College World Series 2017: Florida and LSU are perfect dance partners for final series

How appropriate that the SEC’s two best baseball teams should meet in the College World Series finals? Florida has thrived on shutdown pitching and defense, LSU on shutdown pitching and power hitting. The former wins with arms, the latter with bats.

And now we get them again for the whole CWS shebang. This is how it should be.

Tebow was 5 of 26 last week, dropping his average from .221 to .216. He had two RBIs and seven strikeouts four in one contest at Hagerstown in seven games.
That also sounds consistent! So I guess the exact wording of the AP’s tweet Tebow showing some consistency at the plate isn’t wrong. I am showing remarkable consistency with my morning workout routine, too. Going on 800 straight days of not having a morning workout routine, with about 1,800 days before that.

However, upon closer inspection, it appears this Tebow Watch is kind of a ruse. The AP story didn’t have a byline, and there’s someone out there who’s very happy about that. The headline was meant to provide hope, but the copy was a bait-and-switch.

If you’re wondering what the point of this series is, why, I’m glad you asked. It allows us to gather up the Tim Tebow clicks while simultaneously sneering at the story. This snark helps me paper over the hole in my soul, which exists because I’m not young, attractive, and rich, with a butt made out of gold bullion and optimism. So everyone wins!

I didn’t want to balk, (Mayne) said. I was thinking what is the balk (rule)? Can I go into the glove and take the ball out of my glove? That was probably the most nerve-wracking thing.

This one makes it because I was there. Sure, I was 9 years old and watched the whole thing with a finger up my nose, but that’s not much different from my current routine.

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Happy 2017 MLB draft day!

The MLB draft is a three-day event, and day one is Monday. MLB Network and MLB.com will be providing the coverage, with the first 75 picks out of far, far more than that made on the first day. While the actual draft will begin at 7 p.m. ET, there is a pre-show at 6 p.m. on MLB Network if you feel the need to be caught up before things begin.

Here’s the selection order for those 75 picks, which will be drafted over two rounds. Well, sort of: There is a mini-round after the first for compensation picks, and another mini-round following round two, so while yes, we’re getting through just the first two rounds on Monday, the reason we’re looking at 75 picks instead of 60 (two for each team) is because of the compensation rounds and how draft-pick compensation works.

Tebow said in his exit presser from the Fireflies that although he was in Columbia, and hopes the city is in a better place with him being there, the former Florida Gator quarterback is still not a South Carolina Gamecock fan.

Three other players are heading to Port Saint Lucie with him. Two are pitchers while a third, named Michael Paez, is a position player with better numbers and more promise as a prospect by comparison.

Paez was a critical part of the squad’s offense. The infielder led the Fireflies with a .290 batting average and recorded a league-leading 21 doubles. He also smashed eight home runs – two coming in one game on June 15. The 22-year-old was selected in the fourth round by the Mets in 2016 out of Coastal Carolina.

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The only correct 2017 MLB All-Star ballot for the American League

On Monday, I shared the only possible ballot for the National League All-Star starters. I might accept a substitution at third base, but I’ll need you to put your request in writing and provide three references. As it turns out, the NL was pretty easy.

The American League is a mess. It’s going to get me yelled at.

Alex Avila is a great story. His career was once threatened by concussions, and he was an unwanted free agent who signed a modest one-year deal with the White Sox, even though his dad was the GM of his old team.

No, teams can’t guess at how the immensely talented young players in the 2017 Draft might respond to a decade of disappointment or a sea change in how the sport is played. They can only evaluate what’s in front of them. Bat speed. Velocity. Projectability. Durability.

These teams are so much better at evaluating amateur players than you are, and they’re still wrong all the time. If Donovan Tate wasn’t drafted third overall, there wasn’t a team that was going to let him slip by. The Angels would have dropped everything and drafted Tate if he fell that far, possibly pairing him with their other first-round outfielder, Randal Grichuk.

So if the best people in the world at evaluating baseball players can’t figure this stuff out, I can’t understand why you would punch 2017 MLB Draft Grades into Google and expect something that would be worth your time.

On the other hand, I understand how it’s seductive to see a shiny A+ next to your team’s name after the draft. You don’t know what’s going on, so you want an expert opinion. If that expert’s opinion is that your team had a stellar draft, you will feel eminently better about the selection.

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The Blue Jays again tried and failed to reach .500

It’s been a rough season for the Blue Jays, and much of that is due to their horrific start. They’ve mostly recovered, but that mostly bit is key: On Thursday, for the ninth time this season, the Blue Jays attempted to reach the .500 mark. For the ninth time, they failed miserably trying to get their head above water.

Florida had a hell of a go at it in the Gators’ Gainesville super regional against Wake Forest, who hung around to force a rubber match Game 3 this past Monday. Rain fouled up the entire weekend in Gainesville, with the result that all three of that site’s games experienced weather delays. Even so, both games on Monday combined to provide some impressive offense from both clubs, including a dramatic two-run walkoff homer that won Wake Forest its first ever super regional game in program history.

The format of the first round in Omaha reverts back to that of the round of 64, with the eight remaining teams separated into two groups of four for a double elimination mini-bracket. Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton, LSU and Florida State make up one half of the bracket, while Florida, Louisville, Texas A&M and TCU are in the other. On paper, the Beavers have the easiest path to the final weekend, though LSU presents a formidable challenge.

The two teams left standing after the double elimination round will then face off in the CWS finals in a best of three series beginning on June 26. Game 3 of that tilt will be at 8 p.m. ET on June 28.

Strasburg is pitching solely from the stretch this season, in hopes that simplified mechanics will result in fewer DL stints and fewer missed starts in potentially iconic matchups. Wednesday’s matinee will likely go off without a hitch. Kershaw doesn’t have much to prove to anyone ever, but especially not in regards to the Nationals. The Nats, though, have won just once with Stras on the mound, one of two decisions for the second ace.

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MLB draft 2017 live stream: How to follow Tuesday’s selections online

The 2017 MLB Draft resumes on Tuesday afternoon, with baseball teams continuing their annual replenishing of domestic amateur talent. After 75 picks in the first two rounds on Monday, we will see 240 picks on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10.

During the 2017 season, McKay batted .343 with 17 home runs, 56 RBI, and a .464 on-base percentage. The junior had more walks (45) than strikeouts (36). He was nearly as impressive on the mound with a 10-3 record, 2.34 ERA, 140 strikeouts, and just 33 walks in 104 innings.

It’s unclear which way McKay will go in the pros long-term they officially drafted him as a position player but it’s possible the Rays give him the chance to play first base and pitch initially.

McKay was considered a possible No. 1 overall pick, but high school shortstop Royce Lewis, as well as high school pitchers Hunter Greene and MacKenzie Gore, were taken with the first three picks.

The Brewers turned what was a miserable system around with high picks and crafty trades, and they’re contending much sooner than expected this season. This pick will help them replenish some of the organizational depth that’s been diminished because of promotions always the best reason and they’ll bank on the high ceiling.

I was going to write something about a high floor, but every player has a low floor. Every single one. They don’t have to make the majors at all, so maybe the idea of a high floor is a myth. Either way, it’s indisputable that the Brewers got a talented player here.

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Tebow’s current numbers at Class-A aren’t heart-stopping.

Tebow moving up with these type of numbers may sound surprising, but a promotion for him has been in the works for a while. A report from May 12 had him skipping St. Lucie entirely and going right to AA.

A report states that the Mets are preparing to promote Tebow to Double A. The change wouldn’t be immediate, according to the New York Post, which reports that a team source says the promotion won’t likely occur until after the All-Star break.

On first glance, Tebow’s current numbers at Class-A aren’t heart-stopping. He’s hitting a middling .250/.330/.370, and that’s over 28 games. He hit a home run in his first game and one in his third game, but none since. But when you look a little closer, you start to actually see the whisper of… something. Over the last 16 games, Tebow has brought his overall average up from a low of .156 to a high of .250. Over that time, he’s hit .327/.413/.436 with four doubles and a triple. That’s not nothing.
Tebow isn’t bad strictly speaking, but he definitely isn’t good.

Oregon State and Cal State Fullerton kicked things off in the early session, and the Beavers’ Jake Thompson got banged up in a hurry. His command was all out of whack as pitch after pitch floated up on him, and Fullerton’s Timmy Richards blasted a three-run shot straight into the teeth of the wind at TD Ameritrade Park to open the day’s scoring.

Both pitchers in fact struggled early, combining for 55 total pitches in the first frame. The Titans’ Connor Seabold loaded the bases in the bottom of the first, but managed an inning-ended strikeout to strand the Beavs’ runners. Seabold then put runners on the corners in the bottom of the second and Oregon State scored a run on a sac grounder to first.

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The Oakland A’s Twitter account told Wendy’s that its hamburgers cause diarrhea

If you’re not on Twitter all day, trapped by the constant psyche-chewing hurricane of current events and bad opinions, this might be hard to follow, but I’ll try. On Twitter, there are brands. Some of these brands are cheeky. Of these cheeky brands, the Wendy’s brand is one of the cheekiest.

I’m still paying student loans because I went to college to write about stuff like this.

Anyway, so someone on Twitter who appreciated the cheekiness of the Oakland Athletics official account wanted to know who would win in a Brand War. And the A’s, being cheeky, decided to play along:

No. 6 overall national seed TCU jumped up on Missouri State early in the Fort Worth super, netting four runs in the first three innings. The Bears did manage a first-inning home run from leadoff batter Hunter Steinmetz, but they were stonewalled through the middle stretches.

In the Gainesville super regional, Florida came down off the high of the season’s first walkoff win and got into an early 4-2 hole against Wake Forest. But in the top of the fifth, the Gators managed to tie things up at four apiece all to the tune of a Dalton Guthrie sac fly to right center.

Wake Forest then crossed a run in the bottom of the frame to pull ahead, 5-4, and then the rains came. But no one tell these dedicated Gator fans.

The game will be the face-off that never was in 2016. Kershaw and Strasburg were the set starters about this time last season in L.A., but it wasn’t to be. Strasburg was scratched pregame for an upper-back strain. What was supposed to be a matchup for the ages turned into simply another dominating outing from Kersh. He would hold the Nationals offense to just one run that night, and his teammates would support him with four against long-man turned starter for a night (basically Cinderella) Yusmeiro Petit.

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College World Series 2017: Sunday Schedule, TV info & game times

The 2017 College World Series continues on Sunday with two more games at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, including a matchup of ranked teams with No. 3 Florida facing No. 6 TCU.

Both games will be televised by ESPN and ESPN2, with online streaming available through WatchESPN.

The first game on Sunday gives us a chance to see two-way star Brendan McKay start on the mound for No. 7 Louisville against Texas A&M. McKay was drafted fourth overall in the MLB draft on Monday by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Would he have to give back the surfboard in the shape of Steve Garvey that the Padres gave him? Would he have to give back the gift certificate to Sbarro he got from the Yankees? There’s so much about this that doesn’t make sense.

And is that even a rumor? It’s just Pedro spitballin’, really. Hey, my large baseball friend can still play baseball and hit baseballs, baseball fans. There’s nothing about it that reads like informed speculation.

So I, for one, am choosing to believe that this is a rumor. Of all the dramatic things I have ever seen, this would rank about 8,374th. But it would be fun. And the takes would be even better.

West Coast teams typically play tournament-friendly baseball, what with their commitment to small-ball hitting, aggressive base-running, and lockdown defense. Tournament ball means tooling around with lineups and pitching assignments, and a team’s ability to adapt on the fly suits those that can do it all.

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