I don’t think anyone would have predicted that the Rangers-Astros series heading into the All-Star Break would be too pivotal, but it is – in a way that none of us really expected. It’s a battle for last place in the AL West, and the mantle of “the worst team in baseball” – seriously. Houston has taken the first two games of the series, and is just a game behind the Rangers in the standings. This would have bee inconceivable three months ago, especially when you consider the differences in payroll and expectations for the two teams.
Game of the Night: Reds 6, Cubs 5 (game two). Don’t go full Cube. You never want to go full Cube. Chicago led this one 5-0 in the early going, but the Reds began to chip away later in the game, one run at a time. In the fifth, they made it 5-1 after Skip Schumaker scored on an error by Junior Lake. In the sixth, a Jay Bruce ground out brought in Todd Frazier to make it 5-2. Cincinnati made it 5-3 in the seventh after Schumaker scored on a double play ground out by Devin Mesoraco. Billy Hamilton followed that up with an RBI triple, plating Zach Cozart to make it 5-4. The game was then knotted up at five in the eighth following an RBI double by Bruce, scoring Brandon Phillips. We then went to the ninth, and new Cubs pitcher Hector Rendon allowed three straight singles to Brayan Pena, Mesoraco, and Hamilton to end the game.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Vidal Nuno pitched well in his Diamondbacks debut despite a 2-1 loss for Arizona, allowing three hits over seven shutout innings, walking one and punching out seven. In the Mets’ 8-3 win over the Braves, Jacob deGrom gave up seven hits in seven scoreless frames, punching out 11 without a walk. In Toronto’s 4-0 win over the Angels, R.A. Dickey tossed seven scoreless frames, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out five. Phil Hughes pitched the Twins to a 2-0 win in Seattle, allowing eight hits in 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out eight without a walk. Sonny Gray and the A’s beat the Giants 6-1, with Gray allowing one run on six hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out eight.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In Cleveland’s 5-3 win over the Yankees, Michael Brantley went 3/4 with two doubles, a homer, and three RBI. Jose Reyes spurred Toronto’s offense in their win in Anaheim, going 4/5 with a homer and three RBI. Conor Gillaspie played well for the White Sox in their win over Boston, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and two RBI. Chris Carter went 2/4 with a pair of solo homers in Houston’s 8-3 win over the Rangers. Lorenzo Cain played well for the Royals in their 4-3 loss to the Rays, going 4/4 with a triple, two runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base. Domonic Brown helped the Phillies beat the Brewers 9-7, going 2/3 with a homer, a walk, two runs, and three RBI.
Other Games: The Tigers allowed a five-spot in the first inning, but nothing the rest of the way en route to a 14-5 win over the Dodgers. Earlier in the day, the Reds beat the Cubs 4-2 in game one of their doubleheader. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 5-4 on a walk off for the second straight night. Colorado edged San Diego 2-1. The Orioles and Nationals were rained out.
Today’s Games: Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer will duel in Detroit. C.J. Wilson and the Angels host Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays. Nate Eovaldi starts for the Marlins in Arizona. Ervin Santana and the Braves take on Dillon Gee and the Mets. Alfredo Simon and the Reds host the Cubs. Brandon McCarthy makes his Yankee debut in Cleveland. Chris Sale and the White Sox take on the Red Sox. Yordano Ventura and Alex Cobb will square off in St. Pete. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals host the Pirates. Kyle Lohse and the Brewers take on the Phillies. Yu Darvish and Dallas Keuchel square off in Arlington. Jason Hammel makes his A’s debut against Matt Cain and the Giants.
National TV: Dodgers-Tigers (1 PM, MLB Network), Pirates-Cardinals (8 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.