ESPN Launches MLB Pre-Season Coverage Thursday; To Carry World Baseball Classic Final Tonight

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN kicks off its Major League Baseball pre-season coverage Thursday afternoon.

The Yankees and the Rays face off in the first of the network’s pre-season broadcasts beginning at 1 p.m. Jon Sciambi will have the call for the Grapefruit League game.  He will be joined by analysts Rick Sutcliffe and Doug Glanville in the booth for additional commentary.

The Dodgers and Angels follow at 7 p.m. on ESPN in a Cactus League showdown.  The Angels currently sit fourth in the league while Los Angeles sits seventh.  Dan Shulman, the voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, will have the call for the game.  He will be joined in the booth by his SNB cohorts Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone.  Reporter Buster Olney will also be on hand for all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

Karl Ravech and Tim Kurkjian will have a wrap of up the day’s action on the diamond at 10 p.m. on Baseball Tonight on ESPN.

Before ESPN launches its Major League pre-season coverage Thursday, it will broadcast live the World Baseball Classic Final tonight at 9 p.m.  The United States and Puerto Rico will face off for this year’s title live on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.  The broadcast begins at 9 p.m. ET.

The United States made its way to the Final after defeating Japan 2 – 1 Tuesday. The game marks the team’s first-ever time it has reached the Final.

The re-match against Puerto Rico will not be an easy contest for the Americans.  That is because Puerto Rico is undefeated in the tournament at 7 – 0.  Marcus Stroman is expected to get the start in tonight’s game for the United States while Seth Lugo is scheduled to take the mound for Puerto Rico.

More information on ESPN’s Major League Baseball coverage is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Astros Look To Avoid Sweep Against Rangers Tonight On ESPN Radio

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Houston and Texas face off tonight on ESPN Radio.

Tonight’s matchup between the teams is the finale of a three-game series between the AL West foes. And Houston will be hungry for some redemption coming into tonight’s game, as Texas has already taken two of the series’ three-games so far. Nick Martinez is expected to start for the Rangers in tonight’s game while Scott Kazmir will start for Houston, which currently sits third overall in the American League standings behind Kansas City and the New York Yankees. Kazmir’s last time on the mound was last Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Houston blanked the Angels 3 – 0 in that game. While Kazmir’s teammate Luke Gregerson was credited with the win, it was Kazmir that carried the ‘Stros through most of the game, throwing one hundred eleven pitches over seven point two innings. Over the course of that time, he fired off five Ks, allowed only three hits, and three walks. He allowed no runs, no earned runs, and no home runs. Of those one hundred eleven total pitches, sixty nine were strikes. That is roughly sixty two percent of his total pitches.

Martinez’s last time on the mound was this past Friday as the Rangers faced the Giants. Texas won that game 6 – 3. Martinez was credited with the win in the game. He pitched 6.1 innings, striking out four batters along the way. He allowed a total of seven hits, two runs, two earned runs, and two walks. Though, he prevented the Giants from knocking any balls out of the park, throwing fifty-nine strikes over the course of ninety-nine pitches for a fifty-nine percent strike rate.

Houston currently sits atop the American League West three games ahead of the Angels. However, Texas has been on a tear as of late, going 6 – 4 in its last ten games and has won its last three straight games, two of which came against the Rangers Monday and Tuesday. Houston is 5 – 5 in its last ten games and lost its last two games. Interestingly enough, Texas is 22 – 29 at home so far on the season whereas Houston is 22 – 30 on the road.

Adam Amin will have the call for tonight’s game live from Texas. He will be joined in the booth by Chris Singleton for additional commentary. Coverage is expected to begin at 7pm ET. More information on ESPN’s MLB coverage is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Angels, Astros Face Off In AL Divisional Matchup Tonight On WNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

All eyes will be on the Astros and Angels tonight as the teams face off in an AL West divisional showdown on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball.

Tonight’s matchup is the rubber match in the teams’ three-game series. It marks only the second time this season that ESPN has traveled to Houston for its MLB coverage. Lance McCullers is slated to get the start for the ‘Stros while Garrett Richards is expected to get the start for the visiting Angels. Richards’ last time on the mound was last Thursday against Minnesota. He took the loss in the game, allowing four hits, three runs, three earned runs, and three walks and one home run over eight innings pitched. He struck out five batters En route to the Angels’ loss. Mike Morin replaced Richards in the ninth, allowing only one hit, no runs, no earned runs, no walks, no home runs, and struck out two batters.

McCullers’ last time taking the mound was this past Thursday against the Red Sox. He pitched five innings in the team’s 5 – 4 win over Boston, allowing six hits, two runs, two earned runs, three walks, and one home run along the way. He also struck out two batters before heading to the dugout. While those numbers paint one picture, McCullers didn’t do too badly having faced twenty-four batters in his time on the mound, throwing fifty-two strikes in eighty-nine pitches.

The Angels currently lead the AL West division sitting near even with the second place Astros. Both teams are far better at home than on the road so far on the season with the Angels going 32 – 21 (h) and 23 – 23 (a), and the Astros going 34 – 17 (h) and 22 – 28 (a). The Angels are 6 – 4 in their last ten games versus Houston’s 7 – 3 record in its last ten games.

Dave Flemming will have the call for tonight’s NL showdown. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Rick Sutcliffe. Fellow analyst Doug Glanville will be in the outfield covering both teams’ defense while analysts Eduardo Perez and Eric Wedge will be in the Astros’ and Angels’ dugouts respectively with all of the latest from both teams. Perez is a former Astros coach and Angels 1991 first round pick. Tonight’s game will be simulcast on television and online via ESPN, ESPN3, and WatchESPN. More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Opens 25th Anniversary Season Of MLB Coverage This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN hits a major mark this weekend.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports begins its 25th season of Major League Baseball coverage beginning this Sunday night. ESPN opens its 25th anniversary season covering Major League Baseball live from San Diego, California. Chase Headley and the Padres host Yasiel Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers live on ESPN’s MLB Opening Night Presented by Scotts at 8pm ET on ESPN in the network’s season opening broadcast. Dan Shulman will have the call. He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney for the broadcast. The game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio, and ESPN Deportes. Before the game starts, ESPN will air a special 90-minute edition of Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown beginning at 6:30pm live from Petco Park in San Diego with Karl Ravech, Jon Kruk and MLB Hall of Famer/ESPN analyst Barry Larkin. Larkin and Ravech will hit the road after Sunday’s broadcast for a special Opening Day edition of Baseball Tonight live at 12pm ET live from Great American Ballpark.

Sunday night’s Opening Night broadcast will be followed up Monday with an Opening Day double header broadcast. Game one will come live from Pittsburgh as reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates host Starlin Castro and the Chicago Cubs. The broadcast is scheduled for a 1pm ET start time. Sean McDonough will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined in the booth by analyst Aaron Boone and reporter Tim Kurkjian. The second game on the day will see Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds host NL Central foes and defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Dan Shulman will have the play-by-play for the game. He will be joined by Jon Kruk and Buster Olney for the trio’s second game in less than twenty-four hours.

If ESPN’s Opening Day double header isn’t enough for baseball lovers, ESPN2 will have a triple-header beginning at 3pm ET. Game one on the day’s schedule will see David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox hosting Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles at the famed Fenway Park. Dave O’Brien will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Rick Sutcliff and Eric Wedge, and reporter Pedro Gomez. Troy Tulowitzki and the Colorado Rockies will host Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins in the second game of the three-game schedule. SportsCenter’s Steve Levy will call the play-by-play action for the game. He will be joined by analyst Eduardo Perez for more insight. The last game of the day on ESPN2’s triple header schedule will see Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners on the road against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That game is scheduled for a 10pm ET start time. Jon Sciambi will have the call. Analyst Doug Glanville and reporter Jessica Mendoza will also be on hand for more coverage throughout the game.

All of ESPN’s games and Baseball Tonight can be watched online through all computers and mobile internet via WatchESPN. Specific games will also be on ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes +, and ESPN Radio.

More information on ESPN’s Opening Night and Opening Day coverage is available online at http://espn.go.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Spring Training Coverage, Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour Schedules

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced the schedule for its coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Spring Training games.

This year’s schedule kicks off with coverage of a rematch from last year’s World Series.  The Boston Red Sox will host the St. Louis Cardinals March 17th at Fenway Park.  First pitch is scheduled for 1pm.  The game will be carried on television on ESPN and online via Watch ESPN and ESPN Deportes+.    The ESPN family of networks’ complete seven-game Spring Training coverage schedule is available below.

Spring Training game schedule:

Date Time (ET) Game/Commentators Networks
Mon, March 17 1 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Tue, March 18 1 p.m. Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Buster Olney

ESPN,WatchESPN
Thu, March 20 7 p.m. New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Buster Olney

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Mon, March 24 1 p.m. Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Adnan Virk, Doug Glanville, Tim Kurkjian

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Tue, March 25 1 p.m. Atlanta Braves at Detroit Tigers
Adnan Virk, Doug Glanville, Tim Kurkjian
ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Wed, March 26 1 p.m. Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals

Steve Levy, Eduardo Perez, Doug Glanville

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +
Thu, March 27 12 p.m. Washington Nationals at New York Mets

Steve Levy, Eduardo Perez, Doug Glanville

ESPN,WatchESPN,ESPN Deportes +

 

Before the ESNP family of networks kick off their coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 Spring Training games, the Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour will hit the road.  The tour will visit a number of teams’ camps beginning next Monday, February 17th at the Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Florida.  Karl Ravech and Buster Olney will be on hand with coverage of the team’s preps for the 2014 season.  SportsCenter will have Baseball Tonight segments beginning at 9am ET each day.  Each segment will include interviews with players and managers as well as in-depth team analysis and discussions on every major off-season story lines.  Baseball fans can get even more in-depth coverage of the upcoming season online at ESPN.com.  Buster Olney, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick, Keith Law, Jim Caple, and David Schoenfield will have reports from various camps in Florida and Arizona through the online home of the Worldwide Leader in Sports.  As an added bonus, ESPN.com will also offer baseball fans a Countdown Clock to Opening Day, videos from the Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour, and a blog with daily posts.  The complete Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tour schedule is available below.

Baseball Tonight Goodyear Express Tourschedule:

Date Location Team/Commentators
Mon, Feb. 17 Fort Myers, Fla. Boston Red Sox

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Tue, Feb. 18 Lakeland, Fla. Detroit Tigers

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Wed, Feb. 19 Jupiter, Fla. St. Louis Cardinals

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Thu, Feb. 20 Viera, Fla. Washington Nationals

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Fri, Feb. 21 Tampa, Fla. New York Yankees

Karl Ravech, Buster Olney

Mon, Feb. 24 Glendale, Ariz. Los Angeles Dodgers

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Tue, Feb. 25 Scottsdale, Ariz. San Francisco Giants

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Wed, Feb. 26 Surprise, Ariz. Texas Rangers

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Thu, Feb. 27 Tempe, Ariz. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Fri, Feb. 28 Goodyear, Ariz. Cincinnati Reds

Karl Ravech, John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian

Sat, March 1 Peoria, Ariz. Seattle Mariners

Tim Kurkjian

 

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ upcoming MLB coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Bosox, Angels Face Off July 7th On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Presented By Taco Bell

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced the latest addition to its Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule.  On Sunday, July 7th, ESPN will broadcast a matchup between “Big Papi” David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox and Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels live.  The game will be broadcast live at 8pm EDT.  Dan Shulman will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.  Reporter Buster Olney will be on hand to provide commentary.

Along with its primary broadcast on ESPN, the gam will also be broadcast on ESPN Deportes with Ernesto Jerez, Luis Alfredo Alvarez, Guillermo Celis, and Ozzie Guillen.  It will also be broadcast on ESPN Radio affiliates across the country with Jon Schiambi and analyst Chris Singleton.  Fans can also see the game on with WatchESPN.

Each week’s game is preceded by Baseball Tonight at 7pm EDT.  Tonight’s game sees the San Francisco Giants on the road against the Atlanta Braves.  The current schedule of games on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is available below.  Additional July games are announced three weeks prior to their broadcast while August and September games will be announced two weeks in advance to their broadcast.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
June 16 San Francisco Giants at Atlanta Braves
June 23 Texas Rangers at St. Louis Cardinals
June 30 New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
July 7 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels
July 14 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 21 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

For all the latest Sunday Night Baseball news, go online to http://espn.go.com/mlb/baseballtonight and https://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight.

To keep up with all of the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Yankees/Red Sox Rivalry Returning To ESPN, Angels & White Sox Face Off Tonight On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

One of the biggest rivalries in sports re-ignites in its latest round Sunday, June 2nd.  David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox will take on Robinson Cano and the New York Yankees will face off at 8pm that evening.  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast.  He will be joined by analysts Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.  Buster Olney will be on hand with commentary.

Tonight’s matchup pits the Los Angeles Angels against the Chicago White Sox in the “Windy City.”  Dan Shulman will host the evening’s broadcast along with his colleagues, Orel Hershiser, John Kruk and Buster Olney.  The game will be available across all ESPN platforms including:  ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app for mobile media.  Pre-game starts at 7pm tonight.  The ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Crew offered its thoughts on tonight’s games, which can be viewed right here.

Baseball Tonight analyst Aaron Boone on the C.J. Wilson- Chris Sale matchup:
With Jered Weaver down, C.J. Wilson needs to assume the head of this rotation. They need to be able to hang their hat on his starts and count on him to be close to an ace. Sale needs to get his slider down. While he’s been pretty good, he hasn’t quite been the dominant ace. I’ve seen a little bit of slider elevation from him. If he can get that pitch down, he’s an ace.

Baseball Tonight analyst Alex Cora on Wilson:
I think that the key storyline is C.J. Wilson. We’ve been talking about the Angels being a contender and Weaver being hurt. Here’s a guy that they signed last year to either be their ace or their number two and he hasn’t done it. For them to turn this around, they need him to pitch the way he’s capable of pitching.

MLB Insider Buster Olney on the Angels’ struggles this season:
Early in every season, there are a handful of teams that quickly move into desperation mode, and little more than a month into the 2013 season, that’s where the Angels stand. They cannot afford to lose more ground, and even though it’s May, this team of great stars will be playing with a sense of urgency. The Angels can turn it around, but because of the lack of depth in the pitching staff, the impetus for a comeback has to come from their offensive stars: Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.

MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian on the Angels facing Sale:
This is a big weekend series, especially for the Angels. They are in danger of falling out of the race in the West unless they start winning immediately. Their come-from-behind win Thursday night might be the spark that finally gets this team going but they are up against Chris Sale on Sunday night. I don’t know how anyone gets a hit off of that guy.

Olney on Sale’s delivery and repertoire:
Chris Sale is a one-of-a-kind pitcher, with an unusual delivery, and a nasty slider.  I think  Orel made a fascinating comparison: Sale reminds you a lot of the former Yankees Cy Young winner Ron Guidry, because of the quality of his slider and his angular build.

ESPN MLB Insider Pedro Gomez on the Angels’ struggles:
The Angels cannot afford to continue to spin their wheels and expect to remain in the AL West race. They need pitching to really start to shine and they absolutely need more production from their two cogs in the middle of their order, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

Cora on Hamilton’s plate discipline:
He needs to take a step back. We get it, he’s an aggressive hitter. But right now, he’s getting 0-2 pitches in the first pitch of the at-bat. They know he’s swinging. They aren’t even trying to get ahead of him. They are going to the put-out pitch on pitch one because he’s swinging. He needs to be more patient. He has two home runs in last few days but still he needs to take some pitches. The whole league knows that he’s been very aggressive and chasing a lot. He must take a step back and see some good pitches.

ESPN MLB Insider Jim Bowden on keys for the Angels to improve:
The Angels can turn it around but they have to stay healthy. There is not enough depth to withstand injuries, as we’ve seen to date. Hamilton and Pujols must get back to MVP form. The key to the team will be the starting rotation. Blanton and Hanson have to be good enough to win 12 games and pitch 180 innings. A trade for more pitching is a must. Hamilton’s not loading and his timing is not in sync. If he corrects those two flaws he will hit. His bat speed is still there. He also must improve his strike zone awareness and cut down at swinging at balls out of the zone which is at a poor rate of 49%.

Boone on the struggling power hitters in both lineups:
If these teams are going to live up to expectations, their big guys in the middle have to get it going. We need to see production from Konerko and Dunn for the White Sox and Hamilton and Pujols with the Angels.

Cora on White Sox Manager Robin Ventura:
It’s Robin’s second year, so right now it’s his team. Obviously last year he had a great season. They made some changes and lost A.J. So, I think now he’s settled in. It has been a tough month for them, so let’s see what kind of manager he is. Last year, they kind of lost it at the end in September and they seem to be in the same pattern now. We need to see what kind of manager he will be.

Next Sunday on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Tigers head to the Lone Star State to take on the Rangers.  The latest Sunday Night Baseball schedule is available below.

Upcoming Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
May 12 Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
May 19 Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers
May 26 Atlanta Braves at New York Mets
June 2 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
July 14 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
July 21 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
   

*Additional games for June and July will be announced three weeks in advance, while games for August and September will be made two weeks in advance.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.