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Dugout Digest – missing opportunities

The Angels had a huge opportunity to stretch their winning streak to nine games on Monday, and it blew up in their faces. Los Angeles jumped out to a 6-2 lead over the Dodgers after the fourth. But CJ Wilson broke down in the fifth, allowing four runs to tie the game at six. AJ Ellis put the Dodgers in front in the sixth with a sac fly off of Michael Kohn, but the Angels tiied it up in the seventh after a Howard Kendrick single. That didn't last long though, as Robert Coello had his first rough outing with Anaheim, allowing a run on three hits in two innings to finish off the game. On the bright side, their winning streak has moved the Angels to third in the AL West. On the not so bright side, the Angels are still 8.5 games behind the Rangers in the division, and they really could have used the extra game they would have picked up with a loss, especially after the Rangers got swept in a doubleheader in Arizona.

PIC OF THE DAY

What do you do if you're Yoenis Cespedes and you can't make a catch? You do a cartwheel, of course. (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 5, Rangers 4. The Diamondbacks swept a doubleheader from Texas, and it couldn't have come in more stunning fashion. Arizona trailed 4-2 through seven and through that point, Yu Darvish had allowed two runs on five hits, striking out 13 and walking none. Of course, after allowing a single to Wil Nieves, Darvish allowed a game-tying homer to Didi Gregorius. In the ninth, Texas put men on the corners with two outs, but Elvis Andrus grounded out to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Miguel Montero led off with a double, and the wheels came off from there. Jason Frasor struck out AJ Pollock, but Robbie Ross replaced him just to intentionally walk Martin Prado. Cliff Pennington proceeded to single in Montero to hand Texas a tough loss.

Pitching Lines of the Day: Jeff Samardzija threw a two hit, complete game shutout for the Cubs in their 7-0 win over the White Sox, walking two and striking out eight. Aaron Harang also threw a complete game shutout, leading the Mariners to a 9-0 win over the Padres. Harang allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out eight. Tyler Skaggs pitched well for the Diamondbacks in their 5-3 game one win over the Rangers, allowing three hits in six shutout innings, striking out nine and walking three. Phil Hughes pitched well for the Yankees in their 2-1 loss to the Mets, giving up one run on four hits in seven innings, striking out six without a walk.

Hitting Lines of the Day: Kelly Johnson powered the Rays to a 10-6 win over the Marlins, going 4/5 with six RBI, a double, two homers, and a stolen base. Yadier Molina did well for the Cardinals in their 6-3 win over the Royals, going 2/2 with two runs, four RBI, two walks, a double, and a homer. Carlos Gomez went 2/3 with a pair of solo homers for the Brewers in their 6-3 loss to the Twins. Edwin Encarnacion led the Blue Jays to a 9-3 romp over the Braves, going 2/5 with five RBI and a homer. Evan Gattis did his part for Atlanta, going 3/4 with two RBI, a double, and a homer.

Other Games: The Tigers withstood a late rally to beat the Pirates 6-5. The Orioles beat the Nationals 6-2. The Rockies fell to the Astros 3-2 in 12 innings. The Reds beat the Indians 4-2, winning the battle on Twitter as well as on the field. The A's beat the Giants 4-1. Boston smashed Philadelphia 9-3.

Today's Games: Rivalry week continues across the league with 14 games on the slate. Paul Maholm starts for the Braves in Toronto against Brandon Morrow. Hiroki Kuroda takes on Matt Harvey in Flushing. Kevin Gausman makes his second start for the Orioles against Nationals rookie Nate Karns, making his major league debut. Zach McAllister and the Indians take on Mat Latos and the Reds in Cincinnati. Cliff Lee takes on Ryan Dempster at Fenway. Edwin Jackson takes on Chris Sale in the battle of Chicago. Ervin Santana and the Royals host the Cardinals. Michael Kickham makes his major league debut for the Giants in Oakland. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers, hosting the Angels.

National TV: Yankees-Mets (7 PM, ESPN), Angels-Dodgers (10 PM, ESPN)

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.

Dugout Digest – the unheralded dominator

You know, for all the talk surrounding the dominance of Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel in the National League, the American League currently possesses the reliever with the lowest ERA in all of baseball. He was a free agent signing, but didn't get a lot of money or a lot of years. That reliever…is Fernando Rodney, the much-maligned former Angels closer. Rodney's ERA for the season actually rose to 0.85 tonight in the Rays' 3-2 win over the Blue Jays. Rodney allowed a run last night, his first in nearly two months (June 14th against the Mets) and just the fifth earned run he's allowed all year. Furthermore, the run came on a David Cooper home run. That was just the second homer Rodney's allowed all year, with the other coming on May 26th, a walk-off two-run shot to Jarrod Saltamacchia of the Red Sox. Now, just because Rodney's ERA is lower than both Kimbrel's and Chapman's, he's not having a better year by any means. Both Kimbrel and Chapman have a FIP half that of Rodney's (with Kimbrel's sitting at a mind-blowing 0.96), and both pitchers have much better strikeout rates than Rodney. But hey, Rodney isn't pitching bad at all, considering what the Rays are paying him.

Game of the Night: Rangers 10, Red Sox 9. Another crazy Red Sox game…what else is new? Texas took a 3-0 lead in the first off of Josh Beckett, and Boston responded with three of their own against Matt Harrison. In the fifth, homers by Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton made it 6-3. The Red Sox rallied to make it 6-5, but Geovany Soto homered in the sixth to make it 8-5 and chase Beckett from the game. A Nelson Cruz homer in the seventh made it 9-5, but Boston plated four in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, capped off by a three-run homer from rookie Will Middlebrooks. Of course, that tie didn't last long, thanks to a sac fly by Adrian Beltre in the ninth to give Texas a 10-9 lead, and after a 12 pitch Joe Nathan ninth, a 10-9 victory.

Pitching Lines of the Night: Jeremy Guthrie was finally effective for the Royals in a 2-1 win over the White Sox, throwing eight shutout innings and allowing five hits, walking none and striking out six. The Padres shut out the Cubs 2-0, and Clayton Richard threw a complete game shutout, allowing five hits and two walks, striking out five Chicago hitters. Mat Latos was good for the Reds despite a 3-2 loss to the Brewers, allowing one run over seven on three hits, striking out eight and walking one. The Giants ravaged the Cardinals 15-0, and Ryan Vogelsong went seven shutout innings, alowing three hits, three walks, and managing three strikeouts.

Hitting Lines of the Night: Giancarlo Stanton returned to the Marlins lineup in a 13-0 laugher over the Mets by going 4/5 with four RBI and two homers. Josh Hamilton got back on the wagon with a good game in the Rangers win over the Red Sox, going 3/5 with two runs, four RBI, a triple, and his 30th homer of the year. Opposing Hamilton's Rangers, Adrian Gonzalez went 3/5 with three runs, three RBI, and three doubles, while Cody Ross went 3/4 with two runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer. The Yankees beat the Tigers 12-8, and Curtis Granderson punished his former team by going 3/5 with two runs, four RBI, a double, and his 30th homer of the year. In a 9-8 Angels loss to the A's, Kendrys Morales went 3/5 with three RBI and a pair of homers. The Indians finally got a win, beating the Twins 6-2, and Shin-Soo Choo went 4/4 with a run, two RBI, and a double. The Braves beat the Phillies 12-6, and Michael Bourn sparked the Braves with a 3/5 game, scoring twice, driving in three, walking once, doubling, and hitting his career-best ninth homer of the year.

Other Games: Gio Gonzalez homered and threw a complete game for the Nationals in a 4-3 win in Houston. The Pirates edged the Diamondbacks 7-6. The Orioles destroyed the Mariners 9-2. The Dodgers beat the Rockies 6-4, and yes, Colorado's ridiculous 75 pitch limit thing is still in effect.

Today's Games: Only a half of a slate of games today on getaway day, and five of the nine on the schedule are day games. Hiroki Kuroda will take on Doug Fister in Detroit. Josh Johnson and RA Dickey will duel at Citi Field. Madison Bumgarner takes on Adam Wainwright in St Louis in today's best matchup. Wandy Rodriguez starts for the Pirates, hosting the Diamondbacks. Jordan Zimmermann will start for the Nationals in Houston.

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.

Dugout Digest – 5/10/11

Brewers 4, Padres 3

After a somewhat disappointing Brewers debut, Zack Greinke was more Zack Greinkeish (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K) in this one. Mat Latos, however, has not been so Mat Latoish all season as he falls to 0-5 with a 5.2 inning, 4-run performance. It’s too early to worry about Latos, but with an offense that rivals the DMV in inefficiency, the Padres need better performances from Latos down the road.

Phillies 6, Marlins 4

Mike Stanton almost made a really nice diving catch to preserve Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter the other night, and he almost made a home run-saving grab to prevent a lead-off Jimmy Rollins home run. After that, Joe Blanton returned from the DL and got the Marlins to ground into 4 double plays on his way to a solid outing. Gaby Sanchez did all he could (3-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI), but it wasn’t quite enough to beat the division leaders.

Athletics 7, Rangers 2

I got Trevor Cahill for $4 in an intense keeper league, but against the Rangers at Arlington, I decided to leave him on the bench. Bad move. Cahill dominated the Rangers over 7 innings while striking out 7 and walking 1, and he improved to a perfect 6-0 on the season. Josh Willingham provided enough offense to back Cahill as he hit a homer and knocked in 5 total as the A’s slowly march up the AL West leaderboard.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 1

Chad Billingsley and Jeff Karstens (yes, Jeff Karstens) were locked in a pitcher’s duel for most of this one. The difference was that the Pirates eventually got to Billingsley in the 8th with a Garrett Jones walk and consecutive doubles from Neil Walker, Lyle Overbay, and Ryan Doumit while the Pirates bullpen (3.1 IP, 3 H) shut down the Dodgers. Several worthy notes from this one. One, Neil Walker hit clean-up, which just shouldn’t be allowed on an above-.500 team, and two, the Pirates are above .500. Hmph.

Tigers 10, Blue Jays 5

Lots of pitchers extending perfect streaks today as Max Scherzer pushed his record to 6-0. It wasn’t pretty as it took him 97 pitches to get out of the 5th, but Brandon Morrow did worse (3.1 IP, 5 R). It was probably the best pitching match-up of the evening on paper, but the offenses, especially Victor Martinez (3-4, HR, 3 RBI) and the Tigers, had the upper hand all night.

Rockies 2, Mets 1

I needed a catcher a few weeks ago because I couldn’t bear to see Kurt Suzuki in my line-up any longer, so I picked up Chris Ianetta. Tonight it worked like a charm as he bashed the go-ahead home run to back Jhoulys Chacin, who was pretty hit or miss (6 IP, 6 BB, 5 K) in this one. Chris Capuano was pretty good in this one (6.2 IP, 2 ER), but it wasn’t enough considering he pitches for the Mets.

Reds 6, Astros 1

The Astros are awful (13-22), and Travis Wood is pretty good. Do you really need me to say more? Okay, Wood stymied the Astros behind 6 innings of shut-out baseball (6 K, 1 BB), and he did himself a favor by hitting his second career home run. Aneury Rodriguez pitched 5 one-hit innings against the Reds the other day, but he got hit pretty hard in this one (5 IP, 8 H, 5 R).

Red Sox 2, Twins 1

The ESPN game pitted Nick Blackburn (6.1 IP, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K) against Josh Beckett (7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K), and regular time wasn’t enough in this one. With Matt Capps not having pitched in the past few days, the Twins stuck to the “Closer Rules” and put in LJ Hoey (6.75 ERA) in the bottom of the 10th. Predictably, the game ended thus when Ben Revere noodle-armed the ball toward the cut-off man. Carl Crawford (1-5) is still having a rough go of it, but he made his one hit count with it being the walk-off double.

White Sox 8, Angels 0

Chicago jumped on the Angels often in this one with home runs from Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and Alexis Ramirez, and even Adam Dunn seems to be working himself out of his slump (2-3, BB, 2B). Good Edwin Jackson showed up (7 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K) to keep the Angels off the board, but Good Ervin Santana did not (6 IP, 8 H, 5 R). Making matters worse for the Angels (or better, depending on your point of view), Vernon Wells left this one early with a groin strain.

 

Tonight’s Match-ups

Philadelphia at Florida, 7 PM

It’s Roy Halladay vs. Josh Johnson. I always watch Braves games, but I may not tonight.

Seattle at Baltimore, 7 PM

I love prospects and young players, so I’m intrigued by the match-up of 25-year old Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.35 ERA, 33/15 K/BB) and 22-year old Michael Pineda (4-2, 2.58 ERA, 39/12 K/BB). Pineda looks like the real deal behind King Felix, and Arrieta seems to be settling into major-league life after a rough rookie campaign that almost saw him walk (48) as many as he struck out (52).

Detroit at Minnesota, 8 PM

It’s the first game back on the mound for Francisco Liriano after his no-hitter, and if he can’t give another solid performance, the questions about his production will begin anew. On the other side, Rick Porcello got a lot of grief after a sophomore slump, but he’s quietly been one of the Tigers’ best starters (2-2, 3.93 ERA, 26/9 K/BB). He’s still only 22 years old.

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