Weekly MLB Report: Chicago White Sox Stretch Win Streak to Six Games
A major trade between high-profile franchises highlighted the past week in baseball, as several teams hope to make a final push to the post-season. Here's what's happening in Major League Baseball:
White Sox Top Mariners, 4-3, in Rain-Shortened Game For Sixth Straight Win
Tyler Flowers hit a go-ahead homer before weather caused play to be halted after the seventh inning, and the Chicago White Sox (71-55) beat the Seattle Mariners, 4-3, Sunday at US Cellular Field in Chicago. The victory was the sixth consecutive win for the White Sox, giving them a 2 1/2-game lead on Detroit in the American League Central.
Red Sox and Dodgers Make Nine-Player, Quarter-Billion Dollar Trade
In an unprecedented trade of big names and bigger contracts, the Boston Red Sox traded outfielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, infielder Nick Punto and $12 million to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney, pitching prospect Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus and two players to be named later. Los Angeles assumes more than $260 million in future payroll obligations to its new acquisitions.
Gonzalez made an immediate contribution Saturday, hitting a three-run home run in his first at-bat as a Dodger in an 8-2 win over the Marlins. Beckett is expected to start on Monday in Colorado. After Sunday's 6-2 loss to Miami, the Dodgers are now 2 games back of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West and 1 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the chase for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Roger Clemens Effective in Minor League Outing
Seven-time Cy Young Award-winner Roger Clemens, 50, allowed just one hit over 3 1/3 scoreless innings while pitching for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters on Saturday night in Texas. The minor league start was Clemens' first game action since 2007. Clemens has stated he isn't seeking a return to the major leagues, but many pundits are speculating that he could be used by the last-place Houston Astros, one of his former teams, as an attendance draw in September.
Play of the Week: Kevin Frandsen, Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are starting several minor league-level players with the hope of finding contributors for 2013. If this defensive play against the Reds is indicative of his skills, third baseman Kevin Frandsen looks to have a major league glove.
Upcoming Series To Watch: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
Two National League Central foes — and Wild Card rivals — meet in a key three-game series starting Monday at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates (68-59) have faded a bit of late, falling two games behind the Cardinals for the final NL Wild Card spot and eight games back of first-place Cincinnati in the division. St. Louis (70-57) just won two of three from the Reds and looks to be rounding into the same playoff shape that helped the franchise advance to — and win — last year's playoffs.
Fantasy Player to Add: Pedro Ciriaco, Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox big trade with the Dodgers creates playing time — and production opportunities — for several players, like Ciriaco. After a 3-for-5 day on Sunday, Ciriaco is now 17-for-35 (.486) over his last eight games. His speed and power down the stretch could be just enough to push you past other fantasy competitors.
Fantasy Player To Drop: Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
Chipper Jones has had a terrific career for the Atlanta Braves, but his injuries, like the oblique strain he suffered this weekend, make him a fantasy liability in his final season. The Wild Card-leading Braves are making a push to catch first-place Washington in the NL East, but Chipper should be on your bench, even if he's in the Atlanta lineup.
Other MLB Names in The News: Vin Scully, Adrian Beltre and Bartolo Colon
Longtime Los Angeles Dodgers' TV announcer Vin Scully, 84, will return for his 64th season calling games in 2013, the team announced on Sunday…Texas Rangers' third baseman Adrian Beltre had a very productive week. He hit three home runs in a 12-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday and then hit for the cycle in a 8-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday…Earlier this week, Major League Baseball suspended pitcher Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics for 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. He'll miss the rest of the regular season, plus the first 10 games of the playoffs, should Oakland advance.