I don’t normally like to spotlight a player in the opening of the Dugout Digest, but I felt this was important. Devin Mesoraco of the Reds has come into his own this year, and it seems like he’s getting overshadowed by half of the catchers in the National League for one reason or another. Mesoraco is fifth among all catchers in baseball with 2.0 fWAR, and he’s racked up just 159 plate appearances. Only Braves masher Evan Gattis has hit more homers among backstops than Mesoraco’s 12. His .426 wOBA is better than every catcher in baseball by at least 20 points – and only MVP candidate Jonathan Lucroy and Derek Norris of the A’s are above the .400 mark. After struggling in his major league career until this season, it’s nice to see Mesoraco take such a monumental step forward and make a name for himself – even if no one really cares.
Game of the Night: Tigers 5, Indians 4 (ten innings). Poor Cleveland, and the poor Tigers bullpen. Back to back homers by Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler in the seventh inning gave Detroit a 4-2 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, with Justin Verlander out of the game, the Indians offense began to blossom. Al Albuquerque led off the inning by hitting Michael Bourn, and Asdrubal Cabrera doubled him in to make it 4-3. Albuquerque was replaced by Blaine Hardy, who set the next three hitters down in order before handing the ball over to Joe Nathan for the ninth. Nathan struck out Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher to lead off the inning, and then allowed three straight singles, capped off with a game-tying base knock by Bourn. Cabrera grounded out to send the game into extras. Cody Allen struggled right off the bat for Cleveland, allowing a lead off single to Kinsler, who was bunted over to second by Austin Jackson. Terry Francona then declined to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, and paid after Allen gave up a go-ahead double. In the bottom of the tenth, Phil Coke struck out the side to give the Tigers a hard-fought victory.
Pitching Lines of the Day: It’s another night of great pitching, so once again, my apologies to the following pitchers who tossed quality starts on Saturday night – Jesse Chavez, Rubby de la Rosa, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Chris Young, Tom Koehler, Nick Martinez, Cole Hamels, Bud Norris, Julio Teheran, Tyson Ross, Jason Vargas, Kevin Correia, and Vance Worley.
Anyway, here’s the good stuff. Jake Odorizzi dominated Houston in Tampa Bays’ 8-0 win, allowing one hit over 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out ten while walking a pair. In the Dodgers’ 4-2 win over San Diego, Josh Beckett gave up four hits over seven scoreless frames, walking two and striking out eight. Mike Leake pitched very well for the Reds in their 11-1 smashing of the Blue Jays, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings, walking a pair and striking out six. Doug Fister controlled the Braves in Washington’s 3-0 win, tossing eight shutout innings while giving up five hits, walking one, and striking out three. Jered Weaver shined for the Angels in their 3-2, ten inning win over the Rangers, allowing one run on four hits in eight innings, striking out five and walking two. Adam Wainwright ran right through the Phillies in the Cardinals’ 4-1 win, giving up one run on six hits in eight innings, punching out seven without a walk.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In Colorado’s 9-4 loss to Milwaukee, Corey Dickerson went 3/4 with a double, a homer, and two RBI. For the Brewers in their win, Aramis Ramirez went 3/4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. Josh Harrison helped the Pirates top the Cubs 5-3, going 2/4 with a homer and three RBI. Victor Martinez shined for the Indians, going 2/4 with a homer, two RBI, and a walk. Adam Jones and Steve Pearce led the Orioles to a 6-1 win over the Yankees, with Jones going 2/4 with a homer, two runs, and a walk, while Pearce went 2/4 with a homer, two RBI, and a walk. David Wright provided the Mets with all the offense they needed in their 4-0 win over the Marlins, going 3/4 with a double, two runs, and an RBI.
Other Games: The Mariners slipped by the Royals 2-1. The Twins edged the White Sox 4-3. The A’s walked off on the Red Sox 2-1 in ten innings. San Francisco beat Arizona 6-4.
Today’s Games: Max Scherzer starts for the Tigers in Cleveland. R.A. Dickey and Johnny Cueto will duel in Cincinnati. Jon Niese starts for the Mets in Miami. Ervin Santana and Tanner Roark will duel in Washington. Dallas Keuchel gets the nod for the Astros against the Rays. Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees host the Orioles. Yordano Ventura and the Royals take on the Mariners. Phil Hughes and the Twins host the White Sox. Jason Hammel and the Cubs take on the Pirates. Jon Lester starts for the Red Sox in Oakland. Hyun-Jin Ryu gets the nod for the Dodgers in San Diego. Kyle Lohse will toe the rubber for the Brewers against the Rockies. The Diamondbacks host Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. Yu Darvish will start for the Rangers in Anaheim.
National TV: Braves-Nationals (1:30 PM, MLB Network), Phillies-Cardinals (2 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-Angels (8 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.