I apologize for the crappy use of a pun in the title of this Dugout Digest, but quite frankly, the pun suits the situation qutie well. The Cincinnati Reds are indeed red hot, and have opened up a gap in the NL Central standings. Last night, they beat the Astros 5-3 after going into the ninth trailing 3-2. Former Reds closer Francisco Cordero was on the mound for the Astros, and he promptly allowed a two-run double to Drew Stubbs and an RBI single to Jay Bruce to put the Reds out front, and new closer Aroldis Chapman ate an overmatched Houston lineup for dinner. The Reds are now 11-2 since the All-Star Break, sweeping division rivals St Louis, Milwaukee, and Houston, and splitting a series with Arizona. With a trip to Colorado followed by the beginning of a homestand with the Padres on the docket over the next week, would it stun anyone to see the Reds go into a home series with the Pirates on a 16-4 run or better? It wouldn't shock me, that's for sure.
Game of the Day: Phillies 7, Brewers 6 (ten innings). The poor Brewers lost in walkoff fashion *again* to the Phillies. The Phillies led 5-1 after four, but Milwaukee battled back against Vance Worley. scoring a pair in the sixth on a Rickie Weeks solo homer and a Carlos Gomez RBI double. Then, Ryan Braun homered off of Antonio Bastardo in the eighth to tie the game at five and give fans a "here we go again" feeling. The Brewers picked up an unearned run in the tenth thanks to a two base error on third baseman Ty Wigginton, but then the Phillies battered Francisco Rodriguez, who probably lost his job as closer just a matter of days after earning the position. Rodriguez's struggles were made worse by the fact that they happened against the bottom of Philly's order. He walked John Mayberry Jr and allowed a double to backup catcher Erik Kratz, turning the lineup over and allowing pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz to drive in Mayberry with a sac fly to tie the game, and Jimmy Rollins to hit a walkoff single to bring in Mike Fontenot (pinch running for Kratz) and to send the Brewers directly into sell mode.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Stephen Strasburg obliterated the Mets en route to a 5-2 Nationals win, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings, walking none while striking out 11 New York hitters. Good god. A's rookie AJ Griffin shut down the Blue Jays in a 16-0 blowout, throwing six shutout frames and allowing three hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts. Jason Marquis of the Padres outdueled Tim Lincecum in a 6-3 win over the Giants, allowing just one earned run over 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out eight. Homer Bailey of the Reds had an odd line, shutting out the Astros over seven innings on four hits, walking five and striking out seven.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Jesus Guzman of the Padres went 3/4 with three runs, three RBI, and a pair of homers. In the Angels' 11-6 win over the Royals, Torii Hunter went 4/5 with three runs, three RBI, and his 11th homer of the year. Coco Crisp went 3/6 in that Athletics' blowout of the Blue Jays, scoring three times and hitting a pair of homers. Dayan Viciedo of the White Sox went 3/4 with four RBI, a double, and a homer in Chicago's 8-2 win over Minnesota. The spinning wheel of Rays catchers landed on Jose Lobaton tonight, and he responded by going 3/3 with four RBI and his first homer of the year in Tampa Bay's 10-2 crushing of the Orioles. Despite Milwaukee's tough loss in Philly, Ryan Braun went 3/4 with two RBI, two walks, two doubles, and a homer, while Rickie Weeks went 4/4 with his tenth homer of the year.
Other Games: The Pirates salvaged a series with the Cubs, winning 3-2. The Yankees rallied late to beat the Mariners 5-2. The Braves beat the Marlins 7-1 despite Miami walking eight times and stealing seven bases. Max Scherzer dominated the Indians in a 5-3 Tigers win. The Cardinals walked off on the Dodgers 3-2 in 12 innings. The Rangers beat the Red Sox 5-3. The Rockies slipped by the Diamondbacks 4-2.
Today's Games: Only a half schedule today, but there are a few day games on the slate. James Shields makes possibly his last start for the Rays, as he takes on Chris Tillman and the Orioles. Chris Capuano takes on Jake Westbrook in St Louis. Tom Milone ventures away from his personal hotspot in Oakland to take on the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. AJ Burnett starts for the Pirates in Houston. Justin Verlander takes on Zach McAllister in Cleveland. Edwin Jackson and the Nationals take on Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers in Milwaukee. Jason Vargas has his last audition for prospective buyers as the Mariners host the Royals. Finally, Mets top prospect Matt Harvey makes his major league debut in Arizona.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.