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Public Memorial For Roy Halladay To Take Place Tuesday In Florida

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A memorial for deceased pitching great Roy Halladay will be held this Tuesday, November 14, at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida, MLB.com reported Saturday.

Spectrum Field is the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, who Halladay pitched for from 2010-13.

The celebration of life service is open to the public and begins at 4 PM ET, with gates opening an hour earlier.

Guests will reportedly be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis with a maximum seating capacity of 8,000.

Halladay was just 40 years old when he lost his life in a plane accident this past Tuesday. He’s survived by his wife, Brandy, and two sons, Ryan and Braden.

“Roy had many accomplishments in his professional career, the memories of which we will cherish forever. He described each achievement as a team effort rather than an individual accomplishment, a true testament to his character and love for his teammates,” Halladay’s family said in a statement released Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, Halladay’s family have requested contributions be made to:

Halladay Family Foundation
c/o The Giving Back Fund
5757 W. Century Blvd., Suite 410
Los Angeles, CA, 90045

As MLB.com reports, The Halladay Foundation “supports organizations that are tied to two causes that are most meaningful to the Halladay family- youth sports programs and animal welfare.”

In 16 Major League seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays (1998-2009) and Phillies, Halladay won two Cy Young awards, threw a regular season perfect game, a postseason no-hitter, and accumulated an overall record of 203-105 in 416 games (390 starts) with a 3.38 ERA and 67 complete games.

American League

2018 ALCS: Astros Aiming To Repeat, Red Sox Looking For Revenge

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NBC.

This year’s American League Championship Series won’t be an unfamiliar scenario for baseball fans, because it’s a rematch of last year’s American League Division Series. Defending World Champion Houston will square off with Boston for the second consecutive postseason, this time with one more game and a lot more at stake. Houston wants a second consecutive pennant, Boston wants second blood.

The Astros defeated the Red Sox three games to one in one half of last season’s ALDS. The Red Sox were on the cusp on forcing a decisive Game 5, but questionable managerial decisions from ex-skipper John Farrell ultimately led to the team’s demise. The Astros then defeated the Yankees and then Los Angeles (both in thrilling seven game series) to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy to Texas for the first time ever.

Image result for George Springer

Postseason homer machine George Springer will look to send his team to another Fall Classic (The Houston Chronicle).

Both teams have different looks this time around in converse ways. Houston traded for superstar RHP Gerrit Cole last offseason while Boston signed slugging free agent OF/DH JD Martinez. What’s interesting is that both moves paid massive dividends. Aside Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton, Cole helped make the Astros’ starting rotation the unquestioned best in the game. Martinez, on the other hand, rejuvenated the Red Sox’ previously dormant offense and made it a force to be reckoned with again, coming within inches of the Triple Crown in the process.

What’s even more interesting is the new dynamic the rematch presents. As previously mentioned, the Sox parted ways with John Farrell last fall after his controversial pitching decisions killed the team’s rally and got them bounced from the ALDS for the second straight year. Who did they hire almost immediately after?  Houston Bench Coach Alex Cora, who resigned from AJ Hinch’s staff after Game 7.  Though there doesn’t appear to be any hard feelings on Houston’s side, it’s safe to bet that it will still serve as motivation.

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Red Sox rookie manager Alex Cora finds himself opposite the team he helped lead win it all last season (The Boston Globe).

Boston’s motivation is quite simple, don’t lose to the same team two years in a row. To do this, the team will have to find a way to topple that lethal trio of Verlander, Keuchel and Cole, but also to shut down Houston’s relentless offense, led in the ALDS by Alex Bregman and George Springer. Though he was injured for a majority of the year, Jose Altuve still goes without saying as well.

Don’t get it wrong, though. The Red Sox are no slouches, featuring two MVP front runners in Martinez and Mookie Betts alongside Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts. Chris Sale anchors a rotation that fared quite well against the Yankees in the LDS (with the obvious exception of David Price). Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello were all excellent vs. New York’s powerful core, Cora will be hoping they can replicate that success. He has announced that Price will start Game 2 despite yet another disaster in ALDS Game 2, the reasoning behind this decision is anyone’s guess.

Game 1 is Saturday at 8:09 PM ET on TBS from Fenway Park. Each team will lead off with its ace, Verlander vs. Sale. Don’t miss it!

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American League

2018 HR Daily First Half MLB Awards

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Hard to believe, but the first half of the 2018 MLB season is officially in the books. Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Washington was a wild and appropriate ending to a first half that has been full of surprises. As per tradition, HR Daily is here to give you our picks for the MLB Awards of the first half. Like we did last fall at season’s end, we’ll show you each member’s pick and then proclaim the winner by majority. Let’s start with the Senior Circuit:

National League:

Comeback Player of the Year:

Top Contenders: Matt Kemp- Dodgers, Jason Heyward- Cubs, Jon Lester- Cubs

Darkhorses: Starling Marte- Pirates, Lorenzo Cain- Brewers

Votes: Mike (@MikeAddvensky): Matt Kemp, Seth (@MrMac91): Jon Lester, Matt K (@MattKrysz): Starling Marte, Me (@Flat_Manigen74): Matt Kemp

Your winner, with two of four votes is Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp.

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USA Today.

It has been a remarkable bounce-back season for the 33-year-old Kemp. After spending the last four seasons journeying from San Diego and then Atlanta, Kemp returned to Dodger Stadium this year and instantly turned back into the player that finished as NL MVP runner up in 2011. Named an All-Star this year, for the first time since 2012, Kemp’s efforts have almost single handedly kept the struggling Dodgers in contention in the NL West. He is batting .309 with 15 HR and 60 RBI.

Cy Young Award:

Top Contenders: Jacob deGrom- Mets, Max Scherzer- Nationals, Jon Lester- Cubs, Aaron Nola- Phillies

Darkhorses: Zack Greinke- Diamondbacks, Patrick Corbin- Diamondbacks, Mike Foltynewics- Braves

Votes: Mike: Jacob deGrom, Seth: Jacob deGrom, Matt K: Jacob deGrom, Me: Jacob deGrom

Your winner, unanimously, is New York’s Jacob deGrom.

Image result for jacob degrom

USA Today.

No surprise at all here. Despite the train wreck that the Mets have been, Jacob deGrom is having the year of his career, and doing it with very little run support, which is reflected in his 5-4 record. Don’t be fooled by that at all, though, because The deGrominator boasts an MLB best 1.68 ERA, is tied second in strikeouts (149) and WHIP (.97) and is fourth in BAA (.202). The speculation of the Mets trading their golden goose has been rampant and the chances of deGrom calling someplace else home by season’s end are quite high. A trade to the American League may ruin his Cy Young hopes, but deGrom is having the best season of any pitcher when you consider the circumstances.

Rookie of the Year:

Top Contenders: Juan Soto- Nationals, Brian Anderson- Marlins, Christian Villanueva- Padres

Darkhorse: Seranthony Dominguez- Phillies

Votes: Mike: Juan Soto, Seth: Brian Anderson, Matt K: Christian Villanueva, Me: Christian Villanueva

Your winner, with two of four votes, San Diego’s Christian Villanueva.

Image result for christian villanueva

MLB.

Wow, do I feel bad for baseball fans in the 619. The San Diego Padres existence for the large part has been one of failure and mediocrity (with the obvious exceptions of Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman and the 1998 season), and this season has been more of that. Not even the signing of superstar 1B Eric Hosmer has shaken the team’s fortunes. That being said though, this Villanueva kid has been a major breath of fresh air for the beleaguered franchise. San Diego can’t be an easy place for a first year player to break in, but Villanueva has hit a respectable 19 homers and driven in 43 with a .762 OPS. Like Aaron Judge last year, some may not consider the Mexican a true rookie due to his age (27), but he’s a first year professional none the less and one of the NL’s best right now.

Manager of the Year: 

Top Contenders: Brian Snitker- Braves, Craig Counsell- Brewers, Gabe Kapler- Phillies

Darkhorse: Torey LoVullo- Diamondbacks

Votes: Mike: Brian Snitker, Seth: Torey LoVullo, Matt K: Gabe Kapler, Me: Craig Counsell

WE HAVE A FOUR-WAY TIE! Not one of us voted for the same person, and we cannot accept this!

Just like last year when we had a tie for AL MVP between Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve, we will let you, our readers, have the final say here. Go to our Twitter (@HomeRunDaily) and cast your choice for one of these four! You have until 8:30 PM ET tomorrow!

National League MVP:

Top Candidates: Freddie Freeman- Braves, Nolan Arenado- Rockies, Javier Baez- Cubs

Darkhorses: Eugenio Suarez- Reds, Jesus Aguilar- Brewers, Paul Goldschmidt- Diamondbacks

Votes: Mike: Freddie Freeman, Seth: Nolan Arenado, Matt K: Freddie Freeman, Me: Freddie Freeman

Your winner, with three of four votes, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman.

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USA Today.

Like deGrom, not much of a surprise here. Freeman was in the midst of an MVP campaign last year when he was hit on his left hand on May 17, the resulting fracture knocked him out until the Fourth of July. He still played very well after this, but the month and a half on the shelf ruined his MVP chances. It’s going to take another big injury to prevent Freeman from taking that crown this year. The Braves first baseman has been on a different level this year and helped bring his previously dormant team back to life. The American-Canadian is batting .316 with 16 HR, 64 RBI and .939 OPS. There’s no two ways around it, those are stupidly good numbers. The Braves may be destined for great things this season if they can recover from their recent slump, and Freeman will be leading that charge.

American League:

Comeback Player of the Year:

Top Contenders: Matt Duffy- Rays, Manny Machado- Orioles, Gerrit Cole- Astros

Darkhorse: Kyle Gibson- Twins

Votes: Mike: Matt Duffy, Seth: Matt Duffy, Matt K: Michael Brantley, Me: Gerrit Cole

Your winner, with two of four votes, Tampa Bay’s Matt Duffy.

Image result for matt duffy rays

CBC.

After finishing second to Kris Bryant in 2015 NL Rookie of the Year voting, it slowly started to seem as if Matt Duffy would join the group of players that peaked as rookies and then went on to mediocrity. A trade to Tampa Bay and a severe achilles tendon injury that caused him to miss all of 2017 did not help his cause. However, this year, the Duffman has returned with a vengeance, batting .317 with a .784 OPS. He was shockingly left off the American League’s All-Star Game roster, but it takes nothing away from this guy’s incredible perseverance.

Cy Young Award:

Top Contenders: Justin Verlander- Astros, Luis Severino- Yankees, Gerrit Cole- Astros, Chris Sale- Red Sox

Darkhorses: Blake Snell- Rays, Charlie Morton- Astros, Trevor Bauer- Indians

Votes: Mike: Luis Severino, Seth: Chris Sale, Matt K: Chris Sale, Me: Chris Sale

Your winner, with three of four votes, Boston’s Chris Sale.

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Boston Globe.

Sale has yet to disappoint since changing his Sox from white to red and continues to establish himself as Boston’s ace and one of the AL’s best. Don’t get me wrong, I know that Sale was the front-runner for the award at the half, last season, but ran out of gas down the stretch, he wound up finishing second behind Corey Kluber. The Condor’s performance in the first half of this season has been just as good however, and it also appears that the new Red Sox manager Alex Cora is taking more efforts to reduce his innings than John Farrell did last season. His first half line of 10-4, 2.23 ERA, 188 Ks, .90 WHIP and .184 BAA earned him a third consecutive All-Star Game start, something that hadn’t happened for a pitcher since Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’ trifecta from 1953 to 1955. If Sale can hold it together in the second half this time around, he will earn a well deserved first Cy Young Award after finishing in the top six for the past six seasons in a row.

Rookie of the Year:

Top Contenders: Gleyber Torres- Yankees, Shohei Ohtani- Angels

Votes: Mike: Gleyber Torres, Seth: Gleyber Torres, Matt K: Gleyber Torres, Me: Gleyber Torres

Your winner, unanimously, New York’s Gleyber Torres.

Image result for gleyber torres

NY Post.

2018 hasn’t been that big a year for rookie action. After we were spoiled last season by Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, Andrew Benintendi and Trey Mancini, this season has been plain dull. Everyone in the world was intrigued to see what Shohei Ohtani was going to do, and while he’s been good, he hasn’t lived up to the hype (not his fault though, the hype was too big for anyone). The Yankees’ Gleyber Torres emerged from underneath Ohtani’s shadow and has been quite impressive, showing us just why fans in the Bronx have been so excited since he was acquired from the Cubs as part of the return for Aroldis Chapman. The future superstar is batting .294 with a .905 OPS, earning him an All-Star appearance. Not bad at all for a guy who turned the drinking age last December.

Manager of the Year:

Top Conteders: Bob Melvin- Athletics, Scott Servais- Mariners, Alex Cora- Red Sox

Darkhorse: , Kevin Cash- Rays, Mike Scioscia- Angels

Votes: Mike: Alex Cora, Seth: Scott Servais, Matt K: Scott Servais, Me: Scott Servais

Your winner, with three of four votes, Seattle’s Scott Servais (try saying that three times fast).

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Seattle Times.

There are many deserving candidates in the AL for this award, and like the NL, the voting for it at season’s end is likely to be very tough for the BBWAA. Servais’ Mariners have been one of the stories of the year in the American League and are fighting for contention in a very tight AL West, with the similar surprise of the Oakland Athletics also adding to the intrigue. Even with the Mariners losing their biggest piece, Robinson Cano, to a half-season PED suspension, they haven’t missed a beat and are only five out of the division leading Astros, thanks to the continued consistency of Nelson Cruz and Jean Segura’s breakout. Servais should be commended for holding his team together through the trials they’ve faced. Seattle inherited North American professional sports’ longest playoff drought from the NFL’s Buffalo Bills this past winter. Will they break it on their first attempt?

American League MVP:

Top Contenders: Mike Trout- Angels, Mookie Betts- Red Sox, Jose Ramirez- Indians, JD Martinez- Red Sox

Darkhorse: Jose Altuve- Astros

Votes: Mike: JD Martinez, Seth: Mookie Betts, Matt K: Jose Ramirez, Me: JD Martinez

Your winner, with two of four votes, Boston’s JD Martinez.

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NESN.

Martinez has lived up to the hype in Boston, and then some. Signed as a counter move to the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, Martinez’ remarkable first half has ensured that the Red Sox haven’t fallen behind their storied rivals. What makes Martinez so valuable to Boston is that he’s done exactly what was expected of him. He’s sparked the Red Sox offense and taken pressure off other key bats. The end result? Only the Sox being in first place in a season where nobody though they would. In fact, Boston has led the AL East for a majority of the year.  It more than likely won’t happen, but the 30-year-old player currently has a shot at the Triple Crown with his .325 AVG (third), 29 HR (second) and 80 RBI (first). For those of you who believe primary designated hitters shouldn’t win MVP, he’s played left field a good number of games and his defense has been solid. Martinez’ all-around production has helped propel the Red Sox past the powerhouse Yankees. He’s been an MVP in every sense so far during his tenure in Beantown.

What are your choices? Be sure to let us know on Twitter!

 

 

 

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American League

2018 MLB All-Star Game Rosters Unveiled

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The favorite night of the summer for baseball fans is coming up rapidly. The 2018 MLB All-Star Game is a week from Tuesday in Washington DC. Before this week’s edition of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, the All-Stars of both leagues were revealed. Whether by fan, player or managerial vote, the following players have earned the honor of going to the Midsummer Classic:

National League

Manager: Dave Roberts- Dodgers

Starting lineup:

  • C- Willson Contreras- Cubs (first appearance)
  • 1B- Freddie Freeman- Braves (third appearance)
  • 2B- Javier Baez- Cubs (first appearance)
  • SS- Brandon Crawford- Giants (second appearance)
  • 3B- Nolan Arenado- Rockies (fourth appearance)
  • OF- Nick Markakis- Braves (first appearance)
  • OF- Matt Kemp- Dodgers (third appearance)
  • OF- Bryce Harper- Nationals (sixth appearance)

Notable: LA’s Matt Kemp, who is singled-handedly keeping the Dodgers in contention, is back for the first time since 2012, the longest stretch between appearances for any All-Star this year.

Starting pitchers:

  • Jacob deGrom- Mets (second appearance)
  • Mike Foltynewicz- Braves (first appearance)
  • Patrick Corbin- D-Backs (second appearance)
  • Aaron Nola- Phillies (first appearance)
  • Miles Mikolas- Cardinals (first appearance)
  • Max Scherzer- Nationals (sixth appearance)
  • Jon Lester- Cubs (fifth appearance)

Notable: Arizona’s Patrick Corbin returns tfter being tagged with the loss in 2013 at New York’s Citi Field. Jacob deGrom is the sole representative of the aforementioned Mets and is the favorite to get the starting nod at this point, but don’t rule out Lester.

Bullpen:

  • Brad Hand- Padres (second appearance)
  • Sean Doolittle- Nationals (second appearance)
  • Kenley Jansen- Dodgers (third appearance)
  • Felipe Vazquez- Pirates (first appearance)
  • Josh Hader- Brewers (first appearance)

Notable: Doolittle, Jansen and Hand are amongst the game’s best closers, while Vazquez and Hader are quickly approaching that conversation. Bullpen advantage goes to the NL.

Reserves:

  • C-Buster Posey- Giants (sixth appearance)
  • C- JT Realmuto- Marlins (first appearance)
  • 1B- Paul Goldschmidt- D-Backs (sixth appearance)
  • 1B- Joey Votto- Reds (sixth appearance)
  • 2B- Ozie Albies- Braves (first appearance)
  • 2B- Scooter Gennett- Reds (first appearance)
  • SS- Trevor Story- Rockies (first appearance)
  • 3B- Eugenio Suarez- Reds (first appearance)
  • OF- Charlie Blackmon- Rockies (third appearance)
  • OF- Lorenzo Cain- Brewers (second appearance)
  • OF- Christian Yelich- Brewers (first appearance)

Notable: Six players on the NL’s bench make their debuts this year, while Posey, Votto and Goldschmidt each make their sixth appearance.

Final Vote candidates:

  • Jesus Aguilar- Brewers (no appearances)
  • Brandon Belt- Giants (one appearance)
  • Max Muncy- Dodgers (no appearances)
  • Trea Turner- Nationals (no appearances)
  • Matt Carpenter- Cardinals (three appearances)

Turner is the odds-on favorite to be the last man on the Senior Circuit side. His Washington Nationals are this year’s hosts and their fans will vote in troves to get him there so they’ll have one more guy to go crazy for when Joe Buck does his traditional introductions.

American League

Manager: AJ Hinch- Astros

Starting lineup:

  • C- Wilson Ramos- Rays (second appearance)
  • 1B- Jose Abreu- White Sox (second appearance)
  • 2B- Jose Altuve- Astros (sixth appearance)
  • SS- Manny Machado- Orioles (fourth appearance)
  • 3B- Jose Ramirez- Indians (second appearance)
  • OF-Aaron Judge- Yankees (second appearance)
  • OF- Mike Trout- Angels (seventh appearance)
  • OF- Mookie Betts- Red Sox (third appearance)
  • DH- JD Martinez- Red Sox (second appearance)

Notable: The American League’s starting lineup is almost identical to last year’s. Judge and Betts will once again patrol the outfield, joined by Trout, whom Betts replaced in 2017 due to a thumb injury.

Starting pitchers:

  • JA Happ- Blue Jays (first appearance)
  • Corey Kluber- Indians (third appearance)
  • Justin Verlander- Astros (seventh appearance)
  • Trevor Bauer- Indians (first appearance)
  • Luis Severino- Yankees (second appearance)
  • Blake Treinen- Athletics (first appearance)
  • Chris Sale- Red Sox (seventh appearance)
  • Gerrit Cole- Astros (second appearance)
  • Jose Berrios- Twins (first appearance)

Notable: AL skipper Hinch is Verlander’s manager, and he has already announced that his ace will not play in the game, Bauer is his replacement. Verlander was the favorite to start; now that his participation is ruled out the choice will likely come down to Luis Severino or Gerrit Cole, who has been a revelation.

Bullpen:

  • Joe Jimenez- Tigers (first appearance)
  • Edwin Diaz- Mariners (first appearance)
  • Aroldis Chapman- Yankees (fifth appearance)
  • Craig Kimbrel- Red Sox (seventh appearance)

Notable: Chapman and Kimbrel find themselves on the AL side this time after being teammates for the NL from 2012 to 2014. They are the AL’s best, but the NL boasts one more reliever and Hinch will have to choose wisely should the American League have the lead late.

Reserves:

  • C- Salvador Perez- Royals (sixth appearance)
  • 1B- Mitch Moreland- Red Sox (first appearance)
  • 2B- Gleyber Torres- Yankees (first appearance)
  • SS- Francisco Lindor- Indians (third appearance)
  • 3B- Alex Bregman- Astros (first appearance)
  • OF- Michael Brantley- Indians (third appearance)
  • OF- Mitch Haniger- Mariners (first appearance)
  • OF- George Springer- Astros (second appearance)
  • OF- Shin-Soo Choo- Rangers (first appearance)
  • DH- Nelson Cruz- Mariners (sixth appearance)

Notable: A feel-good moment comes here for Texas’ Choo, who gets his first selection at the age of 35 after being in the game for 13 years. According to ESPN, he is the first Korean batter selected to the MLB All-Star Game. Former Ranger Moreland is a similar case, getting his first selection at 32.

Final Vote candidates:

  • Eddie Rosario- Twins (no appearances)
  • Jean Segura- Mariners (one appearance)
  • Andrelton Simmons- Angels (no appearances)
  • Andrew Benintendi- Red Sox (no appearances)
  • Giancarlo Stanton- Yankees (four appearances)

Based on name value alone, Stanton is the favorite here. But Simmons, Benintendi, Segura and Rosario all have worthy numbers, Yankee fans will have to vote aggressively to get their prized acquisition to his fifth appearance.

Information on injury replacements and pitching fill-ins to come. Which side is more stacked in your opinion? Be sure to let us know and check back to HR Daily as the Midsummer Classic gets closer and closer!

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