O's send Josh Bell back to minors; call up Chris Tillman

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As expected, the Orioles have sent third baseman Josh Bell back to Triple-A Norfolk in order to make room for Saturday’s starter Chris Tillman.

As if facing the Rangers offense isn’t intimidating enough, Tillman will oppose the newly-acquired Cliff Lee, who is making debut with the club.

Tillman is 0-3 with an 8.40 ERA over four starts with the O’s this season. While he hasn’t found much success in the majors yet, the 22-year-old right-hander is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 13 starts with the Tides this season. He’s coming off a complete-game one-hit shutout on Monday.

As for Bell, he didn’t play a whole lot since he was called up from the minors on July 1. He was 3-for-15 (.200) during his brief stay with the team. While he’s better off getting regular at-bats in the minor leagues, the 23-year-old told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he saw his first taste of the majors as a learning opportunity

“It is a good situation for me, regardless,” Bell said. “Because if I am
not playing, then I am watching and learning. And if I am playing,
well, that’s a great experience.”

Bell, who was acquired from the Dodgers in last July’s George Sherrill trade, was batting .266/.311/.455 with 10 homers and 44 RBI before getting the call from Triple-A Norfolk. He was ranked as the organization’s No. 2 prospect (and top position prospect) by Baseball America over the winter. Don’t be surprised if he is up for good later this season. 

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers top Mets in Game 4 of NLDS to force a Game 5

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

There will be a decisive NLDS Game 5 on Thursday evening in Los Angeles.

Clayton Kershaw yielded just three hits and struck out eight batters over seven innings of one-run ball and Justin Turner hit his fourth double of the series — a two-run poke down the left field line in the top of the third inning — as the Dodgers defeated the Mets 3-1 in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Kershaw’s past postseason demons peaked their head out when Yoenis Cespedes reached on an infield single to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but there was no Matt Adams or Matt Carpenter to make him pay this time around. Kershaw retired the next three batters in order and then gave way to reliever Chris Hatcher for the eighth inning having thrown 94 pitches on short rest.

The only run Kershaw allowed was on a Daniel Murphy solo shot in the fourth inning. The other two hits he surrendered were singles.

Los Angeles’ bullpen answered the call after Kershaw’s departure, with Hatcher and closer Kenley Jansen combining to post two big zeroes on the scoreboard in Queens. Jansen secured the final four outs, earning his fifth career postseason save and second this October.

Jacob deGrom is lined up for the Mets and Zack Greinke will be on the hill for Los Angeles in the loser-goes-home tilt Thursday at Dodger Stadium. This series is shaping up to be a classic.

The winner Thursday will face the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.

After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0

That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …

Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.