We’re almost 40% of the way through the 2014 season, and while a few trends have become prevalent, one really jumps out at me – the National League East stinks. Seriously. The Braves, Nationals, and Marlins are all tied for first place, and all three teams are just three games above .500. That .525 winning percentage is good for just an 85 win season if you extrapolate it out over 162 games. Putting that into perspective, the Yankees and Orioles each won 85 games a year ago – and both were 6.5 games behind the Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card spot. The Nationals won 86 games last year, and were four games behind the Reds for the NL’s second Wild Card spot. And here we are now, looking at the possibility of an 85-win division winner. Well then.
Game of the Day: Diamondbacks 6, Braves 5. Another embarrassing loss for Atlanta. Ho hum. A Justin Upton homer in the second inning gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead, but they gave it away in the seventh after Fredi Gonzalez stuck with Aaron Harang for too long. Harang allowed a leadoff single to Aaron Hill, and David Peralta followed up with a two-run homer to knot the game at two. Gonzalez pulled Harang after he walked Cody Ross, but new Braves pitcher Luis Avilan immediately walked Eric Chavez. After a sac bunt by Gerardo Parra, David Hale replaced Avilan and the Diamondbacks pulled ahead. First, it was a two-run single by Chris Owings to make it 4-2, and then it was a two-run homer by Paul Goldschmidt to make it 6-2. Hale got out of the inning without any further runs being scored, and the Braves pulled a run closer in the eighth after a solo homer by Freddie Freeman off of Joe Thatcher. Evan Marshall replaced Thatcher and walked Upton, allowed a single to Chris Johnson, and gave up a single to Tommy La Stella to make it 6-4. After a walk to Andrelton Simmons loaded the bases, Marshall struck out Gerald Laird to end the threat. Ramiro Pena led off the ninth with a solo homer off of Brad Ziegler to make it 6-5, but Ziegler set down Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton, and Freeman in order to end the game and hand Arizona a series win.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Yesterday was Good Pitching Sunday, everyone. Apologies to the following who all also had quality starts yesterday: C.J. Wilson, Jaime Garcia, Jeff Locke, Homer Bailey, Chase Anderson, James Shields, Chris Archer, Hiroki Kuroda, Tim Lincecum, Aaron Harang, Anibal Sanchez, and John Lackey.
Now, time for the good stuff.
Jordan Zimmermann pitched the Nationals to a 6-0 win over the Padres, throwing a complete game shutout while allowing two hits and striking out a dozen without a walk. Felix Hernandez dominated the Rays (but got a no decision, ha) in Seattle’s 5-0 win, giving up four hits over seven shutout innings, walking one and punching out 15. In Milwaukee’s 1-0 win over Pittsburgh, Yovani Gallardo threw seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, striking out eight, and walking one. Scott Kazmir pitched the Athletics to an 11-1 thrashing of the Orioles, tossing seven scoreless frames while giving up four hits and two walks along with seven strikeouts. Jake Arrieta had a nice start for the Cubs in their 4-3 loss to the Marlisn, allowing three hits in six shutout innings, walking none and striking out seven.
Hitting Lines of the Day: In the Mets’ 6-4 loss to the Giants, Curtis Granderson went 3/4 with a double, two homers, and three RBI. In Houston’s 14-5 win over the Twins, Jon Singleton went 2/6 with a double, a homer, two runs, and four RBI, Dexter Fowler went 2/5 with a homer, two runs, two RBI, and a walk, and Chris Carter went 1/4 with a grand slam and two runs scored. For the Twins in the loss, Eduardo Nunez went 3/5 with a homer and two RBI. In Boston’s 5-3 win over Detroit, Mike Napoli went 3/4 with a solo homer and a stolen base, while Brock Holt went 4/5 with a triple and a run scored. Brandon Moss went 1/3 with two walks and a grand slam in Oakland’s win over Baltimore. Jhonny Peralta went 2/4 with a double and a solo homer in the Cardinals’ 5-0 win over the Blue Jays. David Peralta (no relation) went 2/5 with a two-run homer in Arizona’s win over Atlanta.
Other Games: The Reds beat the Phillies 4-1. The Royals edged the Yankees 2-1. The Indians prevailed over the Rangers 3-2. The Dodgers beat the Rockies 6-1 in six innings thanks to rain. The Angels doubled up the White Sox 4-2.
Today’s Games: David Price and the Rays host the Mariners. Dan Haren starts for the Dodgers in Cincinnati. R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays host the Twins. Charlie Morton gets the nod for the Pirates in Pittsburgh against the Cubs. Rick Porcello will toe the rubber for the Tigers in Chicago against the White Sox. Garrett Richards and the Angels host Jesse Chavez and the Athletics. Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Vogelsong will duel in San Francisco.
National TV: Mariners-Rays (1 PM, MLB Network), Dodgers-Reds (7 PM, ESPN)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.