return unit on the field) for a 28-0 lead.

Murphy ended the night with a career-high 224 all-purpose yards, and he currently leads the SEC and ranks 15th nationally with his 149.14 all-purpose yards per game average. The kick return scores were the sixth and seventh of his career, which gives him the MU career combined kick return record to himself, breaking the tie he held with former two-time All-American, Jeremy Maclin.

Not to be outdone, Ray was just as impactful on the defensive front in helping the Tigers improve to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in SEC play. He notched his fourth two-sack game of the season, including a sack/strip play in the 3rd quarter which resulted in teammate Markus Golden’s 21-yard scoop-and-score touchdown return to give Mizzou a 35-0 lead. Ray ended the night with six tackles, and also added a quarterback pressure. [Read more...]