The around (and about)
Red Sox 5, Tigers 1: The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Jon Papelbon struck out the side to get out of it. Not much new there, but Daisuke Matsuzaka’s solid start (five innings, one run) bodes well for the Sox in the future. Throw in four scoreless innings of relief overall, and it was a big day for Boston.
Blue Jays 6, Angels 4: Fourteen strikeouts for Roy Halliday on 133 pitches. That’s a career high for the good Doctor, surpassing a 130-pitch effort last August 9. If it bothered him then, he didn’t show it–his ERA was 2.77 going in and 2.95 after… With this loss, the Angels once again get sucked back to .500. Halladay can make any team look bad, but this is a woeful offensive team. A healthy Vlad Guerrero, or one 10 years younger, would solve a lot of problems, as would a basic hitting reeducation course for Howie Kendrick, who has taken the Mickey Hatcher not-walking-as-your-path-to-Nirvana program way too seriously.
Rays 6, Royals 2: In which Andy Sonnanstine shows he can pitch a little, allowing two solo shots but no free passes. The Rays’ bullpen even showed up for this one. Ben Zobrist keeps on hitting at second, and Matt Joyce has done quite well in his return from the minors, so the Rays are covering all their injuries but shortstop, and Reid Brignac might show a little bit of pop yet–his translations for this year at Triple-A say .268/.335/.451, while PECOTA… Well, PECOTA isn’t nearly as cheerful. At least everyone agrees the kid can field.
Twins 4, Indians 3: The Indians might have lost Asdrubal Cabrera for awhile when he bent his left shoulder on Brandon Harris’s buttocks. And this just in: I’ve run out of superlatives for Joe Mauer, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and is now batting .431/.516/.873.
Athletics 5, White Sox 0: Another rookie pitcher comes up for the A’s, doesn’t pitch well exactly, but doesn’t allow a run. Beware of next time. The Sox were damaged on their end by a Wilson Betemit error, and we know what that’s all about in these parts.
Mariners 8, Orioles 2: Erick Bedard raises his trade profile a bit more with another solid outing, Ichiro gets another couple of hits (26 straight), and Junior Griffey finds a good day left in his kit bag… In his last 20 games, Nick Markakis is 18-for-85 (.212).
Braves 6, Cubs 5: Definition of a heartbreaking loss: your starter throws nearly seven innings of no-hit ball, that goes by the boards, as does the lead, as does, well, everything, and at the end of 12 innings you get to watch the Braves dance at home plate. Jeff Francoeur’s home run moves his OBP up to .275. Georgia rejoice. Gregor Blanco replaced Jordan Schafer in center field, checking a rookie checker’s attempt to jump a few squares.
Pirates 3, Mets 1: Johan Santana pitched well, but not up to his usual standards, while Zach Duke held a depressingly anorexic Mets lineup to eight singles and a whole lot of outs on balls in play–the Mets didn’t strike out once, but a few quality defensive plays kept them honest, including a Nate McLouth throw to get Jeremy Reed at home that tailed well up the line, exactly where it needed to be. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Nationals 10, Giants 6: Busy day for Washington, as the Nats fired pitching coach Randy St. Claire and also got word that starting catcher Jesus Flores might miss the rest of the season. Finally, the staged a come-for-behind win courtesy of the Bay Area Bullpen Collective. As for the Jints, they can look in the mirror. Tim Lincecum on the mound, six runs in the bank, that’s like ’27 Yankees time for this offense–they need to win on nights like that.
Marlins 10, Brewers 3: Dan Uggla hit his 100th home run, becoming the fastest second baseman to reach the century mark. Uggla isn’t a great player, nor is he having a good year. Still, this is a guy who few thought could play, and he has 100 career home runs, about 100 more than several prospects with higher profiles.
Astros 3, Rockies 2: Third straight win for Houston, as they tie it up against Huston Street and Miguel Tejada hits a walk-off against Fogg in the 11th, as if Fogg had any business pitching in an important spot, or any spot, in the Major Leagues. At .362/.388/.546, you have to admit that Tejada is having a heck of a season for a 35-year-old with a questionable chemical history.
Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Four strong innings of relief from the Cards’ pen, one of those off days for Bonson Arroyo, and a Reds’ offense that was hurting from the loss of Joey Votto goes 5-for-30. Willy “E. Coyote” Taveras: .260/.318/.328 and a career leadoff man who has never scored more than 83 runs in a season. Who thought that was a good idea?
Phillies 10, Padres 5: A potentially season-saving debut by starting pitcher Antonio Bastardo (Got Bastardo?), who could bolster a rotation that has lost Brett Myers for the year and isn’t getting quite what it had planned from Cole Hamels… Another huge night for Raul Ibanez, two home runs, and Ibanez is now slugging a Ruthian .716–Great Scott. On the Padres’ side, Adrian Gonzalez hit yet another home run, and Jake Peavy leaves after one with the flu, which sounds like a cover for his bad ankle or might really be the flu… And hopefully not THAT flu.
Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 5: A win for Jeff Weaver out of the pen as the Dodgers, absolutely neutered by Dan Haren, came back. As I’ve said before, it’s an unfair universe.