ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Cobb and Ubaldo Jimenez threw only one bad pitch each.The big difference in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday was that there was a runner on base when Evan Longoria hit Jimenez’s pitch out for a two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Rays’ first lead of the game. ADVERTISEMENT “It wasn’t all that bad of a pitch,” Longoria said. “It was one of those situations where I just felt like I could pick a location and the pitch and try and swing to it, and I got the right one.” Jimenez, who had given up only two hits in the first five innings, had 1-0 lead when his inside fastball caught a little too much of the plate. “I wouldn’t call it a mistake because I wanted it inside and it was inside,” Jimenez said. “Looked like he was looking for it and he just put a good swing on it.” Longoria’s 15th home run of the season came after a walk by Mallex Smith. Steven Souza Jr. added another home run and Cobb pitched seven strong innings for the Rays. Souza’s 21st homer of the season came off reliever Darren O’Day in the seventh. Cobb (9-6) gave up one run on four hits with six strikeouts. He has given up two runs or fewer in seven of his last nine starts. Jonathan Schoop’s home run off Cobb had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth. “It was a horrible pitch, right down the middle,” Cobb said. “So my thought was missed pitch, home run, turn the page.” It was the team-leading 22nd home run for Schoop, who has driven in runs in nine of his last 10 games. Jimenez (4-7), who lasted a total of 5 2/3 innings in his first two starts against Tampa Bay this season, gave up two runs on three hits in six innings. “He was good, real good facing one of best pitchers in the league,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “He was almost as good as Cobb was.” Longoria had three of the Rays’ eight hits, including an eighth-inning single while the Rays were tacking on a couple of runs against Baltimore reliever Zach Britton. BIG EIGHT The Rays view their upcoming eight-game trip to New York and Houston as a make-or-break point in their season. The four-game weekend series against the Yankees will be “the biggest series of the season, hands down,” Cobb said. “This will be pretty indicative of what kind of team we are,” Longoria cheap jerseys said, “and we’ll definitely get a feel for how we play under pressure.” TRAINER’S ROOM ORIOLES: 1B Chris Davis was back in the lineup after missing two games with a stomach virus. “He feels remarkably better,” Showalter said. “He was pretty sick.” RAYS: RHP Jake Odorizzi was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain but hopes to miss only two starts. “It’s been something I’ve been dealing with, managing, pitching through all season,” Odorizzi said. “Let it cool down.” … OF Kevin Kiermaier (fractured hip) will begin a rehab assignment at Class-A Charlotte on Thursday. UP NEXT ORIOLES: RHP Chris Tillman (1-5) and Texas RHP Andrew Cashner (5-8) are Friday night’s starters. RAYS: RHP Chris Archer (7-6) looks to get Tampa Bay off to a good start to its road trip against LHP CC Sabathia (9-3) and the New York Yankees on Thursday night. “We’re going to display what type team we really are,” Archer said. “I think with how we’ve been playing this year, we’re ready.”
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Todd Frazier will always remember his first home at-bat as a member of the New York Yankees.And not for all good reasons. Frazier, acquired by the Yankees last week as part of a deal with the Chicago White Sox, came up with the bases loaded in the second inning Tuesday night and proceeded to bounce into a triple play against the Cincinnati Reds. With rookie Reds starter Luis Castillo on the mound at Yankee Stadium, Matt Holliday singled to right, Didi Gregorius singled to right and Chase Headley singled to left to load the bases in the second. Frazier, batting seventh, hit a hard grounder up the middle. Reds shortstop Jose Peraza fielded it, stepped on second and threw to first. Gregorius, who had been on second base, held up when the ball was hit in case it was caught. He was late to advance, and first baseman Joey Votto’s throw across the diamond caught him in a rundown. Gregorius was called out for running wide of the baseline while trying to avoid a tag. It went down as a 6-3-5-6 triple play and was the second of that variety in Major League Baseball history. The other was turned by the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1970. It also marked the first triple play turned by Cincinnati since 1995 and the first against the Yankees since 2011. “I might’ve set cheap mlb jerseys a record,” Frazier said afterward. “Got to be a record.” Holliday did score on the play to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in an eventual 4-2 win. The last time a run scored on a triple play was in 2006. “Can laugh about it now,” Frazier said. “At the time, I was pretty upset. It was just unbelievable. Hopefully, that doesn’t ever happen again.” Back in the Bronx for the first time since the All-Star break, the Yankees brought along Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, all acquired last week in a trade with the White Sox. Frazier made the two-hour drive from his hometown of Toms River near the Jersey Shore, and he had his own personal rooting section in tow. Once the game started, Frazier got a welcoming introduction from the public-address announcer, a shoutout from the Bleacher Creatures and a warm ovation from his new fans. Then, with a bunch of family members and friends packed in the stands, he stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, hoping to do something really special. Instead, the bizarre ensued. Yankees manager Joe Girardi could only hang his head on the dugout railing after the sequence. “A strange play,” he said. Castillo, making just his seventh MLB appearance, was left with a memory, despite taking the loss. “I will never forget that. Triple play, bases loaded. That’s amazing,” he said. “If double play’s the best friend of a pitcher, what about a triple play?”
NEW YORK — Luis Severino is pitching like an ace for the New York Yankees, a year after his severe sophomore slump.Severino dominated reeling Cincinnati for seven innings,Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier homered and the Yankees beat the Reds 9-5 on Wednesday for a two-game sweep. New York has won consecutive series after going 0-8-2 in series after sweeping Baltimore from June 9-11. The Yankees, one game behind AL East-leading Boston, have stabilized by winning eight of 12 following a 7-19 slide. “Every good team needs that guy that goes out there every fifth day and gives us a chance to win, and cheap jerseys he’s been that guy for us,” CC Sabathia said. Severino (7-4) did not allow a runner past second base until the seventh, when he allowed a pair of unearned runs after Gregorius misplayed Scott Schebler’s leadoff grounder to shortstop. Severino struck out nine — eight swinging — many on a devastating slider. He threw 48 fastballs, 43 sliders and 21 changeups. And he made a nifty barehand grab to throw out Jose Peraza on a chopper for the final out in the seventh. “I thought he threw an outstanding game, and I thought he had command of everything today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Maybe some of the best stuff he’s had all year long.” Severino was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in the final two months of the 2015 season but was demoted to the minors for long stretches last year and even sent to the bullpen, finishing 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA with the Yankees. Mixing his pitches and showing better control, he has allowed one earned run in 21 innings since the All-Star break. “If there’s a guy that I haven’t seen before that looks like an ace, it’s that kid,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I mean it’s a quick arm, three pitches for strikes, he’ll throw them all in any count, and he throws `em with command. That’s a difference maker. That’s certainly a guy you can build a rotation around.” Gregorius hit his fourth homer in three games for the Yankees, who have won five of six heading into a series against AL rival Tampa Bay. Acquired last week from the Chicago White Sox, Todd Frazier hit a solo homer against Tony Cingrani that capped a five-run seventh , opening a 9-2 lead. “In the pinstripes, hitting a home run on your home turf, basically — you live an hour away. It’s pretty memorable,” said Frazier, who is from Toms River, New Jersey. “I know I’ll be getting a lot of texts from all my Yankee fan friends. It was cool. My parents are happy. Everybody’s happy.” Cincinnati has lost three straight and is 2-11 since the All-Star break. Homer Bailey (2-5) lost his third start in a row, giving up seven runs — five earned — and 10 hits in six-plus innings. Rookie Clint Frazier, taking advantage of playing time while Aaron Hicks recovers from an oblique strain, hit RBI singles in the third and fifth innings, and Chase Headley hit an RBI single in the sixth and scored on Ronald Torreyes’ groundout. Throwing errors by shortstop Jose Peraza and first baseman Joey Votto made the runs unearned. Eugenio Suarez stopped Severino’s scoreless streak at 17 innings with an RBI double in the seventh and scored on Tucker Barnhart’s groundout. Adam Duvall added a three-run homer in the eighth against Luis Cessa.
With the San Francisco Giants out of the playoff hunt, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Jeff Samardzija’s name in trade chatter. But the pitcher likely won’t be on the move, especially because he has a say in the matter.Rumor CentralAndrew Baggarly of San cheap jerseys mlb Jose’s Mercury News reports that Samardzija is unwilling to lift his no-trade clause, which allows him to reject any trade to 22 teams. “Obviously it hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to, which has put some people in some trade talks,” Samardzija said. “But we also know that we have a great core of guys here [and] as long as we do our jobs and have confidence and momentum and excitement, we’re going to do really well.” He added to Baggarly that he loves being in San Francisco. Samardzija, 32, is in the second year of a five-year, $90 million deal that brought him to San Francisco last season after a year with the Chicago White Sox. He has struggled to a 5-11 record this season with a 4.85 ERA. One thing the right-hander can provide to any team is innings, as he has topped 200 frames each of the past four seasons. Of the eight teams that Samardzija can be traded to without his permission, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and New York Yankees all are in the market for starting pitching but seem to be focused on higher-end options. It remains to be seen if a market will develop around Samardzija, but he maintains some control of his destiny.
A few weeks before the trade deadline a year ago, the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman, a star reliever who would spend one-third of a regular season and one full postseason in Chicago before hitting free agency.Earlier this month, the Diamondbacks acquired J.D. Martinez, a star outfielder who will spend one-third of a regular season and (most likely) one full postseason in Arizona before hitting free agency. The way we ordinarily assess major leaguers — by their WAR, for instance, or their projected WAR or even by how much a major league team is willing to pay them to play baseball — Martinez and Chapman are comparable. Chapman signed an $86 million contract last offseason; Martinez looks poised to get roughly that much. They are of roughly equal value. This is truly basic analysis, but it’s basically true analysis. The Cubs gave up far, far more in trade to get Chapman than the Diamondbacks did to get Martinez. The Cubs gave up one of the 10 best prospects in baseball; the Diamondbacks gave up one of the 10 best prospects in the Diamondbacks system, perhaps. It follows, then, that either the Cubs got suckered or the Diamondbacks got a steal, and the Yankees were brilliant or the Tigers blew it. Maybe to all of that. I’m here to warn you against declaring suckers and bargains at the trade deadline. The trade deadline is a borderline irrational marketplace that defies the sort of precision analysis we typically apply to transactions. What makes the July market so bonkers? 1. Supply and demand fluctuate wildly from year to year — or even week to week. Unlike the offseason, when the vast majority of teams are trying to improve in a general and immediate sense, trade deadline teams’ incentives are narrowly tailored to the standings, and their rosters are largely already set. Meanwhile, there isn’t a batch of dozens of free agents to choose from; there is a small handful of players available from out-of-it teams. As Dave Cameron wrote for FanGraphs after the Martinez deal, this month there just weren’t any teams with a big enough need to bid against the Diamondbacks. You can basically go through every contender in baseball and not really find another team like the Diamondbacks. They’re the only team who had the obvious corner-outfield need and the incentive to upgrade for the rest of 2017. Other teams were probably interested, but likely not interested enough to really push that hard for Martinez. The other side of pricing is, of course, supply. And while there don’t seem to be that many teams buying corner-outfield rentals, there are a bunch of teams selling them.
Compare that to the 2014 trade deadline, when Boston was shopping Andrew Miller, who had recently broken out as a top setup man in his final season before free agency. There were no other premium relievers available on the market that week, and according to Boston GM Ben Cherington, every contender in baseball called about Miller. The result: Boston got back a top-100 pitching prospect (Eduardo Rodriguez) in a move that Keith Law called “the best value move of the day,” bumming out Orioles partisans. 2. One trading partner might be more motivated to make a deal than the other. In the offseason, even a rebuilding team can justify keeping its players, knowing that they’ll have another chance to cash in at the trade deadline (and that they might sell some season tickets in the meantime). But the Tigers, pretty much out of contention and about to see Martinez hit free agency, had almost no choice but to move him. They could have tried waiting to see if another buyer emerged — either because another team got hot and played itself into contention or because an established contender was hit by an injury — but they couldn’t really not trade Martinez. The only leverage they had over the Diamondbacks was to bluff; otherwise, the Diamondbacks had much more power to set the price. 3. Not all buyers have the same reasons to buy. The vast majority of teams go into an offseason hoping to win their division, not sure (beyond a range of 10 or 15 or so victories) how many games they’ll end up winning and not sure how many victories will be necessary. With this broad uncertainty, every win added is valuable. More important, every additional win is equally valuable for all competitive teams. Their goals for the offseason are all more or less the same: Get good players to win as many games as possible. The trade deadline, though, comes when two-thirds of the season is finished, and a lot of the standings are baked firm. For a team such as the Royals, one or two wins could be the difference between winning a division and missing the playoffs entirely, a difference that could mean tens of millions of dollars in revenue and a dramatically different mood all offseason. But for a team such as the Astros, up by 17 games in the AL West, even 15 extra wins probably change absolutely nothing. The Royals, then, would theoretically be rational if they put a much higher value on a veteran upgrade than the Astros would. Or wait! Maybe it’s the opposite. The Astros know that they’ll be playing in the American League Division Series. They know that they have a reasonable chance of winning a World Series and that whomever they add will be playing incredibly important games. The Royals, meanwhile, might need upgrades to stay alive in this race — but even if they stay alive, they might not make it to the postseason, and even if they make it to the postseason, it might be for only one game. If the point is to win or get close to a World Series, there’s a much better chance that a Royals trade would turn out to be for nothing. Which is to say that the incentives are complicated, and every contending team has its own variables that change every day: how close they are to the division title, how close they are to a wild card, how much they value home-field advantage in a possible wild-card game, how strong their outlook is after this season. In the offseason, 15 teams might look at J.D. Martinez and value him close to equally. That isn’t true 100 games into a season. 4. July standings rev up rivalries. With fewer teams in contention, with less ambiguity about which teams you’re battling, with probable playoff matchups foreseeable and with a small number of teams looking to upgrade at any position, it’s easier in July to see an acquisition as also obstructing a direct competitor’s pursuit. A player’s value to a team could be, in the right circumstances, just about doubled. This was certainly part of what made the Yankees’ acquisition last week of third baseman Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle such a coup in their pursuit of the division-leading Red Sox: Those are “three players who could have helped address the Red Sox’s two most glaring needs,” as ESPN’s Scott Lauber put it, and Frazier in particular was probably the last true third baseman on the trade market. 5. The playoffs are a whole new ballgame. At this point last year, Cleveland had a comfortable lead in its division and a 97 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus. With such an easy path to October, giving up two top prospects for Andrew Miller — now a bona fide relief ace — didn’t mean much for the rest of the regular season. (They won their division by eight games.) But the Indians knew that when the postseason came around, they would be able to guarantee that Miller would be on the mound in some of the biggest moments of their season. The difference between acquiring him and not acquiring him would be dramatic; a World Series appearance might ride on a single at-bat Miller could be held back for. This is not true for the Diamondbacks and Martinez. He’ll bat when his turn in the lineup comes up. The closer to the postseason we get, the more it might make sense to invest in October-specific value rather than an April-to-September roster. 6. Clubhouse chemistry is complicated. The conventional wisdom around baseball these days is that good clubhouse chemistry is desirable and important but hard to engineer or anticipate or even assess. This is all amplified for a player added midseason, who joins a team that already has its culture, its narrative arc, its pregame music routines and its post-hit celebration memes. The player added midseason doesn’t go through the cheap mlb jerseys authentic team-building rituals of spring training. And the player added midseason joins a team that, mostly likely, has had success. If that success suddenly evaporates, he is the new variable who might well be blamed. See, for instance, the panic that grew throughout the summer of 2014 after the A’s traded Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester and went 22-33 thereafter. It wasn’t Lester who was blamed, but the trade took on totemic significance in the collapse narrative — a narrative even the players bought into. 7. The future is unwritten. The Cubs this month traded for Jose Quintana. As all players’ are, Quintana’s next few months and next few years are unpredictable. When Baseball Prospectus used its PECOTA projections to forecast him before the season, for instance, it figured that he was a three-WAR pitcher, but it also allowed that there was a 10 percent chance he’d be a five-WAR pitcher and a 10 percent chance he’d be a one-WAR pitcher. Knowing everything we knew about Quintana, we couldn’t really rule out that he’d be on Cy Young ballots, and we couldn’t rule out that he’d pitch like a lousy fifth starter. That is a scale of uncertainty we can handle, though. The headline name the Cubs gave up for Quintana exists in a world of uncertainty that could make or break a franchise. Eloy Jimenez was the 14th-best prospect in baseball coming into the season, according to Baseball America. Carlos Beltran was once the 14th-best prospect in baseball, and he turned into a superstar who might make the Hall of Fame. Drew Henson was once the 14th-best prospect in baseball, and he retired with one major league hit. If the range of Jose Quintana outcomes spans, say, 10 WAR over the final two and a half years of his current contract, the range of Eloy Jimenez outcomes over the next seven years might be 30 or 40 WAR. To declare a winner or loser based on a player who might turn into Carlos Beltran or might turn into Drew Henson — with absolutely no clue yet which — is bold. This is true even of the non-headline names. When Cleveland traded Jake Westbrook in a three-way deadline deal in 2010, it got back a fringy Double-A pitcher who had a career 4.29 ERA across the Padres’ minor league system and was barely even mentioned in the next day’s newspaper articles. Four years later, he won the Cy Young Award, and two years after that, he pitched the Indians to Game 7 of the World Series. He’s Corey Kluber, he was the best player traded that summer, and it radically altered two franchises. Of course, none of this means we can’t analyze a trade. Better prospects — such as the ones the Yankees got for Chapman — are better than lesser prospects. Diamondbacks fans can be pleasantly surprised that they got Martinez for so little, and Tigers fans can be disappointed that their GM didn’t find a more robust market for such an excellent player. But it’s never harder than it is in July to call a GM a genius or a fool, and it’s never harder to anticipate who we’ll say “won” a trade when we look back 10 years from now.