Caleb Gilbert came in to handle the load from there

LSU’s starter, Eric Walker, had apparently weathered soreness in his pitching arm during a pre-tournament simulation game, but decided to march on regardless. He lasted just two innings Monday, taking the mound in the top of the third but immediately calling out a trainer after his warmup throws. Walker looked disgusted leaving the hill, and rightfully so: He’d given up just a single run in the first and downed the side in order in the second.

Pitcher No. 1 was done. Two innings pitched, two hits, one earned run, and seven batters faced.

Caleb Gilbert came in to handle the load from there, and he fared rather well to begin. He struck out two Beaver batters, surrendered a walk, then forced a groundout. His stuff was really cooking until the fifth inning, when Oregon State completely derailed his otherwise serviceable outing. The damn fifth.

With Faedo still dealing and riding the bump, Florida coasted through the the seventh, taking on no water despite a tentative TCU threat in the sixth. That trend continued in the next frame, as Faedo burned down the first three Frogs batters to stay scoreless on the night.

Haylen Green started the bottom of the seventh for the Horned Frogs, and he retired the side, despite a bizarre fielding error by his first baseman in foul territory. On Florida’s side, Faedo got the ax after seven complete and was spelled by flamethrower Michael Byrne.

Byrne cleaned out the bottom of the eighth, then allowed a double in the bottom of the ninth but threw his way out of the jam to land the Gators their first win of the CWS. Florida thus advances into the winners bracket, after getting bounced in two consecutive losses from Omaha last year.

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Ducks’ Antoine Vermette ejected for hitting official with stick

Ducks forward Antoine Vermette was ejected from Tuesday’s 1-0 win over the Wild after slashing an official.

The incident occurred following a faceoff at the 12:27 mark of the third period. After losing the draw, Vermette apparently became upset with the way linesman Shandor Alphonso dropped the puck and extended his stick to make contact with Alphonso’s back.

Earlier Saturday, the Red Wings issued a statement via Twitter threatening legal action and denouncing the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.

The Detroit Red Wings vehemently disagree with and are not associated in any way with the event taking place today in Charlottesville, Va., the statement read. The Red Wings believe that Hockey is for everyone and we celebrate the great diversity of our fan base and our nation. We are exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.

A slightly modified version of the team’s distinctive red-and-white logo is being used at the Unite the Right rally by a Michigan group calling themselves the The Detroit Right Wings.

A state of emergency has been declared in Charlottesville, where hundreds of white nationalists and counter-protesters brawled Friday night and were still clashing by mid-day Saturday.

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let me know in the comments and give me a better out-of-position outfield.

James calls it his favorite toy because it isn’t an exact science. There are park effects, league-wide home run rates, and other variables to consider. Arenado’s chances go up when you consider Coors Field. They’ll get better if he signs an extension.

As a rough estimate, though, they’ll prove my point just fine. For as great as Trout and Harper are, for as young as they are, for as talented as they are, there’s a lot left between them and 600 home runs. A lot of fastballs inside. A lot of legs extended toward first base on a full sprint. A lot of dives. A lot of slides. And a helluva lot of decaying cells.

I did this twice for outfielders because I was absolutely certain that I had missed someone. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t, which means that outfielders almost always stay in the outfield. Infielders might move out, but it’s very rare for outfielders to move in. Huh. That’s a draft tidbit that I didn’t know about, and I’m giving it to you because I’m not sure what to do with it.

If you can find a flaw in this search, please, let me know in the comments and give me a better out-of-position outfield. As is, it’s pretty athletic, I guess, and Helton has that quarterback’s arm in right.

I had to cheat a little with this one, taking some players who were drafted as pitchers out of high school but didn’t sign. When you have a player like John Olerud who could be drafted legitimately at either position, the team announces their decision when they draft him, and that’s generally the end of that. There are exceptions, such as Winfield, who was announced as a pitcher, only to make the majors two weeks later as an outfielder. For the most part, though, when a two-way threat gets one of those ways amputated, it doesn’t grow back.

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Change out of your Mike Trout jersey and Miguel Cabrera will give you free stuff

What happens when Miguel Cabrera sees a kid in a Mike Trout jersey asking him for attention and maybe a baseball? Scoffing, mostly. What happens when that same kid changes into a Miguel Cabrera jersey and then tries again, though?

Well, then Miguel Cabrera gives that kid a baseball bat.

This was a slick move, but it’s not as if this young fan had a second jersey around just waiting for the moment where a Tigers player was in front of him. Nah, he borrowed his buddy’s Cabrera jersey, and apparently earlier during the game, they scored six baseballs from Angels players thanks to the Trout jersey.

The full story is over at Cut4 (also where the above gif comes from), including additional photos of this sneaky, sneaky children and their pile of baseballs.

As if the Braves needed more talent in their farm system, they got their man at No. 5, and they’ll throw him on top of their vaunted and intimidating pile of prospects. The Braves didn’t necessarily need a fast riser, considering how loaded they are at almost every position throughout the organization, but this is a pick that could bear fruit sooner than expected.

If not, if the development path is more typical, the Braves should still be thrilled. The tools alone justify the top-five pick.

The Braves have also enjoyed 17 seasons of starting-level shortstoppery over the last two decades, but they didn’t have the same one-superstar hegemony of the Yankees. They enjoyed a sampler platter, with fine seasons from Rafael Furcal, Walt Weiss, Yunel Escobar, Edgar Renteria, and Jeff Blauser. They also got two stellar defensive seasons from one or both Alex Gonzalezes, though those are extremely dWAR-heavy, if you’re inclined to dismiss those numbers.

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Albert Pujols came in at the tail end of this wave, hitting 500 homers in a down season with a new team

Between 1971 and 2001, every 500-homer player was an event. Willie McCovey’s came in 1978, with Reggie Jackson’s coming six years later. The highlight of Mike Schmidt’s puppy dance was played on every This Week in Baseball for years. Then there were a bunch of them linked together, right around the time of the BALCO scandal, when fans started to act like Claude Rains collecting roulette winnings. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that the 500-homer club would be 50 players deep by 2017. There was evident fatigue by the time Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, and Jim Thome joined in the summer of 2007.

Albert Pujols came in at the tail end of this wave, hitting 500 homers in a down season with a new team. The excitement was muted, possibly because of the down season, possibly because of the new team, probably because of a combination of both. When Miguel Cabrera hit his 500th, though, the calculus changed a bit. Suddenly, it was clear that Adrian Beltre was the last chance of the decade, but even that seems dicier with the current reminder that he’s 38 and vulnerable to injuries. The 500-homer club was rare and cool again.

Here we find one of the strangest truisms of the MLB draft: When you’re drafted as an outfielder, you stay in the outfield. Apparently, there just aren’t a lot of opportunities for kids to show off their infield prowess when they’re drafted as an outfielder.

My methodology went like this: I searched the Baseball-Reference database for players drafted at each position. I would sort by WAR to get the major leaguers at the top, look for players out of position, and then move on to the next year.

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LSU and Florida State offered us perhaps the sickest college baseball game of the year over the weekend

That ended Florida’s batting in the first, and it wouldn’t be the game’s first close call at second. It also set off a cascade of controversy that would return in the eighth inning, when an LSU runner was called out at second on a call that should have probably gone the other way.

Two innings later, LSU shortstop Kramer Robertson completely lost his head for the second time this CWS and failed to cleanly transfer the ball from his glove to his hand on a routine grounder. This led to a three-run third inning for Florida.

LSU and Florida State offered us perhaps the sickest college baseball game of the year over the weekend, with the Tigers eventually prevailing, 5-4, in a wild, error-filled affair. LSU then got thoroughly worked over by Oregon State on Monday, needing eight pitchers just to get out of a 13-1 loss. That assuredly got the Tigers worked up, and they came to fight on Wednesday, sending Florida State home in a 7-4 win.

The ‘Noles and Tigers met back up for an elimination game Wednesday, and LSU flamethrower Jared Poche took the hill for the Tigers on four days of rest. He and FSU starter Cole Sands combined to down each side in order in the first, then big bat Greg Deichmann broke through into right for a sliding two-base pop in the top of the second. Zach Watson followed that up with a rip into right center, and the Tigers were in business with men at the corners.

Watson didn’t stay put, though, as he stole second on a throw from Seminole catcher Cal Raleigh that nearly sailed into center field. On the very next pitch, third baseman Josh Smith slapped a line into right, scoring Deichmann, and suddenly the FSU bullpen came alive. Sands wouldn’t survive the inning, and Andrew Karp spelled him.

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It’s that geological grind that’s so tough.

He led the league twice in home runs, which isn’t a lot for the 600-homer club. Thome did it once, and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa also did it twice. The rest of the club (Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey, Jr., Babe Ruth) led their respective leagues at least four times each.

It’s that geological grind that’s so tough. Pujols has 14 different seasons with 30 homers or more (one behind Aaron and Rodriguez … for now). His story of 600 homers is a story of incredible skill, health, and a gradual decline. The other possible story is that of incredible skill, an unfathomable peak, and just enough health to accumulate the stats. Once he missed the four-season stretch of 60 homers, he had to chip away.

And, again, this isn’t including the players who are still in their mid-20s. Justin Bour is a beastly fellow at the moment, but, fine, he’s developing. Aaron Hicks was always a top prospect, even if this is getting a little freaky. The Rays acquired Corey Dickerson for a reason, so it’s not like his success should be that surprising. Chris Taylor was overlooked in the minors, perhaps, where he generally found success.

Start with Zack Cozart. He was a poor man’s Brandon Crawford for years, and that was fine. He was valuable defensively and hit just enough. Now, at the age of 31, he’s hitting .351 and slugging .623. Just for good measure, he’s six walks away from his career high. Now instead of a poor man’s Crawford, he’s a rich man’s Carlos Correa.

SABERMETRICIAN: Actually, it’s all about the launch angles. See, last year Cozart’s …
That’s not the point. He’s Zack Cozart. He’s 31. There are rules.

For five seasons, Marwin Gonzalez was a nice utility infielder. His career line was .257/.298/.389. He was a known quantity. That’s the key phrase with a lot of these players. Known quantity.

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The Astros are great, and they might get even better

The Astros have a 14-game lead in the AL West. They’ve lost 16 games this season, and the next closest team to them has 30 losses. They’ve scored 106 more runs than they’ve allowed, and they have the best record in baseball.

It’s possible, if not likely, that the Astros are the best team in baseball.

Marc Normandin has already talked about the infamous Sports Illustrated cover, but I want to bring it up one more time. Back in 2014 like, they had Playstation 4s and everything back then it was considered hilarious for a magazine to suggest that the Astros would win the World Series in four seasons. They were butt-slide bad, and I had to write a response to the article that took a brave stance of Hold on, it might not be such a wild idea. It would have been imprudent not to hedge your bets after 324 losses from the Astros over the previous three seasons.

Stolen bases are rad, though. We can agree on that. I will vote for you in a general election if you run on a More Billy Hamiltons platform.

Cody Bellinger is a symbol of how baseball has changed, yes. He’s not a symbol of how it’s broken. This is something to watch. It’s also something to WATCH:, in internetese. While I agree that baseball needs something more than the three true outcomes, and while I fear that the Rob Deer Fan Club has moles employed at the highest levels of the game, I’m still OK with the balance. There are more strikeouts. There are more home runs. And there are still an awful lot of baseball plays in between.

Keep an eye on the strikeouts and homers. For now, however, I will enjoy baseball go boom and big man throw rock hard. It’s a little more extreme than it used to be, but this sport isn’t unrecognizable to me.

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NCAA Baseball Tournament 2017 scores and bracket: Davidson is your new favorite team

Sunday of the NCAA baseball tournament’s first weekend is a rough one for one-loss teams, since they have to win twice just to stay alive in the postseason. A number of No. 1 seeds faced just that scenario Sunday, including Florida State, Kentucky and No. 2 overall seed North Carolina.

The Frogs scored none in the bottom of the third, then big time bat Brendan McKay led off in the fourth and immediately blasted a homer to right, thus chopping TCU’s lead in half, 4-2. Devin Hairston followed that up with a single to left center, and the Cardinals were back in the fight with no outs.

TCU started a buildup in the bottom of the fourth, after Wanhanen dropped a single into center and Watson walked. These two worked in impressive tandem all evening, harrying Louisville’s staff into manufactured runs of the old school variety. Nothing came of that one-two, as Watson was tagged out trying to steal second, and off to the fifth they went.

The top of that inning ended Lodolo’s night immediately, after Logan Taylor slammed a big league homer over the right field wall. With the score 4-3, the Frogs couldn’t risk further damage that early in the evening, and so on came the alliterative Cal Coughlin to handle swing duties until the later innings.

Coughlin lasted just two outs, however, and Sean Wymer was brought in to handle mop up duties. He pushed the Frogs through the fifth, putting down the side in the top of the sixth. Big time arm Sam Bordner came on for Louisville in the bottom of the frame, in the hope that he could finish out the game with no more water taken on.

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host Southern Miss found itself in trouble early against Illinois-Chicago

In the nightcap, Florida and TCU met for a much ballyhooed rematch of Sunday’s opening night bout that left the Horned Frogs with their first loss of the bracket round. Florida’s pitching staff is masterful, and though they may score the most runs in this tournament field, they’re also not going to allow them, and the Gators have allowed just a single run in the CWS to this point, quite obviously the lowest runs-against rate of the group.

Florida pitcher Jackson Kowar and TCU man Mitchell Traver held each other’s opposite bats hitless through the first two frames, then Kowar surrendered a single to right and a strong double to left to plate the Frogs’ first run of the night.

A wild pitch moved TCU leadoff man Austen Wade over to third, and the buildup was on with two outs. Wade then scored on a strong Zach Humphreys double to left center, which has received a remarkable number of hits and homers, considering the wind blows in from that area of the park at TD Ameritrade. Never mind, though, since the wind blew out all day on Friday.

In the Hattiesburg regional, host Southern Miss found itself in trouble early against Illinois-Chicago, who’s playing in its first college baseball tournament in nine years. The Flames led 6-0 after the top of the fifth, but the Golden Eagles chipped away over the course of the next two innings, plating three then four runners in the sixth and seventh.

The most dramatic moment of the day’s action took place in the Fayetteville regional’s opener between Missouri State and Oklahoma State. The Cowboys carried a tenuous 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth with shutdown closer Trey Cobb on the hill. Missouri State’s slugging shortstop, Jeremy Eierman, then stepped to the plate with a man on first and two outs and ripped a bomb over the right field wall.

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