Mike Bauman has been a national columnist for MLB.com since 2001 and has covered Major League Baseball for more than three decades.
|With uncertainty surrounding Anibal Sanchez's return from a strained right pectoral muscle, the Tigers were in serious need of another starter to give them a fighting chance at success in that rotation spot. Kyle Lobstein filled that role splendidly on Thursday.
More» Lobstein's parents take in his first start|
|Another ritual in the march of Derek Jeter's final season occurred Wednesday night at Comerica Park as the Tigers honored the retiring Yankees shortstop. The ceremony begged the question: Who is going to take Jeter's place as baseball's primary role model, as the game's unofficial, but leading ambassador to the rest of humanity?
More» Tigers present Jeter with gifts before game|
|The uncertainty of Anibal Sanchez's return to the Tigers' rotation is going to place a premium on the work of Detroit's other established starters. Fortunately for the Tigers, Rick Porcello is now solidly in that category.
More» Porcello allows two runs over eight innings|
|It is the year of the catcher in the National League Central. Whatever happens the rest of the way with a division title and a Wild Card spot or two up for grabs, the catchers in this division will be a major part of the storyline. There is no kind of catching shortage in four NL Central locales, and that's with the premier all-around catcher in the game, Yadier Molina, currently on the disabled list.
More» Martin slugs three-run shot in the 5th|
|Clint Hurdle firmly believes that his Pittsburgh Pirates can reach the postseason for the second straight year. The way the Pirates have played the last two nights against division-leading Milwaukee, there was no reason at all to dispute Hurdle's position.
More» Alvarez belts his second homer of the game|
|Life changes. Baseball does, too. Or at least it did in this case. The current system with 10 postseason spots available has been one development that has been good for both the sport of baseball and the business of baseball.
More»Take a look back at the 1997 World Series|
|Baseball, as a competitive proposition, has been headed in the direction of inclusion for some time. Still, it would be difficult to grasp a postseason that contained neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees. You take a notion like this and it doesn't really fit into any conventional baseball source material. Maybe a better fit would be "Ripley's Believe It or Not."
More» Girardi on tough loss, offensive struggles|
|Sure, fans at Tropicana Field this past weekend were right to show Derek Jeter respect with an ovation, but the Rays need their fans to pack the park and root for the home team at the same time.
More» Jeter misses bunt, breaks tie with RBI single|
|Anybody who had written off the Atlanta Braves as postseason contenders had all weekend to consider a retraction.
More» J. Upton takes Lester deep with two-run shot|
|The outside perspective on the Oakland Athletics has changed. But how much have the A's actually changed? Not that long ago, the A's were North America's best-bet underdogs. Other teams got the preseason publicity. The Oakland club simply won two straight AL West titles.
More» Samardzija solid through 6 1/3 innings|
|The Braves had lost 12 of their last 15 games. The offense was the problem, not the solution. In eight of those losses, the Braves had scored two runs or less. But you wouldn't have known there was a hint of a slump by the Braves' performance with the bats Friday night. And it wasn't a question of the degree of difficulty declining. The opposition was the Oakland Athletics, owners of baseball's best record.
More» Freeman on the need for offense to step up|
|There may be no absolutely sure things in baseball, but Clayton Kershaw comes as close to that category as anybody can. In his last 13 starts, Kershaw is 11-0 and the Dodgers are 13-0.
More» Kershaw dominates the Brewers over eight|
|Even for a team loaded with star players like the Dodgers, there are ups and downs. There are twists and turns. There are bumps in the road. The Dodgers just hit two of those bumps the last two nights at Miller Park.
More» Davis knocks a two-run homer to right-center|
|Why have the Brewers spent a franchise-record 127 straight days in first place when preseason predictions generally placed them in fourth? There is never one simple answer for a question of this magnitude. But if your answer starts with "starting pitching," you're headed in the right direction.
More» Lohse holds Dodgers to one run over six|
|That is not the main contribution that Wily Peralta is making, although 14-6 with a 3.42 ERA points in the right direction. He has become a highly reliable and sometimes even dominant performer on a pitching staff that has kept this team in first place.
More» Peralta on his start in win over Giants|
|Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong was pitching against a difficult lineup in a hitter-friendly park, and the plate umpire was putting the squeeze on the strike zone. There were a lot of factors lining up against him in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. And one of them was his own mistake in the first inning.
More» Vogelsong limits the Brewers to one run|
|CC Sabathia. Then Zack Greinke. The Brewers always needed to look outside the organization for quality starters. But now they have three who came up through the farm system: Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta and the youngster who was on display in Tuesday night's win over the Giants, Jimmy Nelson.
More» Nelson fans five over seven solid frames|
|Even with the setbacks and questions the first half brought, St. Louis still has the makeup to provide answers for another postseason run.
More»Waino, triple play highlight Cardinals' first half|
|There are only a few players who are transcendent figures, even if they might be too modest to admit it. Derek Jeter has been in that category for some time; not only for the quality of his play, not only for the five World Series he has helped the Yankees win, but for the way he has carried himself.
More» Jeter exits final ASG to standing ovation|
|As baseball returns to its natural state -- a game in which pitching is once again dominant -- you take the home runs where you find them.
The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday would be a logical place to look. And, yes indeed, home runs could be found here.
More»Statcast tracks Cespedes as he defends Derby title|