The Pirates obliterated the Cubs yesterday 10-4, to complete a three game sweep. The Cubs have dropped 21 straight, and are tied with the Twins for the worst record in baseball at 15-32. There’s really no singular person to blame. The Cubs have only scored 33 runs over the 12 game skid, and have allowed 69. Chicago’s top offensive player all season, first baseman Brian LaHair, is falling back to earth. His OPS has fallen nearly 200 points during the streak, and he has just one extra base hit (a homer in the first game of the streak) over that time. The 3/33 stretch he’s in has led to a .091 batting average, and he’s struck out 12 times. When you combine his struggles with the overall mediocrity of the team, it’s no surprise that the Cubs are struggling. It’s going to be a long year in Chicago.
Game of the Day: Reds 7, Rockies 5. Now, why did I go with this game? It doesn’t appear to extraordinary on the surface. Well, the Reds are red hot (no pun intended), winning eight out of nine games and taking the lead in the NL Central. With their next nine games against the Pirates and Astros, the Reds can extend that lead even more. But anyway, the game itself. Starting pitchers Jamie Moyer and Mat Latos combined to allow NINE homers in the game. Latos allowed five, and got the win…mainly due to the fact that those five homers were the only baserunners he allowed. That’s right, no hits aside from the homers, and no walks. Five solo homers made up the entire Rockies offense against Latos. That just amazes me. Three of the four Reds homers off of Moyer were solo homers, but one was a three-run shot from Brandon Phillips. One also was hit by Todd Frazier while throwing his bat at the ball. What a crazy game. The teams combined for 13 hits, and nine went over the fence.
Pitching Line of the Day: RA Dickey finished off the Mets sweep of the Padres by shutting San Diego out over 7 1/3, allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out ten. Not bad for a knuckleballer! Hiroki Kuroda had his finest start as a Yankee, albeit against the offensively deficient A’s. He threw eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out three. Chris Capuano of the Dodgers continues his surprising start to the year, allowing one run on two hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out eight Astros hitters. Gio Gonzalez allowed two early runs to the Braves, but was aces the rest of the way. His final line: seven innings, one hit, two runs, three walks, and ten strikeouts.
Hitting Line of the Day: Melky Cabrera’s season so far remains a shocker to fans all across the league. He went 4/4 yesterday with a homer, three runs scored, and two stolen bases. Jerry Hairston Jr of the Dodgers had a career day, going 5/5 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. That’s pretty much as hollow of a five hit game as you can get. Carlos Gonzalez hit a pair of solo homers in a losing effort for the Rockies. Kendrys Morales of the Angels and Colby Rasmus of the Blue Jays each had three hits, two RBI, two runs, and a homer.
Spotlight Series: The Braves scored a pair of early runs, getting a run in the first on a Martin Prado groundout and a Tyler Pastornicky squeeze bunt. And…that would be it for the Braves. The Nationals tied it in the fourth on a Jesus Flores single, and a Gio Gonzalez sac fly. They took the lead in the sixth, scoring four runs on another Flores single, a two-run double from Steve Lombardozzi, and an RBI single from Ryan Zimmerman. Bryce Harper tacked on the seventh run in the eighth on his fourth homer of the year to seal up Washington’s 7-2 win and complete the three game sweep of the Braves. The Braves are now in fourth place in the division, four games behind Washington, and have lost seven in a row. The Nationals on the other hand, took a huge step towards showing the rest of the league that they are for real. The Nationals will travel to Miami for three with the Marlins, while the Braves get a tough draw in hosting the St Louis Cardinals, who Atlanta swept two weekends ago at Busch Stadium.
Other Games: A ninth inning homer by Sean Rodriguez gave the Rays a 4-3 win over the Red Sox. The Royals cooled off the Orioles a little with a 4-2 win to take the series in Baltimore and knock the O’s back into a tie with the Rays for first place in the AL East. The White Sox used (another) offensive outburst to beat the first place Indians 12-6, complete the sweep, and move to just a half game back in the division. The Giants edged the Marlins 3-2 thanks to another big game from the Melkman. A two-run homer in the ninth by Miguel Cabrera gave the Tigers a 4-3 win over the Twins, and completed that sweep. The Rangers shelled Kyle Drabek early, and picked up a 12-6 win over the Blue Jays. The Cardinals beat the Phillies 8-3, and Roy Halladay left early with a sore shoulder. Jerry Hairston and Chris Capuano led the Dodgers to a 5-1 win over the Astros. The Angels are now just a game under .500 after beating the Mariners 4-2, and sweeping the series in Seattle. The Diamondbacks beat the Brewers 4-3, and won the series in a rematch of last year’s NLDS.
Today’s Games: There are a lot of games on the slate today, and since it’s Memorial Day, many of those games are day games. Hooray! There are only six games that take place at night eastern time…and all but one of those are west coast games, so essentially, every game except the Orioles-Blue Jays matchup in Toronto is a local day game. Cool. Anyway, the matchups. Doug Fister starts for the Tigers in Boston against Felix Doubront. Lance Lynn will take on Tommy Hanson in Atlanta. Cole Hamels will take on the Mets at Citi Field. Chris Sale and Matt Moore in Tampa Bay is a great duel of young potential aces. Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals travel to Miami to take on Carlos Zambrano and the Marlins. Blossoming Pirates ace James McDonald starts against the Reds. Wandy Rodriguez takes on Juan Nicasio in game one of a doubleheader between the Astros and Rockies. Phil Hughes and Jered Weaver will go at it in Los Angeles.
Enjoy your day of baseball everyone, and God bless America.