Kubel leads Twins over Yankees via grand slam

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kubel congratulated.jpgThe Yankees ended a 12-game drought against the Yankees Sunday thanks to a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the eighth inning from Jason Kubel.  It was his only hit of the game, but it was a big one.  Even more impressive, he hit the slam off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. 

The Twins trailed 3-1 heading into the eighth.  But Denard Span hit a single to shallow left, Joe Mauer walked, Michael Cuddyer singled, Jim Thome walked with the bases loaded, and then Kubel cleared ’em.  The Twinkies are now 6-29 in the Bronx under manager Ron Gardenhire’s leadership.  More importantly, they’re 23-14 and own a 1.5-game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central.

Kubel, 27, hasn’t had the best start this year.  He’s currently hitting just .225 with a 661 OPS and two home runs in 98 at-bats.  Perhaps the exciting four-run shot will get his juices flowing.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”