There are currently three teams tied for the lead in the NL East – the Nationals, Mets, and Marlins. What's so interesting about that? Well, none of these three teams finished at or above .500 last season. The Nationals came the closest, finishing 80-81 on the season. In fact, since both leagues realigned to a three division format in 1994, only one of these teams has actually WON the NL East: the Mets, in 2006. The Braves won the division in every year from 1995 to 2005, while the Phillies won the division in every year from 2007 to 2011. Perhaps ironically, only one NL East team has won multiple World Championships since the realignment…the Marlins, who won in 1997 and 2003, as wild cards each time. Neither of the dominant teams in the division over the nearly 20 years since the realignment have won multiple World Series, yet the lowly expansion team has a pair. Baseball is awesome.
Game of the Day: Pirates 6, Brewers 5. This was an interesting game. The teams combined for seven homers, and the final eight of the eleven runs scored in total all game were scored via the home run. The only pitcher to allow multiple homers however, was Brewers starters Michael Fiers. Each team struck out a double digit amount of hitters, with James McDonald and his eight K's leader the way. This is Pittsburgh's third straight series win over a NL Central foe, and it's their first outright road series win since mid-April in Arizona. Next up for the Pirates, they travel to division-leading Cincinnati for three. The Pirates took two out of three from the Reds just a week ago at PNC Park.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Phil Hughes threw a complete game against the Tigers in the Yankees 5-1 win, allowing one run on five hits, walking three and striking out eight. Barry Zito shut out the Cubs over 8 1/3 on five hits and two walks, striking out five as the Giants got a 2-0 win. Trevor Cahill threw a complete game shutout in Arizona's 6-0 win over the Padres, allowing six hits and walking three, striking out five in the process. The White Sox Chris Sale had another fantastic start in Chicago's 4-2 win over the Mariners, allowing two runs in a complete game on five hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Kirk Nieuwenhuis of the Mets had a great game in New York's 6-1 win over the Cardinals, going 3/5 with two runs, three RBI, and a homer. In an 8-4 loss to the Rays, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters went 3/4 with two RBI, a walk, and his ninth homer of the year. Wieters's teammate Mark Reynolds went 3/5 with two RBI and a homer.
Spotlight Series: Writeup for the new series coming on Tuesday. I want to shake things up a little bit, and the series that start on Monday don't make me smile.
Other Games: The Braves edged the Nationals 3-2 to earn their first win over Washington this year. The Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 5-1 on account of some terrible early control by Daniel Bard. The Marlins beat the Phillies 5-1 on account of Carlos Zambrano's arm as well as his bat. The Astros beat the Reds 5-3 behind an effective start from Jordan Lyles. The Royals shut out the A's 2-0 behind former Athletics starter Vin Mazzaro. The Rockies beat the Dodgers 3-2, and handed the NL West kingpins a rare series loss. The Twins beat the scuffling Indians 6-3, and Scott Diamond had another solid smoke and mirrors start. The Rangers avoided a sweep in SoCal and beat the Rangers 7-3.
Today's Games: The Mets look to hand the Cardinals a four game sweep, and a dip below .500, as Dillon Gee faces Kyle Lohse in the series finale. Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs will take on Ryan Vogelsong by the bay, as the streaking Giants look to sweep the Cubs and close the gap even further on the Dodgers. Speaking of the Dodgers, they're going east, and will start Clayton Kershaw in Philadelphia against Vance Worley in his return from the DL. On a related note, I'll be at the game to collect my Cliff Lee bobblehead giveaway. The rest of the day's schedule, including all of the American League matchups, aren't very inspiring.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.