Mariners Sweep Red Sox at Fenway Park for 1st Time

For the first time in franchise history, the Seattle Mariners have swept a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The two teams played their 63rd series of three or more games at Fenway over the weekend, and the Mariners were finally able to break out the brooms.

Friday's series opener was undoubtedly the most interesting of the bunch, as the Red Sox carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning, only to watch All-Star closer Koji Uehara allow five runs, the most he's given up in any of his 276 career relief appearances. Prior to Friday's game, the suddenly struggling Uehara hadn't even allowed five or more runs in a calendar month since August 2011.

After retiring two of the first three batters he faced, Uehara surrendered a walk, followed by four consecutive hits. Fellow Red Sox reliever Edward Mujica came in to record the third out of the inning, and then Mariners closer Fernando Rodney shut the door in the bottom of the ninth.

The next two wins were rather ordinary, as the Mariners merely took advantage of the makeshift Boston rotation, winning 7-3 on Saturday and 8-6 on Sunday. Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley was the star of the series, recording five hits—including a home run, triple and double—in 13 at-bats, with six RBI, five runs and a stolen base.

While the length of the Mariners' sweep-less streak is surprising, that they've struggled at Fenway is not.

With just four playoff appearances in their 38-year history, the Mariners are nobody's picture of a successful franchise, despite playing host to first-rate superstars like Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez.

The Red Sox have qualified for the playoffs 13 times since the Mariners' inception while suffering through just eight losing campaigns (this year included) over the past 38 years.

Of course, the story has been quite a bit different this season, as the Mariners are poised to make the playoffs for the first time since they won 116 games in 2001.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, carry an eight-game losing streak and 56-74 record into Monday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Rays’ Ben Zobrist Records 500th RBI of Career Over Weekend

Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist recorded his 500th career RBI in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The milestone RBI was one that Zobrist will likely remember, as he surprisingly laid down a bunt single with runners on the corners and two outs in the third inning of a scoreless game. While the bunt likely would have been effective anyway, Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle ensured its success by running into third baseman Danny Valencia, who may have had a play on Zobrist at first base.

Perhaps best known for his ability to play every position besides pitcher and catcher, Zobrist is also one of the better hitters in the Rays' 17-year history.

His 500 career RBI are third on the all-time franchise list, trailing third baseman Evan Longoria's 616 and outfielder Carl Crawford's 592. Zobrist also ranks second in runs (550) and plate appearances (4,316), third in stolen bases (101) and fifth in home runs (113).

The always patient utilityman is the Rays' all-time leader in walks (530), and his 34.1 wins above replacement rank third in franchise history, per FanGraphs' measure of WAR.

With the Rays owning an extremely cheap $7.5 million team option on Zobrist for next season, the versatile 33-year-old will presumably be back in Tampa for at least one more year.

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Standing Workstations Worth Considering Listed at Faveable

Every weekday, our friends at Faveable compile a list of awesome gadgets and gear that men would love to discover.

 

standing-workstation

Welcome back to another edition of partnered content at OhGizmo from Faveable. This time around we’ve compiled a list of really awesome standing workstation solutions and accessories to improve your fitness, while getting the work done more efficiently. Standing desks not only have health benefits you’d normally expect, they also help improve concentration while you work. Featured image is of LifeSpan TR1200-DT5 Treadmill Desk, it’s one of the most highly rated standing workstation which is a desk + treadmill combo with height adjustment. Find out more about our remaining picks by hitting the link below.

Check out: These Workstations Will Literally ‘Get You Off Your A$$’

The post Standing Workstations Worth Considering Listed at Faveable appeared first on OhGizmo!.

Ron Darling: ‘A Starting Pitcher Should Not Be an MVP’

Clayton Kershaw has been having a monster 2014 season and leading the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff charge. 

With his unbelievable performance this year, should he be considered for the MVP?

Former pitcher Ron Darling and Ernie Johnson discuss their opinions on this question.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Upcoming Series Against St. Louis Could Make or Break Team

With a little over a month left to go in the regular season, the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't exactly right where they want to be.  

With one successful series, however, that can all change for a club that has struggled play consistently in 2014.  

The Pirates are set to open up a three-game series as the St. Louis Cardinals come to town Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET in what could be the defining series of the regular season for Pittsburgh.  

The Pirates sit 3.5 games behind the Cardinals, who lead the wild card race with a 70-59 record. More importantly, they are just 1.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second wild-card spot.  

This is one of those series that has the potential to bring the Pirates that much closer to the organization's second-straight postseason appearance. On the other hand, poor play could result in the St. Louis Cardinals pulling away early.  

Two former aces will go at it Monday, as Francisco Liriano looks to defeat John Lackey and the Cardinals.

Liriano's 3-10 record in 2014 does not give him the credit he deserves. He had pitched brilliantly over the last two months until his last outing when he gave up seven runs in just four innings—en route to his tenth loss on the season.  

On the other hand, Lackey has pitched well in three of his last four starts since being traded from the Boston Red Sox. His only bad outing with his new team came on August 9 when the Baltimore Orioles tagged him for nine runs in five innings pitched.  

The Pirates are coming off of a crucial loss Sunday to the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, who now sit 5.0 games ahead of Pittsburgh but just 1.5 games ahead of the surging Cardinals in the National League Central Division.  

If the Cardinals were to sweep the Pirates in this next series, Pittsburgh would fall to 6.5 games behind St. Louis for the first wild-card spot, and these two teams only play each other three more times after this over the remainder of the season.  

Even if that does happen, but the Pirates pick it up and play well enough to clinch the second wild card, they almost certainly do not want to travel to an opposing ballpark to play a one-game playoff.  

Having won just three of its last ten games, Pittsburgh is in a hole. However, the Pirates can climb their way back into the light if they win this series against the Cardinals. After all, a series sweep in their favor would put them just 0.5 games behind the Cardinals for the first wild-card spot.  

Even if the Pirates can take two out of three games from St. Louis, the team would be just 2.5 games behind.  

The Pirates have just 32 games remaining in the regular season, and while that is still plenty of time to catch up to the teams in front of them, they have to start playing better right away.

This is undoubtedly one of the most crucial series this season for them.  

All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Who Are MLB’s Top Franchise Building Blocks?

As we see a superstar like Derek Jeter nearing the end of his final season, it makes you wonder who is in the next wave of baseball's best.

Ernie Johnson and Ron Darling take a look at some of baseball's best young talent in the American and National League.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Stock Up, Stock Down for Chicago Cubs’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 21

There is just one week remaining in what has been a fantastic minor league season for the Chicago Cubs, with top prospects turning heads at every level.

Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks, Arismendy Alcantara and Matt Szczur have all risen from the ranks of top prospect to big league contributors, and there will likely be more debuts come September.

As members of the 40-man roster, Jorge Soler and Arodys Vizcaino both have a solid chance of getting the call, while the biggest question that remains is whether Kris Bryant will debut in 2014 or early 2015.

For now, here's an updated look at the team's current top 10 prospects and how they performed at the minor league level over the past week.

This series will be updated weekly, with a stock "up," "even" or "down" indication given to each prospect based upon the direction in which his performance is trending over the past week.

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MLB Power Rankings: An Updated Look at Where All 30 Teams Stand

This week's MLB power rankings again feature a new No. 1 team.

The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels had the featured matchup last week as they continue to battle it out for the AL West lead and the majors' best record. There will be terrific in-division matchups the rest of the way as teams battle it out over the final month.

When putting together these rankings on a weekly basis, the following factors are considered:

  • Previous week's record
  • Recent performance beyond the last week
  • Quality of opponents
  • Key injuries/trades

With that said, here is an updated look at where all 30 MLB teams stand as we enter the final week of August. Be sure to check back here every Monday morning for the most recent edition of our MLB power rankings.

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Handicapping NL’s Hotly Contested Wild-Card Race with 1 Month Left

The National League wild-card race is shaping up to be one of the best playoff races in all of baseball. While the Nationals and Dodgers seem to have their respective divisions in hand, the scrum in the Central, and the best of the rest, are conspiring to turn the wild-card race into a five-team battle.

As of the end of play Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants were leading the race for two wild-card berths. The Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates are merely a couple of games out, and the Miami Marlins are still in it, trailing by four games.

 

Wild-card standings (through the games of August 24)

Team Wins Losses Wild Card Games Behind
Brewers 72 58 +3.5
Cardinals 70 59 +2
Giants 68 61 -
Braves 68 63 1.0
Pirates 67 63 1.5
Marlins 64 65 4.0

 

We’ll begin our examination of the wild-card race by looking at what these teams have done in the past month to see if their hitting and pitching are rising to the occasion of a playoff chase. The National League average OPS is .695, and the average ERA is 3.67.

 

Team 30-Day Record 30-Day ERA Season ERA 30-Day OPS Season OPS
Brewers 13-13 3.32 3.66 .692 .724
Cardinals 16-11 4.48 3.61 .726 .697
Giants 11-15 3.63 3.38 .677 .688
Braves 13-15 3.26 3.31 .682 .682
Pirates 13-15 4.09 3.77 .742 .727
Marlins 16-11 3.18 3.82 .709 .700

 

The Brewers have used better pitching in the past 30 days to maintain first place in the NL Central, even while their offense has slumped just a bit. The Cardinals have used an offensive surge to narrow the Milwaukee lead. While the Cards’ ERA in the last 30 days is almost a run higher, that could be attributed to several blowouts in which the St. Louis staff allowed double-digit runs.

The Pirates have seen their pitching staff slip just a bit, while their offense has ticked up a notch. One of these three teams—Milwaukee, St. Louis or Pittsburgh—will win the NL Central, while the other two will be competitive for two wild-card spots.

The Giants offense and pitching have been a tad worse over the past month, and that’s seen them slip out of the NL West lead. With the Dodgers putting up a good run, they've opened up some daylight in their division lead, leaving San Francisco holding onto a wild-card berth.

The story of the past month in the NL East is that of the Nationals running away and leaving the rest of the division behind. That has the Braves scrambling to grab a wild-card spot. The good news for Atlanta is that neither its pitching nor its hitting is slumping, but no part of the team has seen an aggregate improvement either.

The Marlins have won a small victory for their young team by hovering around .500, and they've done so with better pitching than any of the other wild-card contenders. But the Fish are about to get fried in the final stretch run.

 

What’s left to play?

Now that we've taken a look at what these teams have done over the past 30 days, what will they face in the final five weeks of the season? Let's examine what’s left for these teams by looking at home and road games left to play, the average record of the teams they will play and how many games they’ll play against playoff teams.

 

Team Home Games Left Road Games Left Home Record Road Record Average Opp. Record H2H v. PO Teams
Brewers 14 18 35-30 36-27 63-64 23
Cardinals 16 17 39-26 30-32 61-67 20
Giants 17 15 32-32 36-27 61-66 12
Braves 16 15 37-28 31-33 62-65 16
Pirates 15 17 40-26 26-36 62-65 19
Marlins 13 20 37-31 27-32 66-61 21

 

The Marlins' tough road ahead can be seen not only in their lack of home games, but also as the only wild-card contender whose remaining opponents have a winning record.

The Giants seem to have the easiest road ahead, with the most home games remaining and the fewest games versus playoff-contending teams. That should work in their favor, but their home record so far is worse than their road record.

No one else on this list seems to have an extra advantage (or disadvantage) in their remaining games. The Brewers play the most games against playoff-contending teams and play a majority of them on the road, but they’ve been a good road team this year.

 

Welcome back

One of the biggest advantages down the stretch is getting players back from the disabled list, especially if those players are MVP-caliber. The biggest boost to any of the wild-card contenders was received by the Pirates, who recently welcomed Andrew McCutchen back to the lineup and Gerrit Cole back to the starting rotation.

The Cardinals could also see their perennial MVP candidate return from injury as Yadier Molina tries to claw his way back from injuring his right thumb in early July. Molina is on target for a mid-September return. St. Louis could also get starting pitcher Michael Wacha back in September, though the team was able to add to its rotation at the trade deadline by acquiring Justin Masterson and John Lackey.

The Brewers are expected to get starting pitcher Matt Garza back in early September, and Kyle Lohse was able to avoid the disabled list while nursing a minor ankle injury.

While Miami may get some minor pieces back over the next few weeks, both the Marlins and the Braves will not be receiving any major additions off the DL. Though, Mike Minor's return to top-of-the-rotation form for Atlanta over his past two starts will be a big upgrade.

 

An extra advantage?

The manner of victory can sometimes propel an average team to bigger things. The Nationals have been riding a hot streak, fueled in part by a handful of walk-off wins. The Marlins have also taken advantage of the walk-off win of late, and for the season they have the best record in the National League in one-run games—an amazing 32-19 record.

That high number of close ballgames may have the Marlins acting more like pretenders than actual contenders in the wild-card race, but that kind of success in close games can give a team a psychological advantage over its opponent.

As I pointed out earlier, the Marlins will play the toughest schedule among the wild-card-contending teams. But that also means they have a lot of opportunities to go head-to-head against teams in front of them, giving them a chance to pick up games quickly.

Taking all of these factors into account, none of these wild-card teams seem to have a distinct advantage. Nearly all of the teams are playing similar schedules that are moderately easy for the remainder of the year, and none of them have any extra home-field advantage.

No team has taken control of the wild-card race like the Dodgers and Nationals have taken control of their division races. The Cardinals are currently in the driver’s seat and playing good baseball of late, but their lead is still just a few games.

With all of these teams so close to each other and so evenly matched, the final five weeks of the season will see plenty of lead changes in the most hotly contested playoff race in baseball—the National League wild-card race.

 

All stats and records are through the games of August 23 and are taken from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. Wild-card standings are through the games of August 24.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Top 10 Pickups for Week 22

A new week, another batch of waiver-wire additions just the way you like 'em: hot and fresh out of the oven.

From now until the end of the fantasy season, you'll find a rundown of the top waiver-wire pickups right here every Monday as you get set to face another week of lineup decisions and roster additions.

Some players mentioned last week—including Wil Myers, Jacob deGrom, Michael Pineda, Kennys Vargas, Mike Fiers and Carlos Carrasco—are already owned in many leagues, but they remain quality pickups if they're available.

In the interest of keeping the names new, though, let's avoid any repeats. Here are the top 10 waiver-wire pickups for Week 22.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Boston Red Sox’s Top 10 Prospects After Week 20

We're seeing plenty of changes to the Boston Red Sox's top-10 prospects list in one of the final weeks of the MiLB season.

Allen Webster has officially graduated from this list, exceeding eligibility thanks to his MLB innings pitched mark. Deven Marrero has fallen of the list, thanks to an abysmal offensive stint in Triple-A. And a new man sits atop the list, thanks to a high-profile signing you may have heard about once or twice this week.

There could be even more change in the coming weeks, as Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts are nearing the rookie eligibility thresholds, too. But for now, we see only two new names on the top 10, as the Sox continue to boast one of baseball's deepest systems.

 

Players who have exceeded 130 PA or 50 innings pitched in the majors are not eligible for these rankings. All stats as of Aug. 23.

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Masahiro Tanaka’s Elbow Presents Unique Risk Regardless of 2014 or 2015 Return

"Shut him down!"

With each pitch that Masahiro Tanaka throws, the cries from fans echo fainter. When it would have been simpler to let their ace wait and watch as Derek Jeter's last season faded away rather than burned out, the New York Yankees didn't go the easy way. They went the smart way.

Instead of shutting him down, the Yankees sent Tanaka all the way across the country to have his elbow examined. It was a bit of a fluke that Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees team physician and one of the top doctors in baseball, was at a convention of orthopedists. Tanaka was not only checked by his own doctor, but by a few more of the best in the business. 

All agreed that the small tear, said to be around a 10 percent tear, did not need surgery. The standard is that a 25 to 33 percent tear is in a grey area, but anything above that normally will need a reconstruction (Tommy John surgery). With the small tear, the consensus was that Tanaka had a good chance of rehabbing through the injury and pitching again in 2014. 

Ahmad and the Yankees agreed to rest Tanaka for several weeks and then set him up on a conservative rehab throwing program. They also used an injection of platelet-rich plasma on Tanaka's elbow.

This standard but still poorly understood procedure uses a patient's own blood to help stimulate healing. The early discomfort that Tanaka reported in his elbow may well have been his body's reaction to this procedure. That Tanaka made rapid progress after the first two weeks of pure rest matches this.

It will probably be a good trivia question someday, but Tanaka owes a small debt to another Japanese pitcher if he recovers well. Takashi Saito was the first MLB pitcher to undergo PRP for an elbow injury. His injury and recovery went very well.

Tanaka had no problems at all through the various phases of the rehab throwing program. Most pitchers with more significant sprains will fail at these early stages, such as how Matt Moore did in his first throwing session. As he extended out and then progressed to a mound, Tanaka had no issues. 

Tanaka's next step is to throw a simulated game. He'll do that Thursday, on the road in Detroit, according to MLB.com. This will test his ability to recover between innings and should elicit any lingering pain or inflammation from the elbow. 

The Yankees may not have been working blind. Though the team has refused to confirm, sources tell me that they have used a portable ultrasound to check the ligament throughout the process. (I detailed this device near the bottom of this B/R article.) By actually looking at the ligament and monitoring its progress through the process, the Yankees were able to make educated decisions at each step.

Compare this to what the Washington Nationals have done with Stephen Strasburg and other pitchers. Several seasons back, the Nats shut down their ace near the end of the season as he passed 150 innings pitched. Strasburg was coming back from Tommy John surgery and should have been at his strongest.

While I'm not advocating throwing him if fatigued, the Nats essentially picked a random number to stop him at. Worse, the shutdown did nothing to reduce the risk of future injury for Strasburg.

While Strasburg has been healthy, and it is hoped he continues to be healthy, there's no direct causation to the shutdown. Most pitchers in the four- to five-year period after surgery remain healthy and have no issues. The Nats did similar things with Jordan Zimmermann and recently with Lucas Giolito, the top pitching prospect in the minors.

Tanaka will remain risky once he returns. The ligament is functional, but not as strong as it was, even when completely healed. A ligament is like the rest of the body and heals in an involved manner. Over time, the ligament will get stronger until it is almost back to normal.

Adam Wainwright pitched several top-notch years in a similar situation. Eventually the ligament did give out, though it's unclear if it was directly related to the original injury.

In fact, Wainwright brings up the biggest risk for Tanaka. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, pitching with the same injurious mechanics and expecting different results is pure insanity. Tanaka's mechanics certainly look odd and appear to have significant timing issues.

That said, he's been exceptionally successful and durable with those mechanics prior to this injury. Add in that Larry Rothschild, the Yankees pitching coach, is not known as a tinkerer, and it's unlikely that Tanaka will make any significant changes during the rehab process. 

Tanaka has shown a high levels of skill and integrity. His apology for his injury to fans is certainly one of the more unique things that I can remember happening after a player went on the DL. At no stage has Tanaka shown that he wasn't willing to do whatever it took to get back. His stoic exterior has disguised any pain, but it has also disguised how hard he's worked in rehab. 

One thing to keep in mind is that Tanaka's results are unusual and very individual. The low-grade sprain gave the medical staff something to work with. A significant sprain is still going to lead to surgery, but it's a reminder that there's progress being made.

Along with the years of work they've put in on Michael Pineda, the Yankees medical staff certainly appears to have a win. While Tanaka is not back yet and could have a setback with any pitch, things certainly look very positive for a September return. He's risky, but the return could be exceptionally valuable as they sit just a few games out of the second wild-card spot. 

Shut him down? No. But with every pitch Tanaka throws from now until the end of the season, even if one of them ends in injury, the Yankees are telling those that called for a shut down to simply shut up.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Each MLB Team’s Player Most Likely to Be Dealt This Offseason

With the primary focus of the baseball universe affixed on the free-agent market once the offseason begins, it's easy to forget that the trade market is also open for business.

Offseason trades come in all shapes and sizes and for a wide variety of reasons. Some teams aren't thrilled with the selection on the free-agent market and turn to trades to fill holes on their rosters, while others are merely looking to move established veterans to clear space for an upstart youngster.

While we are talking about each team's most likely trade candidate this winter, don't take that to mean that any or all of these players will, in fact, be traded.

Instead, view the following with this in mind: If you were a general manager and called one of your counterparts this winter to see if he was looking to make any moves, this is the player that he'd most likely try and sell you on before anyone else.

That said, let's take a look at 30 players who could be wearing a different uniform in 2015.

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Stock Up, Stock Down for Dodgers’ Top 10 Prospects for Week 22

With the minor league baseball season winding down, big league clubs will soon be calling up their top prospects for a September audition.

The Los Angeles Dodgers possess talented farmhands who will most likely make their major league debuts within the next two weeks. Others are trudging their way through the lower ranks with varying levels of success.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti stood pat at the trade deadline last month, refusing to part with his top minor leaguers in exchange for immediate help like David Price. For those prospects in question, it's becoming more clear that Los Angeles made the correct decision to hang onto them.

Here's the latest look at how Los Angeles' top 10 prospects are faring with one week to go until September arrives.

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Ranking the Top 2014 MLB Pennant Race X-Factors with 1 Month to Go

The baseball season is a grind.

As the 2014 MLB pennant race hits the stretch drive, it's not just about which teams are playing the best, but also about which teams stay the healthiest. Looking around the league, there are lots of clubs that have recently lost or will soon be regaining key contributors. 

With a heavy dose of injury-related storylines, what follows is a rundown of the biggest X-factors for the MLB playoff race. The ranking criteria are simple.

From Masahiro Tanaka to Hanley Ramirez, the players who crack this list are ranked in order of how profoundly they will impact the chase between now and the end of the season. That means that where a given player's club sits in the standings is of critical importance.

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Path to American League Driver’s Seat Suddenly Wide Open Again

Baseball season, at long last, is entering its final lap. Some clubs are struggling at the back of the pack. Others are jockeying for position in the middle. A few are stalled on the side, smoke pouring from their engines. 

But right now, there is no unambiguous front-runner in the American League.

Different teams have taken turns setting the pace. The Oakland A's reigned supreme for much of the season and loaded up at the deadline, but the Los Angeles Angels now enjoy a slim edge in the hyper-competitive AL West.

In the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers also went big at the deadline but have watched the upstart Kansas City Royals steal the division lead.

Meanwhile, in the AL East, the Baltimore Orioles have upset the established order and claimed the top spot.

Every contender has flaws. Trades, injuries, cold streaks—all have conspired to reshuffle the balance of power, then mix it up again.

Who's going to cross the finish line first? Let's take stock of the leaders.

 

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels drubbed the A's 9-4 Sunday night to reclaim a one-game division lead and the best record in baseball. Mike Trout bolstered his MVP candidacy with his 29th home run, while Jered Weaver earned his 14th win.

But all is not heavenly in the Halos' world.

Ace Garrett Richards underwent knee surgery on August 23. And despite an optimistic tweet from him and the proclamation by manager Mike Scioscia that the procedure "went as expected," per ESPN.com, the news isn't rosy.

Richards will miss the remainder of the season, further thinning a rotation that already lost Tyler Skaggs to Tommy John surgery, and casting a serious pall over the Angels' front-runner status.

 

Oakland A's

When the A's dealt for ace Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs, it was clear they weren't kidding around. When they acquired ace Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox, it was clear they were dead serious.

Add MLB's highest-scoring offense, and you'd think Oakland would be coasting.

Since they coughed up Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes in the Lester trade, however, the A's offense has stalled. Prior to the Cespedes deal, Oakland averaged about five runs per game; since the trade, that number has fallen to 3.8.

It's too early to separate correlation from causation. What's undeniable is that Oakland is under .500 in the month of August and just placed closer Sean Doolittle on the disabled list, per MLB.com's Jane Lee.

 

Baltimore Orioles

After years of looking up at the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, Baltimore finally appears poised to run away with the AL East. Entering play Monday, it held a six-game edge over the Yanks. The Orioles, though, have lost three straight, and recently lost third baseman and budding superstar Manny Machado to a knee injury.

Baltimore, as we've noted, could seek help on the waiver market. And as Jesse Spector of Sporting News explains:

Orioles fans might be a little panicky, but the fact is that it would take Baltimore playing its worst baseball of the season over the final month to even bring someone else into play for the division title—and even then, that someone else would have to be playing as well as it has played all season.

Still, the formerly high-flying O's are facing an uncertain headwind.

 

Kansas City Royals

It's been 28 years since the Royals made the playoffs, the longest active drought in baseball. The closer we get to October, the greater the odds that Kansas City will remove that badge of dishonor.

Entering play Monday, the Royals stood at 72-57, two games up in the AL Central. And they're streaking, winning 24 of their last 31 games. If momentum exists, Kansas City has it.

"We're putting it all together at the right time," manager Ned Yost told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com.

Still, there's that drought to consider. Nearly three decades of futility is a lot to overcome. Can K.C. hold up under the pressure?

 

Detroit Tigers

Speaking of pressure, the Tigers know all about it. When Detroit engineered three-team swap that netted David Price, the deadline's big fish, from the Tampa Bay Rays, the pressure was on to win. And then win some more.

So far, the results have been mixed at best. Price has posted a 2.35 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 30.2 innings since arriving in the Motor City.

But the Tigers have lost ground in that span and find themselves a game out in the wild-card race entering Monday.

It's not too late for Detroit to bare its claws. But with starter Anibal Sanchez and closer Joakim Soria both on the DL, and former ace Justin Verlander struggling through an uneven campaign, the pressure is building. 

 

Seattle Mariners

If there's a sleeper in this murky race, it's the Mariners.

The M's have lurked around the fringes of the playoff picture all season, but have mostly been lost in the long shadow of their powerhouse AL West rivals.

Entering play Monday, though, Seattle owned the second wild-card slot. And with stud Felix Hernandez waiting to pitch a potential play-in game, it's suddenly tough to bet against a squad almost everyone was betting against a few months ago.

"I don't care how we get 'em," manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB.com's Greg Johns after an August 23 win against the Boston Red Sox, "as long as we get 'em." 

 

All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

The Chairless Chair Is Only There When You Want It

Chairless-Chair-by-Noonee-2

If you spend a good portion of your day on your feet, you’ve probably thought of just how sweet it would be to be able to sit now and then. But chairs are stationary, and there you are, moving around. If only you could bring one with you everywhere you go… Well, the Chairless Chair is essentially that: a wearable chair. It’s a light lower-limb exoskeleton that hardens at the push of a button and allows you to sit down anywhere you want. Keith Gunura, the 29-year old CEO and co-founder of noonee, the Zurich-based startup behind the device, informs CNN that it’s made from aluminum and carbon fiber, and weighs around 4 lbs., which makes it nearly indistinguishable to the wearer. To use, the wearer simply moves into the desired position and presses a button, which locks it in place, immediately relieving pressure from the lower limbs. A single 6V battery can power it for up to 24 hours.

The target market is industrial workers who spend most of their day on their feet, assembling things. Less fatigue could translate in increased productivity and worker satisfaction. BMW and Audi are actually going to start trials later this year, and if the tech catches on, perhaps a consumer version might make its way to the market eventually. Don’t hold your breath on that, however.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ CNN ]

The post The Chairless Chair Is Only There When You Want It appeared first on OhGizmo!.

Deal Of The Day: The Name Your Own Price Handheld Hero Android Gamer Bundle

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Stuck in an airport for a few hours, like this editor is, and looking to kill some time? Few things do the trick better than a few games. But why spend more money when you can spend less? You’re looking at the Handheld Hero Android Gamer Bundle, done in typical StackSocial ‘Name Your Own Price’ style. This means you can get up to 7 different games for as little as the average price, which is about $1.16 right now. That’s a $16 value, for titles like Spyder Arcade HD (which normally costs $4) and Incredipede (also $4). Know that 10% of your purchase will go to a charity.

[ Get The NYOP Handheld Android Gamer Bundle ]

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Spreading Cold Butter Just Became Possible

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There are few things more frustrating than ripping a piece of bread apart with a chink of cold, hard butter. Solutions normally range from a quick stint in the microwave, to leaving it out of the fridge overnight, to using a newfangled bodyheat butter knife. This particular solution does seems to have them all beat, however. The ButterUp Knife has a string of grating holes that turn that hard butter into easily spreadable ribbons of salty dairy fat. Just run the knife atop your block of butter, and spread as you normally would.

It’s around $11, although you’ll now have to wait until March 2015 to get yours since the Kickstarter went through the roof and all the earlier batches are now sold-out.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

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