Dugout Digest – Anthony Rizzo is here!

First off, my apologies for the lack of a DD over the last two days. I had some very interesting computer problems. Technology just hates me this month. Anyway, last night in the Cubs-Mets game, highly touted Cubs first base prospect Anthony Rizzo made his Chicago debut. Hitting in the three hole in the Cubs lineup, Rizzo lived up to the lofty expectations (at least for one game) that the Chicago fanbase has set before him. He went 2/4 with a go-ahead RBI double in the fourth inning in Chicago's 5-3 win. Now, let's get something clear: this isn't going to set the Cubs on some sort of massive hot streak to propel them to the playoffs. Even after tonight's win, the Cubs are still 22 games under .500, and are somehow 10-29 on the road (which is really, really bad). Their best starter, Ryan Dempster, will likely be traded in the next five weeks. But on the bright side, it's not as if Rizzo's success is completely useless to the team. He's at least showing them what he has, and whether or not he's a long-term building block for the team. Considering that the new brass traded for him this offseason, I think we know what they think of him.

Game of the Night: Reds 4, Brewers 3. I mean, y'all saw Aroldis Chapman's somersault show post-game, right? At any rate, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was flirting with destiny throughout this one. He didn't allow a hit into the eighth inning, until Brewers second baseman Taylor Green doubled with one out to break up the no-hit bid. Then, something happened. Before Green's double, Arroyo had walked George Kottaras to put a runner on. So with men on second and third in a 3-0 game, the lost no-hit bid was a thing of the past, and the Reds had to worry about keeping the lead. Sure enough, Corey Hart pinch hit for Cesar Izturis, and doubled home Kottaras and Green to make it a 3-2 game. After a Rickie Weeks popup, Arroyo was left in to face Brewers rookie Norichika Aoki (who has been criminally underrated this year), and Aoki singled in Hart to tie the game at three. Just like that, in the span of four batters, Reds fans went from potentially witnessing history to wondering if they'd even see a win. But in the bottom of the eighth, Drew Stubbs homered deep to center field off of Brewers closer John Axford (again, Axford?) to give the Reds a 4-3 lead that Chapman would seal shut in the ninth. 

Pitching Lines of the Night: Gavin Floyd had a great start for the White Sox in their 3-2 win over the Twins, throwing seven shuout innings and allowing just five hits. Floyd also struck out nine Twins hitters without a walk, and has now thrown 13 1/3 straight shutout innings, walking 13 and walking just one. Yankees starter Phil Hughes had a great start in New York's 6-4 win over Cleveland, but the bullpen almost blew it. Hughes went eight shutout innings, giving up six hits and one walk, striking out four Indians hitters. Cory Wade got hammered around in the ninth before Rafael Soriano relieved him, and got a save by throwing two pitches. Braves starter Tim Hudson was extremely effective in Atlanta's 8-1 blowout win over Arizona. Hudson went eight and allowed one run on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven. The only blemish on his record for the evening was a Jason Kubel solo homer in the third. The worse news comes from the other side of the diamond, where Arizona's Hudson (Daniel) left the game in the second inning due to forearm stiffness. You know what that means…

Hitting Lines of the Night: The Nationals beat up the Rockies 12-5, and four offensive players for them had great games: Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Michael Morse, and Ryan Zimmerman. LaRoche went 2/4 with three runs, three RBI, a walk, and a pair of homers. Zimmermann went 3/5 with three runs, a double, and a homer. Desmond went 4/5 with a run, two RBI, and three doubles. Morse went 4/5 with two runs, two RBI, and a double. Bryce Harper on the other hand, went just 1/5. Welp, his career is over. In 5-4 Pirates loss in Philadelphia, catcher Michael McKenry went 3/3 with two RBI, a double, and a homer, but was crucially gunned out at the plate in the seventh inning of what would end up being just a one run game. The Phillies were powered by their all-world catcher Carlos Ruiz, who went 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, and his tenth homer of the year, a new career-high. 

Spotlight Series: Computer problems, none until the weekend.

Other Games: The Angels and Orioles combined for six homers and 24 hits, but just ten runs as the Angels won 7-3. The Red Sox rallied late against Toronto's bullpen, and picked up a 5-1 win. Yu Darvish struck out ten in seven innings and survived an offensive barrage from Prince Fielder in the Rangers' 7-5 win over the Tigers. Five first inning runs were enough for the Cardinals in their 5-2 win over the skidding Marlins. Chris Archer lost his second career start, and the Royals pounded the Rays 8-2. You can't blame Archer for his record: he's struck out 14 and walked two in his first two starts. The Astros beat the Padres and starter Kip Wells (yes, that Kip Wells, making his first major league appearances since 2009) 5-3. The Mariners beat the A's 3-2 on a late RBI single by Brendan Ryan. The Giants shut out the Dodgers 2-0, and are just a game behind LA for the top spot in the NL West.

Today's Games: Eight of the 15 games today are day games, and there are no late west coast games. It's a sign from above! Ubaldo Jimenez takes on Andy Pettitte in the Bronx. Zack Greinke will start for the Brewers in Cincinnati. Dominant White Sox starter Chris Sale faces the Twins, and he must be licking his lips. Jon Niese takes on Jeff Samardzija in a battle of young, enigmatic starters. Ricky Romero and Jon Lester will duel in a matchup similar to that of the Niese-Samardzija battle. Tim Lincecum will look to lead the Giants to first place against the Dodgers, but Chad Billingsley is in their way. Matt Moore goes for the Rays in Kansas City. Pirates ace James McDonald will start in Philly, and Chase Utley will reportedly by in the lineup. Jarrod Parker starts for the A's in Seattle. Tommy Hanson and the Braves host Trevor Cahill and the Diamondbacks in Atlanta. Jered Weaver and Jason Hammel will go at it in Baltimore, and this is your matchup of the night. Doug FIster will take on Roy Oswalt in Texas.

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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