Dugout Digest – a diamond in the rough

Pretty much every prospect analyst and scout out there has called Mike Fiers of the Brewers a fourth or fifth starter long-term. But the 27-year old had yet another dazzling start last night, and is shoving his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation (which I'll have more on later today). Last night against the Reds, Fiers was perfect through six against the NL Central leaders. He led the Brewers to a 3-1 win with his fantastic performance, holding the class of the National League to just one run on three hits over eight innings. At 27, he's probably not going to be a long-term answer for the Brewers, but he sure is making them looking smart for thrusting him into the spotlight this year.

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Game of the Night: Twins 7, Indians 5. Your heart has to ache for the Indians fanbase, it really does. A year that started off promising for the Tribe is going down the tubes, and with last night's loss, they stand ten games below .500, and are just a game up on the Twins for third place in the division. Since the All-Star Break, the Indians are just 6-19, and their current losing streak has now stretched to 11 in a row. Last night, Corey Kluber gave the team six good innings before being pulled in the seventh after the first two hitters reached base. Tony Sipp came in, and allowed a run to score on a groundout. Then, he walked Joe Mauer, and was replaced with Joe Smith…who started his outing by plunking Josh Willingham. With the bases loaded, a Jason Kipnis error allowed a pair to score and slice Cleveland's lead to 5-4. It stayed that way until the ninth, when closer Chris Perez came in for the Indians. Darin Mastrioanni scored on a Casey Kotchman error to tie the game at five, and Perez proceeded to allow two more runs to score on a sac fly and a single, with various other hits mixed in there. Glen Perkins set Cleveland down without a whimper in the bottom of the inning, and the cycle continued for the Tribe and their fans.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Despite talking about how great Fiers was in the opening, he actually didn't have the best pitching performance of the night. No, that honor went to Cole Hamels, who threw a complete game shutout in Philly's 3-0 win over the Braves, allowing five hits and striking out six hitters without a walk. Fiers also wasn't the second best pitcher of the evening, because in a 4-1 Rays win over the Blue Jays, James Shields allowed one run over eight innings on two hits, striking out six with just one walk. *Then*, we have Fiers, who allowed just the one run on three hits in eight innings, striking out seven without a walk. 

Hitting Lines of the Night: Matt Wieters of the Orioles went 3/6 with a double and a pair of solo homers in Baltimore's 14 inning, 8-7 win over Seattle. Chris Johnson led the Diamondbacks to a 10-4 comeback win over the Pirates, going 2/5 with a pair of homers and five RBI. Allen Craig *was* the Cardinals offense in a 4-2 loss to the Giants, going 2/3 with a walk and a pair of solo homers. Finally, there's Josh Rutledge of the Rockies, who went 4/5 with three doubles and three RBI in Colorado's 3-1 win in Los Angeles.

Other Games: The Tigers edged the Yankees 6-5. Ryan Dempster got his first win as a Ranger, as Texas won 6-3 in Boston. The Marlins beat the flatlining Mets 4-2. The Royals got some late offense in a 5-2 win against the White Sox. The A's and Angels combined for six homers in a 10-4 Oakland win, pushing the A's into a tie with Baltimore, a half game ahead of the Angels for the second wild card slot. The Padres spoiled Brooks Raley's major league debut for the Cubs, winning 7-4.

Today's Games: We've got some day baseball on the slate, with some teams using tomorrow as a travel day. Mat Latos starts for the Reds in Milwaukee. Matt Harrison takes on Josh Beckett in Boston. Jeff Samardzija starts for the Cubs in San Diego. Zack Greinke takes on Dan Straily in Oakland. Tim Hudson starts for the Braves in Philly. Ian Kennedy starts for the Diamondbacks in Pittsburgh against Kevin Correia…apparently, whining like a petulant child gets you put back in the rotation. CC Sabathia and Anibal Sanchez will duel in Detroit. Ryan Vogelsong starts for the Giants in St Louis. Jose Quintana starts for Chicago, hosting the Royals. Gio Gonzalez will start for the Nationals in Houston. Chad Billingsley starts for the Dodgers, hosting the Rockies.

Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and an associate editor at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is smack dab in the middle of some of the best (and worst) sports fans in the country.

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