I’m really starting to wonder if the Chicago Cubs aren’t going to finish in last place in the NL Central this year. Despite splitting a four-game series with the Braves this past weekend, the Reds are just 12-24 since the All-Star Break, falling five games under .500 and pretty much out of the NL playoff race. And then, there’s the Cubs, who are a solid 18-18 since the Break. With the two teams playing six games against each other over the rest of the season, maybe the Cubs can overcome that 4.5 game deficit and move out of the cellar. But then again, that would probably be a bad thing, considering it would give the team a worse draft pick. But with Jorge Soler coming up to join Arismandy Alcantara and Javier Baez in the majors, there’s a chance that Cubs fans could be getting a glimpse of their bright future this month – and moving out of the basement would be a great way to start that era.
Game of the Night: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3 (ten innings). Boston had a 3-0 lead heading into the ninth, and Clay Buchholz took the hill looking to finish off a complete game shutout. Naturally, things went pear-shaped quickly. After Buchholz got Munenori Kawasaki to ground out for the first out, Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera both singled. Buchholz walked Jose Bautista to load the bases for Adam Lind, and Koji Uehara took over for Buchholz. Lind grounded into a run-scoring fielder’s choice, making it 3-1 at the expense of the second out. And then Edwin Encarnacion doubled in a pair of runs, tying the game at three and destroying Buchholz’s attempt at a win. Uehara got out of the inning, and in the tenth, the Red Sox broke through again. Brock Holt reached on an infield single with out one, stole second as Dustin Pedroia struck out, stole third, and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single to make it a 4-3 game. Craig Breslow walked Danny Valencia with one out in the ninth, but a Kawasaki fielder’s choice and Reyes pop-up ended the game with no further drama for the BoSox.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Miles Mikolas (nailed it) dominated the Mariners in the Rangers’ 2-0 win, allowing three hits over eight shutout innings, walking one and striking out five. A.J. Burnett steamrolled the Nationals in Philly’s 3-2 win, giving up one run on three hits over seven innings, punching out a dozen and walking one. Jeff Samardzija shut down the Astros in Oakland’s 8-2 win, allowing two runs on six hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out ten. Chris Tillman pitched the Orioles to a 9-1 win over the Rays, giving up one unearned run on three hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out two. In Pittsburgh’s 3-2 loss to St. Louis, allowing four hits over six shutout innings, walking three and striking out eight.
Hitting Lines of the Night: In Baltimore’s win over Tampa Bay, Delmon Young went 3/3 with a double, a homer, a walk, and three RBI. Aramis Ramirez helped the Brewers to a 10-1 win over the Padres, going 3/5 with a double, a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Teammate Ryan Braun went 3/4 with a solo homer and two runs scored. In the Yankees’ 8-1 win over the Royals, Jacoby Ellsbury went 3/5 with a homer, two runs, and three RBI. In Oakland’s win over Houston, Josh Donaldson went 3/4 with two doubles, a run, three RBI, and a stolen base.
Other Games: The Marlins rolled the Angels 7-1. The Rockies edged the Giants 3-2.
Today’s Games: Alex Cobb starts for the Rays in Baltimore against Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles. Cole Hamels and the Phillies host the Nationals. R.A. Dickey starts for the Blue Jays against the Red Sox. Brandon McCarthy takes the hill for the Yankees in Detroit against Rick Porcello. Alex Wood starts for the Braves in Flushing. Lance Lynn and Gerrit Cole will duel in Pittsburgh. Johnny Cueto and the Reds take on the Cubs. Jose Quintana starts for the White Sox against the Indians. Danny Duffy and the Royals host the Twins. Dallas Keuchel and the Astros battle the A’s. Tyson Ross and the Padres take on the Brewers. Madison Bumgarner will start for the Giants against the Rockies.
National TV: Marlins-Angels (10 PM, MLB Network), Rangers-Mariners (10 PM, MLB Network)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.