– A pair of surging seven-game winners will face off with the White Sox
in Minnesota tonight. John Danks has pitched seven scoreless innings in
back-to-back victories and has a 1.51 ERA over his last five starts.
Nick Blackburn is coming off his third complete game of the season, a
6-2 win over the Tigers. He was on the mound when the Twins walloped
the White Sox 20-1 on May 21. Since that date, he’s 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA
in eight starts.
– Tim Lincecum fall apart a bit after six no-hit innings on
Thursday, so perhaps Dan Haren is still a candidate to start for the
Nationals League in the All-Star Game. A stellar outing tonight against
the Marlins wouldn’t hurt his chances, and the Diamondbacks could
certainly use the strong effort after their pen gave up 14 runs in
Thursday’s loss. A win could be tough to come by, though, as Ricky
Nolasco has been on fire for Florida. He’s won each of his last four
starts, and he has a 1.54 ERA and a 45/7 K/BB ratio in six starts since
returning from the minors.
Game of the Night
N.Y. Yankees vs. L.A. Angels – Joba Chamberlain may not have given
up more than three earned runs in any of his last 11 starts, but he was
still lit up last time out, when he surrendered eight runs — three
earned — in 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays. He’s pitched seven
innings just twice all year, and his average against is up to .273
because of the 18 hits he’s given up in nine innings his last two times
out. Fortunately, he won’t have to face the Angels’ best player this
season or the team’s best player over the last several years after both
Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero landed on the DL on Friday. Joe
Saunders, who has also struggled of late, will get the ball for
Anaheim. He’s given up 13 earned runs over nine innings in his last two
starts, taking his ERA from 3.66 to 4.44.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.