Category Archives: Entertainment & Sports Gate

Joba Chamberlain, Wandy Rodriguez to Royals: Contract Details and Reaction

The defending American League champion Kansas City Royals have their eyes on a World Series title this season, and they added some experienced pitching depth Sunday that could help them accomplish their goal.

The team announced that it agreed to terms on minor league contracts with left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and right-handed pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

Rodriguez pitched for the Texas Rangers earlier this season before he was designated for assignment in July. He boasts a 6-4 record, 4.90 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 15 starts and allowed 10 home runs in 86.1 innings.

While the numbers don’t jump off the page, Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors thinks the Royals could use Rodriguez for depth purposes:

Though he’ll currently be slated as minor league depth, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rodriguez promoted to Kansas City’s rotation.  Rodriguez’s modest 1.0 fWAR for 2015 tops every Royals starter except for Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, so the lefty could be an option if the Royals want a change from the inconsistent Yordano Ventura or the struggling Jeremy Guthrie.

As for Chamberlain, he is primarily remembered for his seven seasons with the New York Yankees. In 2008, he struck out 118 batters in only 100.1 innings and helped solidify the back end of the bullpen.

Despite his impressive peak in pinstripes, Chamberlain finished with an ERA north of 4.3 in four of his eight seasons and has a 4.09 ERA this year in 30 appearances for the Detroit Tigers. His strikeout numbers are also down (15 in 22 innings this year and 59 in 63 innings last year), and lefties have given him particular trouble in 2015 with a .419 batting average against.

If the Royals do eventually use him at the Major League level, expect it to be primarily against right-handers in specified roles. They already have Kelvin Herrera, Greg Holland and Wade Davis anchoring the bullpen, so Chamberlain won’t be counted on in high-leverage situations too often.

The cliche that a team can never have too much pitching is true in a pennant race, and Kansas City likely had that in mind with these signings. If there is an injury or unexpected poor performance in the near future, the Royals have some insurance in these two pitchers. 

Rodriguez and Chamberlain also both have postseason appearances on their resumes, so they should be comfortable pitching in a pennant race. 

Bumgarner HRs and Ks 14 in 3-hitter, Giants beat Nats 5-0 (Yahoo Sports)

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner works against the Washington Nationals in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

On the day the Giants honored Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal, left-hander Madison Bumgarner gave San Francisco a performance worthy of the high-kicking Dominican. Bumgarner homered and doubled, and struck out 14 while pitching a three-hitter as the Giants beat Washington 5-0 Sunday, handing the Nationals their sixth straight loss. Bumgarner joined Marichal as the only San Francisco pitchers to throw a shutout, strike out at least 10 and hit a home run in the same game.


Michael Frazier to Lakers: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

The Los Angeles Lakers added a bit of depth to their backcourt Sunday after signing Michael Frazier. Frazier’s agent, Matt Ramker, confirmed the deal.

Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy reported the contract is for two years. He added Frazier had interest from the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers before ultimately selecting the Lakers.

According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Frazier and Los Angeles haven’t officially signed the contract, but the step is a mere formality.

Bobby Marks, former assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets, is a fan of the move, and he believes Frazier will have a role to play in the Lakers organization even if it isn’t in the NBA:

The 21-year-old played three years at Florida. He averaged 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds a game for the Gators in 2014-15. Frazier was also one of the team’s better three-point shooters, hitting 2.2 threes a night on 38 percent from long range.    

Barring injury, you’d expect Frazier will spend more time with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, L.A.’s NBA D-League affiliate, at least early on in the 2015-16 season. The Lakers have a crowded backcourt as is with Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell and Louis Williams.   

Frazier is a skilled combo guard who can help on both ends of the floor. Los Angeles did well to grab an underrated talent who should only improve once he hits the professional level.

Ramirez, Pirates rough up Mets after rain, sweep season set (Yahoo Sports)

Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker, right, and Starling Marte celebrate after scoring on a double hit by Aramis Ramirez during the eighth inning of the baseball game against the New York Mets at Citi Field, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Pittsburgh Pirates are about as in sync off the field as they are on it. Take a random sampling of the team, from manager Clint Hurdle to newcomer Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez had four hits and three RBIs, Pedro Alvarez homered and Pittsburgh roughed up the sloppy Mets after a rain delay Sunday for an 8-1 victory that sealed the Pirates’ first season series sweep of New York.


PSG Already Leading Ligue 1 an Ominous Sign After Champions Beat Gazelec Ajaccio

Paris Saint-Germain are already top of Ligue 1 after beating top flight debutants Gazelec Ajaccio 2-0 at Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Le Championnat is just two weeks old, and the champions are already in ominous form, with goals from Blaise Matuidi and captain Thiago Silva securing the points inside the first half an hour against the Corsican minnows.

For the first time since the 2005-06 season, PSG have won their two opening league games and the capital club have hit top spot ahead of time. However, Laurent Blanc’s men have not faced the most difficult of fixtures so far and are yet to hit top gear.

Matuidi opened the scoring for Les Parisiens after just 11 minutes; the France international controlled a loose defensive header on the edge of the box and smashed the ball into the roof of the net with his second touch.

The home supporters, already giddy from the unveiling of latest signing Angel Di Maria and the early goal, did not have to wait long for a second.

Thiago Motta drifted in a 22nd minute corner and the head of skipper Silva met it powerfully to double the hosts’ advantage. The Brazilian had been left out of the Selecao’s latest squad earlier in the week, and it was the perfect riposte after Dunga’s snub.

After that, though, PSG took their foot off the gas—as they so often do against lesser sides—and the game faded into obscurity.

Motta, Marco Verratti and 18-year-old Jean-Kevin Augustin—making his full professional debut—fared well, but otherwise there was little urgency from Blanc’s men, and Gazelec simply did not have enough quality to even trouble Kevin Trapp in the home goal.

PSG’s victory over the Corsicans and their ascent to the top of the Ligue 1 table after just two games is concerning for their rivals.

Considering how the gap between the French capital outfit and the rest of the league appears to have widened since last season, this early rise to the summit without having to even put in a top performance could be a sign of things to come.

Le President’s men enjoyed a strong pre-season and quickly found their form in North America. That fluency has carried over into the start of their domestic campaign and so far, the champions have not been significantly tested.

Winning away at Lille OSC with 10 men was an achievement, but Les Dogues are rebuilding under Herve Renard and were not ready to provide a real test for PSG on the opening day of the season.

Gazelec, as newcomers to Ligue 1, fared well enough once their hosts had calmed down after the two early goals.

However, had Les Parisiens kept up that early pace, they would likely have set a new Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) era record for high scoring as the 6-0 win over EA Guingamp from back in May did not seem far away after 22 minutes.

There are going to be many games this season that PSG will be able to win easily and potentially pulverise the opposition the way they did Guingamp and Lille last term. However, there has been no sign so far of the complacency that afflicted the team early last campaign, and the capital outfit have even managed to avoid their traditionally slow start to the season.

Granted, there will be few—if any—fixtures against opponents as limited as Gazelec this term, but visits to both Montpellier HSC and AS Monaco before the end of the month should at least test PSG more than Thierry Laurey’s men managed to do.

The champion’s domestic rivals must not let them extend their current lead even further, though, because if they do, they will almost certainly not be able to claw back that ground before the end of the campaign.