Pedro Martinez steals the show on Hall of Fame induction day

(AP Photo)

Former Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez has developed quite the reputation from both his time in the game, and since he’s been out of the game. Martinez lived up to that reputation during Sunday’s Hall of Fame inductions.

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Not surprisingly, Martinez stole the show during the ceremony. He gave an excellent speech, which our Jeff Passan touched on here. Martinez was smart, serious and funny throughout as he spoke for nearly 25 minutes. He touched on his playing career, and told some jokes, but kept coming back to how much the Dominican Republic meant to him. That led to a very touching moment where he and Juan Marichal held up the Dominic Republic flag in front of the fans.

To be expected, Martinez participated in some hijinks during the event. Before he was even announced, Martinez started dancing near the podium. 


He also seemed to have a good time with fellow inductee Randy Johnson.


Martinez also drew some attention for his suit, which was a much lighter shade of blue than the suits worn by the rest of the inductees.

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Speaking of, Pedro wasn’t the only player inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Johnson also showed off some of his humor during his speech.


John Smoltz was also silly, talking about how his parents wanted him to play the accordian over baseball. He also took the opportunity to talk about protecting young arms. Smoltz is the first pitcher to be elected to the Hall of Fame who underwent Tommy John surgery. During his speech, he asked that parents and coaches “please take care of those great future arms.”

Craig Biggio used his speech as an opportunity to thank a large portion of his teammates. He made sure the crowd stood up and applauded former coach Matt Galante. Biggio said Galante was responsible for his switch to second base and that he would not have been a Hall of Fame player without his guidance.

All in all, it was an excellent ceremony that highlighted an excellent class. While each member had moments of greatness during their induction ceremony, it was Pedro who blew the competition away. That seems fitting when you think about his career.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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David Ortiz knocks in seven runs during blowout against Tigers

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

It’s been a bit of a rough season for Boston Red Sox’s designated hitter David Ortiz thus far. If Sunday was any indication, though, he still has something left in the tank. Ortiz was fantastic during Boston’s 11-1 drubbing of the Detroit Tigers.

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Ortiz came into the contest hitting just .235/.325/.444 over 372 plate appearances. While his home run total of 17 was still a decent pace, it’s clear Ortiz hasn’t been playing up to his usual standard. Add in the fact that he’s 39, and his sluggish start becomes much more worrisome.

Well, it was only one game, but Ortiz may have put some of those issues aside Sunday. Big Papi went 4 for 5, with three runs scored and seven RBI during the contest. Most of those numbers came on two three-run home runs. 

With the performance, Ortiz set a personal record, and moved up the all-time RBI list.


Following the game, Ortiz had raised his slash line to .243/.332/.468. Those numbers are still a far cry from his peak, but his strong game shows he still has something left in the tank. 

With the win, Boston improved to 44-55 on the year.

JUAN URIBE LOVING LIFE AS A MET

New York Mets infielder Juan Uribe already appears to love his new team. Uribe picked up the key hit during the club’s 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

The Mets appeared to have things locked up until the start of the ninth inning. Prior to that point, Jacob deGrom was excellent again, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings. 

With deGrom tiring, Jeurys Familia was brought in for the four out save. With the Mets leading 2-0, he was able to get out of the eighth inning. Familia would have trouble during the ninth, however.

After getting a ground out to open the frame, Familia gave up two straight doubles, bringing the Dodgers within one run of a tie. They would get that run. Yasmani Grandal would single in Justin Turner from second, tying the game. 

That set the stage for Uribe. In the bottom of the 10th, he stepped to the plate with men on first and second. Don Mattingly opted to bring Kenley Jansen into the game, making things even more difficult for Uribe.

In the end, it didn’t matter. Uribe singled to center, picking up the walk-off hit and leading the Mets to a 3-2 win.

With the victory, the club improved to 51-48 on the year.

SEATTLE PULLS IT OFF

The Seattle Mariners picked up a big win Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays. The team battled to get back into the game, eventually picking up the 6-5 victory in extras.

Nelson Cruz initially tied things up in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run home run. Both teams would then remain scoreless, sending the game into extras.

It didn’t take long before the Mariners pulled out the win. In the bottom of the 10th, Franklin Gutierrez stepped in against Aaron Loup. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Gutierrez hit a walk-off home run, giving Seattle the 6-5 win.

The accomplishment was significant considering all the injuries Gutierrez has dealt with the past few seasons.


With the win, Seattle improved to 46-53 on the year.

THE WHITE SOX ARE SURGING

Don’t look now, but the Chicago White Sox are finally playing the way everyone expected. The club picked up its fourth straight victory during a 2-1 win Sunday against the Cleveland Indians. 

The contest proved to be a close one. Rookie Carlos Rodon was fantastic, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out nine and did not issue a walk. 

Rodon was able to beat out Danny Salazar, who allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings.

With Chicago up by two runs, David Roberston was called on for the save. He ran into some trouble, giving up a leadoff triple, but eventually settled down. Though the run scored, the White Sox still pulled out the 2-1 win. 

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Though the club hasn’t been as good as expected, they are actually not that far from contention after their latest run.


The club improved to 46-50 with the victory.

Want to see more from Sunday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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12 interesting stats about the stacked Hall of Fame class of 2015

Hall of Fame day has arrived, which means the remarkable legacies of Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are only hours away from being cemented forever with enshrinement into baseball’s most elite fraternity.  

The star-studded quartet makes up the largest class of new inductees since 1955. That fact, in and of itself, makes them interesting and noteworthy. 

The personalities involved add a whole different layer of intrigue and interest. For as outspoken and in-your-face as Pedro Martinez could be, Randy Johnson was every bit as laid back and reserved. While John Smoltz was the very definition of a bulldog on the hill, Craig Biggio was just the same at the plate and in the field. It’s all a part of who they are and what helped them sustain elite level production.

[Related: Who’s your favorite 2015 MLB Hall of Famer?]

In the end though, baseball is a results based business driven by numbers and stats. That’s why we figured it would be interesting to look at some of the more unique stats each Hall of Famer compiled during his career. Not career strikeouts totals or 3,000 hits or stats that are common knowledge. But fascinating numbers that float under the radar while helping separate them from the pack. 

Check them out. 

(USA TODAY Sports)

Pedro Martinez

• In 2000, Martinez became the first starting pitcher to have more than twice as many strikeouts in a season (284) than hits allowed (128). That was his third and final Cy Young season. 

• Martinez was the first pitcher in MLB history to post 300-strikeout seasons in each league. He first did it for the Montreal Expos in 1997 and later the Boston Red Sox in 1999.

• From August 24 to Sept 15, 1999, Pedro Martinez struck out 14 batters in four different starts. Red Sox pitchers have combined to do it three times since

(USA TODAY Sports) 

Randy Johnson

• Johnson holds the record for most strikeouts in a relief appearance. Taking over for Curt Schilling during a suspended game, Johnson went on to strikeout 16 San Diego Padres over seven innings. He also earned the win.

• Johnson struck out 18 or more batters in a single game four times, more than any other pitcher in MLB history.

• According to Baseball Reference, Johnson is the oldest player to hit his first career home run at 40 years, nine days. He also served up the home run hit by the oldest player, when 48-year-old Julio Franco took him deep on May 4, 2007.

(USA TODAY Sports) 

Craig Biggio

• Biggio finished his career with 3,060 hits, but that wasn’t the only way he was known to get on base. Biggio led the league in hit-by-pitches five different times and finished with 285 overall, two short of the all-time record.

• Biggio had at least one hit from every spot in the order except fourth. In fact, he never even started a game in the clean up spot, but he did go 0-for-4 there as a pinch-hitter and late-game replacement.

• Biggio is just one of three players with more than 2,500 hits, more than 500 doubles, more than 400 stolen bases and more than 250 home runs. The others are Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson.

(USA TODAY Sports) 

John Smoltz

• Smoltz was the 16th pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts. Only five have done it in fewer innings. Two of them were Martinez and Johnson. The other three were Nolan Ryan, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens.  

• Amazingly, Smoltz only topped 17 wins one time in his career. That was his 24-win season in 1996, which earned him his only Cy Young award.

• Smoltz made 41 postseason appearances, posting a 15-4 record with a 2.67.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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There are conflicting reports about Yasiel Puig’s availability in trade talks

(Getty Images)Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is usually good for a mild surprise or two. If we get one this season though, one of the popular names being thrown around is that of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman though, that doesn’t seem likely. Heyman reports the Dodgers recently reassured Puig that they won’t be entertaining trade offers with his name attached to them.

That would indicate Puig will remain with the Dodgers at least through the end of the season, where it’s possible the Dodgers will reevaluate Puig’s status and their roster makeup as a whole.

[Related: 27 players who could be on the move before MLB trade deadline]

Here’s more from Heyman:

While it’s always possible things can change as teams get closer to the deadline and needs have yet to be met, presumably they wouldn’t have assured him he was staying unless they meant it.

And indeed, sources close to the situation affirm that the Dodgers “are not having any conversations about Puig and are not interested in moving him.”

The Puig trade speculation is only natural considering the Dodgers have told teams they have no intention to trade top prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias, and reports of some tension related to Puig within the Dodgers clubhouse have resurfaced, including a couple stories relating past run-ins with Dodgers teammates in the new book about the 2013 Dodgers, Best Team Money Can Buy.

It should be noted that MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick is disputing Heyman’s report, stating that no such guarantee has been made. 

Puig was not in the starting lineup Saturday night against the Mets, hours after an Internet report that he had been told by the club that he wouldn’t be traded before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. A baseball source, however, said Puig was not guaranteed he wouldn’t be traded.

He is or he isn’t. They will or they won’t. Who knows, maybe the Dodgers don’t even know. 

This we know though. Puig’s name has been connected to a handful of potential deals this month, including one involving the Cincinnati Reds. The Dodgers were reported to be targeting both Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. 

Another thing that’s clear: If the Dodgers do ever consider moving Puig, it will require a monster return with potential for lasting impact rather than to solidify a deal for what amounts to a short-term rental. Heyman throws out the names of Chapman and San Diego Padres closer Craig Kimbrel as players who would make sense in a Puig deal. Phiadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels would be another, as he’s under contract through 2018 with a team option for 2019.  

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Worth noting, Puig is currently in the third year of his six-year, $42 million deal. That’s a very team-friendly deal, which is some ways probably makes it easier for the Dodgers to shrug off his antics 

Puig has also had issues staying healthy this season. He missed several weeks early in the season while recovering from a hamstring injury. Whether it’s related to that injury or not, he’s yet to really get on track, batting .259 with six home runs and a .759 OPS. The raw talent remains, however, and at just 24 years old, Puig remains an interesting piece of whatever puzzle he’s a part of. 

With that in mind, what would you do if you were the Dodgers? 

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Scott Kazmir tosses seven scoreless innings, wins Astros debut

Take a look around the league with Big League Stew’s daily wrap up. We’ll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

When the Astros acquired Houston native Scott Kazmir on Thursday, they did so with postseason aspirations and potential future matchups against the defending AL champion Kansas City Royals in mind.

They wouldn’t have to wait long to see the latter. A little more than 24 hours after the deal was completed, the veteran left-hander took the hill at Kauffman Stadium and the results were glorious for Houston.

Kazmir was in dominant form, blanking Kansas City for seven innings on just three singles. He also walked one and struck out three in the efficient outing, leaving the game after just 91 pitches. Under normal circumstances, he likely would have worked deeper in the game. However, with all of the last minute travel, the Astros settled for seven frames and ultimately a 4-0 victory.

[Related: 27 players who could be on the move before MLB trade deadline]

Obviously, Kazmir didn’t need much support in the game. He got plenty in the third inning when Preston Tucker homered and Colby Rasmus added an RBI single. Tucker was the offensive star of the game, finished a triple shy of the cycle. 

Overall, the win continued a hot start for Houston out of the All-Star break. They’ve now won five straight and six of their last seven. They’ve also won four straight against the Royals after completing a three-game series sweep in Houston June 29-July 1.

So just in case you thought the Astros were fading into the background. Think again. They’re surging again and may not be done adding trade pieces. 


NO NO-NO THIS TIME FOR MAX SCHERZER

Max Scherzer was one pitch from perfection when he last faced the Pittsburgh Pirates back on June 20. He ended up settling for a no-hitter that afternoon, which helped him cap one of the most dominant stretches ever by a starting pitcher.

Facing those same Pirates on Friday though, Scherzer ended up with entirely different results. In five innings of work, Scherzer was knocked around a bit, allowing five runs on seven hits. That included home runs by Pedro Alvarez, Gregory Polanco and Neil Walker, which marked a first for Scherzer over the past four seasons.


Despite the rough outing, Scherzer still ended up with a no-decision in Washington’s 7-5 loss. Ian Desmond got him off the hook with a solo homer in the sixth. Pittsburgh went on to score twice in the bottom half off Sammy Solis to take the lead for good. Brent Morel played the role of unexpected hero, knocking home the difference maker with a double. 

The Pirates have won the first two in this four-game weekend series. But they still aren’t gaining ground on St. Louis, which won 4-2 against Atlanta. 

TWINS DESTROY YANKEES WITH FOUR HOMERS

The most lopsided game on Friday night took place in Minnesota, where the Twins blasted four home runs and pummeled the New York Yankees 10-1. 

Minnesota jumped out quickly against New York starter Michael Pineda, scoring five times in the first four innings. Miguel Sano opened the scoring with a long two-run homer in the first, but that would be Minnesota’s only big fly against Pineda. They saved the rest for the bullpen, with Torii Hunter homering off Brandon Pinder in the seventh and Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe each homering against Chris Capuano in the eighth. 

Former Yankee Phil Hughes was the beneficiary of the offense, though he was never in much trouble himself. He posted seven scoreless frames on seven hits to pick up his ninth victory. He also didn’t walk a batter for the ninth time in 20 starts. He’s only walked more than one once this season, so his sparkling control continues.  

REINFORCEMENTS CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

The New York Mets made some big roster moves on Friday, acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson in a trade with the Atlanta Braves while also calling up top hitting prospect Michael Conforto. 

Unfortunately, not all of the reinforcements arrived in time for Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which they dropped 7-2. 

Even with Zack Greinke on paternity leave — now they’ll see him Sunday — the Mets couldn’t get much going against fill-in starter Ian Thomas. In fact, they managed just one run on three hits against Thomas, who was making only his eighth MLB appearance and first as a starter. 

[Elsewhere: Who’s your favorite 2015 MLB Hall of Famer?]

Mets starter Jonathan Niese didn’t help matters, allowing six runs in his three innings of work. The Mets offense as currently structured isn’t equipped to come from behind, especially from that distance, so the game was essentially over quickly. 

Whether or not the new guys can help enough will be seen, but the Mets certainly can’t afford many more days like Friday. 

Want to see more from Friday’s slate of games? Check out our scoreboard.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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