Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia continues April magic

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Twins right-hander Kevin Correia shut out the Rangers over eight innings this afternoon, scattering six hits (all singles) and one walk while striking out two. His ERA after five starts rests at 2.23, a stunning statistic for the veteran with a career 4.50 ERA. Correia has gone at least seven innings in all five of his starts and has walked exactly one in all five as well. The Twins, right now, are quite happy they plucked him out of the free agent pool with a two-year, $10 million contract.

For some as yet unexplained reason,  though, Correia has pitched like an ace in April in recent years, but quickly turned back into a pumpkin once the calendar turned to May. Consider his monthly ERA dating back to 2010:

April May June July August Sept/Oct
2010 3.86 5.22 7.83 3.90 7.20 1.91
2011 2.90 4.15 4.46 6.08 8.41
2012 2.42 5.70 4.36 5.04 4.01 3.50
2013 2.23

Is this the year Correia bucks the trend? The Twins have won in four of his five starts and are now a game over .500. With a good Correia, the Twins — currently with two starters with an ERA north of 6.00, and two others north of 4.00 — aren’t as much of an afterthought in the AL Central.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.