Lyle Spencer has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2005, covering the Padres and Angels. He has covered Major League Baseball as a reporter and columnist since 1971.
|The magic number for the 2014 Major League Baseball season is 27. It has been worn with distinction by Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gomez, Matt Kemp and Jordan Zimmermann, a a sextet of elite stars.
More»MIA@WSH Zimmermann throws no-hitter vs. Marlins|
|It was quiet enough in the Athletics' clubhouse Wednesday afternoon to hear a Wild Card drop. The challenge now for the green and gold troupe is to pick it up and play it as deep as possible into October. The A's showed some late life, calling to mind much better days, but the final home game of the regular season ended as so many others have during this 14-28 skid that began on Aug. 10.
More» Reddick cuts deficit with a two-run double|
|With Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over the A's and a dominant Sonny Gray, the Angels provided a perfect example of why they have the best record in baseball -- because they know how to find a way to win.
More» LeBlanc on his outing in 2-0 win vs. A's|
|Here is an unexpected plot twist as a season full of surprises narrows to its final days. If the Athletics make it to the postseason in the mad scramble that is the American League Wild Card chase, they will be armed and dangerous. And Jeff Samardzija is a big reason.
More» Samardzija allows one run over seven innings|
|An informal survey of scouts and MLB insiders uncovers a short list of current players bringing a consistently natural style to the game.
More»Trout talks about Jeter passing the torch|
|If balloting for the 2014 National League MVP Award should come down to Clayton Kershaw and Buster Posey, the Dodgers' ace got a leg-kick up on the Giants' big bopper Sunday.
More» Kershaw fans nine over eight to stump Giants|
|Not long after his two-out RBI double in the first inning had the Dodgers rolling toward four runs off Tim Hudson in Saturday night's 17-0 thrashing of the Giants at AT&T Park, Matt Kemp put the cherry on top with his strike from right field erasing Angel Pagan at the plate on Buster Posey's single.
More» Kemp cuts down Pagan attempting to score|
|The Giants strongly identify with even-numbered years. If 2014 plays out like '10 and '12, manager Bruce Bochy should be a lock for the Hall of Fame. Bochy has these Giants looking remarkably similar to the World Series champions of '10 and '12, bringing good cheer to the orange-and-black faithful.
More» Crawford hammers a two-run blast to right|
|While the Yankees and Red Sox have come to represent baseball rivalries at their most intense, the Dodgers and Giants also go way back -- to their origins in Brooklyn and upper Manhattan, connected by the New York subway system.
More»Giants Hall of Famers on the Giants-Dodgers rivalry|
|There is no better expert on pitching than Padres manager Bud Black, who says there is no better pitcher than the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.
More»Kershaw continues to dominate National League hitters|
|Taking it all into consideration -- defense, offense, baserunning -- and using WAR (wins above replacement) figures as the measuring device, let's take a look at the best outfields in the game at the moment.
More»Stanton putting up MVP numbers in 2014|
|Balance in all things, the great philosopher John Wooden liked to tell us, is the secret to a happy, productive life. Clayton Kershaw, 17-3 and on his way to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Major League ERA title, is balanced in all things.
More»Kershaw continues to dominate National League hitters|
|With pitching staffs today gobbling up 12 and even 13 roster spots, the premium on versatile athletes has increased. Major League Baseball is overflowing with multiposition players giving their managers flexibility in a wide range of ways.
More» Zobrist jumps at the wall to make great catch|
|No individual, not even the peerless Mike Trout, has played a more significant role in the transformation of the Angels than Matt Shoemaker, who has eased the pain of Garrett Richards' loss to knee surgery.
More»Shoemaker joins MLB Tonight after four-game sweep|
|A's third baseman Josh Donaldson is the highest-rated Wins Above Replacement position player in the Major Leagues, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He is a half-tick higher than Angels center fielder Mike Trout, the two-time reigning American League WAR kingpin.
More» Donaldson ties the game with solo homer|
|Fixtures with the Angels since 2008 when they encamped in the middle of the infield and made it their own, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar have been a team within the team through thick and thin. In the wake of four lean seasons, they're back in the thick of things again.
More» Angels walk off in 10 on Kendrick's sac fly|
|Nobody ever made a commercial about singles hitters. Fans dig the long ball. The bombs make the highlight shows, not the bingles. Singles can add up to something if you string a few together, but they're no better than walks, right? Wrong. there are many reasons why singles are underrated and deserve their just due.
More» Ichiro ties Aaron on all-time singles list|
|The next time your team's hurler throws a game-turning bomb and you get down on him, consider a fascinating fact: Seven of the 10 leaders in most homers allowed, and 10 of the top 20, have Hall of Fame plaques.
More» Wells' homer is 506th all-time off Moyer|
|If the Angels need any proof that they can survive the loss of ace Garrett Richards, they need to look no further than their 2002 squad.
More» Richards gets carted off field after injury|
|It was Rickey Henderson's view that runs scored was the most overlooked of all statistics. The "Man of Steal" talked about how home runs and runs batted in drew the attention of fans and media, but it just made common sense that runs scored was the most important number.
More» No. 24, Rickey Henderson|